Let’s dive straight into the updates!
Things that went well
Pilot to learn about deal flow
Running a hands-on pilot was my biggest takeaway after finishing with Syncd. With this pilot, I have learned that everything related to deals for creators is excruciating and tedious.
So far, the most time-consuming task has been finding the right contact at a brand and then getting that person’s contact information to reach out to them. If anyone has found a solution to this, please let me know; otherwise, this could be the next thing we build.
This popular post by Paul Graham from YC articulates why you should do things that don’t scale better than I ever could.
Takeaway lesson: In the early days, offer to take over as much of the process for your users. The insights you need are buried deep in their workflows.
Media Kits are now live in circulation
We had a self-serve version of the product ready to go, but then we started getting feedback, so we decided to do what we should have done at the start, build them as static hardcoded pages. I talk more about this mistake in the next section but the benefit is that we are live now with our first users!
Check out Matt Shaver’s Media Kit here.
Takeaway lesson: Nothing needs to be self-serve at the start.
Sharing in public for the win
Mike Cardona kindly gave me a shoutout on Twitter last week. In his thread, he talked about how I shared all the data I had about a past project with him.
Sharing everything publicly was something I agonized over at the start. In fact, I still have family members reach out to me asking what am I doing (See message from concerned Aunt below )
However, I was trying to help some creators get customer testimonials last week. So rather than try to do it all on my own, I decided to post on LinkedIn and share what I was trying to do. Below is an example of what happens when you share things in public.
I will caveat that it doesn’t always go to plan.
When we were in the early stages of building Wildfire, we had someone join our Wildfire discord. We shared everything there, and then we learned that this person created a site with the same name, building the same thing. It was a spicy move, but the interesting part was we came to learn there wasn’t a market for this idea, and I’m guessing he eventually did too. If you steal features rather than arriving at them from first principles, the chances of you building the wrong thing are very high. Also, if you are going to steal an idea, at least do it from someone successful in that endeavor.
Takeaway lesson: When choosing between two paths, choose the path with a larger surface area for luck to land.
Things that didn’t go to plan
We spent too long building v1
This one stings a little. Despite everything we knew and said we wouldn’t do, we allowed scope creep to sneak its way in. The logic behind our decision to make it self-serve from day one was that we wanted to increase the number of people that could validate the features.
It was a false economy and probably cost us the guts of 3 weeks that we could have had a version in circulation with people.
Takeaway lesson: Did I mention that nothing needs to be self-serve at the start?
Go to market
I had hoped that posting in the general launch channels would be enough to get the first 1,000 users signed up; however, it hasn’t worked like that. So we are going after the leads one by one via Twitter, Discords, Slacks, etc.
It’s a slow process that has also been incredibly helpful in getting new insights and building closer relationships with creators and marketers in the space. Below are some of the templates that have brought me the most replies.
(Feel free to share any templates that have worked well for you in the comments)
Takeaway lesson: One-by-one lead capturing is a slog, but the benefit is that you learn where you can improve your messaging and continue learning about your user’s most significant pain points.
A Question For You
Background context here; I’m thinking of producing a new series on YouTube and possibly TikTok, interviewing founders of creator-focused startups. The goal is to increase my and the business’s reach to people in this space. However, I’m not sure how to approach the channel setup.
This section essentially abuses the structure I tried to commit to above.
Cool links to click on