Bumps on the road…

I have been travelling and accessing WordPress has been a pain. Guess I need to find a better blogging solution. We were looking to solve the following problems

  •  Browser bookmarks had become a huge meaningless list of 100s of links which provided no context. 
  •  Quick notes and thoughts were written down in numerous text files, which were spread all over the desktop and were tied to a particular machine.
  • The need to collaborate with people on these notes, thoughts and web clippings.

So we came up with ThoughtPad, which pretty soon started looking like this screenshot. Lots of notes and web clippings, organized into different labels.

  scrybe01.JPG

Over a period of time, as it got more populated, things started looking more interesting, and we got busy finishing functionality and squashing bugs. Recently, we gave it to the first very few users. When they opened their ThoughtPad, this is what they saw.

scrybe02.JPG 

There was only one generic label and there were no notes and they had a hard time figuring out what to do where. Once they figured it out they loved it, but we were very unhappy with the time it took for each user to get up and running. 

So there comes a time when you think you have fixed majority of the bugs and you are ready to roll it out to users but when the first few users kick the tires, you discover a new set of issues.

Problems that are easy to fix but not as easy to spot, without the help of some beta users. We have a solution and it will be implemented and released once everyone is back from the holidays. 

Happy holidays to everyone!

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33 Comments

Filed under Technology

33 responses to “Bumps on the road…

  1. Bob

    Does that mean after January 1st?

  2. baumdexterous

    Could you give us an exact date?

  3. Happy to hear things are going well. Looking forward to release and potential of using it.

  4. David Gerbino

    Thank you for the official update regarding the ThoughtPad release delay. I know the Scrybe beta community was excited about the release on December 26th. Knowing that there are usability issues, I expect that once you launch the ThoughtPad module, the beta community and I will do our best to test the usability and make sure that it is in fact easy and intuitive to use.

    So far the the Calendar and PowerLists have proved very useful in my time management and organization. I really like the fact that the program is very open so that I can tailor it to my needs and how I work. Also, I got some great tips from the forums (Thanks to the Get Things Done (GTD) folks).

    I think we all would like you and the Scrybe team to spend a little more time keeping us up to date on the Scrybe project.

    Good luck and keep up the good work. I look forward to using the completed product.

  5. baumdexterous

    Very well said David! I’ve also found the Calendar and PowerList to be very useful in terms of organizing and following my schedule and tasks. I agree that we would all like some more communication from the Scrybe team regarding the project. We are all passionate and excited about it.

  6. E

    Hmmm maybe I can help to find some more bugs? 😉

  7. Beytah

    Just out of professional interest you might like to check out Jetpacks via jeteye.com. They’ve recently moved from a downloadable client to an ‘all in browser’ interface.
    I think it’s a bit like Thoughtpad from what I’ve read about your product, but I’m not really too sure. Worth checking out anyway to see their proposed ‘scrapbooking’ solution. Might generate some thoughts or ideas.

    By the way I have found both versions of their products had a bit of a learning curve. I don’t really like even this latest release, but I keep trialling out new iterations to see how it’s progressing.

  8. How do I get inscrybed for an invite? I also have been waiting for weeks and really want to make this awesome tool an integral part of my workflow.

  9. Holy Cow…. this is too good… i got impressed out of my socks. I can’t wait to get a hold of this, once I do: Goodbye Outlook, OneNote, and Google Calendar… Hello Scrybe….

    Of course, I have submitted my email ID for an invitation.

  10. Did I forget to mention… yes I did… the PaperSync is what I like the most… pure thoughtfullness…

  11. UnScrybe

    I have to say that having to waiting for so long (since October) to try the beta is a buzz kill. To create all the buzz and hype – only to put potential users in a parking lot…its just not right. That is not why we submitted our emails back in October. Not to mention the delays from what is initially stated (i.e. Dec 26 thoughtpad…)

    I am amazed that more folks are not upset with this situation (or at least post that they are)…the posts about all the love…how great the app is….and the begging to have their account activated are just sickening.

    Sorry to add to the buzz kill – but someone needed to cough this hairball up.

    So Scrybe guys – time to put up…or unscrybe me and the rest of us…

  12. Doug Lucas

    I have to agree the hype combined with the extreme delay is very wrong and will lead to alot of lost interest. I signed up in October and now we are moving into 2007 and I still have not received an invite. I have been forced to find a different means to keep my scheduling and seriously doubt I will be back to look at iscrybe any time soon. You guys haven’t even revealed what the finished product will cost or even if there will be a cost. Sorry but I think you killed a possible good product by dragging this out so long….

  13. baumdexterous

    I have to agree with Doug and Unscrybe with this analogy: You shouldn’t wrap dog food in paper and put it in front of a dog. It is not nice.

  14. Nil Admirari

    I too am upset. I am upset that I am not upset at not having a beta account yet. I am hoping that patience and not begging will garner me an account eventually. Whenever eventaully actually is. Good luck guys/gals. It will be worth the wait.

  15. Akash

    To you guys that are upset about the wait:

    I was also aware from the get go that this beta release would be “phased in” – how are you upset at that? If I’m goign to be relying on a program/website/method to plan out and schedule my life, I’d like to have it fully tested and fully functional before millions of people like myself will use it. I’d rather wait, than use it in beta form, only to find out that I have to put in all the data again once it’s a final relase (it’s happened with betas before).

    To the one that said ” have been forced to find a different means to keep my scheduling and seriously doubt I will be back to look at iscrybe any time soon.” – what were you doing before you found this website? Why not use that method?

    It’s outrageous really that you simply would not use a product because the creators/manufacturers want it to be fully tested. Would you take a prescription pill for your illness if the FDA (or other governing body in other countries) did not approve it for public use? Would you fly in a “prototype” car or plane? There’s a reason society wants some things to be tested before its brought to the public…

    To the iscrybe people: I seriously need this as my daytimer is about to see its last days. If it means anything to you guys, thanks for testing it – and as an FYI I’d be willing to pay ~$50-$100 for this 🙂

  16. “Would you take a prescription pill for your illness if the FDA (or other governing body in other countries) did not approve it for public use? Would you fly in a “prototype” car or plane?”

    Thats completely different, using a beta website cant end or severely alter your life.

  17. UnScrybe

    Yaaa….it is important for folks to try out “prescription pills” before they go public…but AS I RECALL WE ALL SIGNED UP FOR THE BETA VERSION…so please think before you post…WE ARE NOT ASKING FOR A CURE TO CANCER HERE…JUST THE ABILITY TO PARTICIPATE IN THE BETA…(AND YES I AM YELLING HERE IN ALL CAPS).

    if they had a set number of beta testers in mind -then their enrollment system should have terminated when the reached the limit…not enroll everyone with an email address and then crap on them.

    Come one SCRYBE guys…ENOUGH IS ENOUGH dont you think….I’m begining to think that its not all its cracked up to be or they would have engagued all the beta testers…

  18. That is the first time I have heard bad things said about WordPress.. it is an unbelieveable solution and I shocked to hear you are having troubles.

    When will you be sharing with us the release date? You mentioned when you first started up that you were hoping 8 weeks, but I guess that is no longer realistic.

    Looking forward to using it!
    Regards
    Tom Medhurst

  19. Pat

    I think their problem is sharing too much info. The best way to do it is to not give out internal details of when you are starting each phase, when will more people be added, what parts are they working on right now etc. By sharing such info they are definitely sticking their neck out more than they need to.
    From my experience of software release dates if they are within a few weeks of the quoted dates… I will be okay with that. If their delays run into months and quarters then they are in trouble.
    I never found out when gmail or yahoo betas were scaling up or when I would get an invitation for them, until the day I got them.

  20. Waiting as well

    Ok, I am waiting as well; however, I am not ready to leave yet. I will offer my take on the beta version of the beta wait.
    What you folks have run into is the issue of setting unclear expectation with in the customer base.

    I.E.:

    In our everyday live we do this with each other and it creates big resentments and leads to lower retention rates in customer based business and pissed off spouses in the home.

    If you tell someone you, “I will be with you in a sec!”, initially they are fine with it. However, the statement is not literal and the person understands that. But, that leaves an expectation that you will be with them with in some period of time, that was specified (a sec), yet unspecified. So, what happens is that the person unknowingly, automatically, sets an expectation based on their perception of what “a sec” is. After the person waits some period of time (and you aren’t with them) they begin to automatically process their expectation against reality. If the two do not align, the person falls back on what you said that they used to set their original expectation, to re-establish the expectation. To do this they compare the time component stated to the time they waited along with what they wanted…at this point it does not matter if the original statement of time was literal. “…a sec…” –a component of time- is all they have and they will use it to establish their perception of the intended meaning of it in relation to their experience… It is what they did automatically the first time and now they do it with a little more conciseness.

    So, It is now more than a sec. It is “a while” which if you said, “I will be with you in a while”, the person would not be pissed because you establish the correct expectation in the begin, or at least a more accurate one… If they choose to wait “a while“ for something after you said, “I will be with you in a while”, then they NEVER get mad (Sales people remember this).

    So, the lesson:

    Use the correct time frame. If it is going to be 4 minutes say in about 4 minutes. If it is more than that, say, “I am sorry it is going to be more time”… and try again.

    In this case a few weeks was said the people inscribing for the beta. I used that to set my expectation of a few weeks. My perception of a few weeks is three weeks and used this to set my expectation. I have waited a few weeks. At this point it would be better for Scrybe guys and gals to acknowledge that we all need to re-establish expectations and give us new information as to a time. If they can not do this, it would be better for them to say, “We should not have contributed to the setting of an incorrect expectation around activating Beta accounts by stating “a few weeks”. We apologize for the inconvenience and are unable to give any sort of time table for future activations.

    So, incompletion, it is perfectly natural for people to be upset about the fact that information was given concerning expectations of time and the information was in accurate. It does not matter if what they are waiting for is the greatest thing in the world; That has nothing to do with the expectation of time. It has to do with the expectation of the performance of the product.

    So, if people are bitching… IT IS THE MOST NATURAL THING FOR PEOPLE TO DO WHEN THEIR EXPECTATION ARE NOT MET.

    So, hence the business phrase, “manage their perceptions”. It makes for a more successful business, happier customers and less bitching.

    This works in you personal relationships as well. If you say it, own it and move on.

    Oh yeah, When the heck will I get my beta account? .

  21. baumdexterous

    Waiting as well – your wrote a good comment. I agree with you. I don’t have a problem with the Scrybe team taking their time to work on the product. They should take as long as they need. What I do have a problem with is them failing to meet their published deadlines and not responding back to their current users with messages or updates. Scrybe team – you should please let us know what is up. We won’t be so grumpy if we know what to expect when you promise things clearly.

  22. UnScrybe

    Life is always about managing expectations. However, communication solves all. But in this case we have no communication (at least not 2 way communication).

    But you have to admit that communication is very hard. I mean one would have to post to a blog or take the huge amount of time to post to a forum. I mean really – that kind of communication takes at least a minute to do. Its no wonder why we dont hear much.

    For me the issue was from minute one! When we signed up for the beta there was no indication that it would be 2+ months – or that there were perhaps a limited number of “invites”.

    I think Scrybe should think hard about this group of “(potential) early adoptors” and make things right. Communicate. Doing so may turn the ones with bitter tongues into flag waving Scrybe disciples.

    But as it stands now…my flag is tucked neatly away. And my bitter tongue is just calling it like it is!

  23. Zenrain

    Actually, the bitter tongue is shouting in weblog comments and posting sarcastic remarks which do nothing more than provoke people. And since it the tongue is bitter, it is incapable of calling it like it is, because the perspective has already been set.

    On October 31st, details of the beta process were rolled out – “The product will be best served by a phased rollout process, where we will progressively invite larger batches of users to test the product.”

    On November 6th, more detail on why it is a limited beta was covered, as well as communicating they were sorry not everyone could be included.

    December 18th they stated that due to implementing a limited calendar import (due to feedback on the forum), phase 2 was pushed out to Dec 26th.

    Dec 28th (two days after the previous date and during a holiday period) they posted that it had been delayed further, and would be available once people had time to work on it after getting back from the holidays. It was also mentioned that everyone who expressed interest would receive an invitation by January 31st.

    How this is not adequate communication is completely beyond me.

    To expect a day by day communication on the current state of affairs of the software development is unreasonable and unneeded. Anyone who has participated in beta testing knows that there are usually delays, due to unforeseen issues, or events.

    While I can appreciate the frustration of not being able to test it, or not getting the latest beta update on time, I think perhaps it may be time to take a deep breath and remember it’s only software.
    Just because it’s not being released on your schedule, or you weren’t invited to a well documented limited beta test yet, doesn’t mean that people are trying to crap on you or wrap dog food in paper and put it in front of you.

    Flame away.

  24. UnScrybe

    Flag waver. How is the beta? LOL

  25. swellsparky

    To everyone who is upset with waiting…

    You know this is just a piece of software, right?

    Chill.

    The time it takes the engineers and coders, missed deadlines and all, will just make the product better, saving you from having to complain later on.

  26. Tobi

    @swellsparky: you’re right, but…

    it would be great to answer some questions (Sabika e.g.):

    – will scrybe be free – if not: how much will it cost?
    – has beta phase 2 started already?
    – is there a possibility to test scrybe for about 10 minutes to check whether it’s worth to wait?

    thanks!

  27. Killmon

    First, if you are part of the Beta (actually using it) don’t tell people to chill; it is just…well, wrong. If you don’t have it and have been waiting months, still don’t tell people to “chill”, it is still wrong.

    Complaints let the developers know what not to do next time and the people complaining have reason; they were told one thing and another happened. EVERYONE COMPLAINS WHEN THIS HAPPENS -Until an effective action is taken to rectify it. And if what ever action taken did not rectify the complaining than it wasn’t the right one… humans are easy.

    What is going on is one of the big mistakes that most businesses make -It dose not matter what the people running the business think the customer base SHOULD think, feel, or do. Whether it makes sense, or is right. It does not matter what the business leaders think. The bottom line is that people are waiting longer than they were told and probably have not seen the correction or update.

    If there is a list off thousands of people waiting to be contacted and it has been months, they are probably mad, forgot, or moved on. Very few of them are going to look for the place where Scrybe posted the correction (unless it is on the front page).

    They probably aren’t all that egger to chase down the reason they aren’t being inscribed –and people generally take it personally Because they weren’t given their beta account they will assume that Scrybe is not a good system (if the people that create an organizing system aren’t organize enough to plan the beta inscription in a timely manner, either the people aren’t using their own system to plan effectively or the system is not viable. Hard words but…)

    It dose not say, “We may contact you…” It says, “Thank you for submitting your email. We’ll inform you when your account is available.” ‘We’ll’ means ‘We will’ contact you. So the thousands of people that have not been contacted either think, “damn! They did not give me an account!” Or, “Damn it has been a couple of months…is this how their product is going to work?”, or, “they made my account and forgot about me!” with a not so desirable product you may get people just not thinking about it; But, I promise, After 20 years in business and customer service in the technology world… they are not thinking, “I am so happy that I have not gotten my account, it must just be a tough job developing the app.” That is just not how people EVER work. They want the app they don’t have the app, BOO-BOO MAD DON’T HAVE APPY-APPY! (Yes, I just called us all monkeys’…instincts are instincts).

    Basically what I think is happening right now is that all the people participating n the Beta know what’s going on because they have seen the blog… and the ones with out the invites have no clue. Unless they are really laud monkeys’ like me and come looking for the banana. So, an Idea may be to take that list of emails that inscribed and contact them. Make it seem a little personal, but simple and…contact (mass mail using bbc) them and just tell them, “hey, we know you inscribed during the beta, some things came up, but we have not forgotten about you and we will take care of you as quick as we can. We just want the best product for you and you friends and if that means holding off on some beta inscriptions for a little bit, well that’s what we are going to do. We know you understand, but we wanted to be sure you knew we did not forget about you. Thanks” And everyone that did not find the posted correction will now know what is going on and promptly not be pissed… at you. They may still be upset that they don’t have the app, but not at the people working their asses off on making it good.

    Cheers
    killmon(key)

  28. Beytah

    Hey Killmon,

    Good points. Great suggestion. I support your post 🙂

  29. EV

    I have been in this industry for more than 2 decades now and this is how I see it.
    Startups today feel that their users are best served by communicating time lines and internal plans with them in an open way. By doing so they expose themselves to the risk of people having expectations that might not be met. And, this openness works best with a small group of users… I suspect that Scrybe has already overgrown this stage and needs to revise how they publish info. For e.g. when they say \”a few thousand beta invites are going out\” …everyone expects to be among the lucky ones… inspite of the statistical odds. It would be better to just give invites and not announce them..
    Neither Apple, nor Google, nor Yahoo, nor Microsoft (other than that slight issue over vista :D) ever communicate their timelines or plans until they are done and ready. Which is for a good reason and which is exactly what these guys need to start doing.

    But I absolutely agree that they need to change the messaging around beta invites on their homepage. That said can any of you help in getting my hands on a beta ? 🙂

  30. Hi Guys,

    There are some really valid points and suggestions in your comments.
    We will be addressing some of those in our next announcement tomorrow evening (Tue, Jan. 09).

    Sabika
    Scrybe

  31. baumdexterous

    Sakiba – good to hear from you finally.

    We are looking forward to your next announcement.

  32. dasmenneke

    Your website and your product rocks …
    everything is smooth organised etc. most briljant I’ve ever seen …
    and your remark about collections of 100’s of bookmarks struck a nerve … I tried to organize mine recently (most from links on digg) and I putted them together first and I “counted” 1300 which is pure madness but I now there are some real gems between so I can’t just start with a clean slate …
    keep on making this smooth clean software 🙂
    Loved the demo
    grtz from belgium !

  33. Pingback: The Consumer Hype Curve : Green & White

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