RescueTime for Employee Monitoring – What it means for RescueTimePosted: May 14, 2009
Note: this blog post was prompted by this tweet — we’ve also gotten an email or two about the messaging change. I’d meant to get this blog post out last week, but the release happened a few hours after I’d boarded the plan for my first vacation in a few years. Apologies for the delay!
Last week we did a few dramatic things in terms of our business offering. First off, our “marketing” site (the one new users see before they sign up– if you’re already a RescueTime user, you’ll have to log out to see it) is now much more business focused, with the individual offering significantly de-emphasized. We also introduced a new product, RescueTime Pulse, which allows managers to see how employees are spending their time without the employees being able to see or control the monitoring software. This is in contrast with our existing flagship offering (RescueTime Empower), which allows employees to see their own data and have some control over what is monitored and when.
We wanted to take a few minutes to talk about our thinking behind the new offering and what it means for RescueTime.
Our Thinking behind the Changes
- The biggest reason we’re offering the new restricted version is because people wanted it. A restricted mode offering was literally the most requested feature from our business customers. RescueTime is a software startup, which means that our first mandate is to build something people want… Which may or may not necessarily map to what we THINK they should want.
- Related, the site being more business-focused is a reflection of the economy in which we live. Revenue and profit are king and we can’t expect to focus on free/consumer audiences forever. While we will always serve that individuals, we thought the site should reflect our focus on business customers.
- The restricted offering helps us understand the value of our “in the open” offering, RescueTime Empower, which offers open and collaborative business time management software. To date, we’ve been able to show that using RescueTime in this way improves productive behavior by 9% over two months of use… But we’ve never been able to understand how employees behave when they AREN’T using RescueTime “in the open”. A restricted version will give us this data, and will help us understand the TRUE effect of our open offering. 9% is a pretty impressive number (annually, it can literally represents hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of productive time for even a 10-person team). But we think we’re about to expose a much more dramatic number– and we’re excited about that!
What it means for RescueTime
- We will continue to serve new and existing individual customers. It’s a rapidly growing audience for us (we love you guys), but free users don’t pay the bills and we don’t want to bury people in ads to make money.
- It gives us the opportunity to help business customers change how they think about employee monitoring and time management. When you want to change the world, sometimes you have to meet it halfway and drag it the rest of the way. Armed with real data, we can tell our customers who choose the employee monitoring route what they and their team could achieve if they embraced a more collaborative approach.
- Revenue = runway. Again, we’re a small and young company who is trying to change how businesses and individuals think about time tracking. That’s not going to happen overnight. We truly believe that it IS going to happen, and this step helps insure that we’re going to be around when it does!
We still believe what we’ve always believed at RescueTime. That time is a resource that should be tracked in the same way that any valuable resource is tracked. That tracking time should be easy and shouldn’t interfere with being productive. That managers and business owners should be able to see this data in aggregate to help them understand and guide their business. That employees and individuals should be able to own their own time management, see their own time tracking data, and see how they compare to their peers.
As always, we welcome your comments (either drop a comment on this post or drop us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org).