A Note from Life360 CEO, Chris Hulls
Background: This post is written by Life360’s cofounder and CEO, Chris Hulls. His primary focus is on setting the direction for the Life360 product, and he is joining us today to give our users some insight into how Life360 makes decisions, and more importantly, when to expect new features in the app.
If you’ve spent any time using Life360, you’ve probably come across some reference to our number of users, which at the time of this post, is over 30 million. That means we are one of the biggest mobile apps in the world, which is something the team and I are exceptionally proud of. You might think this means we are also a big company, but in fact, we are quite small – the entire team is less than 30 full time employees. A year ago, it was just 10.
This unfortunately means that a lot of great ideas – many of which came from users like you – aren’t brought into the app as quickly as we would like. This frustrates me to no end, and I’m spending a huge amount of my time raising money for the company so we can hire more engineers and get features out faster. But, that takes time, and for now, it means we can only work on a few projects at a time.
So how do we prioritize projects at Life360? Basically, it goes something like this:
- Fix things that are broken
- Refine and enhance existing features
- Add new stuff
Going on this model, I’d like to share with you some of the big things we have in the pipeline:
On the “fix things that are broken” front, we have realized that a lot of our most loyal users are getting frustrated with us that they can only have one family account. This was initially by design, since we don’t want to become an app for friends, but we have realized there is something of a middle ground that will let you link Life360 to people close to you who are outside of your core nuclear family. Expect to see what we are calling “Circles” live by this summer – you’ll be able to create groups with their own sharing settings for people outside of your core nuclear family.
Moving on to “refine and enhance existing features,” we realize that our family messaging system is very barebones. It doesn’t allow one-to-one messaging, you can’t upload pictures, and it doesn’t do a good job of threading conversations. We think this could and should be a complete SMS replacement for your family, but it isn’t there yet. Expect to see messaging get a lot better over the next few months.
Lastly, let’s look at “add new stuff”. We have TONS of things on our wish list, and it is very hard to decide what features should get priority. Here are some examples (in no particular order):
- Build a version of Life360 that runs in your car
- Add location aware to-do lists
- Build apps for tablets, Windows Phones, and other mobile platforms
- Link to family calendars
- Offer a physical GPS device (for locating users who don’t carry phones)
- Plus about 100 other things that wouldn’t fit here
One of the most requested features on this wish is a Windows version of the app. It is something I wish we would have had by now, but unfortunately, it is a project that we haven’t been properly able to commit to. As our user base has grown, many of the engineers who would have been building the Windows app have had to shift their focus to just keeping the system up and running. Given all these other things we need to do, I’m not able to tell you definitively when the Windows app will be ready, but if I had to guess it won’t be until late this year. To all the Windows Phone users out there, please believe me when I say this frustrates me just as much as you! We are working on hiring engineers as quickly as possible, and we have even reached out to Microsoft to see if they can offer us some special support. If you want to help us with this, please send a note directly to our community manager Lizz telling her how much you want Life360 on your Windows Phone, and we’ll send it to the Microsoft team to as part of our pitch to get their help.
We really do value the input of users like you, and most of our priorities are directly driven from your feedback. Hopefully this post gave you some insight into what to expect next, and please keep sending us the good ideas.