2012 was a big year for us. We did some great work, made some awesome innovations and made great headway towards profitability but I must confess, we also did a lot of dumb shit too. We learned a lot, yelled a lot, played a lot of table tennis and by the end of the year proved to ourselves and to a lot of others that BugHerd isn’t “just another &$^%ing bug tracker”.
We now have over 16 thousand users and we’re now adding a 1500 more every month. With some big users pushing our app to the limits, we’re starting to see issues of scale, and have already had to crank up our hosting, DNS and Pusher accounts to cater with the demand. We’re spending a lot more time optimising for large teams and projects, and ensuring the app performs well under the increasing load we see every week. It’s tough work, but these are exciting problems to have.
The feedback from you, our users, has been nothing short of amazing. Never in our dreams did we think we’d be able to solve such a wide array of problems for so many people. When we started building BugHerd, we knew we wanted to solve a communication problem, not a bug tracking problem. To a large extent I think we’ve achieved that, but we know we still have a long way to go. Through it all, it’s been encouraging to consistently hear such positive feedback from our customers; so, thank you!
Now let’s rewind a little to see how we got here…
On this day 12 months ago we announced our $550k funding round with Starfish VC and 500startups. Whilst it seemed like an obscene amount of money at the time, we now realise it’s just a drop in the ocean when it comes to building a large business. I couldn’t dream of ways to spend that kind of money a year ago, and yet once you start hiring staff and putting together a marketing budget, it’s amazing how quickly it adds up. We still have plenty in the tank fortunately, but it just goes to show how important a decent budget is, even for a startup! People often think of tech startups as having low capital requirements, which is true, but that quickly goes out the window once you start growing your team. Whilst we’re still focused on staying lean and agile, it’s hard to ensure that we keep within our budget. The biggest risk to any startup is running out of money, and that’s something that we’d still really like to avoid!
In the 12 months since that day, we’ve released a new version of our BugHerd widget with new team focused workflow, a completely new admin system with Kanban board, triage and archive, we’ve released browser extensions with screenshot capabilities, we launched
our public feedback system to allow our users to get feedback from anonymous users and we’ve also spent a mountain of time tweaking and tuning and adjusted a million other things in response to your feedback, all the while providing consistently awesome support to our entire user base (we still have a 100% positive satisfaction rating in Zendesk!).
More broadly, we’re starting to see a lot of people coming around to our way of thinking. Not just our supporters, but our competition. Over the past year or so we’ve seen several other companies “inspired” by what we’re doing… including one of the largest bug trackers around (not naming names). Bug trackers traditionally are too complex and are only intended for the engineering team. When you’re working for clients and end users, most of your bug reports come from these non-technical users. As customer driven development and strategies like “the lean startup” fast become the norm, traditional bug trackers are just as quickly becoming obsolete. We’re starting to see the first of a new bread of competitors crop up in this new “customer facing bug tracker” market that we helped create. Customer support is no longer distinct from bug tracking, feedback systems or project management, as the entire process is focused on delivering technical solutions to non-technical users. The ability to seamlessly integrate feedback from a client or end user into your development process is fast becoming standard practice, thanks in part to our new way of looking at bug tracking.
But there is still more to do. We need to streamline our feedback tool, we need to improve the cross platform support of our widgets and we need to get better at expressing our vision for our invention, this customer facing bug tracker. These are challenges that we look forward to in the coming year, and I sincerely hope you’ll help us deliver on this vision. Your support, whether as a paying customer or as a vocal supporter, is appreciated more than you can possibly know. So, once again, thank you!
Finally, as this is the first newsletter we’ve sent in 6 months (yeah ok, we’ve been a wee but busy!), here is a round up of a few of the big ticket items we’ve released since July.