Announcing Curio 3.2!

Thursday, June 29, 2006

Yeppers! Another fine release of Curio for everyone chock full of nifty features. This is, of course, a free update for all current Curio 3.x users.

Let's discuss some of these features:
  1. The iPhoto Exporter is the bomb. Very slick. With just a couple of clicks one or all of your project's idea spaces are converted into images (scaled if you'd like) and added to an iPhoto album. Then what? Heck, you can sync it to your iPod for presentations on-the-go, photocast it to colleagues all around the world, or use iPhoto's slideshow mode with music to make your clients swoon.
  2. The idea space toolbar popup means you can instantly create a new idea space of any of our built-in paper styles (college-ruled? engineering? graph paper? your choice!). You can even click to create a new idea space with the same style info as your current idea space. This means the same grid, background color and image, etc. We also added a slew of new idea space backgrounds for your enjoyment!
  3. Support for Tiger's integrated text lists and tables. People will love this one! Tiger's text editor control introduced these features and now Curio has the internal changes required to handle them. Under the Format > Text menu you can easily create a numbered or enumerated list, or a quick text table with customizable rows and columns.
  4. The new Create Archive feature was so obvious that I'm embarrassed that it took us so long to add it. With this feature it's now incredibly easy to make a backup of your project, optionally with all aliased assets automatically embedded, and, optionally, the resulting project zipped up for your convenience.
  5. Next, I want to touch on some various speed improvements. We improved some internal logic when selecting and creating idea spaces to make that process a half second faster. We are now caching asset file information, such as file size and last modified date, which makes switching back to Curio from another app incredibly fast. Lastly, we are now resolving aliases a bit smarter. We used to ask the Mac to resolve aliases even if it meant attempting to auto-mount a server/volume which isn't available. This would even happen if you weren't even connected to the network. The result was a 60-second-per-asset delay when trying to use Curio. Yikes! Now we ask the Mac not to auto-mount, resolving only aliases that it can easily find.
There are lots of other features which I'll just quickly mention: Send to Front/Back toolbar buttons, "Share when copied" checkbox in the Extras inspector so you can make text figures which will all change when one is changed, much more robust saving of the all-important asset library, selecting a list and changing its font will change both the list items and the list enumerators, setting a rating for a figure will auto-show the rating as well, better handling of foreign characters in asset titles, and much more!!!!!!

Oh, we also added a very slick (IMHO) "What Can I Do With Curio" feature found under the Help menu. This is a cool slideshow showing sample projects created with Curio. You can also see an almost identical version here online.

Whew! That was a long posting. I hope everyone enjoys Curio 3.2 and please let us know what other goodies you'd like to see us add to future releases.

Apple in education

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

So, in my never-ending quest for yummy statistics, I've been collecting some info, in Curio naturally, on Apple's education market. I've got a ton of links and notes jotted down over the past year and I like where things are going.

I'm quite excited about two recent events:
  1. BusinessWeek suggests that college students should buy Macs.
  2. Apple has an awesome promotion: buy a Mac, get a free iPod nano. Granted there are probably only 14 students out there that don't own iPods, but it's a good tie-in with their most popular product.
Elsewhere, I learned that, at the end of 2004, the Mac market share in universities was around 14% which is pretty sweet compared to its share of the overall market. And Apple's Dec 2005 10-K said they are experiencing a 21% annual growth on college sales and 11% growth on K-12 sales. These are really fantastic growth rates.

It's good that Apple is putting more marketing zing into the academic market. The famous iPod halo effect is certainly having a good impact, but I like these more direct pushes.

And I love how Walt Mossberg (WSJ), David Pogue (NYT), and now BusinessWeek are cheerleaders for the Mac as well. Welcome aboard BusinessWeek!

Conversion rates

Monday, June 12, 2006

Over at Rogue Amoeba, Paul noted some interesting statistics with regards to Airfoil's conversion rates. That is, given a time span, what percentage of those downloading their product end up purchasing it?

I've been a stats hound since starting Zengobi. A few months ago I even started going crazy with Google Analytics to churn some more numbers. Yeah, I need a life but darnit if this stuff isn't fascinating!

Our conversion rate for Curio for the month of May was 4.93%. Our average for this year is 5.2%, with a best month of 8.77% and a worst month of 2.75%.

Two quick points to make:
  1. We don't know how many downloads are made by people who already own Curio (Group A) vs. people who are trialing a slightly older Curio (Group B) vs. people who are downloading Curio for the very first time (Group C). They all can't be Group B and C trialers either since some percentage of Group A are certainly updating themselves when a new update is available (like from 3.0 to 3.0.1). That means our number of "downloads to potential customers" is certainly a smaller number than our overall downloads number. So those conversion percentages above a probably a bit higher. Fortunately, with our last release of Curio, I've added some anonymous Google Analytics tags to the "An Update is Available" alert so, when we come out with our next update, we can further drill into the stats since we can see how many registered and trial users are coming in via that mechanism.
  2. You can download Curio, anonymously, and we kick in a 15-day trial. We also support a 60-day extended trial if you give us your name, title, and email address. So, technically, giving a month timeframe we don't know how many downloads-to-sales were made within the same month. That's why the average spread across a number of months is perhaps more useful.
I'm happy that our number is around the same as Paul's and many others responding to his posting. I had a worry that everyone else out there had a double-digit conversion rate. I'd love to know what Delicious Monster and OmniGroup are doing just to see what we can expect as traffic grows.

Kudos to Paul and everyone else for discussing this openly. Also, I'm happy that Linda from OmniGroup opened up a discussion on marketing with this blog entry. As a small Mac startup, I'm glad the developer community is generally pretty open about their inner workings.