Category Archives: Projects

From Jooicer to Tractionboard

A year ago we were happy to start working on Jooicer. We built a MVP in just a couple of months and launched it, validating our idea with lot of users. Our initial idea was wrong, nobody was going to spend time building recipes in an unknown platform, but lot of them were happy to use recipes that were already done and would be ready to start paying if we increase certain limits. Even if our initial approach was wrong, the launch was a success. You will read hundreds of times about launching and validating faster, but until you don’t experience it by yourself, you really don’t understand how important it is.

lean

After our beta phase we decided to redo it from scratch, taking in consideration what the users said, and specially what those who were ready to pay said. In this second development, we realized we were taking a big risk, because we were depending 100% on only one entity (Twitter). We already took this risk some years ago (with Google) and it went really bad. So we started to feel really uncomfortable with this situation, also we were facing technical problems.

In the meantime, the team started to grow which allowed us to focus on what we really were good at. We developed an internal panel that we were going to use to measure our different customers acquisition channels, and we showed it to some entrepreneur friends. Our intention wasn’t to sell it, we showed it to them because these men were crazy for the metrics and we knew they were going to like it. However the response we got from them…

I want to sell this.

This is the Holy Grail of the Marketers.

…made us think about our situation.

We never got any feedback like this with Jooicer, quite the opposite, it was something like “Nice, another Twitter tool“. We had to spent lots of energy trying to make the other people see why we were different and why it wasn’t another Twitter tool. And to be honest, we aren’t experts in Twitter. On the other hand, we have been building internal panels to measure our marketing efforts in all our projects, because we have always been doing bootstrapping and couldn’t afford market solutions.

We started to show the panel to other people, to prove the idea. We started to research about competitors to see if there could be a place for another one and the results were positives. However we had Jooicer and we didn’t want to lose our focus, so we had to make an important decision: either continue with Jooicer, an advanced product with some potentials customers waiting for it, or to make a 100% pivot with a new product, which had a good feedback, where we can consider ourselves expert on it and market wasn’t so competitive as social media tools. You can think the decision was easy. It wasn’t, but finally we decided to pivot and focus 100% on Tractionboard.

Before start to build the product, we focus 100% in customers’ development and the team. We were surprised that the panel that we built for ourselves, covered almost all important metrics any other SaaS business needs. The final conclusion after this customer development phase was “If it does what you say it does, we want it”.

In April, we started to develop it and two months later we are going to launch a private beta. We are very excited about it and can’t wait to see what will come.

Tractionboard

I would love to know what you use to measure your marketing efforts, specifically your different customers acquisition campaigns.

Jooicer: 5 months later

Hello there!
It has been a long time from my last post, but these months have been crazy.

After our customer development phase, we started to develop the tool. We focused entirely in the features and forgot about the user experience, we thought if the tool can do what we want it to do, users will want to learn how to use it… Wrong! The tool works, but it is so difficult to use that nobody knows how to do it. So after some minutes, the people logout and never come back.

Additionally to these problems, we found another with the database, Twitter manages a lot of data, so our database became huge with only the beta testers.

Improve the tool, get users, analyze feedback, fix bugs… for only two people have been crazy, we have neglected some aspects of the project because the team was too small.

After see these mistakes, we have stopped build new features, or get more users and we have analyzed the current problems and found solutions for them. It has started by extending the team. We have found talent people who wanted to join us at Jooicer, so now we are starting again with a full team compose by the original two guys (David and me) and the followings:

  • An UX guy, who will help with design too.
  • A Business Intelligence guy, lot of experience in analysis and with knowledge about Twitter, big data and databases.
  • A developer, with strongs in security.

With this new team, we have analyzed the mistakes and started to work in a new interface more user friendly with valuable data and features. Based in that interface we will code the tool, and for the database problem, currently analyzing it, I think we will use individual tables per user.

Takeaways

  • Invest in User Experience: No matter how good is your product if nobody know how to use it.
  • Look for a complete and talent team: If not you will neglect key areas.

Also I have moved to Coral Gables, Miami, so if you are around here and want to talk sometime, just let me know.

This is The One: Jooicer

I published an article just a month ago talking about a new side project we was working on, Confianza Internet. The project was an experiment to try some lean startup principles and make something while we start our main project. For Confianza Internet it was possible to reach potential clients through Twitter, so we started to work in our Twitter strategy. Soon we realized that we needed several tools if we wanted to automatice some recurring actions and implement our own strategy (only for Twitter). Instead of use all this tools we started to work in our own tool.

While we were developing this tool we had our ah-ha moment,

And if we make this tool, sufficiently customizable for anyone to implement their own strategies in Twitter?

We started to contact with experts in social media talking them about the idea. Eveybody agreed that there is a tool for almost everything in Twitter but, first, still there are some uncover needs and second, It’s a nuisance to have to use several tools. One of the most motivating feedback come from Phil Glutting:

I really like the idea behind it and have been asking the question “why do I have to have 4 different tools, when will someone combine them all” for the last couple months.

So, we had to make a big decision: Do we really want to focus in this project. The project looks very interesting, not only because it looks like there is people looking for it but it’s a challenge for us to be capable to make a tool like this. The answer was YES, we know there is lot of competitors, it’s a red ocean niche but still the answer was YES, we wanted to do it. But say yes to this project means say no to others. I think the really difficult thing about focus, is to be able to say NO. We are realizing that you can’t focus 90% in your main project and 10% in others. You need to be focus 1000% in your uniq project. All your thoughts have to be focusing in The One.

So no more new projects. Our next step in the “No Process” is to close open projects. We are working on it.

Le me introduce you Jooicer, a tool to implement custom strategies in Twitter:

Jooicer

By the way, we talked with several social media experts, one of them Ruben Colomer recommended to David a book called The Tipping Point. I think this is one of the best recommendations we have ever received (I have almost finish it). With this book I have had my second ah-ha moment in this project. I will share it with you in next posts beside the launch strategy we are working on (based in many factors from The Tipping Point).

I would like to hear about you. Have you got difficulties keeping focus ? How about your ah-ha moments ?

Confianza Internet With Lean Startup Methodology

Recently I have read Lean Startup by Eric Ries and I wanted to test some of its principles. Many tips are common sense, but you don’t see them until somebody tell you or until you make the mistake. So now, I wanted to try a new project with Lean Startup in mind.

This year we wanted to keep focus in few projects and we already had picked out them, but we have lost a very important client this month (March) and we can’t be working in long term projects without monetizing them (and the projects we picked out can’t be monetized in short-term). So we have decided to launch a side project with Lean Startup methodology and see what happenes.

The Idea

Confianza Internet Widget

Confianza Internet is a SaaS for e-commerce. When customers make a purchase in the e-commerce, we send them a review request. In that review the customer can value the purchase in that e-commerce and rating it. New customers could see these reviews and scores, making the site more reliable for them (Confianza Internet means Internet Reliable in Spanish). E-commerce will only get reviews from their real customers. If a customer has some problem with one of our e-commerce we will arbitrate in the dispute.

This idea is not original, there is strong competitors like eKomi, Yotpo or Confianza Online but only Confianza Online is Spanish and they only put you a seal, they don’t get feedback from customers and they don’t arbitrate in disputes between e-commerce and customer.

 

Our Assumptions

  • E-commerce will use our product because we will have a very competitive price and a powerful brand in Spanish.
  • Distributors and affiliates will promote Confianza Internet for commission.
  • E-commerce’s customers will provide feedback after purchasing.
  • Marketers will use our product.
  • Ecommerce will use our product.
  • Customers will prefer to buy in ecommerces with Confianza Internet’s seal becuase it is more reliable.

Roadmap and Measurement

MVP

After 2 weeks we already have one. With paypal and prestashop integration. We will need more integrations with magente, clickbank and other ecommerces’s CMS but this is MVP.

We read how SendWithUs validated and we loved it! So David wanted to try some of their tips in our MVP, so we have some buttons without content in the MVP.

Get Testers

We are working in this phase currently. But we need testers with working ecommerce and sales. We are getting some from PrestaShop Spanish forum and David is trying from twitter too. The process is going slow and we are thinking in incorporate another person in the team, somebody with social media, branding and ecommerce skills.

Get feedback from testers

We have found very nice people between our testers and they are helping us a lot providing feedback and reporting some bugs. Thanks guys!

Improve MVP according to the feedback

Already doing too and we will be doing this even when beta phase is done.

Launch payment version

Not official date still but we hope launch next month.

Improve the conversion to paying customer.

After the launch payment version we will have to work in this task.

Improve response’s ratio from e-commerce’s customers

When a sale is done, the service usually wait about 5-10 days (configured by e-commerce owner) to send the feedback request to the customer, so we can be sure the product already arrived. So we are working now to send the first requests and see what is our response ratio. From there we will have to work in improve it.

Confianza Internet Reviews

Affiliate Section MVP

For now it is a button without content, we will work in this when find people interesting in promote our service.

Get Affiliates

Track buttons are working in this and we will speak with some companies related to e-commerce services. For now, we haven’t found any.

Confianza Internet Pricing

This is our first project with some lean startup principles. We need to define very well the measures and work to improve them, and like I said, we need to complete our team, do you know somebody ?

Have you already tried lean startup methodology ? Let me know about your experience. Tips from you are welcome too!