Well, it’s Thanksgiving week in Michigan, and I think we’re all pretty thankful that we have jobs – way too many people around here don’t. As well as that people are still buying our software, that we’re still winning awards (we just won 3 Best Software Awards from Smartphone and Pocket PC Magazine, announced today), that the guy who broke in a few weeks ago only took the one laptop, and that our offices aren’t freezing all the time (unlike the last two). And for the internet, which made this all possible, and which has given us all so many new and improved ways to goof off. And of course for our customers, friends and supporters in the mobile world. We couldn’t have made it without you.
Our Company & Staff
Order Like a Pirate
Avast me hearties! As many of you lads and lasses know, today is International Talk Like A Pirate Day! And by Blackbeard’s braids, ya can’t be a pirate without the lure of treasure!
SO, today (and today only) call your order in by phone and get a 50% discount on any of our titles IF you order like a pirate! That’s right ya bunch a scallywags. Half-off just fer talkin’ like a pirate!
And don’t dilly dally ya bunch a layabouts! We set sail at 5:00 Eastern Time (I think that’s -4 GMT countin’ daylight savings), so the discount’s only available until then. And don’t go thinkin’ a piratey note in an online order will do it. Phone orders only!
What a Mess!
You may have seen my other post with a pic of how many PDAs there are on my desk. Well, there are still a lot of PDAs on my desk, and with all the support email and testing I do, it’s just hard to keep it clean:
I’ve been trying to solve this problem for a while, and it’s compounded by a few things.
- I need a lot of USB ports.
- I need a lot of electrical sockets.
- I need to be able to have people come and take devices away and bring them back.
- I need it to be easy to use without getting in my way.
After a lot of finagling and a trip to the office supply store, I solved my problem with a box cutter, a mailing tube, and some shipping tape. (Why does this sound like the way MacGyver foils some enemy contraption?)
Now, if only someone could tell me where I could get a 10 port USB hub…
More and More … it’s about Support
I’m in process of switching away from a program I’ve liked for many years. I’ve been thinking about it for a while, but a bad support experience was what pushed me off the fence. The support people weren’t rude, or even hard to reach; they just didn’t know the answer to my question, said they’d find out and get back to me, and never did.
More and more, I’m basing my buying decisions on support. I dropped Vonage for VOIP because their support was clearly outsourced and had no idea what they were doing. I don’t mind outsourced, but I do mind not giving support people enough information to answer questions, or enough authority to solve problems. I’ll never buy anything from Dell again for the same reason. Their PCs are fine, their prices can’t be beat, but their customer service people can’t fix a problem, and can’t even escalate it to someone who can.
For software – I have to be able to get support. I depend way too much on software working to put up with no reply to my email messages, no followup on problems, or no way to know my message has even been received. My work, my personal info, my conversations: I depend on software, and on the safety net of knowing I can get help if I need it. I won’t buy a bad product with good support, but there’s a lot of good software in the world. I won’t – and don’t have to – settle for anything but good support.
We do phone support here – tollfree in the U.S. – and while it’s one of our biggest expenses, there’s no way we’ll drop it. Yes, it takes more time to talk to someone on the phone than to email them, but when someone needs help, we want to provide it, whatever it takes. And email is not always the best way to communicate, or even always a reliable way. No matter how good our email sending is, if someone can’t receive it, the communication doesn’t happen.
I’m proud of a number of things we’ve accomplished in the last 10 years, and high on the list is the killer support we provide. I’ve heard some of the conversations, and I’m always impressed. If every company – software or otherwise – had as good support as we do, things would be a lot easier for everyone. And I think that many, many people – the people who actually use, need and call the support lines – would be a lot less stressed and angry so much of the time.
We’ve Made It – 10 Years!!
I can’t believe it – Ilium Software has been in business 10 years.
We’ve grown to 9 fulltime (or close) employees.
We’ve released 12 products, discontinued 5, and converted 2 to freeware. We also have 8 currently supported free titles.
We’ve rented 4 different offices, as our space requirements changed, or needs of the people renting us space changed.
We’ve used 6 different web hosting companies, 5 different merchant services (credit card) providers, plus at least 39 different distributors (in our database, 9 are flagged as “gone”, 11 as “discontinued”, one as “should be gone” and one as “don’t ask”. I’m not sure why, but I’d bet it was me who wrote that).
We’ve somehow survived any number of stupid mistakes, made a few brilliant decisions, and had a lot of good luck and help from our friends.
Thanks to everyone who helped make this amazing milestone possible.
Of Course We’re Celebrating
Here we are, celebrating:
OK, not really. The party is next week. But I made everyone put on a hat and pose for the picture so I could use it in this post.
Check out our home page for Julie’s fabulous falling hat show.