Ymir Report #6 — Roller coaster

published5 months ago
3 min read

Heya friend!

Carl here. You signed up to receive updates about Ymir, the WordPress serverless DevOps platform that I’m building.


INTRO

This cycle has been a bit of a roller coaster for various reasons. The cycle started off quite well. I got a lot of stuff done during the product development part of the cycle.

Marketing week also started pretty well, but the end of the week wasn't so great. Sometimes I get episodes where I can't concentrate at all for days. For example, it takes me a few hours to write a few sentences. This happened later in the week so it limited a bit what I accomplished. (Still published an article!)

At the same time, my last 3 customers cancelled. That's half my customers. Then I got 2 more customers during marketing week. So that was the real roller coaster!

I'll discuss all of it in more detail in the business section.


PRODUCT

You can always view the history of Ymir's product development at https://ymirapp.com/changelog.

Like I mentioned, I managed to get a lot done product wise this cycle. First, I finished support for private networks and databases. You can read more about it here.

Next, I changed the CloudFront management code to allow you to exclude uploads folders from caching. This is an issue I discovered when I tried to get Beaver Builder working for a (now cancelled) customer. A lot of plugins use the uploads directory, since it's the only writable directory. So it's a good change to help plugin support.

Last, I almost finished support for bastion hosts. But I ran into a few issues during testing, which I hope to work through quickly. After that, I can move on to Redis cache before the next round of load testing.


MARKETING

The big ticket item for this cycle was to write a new article on the Ymir blog. I was able to get that done before I became unable to concentrate. It's an introductory article on serverless PHP.

What is serverless PHP and how does it work? >>

Besides that, I got little else done. I did a few improvements to the documentation. I wrote a small guide on how to set up Beaver Builder in a Ymir project.

Earlier in the week, I also tweeted about how I lost customers and how I felt about it. It discussed how I felt about things which I also talked about last report. I got two customers after I tweeted that so I'm curious if it actually got me a customer lol

I actually know that one of them found me because they googled "Laravel Vapor WordPress" and found this article. So I definitely think I need to target this for SEO as well. I'm not sure if it should be a blog post or just some dedicated landing page. I might look into it next cycle.


BUSINESS

You can always view Ymir's up-to-date business metrics at ymirapp.com/open. They're updated every 10 minutes.

As I alluded to in the intro, it's been a bit of roller coaster on the business side. I saw mid-cycle that 3 customers cancelled their subscription. That was half my customers at the time.

I reached out to all of them. Two answered. One is due to lack of time to test things. The other is because the WordPress site is too big for AWS Lambda until I support Docker images.

I keep reading how losing customers would sting, but it didn't too much for me. I think it's mostly because I still doubt whether this will be successful. So it just feeds into that doubt more than anything else.

But things weren't so bad, I also gained 2 customers last week! So this brought my total subscribers to 7 until all the cancellations hit through May. My highest yet!

This wave of cancellations also made update the public dashboard. You can now see customer acquisition statistics for the last 6 months. So last month, I had a net gain of 3 customers. And I'm currently at -1 for May. (But that will go to -2 once the last cancellation takes effect.)

Business development-wise, I've been thinking about maybe turning on free trials. It'd be with credit card upfront. I'm not sure if it'll make a difference, but it might be worth testing.

I've also been playing with the idea of a contest. If you launch a site, you get 3 months free. Something like that.

The big thing is to get more people to launch production sites with Ymir. I think that's what would help customer retention. The problem is it's hard to define what a "launched site" is.

Much further out, I might have to look at Drupal support to widen the market. But that one is harder because I have no Drupal experience. I still would like to offer Drupal support eventually if no one else builds a similar product for that community.

Anyhow, that's pretty much everything for this cycle!

Thanks again for reading :)

Carl


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