Dedicated to Leading the World in Help
MindTouch is intensely focused on providing exceptional help experiences. Help experiences that create new customers and transform current users into advocates that help one another to become even better with the products they use. In short, help experiences that increase top line revenues and the bottom line by dramatically lowering support costs.
We’ve all had exceptional product help experiences that make us want to buy more products from the vendor. Unfortunately we’ve all also had experiences that leave us shaking our head, deciding to never again do business with a vendor. MindTouch cares about making our customers exceptional at product help, in part by creating vibrant communities around their products. We deliver on this promise with our social help system that includes a knowledge base, help center, ticketing integration and a help button.
In the Beginning…
MindTouch was founded by two former members of Microsoft’s Advanced Systems Research Team, Steve Bjorg, our CTO and Aaron Fulkerson, our CEO. This small, yet influential, team at Microsoft was led by Craig Mundie, one of the Chief Technology Officers, now Chief Strategy Officer, at Microsoft. Their research focus was on large scale distributed systems. To name a few, the team included the creator of the first graphical user interface at Xerox PARC, co-creators of HTTP and SOAP specification, and other equally impressive individuals.
It was on this team where Aaron and Steve cultivated their passion for developing a better means of capturing, collaborating and disseminating knowledge. Specifically, they had this idea that the software systems of the day had woefully inadequate user experiences, were too file-centric and lacked web readiness. Aaron and Steve envisioned a web based social authoring and publishing environment that adhered to open standards and RESTful design principals.
In 2005, MindTouch was born. What was originally forged as a dispersed team of five individuals scratching an itch by creating an open source project quickly coalesced into a company based in San Diego, California, where we continue to maintain our headquarters.
The Open Source Phenomenon
MindTouch initially started as an open source software (OSS) project that shipped in late 2006. That is, we made our first product, known as DekiWiki (a name that continues to live on in the passionate OSS user community) available to anyone who wished to download it. DekiWiki users were given access in its entirety, down to the source code. DekiWiki also had the distinction of having a fit and finished user experience, a trait many other OSS projects at the time lacked. For that reason, it became wildly successful. Many users couldn’t believe this product was free, given how mature it was and how easy it was to use, update, and maintain.
In the first two years of MindTouch we focused on building a great product and delivered what was one of the market’s most talked about enterprise collaboration product. The project regularly received thousands of downloads a day. In fact, for years it was the #1 collaboration project on Sourceforge (the, then, open source download spot of choice) and was ranked in the top 10 overall open source projects in the World (out of more than 200,000 projects). DekiWiki evolved into what we know as MindTouch Core today.
The business model for Open Source Software is pretty straightforward; you build a product – preferably an awesome one (like DekiWiki, now MindTouch Core) – you then drive as much widespread adoption as humanly possible (as MindTouch did) – you create an upsell strategy (either by offering to support the open source version, or creating a differentiated version with more features) and get that distribution pool to pay you money.
In 2008 Aaron and Steve decided to start selling support contracts for MindTouch Core. By then, many customers had begun to use Core in a wide variety of use cases and in production, business-critical environments. This meant, if there were issues, they wanted to be able to call someone for help. Thus, the first MindTouch revenue stream was created. Fast forward, MindTouch has thousands of customers.
From Open Source To SaaS (Cloud)
In 2010, Aaron and Steve realized MindTouch could ship a far superior product with cloud based distribution than with on premise software. With on premise, MindTouch could ship product every three to four months and then package for four many flavors of Linux, Windows and virtualization platforms. Today MindTouch releases new features every week to our cloud based software. The move from on premise to cloud based MindTouch software has surely slowed the pace of innovation for MindTouch Core, but MindTouch has become a much more innovative company that is still committed to releasing updates to the open source MindTouch Core.
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