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How Pando Got 1 Million Customers in 3 Months

This last month I had the opportunity of interviewing Yaron Samid, Vice President of Product Management for Pando. I found out about Pando from a colleague of mine, while I was looking for a solution that would let me email podcast recordings (which are usually very large files) to others.  The two things that excited me about Pando were (1) Pando’s technology that allowed me to share large files with colleagues and (2) the company's rapid success.  In a period of less than three months of a public beta, Pando reached over 1 million installs.  For a collaboration start-up this is very impressive. 

Here are four key areas Samid attributes to the successful launch of Pando.

1. Cater to an existing need of a consumer market. Samid’s experience in file sharing at Desksite taught him that customers had a very simple need: they wanted to share large files with other users quickly and without a cumbersome server architecture that added additional costs and traffic overhead. Consequently, Samid and the Pando team created a peer-to-peer solution that allows you to easily share family photos, music videos, or other files with another person quickly and freely. Pando was dead-on in meeting the needs of their customers. Because of this, one million customers quickly adopted and benefited from Pando’s focused offering.  

2. Require users to invite other users. In order for someone to use Pando, they need to invite another person.  This requirement is key to the viral spreading nature of Pando.  Prior to reaching a million users, Pando did not invest in marketing.  They let the viral requirement of their product do all the marketing.  Collaboration software has this great advantage, and companies who make it easy for users to invite other users, can get a lot more users for a minimal or no PR and marketing investment.  I am surprised that Pando’s word of mouth marketing has spread Pando to all major countries in the world.   

20061006tedjamulia2.gif 3. Make your product very easy to install with very few friction points. Installing Pando is very easy.  Pando is a 2MB application which installs very quickly.  When someone is invited to Pando, that person receives an email and can quickly download the application.  Pando does not require you to provide any personal information.  To begin sharing, you simply click “Send New”, add the receiver's email address, drag and drop your files into Pando, enter a message, and click "Send".  The ease of installation and use further facilitates the viral spread of Pando and wins over not only Internet-savvy consumers, but those who feel uncomfortable with new applications or providing any sort of identity over the internet.  Making a collaboration product easy to install and use broadens a customer base and increases the viral spread of the collaboration application and the continual use of the application.

20061006tedjamulia3.jpg 4. Make your product user friendly and remain true to your users. What impressed me about Samid is that his ideology is very user-focused.  He wants to make sure that he will gain the user’s trust and confidence in his product from the beginning and he continues to nurture a positive relationship with all his customers.  Pando does not have any spyware or adware, and fully discloses its roadmap to its users.  Samid openly blogs about his product, and users can call him directly using Skype (see image, right).

Because Pando has been able to earn the trust of its users, more than 2634 users around the world have posted their information and quotes on a Frappr map showing their support for Pando (see above).  The number of users and the dedication of its users Pando has attained in such a short period of time is impressive.  

Look for an upcoming podcast interview here on Collaboration Loop with Samid.

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