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The latest news from Balsamiq:
Two years have passed since we first launched our Office Hours initiative. Here is what happened and what we’ve learned together.
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Several new Balsamiq mentors
are now available for a chat!
Two years ago, we launched our Office Hours program: a few of our senior staffers set aside one or two hours each month to meet online with one of you for a 1-hour advice chat.

We give personal and career advice for free, as a way to give back to our awesome community. The only thing we ask in return from you is to join the Balsamiq research program and help us make Balsamiq better for everyone.
I doubled my userbase in 6 months by following his advice. Thank you, Balsamiq team for such an input into a random guy who you allow to book a call, I appreciate that! — Ihor
But giving back to the community is good for the heart as well. As Peldi put it back in January 2019: “For us, being able to offer this service is a real treat! It's like a company benefit for our employees! 😊 Working from home gets pretty lonely sometimes, so meeting our customers even for an hour is a great way to expand our networks. In exchange, you get to pick the brains of people who have been there and done that, and make a new friend in the process.”

Moreover, the program turned out to be a huge help for our mentors to face the solitude of the COVID-19 quarantine. 
I was lucky enough to have a session with Peldi, CEO of Balsamiq... he was very kind in sharing his experience of growing Balsamiq and the challenges he faced along the way. He also took the time to explore what I was working on, the challenges I was having, and how he'd approach them. I'd highly recommend it — Stefan

The questions you asked the most

We met with more than 70 people from all around the world, with different backgrounds and job roles. We met with founders, devs, PMs, copywriters, visual and UX designers.

We noticed some patterns in your questions, and are addressing the most asked questions by writing newsletters and articles, and making them easy to find for everyone.

Many of you wanted advice on how to get into UX or a remote job, so we wrote a newsletter and then a page with our Advice for Getting Started in UX Design and we shared tips on how to find a remote job. Others wanted guidance on how to learn wireframing, which we answered via our Balsamiq Wireframing Academy.

For our PM and developer friends, we sent a few newsletters about how we build products: How we use the Whole Product concept at Balsamiq, How we Prioritize Product Work at Balsamiq: Part 1, Part 2.

Peldi was asked for advice on getting early customers and go-to-market strategies, which gave us the idea for a newsletter about How Balsamiq runs Private Betas, and Gammas!

For all the questions related to how we work remotely, how we run our business and more, we are working on a refresh of the company section of balsamiq.com, which we hope to share soon with you. You heard it here first! 🙂
OMG, it was amazing. And as far as I know no other app/company outside of education companies offers this kind of service. I had two meetings and they both gave me lots of good ideas for next steps — Nathan

Meet the new Balsamiq mentors

When we sent to you the first newsletter about the program, we didn’t know what to expect. We thought we would have received a few replies, and that we could schedule them one by one. Imagine our surprise when we received over 40 requests in the first 24 hours! 🙂

Now we have a new system in place: Peldi built a sweet internal tool to help us schedule meetings, each mentor can manage their availability as they please, we can send reminders… so now we’re finally ready to grow the team!

We asked for more volunteers during our last all-hands meeting, and several people stepped up:
 
Alberto, who can talk to you about programming and career paths for programmers
Marco, who loves to discuss software development on desktop and web
Natalie, who joined to talk with you about how to build a financially healthy company and a safe work environment
Stefano, great for chatting about various programming languages and scalable server architectures

Of course, our other mentors are still available:
 
Billy, always happy to chat about UX, product design and management and leading design teams
Brendan, happy to brainstorm ways to make your support as human as possible
Peldi, who can field questions about building sustainable, bootstrapped, geographically distributed software businesses
Lei, with whom you can discuss graphic design, lettering and photography
Leon, happy to discuss wireframing, web design, remote work and UX career paths
Mike, who loves to discuss UX career paths
We’re only advertising these new mentors to you, our inner circle, so that you can get in line ahead of the general public. Just click the button below to schedule a chat! 🙂
 
Reserve My Spot!

Product news

Our product teams are busy on many fronts, as usual. We updated our web and desktop apps with LOTS of little bug fixes and little features. The most notable one is the addition of Quicklook on macOS! Just select a BMPR file in Finder, hit the space bar, and enjoy a preview of your project, without even having to launch the app!
 

By the way, did you know that you can use Wireframes for Desktop to work on your Balsamiq Cloud projects? The desktop apps are SUPER fast, and working on Cloud projects doesn’t require an additional purchase.
 

Wireframing Academy news

Some highlights from this past month:
  • We are putting the finishing touches on a new free course by UX leader and author Donna Spencer. Stay tuned for the details next month!
  • We are planning on doing a series of educational webinars about wireframing this year, hopefully starting soon. We have a few topics in mind, but would love to hear suggestions from you about what you’d like to learn more about. Just reply to this email with your ideas, thanks!
  • Last but not least, we want our Wireframing Academy to have the best content possible for you. If you'd like to help us learn what to create, please complete this survey. It’s quick!

UX/UI links for February 

Company news

We wrapped up an epic 2-year project on restructuring how we build our products, which should serve us well in our second decade as a company. It resulted in lots of changes, and it’s already showing its benefits! Let us know if you’re interested and we’ll share more about it!
We continue to focus on restructuring how we handle professional development and salaries. Right now we’re defining what kind of managers do we want at Balsamiq. It’s a company-wide effort, and we’re taking the time to do it right. 🙂

Sponsorships and Raffles: Women’s History month is approaching and we’re proud to support seven upcoming events whose mission is the advancement of gender marginalized folks in tech. Take a look!

Notable Recipients of our Free Software Program:
  • ASPCA: Wireframes are used to manage nation-wide animal cruelty and disaster cases, client communications and services, as well as animal medical records
  • ImpactAfrica: A startup studio in Nairobi on a mission to ensure young talented Africans can participate in the digital transformation of Africa as creators and owners.
  • Let's Chow: They teach military veterans how to run their own culinary business.

That's it for this month!

If not during an Office Hours chat… see you next month, with more behind-the-scenes news from your friends at Balsamiq!
Laura for the Balsamiq Team
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