Beagle app, one of our strongest competitors has just shut down, and to be honest: it makes me a little sad.
A few days ago I got an email from the Beagle team. It went to everyone in their user base. “Every Dog Has Its Day” read the subject line. Beagle app was shutting down, and the app would cease operations altogether after January 20th.
Just moments later I got a Slack message from my business partner: “Dude, Beagle closing? Huge.” (Everything in Slack is abbreviated to maximum brevity). “Huge”, I wrote back.
For some context: I’m the CEO and founder of Qwilr. We make a “front-end for your business”, replacing ugly PDF documents (i.e. quotes, proposals, pitches, presentations etc) with sleek and functional web pages that integrate with other business systems (accounting, CRM etc).
With a very serious engineering department (ex-Google, Microsoft, Dropbox etc), our big competitive advantage is combining that technical talent with rigorous design-thinking. This is our secret sauce, and was our unique competitive advantage – unique that is, until Beagle entered the picture.
Beagle was the brainchild of the team that created Podio. A beautifully executed and highly successful collaboration / project management / CRM tool. The team had an enviable mix of technical prowess and design insight. A balanced ying and yang imbued throughout the products they created.
Of Beagle, from the very beginning I said: “these guys are the real competition, these are the guys we’ve got to watch out for”. For our market, a viable alternative.
So: was I relieved to read this email tolling the death knell of Beagle? I’ll admit: for a moment there I was. But then…
I have enormous respect for anyone who walks the hard road of building new businesses and products. And, as a personal ambition and ideal product goal, I have much admiration for those who seek to combine tough technical problems with meticulous design.
So, in the end, reading about Beagle shutting shop has made me a little melancholy.
I think I always imagined Beagle and Qwilr meeting as adversaries but equals. Competitive but respectful, like the generals in Homer’s Illiad.
The Beagle team were competition I was proud to have. They had an approach and an ethic that I admired and respected. And so, dammit, I am genuinely sad to see them go.
Best of luck to the Beagle team in their future pursuits – from what I saw of Beagle and what I can see of Podio, I’ve no doubt they’ll create something powerful and beautiful and, in the concise dialect of Slack: “huge”.