In case you have been wondering who is behind Kaleidoscope, read on!
My name is Christopher Atlan, and I founded Letter Opener GmbH back in 2006. Since then, I’ve been the lead developer behind Letter Opener as well as chief customer support counsel.This is what it says on the About page of the Letter Opener site.
Until recently, Letter Opener has been my main and only product. It is a great product, one that allowed me to make a living for 14 years, explore new platforms, new technologies and continuously learn about how to craft and shape a great product. It continues to be dear to my heart.
Working alone on a single product for such a long time has its downsides. So, some time ago, I started looking for a new challenge. But frankly, I couldn’t come up with the million-dollar app idea.
The app market has changed drastically since the early App Store days. Creating a new software product is no longer something a single person can easily do during a few night shifts, even though platform owners like Apple love to suggest in their hipster videos. I was never interested in creating $0.99 apps. Nowadays, for real apps, you need a lot of development resources, backend components, tons of marketing, and more, to create something that has at least a chance to make a difference.
Over time things started to evolve. I opened my mind about acquiring a product instead of building one from scratch. And I thought more about people to work with, as maintaining Letter Opener and crafting something new was entirely impossible without additional capable people. People I want to work with.
The right people
I’ve known Florian for a very long time. We first met in 2007 at a CocoaDevHouse in the Boinx Software office in Puchheim, near Munich, when he was working on products like iStopMotion and FotoMagico. Since then, we did hang out a lot, mostly during various conferences. In addition to our common love for culture in many facets, we share a passion for building great products.
When Florian indicated he was open to something new and would love to collaborate, it was time to revisit old product ideas. And the one that kept standing out was Kaleidoscope.
Kaleidoscope is a product I had been using for years, one that sure looked like it could use some new love. It once was by far the best Mac app for comparing files, and it still mostly worked, but it had been neglected.
I did some window shopping but was discouraged by not finding any good contact information. But this one I didn’t let go. After some cold calls, early talks of a potential acquisition started in July 2020, resulting in me spending a large portion of the summer in Excel spreadsheets and bank offices.
Flo got clued in around August and showed interest in joining me on this. By October, we had a contract worked out, and Kaleidoscope officially started to change hands one last time.
With an app as old as Kaleidoscope, a transfer is not as easy as one would hope for. It’s available through direct sale and on the Mac App Store. Three different bug tracking and customer support systems have been used over the years, payment services were interlinked with other products, cloud accounts were shared across companies. It took until December for a lot of these issues to be sorted out.
In the meantime, I continued to watch for another person who could help out. My mind quickly came across Dominik, who I knew was no longer at Apple. Having co-created SubEthaEdit and with it co-founded TheCodingMonkeys, he sure could contribute a lot to the text system of Kaleidoscope. And he had also previously collaborated with Florian (and the rest of the Boinx Software team) on BoinxTV, now called mimoLive. They even won an Apple Design Award for it.
Funny enough, right after the first minor update to Kaleidoscope after the transfer, Dominik contacted me out of the blue, letting me know he’d be available for doing some contract work in case I needed help. So much for coincidence.
Starting today, my position has changed quite a bit compared to last year: there’s a major product that needs attention and care, I have a real team around me and a lot of debt in the bank.
I’m very much looking forward to what we can achieve with Kaleidoscope! We have great plans; let’s hope they will pan out. In the meantime, we need a bunch of new customers to help us survive. So if you have friends, tell them to tell all their friends to purchase a copy of Kaleidoscope. It’ll make all the difference.
Without further ado, these are the three grumpy white men currently behind Kaleidoscope. Feel free to reach out to discover they are not always that grumpy 🙂