How our startup almost already failed 😱

As famous as that episode in Friends, every startup knows that along the journey, they will have to make one of many pivots.

And while we've done many along our journey already, this one felt like a big one.

As I mentioned in our last startup journey post, we had launched to the world, excited for the flood of users to hit us.

Unfortunately, the flood never hit us.

It wasn't even a downpour, it was probably more like a few drops.

And personally, I hit a wall.

On the roller coaster of startup emotions, which at that point had only been moving me higher and higher had just hit the top and I was staring straight down to the bottom.

Requesting Backup

Some VC companies look unfavourably towards startups that only have one founder.

I'm unsure how valid this really is, but the one point that I can validate for sure is that no one understands what you're going through like your cofounder.

Unlike your friends or family, who do their best, your cofounder gets you.

They're in on all the jokes, they're struggling with the same clients, they see you at your best, and your worst, and ultimately, they're your secret weapon.

I experienced this while I was running the agency too. Whenever I was down and out, my cofounder stepped up, gave me the support I needed, and kept us heading towards our goal.

Then when he went down, I was there, ready to support and keep us heading forward.

There was almost a natural unspoken flow.

So chatting with the cofounder, staring at the drop my rollercoaster was about to take, I simply said.

And BOOM. Within the next few hours, there was magic awaiting me on Slack.

This was exactly what I needed.

And just like that scene in friends, Roy was there to help me lift up the metaphoric couch and help me... PIVOT.. PIVOT... 🛋

(The magic starts at 1-minute into the video.)

The Pivot

As Roy said in his message, we built the solution, but he's a little strange.

People don't quite get him.

People who walk past are avoiding eye contact.

Essentially we feel like we've got the right puzzle pieces.

They're just in the wrong place.

So we had a bunch of back and forth, and we're making some adjustments to make our solution a little more likable!

In other words, we're doing our first pivot!

The first step was to map out our current user journey in terms of value over time.

The top graph is the users current journey. But we want it to be more like that bottom graph.

And what makes things worse is that to run the Marketing Jam, it takes over an hour. So our users have to spend an hour on our app before they have their first aha moment.

Another element is at the moment our dashboard can very quickly overwhelm users.

So instead we're going to break down the process into more of a Kanban style flow but have each phase be its own view.

We're also going to add in the ability for users to create a backlog of ideas (something we picked up during our user tests), and help them prioritise the impact of each experiment themselves when they put it into their queue.

Below you can see a super basic mockup of the backlog, the queue, and the dashboard, now with an insights library.

Each time you close an experiment, you're prompted to write what you learned. The learning is then highlighted on the dashboard creating your very own learning hub!

Each of these steps will hopefully reduce onboarding times, and increase the TTAHAM (time to aha moment).

(TTAHAM is not a real metric, but I like it. 😂)

So that's going to be us for the next two weeks!

And while Roy codes up a storm, I'm going to be reaching out and collaborating with growth marketers around the world to build out our content libraries even more!

Thanks so much for reading.

Can't wait to see what happens next.

PSST: From New Zealand to New York, I’m creating a cosy Field Guide of my journey as I move across the globe in 90 days and attempt to land my dream job!
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Steven Male

Written by Steven Male

Hey I'm Steven, and I'm moving to NYC! ✌︎

I have 10 years experience in growth marketing, mostly recently the Marketing Director at Sunobi, and currently helping the digital world become more accessible through my passion project, Hello Access! We've worked with teams at Stripe, Meta, and more.


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