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how to spark a "virtuous cycle" of rapid beorg development

I would be happy to pay more to promote beorg development -- even more so to the degree that I could understand what size contribution would have what impact.  Maybe other users feel similarly?  I'm curious:

- Does Apple tell you who pays you what?

- How many users are there, paying and unpaying?

- What fraction of users have paid how much?

- Would it make sense for users to pledge payments as a way to up-vote hypothetical specific new features?

- What about a Pythonista-like model of a closed-source core that supports an awesome set of features on which users build a large ecosystem of open-source enhancements?

Beorg has already made my large set of org files considerably more useful to me.  It has now reached a state where I wish I could hack beorg in a Pythonista-like way.  How can we enable this in a way that fits Matthew's career interests?

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I'm new to Freshdesk forums and didn't realise there were some posts awaiting approval. Sorry for the delay in approving this post!

I'm hoping to come back with a detailed answer tomorrow to your questions :)

I would love to dedicate much of my month to working on beorg. To give you some context freelance iOS/Android development works generally brings in £350/day (~$450/day) - and currently beorg is bringing in about £300/month. There is certainly some way to go before I can spend as much time as I would like on beorg.

My goal is to make beorg appealing to a much wider group of people. There is definitely a market on iOS for apps such as beorg. My guess is that apps such as Drafts, Pythonista, Good Task - all of which are aimed at more technical users - generate sufficient income for their developers most of the time.

I'm working currently with a designer on the icon. The current icon has some meaning for Org mode users - but doesn't tell anyone else that beorg is a task management app. I hope to have a new icon ready in February.

Once the new icon is in place my focus is going to be on bringing beorg to the attention of the major influencers in the iOS community. Particular those who cater to users yearning for in-depth apps (for example MacStories). I am currently considering whether I should have beorg work with Markdown files in addition to Org mode files. The Markdown would utilise all the semantic Org mode markup to indicate tasks, dates, etc. Whilst most of us would agree that Org mode is a much better format than Markdown, there is a large group of iOS users for whom Markdown is the lingua franca. I think there are groups of users who would get very excited about a Markdown based task management file format.

In answer to your questions:

+ Apple doesn't tell you who has paid - you just get a breakdown of number of in-app purchases by country. This is mostly good for users as they aren't passing over any personal details when they make purchases on the App Store to developers.
+ Currently there are about 2.5K active users per month.
+ Average revenue per user is about $0.20 - although for users who have purchased 1 or more in-app purchases this increases to $3.07.
+ It would potentially be complicated to get a system whereby users would pledge payments to up-vote particular features. beorg is going to generate enough income by growing the number of users - and then increasing the percentage of users which purchase a beorg extension.
+ Making beorg more hackable is an ongoing project - some of which is needed to facilitate higher level features. For example I want to implement bulk modifications to tasks, this will likely be built on top of allow tasks to be modified in Scheme. Often doing things this way leads to a lower development cost and has the added benefit of being something advanced users can tap into. I definitely want to hear what people would like to do in Scheme that can't currently be achieved.

The best thing that uses who want to see beorg continue to grow can do is to talk about beorg with other users - whether that is writing blog posts, mentioning it on Twitter, etc. beorg is then much more likely to come to the attention of influencers in the wider iOS community which will massively help growth. I don't have any outside funding to develop beorg but will have some budget based on my other development activities to really try and make a success of beorg into the future.

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Thanks -- very informative.  I purchased Trunk Notes shortly after I discovered BeOrg and have probably paid about $15 or $20 so far in-app to BeOrg.  I would be happy to pay another $50 for the ability to search based on the full text stored beneath a headline -- preferably a case-insensitive word-based search.  (Sounds as if that would only work economically if you could implement, test, and deploy it in O(1 hour).)  But if scheme code were given access to a given headline's contained text, then I could just implement my own such search.  Either way would dramatically increase BeOrg's usefulness to me for retrieving reference information while I am "on the move."

I really like this app, though it doesn't yet do everything I would like, so I was curious how much I would have to spend to put myself into the top ten or twenty percent of the app's supporters.


It seems that the "Editorial" app (by the same author who made Pythonista) is already quite popular for Markdown.  It even allows nice outline folding in Markdown as well as very nice editing.  I think it is also quite hackable.  Unfortunately (for its users, though this creates an opening for beorg) Editorial does not support org mode.  In any case, if you have not already seen it, you might look at Editorial (and its cousin Pythonista) for some ideas.

Meanwhile, I followed up on the many posts on the Editorial list pleading with the author over the years to add org support, by pointing people to

It would be fantastic for Org mode and the core concepts it embodies for the ecosystem of apps which support it to increase. This is why Markdown is as popular as it is - on iOS in particular there was an explosion of apps a few years ago. 

I think adding Markdown support would be a step backwards - Markdown is already so fractured among the implementations that you almost need a translator between feature sets. One of the strengths of orgmode is that it has so much of these features "batteries included" in the format.

Taskpaper already defines an extended Markdown task list format, and has some support added in other MD editors... 

In an already crowded MD marketplace, adding beorg to the noise isn't going to help it find a niche... If I were going to vote on it, I'd ask for Shortcuts to intake MD and parse it into outlines/tasks/formatting and back out... Let beorg be the "universal translator" for us who love Orgmode to use it in apps that handle it, then dumb it down to MD for other apps.

I didn't mean to imply that markdown support in beorg would be a good idea, but rather that some of the existing markdown iOS apps (eg Editorial) could potentially be a source of ideas for ways in which beorg could be made more extensible by users who know how to code.  Most orgmode users starting from emacs  orgmode presumably use emacs to edit code and thus are likely to be coders.  Emacs itself of course is eminently extensible.  More user-extensibility seems like a good path to boosting the rate of beorg feature development.

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