One of Nozbe’s main competitors - Wunderlist - is going away in a few months - Microsoft is shutting it down after they acquired it years ago. At Nozbe we’ll be offering a way to migrate from Wunderlist to Nozbe or Nozbe Teams soon, but this post is not about that - it’s about how this app, when launched in 2011, gave me a strong kick in the butt to make Nozbe much better. Here goes:
From Evernote… to Wunderlist - how a cloud-based app became viable and could go mainstream…
As I explained in my first Michael’s team productivity vlog Nozbe was born as a web-app first… and initially the iPhone, iPad or Android apps were an afterthought. Especially when I saw how Evernote was struggling to make this work back in 2010 and 2011 - having different teams responsible for different platforms. I thought I’d never be able to do this with my small team… and besides, the native apps were passé anyway, right?
Wrong. In 2011 Wunderlist launched using a technology called AppCelerator - which helped their small team of 6 people build apps for all the platforms in a very short time. They launched on the web, iOS, Android and also Mac and Windows.
I was blown away.
I couldn’t believe that a competitor in the task-management space could launch so quickly with such a fanfare.
Frankly, it pissed me off… and then it motivated me to re-think the whole future.
I realized we needed to go this route, too. We needed to shift gears from Nozbe as a “web app” to Nozbe as a “cloud sync service” with local clients for all the platforms. We needed to bring Nozbe iOS apps in-house, build Android app and think about Mac and Windows apps, too.
This was a big shift in thinking and it took us a few years to really pull it off - we were gradually shipping new iOS and Android apps… and finally in 2013 with Nozbe 1.5 we had a full suite of apps for all the platforms.
Mobile-first in 2013 and beyond…
When in 2013 we completely redesigned our Nozbe experience we went mobile-first all the way - we were at the same time designing the app for mobile and for desktop screens, to make sure the experience is consistent on all of our devices.
We applied the same principle when designing the new Nozbe Teams app. We decided to launch mobile first with iOS, Android and a web app. And this is what we’ll do in March when the app launches.
Wunderlist had a very good run. They launched very well and got lots of users very fast. Later they wanted to build something better (Wunderkit) but after a failed launch they backed down from it and launched Wunderlist 2.0 which was a great success… which lead them to sell the company to Microsoft for million$. And now they’re shutting it down - which I completely understand from Microsoft’s point of view.
With this post I’d like to thank the team at Wunderlist - I never met them, but they really truly inspired me to change course of my app and my business for the better - they showed me the path forward - the future - and as uncomfortable as it was to shift gears - it was a great decision and a motivation I needed.
That’s one of the reasons I love my job in the technology industry - because it changes rapidly and if you don’t embrace change - you slowly fall into oblivion.
…and long live Nozbe and Nozbe Teams!
The main difference between Wunderlist and Nozbe has always been the fact that we haven’t taken and investment from VCs and we don’t accept it - our investors are our customers - and we’re a small profitable company hopefully making a big global impact.
When you have investors and bigger companies want to acquire you - the investors decide if you sell or not. In our case - I decide - and even though we’ve had acquisition offers in the past, I never wanted to sell because I love this job and after 13 years of doing it I’m not bored - quite the contrary - I’m excited!
So if you support this and want your small team do great things, make sure to sign up for Nozbe Teams and boost your team’s productivity and join me on this journey forward!
P.S. They released this cute video with Wunderlist shutdown, I really love it although I think it’s a little bizarre.