6 Weeks to Relaunch, Week 2: Survey Results


I’m in the process of relaunching my SaaS product for developers, Kobra.io, which is a collaborative code editor, in just six weeks. Follow along with my progress here.

Last week I sent out a survey to all 2200 people on the Kobra mailing list. These people either opted in for the pre-launch or signed up for an account after the fact.

While I have an idea for what I want Kobra V2 to be, I wanted to reach out to the current users and ask them several different questions about their collaboration habits. 129 people wound up responding to the survey, and I want to share the results with you.

Survey Groups

While I wanted input from everyone, not everyone could answer the types of questions that I wanted to ask.

For instance, there are certain questions I wanted to ask people that pre-signed up, but never actually created an account, and very different questions that I wanted to ask people that had invited multiple people to a project.

I separated the 2200 people into the following four categories:

  1. Pre-Sign Ups (people that pre-signed up, but never created an account) – 839 people, 30 responses
  2. Sign Ups (people that signed up, but never created a project) – 1242 People, 80 Responses
  3. Project Created (people that created a project, but didn’t invite anyone to it) – 98 People, 10 Responses
  4. Multi-User Project (people that created a project and invited people to it) – 43 People, 9 Responses

What I Thought the Results Would Be

I thought that the results would weigh heavily towards users collaborating infrequently, and only when they were working on a small number of files.

Think “I’m having a problem, let me collaborate with a co-worker quick.

From there, I thought that a great place for Kobra to be would be one that is extremely quick and easy to use for people that don’t actually collaborate frequently.

AKA, possibly Kobra could become a “paste-in” editor that you can move into and out of very quickly, instead of being a full-fledged “I wan’t this to be the only editor you use” collaborative IDE.

I wrote each of the 4 surveys in a way that I could test to see if my hypothesis was correct, but not in a way that would lead someone into choosing the answer that I wanted to hear.

What the Results Showed

The results showed that my assumption was definitely in the majority, however, the runner up was people working on large project frequently. Here’s the breakdown by quadrant:

  • 45.7% (59) people code on a small number of files infrequently (once a week or less)
  • 18.6% (24) people code in large projects frequently (a few times a week or more)
  • 13.1% (17) people code on a small number of files frequently.
  • 6.2% (8) people code on a large number of files infrequently.

To give a more broad statistic, 58% of people code collaboratively in small projects or 1 file and 24% of people code collaboratively in large projects. The remainder either didn’t answer these questions, or do something else.

If you’d like to read the full survey results, including the open ended answers, here is a PDF of the results.

Here is a grid graph showing the answers to the two questions “How frequently do you collaboratively code?” and “Describe the project you work collaboratively on.”

How does this affect the future of Kobra.io?

Of course, there were many other questions that I asked the different participants (see full PDF) that are going to affect the future of Kobra, and I may write an in depth analysis of these in future posts. However, here are some interesting points:

  • Of those people that code collaboratively on larger projects, many already have a workflow that they are comfortable with, such as using Cloud 9, Koding, Codebox, git, etc.
  • Of those people that code collaboratively on smaller projects, many do not have a workflow that they use frequently.

This means that the competitors of Kobra.io are catering to a market that codes collaboratively frequently and on larger projects, which makes up 24% of our respondents, leaving the 54% that collaborate on smaller projects every once in a while a wide open market.

This is definitely the direction that I wanted to take Kobra.

Also, many people responded to the survey saying that they don’t have servers to use with SSH or that they develop locally.

This was one of the major complaints in the survey. People wanted a quick way to jump in, but instead were greeted with a complex SSH setup process that granted us access to the files on your server.

For these people, they either have to collaborate using a “bigger competitor” that has many features that they don’t need, or they don’t collaborate at all because there aren’t products meeting their needs.

According to my gut feelings combined with these survey results, here are the things that the new Kobra needs to do:

  • Target “temporary collaboration.” People that collaborate when they need it, but not every day.
  • Easy In, Easy Out. Instead of a setup process involving a server, users need to be able to jump into and out of Kobra quickly.
  • Don’t Try to be a full Editor. People already have editors that they love, and I mean LOVE. I need Kobra to be somewhat of a compliment to these editors, instead of trying to replace them.
  • Keep Video/Voice + Text Chat. These features will help people collaborate quickly and effectively no matter what the project is.
  • Target all Coding Languages. There are already many front-end “paste-in” quick editors that exist for HTML/CSS/JavaScript. This is a polluted market, so we should target all languages.

This market may not exactly be “where the money is,” but it is a market that I can definitely please using my limited side-project time. I also see various avenues of profit such as donations or pro features that could be added.

If you have opinions, ideas or thoughts about the future of Kobra, please comment below or shoot me an email.

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  • adamin

    I have a ton of respect for how you’re handling all of this. With the quality you put into kobra and your ability to process insights. I know you guys will find success. Best of luck…

    • http://mattkremer.com Matt Kremer

      Thank you very much! Just trying to figure out how to make Kobra as successful as I can and blog all of the progress so that everyone can see what’s happening instead of “hiding in the dark” like a lot of startups do.

  • Dennis Xiloj

    Congratulations for your upcoming re-launch!

    Just passing for comment, or maybe a question: have yout thought about changing your logo?

    I mean, making it less aggresive, it shure is a kickass kobra ready to bite, but… human nature is to have fear to those creatures, and to stay away as much as possible. And personally I feel it a bit over-aggressive.
    It shows a huge difference on friendlyness, comparing it with the python logo, for example.

    • http://mattkremer.com Matt Kremer

      Thanks for stopping by Dennis! I have not given it much thought, no. I really like the logo, but you do bring up a valid point. We’ll see where the future takes us :)

  • Maya Lekova

    Great news about the direction in which the project is heading! :) I find the idea of an easy to get in/out collaborative editor a promising thing to boost people’s motivation to collaborate on small side projects.

    • http://mattkremer.com Matt Kremer

      Thanks Maya! I definitely hope this is the direction it goes :)