The adage "here today, gone tomorrow" is one that software users have come to know too well. It's relatively fast & easy to build an app. Much more challenging is the prospect of maintaining that shiny new app as the months turn to years turn to decades.
We believe that a well-built note taking and task app has the potential to become deeply woven into a user's daily life, improving wellbeing and amplifying creativity. Because an app like Amplenote is in some sense a part of the user's brain & thinking, it's imperative to share our plan to keep Amplenote available to its users for decades to come.
The #1 killer of promising apps is their own success. The traditional recipe for building a "successful" software business follows an arc: 1) build great product 2) prove user adoption 3) raise $10-100m in VC cash, adding one or more investors to the company's Board of Directors 4) pressure from said Board of Directors to sell or merge within 5-10 years ensues.
Amplenote's business model is different. We're building incremental profitability as adoption spreads through word-of-mouth.
For more than 15 years (since we started our first business, Bonanza.com), we have maintained a balanced approach to growth by listening to users and not getting mired in tech debt or bugs. We won't accept investment funds predicated on an implied exit or IPO. This product is the most exciting tool that its founders could imagine working on, and we intend to continue developing it so long as we have users that will support our effort.
The most common reason that once-promising apps grind to a halt and stop evolving is that they accumulate too much tech debt while pursuing rapid growth in their early stages. Our commitment to gradual, responsible growth is coupled with the development philosophy that fixing bugs should take precedence over adding features. Human nature makes this philosophy relatively uncommon -- adding shiny new toys is more fun & satisfying than time-consuming investigations into problems. But in the long-term, the costs of unfixed reproducible bugs, or band-aid fixed bugs, eventually makes it prohibitively difficult to change the software. Amplenote takes this problem so seriously that we built a companion product called GitClear specifically to aid our pursuit of measuring and removing tech debt.
The rationale for this is explained in greater detail in our Core Customer Values. When all of your content (including images, tags, and Rich Footnotes) can be converted to markdown at any time, you will always be ready to switch to whatever the latest greatest note taking app happens to be.
Even with responsible growth and the discipline to fix bugs before adding features, there's no guarantee that a company will retain the ability to continue operating indefinitely. In the event that circumstances, somehow, lead us to a state where we can no longer operate the infrastructure required to keep Amplenote online, we pledge to release the source code for Amplenote to the public, so that other entrepreneurs or software developers can take the code we wrote and package it into whatever form the remaining users can support.
We further pledge never to sell Amplenote to another company that would be unable or unwilling to open source Amplenote in the event that they could not continue to provide the Amplenote service to its historical standard.
The future is an unpredictable place, which makes it difficult to fully imagine every possible scenario that could make it difficult to keep Amplenote running. Hopefully, through the pledges above, you can agree that we are making every possible effort to ensure that Amplenote, and your Amplenote content, will endure indefinitely.