A while back I wrote about Jott, a voice to text service that allows consumers to send emails and text messages, set reminders, organize lists, and post to web services with their voice. I used it to send status updates to Twitter and one reader commented that he used it right before bed to record those last minute thoughts and ideas that occur at bedtime (sort of a night stand notepad). Best of all it was free and advertising supported.
I liked the service and used it, until the day the message on the other end of the line ended our relationship. "Started Feb 2nd Jott will no longer continue its free service".
I certainly didn't begrudge the company as I do really like their product. It is just that I personally wasn't using it enough, either frequently or practically, to justify the examination of cost and benefit. On the other hand, I also imagine that it more than could pay for itself if it saved just one brilliant idea from being lost to sleep, as with the night table user.
The company itself explained it well in their FAQ
Why can’t you pay for the free service with advertising, which was the plan?
It’s a great question – in short, the model is not viable right now. This is true for several reasons: 1) it would have required plastering the product with so much advertising that we’d ruin the experience; 2) ads are a terrible fit for important features like email delivery, Jott Links, and Jotts to Others; and 3) all indications are that advertising rates are going to see an even bigger hit in the next year. We don’t want to bet the company, and the utility that tens of thousands of you pay for, on a model that is not sustainable right now.
No arguing with that. Any company, online newspapers, blogs, informational sites etc. that have counted on advertising dollar are being forced to rethink and retool.
Then on Wednesday morning I was having breakfast with some folks from the city and the Tacoma Angel Network and a guest at the table was asked about some of his investments. He mentioned a new bio based retaining wall company, which was interesting, and a Time Sheet software company. I wanted to know what made the second company, called TSheets, any different than a web services based time tracking solution, and he mentioned two things immediately.
I am not certain if the first was still being licensed so I won't say but the second definitely caught my attention. He mentioned that they had integrated with a solution provided by Jott in order to make entries easy utilizing remote voice recognition. This was the first time someone other than myself had brought Jott up in a conversation so I was interested. I visited the TSheets site, and here is a sampling from their About page.
TSheets provides Time Tracking and personal productivity tools to the small to medium sized business owner. Clients from around the globe benefit from using TSheets to manage and maintain accurate time keeping records.
The TSheets Philosophy: Make the life of the small business owner simpler, easier, and more productive.
The TSheets Audacious Goal: Empower the world's business owners every day.
Looking around at their feature set, along with the iPhone TSheets Touch feature was the Jott connection.
Tracking Time just got even easier with fewer buttons to push. TSheets is the first mobile time tracking software package to integrate with Jott.com, a powerful voice recognition software platform.
Nice, in that it doesn't rely solely on consumer based revenue to fuel the company. Good luck to both companies in weathering the current economic storm. Given they are both productivity solutions I think they are positioned well.
Also, since our phone break up, I have looked at the various payment plans Jott has, and they seem pretty reasonable.
Jott is a Seattle based company whose solution launched in late 2006. TSheets was founded in 2006 by Matt Rissell and Brandon Zehm and is based just out of Boise, in Meridian, Idaho