This is a very inspirational guest post from Ameet Shah. Ameet is the founder of Conigent, a service based company. In this guest post Ameet shares with us his story of how he turned his first product based company to a wild success based on what he learned from Business of Software 2011.
Thanks for sharing such an inspirational story with us, Ameet!
Throughout my career, I got to work on some great projects with some really smart people. But it always frustrated me to have exciting software ideas, but not have the software development knowledge to implement them myself… especially as I saw plenty of other people moving ahead with them. So I would look for a “perfect” technology partner to work with, but let’s face it, no developers worth their salt want a “partnership” where they do all of the work while someone else “comes up with ideas.”
In 2011, things changed for me.
A friend of mine suggested that I attend BoS 2011. The conference itself was absolutely amazing! At the same time, I felt a bit out of place. It seemed like I was the only person there without a product of their own. For the last five years, I have been running a services company (Conigent), but I still lacked software development experience. On the plane ride home, I promised myself that I was going to figure out a way to make a software product. I really wanted to know what it was like to turn an idea into a product!
About a month before the conference, I had started doing CrossFit workouts, and I absolutely loved them. There are various applications out there to track performance, but none of the ones I had used were very good. After some thought, I decided that I could do better, and committed myself to making a great CrossFit performance tracking application, regardless of profit or loss, just to feel what the other BoS attendees were talking about.
I started to take a look at how other folks made software, and I got my start at the end of the year, spending the time between Christmas and New Year’s Eve mocking up what was to become Wodify in Balsamiq. But Balsamiq mockups are easy to make in comparison to actually developing and marketing an application. I looked around at the software development systems out there, and settled on OutSystem’s Agile Platform. While it was not free or even inexpensive, and it was really aimed at enterprise development environments, it had something I couldn’t find elsewhere: it gave someone like me the ability to get an application off the ground. The system is just a completely different, unique development environment that allows technical people who are not developers to get some work done, and experienced developers to work much better. At the end of January, I took the top-flight training class from OutSystems, and less than a month later Wodify was live at a beta site in New Jersey.
The next few months flew by… in the second week or March the mobile app was ready, and before the end of March we had demo’ed a feature complete, branded version at the CrossFit Northeast Regionals at the Reebok HQ. In early June, Reebok got in touch with us and we did a demo at CrossFit One, a CrossFit gym that world class athletes go to. Reebok showed great interest in working closely together with us on Wodify. By mid-July, we took Wodify on the road to have a booth at the CrossFit Games, the annual global event. As of now, we have nearly 300 CrossFit gyms (out of the 4,000 across the globe) in our sales pipeline and have hired an elite athlete to be a product evangelist. Reebok is getting ready go to live with Wodify in about three weeks, and from there we will find out how we can partner with Reebok. Our target is for Wodify to see $5 million annually in SaaS revenue.
I went from not being able to program and working by myself to figure it out to having a viable product, a growing team, and booming opportunities. I started Wodify not expecting a profit and now it is on track to make more than I thought possible. Our customers love our product and report nearly 100% adoption by members where competing products do not get nearly that kind of use. are And best of all? Coming into BoS 2012, I am going to be showing up with the full team with a successful product this time around. There was no way that I could have come this far this quickly without BoS 2011 lighting a fire underneath me.
Next AMA: Alex Osterwalder, Author, Business Model Generation, 24th Jan 17.00 GMT.
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