Here at Atlassian, we get quizzed by the press on a daily basis on the secrets of our success. Peter Dorfman wrote a great blog post this week about his personal experiences which really explains our success perfectly. Peter’s comments about his interactions with our wiki product, Confluence, speak volumes to the following trends we see in our overall customer interactions.
Technology Populism
Whether you are talking about babies adopting iPhones or adults implementing enterprise software, some common rules apply. Organic product adoption wilts from enforced processes, and thrives from end user driven initiative. Technology populism is about developing product that people love to use and pricing it so anyone can buy it.
Baby with iPhone.jpg
Peter’s desire to employ useful software speaks volumes to what technology populism is all about. He is a Knowledge Management expert in the area of enterprise collaboration who knows the features of every vendor’s product, so it is significant when he says:

I’m prepared to say that virtually everything I’ve done for the last 18 years with enterprise knowledge base tools, I can now do in Confluence at about one twentieth the license cost.

To keep our users involved with product development, at Atlassian, we make our issue tracker Jira publicly accessible for customers to vote on the features they want. This inspires us to keep building useful features so that customers get what they want for a price they can afford.
Moral Indignation:
When it comes to software adoption, getting people to willingly change their work habits is hard. Getting people passionate to change their habits is much harder. The emotion required to leap to something new is often akin to the desire for justice.
Its the indignation that comes from putting up with tools that insult your intelligence that drives software adoption. Amongst Atlassian’s user community, Peter is not alone when he explains:

But I’m hip deep in this project, and I’m having what is unfortunately an all-too-rare experience with technology these days: I’m having a satisfying customer “experience.

Once customers get a taste of life with this compelling of user a experience they simply won’t let themselves be subjected to other software.
The Rise of Atlassian
We have all sorts of metrics to monitor our success (Customers 13,500+, Countries, 106, 8 product lines, etc) but what really matters is having a culture that people relate to and products which drive the passion of folks like Peter. His satisfaction in proudly implementing our products is the greatest indicator of Atlassian’s success.

Technology Populism, Moral Indignation and The Rise of Atlassian