Everything Else

Wear a share of Helix’s future...

...and More notes from the Marketing Blotter

2003.01.23--Helix 6, Helix 5.1, the Helix Education Center and the $100 T-shirt top this edition of the periodic Helix sermon, which returns this day to attempt to clear out the marketing blotter again.

Lots of things are happening, though with this team being what it is, progress is a bit on the apparently slow side. One day, perhaps we’ll get to watch this phase of Helix’s rebirth in time-lapse mode and get an appreciation of how quickly things are actually moving.

Helix 5.1 is off and running (we’re almost afraid to say how well) First, let’s say that despite some glitches in the early going, right around Christmas, there have already been more than a few thousand downloads of Helix 5.1 products. Many of those, of course, were by users entitled to a free upgrade; but while we won’t publish the exact figures, our still being here and working on Helix 6 testifies to the fact that upgrade sales are also proceeding very nicely. Lots of pre-5.x users have taken the leap and the mail we’re receiving, both about the upgrade itself and about the effort that went into it, is quite overwhemingly positive. We were out one month last night and not one major problem has been reported.

Time is running out on current prices, though, so if you’re thinking of upgrading, February 1st is rapidly approaching. If you do happen to have a Client/Server license to upgrade, you might want to wait for the new pricing to take effect. Some of the new price breaks will actually save you some money on your upgrade. Click here for details.

A huge note of thanks to those using our new Bug and Feature report pages. It seems that some combination of our impassioned pleading and improvements in both accessibility and design of our Bugs and Features reporting pages appears to have resulted in a dramatic increase in the usage of these forms. We’re getting a lot of great stuff there and we want to thank everyone who has taken advantage of these channels. Your ideas are getting where they will ultimately do the most good.

The re-emergence of the Helix Education Center: Update It’s hard to believe we’re actually going to start training again in a little over a month. Interest is high and signups are progressing. While neither course is sold out yet, it’s clear from the level of interest that it will be worthwhile to pursue this in other locations this year. So if you’ve got a place where you think Helix training should be held, please let us know.

There’s still nearly one month left before the first class. Each class is limited to 24 people. You can register for either or both with a Visa or MasterCard. You can get detailed information about the classes by clicking on their names below.

  • The Helix Basics session is February 24-25, 2003.
  • The Advanced Techniques session is February 26-28, 2003. These links will take you to detailed information about the classes.

The exact location of the training, as well as the location of the meeting that will take place on Saturday, will be announced the week of February 3, 2003. Once again, Gil Numeroff will be attending the Friday, February 28, 2003 session and lunch on behalf of Helix Technologies and will remain in Houston for a meeting on Saturday, March 1, 2003 with area users.

A reminder about the meeting in Houston This meeting will give users an opportunity both to provide input on what they’d like to see in future Helix releases and to have their questions answered in a casual format. If you have a marketing idea you’d like to share with us, or a Helix application you’d like to co-market, bring it along. We’ll also provide them with information on how our macOS project is progressing and what we’re hoping to achieve in that release.

Approaching the end of free user support Several weeks ago, we mentioned that the end of free technical support was coming. We’ve developed a plan based upon several solid years of experience in helping users via telephone, email and other means.

Historically, we’ve found that most calls can be handled within about a 15 minute period. Some take longer, few take less. We’re going to continue to offer free user support for a specified period (to be determined) following each new Helix purchase or Helix upgrade purchase. After that, plans call for each session to be billed in 15 minute units, at a price to be determined. You would also be able to purchase user support in advance in multiples of the basic unit price. And, to the extent that we’d be able, we would not limit support to strictly technical issues. If it turned out that what you really needed was design assistance or a better understanding of how your computer worked, you would get it.

Of course, nothing is fixed in stone and nothing will be until we’ve considered your input, so please email us and let us know what you think.

The $100 T-shirt: buy and wear a share of the future A few weeks ago, we quietly debuted the "Recovery Team" T-shirt to those who frequent the Helix Discussion List. Despite the fact that this group comprises a relatively small segment of the user population, the shirts have been very successful so far.

Before you look at the shirt, consider its role in getting us to Helix 6. T-shirts can make money. Money, as you are certainly tired of hearing from us, is what it takes to make this engine go. If you like the "Recovery Team" shirt and decide to buy one, or two, or ten, for the basic, nominal fee of $15.00 ($18 for XXL, with quantity discounts for multiple purchases of the same size), you will absolutely be helping us...and, of course, yourself to the goal of one day seeing under macOS.

As we were admiring the shirts, we were being beseiged on three fronts.

The first front was the number of people desiring to somehow pour money into our effort. We’re not a charity, so we can’t take donations. We don’t actually own Helix (The Chip Merchant does), so we’re not in a position to offer some percentage of the company to a potential donor or investor. And we can’t let anyone advance purchase their copy of Helix 6 simply because we have no idea what it will cost and can offer no guarantee that it will ever exist.

The second front was time and the third was money. These two are what stand between where we are and where we want to be.

Suddenly it hit us! Why not sell the shirts as a combination voucher and investment! You get to put money into Helix 6 and get something tangible--a T-shirt. And even though it’s a speculative and non-refundable purchase, if it works out, you’ll also be able to redeem a coupon sent to you with your shirt for the equivalent value deducted from your eventual upgrade cost for Helix 6.

Thus the $100 T-shirt was born. It costs $100. You get a shirt. And a coupon for $100 off Helix 6.

Now go have a look. You can find them by clicking the "Goodies" link at left. When you come to the Goodies page, click on the shirt. You’ll come to a page with some better pictures and all the particulars.

Last but not least, an update on Helix 6 As previously noted, we are currently in the early phases of the project. While some aspects of the work have taken less time than originally forecast, others unexpected hurdles have cropped up. On the whole we are still quite on schedule, but it is still way too early to talk about release dates, feature sets, etc. We are working as fast as our finances permit. If the progress made over the last three weeks is any indication, we should have some worthwhile news to 'leak' to you via these pages in a few weeks.

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