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Introducing the Vylo Case Study: Creating a Software Business Without Programming Skills

Introducing the Vylo Case Study: Creating a Software Business Without Programming Skills

A couple of weeks ago, I revealed that I would be pursuing 2 case studies this year and sharing the details on my blog.  One of those case studies is to create a software product outside of the internet marketing or SEO niche.

I was happy to hear all the positive feedback that many of you shared in the comments of my last blog post.  Owning a software business can be highly profitable, and many of you are interested in learning the steps to create a software business without any programming skills.

Well, today is the kickoff of that case study!  Below you will find what Perrin and I have already done to start our software business, and what our plans will be to market and sell the product.

What industry will this software business be in?

The gaming niche.  Read on my friend, read on…

Why a Software Business?

Before I jump into what the business idea is and what we've done so far, I want to explain why Perrin and I are tackling a software business.  This perhaps goes without saying, but the profit margins can be exceptionally good in the software business.  In addition, its a product you can build once, and then sell an unlimited number of times (within reason), so there is big profit potential.

Yes, I know that software is not a one time cost, it requires updates and maintenance and customer support; but its very different than a physical product that has variable costs based on number of orders.

In addition, when you create software; you can help people accomplish things – it can truly add value to people.  So, a software business is something that you can get behind and really believe in as it helps others save time, be more effective, or otherwise makes things easier for them.

The Business Idea – Introducing Vylo!

The Vylo team actually includes more than just Perrin and I.  The team originally began with Perrin and his friends; Samir and Ahon.  I joined later.  So, Samir and Ahon (in addition to Perrin and I) may be stopping by and responding to comments throughout the case study here.

I make no claims of thinking up this software idea.  It was all Perrin (remember that guy?) and his friends.  So, I'm going to let Perrin share in his own words the genesis of this business idea.

Here's Perrin…

Hey guys!

Pretty excited to be writing about a project I’ve working on for several months now. I know this post is going to be a monster, but I wanted to chime in and tell you a bit about where the idea came from and a little bit about what we’ve done so far.

Where did Vylo come from?

Vylo came from looking for pain points in a strong, familiar market, which is where lots of good business ideas come from. In a way, we (my best friend and I) knew what market we wanted to enter before we ever knew what kind of product we were going to make.

The market was gaming. My best friend, Samir, and I have always been gamers. We’ve also really wanted to start a business together for a few years now. So the gaming market was our natural first choice when we started seriously pursuing entrepreneurship.

And it was hard. Gaming is a very tough market. Most successful digital products (outside of Indie games) take millions of dollars to make, and most successful physical product markets are dominated by big third-party companies.

However, there was one niche that had been unchanged for a long time. It was old. And all of the solutions in that particular niche were, in our view, sub-standard. What was the niche?

Voice chat!

If you’re a gamer, you can probably list all the current voice chat solutions off the top of your head. Ventrilo, Teamspeak and Mumble have been the biggest players for the last decade. A few newcomers have tried to break in, and a few have even been pretty successful, like Xfire.

However, all of those solutions have major flaws:

  • You have to download a program
  • You have to buy, rent or reserve server space
  • You have to share account or server information
  • They are clunky and crash frequently
  • Some of them eat tons of bandwidth

Obviously, there was a lot of room for improvement in this market. So, our strategy became to create a solution that was as easy, quick and simple as possible. Instead of taking 30 minutes to set up a voice chat room with your friends, we wanted to create a solution that allowed people to do it in 30 seconds.

That’s where Vylo was born. Vylo is (or, will be) a voice chat platform that works inside your browser and does not require you to create an account. You can hop on the site, create a temporary voice chat room for free, share the URL with your teammates, and BAM! Everyone is chatting. It should literally take 30 seconds – if not less.

So that’s the vision. And we love our idea! It’s an incredibly simple solution for an incredibly painful process.

Obstacles so far…

Of course, as there is with any new business, we’ve had lots (and lots) of setbacks. Our primary setback so far has been finding a good programmer. Before Spencer got involved, we had been trying to outsource our programming overseas.

And it was an absolute disaster.

We didn’t have much capital (we were looking to spend around $700-$2,000), but what we did have was constantly tied up in escrow because we just could not find a developer who could do the job and do it right; heck, we even had a hard time finding a developer who would respond to our emails.

Additionally, we ran into some competition. While it’s still a relatively un-competitive space, there are several programs out there that essentially do exactly what we’re trying to do. However, we’ve got a few things that they don’t have:

  • A massive mailing list
  • Marking savvy and marketing resources
  • Business savvy
  • Spencer Haws & the Niche Pursuits community

In short, we think we have the resources and brainpower to out-execute everyone.

Also…

We have no idea what we are doing. Ha. Sounds crazy, but it’s true! We’re all entrepreneurs, and we all love business. More importantly, we all believe in this idea. But none of us have ever done anything like this before. So, there’s going to be a lot of learning going on. And there’s going to be plenty of failure.

But, hey, that’s the fun part, right? Thanks for tuning in, and we’ll talk to you soon!

Want a Video Explanation of What Vylo Does?  Watch This…

Why is Spencer Involved?

(This is Spencer writing now…)

So, if the idea is Perrin's and he has been working on it for a few months already, why am I involved?

Well, Perrin has an excellent idea, but he has never created a software business before and he didn't have the funds he needed to get the product off the ground.

As it turns out, I have created a successful software business (Long Tail Pro) and I had a few dollars (we definitely needed more than the $2k Perrin was hoping to spend) that I was willing to invest.

And in particular, I've created a software business without any programming experience.  I am not a coder at all.  But I've worked through the process of how to find good programmers and work with them.

After talking with Perrin and seeing the potential, I asked if I could join up with his team and become a partner.  And so now I'm acting as more of an investor/consultant…with Perrin and the other partners doing the day to day legwork for the business.

Building an Email List of 6,300+ Before Launch!

One major reason that I was interested in joining up on the Vylo project was because of some of the initial marketing success that Perrin had already accomplished.  Before he ever spent a dime on creating a product or doing much of anything, he was able to build an email list of over 6,000 interested users!

And because this is a case study, I'm going to show you the live example of how Perrin was able to build up that email list so quickly!

In a nutshell, Perrin went to where he knew gamers hang out and let them know about his potential project and asked for their feedback.  Specifically, he went to Reddit.com and posted this thread in the League of Legends sub-Reddit page.  (Note the idea used to be called “GGNoob” but is now “Vylo”).

Here's an image of the Reddit post that sent so many subscribers:

redditpost

Go here to see the full Reddit Post and follow up comments.

So, all of the registrants came from that (or similar) Reddit posts.  That's it, nothing fancy.

The Reddit readers were directed to a video/opt-in page found right here at Vylo.org.

As you can see, its a very simple landing page with a video explaining the major benefits of the software.  So, with almost no money invested, Perrin was able to very quickly throw his idea out there and quickly learn that the target market is VERY INTERESTED in the idea!

Here's an image of the current landing page on Vylo.org:

vylo.org-home
Click to Enlarge

In fact, within just a few days, Perrin was able to build an email list of over 6,300 people!  Nearly all of these people came from Reddit, and are interested in checking out the software once it launches.

You can be sure that we will leverage this email list once the product is ready for testing and goes live.  But perhaps even more importantly, it shows us that there is an eager and active audience for this type of product.

betatestemails

The fact that Perrin was able to show me this landing page, and the huge email list (he had over 6,000 subscribers before I ever knew about the idea), was the primary reason that I was interested in joining up with him and investing in the business.

Hiring a Programmer

Once you have a business idea, and you've tested the market, the next step is to create the product!

This was really the step that was holding Perrin and his partners back, because they don't know how to code and they didn't have much money to invest.  In addition, they didn't have much experience hiring any programmers either.

So, I was able to fill a couple of gaps there.

I had a couple of programmers that I knew, and we emailed them to let them know about the project.  Part of these early emails were to see what type of programming skills we would need and discover any programming concerns before we hired someone.

There are so many different types of programming languages and platform choices, that it doesn't hurt to ask a few questions before you even think about hiring anyone.

Once we got some basic coding answers, we posted a job on Elance.com for the job.  In addition, we invited one of the programmers I knew whose skills appeared to be a good fit to make a bid on the job.

I want to emphasize, that you can garner a lot of very valuable information once you post a job on Elance.  Before you hire anyone, do as much due diligence as possible!  You can get a good feel for how you would interact with potential contract employees.

The ones that usually ask the tough questions or the ones that see potential problems (and solutions) with your project, are most likely the ones that will be the best.  Unfortunately, this is also usually the ones that are the most expensive.

Wondering what we posted on Elance?  Here is an image of the exact post we placed on Elance!

vylojobposting

As you can see the job posting is quick and to the point.  As you can imagine, there was a lot of back and forth with bidders through private messages and emails that answered questions and fleshed out additional details.

At the end of the day, we decided to go with the programmer that I already know; a US based, top-notch programmer.  He was clearly more knowledgeable than most, and since I had already completed a project with him (he created WelcomeSplash), I knew we would get a solid programmer that delivers the goods.

After finding the programmer or our choice, we officially got started building the software on Nov. 22nd, 2013.  This gives you an idea of the time we've already put into the project up to this point.  We have a working product, but are going through some of the final tweaking and testing phase, so there nothing to show publicly just yet.

And in case you are wondering how to pay a programmer.  We did a fixed bid job, with half the funds paid up front, and then the final 50% will be paid upon completion of the software.

Marketing Plans for Vylo

Once you have a working piece of software, it doesn't sell itself unfortunately.  You need to get out and spread the word a bit.  If its a great product, it can definitely spread through word of mouth.  This could definitely be true with Vylo as its a social type software by nature (voice chat requires more than one person 🙂 ).

We have a few primary methods that we plan to utilize to market the software.  Here's some of our current ideas:

  • Connect with influential gamers and communities where gamers hang out.  (Replace the word “gamers” with your niche and you can do the same type of marketing).  This would include emailing and interacting with well-known bloggers or gamers in the industry and asking them to try out the software.  One of 2 mentions could go a long way in the gaming industry.  In addition, we already know there is a receptive audience on Reddit.  You can bet that we will go back there to let everyone know the software is live and where they can check it out.  This simple Reddit strategy could be leveraged quite a bit in different sub-reddits for individual games.  Other places to interact would be gaming forums and blogs.
  • Get Pro Players to try it out.  That's right, we said it…we want the Pros to use the software!  Everyone is human, and we hope a to approach a few well known players and see if we can get them to try out the software for free.  You can imagine the possibilities if one or two well-known players start using Vylo.
  • Crowd funding Campaign. This may or may not happen, we are just brainstorming at this point.  But we may try to start a Kickstarter or Indiegogo campaign to draw attention to the launch and to raise funds to add additional features to the software as well.  I think this idea has a lot of merit, and would be interesting to share the results here on NichePursuits.com for sure.

We certainly have thought of a few others ideas, but these are currently the core of what we want to pursue when we initially launch the software.

Overall, because its a chat software, if it performs well and is easy to use, other gamers will be exposed to it as their friends invite them to play.  We hope this has a viral effect in the gaming community.

How Will Vylo Make Money?

As you may have gathered from this post, Vylo is going to be a free chat software for gamers.  However, we have some ideas for premium features or perhaps ad based revenue ideas that will make Vylo a real business (money in the door).

We will go into more details on the business side of things with time.  But for now, we ARE thinking about it and essentially plan to build a huge user base with the free version of the software.  Then we hope a small percentage of our user base opts for some of the premium features.

Overall and Your Thoughts

We are very excited to get the product ready to go and let the market tell us what they think!  We've already received early indication on Reddit that gamers are very interested in this software solution, so we are encouraged with the initial results.

We've also been planning how we can market the software once it launches, and we are think there is some great potential here.

Overall, this is only post #1 in the Vylo case study!  So, now that you have been introduced to case study #1, I'd love to hear your comments and thoughts below.

I'll be sharing more details in the next week or so, and certainly more as things progress in the Vylo business.  This should be a fun ride, and hopefully it can be a great learning experience for everyone as well.

Want more details or have questions?  Ask away…

Related Projects:

109 Comments for this Post

  1. Kelvon Roy

    Kelvon Roy

    This is mind blowing, can’t wait to see what you guys have in the table.

    I wish you success in this project. 🙂

    • Spencer Haws

      Spencer Haws

      Thanks Kelvon – we are excited about the project and hope it goes well!

  2. Tung Tran

    Tung Tran

    This is going to be one of the best case studies that ever been published! I’m super excited to see how it goes.

    Best of luck on this project Spencer and Perrin.

    +1 for validating the software through Kickstarter first

    • Perrin

      Perrin

      Thanks dude 🙂

      I really would like to do a crowdfunding campaign. It’s tons of work, though, and I’m really not sure how to do it successfully. So, it wouldn’t be too much of a monetary investment, but it would definitely be a big time investment.

      • Sheyi

        Sheyi

        As long as you can get the right people to the project’s url, then you should be fine. Think about donors from niche pursuit. People from your mailing list and thousands of people from reddit that will be interested in putting some money upfront.

        You know, this idea is gold. Some people will see big potentials in it and won’t hesitate to put down 200grand to make it work – just saying.

        You write pretty well, so getting to convince people with your words should be a simple task IMO.

        You guys rock !

        • Spencer Haws

          Spencer Haws

          Thanks Sheyi, you are absolutely correct, that crowdfunding has a lot of potential. We are still discussing if this is the route we will go.

  3. Pratik Unadkat

    Pratik Unadkat

    I would comment first before reading. A quick skim look makes me yell that it is going to be awesome!

    I have plans in future in pursuing software development by approaching coders so I think this whole case study is really going to be an invaluable resource for me and many others for sure!

    Cheers,

    -Pratik.

    • Ahon

      Ahon

      Thanks for the support!

  4. Lenny

    Lenny

    This will be very cool to follow along with guys, lots of different skills involved and will be a really valuable case study.

    Best of luck 🙂

    Lenny

  5. John Shea

    John Shea

    Being a gamer myself I know this has potential to be HUGE, I know Steam voice chat can be limited compared to say TeamSpeak or Ventrilo.

    Looking forward to seeing progress on this!

    • Perrin

      Perrin

      Thanks, John 🙂

    • Spencer Haws

      Spencer Haws

      We love hearing from gamers like you John…the reaction has been really positive so far.

  6. Atin

    Atin

    Being an avid gamer and a dota addict myself, this seems like a great case study. Mostly this would be very much useful to those who have a limited-bandwidth broadband connection , as already pointed out, ingame chat clients as well as other third party chat clients use more bandwidth and are clunky. I have been using team speak , skype, pidgin etc.. but never have hooked on to one specific :).

    All the Best for this project guys 🙂

    • Perrin

      Perrin

      This is the best kind of feedback. Thanks! And yes; it’s been a major problem for, like, literally a decade now — ha.

      • Atin

        Atin

        Yeah :),
        I will be glued to the updates.

        One more thing, I would like to share for all of the people starting out on their own business ideas, there is a business model canvas (first result on google), a template which can really help out in getting the ideas straight 🙂

  7. sarfraz

    sarfraz

    Intresting, Best of luck on this project

  8. Ivan Juras

    Ivan Juras

    This seems good so far, but I don’t know how you guys will be able to monetize such a thing, since gamers basically want everything for free. And we know that selling skins isn’t an option here :).

    • Perrin

      Perrin

      But selling premium features is! Our premium model will “unlock” password-protected rooms, raid-sized rooms, custom backgrounds, etc. 🙂

  9. Craig

    Craig

    What a great idea, it’s the one thing consoles have as an advantage. The ability to jump straight into game chat without installing software.

    Good luck with the project.

    • Perrin

      Perrin

      Thanks, Craig!

  10. Rus

    Rus

    Great case study.

    I’m a UI/UX Designer/Developer (enough slashes for you?) with plenty of software ideas. The marketing part I get, but have never tried in as “Lean” a way as you are doing.

    Plus the crowd funding part… that really has me interested.

    Great luck to you and looking forward to following this!

    • Spencer Haws

      Spencer Haws

      Thanks Rus, great to hear some thoughts from a developer…

  11. Fran

    Fran

    This will be a really interesting project to follow.

    One monetisation method from the advertising angle you may or may not have thought of is using your background webpage space. See wetransfer,com as an example. They offer a free file transfer / sharing service. Like your app this doesn’t need to take up much space on the page but they use the background as a huge advertising space. One thing I have noticed is that they tend to always use really high quality images in the adverts which I think makes part of their brand. Their service might be less attractive if it allowed any old advert design.

    • Ahon

      Ahon

      Though we have considered using the background space, we hadn’t looked at it in that way. Good idea! Maybe that’s a path we’ll go down.

  12. Joseph

    Joseph

    Hi,
    Have you checked WebRTC in details ? Because as far as I know it’s a draft only, not a standard yet, and when I wanted to create conferencing website using that, I ran into problems: Chrome was supporting it, IE not at all, and I do not remember Firefox… on mobile platforms on Android it was working, on iOS not 🙁 So for first it doesn’t seems a platform of choice.
    Flash at least is supported on PC’s and Mac (not on mobiles, but for your project this is not a requirement)… so probably flash + flash-sip-gateway + Asterisk PBX would be best for you 🙂

    But if you found out something, will be eager to see it 🙂
    Best wishes 🙂

    • Perrin

      Perrin

      Yep; WebRTC is what makes this whole project possible. Before WebRTC, we would have had to buy flash servers, which basically cost $1 per visitor — which is crazy expensive.

      We’re not worried about IE at all at this point. Gamers just don’t use it. 🙂

    • Spencer Haws

      Spencer Haws

      Yes, we’ve checked into WebRTC :). In fact, we already have a working prototype, so its works just fine. We are just polishing some off the rough edges, etc…

  13. Dustin Jones

    Dustin Jones

    This has already been done but doesn’t mean there isn’t room for other competitors to enter into the market! …and applaud you for entrepreneur spirit!

    Have you seen Ventrilo and Teamspeak?

    These voice clients are currently used for gamers as downloadable software.

    Both these guys have the full suite when it comes to features and bells and whistles.

    __________________

    With that said, I understand your concept is to take this to the browser.

    I see the following challenges:
    – Server Resources – I’m pretty your potential competitors would have gone web but decided against it with server resource consumption being a huge part of the decision.

    Instead of voiceclips being being “rendered” with codex on the local machine, you’ll have to do all of this on your server or spend heavy resources to do this through a browser app, where the flexibility (with good reasoning) would be much more difficult than what you could do with your own software application.

    – Latency – Your audience is the most picky there is. Latency, speed, clarity and reliability are their main concerns.

    Alot of gamers are very picky when it comes to other apps running in the background when they play. The resources of the browser and running app within must be extremely low or many gamers just wont do it. The current competitors software applications are extremely light on resources.

    For me, my browser already has a lot of plugins/addons for my work and personal pleasure which include e-mail, communication and other “Live” updated in browser apps.

    The only way I would (could) use if I was gaming would be to create separate profile with just that app running, which would be sort of a pain initially and turn me off.

    LARGEST CHALLENGE I SEE

    – Lastly is server locations – Current competitors offer a server and client service where the server app can be installed on any hosting package around the US/worldwide.

    Location of the server is super important to users gaming together.

    You’re going to have to add on (feature and cost) of implementing that their instance can be installed in various cities/countries around the world and offer that yourself! That’s seriously going to be costly. Right now, users are free to choose location/hosting company as they please.

    Pro or even “for fun” gamers using group voice com are also very picky about this…. the difference between a 50MS latency and a 100MS latency will have clients switching hosting providers but using the same software. In your case, if you don’t offer the locations (and seems like you’ll have to do this yourself) you’ll simply lose the customer without the flexibility of this option.

    ___________________

    Bottom line. There is already some killer competition in this space.

    It sounds like the features you want include area present in all of them and lacking many many many others.

    Your “competitive edge” is to do so in a browser not downloadable software….

    I would ask one question:

    – As an avid gamers for 10+ years and “loyal” in-game voice comm customer of Ventrilo, what added value will I have using your software that makes my 10 year experience with Ventrilo worth the switch?

    – How does providing a “cloud” / browser experience add value to my voice comm experience?

    From a business standpoint, the concept is new but not innovating the wheel. Also, I’m not sure how you plan on making a profit at the price point people are willing to pay when the whole “cloud” thing is going to increase your cost by alot more and you wont have the option of passing this additional cost off to the customers in case you’re offering something of additional value from other options (which I’ve yet to understand from your concept)

    Hope not too critical, just my 2 cents….

    • Perrin

      Perrin

      Thanks 🙂

      We really don’t see Ventrilo as our competitor. We’re offering a very different product from them, even though they are in roughly the same space. We totally expect the Ventrilo and Teamspeak loyalists — the guys who play solely with their teams — to stick with them.

      However, the biggest advantage we have over Ventrilo is that we are 100x easier, and you don’t have to share your account/server info to chat with strangers (in, say, an LoL matchmaking game).

      Our primary competitors are independent developers who’ve already created similar programs. 🙂

    • Ahon

      Ahon

      Just to add to Perrin’s response, server costs were definitely something we were initially very concerned with. When we began this project, we originally wanted to try to do it with a flash-based framework (which, as you suggested, would be incredibly server intensive).

      That’s why we decided to switch over to WebRTC. Although we will need servers to ensure 100% reliability as we scale up, we can start without servers (as WebRTC is primarily a p2p network). Also, WebRTC has dramatically lower server load when compared to other forms of voice software.

      Why then, you might ask, have other competitors not entered the space? As far as I see it, there are a couple of reasons. First and foremost, the changing cost is quite high. Let’s look at companies like Skype and Ventrilo, who have built applications to allow their customers to communicate with each other. Both their servers and their application are built on a certain infrastructure. Everything is optimized to the nth degree. Switching that entire infrastructure would be incredibly cumbersome and expensive (and in the case of Ventrilo, it might even be impossible to do while retaining Ventrilo’s core competencies).

      The other issue is in brand. Let’s take Skype, for example. Skype has built a huge customer base of people that are familiar with its application. Completely changing how Skype works could shock their consumer base and might actually negatively impact them as a company (even though the change might be a good one).

      This is why Perrin says that our major competitors are going to be people who are trying to enter the space in the next year or so. We’re all looking at the same sector of the market, and the first person to do it really well is the person who’s going to get the largest “slice of the pie”. After establishing ourselves, we can start trying to obtain market share from those using other applications, but we think it’s important to start small and get bigger.

      Hopefully that answers some of your questions! Feel free to ask more as we go along 🙂

      Ahon

      • Perrin

        Perrin

        Plus, WebRTC is a fairly new technology. I doubt the big guys will switch over, but I’m sure we’ll see new competitors and auxiliary products in this space soon…

  14. Pratik Unadkat

    Pratik Unadkat

    Just finished reading it now. All I can say is that it is awesome and it has great potential to take off!

    Good luck and I will make sure to follow along.

    Cheers again,

    Pratik!

    • Ahon

      Ahon

      Thanks Pratik!

      We’re excited to see where this goes and bring you guys along with us for the ride.

      Best,

      Ahon

  15. Roberto

    Roberto

    Sounds great, you’ve already made so many steps forward.
    Best of luck to you guys, keep us updated!

    Was the price way over $2k?

    Just one thing, the logo looks cool and professional but it’s so similar to Buffer’s logo, actually, only the color is different!

    • Perrin

      Perrin

      We don’t want to disclose that right now — but the price wasn’t too outrageous for what we’re getting. In otherwords, we’re not spending $100k or anything.

    • Spencer Haws

      Spencer Haws

      Also, as far as logo/design – we haven’t even started that yet. What you see currently at vylo.org was a very lean attempt to get opt-ins. We will have more professional design and branding elements in place when the app is actually released.

  16. Rahat

    Rahat

    Looking forward to the case study. One thing I’ve noticed after firing tons of (so-called) developers on elance is that although developers have good ratings, some of their skills aren’t up to par with what I’m looking for.

    • Perrin

      Perrin

      Yep — lol. We ran into this for about 4 months straight.

      • CJ

        CJ

        This isn’t going to be a project for an entry level or even mid level software engineer.

        You’re going to need either one of those people who love to program just for the enjoyment of it and are a little off their rocker, or someone that has been in the industry for a while.

        • Spencer Haws

          Spencer Haws

          That’s correct – it requires an experienced developer, not someone entry level. We found that person – he’s definitely not off his rocker though :).

  17. andy

    andy

    who is your programmer. Will you reveal this to us if we want to seek out a programmer. Since you already know he is a good one that would take out alot of work for those that aspire one day to have a software created.

    • Spencer Haws

      Spencer Haws

      We are not sharing at this time. We don’t want to overwhelm our programmer with requests, as I know he is not looking for more projects right now.

  18. Swami

    Swami

    Awesome … good luck !! I had some success with some of my software products!! I outsourced it!!! But I know coding!!!!!!

    • Perrin

      Perrin

      This is actually a pretty important lesson. Outsourcing development can be MUCH easier if you know coding and therefore know exactly what to ask for. 🙂

  19. Brian

    Brian

    I have a few questions:

    1. You have all these various scripts under qualifications required, but what if you don’t know what qualifications are needed? How do you find out what qualifications to list?

    2. You find a programmer and they put the software together, and there are always bugs that are found later. I know maintenance has to be done to it, what if the programmer you previously hired is no longer around? How do you get your software maintained?

    3. This question kind of goes back to number 2. People that buy your software will generally give you update ideas, who do you get to perform the updates if original programmer is no longer around?

    4. How do you receive the software product? In other words what does the “raw” product look like? You don’t just get the working product only, you receive all the files that makes it work so it can be updated by someone else?

    5. Last question for now. What’s to keep a programmer from, after you have given them all that you want the to do, just taking your idea and making it their’s and sell it themself?

    • Perrin

      Perrin

      Thanks for the Qs 🙂

      1. Research.

      2. We tried our best to hire a very professional, trustworthy programmer with whom Spencer already had a long-term relationship. However, in this world, you get what you pay for. Slightly higher prices can get you a LOT more professionalism.

      3. We plan to use new revenue to pay the same programmer to make updates.

      4. We’ve been testing the product on a local developer site; we’ll eventually move it over to our primary domain — however, I have no idea how that will work yet.

      5. Our programmer doesn’t have our mailing list, marketing connections or marketing practice. Being able to programm a sweet application =/= being able to sell it.

      🙂

      • Spencer Haws

        Spencer Haws

        I will just comment on point 5. Developers don’t steal ideas; I’ve never seen this happen. I’m not saying it can’t, there has to be some trust there. BUT an idea is such a small fraction of a business. Marketing, Marketing, Marketing is what sells products; not ideas.

        Someone could steal Long Tail Pro today (some have tried), but they won’t be very successful because they don’t know how to bring in buyers.

        That’s one reason I’m not too concerned about sharing our idea publicly here before we even launch. The whole world can know what our idea is, I have a million ideas every day; but if you don’t know how to create something valuable AND sell it, you don’t have a business.

        • Brian

          Brian

          Thanks for the answers. Look forward to seeing this through the process.

  20. sean rithya

    sean rithya

    Thanks spancer! i love your sharing post. I think nowadays technology make many tools that easy for beginner user to create mobile apps (mostly android) just for few easy steps.
    They can generate income easily.

  21. Meg Sylvia

    Meg Sylvia

    Wow, awesome post! Going to Reddit to recruit email subscribers was genius. Awesome to see that kind of validation pre-launch!

    • Ahon

      Ahon

      Thanks Meg! Always nice to hear our ideas are appreciated by others 🙂

  22. John

    John

    There are existing products that do the exact same thing. What is it that will make your product stand out above the rest?

    • John

      John

      ps – what about using kickstarter for the funding source?

    • Perrin

      Perrin

      There are existing big products who do the same thing very poorly, which I talk about in the article.

      The primary difference between us and them, though, is the following. With Vylo:

      * …you don’t have to download anything
      * …you can chat without creating an account
      * …you don’t need to buy server space
      * …all you have to do is share a URL

      In short, we’re just much easier and faster. 🙂

  23. Salman

    Salman

    This is something really interesting … Looking forward to it. Good luck to both of you !

  24. Amir Najmi

    Amir Najmi

    I’m not a gamer but seems similar to GoToMeeting in the way that you don’t need to create an account to join. Otherwise it would be like skype, oovoo, etc.

    Cool idea, seems like a simple way to get all people in a voice chatroom. Excited to see where this goes especially with monetizing it. The gamer niche is really internet saavy so I don’t think display advertising would work even if it was on a CPM model since most of these people use ad blockers.

    -Amir

  25. Nick

    Nick

    This is a very interesting and may i say ambitious project. I wish you the best of luck with it, looking forward to more updates on this.

  26. Jason

    Jason

    This is going to be incredibly interesting. There’s so much value in following along as you break down the discussions/obstacles with the programmers and take this to market. Super smart move to validate the idea on Reddit and use them to build a list.

    But like other commenters, I have some hesitations about the target audience, given the reputation of “cheap gamers”.

    I’m not sure on the ongoing maintenance costs of Vylo, but I hope you’ve at least done some back of the napkin math to project the # of estimated paying users, and how much they’d pay a month to keep this project proftable.

    What’s good about this product is that its application can go beyond gaming. So if the money isn’t coming in fast enough, you can still pivot and market it to a more profitable audience.

    • Spencer Haws

      Spencer Haws

      In regards to “cheap gamers”: the market is already validated, there are a number of competing products already for gamers that have been around for a while; they do very well. The money is there.

      We are not creating something new; we are creating something better in an existing market.

  27. Daniel

    Daniel

    Great post and fantastic project. There is already so much information in the post for the ones who have never developed a software product. The hardest part of this project will be to make money from a free application. I am sure that if the technical part is done properly, then the financial will come together easily.

  28. Ugur

    Ugur

    Great idea Spencer and Perrin, well done.
    I am not a gamer but my son is. So I asked him how he voice chat with his friends. He said he uses Skype but it has some issues. I told about Vylo. He said he will not only try but if it works for him, he will definetely invite his friends to use it.
    You guys are so inspiring. My son is a great gamer and huge fan of online games. While we discussed Vylo, we also ended up with a few business idead with online gaming.
    Thanks again…

    • Perrin

      Perrin

      This is awesome!

    • Spencer Haws

      Spencer Haws

      Awesome!

  29. KimP

    KimP

    This will be huge! Greatness in the making!

    Do you guys have social accounts (Facebook, Twitter, YouTube) for the brand? If not, sign up for them now! That would also be a great way to increase discoverability.

    Also, maybe you guys could shoot a little commercial with a real life gaming scenario with a group of gamers displaying the disadvantages of the current gamer chat platforms (lagging, crashing, general annoyance during game play, things most gamers would understand), then show the ease of using Vylo. Just a thought, lol.

    As someone said above, this will be the greatest case study EVER!

    • Pratik Unadkat

      Pratik Unadkat

      I agree!

  30. Jonny

    Jonny

    I love this case study! I am also pursuing a saas business.

    Where/How did you get the video made? it looks great!

    Thanks!

  31. Dhruv

    Dhruv

    Good Luck to all of you.. I am looking forward to learn something major this time. Keep sharing 🙂

  32. John C

    John C

    Great idea, Gents!

    I play a bit of League in my spare time and currently use TS and Skype. You guys are right, your solution would alleviate a lot of problems. I’ll give you an example that came up a few days ago. I started playing with a new crew recently, and we were trying to get everyone on TS. It took two of our teammates 20 minutes to download the software and then another 10 minutes for them to configure and get on our channel, lol.

    So, I’ll definitely be using your service once launched:) I know a few people that play League so I can help spread the word.

    Perrin, mind if I add you to my League buddy list? Maybe we can get a game going sometime:)

    • Perrin

      Perrin

      Sure man! IGN is Soupertramp. 🙂

  33. sarah

    sarah

    great idea the best luck for you guys

  34. Glen @ Monster Piggy Bank

    Glen @ Monster Piggy Bank

    I’ll be interested to see how this pans out. Being an IT guy (both programming and networking) I know that most voice traffic is UDP whereas webtraffic on port 80 or 8080 is TCP.

    The major difference is that UDP is a lot faster as it doesn’t have to wait for a packet response, but it is far less reliable and packets can be lost. I also note that if you plan on doing this via a browser that you will be using HTTP traffic, which is given a far lower weighting in QoS queues than VoIP traffic. Not sure how well it will go honestly, I suspect it the voice chat might be a bit laggy, still, interesting idea – it will be good to see if you can get it to work.

    As a side note – Lots of gamers tend to use twitch to watch games, this might be a good place to advertise your product should you get it working. Even getting some pro gamers on board talking about the product on their twitch channels might be a good idea.

    • Perrin

      Perrin

      Yea; we’re looking into Twitch. However, they’re getting pretty big now, which means they can charge bigger bucks. :/

  35. Aaron

    Aaron

    Good luck guys, I hope this turns out well for you. This is definitely an unique case study. I have been involved in gaming/chat platform business since 2006. From experience I’ve learned from this niche, the hardest challenge is capturing and retaining the audience. Tackling software business isn’t easy, some very valid points and concerns made by Dustin Jones which I agree here. But If you have a kickass piece of software, the audience is going to stay. All the best!

  36. Jenda

    Jenda

    Hi, fellow gamers! 🙂

    I think I have some mental block in my head. Everytime when I try to come up with a new product (just brainstorming) it must be something new that nobody did before. So I was a little bit sceptical, when I read what’s your SW product.

    However, when I read more and more, I started to see, what are you trying to do here (or Perrin is even better writer than I thought, lol).

    I have used TS and Ventrilo since forever, in games like Dota 2 (LoL? Oh, cmon guys! *poking*) voice chat makes your gameplay better and more fun. So making easier and faster option to set up voice chat “sounds” like pretty good idea 🙂

    I’m curious about monetization, since when you’re playing game, you don’t look at your browser (aka something Adsense wouldn’t be great). I think the best option is profiting with membership, but you need to come up with great features 🙂

    Anyway – Good luck to you all, I’m super interested in your project, so I will follow it closely! 🙂

    • Spencer Haws

      Spencer Haws

      Jenda, its extremely rare (maybe never?), that a business comes out with something completely new. Its usually an idea that is an evolution of improvement on an existing product.

      • Jenda

        Jenda

        Totally agree, I have to change my mindset 🙂

        Good luck!

  37. Andy

    Andy

    My mind is buzzing with the technical challenges that comes along with this idea, and to get it to work at at a viable price point. So much fun (and a little stress) to be had by the team to come up with a solution to this. I am sure that there is a much wider market out there for this service.

  38. Sean Markey

    Sean Markey

    Hey guys!

    This sounds absolutely interesting, and I’ll definitely be following along.

    Best of luck!

  39. Melissa Thorpe

    Melissa Thorpe

    Definitely looking forward to following this project. Although I’m not a gamer, I like the idea of one day looking into building software.

    Oh and thought you should know one thing I noticed… on vylo.org under “Easy” you’re still using GGNoob.

  40. Victoria

    Victoria

    Follow it up with the next case study being rolling out an affiliate marketing program for the product and then show us how to approach it from the perspective of marketing and promoting someone’s product.

    • Spencer Haws

      Spencer Haws

      Very possible, we’ll see.

  41. Chris R Jensen

    Chris R Jensen

    This is indeed a very good idea.
    I too am a gamer but I am more into RTS such as age Og empires and Starcraft.
    In terms of marketing for the product – you could considder contacting one of the very top casters in Starcraft – Huskystarcraft. He is a very good gamer and very good commentator. His youtubes rarely has less than 60.000 views and the norm is over 100.000 – getting him to mention it could boost the number of hits even further.

    Can’t wait to see the final product

    • Spencer Haws

      Spencer Haws

      Thanks for the suggestion Chris!

  42. 10 Ways To Test A Business Idea For Less Than $50 - Self Made Businessman

    10 Ways To Test A Business Idea For Less Than $50 - Self Made Businessman

    […] forums you can leverage or online communites like Reddit. For example, these guys had an idea on how to improve the voice chat system for gamers, so they went to Reddit. End Result – 6300 email sign ups and a ton of feedback. (This is discussed more in depth in […]

  43. Johnny Bravo

    Johnny Bravo

    Great idea guys. There is a great chance of something like this going mainstream in the gaming industry. By chance any thought of partnering with a major gaming companies? Not sure how that would work but I imagine it would be similar to reaching out to Gaming Pros to get their feedback. I’m not a big gamer though so I don’t really know the industry.

    An idea for revenue, why not make the password protected rooms part of the “premium” package?

    Or maybe sell audio ad space for whenever someone connects. For example if I were playing a game, a friend sends me the link, I click on it to join the audio chat and there is a short 5-10 sec audio commercial before I connect to the room? That would obviously have implications on the “get set up and live in 30 secs” endeavor but could potentially bring in a lot of revenue while keeping the service mainly free.

    Just a thought.

    Looking forward to hearing more on this project.

    ~ Johnny Bravo

    • Pratik Unadkat

      Pratik Unadkat

      Brilliant idea I think. Spencer, audio commercials should be great and I have seen a lot of them doing well on non-visual shows. Think of FM Radio, it works in a similar fashion too!

      -Pratik.

  44. Glenys @ Website Tips 4U

    Glenys @ Website Tips 4U

    This will be an invaluable case study to follow.

    There are so many steps involved, not least of which is the actual development of the software, any software for that matter. But your experiences with programmers for Long Tail Pro, Spencer, will really help the group.

    I’m looking forward to following your business strategies in this project and of course watching it take off financially.

  45. Krzysztof

    Krzysztof

    Wow. This is great guys! Like many others, I used to be a gamer myself and have experience with many chat softwares and I totally see the potential here since I remember having issues with the present voice chat clients.

    As to Ventrilo – I want to mention one more (although rather less problematic) flaw which I’ve been struggling with. People who use Mac OS (well, gamers don’t usually use Macs, but since I was one I believe there are others) happen to have problems using Ventrilo. Namely Mac OS isn’t supported by all of the codecs, specifically the GSM codec which happens to be the most commonly used one. Reading your idea I don’t think there would be any issues for mac users at all, and I think you guys can definitely take advantage of that. Besides, most of the popular voice chat softwares look very old-fashion and cheap, so that’s another good thing I suppose. Of course it doesn’t really matter because the functionality is the most essential part, but I think it’s still a great thing if there was something prettier and fresh looking on the market.

    I will definitely vouch for you guys once it’s out since I have friends and experience in the niche and used to be a moderator on D2JSP.org which happens to the biggest gaming forum on the internet (the 3rd biggest forum overall, next to Gaia Online and 4Chan). The amount of games featured on the forum is huge, so it’s not just Diablo related forum (as you may guess looking at the name) like it used to be. I have connections with admins and the mod team, so I could definitely help you spread the word there on a pretty big scale. If you’re interested please let me know! I’d be more than happy to help since it’s related to something I used to spend tons of my time on and am still knowledgeable about 🙂

    Either way good luck with the project guys. I believe it will be a killer!

    • Spencer Haws

      Spencer Haws

      Awesome…thanks for reaching out! Email sent 🙂

  46. Case Study: Buying Websites and Strategy to Increase Earnings | Niche Pursuits

    Case Study: Buying Websites and Strategy to Increase Earnings | Niche Pursuits

    […] couple of days ago, I revealed that the first case study I will be working on is developing a voice chat software with Perrin.  Now its time to reveal the second case study of the year.  That’s right, both […]

  47. Miki Vicioso

    Miki Vicioso

    Finally something different! looking forward to keep following!

  48. Stuart Walker

    Stuart Walker

    Spender, Perrin and friends….this is epic!

    Really interesting case study that I’m looking forward to following.

    Very impressed you managed to build up such a big email list so quickly via just one Reddit post too. Keep building it!

    I can see this being a huge success now that Spencer is on board.

    Keep up the good work guys!

    • Spencer Haws

      Spencer Haws

      Thanks Stuart…there’s definitely alot of potential in the voice chat market!

  49. Paul

    Paul

    Have you ever though of joining in one of those crowd-funding platforms that are online?

    If you did – why you didn’t do it?

  50. Sameh

    Sameh

    Sounds interesting!

    BTW, Why you didn’t try to acquire the .com domain first? I see it’s for sale by N***aDomains with minimum offer of $50 which is from my experience means they maybe ready to let this domain for cheap ($500 – $1500).

    I know that you don’t need to put more pressure on your budget but if your software turned into success (I’m pretty sure it will) you may pay double or even more for the .com and I think the leaking traffic worth the early investment. You are building a brand not just a project.

    PS: I put the asterisks in the company’s name so it wouldn’t show up on their radar.

    Best of luck!

    • Spencer Haws

      Spencer Haws

      I’m all about getting business in the door and worrying about the little things later. There are plenty of businesses that do very well that never owned the .com…getrichslowly.org is one that comes to mind.

  51. Kevin

    Kevin

    Excellent! Not a gamer, but i’m really excited about the project. It’s definitely a new challenge and I believe it’s a good one to add in a portfolio of niche websites. I also think Kickstarter or Indiegogo could be a good one. Indiegogo actually have a dedicvated team called the “success team” if i remember well that accompany you in building your campaign. Other advantage, they let you get the money even if you don’t reach your goal. Not that i think it’s a fair thing, but well, they do so. Best of luck!

  52. adam

    adam

    I would comment first before reading. A quick skim look makes me yell that it is going to be awesome!

  53. Morgan

    Morgan

    Check this out Spencer and Perrin…is it similar to what you guys are putting together?

    (I have no association with the site, just stumbled across it)

    videowith.me

    • Morgan

      Morgan

      ps – it seems to be connected with tokbox.com

  54. Misty Spears

    Misty Spears

    This is awesome! As a gamer, I am excited for this. I use all the voice chat platforms and they do tend to suck. lol

    I’m in a clan of over 600 people on Warframe (my husband is the general…did I mention I’m a nerd?) I’ll definitely tell everyone tonight to sign up for your beta.

    Best of luck guys, I think this will rock!

    • Perrin

      Perrin

      Thank you!

      Please feel free to contact me to see if we can do something awesome for you or something. 🙂

    • Spencer Haws

      Spencer Haws

      Awesome…thanks Misty!

  55. Introducing the Vylo Case Study: Creating a Software Business … | COPY SOFT

    Introducing the Vylo Case Study: Creating a Software Business … | COPY SOFT

    […] View post: Introducing the Vylo Case Study: Creating a Software Business … […]

  56. How to Be a Family Man and Still Bootstrap a Successful Business | Niche Pursuits

    How to Be a Family Man and Still Bootstrap a Successful Business | Niche Pursuits

    […] that now includes my niche sites, Long Tail Pro, Rank Hero, Domain Jawa, Niche Website Theme, Vylo, and other […]

  57. Niche Site Project: Income Report for March 2014! | Niche Pursuits

    Niche Site Project: Income Report for March 2014! | Niche Pursuits

    […] Building this site was literally the beginning of a new life for me. It’s the tool through which I pried myself out of the toxic, soulless corporate world and started doing something I loved. It also facilitated a working relationship between myself and Spencer that eventually lead to a professional partnership in which he hired me full-time and became a cofounder at Vylo. […]

  58. Kenny

    Kenny

    I am pretty big on League of Legends, this would totally change the way regular games will be played.

    I like this!!!

    Where is the email list Perrin? I would be happy to join.

    • Kenny

      Kenny

      found it. 😛

  59. Two Case Studies On Using reddit To Generate Leads - Self Made Businessman

    Two Case Studies On Using reddit To Generate Leads - Self Made Businessman

    […] this product isn’t built yet, but those guys generated over 6,000 subscribers to their email list – that’s a big […]

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