2019 is already seven weeks old.
I always try and take some time at the very beginning of the year to stop and plan, rather than rush to start. It usually works well with the long summer break here in the southern hemisphere generally being a quiet time for most people (although I’ve also mixed it up this year by spending some time in the snow in the north).
But, we haven’t been completely dormant on One Metric.
We’ve finally completed and released “sections”. This allows you to organise your reports in One Metric into logical groups, rather than just having one long list of metrics on your dashboard. This is a big improvement from a user’s perspective, but it also became a bit of a monster code change and as a result took much longer to get it done than I had initially expected.
I need to record some quick demo videos showing both this plus the deltas changes we deployed at the end of 2018, so keep an eye out for those. I look forward to showing you how the product is getting better.
We’ve also been progressing the plans for the public “launch” - while this is likely still a few weeks away there are a bunch of administrative things I need to get sorted before we can open it up and let people pay! To manage expectations, you should expect this to be a post here and maybe a tweet, rather than a live-streamed black-tie celebrity-gala launch event :-p
In the meantime, I thought it might be fun to make a list of the unknowns I currently have in mind, looking forward to 2019. Maybe we can revisit these at the end of the year to see what actually happened looking back…
Can we build it?
This one is mostly answered now. While it hasn’t been easy, functionally the product works as I’d hoped it would and it doesn’t look terrible. I definitely don’t have fresh eyes for it anymore - now all I can see are the bits that are broken or not quite as slick as I’d like them to be. But I’m confidently beyond the point where I should be embarrassed, and so now risk launching too late.
I don’t know yet whether it’s enough and also how the product evolves from here. What we have covered off so far is a reasonably narrow use-case, mostly scratching our own itch. But, I’ve been in a similar position enough times now to know that a product that eventually becomes successful is often unrecognisable from where it started, so it will be interesting to see what it becomes, if we get that opportunity.
Will anybody else use it?
Again, I’m starting to get an answer to this, because there are a bunch of people on the beta who are using it and seemingly finding it useful. As I shared at the end of last year, in the spirit of transparency and enjoying a tasty dish of our own dog food, this is the dashboard for One Metric itself:
That’s really encouraging, but I realise it only measures a pretty well self-selected group. I don’t know yet how many people have the sort of problems that One Metric can solve.
Is it valuable?
The classic question here is: “who needs this product so badly today that they will pay for it even though it’s only half built?”
I have some theories about that, but the only way to really know is to open it up and let people buy it. Then I can start to learn who they are and how much they might be willing to pay.
We’ve shared some initial pricing on the marketing site. There have been a couple of iterations of that and I’ve been paying close attention to the limited feedback I’ve got so far, and have tweaked accordingly. I’d love to hear more, if you have an opinion.
I don’t know if the problem that we’re solving with this product is going to be enough of a pain point for people that they will be willing to subscribe.
Who will be on the team?
This is probably the biggest unknown I have at this stage. I do know that as long as I’m personally on the critical path this will remain at best a side-project. For reasons both within and beyond my control there were large blocks of time last year where it got put on ice.
So, the question is: can I find somebody else to work on this who can give it more focus?
I have a few ideas in mind for this, but they need some work. I don’t know how that’s going to play out.
Can we overcome our obscurity?
Last but not least, I don’t really have any concrete plans in mind for sales and marketing at this stage.
It’s tempting to fall back on the old classic “build something great and people will tell their friends”. I actually think there is some potential for that with this product, because the sort of people that founders should share their numbers with are generally involved in multiple ventures. So, that could create a word-of-mouth effect.
But that’s unlikely to be enough. I need to find some efficient way to make people aware of this and convince them to give it a try.
I don’t know exactly how I’m going to do that yet.
What are the blind spots?
No doubt this is not a complete list.
As they say:
“The real troubles in your life are apt to be things that never crossed your worried mind - the kind that blindside you at 4pm on some idle Tuesday.”
So, I guess I should make sure that either I skip work on Tuesdays or acknowledge that in addition to all of the above I also don’t know what I don’t know.
So, there is a lot to discover in the next few weeks and months.