Busy, busy, busy

27 April 2011

A couple of weeks back we were brainstorming about other ways we could make use of the code infrastructure we’d put together for Dirigible. We had loads of stuff for running functional tests, determining dependencies between spreadsheet cells, executing untrusted user code safely on our servers, and so on. Any of those could potentially make an interesting product, so we put together some basic landing pages, one for each idea, and put a bit of money into Google AdWords to see if any of them got any interest.

One of them took off immediately, and even started getting traction on Twitter: PythonAnywhere, an online Python IDE and web application environment — basically, Dirigible without the spreadsheet grid. This fits in with what we suspected — lots of people were interested in Dirigible, but it wasn’t the spreadsheet side of it that excited them, it was the easy Python grid computing.

What’s been particularly cool with this idea is not only that most of it is done and “just” needs breaking out of Dirigible and putting into a new product, but that people are keen to engage with us about it. When people signed up on our landing page, we sent them an email with a few questions — “What would you use it for? Which features excite you? What would you pay for it? Any suggestions for other features?” About 25% of people have replied, with lots of great feedback, and we’ve changed our plans (and altered the relative priorities of features) based on their input. All very Lean Startup

Anyway, all good clean fun. If you’d like a look at it when it goes into beta, you can sign up on the site, or just leave a comment below.