Friends Near and Afar

Friends Near and Afar, Letters we Share and Cherish.

The Hard Truths About Business Development

by Kevin Wong Ho-yin, 25 Nov 2022

It's been a while since I've posted here, but I've been busy with moving home for a while; and now I'm finally settling down.

This time I would like to share some of my thoughts on how to develop Slowly, after receiving a lot of suggestions over the past few years.


Good News Two:

After months of no action, we are now seeing work on the Feedback site again. The Slowly team people who maintain the site, Miranda and Shiro, just upgraded 10 Location proposals to Under Review status.


This was first reported by Asdrubal, from Venezuela

...who created a topic describing his problems with using Slowly Web Client while connected to a VPN.

I tested and confirmed the problem – indeed, the screenshot below is from my own laptop.


November 11 Remembrance Day in Canada, and it would be a perfect occasion for a commemorative stamp. This day is also observed in other countries, and marks the Armistice, the end date of the First World War (at 11 am, on November 11, 1918).


SLOWLY Android mobile client running in a Windows 10 laptop

A common discussion theme between users

Do you write letters on your phone or your laptop?

I for the life of me cannot type on my phone for a long letter, and need a more comfortable physical keyboard. Though, one of my pen pals will write 3-4k word letters on their phone.

Also, on the computer, it's nice to see the previous letter you're responding to while you type, don't you think?


Translating our Software – Crowdsourcing pros and cons?

Three years on, a review of the pros and cons of using Crowdsourcing for interface translation work.

There was no intention to translate SLOWLY into many languages, especially as resources were tight in the early days. It all started because of a introduction email received from a SLOWLY user, and from then on it was conducted by volunteers in Crowdsourcing model. Today, there are more than twenty languages supported.


An interview on the Clubhouse app

Kevin's appearance on the program “Entrepreneurship Without Direction”.

This time, I was fortunate to meet Harry of Sorted, as well as John and Finnie, the two hosts of “Entrepreneurship Without Direction”. After a long retreat, it turned out that I hadn't done an interview for a while, and it was the first time that the designer shared his experience until he founded Slowly, which lasted more than two hours.


Write a personal introduction letter to the start-up

Before starting Slowly, it was naïve to think that there were only two types of startups – one was unicorns like Google, Facebook, Twitter. Who had unlimited resources and always appeared out of reach (for example, they often couldn't even find customer service emails).

The other is those who have found or are looking for investors, and then have some resources that can expand rapidly in the short term, and then try to squeeze into the first category of companies or be acquired by them.


1345 free cups of coffee from around the world

For more than a year, SLOWLY had no ads other than free downloads; in other words, only expenses and no income. I see that as an early testing phase, in order to try to exclude other factors, and to focus on whether this idea is okay.

I only wanted this phase to last for three months, but in the end, due to personal limitations, this period of no income at all was “a little bit” longer than expected.


How I found my first users

When deciding to start a startup, the first challenge is finding the first users. In the past, I did that while working for clients, usually with a good media advertising budget, plus some established brands. Compared to startups that have no money and start from scratch, there is a big difference; and the original knowledge and experience have become useless. Is this an attractive idea? Will the number of users reach a level sufficient to keep things running?