Before twitter was a huge IPO success, they were a tech startup with a good idea and limited resources. And like a lot of tech startups, they had some failures, made most popular by the twitter fail whale.
At some point in every software startup's life, there are inflection points where you realize that instead of just innovating, you need to actually spend time on infrastructure, to ensure that the innovations you've already built still work - and work so that customers who pay you - can still do what they want to do with your software. For B2B SaaS software like MODsolar, this is even more critical, because people rely on it to do their jobs.
This weekend MODsolar completed the migration to its third iteration of its server architecture. If you're a user of MODsolar, you probably didn't even notice - it happened overnight from Saturday to Sunday, and took only 3 hours out of a planned 6 hour outage window. So while the conclusion was quiet, the beginnings were not so much.
It's probably no surprise to you that we watch the numbers coming out of the Platform quite closely. We know how many of you there are, the number of proposals you generated, how much they are worth, and lots of other numbers (of course, we look at this information anonymously and never share it - your license agreement ensures that). We previously had some of this information on our website - and it will be back, now that we've completed this migration.
In June, we look at the numbers and saw something odd - growth in both the number of users and the number of proposals generated was increasing sharply month over month. And while user growth was relatively steady, though still accelerating, proposal growth was exploding. In 2013, we will almost triple the number of users on the Platform, and we will quintuple (400% Y/Y growth) the number of proposals generated on a weekly basis. More people were using it, and their use of it was more intense.
[insert george's chart without the numbers showing]
Additionally, MODsolar as a company had gotten to the point where we were producing new features on the Platform at times, almost weekly. So, not only was the velocity of use on the Platform increasing rapidly, but the velocity of change and improvement to the Platform was also accelerating due to our bigger size (read: more developers).
Make no mistake - WE LOVE THIS! This means that we've created a product for you that you love to use and you've made an essential part of your day. We are grateful that you are with us, and we are passionate about building new things that will make it even easy to do your jobs - selling & building solar.
Knowing that it was not in our DNA to stop innovating, and seeing these trends, in early July, Kevin and I sat down and went through a wish-list of infrastructure and foundational improvements that would set us up for success for the next two years. We setup a few immediate infrastructure milestones along the way, with some things being done in the background, and others not. While we moved as quickly as possible to make these improvements, growth outstripped the current infrastructure's ability to handle it, and we experienced instability and slowness of the Platform in August, September, and October.
But we knew we had to work through this period and continue to execute on the Plan we put in place. In October, we completed our first infrastructure milestone, and early this morning, we completed our second. There is one more milestone left on the hardware side, which we expect to be completed in the next few months.
On the software side, we have a number of improvements planned that will continue to bring stability to the Platform but at the same time allow us to continue our pace of rapid improvements and innovation. Finally, we are going to look at the slowest transactions on the Platform, and get specific about improving them to keep you moving swiftly through your tasks on a daily basis. Make no mistake: we are committed to innovating the product, but also to achieving that innovation while we make the underlying technology stronger.
We recognize that MODsolar is here because we have a great product that you want to use, and you find valuable. But if you can't use it because it's down, slow, or gives off too many errors, then it's our job as your software provider to fix these things, so that you can concentrate on selling & installing solar, instead of worrying about your software, and helping to move our industry, and our society, forward into a sustainable solution.
Please reach out to us at any time with any questions or requests you may have, we love your feedback!