Customers For Life

I highly recommend you read/watch this post:

I’ve been doing consulting work for over sixteen years and a vast majority of it using Xojo. During my time with my own clients I’ve tried real hard to keep them happy because I’ve always known that happy customers come back. Finding new clients takes a lot of effort.

I know I’m not the least expensive Xojo consultant out there and I’m certainly not the most expensive either. Our billing rates reflect what we feel is a good value. If our rates are too high for a prospective client I’m okay with not getting their business because it’s not worth it to me to compromise on that (and I’ve pointed them to other developers that I believe could help them). Sometimes they come back later and sometimes they don’t.

The post I linked to talks about getting ‘Customers For Life’. I’m happy to say that we’ve had some of the same consulting clients for well over ten years. I try to make them feel appreciated and that we listen to their concerns. When things go wrong we try to make it right. Some clients have left and I hope they’re happy with the new developer they decided to use. But a lot of them stayed and that makes me very happy.

As the post said it’s not all that hard to keep a customer. All you have to show is that you have their best interests at heart. As Maya Angelou said, “People will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.”

How does this all relate to the general theme of my blog? Well, it’s no secret that I’ve been unhappy with Xojo recently. I’ve felt for many years that Xojo doesn’t court people like me (consultants and 3rd party developers) with much fervor. I’ve generally been okay with that because the product works well for what I do for my customers and if they’re happy I’m happy.

The whole fiasco with API 2.0 has left me feeling rung out and unappreciated. Many of the beta testers gave their opinion and concerns about API 2.0 very early in the R2 beta and those concerns were either ignored or dismissed. Those concerns have since been confirmed by the 3rd party developers.

If you had asked me a year ago would I be this mad at Xojo? I’d say, not a chance. After all I’ve been their customer for a long time. I’d hate to add up all the money I’ve paid them for licenses, consulting leads, and conferences over that period not to mention the number of blog posts, the many hours to create training videos, and in general promoting their product. Obviously helping them has helped my business. I’d like to think my work has helped them too.

So what happens when they lose a customer for life? We’re going to find out, I guess. I’m not going away any time soon since I’m not going to abandon my consulting clients but rather than renewing annually like I’ve done for many years I believe I’ll wait until I’m forced to upgrade for whatever reason, or they release a version I can use.

I’ll still blog about the product because that’s what I do and I’ll continue to update our Xojo products because we use them too (converting to API 2.0 is still up in the air for now). Will I start looking at alternatives to Xojo? Yes because they’ve made me feel like I’m unimportant to them. They don’t want customers for life they only seem to want new Xojo developers.

Finding an alternative to Xojo won’t be easy. Despite its warts it’s still a pretty unique product. There are lots of alternatives that don’t do something that Xojo already does, but the flip side is that there are products that do some things way better than Xojo.

Over the upcoming months I’ll start letting you know what I’ve been looking at and why. It might be illuminating and it might just end up being that I stick with Xojo because I just don’t find an alternative (I doubt this but it’s a possibility). I’m looking at the overall package from the IDE, to the language, to the 3rd party market, to the consulting market. It’s a big task.

Could Xojo win me back? Anything’s a possibility. Heck, I want to be excited about the product again. I need it to succeed for my clients to succeed. But for now, I’m satisfied with 2019 R1 and looking for alternatives.

22 thoughts on “Customers For Life

  1. As sad as it sounds, your words match exactly my concerns.
    There was a change in Xojo’s strategy some years ago when they were vividly targeting new customers, cutting back recent customer support and localizations as well.
    I asked them to make the cancellation of German and Italian Evangelist posts known publicly – not because I feared so much for the loss in income (which admittedly struck hard), but because I felt this would be a major mistake, and in my experience the company had listened to public opinion in the past.

    Not this time. Even more, Joe left without a comment, and Norman was fired for very unclear reasons. I always respected Geoff because he has proven to follow a philosophic approach rather than the materialistic one, which I admire a lot. But I feel that Xojo has left this path. I still hope that they will find back before the reported unwillingness to buy license renewals will strike the company hard.

    This would be such a waste of potential! There is currently no real competitor in native xplatform (desktop) applications. Luckily, or I would have switched already.

  2. Clarifications:
    “recent” should have been “current”, and the mentioning of staff leaving because of the former claims of long-term employments which are opposed to these events, and the fact that Xojo depends extremely on its user base and unclear (even hidden) situations will always cause an information vacuum which will inevitably filled by concerns and suspicions if not cleared otherwise. A philosophical fact, not a material one 😉

  3. Something very basic changed at Xojo Inc and ir started awhile ago, but it’s only now that it go to the point of being undeniable.

    In my experience staff reductions such as have been noted to Xojo tends to mean one of 3things things…
    1) Sales have fallen of a lot
    2) Costs are being cut to make a potential sale of the company more attractive to buyers
    3) management has decided to use the company as a cash cow to maximize short term profits and not worry about the long term

    Maybe it’s something else… as none of those are a positive for customers i hope so.

    But it seems pretty obvious that no matter the reason, the path they are on is not mainly about improving the product in ways that really matters to increase sales and KEEP customers.. and they need to do both keep existing customers as well as get new ones to ensure continued long term success IMO.

    As i said before everyone that leaves disappointed means more potential bad word of mouth and that cuts down on the number of potential new customers.


  4. Try FileMaker, the database development tool we also make plugins for. A very different world to Xojo.

    And currently we have a race going on:

    Both Claris Inc and Xojo Inc rewrite the web component and try to create an Android support. I am curious who is first to release and which is better to use!

  5. For a consulting business, diversifying would actually be an advantage. Then you could offer customers a greater range of proposed solutions for their needs. For example, developing in Xcode has definite advantages over Xojo when it comes to Apple software. Right tool for the right job.

    • Sure, but my considerations are considerably harder since I have zero Mac only clients, a handful of Windows only clients, and the rest are definitely cross-platform. A client here and there with iOS apps and Raspberry Pi apps and even a few that either have Linux or considering Linux. Quite a few large web app projects. I doubt I’ll find one dev system for all of those targets but we’ll see.

  6. It seems that insight is achieved. 2019R2.1b12 comes without looks or blushes. Think 2019r2 was a waste of time and a lot of noise for nothing.

        • Xojo has lost some serious goodwill in the community. Making one concession doesn’t turn everything around because this has been many years in the making.

          I’m still undecided about Nashville. Much depends on the first release of 2020 (assuming it even is released before Xojo.Connect).

    • Regardless, most of API 2 name changes really were not needed IMO and all that took away from potentially useful changes.

      In any case there is one thing I really would want to see, if I am going to actually code in R2+ and that is having an option to be able to “Save” and “Save as” in a format that can be opened in <2019R2…

      That is so I can use #If XojoVerson when i want to use specific new features but still open and in older IDEs. I suspect it will be a good while before I will be willing to commit to R2+ only, and I am not likely to code in an IDE that makes it hard to go back.

      It's pain to have to create a project in 2019R1 (or copy and rename one created with R1 or older) and then open it in R2… Also when coding I do a "Save As" to fork when I am going to make a change I am not sure would will work.. If I do that in R2+ I then can't go back to <R2 easily.

      Yes I can save in text format and modify that to be able to do that, but I should not have to.

      – Karen

      • Agreed. The 3rd party, or anyone with older projects for that matter, have the dilemma of deciding when to make the jump to any release > 2019 R1.1 as it makes going back hard.

        According to Feedback the Events in API 2.0 have been reverted to API 1.0. So partially good news.

        • I literally have every version back as far as 2013 r3.3 in my Applications folder as an insurance policy against capricious changes and new bugs. Going back can be hard, but this and a good Time Machine history covers my butt pretty well. I could probably stand to trim a few of them, but the fact that I feel the need to do this at all certainly doesn’t say anything positive.

          But yes. Reverting the events is a hopeful sign.

  7. I wouldn’t be surprised if Xojo were purchased by Idera any time soon. Just my five cents.

      • They’re the current ultimate owners of Delphi, another closed source cross platform development tool.
        It’s not a development I’d find particularly encouraging.

      • Also they have bought two of my current tools: Travis and Sencha. Idera seem to be really interested in development tools with high yearly license costs (just like Xojo).
        The transition period of 18 months has been rough for Sencha, but they seem to be finding their footing again and also actually getting back in shape.

  8. You said recently that your going to have a look at Lazarus. I hope you do so sooner rather than later as I’d love to read your experiences of it.

    • My initial experience has not been positive. Installation on the Mac has not been as easy as one would hope. Their message telling me what to install have been less than helpful…..

  9. At least for my customers, the monthly fees for FileMaker are far too high. I tested almost everything from Lazarus to PureBasic, Zoho creator, but I don’t think any of those can seriously compete with Xojo.

    However, I’m very disappointed as well by the latest releases and strategic approaches from Xojo, and we have to carefully analyze how long we’ll afford to continue our development with Xojo.

    Our customers, mainly in the field of NPOs, were requesting in the past software running on different operating systems. Web development wasn’t an option at that time, and I had big hope in Xojo delivering big on web development features. What a disappointment, though.

    I am currently evaluating vue.js for the frontend and Laravel for the server-side in PHP, and most likely, we will move to web development and perhaps using Electron for those customers who still believe that a native app is needed. I don’t think so; the contrary is probably true. Besides Windows services, taskbar features, etc., I do not see a real need for anything which could not run in a modern browser.

    Sad news, but we need a predictable roadmap and a sustainable solution and have to move on quickly.

  10. The product is nearly 25 years old and has failed to become a major programming language. Its not even close to being listed in the top 150 list by TIOBE. Why? Because of the bleeping bleep that runs the company.

    I’ve been saying for years the company lacks sufficient financial resources to actually make a good product. Instead they are focused on the “rob Paul to pay Peter” business model. The product is a Ponzi scheme where they need to continually attract new suckers to keep things afloat because they don’t have the funds to actually satisfy previous customers. They have more dissatisfied former customers than current customers.

    I’ve gotten all the ways they pissed me off. They took all the upgrade fees I and other paid for REALbasic to build a competing Windows IDE instead of improving their core Mac product. Then there was the new IDE with RealStudio that constantly crashed – even producing kernel panics on my Mac. The rebranding to Xojo. Further expanding into other half-assed products in order to sucker more people in.

    They announced a sale on upgrades and then soon afterward announced they were doing away with upgrades altogether and instead forcing to buy the product over again. Nice how they didn’t mention this during the sale – its called deceit. I recently tried to purchase a 3rd party add-on product from their site and it already does not work with my version of Xojo even though its says it supports API 1.0.. Of course the publisher has already abandoned supporting anything for API 1.0. How about the company actually testing what they sell first so they can state what it works with. Oh wait, we are the actual testers who the company thinks want to pay for the privilege of being beta testers.

    The recent API 2.0 is just another rebranding for this failed company. Its also a loyalty test. The cult leader that runs the company only wants brainwashed followers surrounding him and not potential trouble makers who complain. Do you keep drinking the poisoned Kool Aid and let it kill you or do your drink something else?

    I am still laughing about them changing dim to var. The actions of a insane leader for sure.

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