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Andy Brice
Successful Software

Doug Nebeker ("Doug")

Jonathan Matthews
Creator of DeepTrawl, CloudTrawl, and LeapDoc

Nicholas Hebb
BreezeTree Software

Bob Walsh
host, Startup Success Podcast author of The Web Startup Success Guide and Micro-ISV: From Vision To Reality

Patrick McKenzie
Bingo Card Creator

My new product : Hyper Plan

I put out a beta of a new product today:

http://www.hyperplan.com

It is a lightweight planning tool. It is a bit different from anything else I have seen. I won't say too much more. See if you can work it out from the website.

It  is a proof and concept and *isn't* polished to commercial software standards. For example, there is no printing, no exporting and not much documentation. And there is plenty that could be improved in the UI. But I am trying to follow my own advice ( http://successfulsoftware.net/2007/08/07/if-you-arent-embarrassed-by-v10-you-didnt-release-it-early-enough/ ). No point in spending ages trying to polish something if turns out that nobody wants it. It seems to be pretty robust though.

It is currently not for sale. You can use it free and unrestricted until 17-Jan-15. I hope to release a commercial version before then, if there is enough demand.

Any feedback is welcome. Particularly from people trying to use it for a real planning task.

Inevitable question:
Q. Why is it a desktop app?
A. Because:
-I can build a desktop prototype much quicker
-differentiation (some people prefer desktop apps)
I might add SaaS and/or mobile versions later, if there is enough demand.
Andy Brice Send private email
Tuesday, October 21, 2014
 
 
It reminds me of Kanban Boards and Trello, which is good.

I wish the screenshot was higher resolution, or at least a link to a high-res version, as it is hard to read the options. After all, it says it is "visual".

Anyway, I wish you well with this and I hope you'll be able to differentiate sufficiently from Trello, which obviously overlaps.
Scorpio Send private email
Tuesday, October 21, 2014
 
 
>It reminds me of Kanban Boards and Trello, which is good.

It can certainly be used for Kanban. But the tasks can also be sliced in lots of different ways. So kanban would just be one potential view of the data.

>I wish the screenshot was higher resolution, or at least a link to a high-res version, as it is hard to read the options. After all, it says it is "visual".

Noted. The website was thrown together pretty quickly.

>Anyway, I wish you well with this and I hope you'll be able to differentiate sufficiently from Trello, which obviously overlaps.

Thanks. Trello has been mentioned a lot by people I have shown it to. There are some similarities, but a lot of differences as well. I see HyperPlan as more of a solo tool. Less about collaboration and more about visualization and planning.
Andy Brice Send private email
Tuesday, October 21, 2014
 
 
Should work very well as a companion product to Table Planner. People interested in one will quite likely be interested in the other.

Maybe it didn't make it into the video but I would suggest a drill down into the cards to pop up the details of the card rather than having the users attention taken to the side of the screen.

It should work very well as a touch interface. If you're looking at a specific niche to sell to do you have an idea of what type of device they would use for the expected purpose?

Nicely done.
Phil Curnan Send private email
Wednesday, October 22, 2014
 
 
+1 to Phil Curnan for touch interface suggestion. It'd be pretty compelling on an iPad.
Scorpio Send private email
Wednesday, October 22, 2014
 
 
>Should work very well as a companion product to Table Planner. People interested in one will quite likely be interested in the other.

That was one of the attractions of this market. I plan to cross promote it to PerfectTablePlan users (some of whom are pro event planners).

>Maybe it didn't make it into the video but I would suggest a drill down into the cards to pop up the details of the card rather than having the users attention taken to the side of the screen.

I have some ideas for that, including a nice animation effect. Currently I am just trying to find out if the whole concept has a market.

>It should work very well as a touch interface. If you're looking at a specific niche to sell to do you have an idea of what type of device they would use for the expected purpose?

It is written in Qt. Should I should be able to spin off a tablet version for iOS or Droid from the same source, if there is enough demand. Screen real estate might be an issue though. Also there is a lot not to like about app stores (prices for one).

>Nicely done.

Thanks!
Andy Brice Send private email
Wednesday, October 22, 2014
 
 
I agree with your blog post

I am always a fan of releasing the minimum
version I need to, collect meaningful data and
then update based on what I learned.

But if you are not getting a lot of user data,  you
won't know why it worked or didn't work.
What are you planning to do to track user actions
while using the app?

I think perpetual licenses are a bad practice.
If they find it useful enough to buy, they won't have
a problem at all with a 1 or 2 year license.
and then you can make them pay again.

There is definitely a market for stuff like this. 
Mindjet, Evernote, Visio already proved this

Your video was good.  You sound upbeat and did a
good job at demoing the product.
If you redo it, I would use 2 voices instead of one
I think a dialogue is easier to listen to than a monologue
(Did we have this conversation before?)
C. Stark Send private email
Wednesday, October 22, 2014
 
 
I don't have any suggestions yet but I want to say I LOVE IT, it is so cool and easy to use.

It reminds me a bit of Trello but I prefer that it comes up in its own window, whereas Trello comes up in my browser.  I'm always mildly annoyed while using web apps because I use Alt+Tab to jump between programs and that stops working once I have multiple tabs open for the web not to mention the button for them on my status bar looks the same as that for other web pages.

I am always looking for things to help me get organized and then failing to use them.  This has a lot of what I'm looking for though - simplicity, colors, different ways to sort, etc.  So we'll see if I can get myself to use it consistently.

I'll report back when I've had more experience with it.  So far - I think it is Most Excellent!
Emily Jones Send private email
Wednesday, October 22, 2014
 
 
Hi Andy. Looks nice, and I'll poke around more but I have a few non-business related questions about it, if I may:

Are the animation effects of rearranging the cards something that is built into a QT widget you use for the "grid", or did you add that to the widget, or is that just a custom display you wrote yourself? Snazzy effect. Same questions with the magnifying glass.

Also, you mention using Dropbox to sync your plan files. How does your program handle inevitable conflicted copies of the files? 

(Also, is that a non-regional English accent, or could a native place you at some particular region?)
Racky Send private email
Wednesday, October 22, 2014
 
 
Unless you change your subhead, I would be willing to bey you get a c&d from 3m once they discover your page.
S. Tanna Send private email
Thursday, October 23, 2014
 
 
>What are you planning to do to track user actions
while using the app?

It is harder with a desktop app than a web app. Currently I am just relying on feedback via email and forums. ;0)

>I think perpetual licenses are a bad practice.
If they find it useful enough to buy, they won't have
a problem at all with a 1 or 2 year license.
and then you can make them pay again.

I haven't decided the licensing model for definite yet. But permanent licences have worked pretty well for PerfectTablePlan. If I can add extra cool features, people will hopefully upgrade to new major versions. They may also be forced to upgrade, because Apple keep breaking stuff. ;0)

>Your video was good.  You sound upbeat and did a
good job at demoing the product.
If you redo it, I would use 2 voices instead of one
I think a dialogue is easier to listen to than a monologue
(Did we have this conversation before?)

The video is rather rough and ready (as are many other things at present). I would like to get it professionally re-made.
Andy Brice Send private email
Thursday, October 23, 2014
 
 
>I don't have any suggestions yet but I want to say I LOVE IT, it is so cool and easy to use.

Thanks! I think you'll either really like or really hate it, depending on whether its approach fits your mental model. The fact the 'cards' generate the layout dynamically might not suit some people.

>It reminds me a bit of Trello but I prefer that it comes up in its own window, whereas Trello comes up in my browser.  I'm always mildly annoyed while using web apps because I use Alt+Tab to jump between programs and that stops working once I have multiple tabs open for the web not to mention the button for them on my status bar looks the same as that for other web pages.

See the FAQ here:
http://successfulsoftware.net/2014/10/22/my-new-product-hyper-plan/

>I am always looking for things to help me get organized and then failing to use them.  This has a lot of what I'm looking for though - simplicity, colors, different ways to sort, etc.  So we'll see if I can get myself to use it consistently.

>I'll report back when I've had more experience with it.  So far - I think it is Most Excellent!

Thanks. I would be very interested to hear how you get on using it for a 'real' planning task. Bear in mind that it is still pretty unpolished.
Andy Brice Send private email
Thursday, October 23, 2014
 
 
>Are the animation effects of rearranging the cards something that is built into a QT widget you use for the "grid", or did you add that to the widget, or is that just a custom display you wrote yourself? Snazzy effect.

The cards display is based on the QtGraphicsScene class. I have lots of experience using that from PerfectTablePlan. I then used various Qt animation classes on top of that to get the animation effects.

>Same questions with the magnifying glass.

Pretty much copy and paste from PerfectTablePlan. ;0)

In turn that was based on bits of code I saw on a Qt blog somewhere (IIRC). It is pretty 'low level' using QPainter.

>Also, you mention using Dropbox to sync your plan files. How does your program handle inevitable conflicted copies of the files?

It doesn't at present.

PerfectTablePlan locks a file you have open. This forces DropBox to make a conflict duplicate if someone else has edited it at the same time. It is then up to the user to decide which file is the master.

>(Also, is that a non-regional English accent, or could a native place you at some particular region?)

Not sure. I've moved around the UK a bit. I don't think I would make it as a voice over artist!
Andy Brice Send private email
Thursday, October 23, 2014
 
 
>Unless you change your subhead, I would be willing to bey you get a c&d from 3m once they discover your page.

Do you think so?

I use the (R) mark and at the bottom of the page it says:

"Post-it is a registered trademark of 3M"

What grounds do they have to come after me?

If not, I could always change it to "sticky notes".
Andy Brice Send private email
Thursday, October 23, 2014
 
 
> What grounds do they have to come after me?

They don't.  Just become something is trademarked doesn't mean it can never be spoken by anyone else, especially in casual conversation the way you've done it.
PSB136 Send private email
Thursday, October 23, 2014
 
 
BTW, I am not a lawyer, so use my advice at your own risk.  :)
PSB136 Send private email
Thursday, October 23, 2014
 
 
Or just say "as easy as sticking notes to a wall", which still sounds perfectly fine and is trademark-free.  You wouldn't even have to say "sticky" and people would understand.
PSB136 Send private email
Thursday, October 23, 2014
 
 
the market for organizational
software is viable that is alresdy
proven by many successful apps.

yes release fast but

i dont think it is good to release
it without tracking.  you simply
wont learn as much about how
to make it better.  if you can see
what the users do it is more valuable
insight than what they say

google app analytics works over
http protocol so you can collect
desktop usage data just as easily
as mobile.

i would hold off the release
until integrating in app analytics.

if you ever get the ability to go
back in time and start again, build your ui
build it in qml that way going
to tablet wilk be much easier
C. Stark Send private email
Thursday, October 23, 2014
 
 
Very nice looking site/demo/video, the idea is very clear and sleek.

I wouldn't buy it, because, I have slowly but completely turned to the world of browser apps - I don't generally use software that isn't accessible from any computer and isn't immune from "new PC" and backup hassles.

If I'm going to install something, it had better be a compiler or IDE or similar. That's just me, though; billions of Office users can't be wrong ;).

Sincere good luck with it!

ps - aren't you the guy who was doing dentist scheduling? What happened with that, or am I imagining it?
GregT Send private email
Thursday, October 23, 2014
 
 
PerfectTablePlan has been out for 9 years and I haven't added telemetry/tracking to that. So I certainly don't see the need to add it before v1.0.
Andy Brice Send private email
Thursday, October 23, 2014
 
 
>I wouldn't buy it, because, I have slowly but completely turned to the world of browser apps

That's fair enough. I certainly can't please everyone. A web/mobile version is a possibility in future though.

>ps - aren't you the guy who was doing dentist scheduling?

Not me!
Andy Brice Send private email
Thursday, October 23, 2014
 
 
the dentist appointment recall is made by Patrick, the last listed on the left bar here at... your left
fp615 Send private email
Thursday, October 23, 2014
 
 
Aha, right. I think he also is the one who had a quite a fascinating post a while back about the effects of browserifying his Bingo Card product. (Nothing can beat the one about submitting bogus software to review sites ... that was Andy Brice, wasn't it?) Good times of JOS nostalgia!
GregT Send private email
Thursday, October 23, 2014
 
 
That was my 15 minutes of fame (made it the front page of all the social news sites and the Guardian!). ;0)

http://successfulsoftware.net/2007/08/16/the-software-awards-scam/
Andy Brice Send private email
Thursday, October 23, 2014
 
 
Andy, in your FAQs you mention event and holiday planning.  It totally brought to mind when I spent a few days with my cousin right before a big party she was putting on.  She had a spreadsheet of food to buy, dishes to make, chores to do, etc.  All just a list in Excel, with people checking things off.  (But not even enough Excel know how to filter or sort the list different ways.)

I was initially just thinking of it for business planning.  But Hyper Plan would have been ideal for something like that.
Emily Jones Send private email
Thursday, October 23, 2014
 
 
Yes I think so. I have heard  of other software vendor's experiences.

Of course a tm holder is not protected from mere mentions of their tm, but what you are doing goes slightly beyond that, you are selling a competitive  or related product and saying it's just like theirs.

I am not a lawyer,  so I will not draw a conclusion on whether a potential  claim would be well founded.  You just need to make a judgement on whether you want to risk tweaking the sleeping dragon's nose.
S. Tanna Send private email
Friday, October 24, 2014
 
 
@Emily

The ability to cross sell to people who already bought PerfectTablePlan is a definite plus.
Andy Brice Send private email
Friday, October 24, 2014
 
 
@Sunil

I guess I could do without the hassle of having their lawyers breathing down my neck. Perhaps I should change it to "sticky notes". I think most people will know what I mean.

Apparently the 'sticky note' business is worth $1B/year! So they can afford a few laywers.
Andy Brice Send private email
Friday, October 24, 2014
 
 
@Andy, do you want some garden variety (non programmer) type people to play with it?  I ask because I'm in an on-line marketing group where many people are currently starting new marketing campaigns.  Hyper Plan might be handy for some of them. 

I'll post a link in the group if you'd like, but I didn't want to presume you wanted that.
Emily Jones Send private email
Friday, October 24, 2014
 
 
@Emily
>do you want some garden variety (non programmer) type people to play with it?

Absolutely. Programmers/mISVs are useful for feedback, but a horrible market to sell to ('I could write that in an hour')!

If you were planning a marketing campaign with lots of moving parts and people involved, I think Hyper Plan could be useful. But I would be interested to know what they think.
Andy Brice Send private email
Friday, October 24, 2014
 
 
Andy, I see you removed "Post-It notes" from your web page, but you mention them in your narrated video.  ;)  I don't envy you re-recording that again.
PSB136 Send private email
Friday, October 24, 2014
 
 
I've been playing with it a bit and it's working great.  I do have a suggestion for the version when you go live.

I think a handful of "template" type cards that are already set up with some default properties that people could pick from would help people get started. For different planning scenarios (Party, Wedding, To Do Lists, Marketing Strategy, Course you're teaching, Seminar you're giving, Holiday, Out of town guests, etc.)

When someone says "New Plan" they can pick one of these plan profiles or start from scratch.  And of course they can make any changes desired to the card properties  - and save that as a new template for future use.

You kind of have that with the sample plans, except there are a bunch of cards filled out already.

I suggest this because when I played with your sample cards I was blown away with how simple it was, and I sorted them different ways and moved things around - all very cool.  I was very excited!

Then I started my own new plan and I was like "uh... uh... sort by what for columns? what for rows?  properties - what do I wan't? I don't know!"  But if I had a default card set up, I'd know right away what properties it had that I didn't need, and I might quickly think of ones that weren't there that I wanted.

BTW - do you have any idea what you want to charge for it yet?  Just curious.
Emily Jones Send private email
Sunday, October 26, 2014
 
 
@Emily

Thanks for the feedback. I like the idea of templates also. The issue is that everything is dynamically generated from the cards at present, so you can't really have a template unless it contains dummy cards. I have some ideas to get around that though.

>BTW - do you have any idea what you want to charge for it yet?  Just curious.

I think the fact that I am positioning it as 'lightweight' and an alternative to post^H^Hsticky notes (which are effectively free for most people) means that I can't charge a lot. Perhaps $30 for a base version and $60 for a pro version (one time fee)? I may be able to increase the price of the pro version in the long term as I add more power-user features.
Andy Brice Send private email
Wednesday, October 29, 2014
 
 
I would pay 30 for something like this or 60 if it had more features.

I just set it up so I have columns like "Today" "To do" "Doing" and "done" and rows for client names.

I LOVE the fact that I can double click to start a new card and the row and column property are filled in, and that I can drag a card to a new slot and the properties update.

I keep trying to undo with Ctrl+Z and delete with the delete key....

BTW, you mentioned that it is like a pivot table only simpler.  I have NEVER been able to wrap my head around pivot tables.  Conceptually, I understand them, but they make my head hurt.  I don't do well with a map in my hand either... Not a visual person, yet I have really taken to HyperPlan.  It's a visual software for linear people!
Emily Jones Send private email
Wednesday, October 29, 2014
 
 
>I keep trying to undo with Ctrl+Z

Undo is high on the todo list.

>and delete with the delete key....

When you select a card it sets the focus to an edit field. So pressing Delete just deletes text from the edit field with focus. But Ctrl+Delete works. Still trying to work out how to make that more intuitive.

>BTW, you mentioned that it is like a pivot table only simpler.  I have NEVER been able to wrap my head around pivot tables.  Conceptually, I understand them, but they make my head hurt.  I don't do well with a map in my hand either... Not a visual person, yet I have really taken to HyperPlan.  It's a visual software for linear people!

That is good to know. I think a lot of people struggle with pivot tables. Partly because the Excel implementation is quite complex.

I don't mention pivot tables on the hyperplan.com home page for the same reason that I don't mention genetic algorithms on the perfecttableplan.com home page. I don't want to send people screaming to the hills.

Currently working on various improvements to the UI, based on feedback received.
Andy Brice Send private email
Thursday, October 30, 2014
 
 
Thanks for all the great feedback. I have now released a new version (v0.4) with a (hopefully) significantly improved UI.
http://www.hyperplan.com
Andy Brice Send private email
Tuesday, November 04, 2014
 
 

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