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Grattisfaction Has Moved

February 14, 2010

Hi all,

We’re officially open for business on  Give me your feedback, and please update your RSS feeds/bookmarks/links.



Grattisfaction is Moving!!!

February 12, 2010

Hi friends,
Because of the overwhelmingly positive response I’ve received so far, I’m moving my blog to a better home.

I will post when the new blog is ready. It will take a little while to get everything together.

There will be no new posts until that time, which is sad, but it’s because I’m working on great new posts, a bookstore section (no way!), and much, much better design.

Again, I’ve been really impressed by the positive response. Thanks for reading and commenting.

why I love wordpress

February 11, 2010

Grattisfaction has moved!  Check out this post (and many more) at!

enterprise software business models: moving beyond one-time or subscription

February 8, 2010

Grattisfaction has moved to

Get this post and many more at

new experiments in productivity

February 7, 2010

This post (and all of the others) have moved to

Go find this post on here.

how to monetize your blog without hurting user experience

January 28, 2010

This post (and many other much better posts) is now at

Go read it at, and remember to update your bookmarks!

case study: the kindle and the chumby

January 26, 2010

In Silicon Valley, every product claims to be a platform for something.

(Every company will also make $20 million in revenue in year five.)

Which is odd, because when I wake up in the morning, I want solutions to my problems, or cool things.

I want one great application – the killer app.

I don’t say “If only I had an extensible platform that I could create a whole class of cool solutions on!”

Once it does something awesome, I’m more than happy to have additional features and solutions.  But a product has to be an application before it can be a platform – see Facebook,, PayPal, the iPhone, WordPress, etc.

Let’s take a look at two products: the Amazon Kindle, and the chumby (made by chumby).

(The chumby is my absolute favorite product to beat up on for being an early-adopter targeted platform without a compelling application.  At the same time, I absolutely love the design of the chumby, the company voice of chumby, and the very idea of a chumby.  Yes, I want a bean bag that connects to the internet.  But most normal people (which I use synonymously with with early majority, late adopters, and laggards) don’t.  Or at least not yet. Read on chumbophiles, because I have a solution.)

The Kindle

Kindle 2

I own an Amazon Kindle, and I absolutely love it.

I don’t love it because it has apps.  It doesn’t (at least not yet).

I don’t love it because it browses the web well.  It doesn’t.

I don’t love it because it even browses the Amazon store well.  It doesn’t.

But I can read for hours and hours without  running out of power.  The screen doesn’t hurt my eyes.  I can get new books as I walk down the ramp onto the airplane,  saving me from the airport bookstore.

What is the Kindle?  It is an electronic book.  It is designed almost perfectly for heavy readers.  It doesn’t try to browse the web well.  (Now it will get apps, but I don’t think many people will use those.)  In fact, it doesn’t do anything very well beyond read books.  But for reading books, it’s awesome.

The people marketing the Kindle did a great job.  When something has an application, you can then communicate it.

The Chumby


This is a chumby.  It’s a bean bag with a 2.5″ LCD touchscreen.  It has Wi-Fi, and runs widgets (in open-source Flash).  The developer community is pretty strong (the forum has about 4200 users, the catalog has 1500 apps), and makes some really neat stuff.

Go check it out and come back.  It’s part of our story.  Particularly, look at the Most Popular for All Time, and Most Popular for This Week.  Those will give you some idea of what people are using it for.

Compare this to what chumby says the chumby is:

chumby takes your favorite parts of the internet and delivers them to you in a friendly, always-on, always-fresh format. It’s is a window into your internet life that lives outside your desktop, so content like weather, news, celebrity gossip, podcasts, music, and more has a place to play away from your world of documents and spreadsheets. Just plug in your chumby, connect to your wireless network, and use your computer to create a lineup of favorites from over 1,500 apps in more than 30 categories, with new ones arriving all the time. Then let your chumby do its thing — streaming everything you like, from sports scores to stock quotes, from video clips to interactive games, from photos to trivia.” –

What does the chumby do?  It does everything.  What you need to explain here is why someone needs it.  Which means it needs to do something specific.

The good folks at chumby identify some different places for the Chumby to go:


<li>in the kitchen</li> <li>on your nightstand</li> <li>on your desk</li> </ul>

I’m going to put mine in my bathroom.

(While writing this post, I ordered one.  It’s irresistible.  The guys at Gizmodo feel the same way.  )

What I Think chumby Should Do

(This is merely my opinion.)

Chumby has suggested three use cases.  Thinking of Sean Ellis’ ideas about finding product-market fit, I would multivariate test these on the website.  (In case you’re curious, chumby gets a whole ton of traffic.) Maybe try landing pages with “chumby: the internet clock radio,” “chumby: the computer for your kitchen counter,” or “chumby: widgets for your physical desktop.”  You could also do Google AdWords for these, and see what kind of response you got.

This test should give you an idea of what people would find the most compelling application for our internet bean-bag friend.

Then, you find some of the very best applications you can around this space.  If you have to pay to get them made, pay for it, but make sure they’re beautiful.  Bundle them, and have them install in one touch on set-up.

Now, you suddenly have a whole product that does something people want.  And you have beautiful applications that you can show off.  So go get the word out.

(In the unlikely event the good folks at chumby take my advice, I would be overjoyed if they sent me a chumby. Hint hint.)


How can platforms find applications?  Leave a comment below.

the cliche apple tablet post: three contrarian predictions about the apple tablet

January 25, 2010

This post (and many other much better posts) is now at

Go read it at, and remember to update your bookmarks!

how uses customer development

January 24, 2010 is one of the great enterprise software companies of our time. It’s one of my favorite companies – I love the product, the philosophy, and the philanthropy model.

Because I was so impressed with the company, I ordered Behind the Cloud as soon as I could.

I eagerly tore the book out of the Amazon box and devoured it, reading all of Marc Benioff‘s 111 business plays.  It’s consistently great advice from one of great Founder/CEOs of our time.

As with most start-ups, started with a vision – a web-based CRM application, available inexpensively.

As with most successful start-ups, also modified their vision according to customer feedback – both qualitative – gathered by talking to their customers, and quantitative – from web analytics on all accounts.

How Iterates on Customer Feedback

-Get a product out there and get people using it.

-Gather qualitative feedback from individual customers and quantitative feedback from the wisdom of crowds

-If you’re trying to move up/down market, spend time with the customers you want to understand your needs.

-Iterate on your service, being careful to add the minimal amount of features possible.

Marc Benioff on Customer Development

From ‘Behind the Cloud’

From the very beginning, we initiated a dialogue with these users about what was missing in the Sales Force Automation (SFA) application.  Salespeople routinely asked prospects about features they wanted and relayed their feedback to the product managers.  We queried prospects on why they decided not to go with us, and we spent time with large enterprises – customers that we weren’t initially able to serve – to learn what additionally functionality was required to make them consider our service.  We heard about missing features, such as the ability to track multiple products or a way to manage price lists.  We might have thought of these on our own, or we might not have, but we certainly wouldn’t have known which were in the greatest demand.

Thanks to our “no software” model, we have another way to listen to customer response.  The on-demand architecture offers us the opportunity to “watch” how users use the application.  We don’t do this in a Big Brother way, where we can see data or information about a company.  Rather, the system simply counts broad patterns anonymously and notifies us if there are issues.  These insights into how users are using our service allow us to learn about what they use and what they don’t.

As we evolved our service in response to customer’s needs, we faced the risk of changing our service too much – and making it so specific that it couldn’t commonly serve all customers.  If we wanted to continue to have mass appeal, we needed to apply changes with a broad brush.


Do you use the wisdom of crowds or interviews for customer development?  Which one works better?  Leave a comment…

grattisfaction now uses amazon associates

January 24, 2010

I need better analytics on this blog, so I can make it better for readers. “Time on Site” and “Bounce Rate” would really help.

Grattisfaction also needs a custom template. Maybe even a color or two. How about some stock photography?

And it needs, maybe most importantly, a custom domain. Because “” or “” is so much easier than

Unfortunately, all of those things cost money.

This is why Grattisfaction will be using Amazon Associates affiliate links to the books and technology products I recommend. The effect will be minimal – you may not even notice it – but it will enable Grattisfaction to become a better website.

I will only affiliate link products I use and recommend to others. And I will share my Amazon Affiliate results with everyone that reads this blog.