This week PHP Melody turns seven years old. On Oct 15, 2007 we launched PHP Melody into the world and the very same day we had our first (brave) customer. To put things into context, PHP Melody was released a year after Google bought YouTube. Those days, online video was just getting started and building a special CMS just for video was pretty…well, silly.
PHP Melody was born as a music video CMS; hence the origin of its name. It also came with a manually compiled database of thousands of music videos bundled into the product. The database was, of course, diligently renewed on each product update. We put a lot of passion into this product from day one. And the finished product worked…barely.
What really made PHP Melody an instant favorite was its different approach to building video sites. Back in those days it was pretty amazing that anyone could build a video site on their own without technical help and/or by spending thousands of dollars on servers and bandwidth. Our approach to building video sites turned out to be very popular because it liberalized the whole process. Today, PHP Melody is still a clear favorite. Furthermore, it outperformed and outlived most of its alternative solutions which, unfortunately, are now abandoned products with a huge discount sticker on them.
But that not something we’re really proud of. What we truly care about is that people from all walks of life and from over 120 countries use PHP Melody to build all sorts of sites. Our video CMS was used for local churches, schools and universities, charitable NGOs, small businesses, freelance projects, company websites and so on.
In a world of profit-obsessed business nobody is really and truly looking for the little guy, the small business or the NGOs. We strive to do just that. Even if it may ‘hurt’ our bottom line, we’ve only increased our pricing once in seven years and for just $10 USD after a major product overhaul. We’re happy with our revenue and there’s a fine line between helping people at a fair price and helping people because they give you lots of money. We don’t want to be the latter.
Since most of our customers are entrepreneurial in nature I want to share some of the lessons that persisted.
What makes us proud.
- Our focus
PHP Melody is our sole project. This means that our customers get our undivided attention and a product they can rely on.
- Our endurance
We’ve been in business with PHP Melody for the past seven years. To put it blunt that’s insane in internet years. Sure, we’ve had our ups and downs over the years but we’ve been regularly building new updates, improvements and in general moving forward.
- Our team
The same people are working on the same jobs as they did seven years ago. We’re a solid, committed team which stood the test of time (among others).
- Our excellent customers
We’re lucky to have the best types of people as our customers. For example, we deal with 4-year old customers on a daily basis. Our loyalty to this project is reciprocated and that’s a great feeling.
What we’ve learned (the hard way).
- You really, really need to be passionate about what you do because you never know when you’ll be spending the best years of your life on the same project, day in day out.
- The ball needs to be moved everyday. You have to constantly learn, observe, decide and act. All this while still tending to your daily duties. If you stand still you’ll be sinking fast, lose your momentum and start over.
- Customer service is not optional. Helping your customers is as much part of the product as the code itself. We’ve learned that communication with our customers is even more important than a line of new code
- Getting to watch PHP Melody grow, and make happy customers, to know that you gave it life, you made something that helps people is a bigger reward than any momentary thrill or win.
Happy birthday, baby.
Happy birthday to our little baby, PHP Melody. Today we’re taking half a day off to get the traditional cake and chocolate coffee and reflect on the past 7 years. Here’s for another 7 years!
We can’t thank you — our customers — enough for helping PHP Melody continue to head in the right direction. Thank you all. Without you, there’d surely be no PHP Melody. Thanks to your trust and loyalty during the good times and those not-so-good times we can still do what we love doing – build the best Video CMS; together.