Category Archives: Our Company & Staff

Meet the people on the other end of the phone (or the email).

Does iPhone User = Mac User?

There is a perception out there that iPhone users are Mac users. Now before I say more, let me make it clear right now that this is NOT a “Which OS is best?” article. From a business perspective, the quality of the OS doesn’t matter to me as much as how many users of a particular OS are out there, and whether they will buy our software. I PREFER a high-quality OS because of the cool stuff we can do with it, but in the end its about which OS will pay the bills.

O.K., Disclaimer complete!

I’m still looking for a solid study on this, but from everything I’ve seen so far (based largely on our own sales information) it just isn’t true that iPhone User = Mac User. I think part of the reason for this is that according to one estimate, the total number of Mac users in the world (adjusting for recent increases in market share) is around 22,750,000. This doesn’t adjust down for the number of these Macs that are sitting on desks in computer labs of schools. So the number is probably lower. We’ll go with it though.

The total number of iPhones expected to be sold by end of this year is at least 14,000,000. This doesn’t account for the fact that a lot of the 3G sales were 1st gen users replacing their old phones. Still, like the 22m number, we’ll go with it.

So, what is a reasonable estimate for the number of Mac users who are buying iPhones? 20%? I’m betting this is high, based on what I know about smartphone ownership in general, but let’s go with this as a conservative number. I say conservative because 20% is 2 to 3 times the marketshare (depending on the estimate you use) of Mac in the computing market. So with 20% adoption rate I’m suggesting that Mac users are 3X more likely to buy an iPhone than a Windows user.

So, even at 20% adoption rate among Mac owners, this means that only 4.5 million of the 14 million iPhone users have Macs. That means that twice as many iPhone users have PCs. Throw in the fact that we also have a VERY big Windows Mobile market, and you can see why Windows has to be our first priority. To put it simply, Windows iPhone users are (at the moment) still where the money is.

At the same time, we absolutely see the value of Mac as a platform for our products. (I just saw a new build of eWallet for Mac the other day and it’s really coming along.) The reality though is that Mac isn’t a “core” platform yet. It falls into the “emerging” category. Of course as you all know, we don’t ignore emerging markets. Where you go, we go. It’s just that most folks aren’t there yet.

I hope that this article will help folks who say “Seriously, dude. Why on Earth do you have an iPhone version but no Mac version?” to better understand the numbers behind our decision making process.

The Ilium Software Advisory Board – YOU!

I just wanted to take a moment to reinforce how much we appreciate all the input we’ve received from all of you. Even if we aren’t able to add something that you’ve been waiting for, much of what we do here is based directly on customer feedback. From features, to fixes, to new applications, we always look to what our customers tell us as we go to make decisions.

Does this mean that we can always do the things you ask for? Unfortunately no, if for no other reason than that for every person who asks for Feature A there is a person asking for Feature B, and at some point we have to make a choice. At the same time, we never take requests or comments lightly, even if it only comes from one person.

So thank you again for all of your feedback, and absolutely keep it coming. And over the coming week, expect to see some posts where we specifically ask you for your input on some of the challenges we’re facing!

My Release Philosophy

I know everyone is waiting with bated breath for the release of the sync component for iPhone. I’ve heard the grumbling and I don’t blame people for being impatient. And what I talk about here isn’t meant to make you feel happy or wash away frustrations. I just want to address these concerns, especially for folks new to dealing with Ilium Software, so you understand the way we do things.

I’m also writing this because when we first created this blog, we told you that we’d give you a little insight into what happens behind the scenes at Ilium Software. The things I talk about here really highlight the sort of decisions and challenges we face everyday. So if you’re interested, read on after the jump! Continue reading

R.I.P.: Ilium Software email server

So here we are, fielding hundreds and hundreds of email questions, desktop software requests, and much more, and guess what happens?

The email server dies.

Again.

OK, to be fair it didn’t die on Monday. It just went down for awhile which put us behind on our email responses. Today, however, the thing finally went belly up. Although we didn’t lose any emails

UPDATE: It looks like we COULD have lost some emails if they came in between 12AM ET and 8AM ET. If you think you may have emailed us during that period you might want to resend!

We are working hard to get replies out to everyone in a timely fashion. Fortunately, the trouble on Monday got us moving in the “Get a replacement, STAT!” direction, so recovery won’t be too bad.

The bad part is that email replies will likely be slower than usual, and we’re very sorry about that. We pride ourselves on quick email turn-around, and this is just the sort of thing that makes us crazy. We’re even bringing in a temp to help get things rolling again, so hopefully we’ll get to everyone before the weekend!

In the meantime, if you haven’t heard from us yet, at least you know why. And if it’s an emergency, remember that you can always give us a call!

Everyone Looks Better in a Hat

I’m convinced that everyone looks better in a hat. Not these hats, however.

We had so much fun with our earlier caption contests (here and here), that we can’t resist having another one. But rather than trying to caption yet another picture of the 9 of us standing outside our building, you get to caption a few of us as individuals. And to make it really easy, we’re wearing hats, wigs or masks.

Just send us a caption for any of the photos below (with some indication of which photo you’re captioning) for your chance to win today’s prizes. As before, send your entries as replies to this post, and enter as many times as you like. The winners will be selected and announced tomorrow.



Click on any photo to enlarge it

This is the second contest in our week-long 11 year anniversary celebration. We’ll give away one $121 Amazon gift certificate for the best and funniest entry, and runner-up prizes of a complete package of our software and swag to many others. Enter as many times as you like, by sending your entries as a replies to this post. Employees and friends of Ilium Software aren’t eligible to win the prizes, but are welcome (and encouraged) to participate anyway. Today’s contest closes at 9:00 a.m. eastern time tomorrow morning.

We’re 11 Years Old!

Today is our 11 year anniversary! Yes, we’ve been making and selling mobile and desktop software for 11 years. We’ll be celebrating it all this week, and you get the presents!

Every day this week, we’ll have a contest. Of course we’ll have copies of our software as prizes, but since we know that many of the people who read this have most of our software already, we’ll also be giving away one or more $121 Amazon gift cards (that’s 11 times 11), each day. So check back daily – we’ll have entertaining reading and fun prizes.

And because we never have a celebration without a sale, every day this week, you can get 55% off any of our software. Just visit www.iliumsoft.com/elevenyears to start shopping - you’ll see the discount in your cart when you’re ready to checkout.

Today’s contest follows. But first, I want to thank everyone who’s been so very helpful and supportive of us over the last 11 years. We couldn’t have done it without you! I’m not going to make a list – I started to, but it was a very long list, and I got worried about inadvertently leaving someone off. But – you know who you are. Reviewers and writers, beta testers and customers, friends, supporters, partners, people who send us suggestions, information and kind words. We really could not have done it without you. Many, many, many thanks to everyone.

Now, let’s start the celebration! You’ll find the first contest here.

Dangerous Marketing

Marketing is a tricky business, and one wrong move can set you back twice as far as a good campaign can move you forward. We recently posted an article entitled “Windows has left the building!”, talking about an ill-conceived marketing tag-line that appeared at the Microsoft website. The reason this caught our eye wasn’t just a chance to laugh at Microsoft. We happen to like Microsoft a LOT over here at Ilium Software. Instead, it was a chance to see how even a company like Microsoft, with all of its resources, can miss something simple and end up hurt by it.

First impressions are a huge part of marketing. It isn’t about what the customer thinks after they’ve taken time to dig into your message and really understand it. The sad reality is that most customers never bother. Rather, it is the immediate, visceral response your message generates.

Using the “Windows has left the building!” tag-line as an example, the phrase is (obviously for many folks) based off the famous “Elvis has left the building!” line. Using a well known and familiar line and tweaking it is a great way to strike a familiar chord in your audience. Unfortunately, the original line was about the King leaving the stage. The show was over. Everyone could go home. It wasn’t about Elvis hitting the street to do a show for the crowd out there. He was done. Finis.

So, when Microsoft uses this line they are accidentally saying, “Show’s over folks! The King is done and has left the stage!” Someone at the Microsoft PR firm deserves a swift kick for this snafu. I mean yeah, when you think it through you can figure out what they mean, but unfortunately by then it is too late. They’ve made their impression.

I’ll leave you with a great, simple example of this that I learned in a fantastic marketing class at University of Michigan. A professor said, “Unless you are an exterminator, never get a flyswatter with your company name on it. Having your product directly associated with bug guts does not create a positive impression in the minds of the customer.”

Marc on TV

WDIV, our local NBC station, stopped by Wednesday and interviewed Marc about eWallet. We were all pretty excited to see him – and our software – on the evening news!

You can see it here; the video link is right under the photo.

The emphasis on the iPhone is theirs – Marc showed versions of several devices, and they picked which parts to use (in the car, going back to Detroit, apparently. I’m impressed).

Anyway, check it out; Marc looks and sounds very professional. I guess all those years of voice training paid off.

Finally Fashionable

simplyher.jpgMarc just forwarded me an email with some scans from Simply Her magazine, a womens/fashion magazine based in Singapore, that mentioned eWallet! We’re all pretty excited to be in a fashion magazine, especially given some of the comments on our wardrobe choices posted in response to our group photo a few years ago (yes, I know, we did ask for them).

Anyway, the April issue isn’t on their site yet, but I’m hoping the eWallet mention is included when it is. And I’ll definitely looking for a copy of the magazine in our local B+N and Borders.

Many thanks, Shane, for letting us know about this!

“Smart” Systems

smartcomp.jpgPeople are always talking about “smart” systems. These are automated systems that are meant to make a company more efficient, drive sales, and provide a great customer experience. Often, and unfortunately, the implementation of these systems goes hand in hand with cutting back on the role of real people in the process. Time and again, these “smart” systems prove incredibly stupid.

This whole issue is particularly important to us right now, because we’re working on some “smart” systems of our own. Where are they a good thing and where are they a pain? How do you use them in a way that really does make life better rather than more complicated? Read on for my thoughts and a chance to voice your own opinion!

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