Sramana: It sounds like you had a very good conversion rate.
Paras Chopra: The conversion rate was around 10%. I also got some hate mail from users who expected the product to be free forever. They told me I should be ashamed of myself for charging money and pointed out that Google’s products were free. I had to defend myself and tell them that Google was a huge company, but I had to be able to support myself.
Sramana: You are running a business, not a charity. Those are the types of users that you do not want to have as customers anyways. There is a big difference between paying customers and free riders.
Paras Chopra: Free riders seem to have the loudest mouths, and it takes some thick skin to deal with them.
Sramana: You should only listen to customer feedback. Free rider feedback is irrelevant. It’s find to have free users when you are building a product. Once the product evolves, you only need to worry about those willing to pay.
Paras Chopra: I rationalized that if they were not willing to pay $39 or $49 per month, they were probably not really interested in the product to begin with.
Sramana: You had a 10% conversion when you turned on the paywall. How did that evolve along with your customer acquisition strategy?
Paras Chopra: I wrote a lot of content. I had maintained my blog for a long time and I just loved writing. In retrospect I think that was one of the most important things that helped Wingify gain traction. I started writing for places such as Smashing Magazine. I kept the focus on my writing on A/B testing, what should be changed on the site, and what the best practices were. I would discuss the difference between A/B testing and multivariate testing. I wrote about the industry in general. That really generated a lot of interest in Wingify.
Sramana: How much did the revenue curve change between March of 2010 and January of 2011?
Paras Chopra: Revenue was growing dramatically. It grew from $4,000 to $8,000 the first few months, and then kept doubling. I was quite happy with that. I was starting to get demo requests quite often, and I would give these one-hour demonstrations quite regularly. It got to the point that I could give a demo with my eyes closed because it was so predictable. By the time January of 2011 came around, Winfigy was generating over $30,000 a month.
Sramana: When did Sparsh join you?
Paras Chopra: It was around that time that he quit his job in London and came to work on this project full time. That is also when we hired our first employee and rented out our first office.
Sramana: What is Sparh’s connection with the company? You founded it, so did he join as a co-founder or a partner?
Paras Chopra: He joined as a partner. He is involved in everything to do with the company, including all of the financials. It just happened that he did not start the company with me. He came on board a year after I started it.