by Michael Hollauf

The Story of MindMeister

why we think the usability is the key!
(ab)using viral marketing
some other experiences and observations

MindMeister

collaborative web-based mind mapping tool
based in RoR & Ajax
it’s like Google docs, but for mind maps!

History

2006 idea
2007 Private Beta (fev)
Live (1/2months after private)

Background

Our past

8y in IT
quit to startup a company

Drivers for change

liked web2.0
RoR 2005
Free resources in company (put them on pet projects!)

The idea

using google docs and mindmanager

The Plan

create a web-based mind mapping tool

based in HTML/CSS/JS/… all browser based technologies

focus on

simple and intuitive interface
fewer features, no learning required
appealing design

UI design

very unique, non business like interface

The name

it should be
unique
memorable
innovative
in the end it doesn’t matter most…
took them about an year to decide

Private Beta Test

two launches
“private” make it exclusive
you get lots of feedback from the first round
newsletter

tips
invite everyone you know (200+)
add an invitation button/code
no longer than 2 months
upgrade offer at the end of the private

Prized Company

best user centered design company 2007

user numbers

at the moment 30000 users
the conversion rate isn’t what’s supposed to be…

Site Scores

on top rated german based sites
google page-rank: 6

Design & Usability

lessons learned
the differentiator for MM
every euro spent on design was an euro well spend
less is so much more
prototype a lot!
iterate a lot!

recommendations
get a great designer on board
target non-technical users
watch every apple demo! :O

Marketing

do’s
write to bloggers
post sit to app portals
create an API
write regular newsletter & blog posts
“add to de.icio.us/digg” button
spend time and money on SEO
be generous with premium accounts

dont’s
comment spam
pay for placement and ads
give premium accounts to everyone

Other experiences

business model
don’t start charging before it REALLY stable
carefully select premium features
spread the word features
business use features
think of students et all