Hi everyone, founder and owner here - Martin Percossi.
This is the post that no founder wants to write, but here I am writing it. zenAud.io is winding down.
I’m a customer, what does that mean for me?
If you haven’t bought ALK, tough luck: we’re no longer selling. Sorry.If you’re ok with a product where development is on a feel like it basis, then you can get a free version of ALK2, without any licensing bullshit, here.
- If you already own ALK, be aware that I don’t plan any further updates, apart from a last maintenance update which cuts the umbilical cord between the software and the website. I’ve committed to providing that version by start of February 2021. Update: done.
Until that date, your account page should work - and you are now, once again, able to activate the product.Update: activation is no longer necessary.
Why is zenAud.io winding down?
Sadly, the economics simply don’t work. Essentially ALK brings in enough cash on a monthly basis to partially support a single developer.
The money that zenAud.io brings in is used to pay @heycoffeeeyes .Truth be told, it doesn’t even adequately compensate him, a fact that makes me sad. For my part, I haven’t received a salary since 2018. That’s actually an overstatement: during the period when I “made” a salary, the company was losing enough money that I was paying that “salary” from my personal savings; not from money raised by sales of the product. For the record: as an owner, I’m in the red with zenAud.io. I never profited - not even close - another fact that makes me sad, and a little sick in my stomach when I consider how much effort went in. (As in: how could I have been so stupid?)
I should say this, though: Robin did an amazing job at monetizing ALK. He was instrumental in getting ALK listed in Thomann. He basically paid his own salary through ingenious use of Facebook campaigns, in the process creating the small but clearly devoted - and now justifiably mutinous - userbase. And anyone who’s watched the countless instructional videos he created can attest to his intimate knowledge of the product, not to mention his pretty fucking awesome musical skills. He was tireless in seeking collaborations with other musicians.
So if you’re angry at zenAud.io, please don’t be angry at Robin. He doesn’t own this shit show; I do.
Dude, where were you?
As mentioned above, I had to make a living. Here is where I have to confront some uncomfortable truths about my personality. I’m not particularly organized or disciplined. When I’m excited about something - and even now the code and oh-my-god-the-responsiveness-when-pinch-zooming-at-60fps get me excited. (And the key bindings - though I suspect I’m in the minority there.) But eventually, I have to context-switch back to the job that actually pays me money. And context switching, is very costly for me.
In April (I think), with the best of intentions, I updated the Windows version and fixed a long-standing bug. I swore to myself I would devote more time to the product. What happened after that? Quite simple: shit hit the fan (in a good way) at my other job (the one that actually pays the bills). I got excited by that, and frankly, that led me to drop the ball on zenAud.io.
Sorry, I’m a nerd: programming has always been fun for me, and when faced with an interesting problem, of which my current job has plenty, I get kind of lost in those. I’ll invert that remark: I was able to make zenAud.io not because I was particularly disciplined (I’m not), but because I became engrossed in the creative, design, and technical aspects in creating audio software. At every step along the road, what motivated me was was the desire (which I’m sure more than a few musicians will be familiar with!) to do something no one else had done before. Keyboard bindings? Let’s one-up vi. Graphics? Nothing less than GPU-rendered 60FPS will do. UI? Make it all transparent: no chrome, nowhere. And so on. Oh and by the way, I’ll do that all by myself… It didn’t go to plan, needless to say.
To get back to why updates weren’t provided consistently in the recent past: I’m not temperementally suited to doing such reasonable things as budgeting my time. Also, it doesn’t help having 3 little screaming banshees demanding my attention in the evening. That sounds bad: they’re totally awesome. But after a full day’s work, and then making dinner for kids, corralling them to brush their teeth and put on their pyjamas, and then putting them to bed, I can’t tell you how drained you are.
It’s fair to say I’m a terrible - comically bad, actually - business man. Looking back at some of the design decisions, I have to laugh about how insane they were. I’ve mentioned a few of them. (The GPU thing cost me 6 months - and, in retrospect, honestly: who gives a shit?) Also, I really hate networking - and to be a good entrepeneur, you have to do a lot of networking. I could go on and on about the mistakes I made as businessman, as a designer, etc., but I don’t want to bore you.
Enough self-flagellation. I want to conclude by expressing my gratitude to you, the customer, who supported us through your purchases and, most importantly, your time and creative input. I know as an owner I’ve been aloof and unresponsive, but to those of you who contacted me with messages of support for my work, and to those of you created using zenAud.io ALK: thank you so much - it makes me incredibly happy that some people liked what I conceived, and found use for it.
Bottom line: I gave it my best shot, and failed - for that I’m truly sorry. But it’s time to move on.