Seeing the feedback on our launch of SwiftKey 4 yesterday was phenomenal. As our Community Manager, times like this really cause me to reflect on what’s made SwiftKey so successful.
Our VIP Community now has an incredible 100,000 members and I want to share with you what I believe sets SwiftKey apart from so many other apps on this scale. Of course, we have our team on this end who pour their hearts into the development of the application; to say they are great at what they do would be an understatement. However, without our community’s input, SwiftKey simply wouldn’t be what it is today. We call you ‘VIPs’ for good reason! I have a very strong connection to this community. In fact, I actually started off as a user, and that evolved into me becoming a full-time member of the team – a real testament to the fact that SwiftKey values its users!
SwiftKey has evolved organically from the start. It started with an idea between two guys… Ben Medlock and Jon Reynolds, now our CTO and CEO, respectively. They wanted to tackle the widespread struggle they observed with people typing on tiny keyboards. From the very start, they recognized that this was a challenge about people and their language use, not about keyboards and code. Over time, the SwiftKey public forum was introduced which constantly provides us with a rudder to help steer the ship that is the SwiftKey application. This provided us with the opportunity to hear what you, our users, have to say. Still, we wanted to listen more. As a result, the VIP Community was created in November 2010.
For those of you who are not yet SwiftKey VIPS, let me give you a snapshot of what it entails. We take a collaborative approach to making SwiftKey awesome. Our VIPs help us to test the app across a wider variety of devices and languages that wouldn’t be possible without their help. They additionally generate and inform us of their ideas, as well as helping other users to get the most out of SwiftKey. We also greatly appreciate the way our VIPs relentlessly evangelize about the company and app amongst their friends and family, and enthusiastically back us for industry awards.
In return, they get access to our work before it goes on general release; they get to be heard and we like to throw out swag and offer up competition prizes when we’re able to. Most of all, we hope they know their voices are heard within the company – their feedback is heard and discussed by the founders, the management team and most importantly, by the very people who build and refine our products.
Now beyond 100,000 users, the VIP Community represents a subset of our total user base which has now grown to around 2 million. There are so many different perspectives on what would make SwiftKey the very best keyboard it can be and we strive to take all of these different opinions into consideration when we make improvements to the application. The VIP Community is a unique space for a more active dialog between users and the SwiftKey Team. It also has blossomed into a fantastic site where users help other users with different tips and tricks they’ve discovered.
With every new VIP that joins us, our global perspective increases. This enables us to make as many people happy with SwiftKey as we possibly can. I know that everyone may not always agree with one another, but there’s dialog. This throws open the scope for growth in a way that simply wouldn’t be possible without you guys. This symbiosis between users and the SwiftKey team is not something that I’ve seen before – not on this level. I feel incredibly privileged to be part of this and I wanted to make this message perfectly clear.
We’ve said it before, but I want this to resonate. You are all beautiful people. With your participation, we will continue to build the very best keyboard that we can. You can sign up for the VIP Community here.
Thank you for being with us on this journey.