What is Success?

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Jason Fried of 37Signals makes a comment about what defines success for a small company when faced with a giant competitor. This is a gem so I wanted to share it here – particularly to those who often speculate that “Zoho is doomed because Google or Microsoft will finish them off”. To quote Jason

Google doesn’t define our success. We do. “Winning” isn’t a zero sum game. This isn’t a 100 yard dash or a boxing match or a F1 race. It’s building a sustainable business. There’s lots of room for lots of those.

We don’t have to match Google’s userbase, or even have 1/10th of Google’s userbase to be nicely profitable and build a sustainable business.

That is success to us. Being able to provide a great service to our customers, follow our vision, generate enough revenue to build a sustainable long-term business, and enjoy doing the work we do everyday is a success to us.

So far so good.

I couldn’t say it better, even if I tried. We are not here to “beat Microsoft” or “beat Google”. We have built a profitable business at AdventNet serving customers well, and we will continue doing it with Zoho too. We enjoy the work we do, and as long as that is profitable and customers keep coming, that is all that matters. Isn’t Intuit a successful company at one 25th the size of Microsoft? Isn’t MySQL a successful company at one hundredth the size of Oracle?

Frequent Requests for Running Zoho Behind Your Firewall

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We get numerous requests for Zoho office suite as a server product, running behind the firewall. We are gratified to see that level of interest, but we still would say that there is another 3-6 months of evolution ahead before we would be satisfied to take off the beta label. Coming from the packaged software business at AdventNet, we understand the issues involved in installation, patching, migration and so on. It would lead to customer pain if we ship something that keeps getting updated every few weeks, as it happens with services such as Zoho Writer or Zoho Sheet. Services such as Zoho Creator actually get updated every few days, something that would cause customers to throw up their hands in frustration if they have to do the patching, migration work themselves. Therein lies one fundamental benefit of SaaS model. Eventually, of course, this pace will inevitably slow down, though AdventNet products still get an update every 3-6 months. In a polished mature product offering, customers don’t want change too frequently, because they start to value stability more than features at that point. Clearly Zoho suite has still a way to go to achieve that level, but we are working hard on it.

Yes, we do plan on offering Zoho as downloadable software, but please give us some time. We haven’t set a concrete time frame, but one key milestone is to move the currently-in-beta services off the beta tag.

Zoho Creator – Tip of the Day #4

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#4 How to get a permanent link to a form or a view?

Click on “Embed this Form in your site” found on right top of the form.
Embed Form

For view, it is found under “More Actions”
Embed View

Then select “Permalink” found in the Embed screen.
Permalink

You will get the permalink for forms and views. You will not have any links such as tabs and other header links that are found in the application. Only pure forms and views.

Resumes on Zoho Writer

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If you noticed, we have had a few sample docs in our Zoho Writer home page for the last few days now. A sample resume is there too. It is nice seeing users using Zoho Writer to post their resumes. Two such instances we found recently – Craig, who takes care of SDN,  the SAP Developer Network and who is a passionate Zoho user & Balaji Jayaraman, an AdventNet employee.

Craig’s Resume
Balaji’s Sample Resume

Have a resume to upload onto the web? Try doing it on Zoho Writer.

In-cell graphing

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Recently read about in-cell graphing in Excel from the Juice Analytics blog. It is a very neat way to draw bar graphs inside cells immediately next to your data. It uses the REPT function to repeat the “|” character n number of times, proportionate to the data. For example:
=REPT(“|”;30)

Here is a sample public sheet in Zoho (click on image to go to the public sheet):

In-cell Graphs

Thank you Juice Analytics for the tip.

Zoho Wins Audience Choice Award at Under the Radar – Office 2.0 Event

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We are excited to announce that Zoho wins the audience choice award at the Under the Radar-Office 2.0 event yesterday at Palo Alto, California. A total of 4 companies presented. The Judges Chioce award went to EchoSign – a really useful service, takes the pain out of managing the document signature process. Other presenters included CollectiveX and WetPaint and both of them have really good sites as well. We learned from each of these companies – thank you, guys.

I would like to thank all our world-wide audience of users for the constant feedback and support. I would personally like to dedicate this to our hard-working, passionate engineering team, which has built a wonderful suite of services in record time, and keeps improving it constantly. I didn’t do full justice to the product as a presenter (that was one useful feedback I received – improve the presentation skills!) but the product shone through.