We've decided to shutdown the Subso service. This means the app is no longer functional, and Subso will not deliver your notifications.
We want to talk a bit about why we've done this, what we learnt doing Subso, and what our futures hold.
Subso was a large technical project undertaken by Robert and myself. In doing so, we created a lot of moving parts that allow Subso to scale to handling tens of millions of pieces of content. This means we have lots of servers to run - databases, microservices, search servers, caches, etc. The cost of this totalled hundreds of dollars a month that we can't continue to pay for out of pocket.
We looked at multiple avenues to generate revenue from Subso, however the terms of service with the platforms we pulled data from disallowed us from monetizing the data we collected. Our only real other option was advertisements, but we felt this spoiled the Subso experience and would make it worse to use than the social media platforms themselves.
Coupled with this, we weren't sustaining the user numbers we felt were enough to justify the server costs. Regardless of the number of users we had, the notification ingest servers were the majority of our monthly bills - so we could've had 1 million users, and it still would've been the same base cost of hundreds of dollars a month.
We felt the only way to scale the user numbers was via marketing, but that comes at a cost. We never raised money for Subso, and after spending that much on servers out of pocket, we didn't have the capital to run a large marketing campaign where we'd be unsure of the results (and again, still no direct path to revenue to at least cover costs).
With all this being said, we're incredibly proud of the work we have done, and the creators who have used Subso and their audiences who loved it. Behind the scenes, we had a huge array of creator tools to allow Subso to be the hub of a creator's marketing.
Subso also opened lots of doors for the both of us. Having such a large product that we designed, developed and shipped goes a long way in showing our commitment to not only creating great products, but getting them out there into the market. Rob and I both now have jobs that we love, in startups, building technology that we love. Subso played a vital role in getting us into these positions.
One of the biggest things we learnt is the amount of work it takes to ship a multi-platform product. We were shipping to web, iOS and Android. We put a huge amount of work in insuring all builds of the app were feature matched, yet tailored perfectly for their platform. We delivered a great experience to anyone wanting to use the app, no matter which device they wanted to use it on. We even got Subso running on a fridge.
In conclusion, we're incredibly proud of the journey we took to build the app, ship it, and iterate on it. Subso really showed that there is no limit to what two teenagers in their bedrooms can do. And for that, we thank every single one of you who interacted with the app - the users, the creators and the investors. The whole ecosystem supported what we were building, and thats the best you can ask for in a side project.