As a product, FullContact Card Reader has been through a number of evolutions.
It originally started over 3 years ago as a simple iPhone business card scanning app called CardShark. Over time, we added a robust direct integration with our FullContact address book app. We introduced card packs. We renamed it ‘FullContact Card Reader’ to eliminate confusion. We launched an Android version. And we integrated with Zapier, allowing you to scan business cards into 500+ other business apps. Along the way, we added the most critical Card Reader functionality to our flagship iOS and Android apps.
And now it’s time for one more evolution.
In July, we made the final decision to sunset the standalone FullContact Card Reader apps. It’s always a tough decision to sunset a product, but it’s important to have discipline and strive for simplicity as a company grows and scales.
Instead of giving you a bunch of spin, platitudes and corporate-speak, in the interest of transparency, I decided that it’d be best to simply share the email I sent to the entire company at FullContact.
So, here it is:
It’s hard to believe that we’re almost a month into Q3 already! It’s been a productive quarter so far! We’re close to wrapping up the Profoundis acquisition; we’ve hired and filled some key positions in the company; and we’re seeing a huge number of new registered FullContact users every day!
I discussed this at last All Hands, but as we continue to grow and scale, it becomes even more imperative for us to be laser focused on our business.
This means simplifying and streamlining. This means reducing cognitive load on the organization and on our customers.
The bigger we become, the easier it is for us to splinter organizationally and exert energy in different directions. Fragmentation and complexity is the death knell for many businesses; it is the primary reason why so few cross the revenue chasm from $10M to $100M.
As such, you’ll continue to see me push very hard for simplicity. It is this type of brutal prioritization that is essential for us to achieve our long term goals.
Saying yes to everything is easy. Prioritizing and simplifying is hard.
It’s in this spirit that we’ve made the difficult decision to sunset Card Reader and Card Reader for Teams as standalone product offerings.
I firmly believe that long term, it’s the best move for the company and our users.
While Card Reader has been instrumental for us to this point, the time has come for us to say goodbye to it as a standalone product.
Nobody questions whether business card transcription is important to our users. It’s a great and helpful feature.
But I believe strongly that business card transcription is a feature, not a product.
Making this move will reduce our iPhone and Android App Store footprint from four apps to two. It will allow us to focus our energy on building the best possible experience in a single app – “FullContact.”
It will focus our marketing and user onboarding efforts.
It will focus our integration and extensibility efforts with systems like Zapier.
I’ve been in the field with thousands of users and customers. I’ve seen first hand the confusion we impart. They ask questions like “which FullContact app should I download?” and “why do I need both?”
When zooming out, from an outsider’s perspective, the product strategy doesn’t make much sense.
The multiple code bases, search terms, support docs, reports, demos, to support a full blown product – it’s all needless friction and drag.
While Card Reader does help top of the funnel acquisition at present, it also contributes drag on our Gross Margin and on our overall conversion rates.
We haven’t taken this decision lightly. We’ve looked at the data, we evaluated the alternatives, and we are confident that this is the best path forward. We’re not alone, either. Check out this timely article from The Harvard Business Review, which illustrates why taking these types of actions are needed. It’s worth noting – Card Reader has never been a spectacular commercial success and the gross margin it contributes to our business is immaterial.
I know there are some that may disagree with me on this strategy. But it’s my job to see the big picture and help the company achieve its mission and vision in the long run. So you’ve got to trust me that I’m doing what I believe is the correct move for the long term health of the business.
Let me be clear: it’s always tough to sunset a product.
Things can get emotional.
There will be some upset users. There will be some angry customers. And I will write a blog post explaining the rationale (and including this e-mail).
But I strongly believe this is the best move for the long term health of FullContact AND our customer base.
I’d also like to thank everyone who has been a part of Card Reader’s life. From product to engineering, sales to marketing, and everyone in between, Card Reader has been a positive and fruitful chapter in the story of FullContact. As this chapter ends, another begins, and I can’t wait to see what the future holds!
What does this mean for me?
- The FullContact Card Reader apps will be retired at the end of 2016.
- You can use the flagship FullContact apps for all your business card scanning needs, and your experience will be much better.
- No data will be lost in the transition. Any cards remaining and/or your annual subscription will be honored in the FullContact app – just log in with the account you used for Card Reader.
- All of your Zapier Zaps will transition over automatically.
Here’s what you should do next:
- Download the FullContact app for iOS or Android:
- Log into the FullContact App using your FullContact username and password
- Verify you can capture your business cards in iOS or Android and your previous business cards are available in the FullContact app. If you have any issues, please contact email@example.com.
- Delete your FullContact Card Reader app.