Carl here. You signed up to receive updates about Ymir, the WordPress serverless DevOps platform that I’m building.
Overall, this cycle has felt fantastic! I got a lot done on the product side. Marketing week also went well.
On the business side, it's not going as well. Growth feels like it's slowed down a lot. There's still 10 days left to September so not all is lost! But it's been a lot more stressful the last month or so.
I have some changes planned for the business next cycle. More on that in the business section!
You can always view the history of Ymir's product development at https://ymirapp.com/changelog.
Really really great product cycle. I haven't felt that productive working on the product in a long time. As the headline said, I finished up PHP 8.0 support!
September 13th 2021
Besides PHP 8.0 support, I was busy improving the CLI some more. Everyone who's used the CLI commented on how great it is. It's always going to be the primary way anyone uses Ymir, so I spend a lot of time making the UX great.
Here are some other changes:
- Add the option to configure your project when creating a Docker file
- Add a command to rotate your database server password
- Add a command which scans your project and configures your project based on your plugins and themes
This last one is great quality-of-life change. I have guides that explain how to configure a project to work with certain plugins like page builders. But this requires that you go in the documentation and read all the guides that apply to your plugin.
With this command, you don't need to do that! It'll scan your WordPress project with WP-CLI. It'll then offer to configure the project based on all the plugins and themes it detected.
My primary focus for marketing this week was to write an article for the Ymir blog. It took me half the week to write and edit. Published it Wednesday, but did all the social media stuff Thursday/Friday.
This is a written version of the Q&A video I did last cycle. It did quite well on Reddit and Facebook. Most of the comments on Facebook were from one person kinda trolling. But it led me to tweet this, which got some good conversations going:
If you argue me that anyone paying 5 figures in #WordPress hosting should manage their own server and hire someone to do it for them, you don't really understand what people are paying hosting for lol
September 16th 2021
I've been managing servers since my first summer job. (It's still most of the consulting work I do.) I know it's cheaper. But it's not as easy as it sounds and it's stressful to be on call for mission critical stuff.
So I find comments like these quite disingenuous. But I'm used to them. I had similar ones when I started teaching object-oriented programming.
You can always view Ymir's up-to-date business metrics at ymirapp.com/open. They're updated every 10 minutes.
So following the last report, I had two customers who started having failed payments. With August being so chaotic, I found being stuck in limbo whether the person would renew or cancel stressful.
I'm finding that having payment errors is almost more stressful than cancellations. It's like 2 weeks of wondering if someone cancelled or not. I JUST WANT TO KNOW LOL pic.twitter.com/FSJIjsdu6J
September 10th 2021
Both people ended up cancelling, which had me review my growth for August downward. Previously, I had a net gain of one customer, but now it's zero. And so far in September, I've had only two new subscribers which with the cancellation means a net growth of one.
Now, while I'm definitely not indifferent to it, I also know this is a long game. But I'm worried about my survivability in the short term.
I'd hoped to reach the $1,000 MRR milestone this year. This would allow Ymir to cover my rent. To reach that, I'd need to get a net growth of 11 customers before early December. That means almost doubling the number of customers I have, which feels unrealistic.
One common complaint I've received from friends and some customers is that I don't charge enough for the value I give. And also that I don't have a free trial.
But I'm pretty stubborn about pricing. I feel $39/month is a good middle ground to keep the product accessible. And even then it's not the most accessible if you're in a country where USD exchange rate is bad. (Even as a Canadian I pay almost 30% more.)
That said, I plan on adding a new pricing tier next cycle. Nothing will change with the existing pricing. But I've settled on something where I feel I can capture some added value without compromising my desire to keep the product accessible.
So stay tuned :)