Teamstuff is free, no ads. So where’s the catch?

We’ve had a few people ask us this one, so I thought it might be worthwhile taking some time to pen a response, and put it out there publicly.

Two software nerds start a business…

All good stories should start at the start. And for teamstuff; that start was about 17 years ago. Two naive and impressionable young blokes ( Mark Johnson and Adam Kierce), best of friends, start a software business ( Shine Technologies ). Both developers by trade and by passion – we wanted to be free to make software the way we wanted to. So we created agile processes ( before that became the way to make software ), and we made software that worked. That was revolutionary enough at the time for our small company to survive and thrive. Which was lucky, because we understood nothing about running a business.

Roll forward 17 years, and our software business is now big(ish) ; 2 people have turned into 60 odd. Roll forward 17 years, and those naive young developers now have 7 kids between them ( most in sports teams ). Roll forward 17 years, and we think we’ve got a handle on this ‘business thing’ ; and we’re ready to make software just for ourselves.

So we did ; and teamstuff was born.

And teamstuff isn’t just a hobby or a bit of fun on the side ( although it’s delivering on both those fronts ). We think there’s a genuine business opportunity somewhere there – what we’ve learnt about business is that people are OK paying for something that delivers value for them. That’s why we haven’t put ads into teamstuff – it’s not of any value to our customers. Oh, and we personally hate ads in the sites and apps we use. And you don’t get ‘partner’ offers through us either – that just seems like a really good way to annoy our users. The bottom line is if there’s no balancing of value between customer and business ; it’s not right for us. Might be for plenty of others ; but not for us. We’re not quite sure of the exact nature of our ‘balanced value’ yet; but we do know that we need to get bucket loads of customers.

So that’s our big problem – how to get crazy numbers of customers. That’s a problem usually solved by marketing. Which is unfortunate, because it turns out that in 17 years of running a software business; we’ve learnt pretty much nothing about marketing ( technically, we’ve let our software market our business ). So in the absence of awesome marketing-ness, we’re again letting our software do the marketing for us. And making it easy to test out means making it free. Our theory is that our software is good – so the more people who test it – the more that will want to use it. And the more that people use it – the more people who will see it.

And we’re lucky ; our main software business is tracking nicely, and gives us the skills and experience and yes, the funding we need to make teamstuff work. UX, cloud, responsive design – mobile apps. This is what we do on a day-day basis; just most of the time we get paid to do it on behalf of someone else.

So teamstuff is free; there’s no ads today. We’re not mining your data ( for bitcoins? ha – little nerd joke there). My kids details are in there – this weekend it took me to 5 different games, reminded me of two different duties ( at least one of which I truly had forgotten). I couldn’t survive a weekend without it.

So teamstuff is free; no ads.  We’re trying to build a beautiful piece of software, that’s a pleasure for our families and for yours to use. One day we might have crazy numbers in it, and one day we might work out how to return our investment. And if we do – it will be because we can share the value between us and our customers.

Until then – we hope you enjoy using our software as much as we enjoy making it. And yes, teamstuff is free, no ads, and no catch.

Adam and Mark
Teamstuff co-founders