FusionCharts, one of the finest product story from India has launched a book sharing the entire journey of the company, as part of its 10the year celebration.
The book (aptly titled : “Not Just Another Pie in the Sky”) gives an UnPluggd view of the journey with founder, Pallav Nadhani who was bored of non-interactive charts and ended up creating the business while studying in the college.
The book is a great read for all product entrepreneurs who have often complained of lack of <fill in the blank> (infra/great payment gateway/early adopters etc etc). Things were very different when Pallav started : there were no options of payment gateways and interestingly, the first customer resulted in a loss of $20 (by the way, the first product was called fXgraph).
In July, instead of fXgraph, he launched fgraph 3D. As the name suggests, fXgraph 3D was supposed to redefine the world of charting with its stunning 3D charts. The first version started small with only a 3D column chart, the column chart being the most commonly used chart type. He put it out in the market and waited for the custom
Here are a few very useful insights from the book:
– People were amazed at the speed and reliability of the tech support, and often asked him if he slept at all. The quick technical support egged on the word-of-mouth.
Founder, Pallav was handling all the tech support, so he knew what needed to be done. Sometimes focusing on intangibles works beautifully well (remember Flipkart’s WoM moment? It was their packaging and delivery timelines).
– It’s okay to be a dumb kid. Pick your battle.
To dedicate more time to FusionCharts, Pallav decided to switch from his Economics course to Commerce. The Commerce course required him to go to college only for the exams. He showed his zeros in all the subjects in the Economics course to the Vice Principal of the College, who agreed that Pallav was a dumb kid and would be better suited to the simpler Commerce course.
– Fighting IP? A curse could be life-changing experience.
Since the infringers were trying to bag customers by selling FusionCharts at a cheaper price, they had to be beaten at their own game. The question was, “How cheap?” Pallav decided on zero! When a major release of FusionCharts was launched in March 2005, he released the previous version as FusionCharts Free, then FusionCharts Lite. FusionCharts Free was completely free to use in both personal and commercial projects.
FusionCharts Free has done more marketing for FusionCharts, than even the best of paid marketing campaigns. It got the FusionCharts brand name out in the market. It got developers, who are otherwise not willing to play with a trial version, playing with the product.
– The art of cracking media.
Remember the famous pic of US President Obama using FusionCharts? Well, here goes the inside story:
“..the US national CIO Vivek Kundra unveiled the new Federal IT Dashboard. On 16th July 2009, while idly surfing the web in the night, I came across a picture of an important-looking gentleman using the Federal IT Dashboard. It was Barack Obama, the incumbent President of the United States of America. He was staring intently at the dashboard’s main screen which had FusionCharts all over. In essence, Barack Obama was looking at FusionCharts. My midnight eyes became the largest they had ever been.”
– And many more. The book is a nice read on how a company that started as a ‘hack’ managed to grab 20,000 customers and 450,000 users in 118 countries, powers more than a billion charts per month and does $7M in annual revenue.
The book is available for download (link) and is highly recommended to product entrepreneurs.
Aside, do watch Pallav Nadhani sharing the entire journey at an earlier edition of UnPluggd.
Note to FC team: How about an interactive timeline of the company journey?