power to the people

general — avner ronen on November 27, 2008 @ 1:00 pm

the way we consume entertainment is changing rapidly, and as usual the technology and the users are moving faster than the industry.. being the little guy in a market full of giants we figured we should use our size to our advantage.. we can move faster. we can take risks. we can have fun. and we can really listen.

if we let go of traditional concepts of how companies approach product development and give our users much more control and visibility over what goes into future versions of boxee, then maybe we can achieve something special.

while we have Twitter and our forums, it is not a very structured way to discuss ideas and collect feedback. the quick survey we conducted was an easy way to sort through a very defined set of alternatives, but determining where we should focus our effort in terms of new features and bug fixes is a much more complex challenge.

over the last few days we have been looking into potential solutions that will enable us to have a real conversation around what should be included in future releases of boxee.

ideally the platform to accommodate such a discussion should:

  • be open for everyone
  • enable users (including boxee employees..) to post an idea for a new feature
  • facilitate a discussion around an idea (and let users track the discussions they care about)
  • provide an easy way for users to express their interest level/priority for getting a feature in boxee
  • find a way to reduce the number of duplicate discussions
  • be flexible, but don’t require boxee to spend too much dev time customizing it.. (we should focus on building boxee..)
  • keep it simple for the user

we looked at both UserVoice and GetSatisfaction as potential platforms. we ended up choosing Get Satisfaction. within a few days of our next version we will put together http://ideas.boxee.tv and will start the conversation. can’t wait!

as to why we chose getSatisfaction. it was not an easy choice. both services seem to be really well designed and thought out. we chose getSatisfaction because:

  • we got over 40 replies on twitter with people recommending it (and we should listen to our users…)
  • it has a single sign on support, which means our users can tie in their boxee login with getsatisfaction (a big one in my opinion)
  • while uservoice is incredibly suited to get clear voting on features, and would have been our choice if that was the only thing we wanted to achieve, getsatisfaction is a better match for how we want to grow this conversation
  • api api api. take a look at http://help.twitter.com. the faq is a winner, and tied with the twitter look and feel. we love the approach of “This API seeks to expose every and all functions of http://getsatisfaction.com
  • the founder & ceo of getsatisfaction is an early boxee alpha tester.. :)


  1. I’m becoming a real fan…


    comment by Eyal — November 27, 2008 @ 2:49 pm
  2. Forward thinking will be successful when the support and input of everyone is present. Great philosophy and keep up the great work!


    comment by Dwayne — November 27, 2008 @ 2:51 pm
  3. I think you made a good choice. I’ve used GS a bit here and there and have been really happy with it.

    On another note, I think what you guys are doing is freaking awesome. Keep it up.


    comment by jyoseph — November 27, 2008 @ 2:59 pm
  4. I just finished recording a first use clip complete with thoughts during testing. Didn’t YouTube it - not sure if it would be breaking an agreement. Would this be of interest to you?


    comment by Robert MacEwan — November 27, 2008 @ 3:48 pm
  5. Cannot be more impressed with how you guys are approaching development. Coming from a much larger and less agile company, I’m jealous!


    comment by joenandez — November 27, 2008 @ 3:48 pm
  6. @robert no problem. you can post. thanks!


    comment by avner — November 27, 2008 @ 3:51 pm
  7. @jyoseph we are very excited to get it going. need to get that next release out the door and then we’ll customize GS and launch it


    comment by avner — November 27, 2008 @ 3:53 pm
  8. @avner, The clip will be located at:



    comment by Robert MacEwan — November 27, 2008 @ 4:45 pm
  9. @Robert subscribed to your channel. looking forward to it.


    comment by avner — November 27, 2008 @ 5:29 pm
  10. I love to hear this type of business progression, it’s inspirational. Thanks for the transparency, and the software recommendations!


    comment by Brady J. Frey — November 27, 2008 @ 5:32 pm
  11. It’s great to see you guys planning to involve users more closely with the development process. I use GS for other products and really like it.

    I’m looking forward to getting back into some solid boxee testing after the new release. My ATV upgraded itself to latest software and trashed the boxee install. I’m also in NYC next week on vacation.

    Hopefully alpha testers here in the UK can help you develop more localized content.

    Keep up the great work!


    comment by RussellM — November 28, 2008 @ 2:14 am
  12. Really excited to participate in the Boxee discussion. Is there any way to get a user/password more quickly than a few weeks? (thought it was worth a try) Thanks!


    comment by KeithS — November 30, 2008 @ 8:19 pm
  13. Awesome to hear, Avner. Keep up the great work Boxee team. Latching onto this kind of feedback platform will, I believe, provide you guys with a how-did-we-ever-do-without sort of a experience just months down the road, let alone years. I commend your forward thinking.


    comment by Jonathan — December 1, 2008 @ 2:02 pm
  14. FYI, a anonymous company has just a couple of days ago announced an XBMC skinning content with $2000(US) total in price money in order to skin a theme for “Wivo Media Center” which look like it is to become a new fork of XBMC and in direct competition with Boxee, check it out at http://studio.topcoder.com/?module=ViewContestDetails&ct=2438

    Boxee is great!


    comment by Carl — December 4, 2008 @ 7:35 am
  15. I agree, see “Open the door and let me in…”

    Really good article relating to Boxee :D


    comment by PTTP — December 4, 2008 @ 8:06 am
  16. amazing stuff boxee team! though I still can’t wait for netflix to work on atv, i’m an old schooler…

    good choice with getsatisfaction.com! we just started using it for our company, and it’s the best! the integration widgets and API is pretty smooth, and their feedback widget is great…

    cheers guys !


    comment by tomcdaly — December 6, 2008 @ 7:32 am
  17. @tomcdaly thanks man! we’re going to start the project with GS soon. we’re very excited about it.

    Netflix on ATV? one way or another we’ll make it happen!


    comment by avner — December 6, 2008 @ 7:38 am
  18. Today,I downloaded boxee software for ubuntu linux on my Dell computer which runs both windows xp and ubuntu linux. So far the ubuntu linux version of boxee does not perform properly. The program goes to sleep. Boxee’s documentation is scant. Now I have to figure out how to get rid of the defective software that does not appear on the Linux install/uninstall utility. Maybe Boxee only works for Apple computers. If anyone has any suggestions please email me at the above address.


    comment by Henry Brock — January 18, 2009 @ 11:03 pm
  19. As an Australia-based Patriots fan, I found your blog on google and read a few of your other Patriots posts.
    I just added you to my Google News Reader. Keep up the good work. Look forward to reading more from you in the future.


    comment by New England Patriots Hat Wearer — March 26, 2009 @ 5:12 pm

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