Learning 24-7

What an insane month! We managed to achieve so much and yet it feels as if we need to move X20 faster. Every day has the weight of a month in terms of goals, pressure and the need to learn and adjust. I love it!

In less than a month, we managed to release MadLike (alpha) to AppStore (waited 10 days for Apple to approve it) and gain very helpful user base. We got a lot of feedback from people @TheJunction (where we sit), friends & family. The feedback was great and we integrated a lot of it into our future plans.

(image taken from http://www.threeriversinstitute.org/blog/)

Something *big* happened this week which I’m very proud of – we went to the mall at Herzelya (7 stars) and talked with potential users to understand what they’re doing today without MadLike. We looked for young women going out of stores with iPhone and asked them 2 main questions:

(1) “Did you happen to *avoid* buying or doing something *last week* just because your spouse or friends wasn’t there with you? ” (if “yes” – “tell me about more it”)

(2) “Let’s say you’re at the store, trying to buy something but you need your friends opinion, what do you do?”

We were amazed by the amount of people pulling out their iPhone and showing us a “question” they did via SMS or how they depicted the options over the phone. It made both of us smile and it made them super excited to see our application (we did a quick demo).
Put aside their feedback, our skills as story-teller and being accessible is crucial for our success. Every time we’re going out there to sit with people I can feel the change in myself and in my vision. Talking with people makes me more optimistic than ever about the magnitude of solution we’re bringing to the table and keeps me awake at nights, thinking how we can improve the experience for our users.

Where are we standing so far?

We’re working on the basic pain startups must validate first: activation and retention (based on Dave McClure’s startup metrics for pirates). We want to see lower % of people registered and having 0 questions. It should be easy and clear how to create questions and even more important – asking questions that happen on daily basis (shopping is hardly the case). We’re going to roll out a version this week to improve these areas. I cannot stress how happy I am to see things rolling out so quickly and how I enjoy looking at real-time data. I created some “lean” report (always open on my iPhone) to see how things going, everywhere I go. I promised myself to avoid vanity metrics at all cost so the report is holding 2 things:

1. % of people with 0 questions / total users (goal: 5% and below)
2. avg. of questions per user per week (goal: 3/user/week)

I hope that until the end of the month we’ll see these numbers reaching the goals we’re aiming for. It’s imperative for us to nail activation & retention so our entire focus is there and we’re actively collecting feedback and looking at real data. If all goes well, we’ll shift our focus toward distribution (we have some solid features planned) as part of the application usage.

Shit happens, we need to deal with it

This week our graphic designer decide to focus on her own company and told us she’s leaving. This was a real blow for us. She’s a very talented designer and great person but I could feel she’s following her dream, just like we do, so we wished her best of luck in her journey. This week we’ll need to focus on finding someone to replace her and help push things forward. We already did a few calls and I’m confident we’ll find another superstar. We cannot afford not to.

This week is going to be awesome! cannot wait to start it already…


Oren Ellenbogen

Curate awesomeness @ http://softwareleadweekly.com , Engineer @ Commerce Sciences, Author of http://teamleadtoolbox.com , Explorer of Company DNA.