Downloadable Diary 1: Introduction

October 09, 2018

Before I get into downloadable, a little bit of context how I ended up with this project..., followed by what downloadable is all about.

I was growing up in the building industry biased to become an architect. I worked in all areas from technician to super vision and project management for more than 20 years, but was always more passionate about everything involving computers rather than architecture itself. It started in college when my class was the first to use AutoCAD for their graduation and continued with the development of various AutoLISP programs to generate doors and windows for small to large scale AutoCAD projects in the years to come. I used AutoCAD from the early days in school, assisted our teacher(s) in CAD classes and taught my own classes after school to architects and engineers in adult education programs.

I started to program during college and despite me working for over 20 years as architect I was most of the time also a freelance programmer for various clients including McDonalds. At the time I wasn't actually present to the fact that I could (or should) have gone full time as programmer instead of being an architect. But you never know what it was good for...

That all changed when I moved to the UK in 2008, where I still continued to work as an architect but started to actually question my day to day work and what I was really passionate about.

Back in Austria I was working in an architectural practice with up to 30 staff, but when I moved to the UK I started out on my own, which required me to rethink my strategy of getting work done, and as a result I switched from AutoCAD to Revit, which helped me to get more output with less resources.

Once I got the hang of Revit I started to build various families (those are 3D components like windows, doors, etc.) to help me working even more efficient besides keeping a consistent style, which was quite challenging with families I found online. After building a few of the essentials like windows, doors, and some interior, I got approached by other architects asking if I would create families for them.

I already did the work of creating high quality families, so besides improving on various feature requests I thought it would be helpful if I would create a way for architects to purchase my families and provide them with updates so they could benefit from improvements that I would do over time. It turned out that this would be really helpful for many architects and other businesses using Revit for their design work which is how I got into running an e-commerce site for digital content. Revit Content, an online store for professional Revit families was born.

Downloadable, e-commerce for digital content

There is basically no shortage when it comes to services for running an online shop, however there is less choice for stores specialized in digital content than for selling physical goods.

Over the last 9 years of running Revit Content, I have probably tried every single e-commerce service as well as countless email marketing services, but haven't really found the one that does everything the way I would like it to work.

Various services offer a wide range of integrated features for content management, integration of checkout into the store (website), payment processing, content delivery, etc. and others offer integrations to handle those features through various other services. I might have high expectations when it comes to flexibility with digital content, no matter if that's in the area of bundles, free and paid updates, or how I do support for my customers. Simple things like invoicing (satisfying formal EU requirements), how to easily access purchased content, get reliable and flexible communication about updates, new releases, etc. those things sound like everyone should have thought those through by now, but no, I haven't found the whole package yet.

This is why I started a while ago to develop downloadable, which I want to be a fully featured service that's specialized on digital content, beautiful and simple to use.

My intention is to develop downloadable initially for my own use with Revit Content, but offer it as a paid service to others once it's proven to work, which I mean not just in a technical sense, but in actually helping to sustainably grow Revit Content as business.

During this journey I want to share as much as possible on progress, insights, results, etc. via this product diary. If you are in the digital content business and you aren't 100% happy with the service you are currently using, follow along and if you would like to help me to get it really right (not just for me, but also for you), get in touch with me.

That's it for today, an introduction on why I'm developing another e-commerce service specialized in digital content. Next time I will get more into where I'm so far and what's my plan for the first version to be actually used with Revit Content.