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One Year In: What You Made Possible

A Letter from Vlada & Michał Bortnik, Founders

 

If you’re a longtime member of the Marco Polo community, you likely remember the Big Bet we made last year, when we rolled out Marco Polo Plus, our premium subscription plan. Our intention was to start becoming a financially sustainable business, admittedly, during a very challenging year. 

As we approach the first anniversary of the Marco Polo Plus release, we share with you our heartfelt gratitude for what we have accomplished together. Thanks to you and your support, whether by sharing your candid feedback, using Marco Polo to stay connected, subscribing to Plus, or spreading the word, together we have built a solid foundation for the future of Marco Polo. Together, we have proven that a “built to be good for you” business can be a viable business. 

 

Built to be good for you can be a viable business

When we declared our big bet, many thought that what we were up to was impossible. We so often heard that it would be impossible to have a social business that’s sustainable and has a “good for you” ethos at the core. After all, there are “so many ways to stay in touch” and all of them are “free,” which really means businesses that run on advertising and make money on data. And yet, today, thanks to you, we’re thrilled to say that Marco Polo has become a sustainable business, without compromising our promise of “good for you” technology. 

The tide is turning. We’re seeing signs everywhere. The movie The Social Dilemma was the first documentary to become the most popular movie on Netflix. People are questioning Big Tech and their use of algorithms. We’re seeing that people are valuing (and willing to pay for) products like Marco Polo that are built to be good for you. This means choosing to use products that don’t use advertising as the business model, and companies that don’t put profit above the well-being of those who use their products. (In case you missed it, here’s why we don’t just sell ads.) We’re so serious about this that we even conducted a study to see if what we’re doing is working. The answer is yes. 

Thank you! As a paid member, I’m really happy to support a place where I connect with clients, friends and family in a place where toxicity is eliminated. Every day I’m learning more and more “free” social media platforms have a high cost in terms of mental health and human interactions.” —Denise 

 

What’s next: More ways to help you stay close 

In keeping with our purpose, the free version of Marco Polo is and will remain a great ad-free way for you to stay in touch with the most important people in your life. We’ll also continually improve Marco Polo Plus and look for ways to make it easier and more convenient to nurture your relationships. 

I think it shows your true heart when you say that you’ll keep a free simplified version for those who cannot afford it. All we really need is to see the faces of those we love, isn’t it? We were just going to keep the free version, but after hearing your explanation, we’re going to do our part to keep this app going. —Sarah

If personal connection is important to your business, we are investing in a new video coaching platform, Marco Polo Channels. Channels empowers coaches, teachers, and business leaders to make money doing what they love, by expanding their businesses through genuine connection. Read this to get inspired by a new generation of leaders who are changing the landscape of online coaching. 

We are truly grateful to all of you for helping us prove that it’s possible to create a sustainable business that is built to be good for you. Thank you for spreading the word and helping us reimagine how we can nourish our relationships. Whether you’re a Marco Polo Plus subscriber, a Channels leader or member, or someone who is getting exactly what they need from our free app, you are why we come to work every day. 

Warmly,
Vlada & Michał

July 2021

38 thoughts on “One Year In: What You Made Possible

  1. I’ve really been enjoying your Marco Polo app. It’s a great way to stay in touch with an individual or a group any time of the day or night. I was going to make a suggestion but after some thought, decided it wasn’t a such a good idea.

    1. Patricia, we’re so glad to hear that you’re enjoying Marco Polo. And please feel free to offer your suggestion if you change your mind. If it’s app or feature-related, you can connect with our support team any time at contact@marcopolo.me.

  2. I mostly used our glide is free so can use anything text or pic or any but this is Marco Polo cost me 5.00 mo no thanks but I like free cause I can’t afford to pay a lot of bills sorrry

    1. Hi Delbert – we completely understand and we’re glad you’ve found a solution that works for you. That said, if you change your mind, know that the free version of Marco Polo remains a great way to stay in touch. Thanks for commenting.

    1. Hi Rosie – We are so glad to hear that Marco Polo has helped you stay close to your friends and loved ones during a challenging time. Thanks for your feedback.

  3. I am very disappointed with this app. When I first downloaded this app I was able to use all the features for free. When my phone crashed and I got a new one I re-downloaded the app and I saw that you are charging people to use all the same features I was using for free. I don’t like how you change the app just like that. I was able to send pictures, text and voice message all for free and now it’s not for free. It’s $59.00 for a year. Very unsatisfied with this app. I even wrote to this app and was disappointed with the responses I got.

    1. Hi Gloria – We hear your disappointment, and we completely understand. Offering an optional premium subscription is a business model that is in keeping with our belief that technology should be built to be good for you. In our case, value comes in being able to stay authentically connected while helping to ensure that Marco Polo remains free for all. Thanks again for taking the time to comment.

  4. My family and I have enjoyed communicating throughMP.Thank you.
    How can we put the video chats in a folder or how to save them.?

  5. Enjoy your channel very much – but some of the features your put ‘behind the pay wall’ are why I started using Marco. i.e. fast forward

    My family can be long winded and it was so nice to be able to ‘get to the point.’

    Thank you, however for being a step above the rest!

  6. Marcopolo became a tool used by my family to communicate with my wife, my children’s mother, my grandchildren’s Nanny during very difficult times of her being in the hospital in 2020. Covid presented the restrictions of visiting her. We all have saved those memories. Leading to here passing away on September 14th from complications of MERCA and amputations. Thankyou for this means of communication.

    1. Douglas, we’re so sorry to hear of your wife’s passing. The situation, and her absence, must be heartbreaking. Thank you for sharing the ways that Marco Polo helped keep your family connected during a tough time, and we’re so glad that it’s helped keep memories of her alive. We send strength and good wishes to you and your family.

    1. Gary, we so appreciate this feedback. Thank you so much, and we’re glad that you’re finding so much value in Marco Polo. Cheers.

  7. This is the best app. Six of us started a book club through Marco Polo. It has been wonderful. And because you hung in there through the pandemic we never missed a beat. Our friendship grows stronger each day with your help. Thank You

    1. Aww, Cathryn, this is so awesome to hear. Glad that your book group is still going strong. Thanks for taking the time to let us know.

  8. This is amazing!!! I learned about and joined Marco Polo through multiple friend’s recommendations…and I absolutely LOVE it!!! However, I never new about your vision, and purpose for creating your company. Reading this letter, and hearing why you created Marco Polo a “good for you” technology and way to connect “ad free”…just made me fall in love with your company even more! I love what you are doing, and the promise you made and continue to hold. Wow…what an amazing company!?!
    Thank you for being a trailblazer, following your heart, and doing something a different way! You are an inspiration and such a beautiful example of what is possible. I feel like you will be an inspiration to other people with a vision…and hopefully we will be seeing more “ad free” types of technology platforms in the future.

    Thank you for doing what you do…you are making such a huge impact on the world (probably bigger than you can even imagine)…and I think it’s absolutely beautiful!!! Thank you again, and so much love and light to you and your team!✨💞🌈💎☀️💞✨

    💖Lisa

  9. I can’t express how much I love Marco Polo to be able to see my loved ones and my BFFs faces everyday is the best gift ever. This has truly been a God sent app for today’s world.
    I am so thankful for Marco Polo

    1. Thank you, Julie, for this wonderful feedback. We’re so happy that Marco Polo is keeping you and your loved ones connected.

  10. Thank you for the News Letter. I’ve had a chance to speak directly with a Marco Polo Rep through the application her name is Jessi and she has been a wonderful help. Thank you Again

  11. Thank you! We love staying closer as a family because of Marco Polo! “A picture is worth a thousand words,” but a quick video on Marco Polo is worth so much more!

  12. This is such a blessing to keep in touch with my niece who I helped out with at a very difficult time in her life. we have a very strong bond from that time. We couldn’t have continued it without your help.We thank you so very very much.

    1. Jean, we’re so glad Marco Polo helped you and your niece stay in touch during a difficult time, and how wonderful to hear that it helped build your bond. Thank you for sharing this lovely feedback with us.

  13. It makes a difference to see who I’m speaking to,
    Bringing us closer &
    Building an intimate
    Relationship especially when we live far apart,
    Thank you for your gift
    And BLESSINGS sent to You!

    1. Hi Michelle – it does make a difference, doesn’t it? Your comment reads like poetry, and we’re grateful for the feedback. Thank you.

  14. Thank you so much for the free version planing to get plus in the near future. I love it. Confrats and thanks again for keeping me connected and close to my love ones

    1. Hi Marcos – we’re grateful that you’re planning to subscribe to Marco Polo Plus in the future, and we’re also glad that the free version is giving you what you need right now to stay in touch with your loved ones!

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