(Note: Things are starting to get real, which means that after this post, I am going to shift the content here from meandering techno-navel gazing to much more of a release-notes-kinda vibe. Navel-gazing will continue unabated in the newsletter, so sign up if you’re into that.)
What’s Been Happening?
It feels like a million years ago, but in reality, the Resolution Kickstarter project just ended in early October, after 30 days. Even though we didn’t end up with an influx of money from the campaign, we found some volunteers to do UX testing on and spent a few weeks trying to figure out what was needed to make Resolution 1.0 commercially successful.
The results weren’t shocking, but they were pretty interesting. There were lots of little things to tweak, and a few big things we weren’t ready to tackle. But above all, we learned that people felt most comfortable learning about Resolution when they had the ability to work with (and tweak) an existing model.
While we always knew this would be a useful way to use Resolution, having user confirmation of just how important this was made it clear we would need to bake working with shared models into the fundamental experience of the application. (More on that in the Sharing Models section, below.)
Long story short, we had enough time and money for one more major — albeit limited — development phase. After a bit of planning, we started that work on December 12th, and we’ll be finished in another month or so. By the end of that time, we should be extremely close (or, if we’re lucky, actually ready) to open up Resolution to the general public.
General Availability, a.k.a, “CAN I HAVE IT?”
One of the things I had to decide after the Kickstarter was whether to do an official beta release, especially since many of the project backers had reached out about participating in one. Even though none of you ended up having to pay me any money, I definitely appreciated the support, and thought about opening up to beta users for that reason alone.
Ultimately, the UX research is what pushed me away from doing a formal beta. While Resolution at that point was very functional, it was pretty difficult to use and to be honest, we knew exactly why. We didn’t really need a lot of additional user feedback, we just needed to build and improve some stuff that didn’t work yet. Given that Resolution has just one official employee (me!), it didn’t seem like the best use of “company time” to manage a beta program with a product that probably wasn’t really ready for it yet, when I could be focused on improving said product instead.
So that’s why it’s been quiet since October. The good news is, we ARE on track to have a much improved version of Resolution available in February 2023, which you actually WILL be able to figure out thanks to new-user onboarding, a bunch of UX/UI work, and a fundamental change to how you get started with the application.
It’s enough to get you hyped all over again!
Oh yeah, and then there’s that “price” thing…
One of the biggest differences, for better or worse, between Resolution and a lot of cool internet things is that Resolution does not have institutional investment, and is not seeking it. Will that change? Maybe! But… probably not. Right now, I would rather take investment than give up on Resolution this early, but that’s about it.
Being self-funded is awesome in a lot of ways. But… it’s also not sustainable without customers or some kind of unexpected cash windfall. That’s why a big part of this initial, official release of Resolution is making the application something worth paying for (as well as something that you literally, logistically CAN pay for, but that part works now — thanks Stripe!).
While there are lots of ways to make extremely valuable software, most of them take time and money that I don’t have, so instead, my goal is to make Resolution something that is definitely worth paying a relatively small amount of money, and then to only charge that.
So here’s the first truly big announcement: anyone is going to be able to waltz into Resolution and build a model not just for free, but without even making a Resolution account. You just come to the site, and start building.
If you decide you want to save your model for later, you can make a free account from right there in your model. There are no limitations on that account other than the fact that you can only save two models. If you want to save more (and you probably will), you should upgrade to a paid account, which will allow you to make and save as many as you want.
For launch, paid accounts will be pretty cheap — somewhere between $60 and $120 a year.
This brings us to the reason why I think a lot of people will enjoy saving a lot of models, which is… they are going to be shareable with anyone, including the general internet public, if you’d like.
That’s right! For the initial release of Resolution, we are including the ability to create a public link for any of your models, which anyone can look at and even plug their own numbers into. Changes people make will not affect your model. Instead, if someone either wants to save their version of a shared model, or alter the structure of it (beyond just plugging numbers in), they’ll need to create an account and use up one of their two free model slots to save a copy.
If you already have a free account, and an open model slot, you can do the same thing with any shareable model URL you receive — it’ll just add a copy of the model to your account. And if you have a paid account, you can add models to your account left and right from all corners of the Resolution community.
I am really, really excited about being able to make the benefits of Resolution (and the knowledge it often unlocks) so available to so many people, without relying on a big pile of venture capital that will inevitably run out. And I’m just as excited about how valuable this kind of thing will be for consultants, small businesses, entrepreneurs, and other people who can build amazing things and make them visible and interactive for their clients/co-workers/friends, etc.
It’s just really cool! And while there will surely be bumps in the road, this is the kind of thing that can be the foundation of a sustainable, long-term business that can slowly but surely add the amazing, next-generation stuff I’ve always dreamed of doing with Resolution.
Website & What’s Next?
Hopefully everyone on this initial email is excited to, at the very least, kick the tires on this first general release of Resolution. Some of you might even find that you want paid accounts! But either way, if you want to learn more or refer Resolution to a friend, check out the now generally stable and minimally copy-edited https://www.resolution.biz (where you currently are). You’ll find:
- Example Models
- Walkthrough Videos
- Feature and Concept explanations
- Long, rambling blog posts
- … and more!
Even better, as soon as shareable models are up and running, all the examples I post there will go straight to a working URL where you can play with each one, or make a copy to put in your own account.
And… that’s that. Happy holidays, and here’s to a great 2023!