Bulletin № 34

This year-end bulletin will be a little different. I hope this look forward is interesting.

Sometimes it blows my mind that I made Kinopio, and it works, and that people use it everyday. As glass-blowers, pottery-makers, wood-workers, and farmers already know, it's life-affirming to sell something you created with your own hands to someone else.

That said, "I've built a lot and I'm super tired" is the only real feeling in my head right now. But I'll push myself just a little bit farther and tell you about the paralyzing fork in the road that I find myself at.

One possible path forward is towards the potentially more profitable B2B needs of small teams. Although I didn't design Kinopio primarily for work, I've noticed that the most use happens during work hours. The use cases here are taking notes, planning, and collaborating. A couple of people have asked about team plans where many people can easily share team spaces and be billed together.

This biz path prioritizes features like Lists, and other collaborative workflow features. But going too far, too fast, down this road risks compromising the cool parts of Kinopio for everyone else.

The second path focuses on the consumer-side that's starting to work, with more writing, memorable marketing, and great documentation. You'll see more community and personalization features like user pages, frames, and physical swag/stickers.

The choice is paralyzing.

Fortunately there's another path forward. obscured by brambles, snaking right between the two extremes. The fork isn't completely divergent and there's a lot of overlap between them.

Now that we've firmly arrived in metaphor town, lets stop by the local coffee shop:

Most people are here to buy coffee, one small cup at a time – kind of like a subscription. A much smaller group of people love coffee but prefer to pay more for a large bag of beans that they can brew on their own terms – kind of like the lifetime plan added this year.

But most coffee shops don't stop there. They also sell pastries, sandwiches, and sweaters. Critically, adding these to the menu doesn't make the coffee worse.

Similarly, I believe that there's room to make Kinopio appeal to different markets, like teams, without compromising the qualities of the core product.

Stretching this analogy till it snaps, over the last 4~ years, the beans have been planted and grown, and the cafe building has been constructed plank by plank, chair by chair. I'm behind the counter now and it's immensely rewarding seeing new faces come in.

Some will become regulars and stay for years, some will visit once in a blue moon, some will peek in and immediately turn around.

But all are welcome.