An Update on Balsamiq’s Office Hours Program

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.
Trouble viewing?
View it online.
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
Tweet
Instagram
Website
Email Balsamiq
View in Browser  |  Update Your Preferences  |  Unsubscribe

Older messages

Looking Back at Balsamiq's 2020

Thursday, January 28, 2021

A recap of 2020, and a quick look at what's to come in 2021! The latest news from Balsamiq: A recap of 2020, and a quick look at what's to come in 2021! Trouble viewing? View it online. This is

Balsamiq’s Internal Tools, and Why We Built Them

Friday, December 18, 2020

A behind the scenes look at some of the tools we built to help Balsamiq run smoothly The latest news from Balsamiq: A behind the scenes look at some of the tools we built to help Balsamiq run smoothly,

Balsamiq's Advice for Starting a Career in UX

Friday, December 4, 2020

The state of UX careers and tips for getting into it. The latest news from Balsamiq: The state of UX careers and tips for getting into it. Trouble viewing? View it online. UX isn't just about

How Your Requests Make Balsamiq Better

Sunday, November 1, 2020

How our customers' voices drive our product decisions The latest news from Balsamiq: How our customers' voices drive our product decisions Trouble viewing? View it online. If you've ever

How We Use the Whole Product Concept at Balsamiq

Sunday, November 1, 2020

The latest news from Balsamiq: A mental hack for founders, to convince yourselves to work on marketing projects instead of just coding all the time! Trouble viewing? View it online. “Winning the Whole

✏ Is AMP Dead and Do We Care? React Markdown Editor, Bad vs Good Designs, and more...

Saturday, June 19, 2021

Poll: Is AMP Dead, and do We Care? WEBDESIGNERDEPOT.COM COMMENTS Bad Vs Good Accessible Designs USABILITYGEEK.COM COMMENTS Client-Side Routing in Next.js SMASHINGMAGAZINE.COM COMMENTS React Markdown

The 25 Best Accent Chairs, According to AD100 Designers

Friday, June 18, 2021

Plus, more sourcing inspiration. View in your browser | Update your preferences Architectural Digest AD PRO logo image Welcome to the PROcurement, our new weekly roundup of the best designs to source

✏ 40 Javascript Memes, CSS Specificity Calculator, HTML Semantic Tags Sheet, and more...

Friday, June 18, 2021

The Problem with UX/UI Portfolios MARKBOULTON.CO.UK COMMENTS CSS Specificity Calculator POLYPANE.APP COMMENTS Your Image is Probably not Decorative SMASHINGMAGAZINE.COM COMMENTS Top 40+ Javascript

What Will Back-To-Normal Look Like?

Friday, June 18, 2021

A weekly dispatch from Architectural Digest's Editor in Chief. ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌

UX/UI Portfolios, Feels, Bear Plus Snowflake, Optical Size, Aspect Ratio

Friday, June 18, 2021

The 5 best design links, every day. Curated by a selection of great editors. Email not displaying properly? View browser version. Sidebar June 18 2021 The problem with UX/UI portfolios markboulton.co.

RWD Weekly #462— the one about the little yellow book

Friday, June 18, 2021

No preview text for you this week, you've got to commit to reading this one by opening it first :) Read online Hello again, welcome back to RWD Weekly #462 happy Friday! This week I've been

Meet Image Optimization, A New Smashing Book

Thursday, June 17, 2021

Meet Addy Osmani's new book on image optimization: from formats and compression to delivery and maintenance. Brand new book: Image Optimization by Addy Osmani. Dearest Friend, How do we deliver

🔥 Dashing Mobile UI Designs and more

Thursday, June 17, 2021

Round Up The Newest UpLabs Weekly Freebies 🤠 Check out some fresh high-quality Freebies that have been handpicked for you by the UpLabs team this week. The New Super Fast Way to Build a Website

Holly Hunt Reinvents Herself Once Again

Thursday, June 17, 2021

Plus, a houseplant sells for almost $20000 at auction (image) Architectural Digest AD PRO Logo house plant - philodendron Think You Love Houseplants? This One Just Sold for Almost $20000 Read More →

✏ 3 Ways to Design More Inclusively, What is a Design System?2021 Fun Typefaces, and more...

Thursday, June 17, 2021

3 Ways to Design More Inclusively WEBDESIGNERDEPOT.COM COMMENTS What is a Design System? ROBERTCREATIVE.COM COMMENTS Animal Crossing Font FONTSPANDA.COM COMMENTS Some Fun Typefaces for 2021 KOTTKE.ORG