MBA Mondays: The Revenue Model Hackpad, Take Two

So I messed up bigtime yesterday.  I created a "final version" of the revenue model hackpad and locked it down so hard that nobody could even see it. 

What happened is I am using a product, hackpad, that I don't really know how to use correctly. I am learning how to use it in real-time. Which is how I learn to use everything. Screw the manual. Just turn it on and get going. That can work, but it results in fails like we had yesterday. The truth is I still don't know exactly what I am doing with this product, but I am figuring it out.

The "final version" is now fully public but locked down for moderation. Whatever that means. I think it means is we can continue to edit this "final version" but I get to approve all edits.

Anyway, here's a link to the final version. There were some edits to the initial version yesterday that I like a lot. The transaction processing section was re-organized in a nice way. And a few more revenue models were listed. I will work to merge the two but don't have time to do that this morning.

Again, I want to thank everyone who has been working on this list. Crowdsourcing information is messy but together we have built something that is way better than I could do on my own.

#MBA Mondays

Comments (Archived):

  1. kirklove

    I like reading the manual. Always have. That comes from my father who did the same thing. I especially like reading car manuals. Let’s call it a fetish.

    1. fredwilson

      my dad is a manual reader too. he also likes gin.i don’t care for either of those things

      1. kirklove

        We differ there, too, then as I love me a Hendricks and tonic.

        1. fredwilson

          Gabe made me try Gin for the first time a year or so ago.i finished the drink but i can’t say i was into ithaven’t tried it again since

          1. kirklove

            Then we don’t have to worry about fighting when we’re out… the brown is yours, the clear is mine. ๐Ÿ˜‰

          2. andyswan

            Life Lesson: Always finish the drink. Good man, Wilson, good man.

        2. leigh

          used to be a gin girl. moved to vodka for the clear stuff and whisky for everything else.

          1. kirklove

            Had a few bad instances with “brown” back in my twenties and still remember them. My wife and her family love Johnny Walker Blue. Nice stuff, but totally wasted on me.

          2. leigh

            ha — my bad instances were all with Tequila. can’t even smell it without feeling dizzy.

          3. kidmercury

            johnnie walker blue is outstanding! my favorite!

          4. ShanaC

            try a scotch then ๐Ÿ™‚

        3. pointsnfigures

 maybe try this stuff. I am not a gin drinker but don’t mind Spring 44. Their vodka is outstanding.

          1. kirklove

            nice, will check it out.

        4. John Revay

          Me too G&T – in the summer, although I don’t care to ask for a G&T at a bar – it sounds like one of those first drinks you may order when you just start to go to bars

          1. kirklove

            I stopped giving a crap what other people think or how things appear a long time ago and just started enjoying what I enjoy.

          2. John Revay

            Good answer – I still place the order

        5. ShanaC

          and I love gin martinis

          1. Wavelengths

            Sapphire. Just a little dirty.

      2. JimHirshfield

        Is there a correlation? Perhaps the gin makes the manual more sufferable?

        1. ShanaC

          i like gin, I don’t like reading manuals so much

      3. RichardF

        My dad was a manual reader, any new piece of new consumer technology that he bought (vcr, dvd, first pc) he’d open the box and get the manual out, in the meantime I’d get it out of the box, plug it in and have it running before he’d got past page three.The rule doesn’t apply to flat pack though, anything we buy from Ikea I always read the instructions first, saves my sanity and my marriage.

        1. fredwilson

          The word IKEA strikes fear in my heart. I have nightmares about putting together IKEA furniture

          1. panterosa,

            Art schoolers are whizzes at assembly, myself and friends included. We aim to take the fear out of your heart.

          2. ShanaC

            exactly! but art school also encourages you to know the value of a dewalt.

          3. John Revay


          4. falicon

            and the web equivalent is #API ๐Ÿ™‚

          5. RichardF

            the acronym DIY strikes fear into mine…

          6. William Mougayar

            LOL. Speaking of which…have you seen the IKEA Job Interview:

          7. Kirsten Lambertsen


          8. fredwilson


          9. William Mougayar

            Cartoon was attached. Did it show?

          10. fredwilson

            Not in email which is 90%+ of my disqus usage

          11. Wavelengths

            Falling over laughing. If only I had a chair to grab!

          12. William Mougayar

            Good come back ๐Ÿ™‚

          13. William Mougayar

            Grab it, but assemble it first!

          14. Abdallah Al-Hakim

            I refuse to do IKEA and have been IKEA free for at least 7 years now ๐Ÿ™‚

          15. Wavelengths

            Is there a 12-step program?

          16. Guest

            ๐Ÿ™‚ I personally went cold-turkey. The critical part was making sure my wife understood how unpleasant the experience was for me (and how unpleasant I became as a result ๐Ÿ™‚ The show “30 Rock” made a joke last season about how an IKEA trip is the ultimate test of a relationship!

          17. Abdallah Al-Hakim

            ๐Ÿ™‚ I personally went cold-turkey. The critical part was making sure my wife understood how unpleasant the experience was for me (and how unpleasant I became as a result ๐Ÿ™‚ The show “30 Rock” made a joke last season about how an IKEA trip is the ultimate test of a relationship!

          18. JLM

            .I believe that Dante envisioned a level of Hell specifically for engineers in which they would receive IKEA furniture with no instructions and several very small pieces or fasteners missing — for eternity.I am certain of this as I have already personally experienced it..

          19. falicon

            This is why I classify myself more as a hacker than an engineer…I would use the given parts to create some form of functional furniture…it might be weak in certain points and completely fail for some use cases, but it *would* work very well for at least the one situation I put it together for.I don’t know that I’ve ever taken something apart, and then put it back together again, without having some extra, and apparently non-essential, parts laying around…

          20. RichardF

            lol…I have the same experience Kevin

          21. Abdallah Al-Hakim

            and the quality of their stuff (especially low end stuff) is pretty horrible. Yet they are a powerhouse globally

          22. Wavelengths

            Design over function?

          23. RichardF

            I agree, which is why if I have any surplus parts (never sure if they are surplus because of IKEA putting too many in or me leaving some out!) I keep them in a box, just in case ( which is also basic male hoarding syndrome as my wife would call it)

          24. ShanaC

            it really isn’t that difficult. really!

      4. JLM

        .Always read the manual for things that can hurt you like big concrete saws and guns and airplanes. Before you use them preferably.The rest of the stuff, don’t bother until it goes black and only then after you have contacted “help” and cannot wiggle your way through.Bourbon and gingerale — Blenheim gingerale to be precise. Only.You can fake it with bourbon and any gingerale with one drop of Tabasco.The Fountain of Youth, really..

        1. ShanaC

          *nosewrinkle* that doesn’t sound tasty

    2. kidmercury

      Im a big fan of manuals. Manuals ftw!

      1. kirklove

        I knew I liked you Kid!

  2. awaldstein

    I used to write manuals way back when.How to plug the cart into the Atari game console. How to connect the midi cables to set up a multi player game. Oy–plugging in and configuring a sound or graphics card.There was never a relationship between a better manual and reduction in customer support.There was a direct relationship between a better UX and less customer support calls.If you really like your product and your customer build a product that doesn’t require a manual!

    1. leigh

      it’s also a generational thing now — the youngens don’t read manuals — look, link, swipe, try again….

      1. awaldstein

        I thinks it’s cross generational evolution actually!____Note to @disqus. Really ugly annoying bug. When you sometimes click Edit, you loose your comment and get ‘Null”. Multiple time in a few days. Loosing comments is like loosing a file. Show stopper.

        1. JimHirshfield

          Sorry to hear. Gonna edit this comment here and see if it happens to me. This is the edit.

          1. awaldstein

            Stuff happens when you are de facto standard!I’ll send a screen cap next time it occurs.

          2. JimHirshfield

            Gracias Amigo de Vino

          3. ShanaC

            what happened?

          4. JimHirshfield

            See Arnold’s comment above (unless he deleted it). :-/

      2. ShanaC

        yes, which makes design even more important. If you get product fails like the one above, you lost a customer.

    2. takingpitches

      +1 on the last lineWatch a 3 year old take on the iPad.Product design should endevour to speak for itself.

      1. awaldstein

        Agree…How about 11 year olds using Google docs for school projects. Or a zillion people using Dropbox.Here’s the rub. People will find out intuitively what to do that is the most value and ignore the rest. If they can’t they will move on.This also makes you focus on what matters as a product designer and learn to just not build what doesn’t matter.Facebook is a good example in a reverse way. The planet is there posting and using it. No one that I’ve ever met really understands or cares about the timeline. They don’t need a manual, they need to build what people use and basically from day 1 to now we use exactly the same thing there.

        1. falicon

          David Karp has been known for doing everything he can to remove weak features from Tumblr with each update…I think it’s one of the lesser talked about secrets to so many people falling in love with Tumblr over the years (he works tirelessly to get the product down to just the core of what people want/use and makes that core experience as enjoyable as possible)

          1. awaldstein

            Great point.Speaks to Fred’s point about MVPs.But in real life we build products against assumptions of ideas. We never really know the there there of what we are building. We just take stabs at it.Early stage is just a bear. Stuff can sit and sit and one day people find it and it takes hold. That timing and patience early on with lower usage is something that is really hard to know when the data is enough to act against.

          2. Wavelengths

            The more you know about the “there there” about those who are using your product, the closer you can get with each iteration.So “there” you are being an empathetic marketeer/sociologist/psychologist and tapping into the mindset of everyone around you.And the closer you stay–in your heart–to your dream, while at the same time stretching yourself out to encompass the honest opinions of others, the closer you are to your ultimate goal. Paradox.I heard once that one indicator of intelligence was the ability to hold two conflicting ideas at the same time. Wishing you all the best.

          3. awaldstein

            Thanks…What a great time to be building companies and helping others do it. And better yet, in NYC.

          4. John Revay

            HUMM re: Tumblr – I Did not know that – makes a lot of sense – sounds like a Steve Jobs thing/quote – “Simple can be harder than complex”

          5. awaldstein

            Always harder.The old marketing hack that ‘marketing is about what you don’t say’ is very true.

          6. takingpitches

            Like that.Jack Dorsey always talks about that as well. This is him last year: โ€œI love simplifying something down to a base essence.โ€

          7. takingpitches

            I like This quote by Steve Jobs too:”Look at the design of a lot of consumer products โ€” theyโ€™re really complicated surfaces. We tried to make something much more holistic and simple. When you first start off trying to solve a problem, the first solutions you come up with are very complex, and most people stop there. But if you keep going, and live with the problem and peel more layers of the onion off, you can often times arrive at some very elegant and simple solutions. Most people just donโ€™t put in the time or energy to get there. We believe that customers are smart, and want objects which are well thought through.”

          8. ShanaC

            elegant solutions often require breaking through preconcieved notions of how to do stuff. Just because you are smart, doesn’t mean you can think past your box. And most people want to be in their boxes. it makes innovation difficult.

          9. Richard

            On my recent 5 hour flight from Salt Lake City, I read the following quote of Steve Jobs, who while in the hospital, said about his oxygen mask, “this design sucks”.

      2. John Revay

        YUP – children w/ Autism as well

      3. kidmercury

        i think there are limits to this approach. for most of us, using a robust application like photoshop, pro tools, final cut pro, maya, etc requires some education — whether that comes from live instruction or a manual. one of the many reasons i dislike apple is because i think they oversimplify things, compromising too much functionality in the process.

        1. awaldstein

          Good point.And agree that oversimplification when it becomes getting dumbed down is big problem. Don’t think that for their market Apple often falls prey to that.Though with photoshop and Illustrator especially I agree. The tools are powerful and their is a commitment to get the value out of them.

        2. takingpitches

          Nice point; there are definitely limits to the approach.That said, I do think that it doesn’t hurt, when designing, to proceed understanding the reality that most people will not read the manuals or have them around after a while.Where things can be designed to also be intuitive, it’s helpful, and can only help product adoption and sales.Totally different example. I had to put together a dresser two weekends ago. Not something under any scenario where I think you could have gotten it simplified to go manual-free, but that said, this was Ikea frustration to the 100th power. As I wasted a whole day, and after warning others of what was coming on the online retailer’s site, I wish the designers had brought more of a stripped down, intuitive view to how this was actually going to work for an user.I agree that you have to balance this approach against utility and ultimately, there is some responsibility of the user to also be open to education.

          1. Wavelengths

            The more people have ignored the help that a manual might provide, the more that competent tech writers have chosen to go into different fields that might actually pay the bills.You cannot get a better manual than what the company is willing to pay for. When the company expects to get away with discount labor, the consumer may well suffer: a consequence of short-sighted cost-cutting when a product might be far more user-friendly with a reasonable set of instructions.

        3. ShanaC

          true that. Complicated tools can be simple for the task they need to do, but complicated because the task is complicated.

      4. ShanaC

        product design should also allow you to use a product by yourself, irrespective to the network surrounding the product.

    3. Fernando Gutierrez

      When I worked at Hewlett Packard support people used to say that they solved half the calls asking if the equipment was plugged. I think there are people who call and people who search. A caller will almost never search, no matter how good the info available is.

      1. awaldstein

        True….But honestly I run my businesses on Apple products mostly cause I have a number that I can call, talk to an English speaking person and usually solve the problem.Same with web hosting. If I can’t call and get someone on the phone when a site is down, wrong partner for me.I search first but when stuff is broken i need emotional support as well as answers!

        1. Fernando Gutierrez

          Emotional support is important. The thing is that sometimes what I get from support people is more stress!Anyway, I get your point, for critical things you need to be able to reach someone and drill your problem into his brain until it is solved. Also, I’ve found that customer support in the US is far better than in other places, so it makes more sense to call more often.

          1. Wavelengths

            The US answer person may have a better grasp of the product, and of the local jargon and the reasons why the customer needs to use the product.If the customer needs to use the product to “please the boss” even more than “get work done,” the US answer person may get the subtlety, for example. And get to a helpful solution faster.It’s not just language, but societal subtlety.

      2. William Mougayar

        Wow. I worked at HP too, from 1982-1995. I remember HP had some of the best user manuals. They were really well written. HP took that very seriously. They won awards for it.I remember at my job interview, they gave me a user manual for an ECG machine. I had to read it and do a sales presentation the next day, as if I was selling it. Needless to say, I got the job…and kept it for 14 years ๐Ÿ™‚

        1. Fernando Gutierrez

          I always assumed that was an exaggeration to show that most people that called didn’t bother checking, but I’ve found it to be true in other areas too.That’s a lot of time at HP. I was there 1999-2001. It was my first job, got it while at college. It was hard doing both things, but I had a great time and keep a few great friends from that time.

      3. ShanaC

        sometimes search doesn’t have the answers!

        1. Fernando Gutierrez

          That may have been true some years ago, but nowadays there are very few questions Google can’t answer ๐Ÿ™‚

        2. Wavelengths

          There are many questions Google can’t answer because Google can’t understand subtlety.I should make a list of some of the off-the-wall answers I’ve gotten to some well-phrased queries.

        3. awaldstein

          Often it doesn’t have the answer to me.Best source of info is always my networks.

      4. Wavelengths

        Eh. A caller may have searched the most obvious places and have done a reasonable cost/benefit analysis and decided that it’s time to ask someone who ought to know!This is like Fred vs. AWaldstein. (Well, not exactly. Fred doesn’t really want to look at the manual, by what he says, and AWaldstein seems to have had enough experience that he knows that once he’s exhausted the obvious, it’s time to call someone who can help him and his customers get back online as fast as possible.”Back in the day” at HP, the callers might have been mostly the oblivious, but some products are already costly and sophisticated enough that the callers had to have some in-depth knowledge before they would even purchase the product.I’m guessing that with more sophisticated products of today, we also have more sophisticated users who won’t just call before they’ve checked to see if the power is on.

    4. Matt A. Myers

      And include tips along the way, if they make sense, and also – video tours are a great visual learning tool.

    5. falicon

      Nice! I was one of the millions that owned but never read your stuff…which in hindsight is sad because now I look forward to reading everything you write!

    6. Wavelengths

      I was going to say that Fred is an example of why, after a few years, I gave up on tech doc as a career path. Nobody wanted to read my stuff! ๐Ÿ™‚

    7. Elia Freedman

      It is funny you mention this. Just a couple of weeks ago I was reviewing manuals for products I wrote in the late 90s, thinking how times had changed. These were full manuals over hundred pages long for very technical products, printed. Oh how times have changed! (I was feeling nostalgic for better revenues. Figured the manuals were the best I could do for the short term.)

      1. awaldstein

        I understand this…I started in computer games (simple manuals), then add ons, boards, OSs, PCs, then modems, a gizillion apps and services.Good news is that the web happened!But yes, my past is littered with forests full of these as well;)

    8. ShanaC

      Which is why I hate when linux users say read the manual – no it means your text based command system is being non-intuitive.

  3. leigh

    It’s a great list.– is there something missing related to firehose or API access &/or content syndication?(i seriously can’t even remember what i contributed to this list which may or may not have been included– i can’t imagine the effort of that final edit — crowdsourcing is hardly an easy effort ๐Ÿ™‚

    1. William Mougayar

      I think it’s there. Affiliate referral revenue is another one.

  4. JimHirshfield

    I’ve never seen a manual for a web app.

    1. Matt A. Myers

      If you need one, another product that’s better designed will become more popular, more quickly – and so those badly designed ones will die off (or hire a good UX/iXD person).

      1. JimHirshfield


    2. falicon

      apparently you are not familiar with the ‘for dummies’ series of books then…nor have you gone into a Barnes and Noble recently (feels like 90% of the books in the non-fiction section are all ‘manuals’ for web sites, services, and hardware).

      1. JimHirshfield

        Yeah, I thought of those, but I classify them differently. Not so much manuals as “how to” books that swarm around any new topic.

        1. falicon

          fair point.

      2. ShanaC

        you don’t read history, philosophy?

        1. falicon

          I mostly read programming/tech books and marketing books…I’ve been known to read the occasional biography…but that’s about it as far as offline reading goes these days.I do however watch a lot of documentaries around historical and philosophical subjects…plus some around coding, tech, food, and of course biographies. ๐Ÿ˜‰

    3. Abdallah Al-Hakim

      I don’t bother with manuals (if they still exist) but videos can be a great learning source if they are well done and brief

      1. fredwilson


      2. ShanaC

        i prefer manuals. I find reading plus examples for most things more helpful

        1. Wavelengths

          Different people assimilate info in different ways. Some through pictures, some video, some hands-on, some through text, some through lecture. Different brains, different ways of thinking.I know a mathematician who sees numbers in colors.

    4. Elia Freedman

      They are there. Just not organized in traditional manual style.

    5. kidmercury

      for many apps the manual is embedded in the product. welcome emails, FAQs, how to pages are manuals of sorts IMO.

    6. ShanaC

      stackexchange effectively is one for some stuff. there are also print ones.

  5. jason wright

    I like products that I can learn to use intuitively.I like pressing all the buttons in a random fashion until I start to get the functioning sequence right, my brain ‘mapping’ the landscape of the UI. If I have to read the manual then I think there’s something not quite right about the product and design.I have no interest in manuals.

    1. awaldstein

      The intersection of productizing intuition and machine learning is the magic formula for creating value on the web.

      1. Wavelengths

        So we need people who are both artists and engineers. ๐Ÿ™‚

    2. ShanaC

      what if one of the buttions breaks it?

  6. William Mougayar

    Crowdsourcing in this case is not messy. ย It was essential & thorough. You can’t make an omelette if you don’t break any eggs. And sausage-making isn’t pretty anyways.ย But this resulting list will become an essential Reference for many startups & entrepreneurs. I haven’t seen anything as thorough and useful as this. Imagine if one paragraph could be added to each with insights on How each is done, and you have an incredible resource guide.ย In my opinion, you’ve done a service to the whole industry with this list.ย 

    1. awaldstein

      ‘messy’ is a positive.Nothing is more messy and interesting than people and life itself. Order is an aspiration often misdirected I think.

      1. William Mougayar

        This exercise was an amazing example that backs-up the thesis behind my friend Taleb’s new book- Antifragile: Things That Gain from Disorder…Fred said Break it & Mishandle it and look at the outcome; something much better than before. It’s the very definition of Antifragility. I’m reading this book now, and I highly recommend it.

        1. awaldstein

          Looks good but hardcopy only?

          1. William Mougayar

            No, it’s out tomorrow & should be all formats. Maybe my link wasn’t right. (he sent me a preview copy, so I’ve read most of it already)

          2. awaldstein

            Got it.Will order tomorrow.

          3. William Mougayar

            He’s appearing tomorrow at the launch in Brooklyn, 7-9pm… He’s crazy good to listen to. Will make you think.

      2. panterosa,

        Order is in the eye of the beholder, as often it’s more conceptual. Things which look ordered often aren’t anyways, at least not thoroughly of properly. Take the Tree of Life as it stands today….

        1. awaldstein

          True….This is why UX is understandable, teachable with best practices but as much art as science and haphazardly successful.

          1. panterosa,

            The trick with good UX is to know different thinking and problem solving styles so you serve more people with one design.

  7. falicon

    Almost every thing people think I’m “good at” started with me playing with it in realtime, and soon after had me uttering the phrase “So I messed up bigtime”…

  8. pointsnfigures

    a tangential point is one about markets. instead of one centrally planned hackpad, you used the power of the market to come up with one.

  9. Dave W Baldwin

    Looks really good. BTW, caught a new show on Bravo last night…with the success of Shark Tank (speaking from general viewership perspective), Start Ups was fascinating.

    1. Kirsten Lambertsen

      Dear God, are you talking about that Zuckerberg trainwreck? That show is positively terrible.

      1. Dave W Baldwin

        Not to overplay fascinating, but I was amazed at the lack of planning regarding the big picture. Not hard to read between the lines and understand bigger issues in the tech world.

        1. Kirsten Lambertsen

          I just think it’s 100% fake crap. I rarely get that worked up about anything on TV, but I found it literally insulting. I’ve been in the game since ’96, and I can testify that show is fiction.Silicon Valley is full of smart, hard-working people who are too busy to be stripping down to their underwear for TV cameras every week.The periodicals that actors read advertise auditions for shows like this all the time. #fake

          1. Dave W Baldwin

            You may be right. The vision to produce and/or take part is list on myself…much less put your name on it. Then again, I’m a Midwesterner.

    2. kidmercury

      lol i really like that show. not for its quality, but for its junk food value. like junk food, though, i can only handle small doses. i watched about 5 minutes last night.

      1. Dave W Baldwin

        Remember key word is… Fascinating.

  10. John Revay


    1. RichardF

      Love those books – I have O’Reilly’s Missing Manual for CSS on my desk right now!

      1. ShanaC

        the best css book ever!

        1. RichardF

          it’s the only one I have Shana, read the reviews on Amazon and stack and bought it, don’t think I need another one.

  11. panterosa,

    It’s nice to have an admission of I went in not knowing what I was doing and I’m working it out. I find learning on the go the best way, and those things I’ve taught myself I know more deeply.

  12. Alan

    Finally, a new acronym — “STFM”

    1. fredwilson

      what does it stand for?

      1. jason wright

        something the something manualI leave it to your imagination

        1. Kirsten Lambertsen

          Does the S stand for a British term?

          1. jason wright

            I think a quintessentially American epithet

        1. fredwilson


        2. Kirsten Lambertsen

          There we go. I don’t know what it says about me that I couldn’t figure that out and just kept coming up with “sod.”

  13. EmilSt

    I think there is a place for one more model. The donations to projects, causes from people or institutions who care about. Where the platform gets part of those donations. It’s like Kickstarter or Cause Cart (not launched).Otherwise which of the existing models would be for Kickstarter? Eventually peer to peer donating…

  14. Manshu

    Thank you for the post.

  15. Richard

    Great Job Hackpad! I had always thought that google docs was such a weak attempt at cloud based document sharing. Here are just 10 features (as per their blog) that make hackpad something to watch and use. I think that that they are just scratching the surface of “smart” docs. * ( This also say alot about google. Are the not “creatively” hungry at this point in their lifecycle? )10 Reasons Hackpad is Better than Google Docs1) Edits are clearly attributed. In Hackpad, editors are color coded so you never have to ask: who changed what?2) Easy to read document history. Click the “Latest change” time at the bottom left of any pad and it will take you to a page illustrating the most recent changes.3) Link inline to files on your Dropbox, and Access your pads offline with Dropbox.4) Media embedding. Just paste the URL (not the embed code) for media on YouTube, Tumblr, Flickr, Google Maps to fill your pads with pictures, charts and videos–which you can watch within the pad. See Hackpad Rich Media Demo for more.5) Code syntax highlighting. Title a pad ending in a common code extension like Hello.html or Hello.js and the body of the pad will be highlighted correctly for that language. To add inline code snippets to a pad, begin a line with four spaces and you’ll start editing in code mode. See Hackpad Code Syntax Highlighting for supported languages.6) Easy sharing. Unlike Google Docs, you don’t have to have someone’s primary email address to share and collaborate with them. You can connect by email address, Google contacts, Facebook friends, directly through Hackpad or by simply sharing the pad’s URL–your friends don’t need to have a Hackpad account to view your pads.7) Instant, inline linking to other pads. Just type “@” and the beginning of the title of another pad to link to that pad. If the pad doesn’t exist yet, you can highlight the text you want the new pad’s name to be, and click “Create Pad”–now that new pad exists and it is linked inline.8) Automatically generated table of contents. Just put your section headers in bold, and Hackpad generates a table of contents on the right side of your pad as soon as the pad is longer than the screen. Click on the header of the section you want to jump to and save time.9) When your pads change, you find out. As long as you are following a page (big, green button, upper right side of a pad) you will get a friendly email every time a change is made, so you don’t have to keep checking back.10) See all the things you’ve collaborated on with someone by clicking on their profile page. Just click on their name or avatar on the right of a pad you are collaborating on to see a list of other pads shared between you.

    1. takingpitches

      I love your list, and even more the sentiment behind the list…imho opinion, people too easily praise Google Docs. I wrote a post on this earlier this Spring. Quoting from it, to save some time:”This is part and parcel of the lack of investment into Google Docs. There is the most basic of functionality that is lacking on the word processor, spreadsheet, and the other components. These deficiencies are no mystery. One can find these shortcomings on all sorts of forums.Itโ€™s been almost 6 years since launch โ€” why hasnโ€™t anyone at Google gotten to these?The confounding thing, in addition to widespread customer frustration, is that this was a potentially lucrative opportunity for Google. Few have great things to say about Microsoft Office, but it pulls in over $20 billion annually for Microsoft. Wasnโ€™t taking on the MS Office juggernaut the logic behind Google Docs? Why such a lack of attention given the size of opportunity?I have always been a fan and defender of Googleโ€™s innovation, but Google Docs just makes me scratch my head in disbelief. It makes me question Googleโ€™s capacity to innovate. Perhaps it links back to the stories of entrepreneurs such as Dennis Crowley, who have sold something to Google (Dodgeball in Dennisโ€™s case), just to see their passions ignored and left to wither at the vine.”

    2. ShanaC

      and what of spreadsheets?

      1. Alex Graveley

        Lots of fun stuff in the Hackpad pipeline. Stay tuned!

  16. Richard

    Fred: what’s up with hackpad’s extra download needed for a mac??

    1. fredwilson

      no idea. but i love your ten reasons comment.

    2. Alex Graveley

      Not sure what you mean by extra download! Hackpad has a thin client app for OSX that lets you find and create pads anytime by pressing Command-Escape. The app isn’t required, its more for our power users.

  17. Wavelengths

    Response from the head of engineering when I was looking for a tech-doc gig from a Boulder startup in the 90s.”We don’t need technical documentation. We have a secretary and a laser printer.”Arrrrgh.

  18. LE

    Would suggest changing the title to this post so that “Take Two” appears at the beginning instead of the end. Or better yet, renaming completely. A quick scan earlier today of I missed this because it appeared to be yesterday’s post and that you hadn’t updated with Tuesday’s post.Human brain reads in chunks. If the chunks don’t vary that much we tend to skip and fill in the blanks.

    1. Wavelengths


  19. Aviah Laor

    Neverthelss, “final_final” and “final_final_2” are expected and welcomed

  20. Pete Griffiths

    Very cool. Good job everyone.

  21. ShanaC

    I get the feeling reading this that this sort of take two behavior is something that shouldn’t happen. If it does, it should be an experience that degrades gracefully, if only to not leave a bad taste for the product (which is what yesterday left me)

  22. Alex Graveley

    Sorry about Hackpad’s poor moderation UI Fred! I’ve cleaned it up a bit at the bottom of pads (see screenshot). Also, I’ll be adding a “Redirect to existing pad” function soon, so links to your not-final pad can redirect to the final one.

  23. jeypandian

    My apologies folks, its midnight here and I just saw this post. I’ll see if I can contribute during lunch tomorrow. In the meantime, you may want to take a look at this infographic that Seer put together on different revenue models.I do not work for them but I’ve “seen” their founder from afar once. http://rcs.seerinteractive….Cheers,Jey

    1. William Mougayar

      Wow. That’s a great reference link for revenue models. Thanks

    2. Wavelengths

      I know where I’ll be spending some time tomorrow. (Today?) Thanks.The great thing about this online life is that we can communicate independent of time zones and not annoy each other with phone calls in the middle of the night.

      1. jeypandian

        I agree but on the other hand, I don’t know the phone number for any of you. I stumbled upon this blog by accident (much to my delight). Got tired of reading SEO blogs who regurgitate information.

        1. Wavelengths

          Lots of weary travelers stumble into the community in the middle of the night and decide to “stay.”Welcome!If you read some of Fred’s past blogs, you’ll not only learn a lot, but you’ll get an idea of how far-reaching the ideas are here, and how much the community contributes to everyone else.Read the MBA Monday blog from a week ago and then this Monday as well to see the history behind this post.

          1. jeypandian

            I fully intend to do so. I already learned a lot from this one post. I will do as you recommend. Thank you Wavelengths. ๐Ÿ™‚

          2. Wavelengths

            Back in September, Fred had a “Fun Friday” and invited everyone to contribute their favorite photos. You’ll certainly see a different side of the contributors.I wanted to take the whole thread and turn in into a mural. ๐Ÿ™‚

    3. RichardF

      That is a great link, we should definitely have some ability to crowd source links on avc and pin them to the conversation. This would easily have surfaced to the top of the comments had it been posted earlier. It still might.

    4. Tom Labus

      That’s very nice, thanks.

  24. Jeff 'SKI' Kinsey

    I recall catching a portion of this topic some days ago… btw, love hackpad; would it be too much to have a simple one-page help screen, like Bamboo Paper did?This seems very high level. Might I ask if anyone has read “The Art of Profitability” by Adrian Slywotzky? Just curious. Amazing explanations, yet presented in a model that promotes learning by doing.