Our 2020 fuck ups and how we've learned from them.  

by Frederic Melanson in

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Transparency is a key factor for stellar learning.   

Besides, startups fail.

We fail often. We’re expected to fail, and learn from those failures, to figure some hard things out and eventually win.   

2020 was a great year and a tough year for us. What’s reflected in the media is always positive and flashy. But as a young entrepreneur, you can't find learnings in fundraising announcements.   

Therefore, I thought I’d give the opposite perspective and share with full transparency our fuck ups in the 2020 year.

More importantly, how we’re learning from them and making quick decisions to keep winning amidst failure 🚀   

Failure/learning #1:

Not delivering on the product, lack of focus on the development side of the business. Lack of self-awareness in the tech team.   

Decisions/responses:   

Parted ways with former CTO and recruited a senior CTO (former Unito founder).  
Reworked the discovery process and removed bias from client conversations.  
Involved the development team more in the discovery process and product roadmap.   
We now track everything. religiously, including marketing, sales and product.  
We're slowly learning to say "No" to all sorts of feature requests.  

  

Failure/learning #2:

With a new approach, more bottom-up/product-led, we need marketing experience but lack it in the founding team.   

Decisions/responses:  

Stephane (Founder with design and UI expertise) decided for the good of the company to be part-time and decrease his hours to 20 hrs/week until we reach PMF/Seed round so we can invest in marketing experience.   
Hired former Unito CMO as marketing expert part-time.   

  

Failure/learning #3:

Followed too many false positives, which made us go into way too many directions on both product and business sides.   

Decisions/responses:  

Reinitiated a discovery process while removing bias from conversations.   
Back to selling value prop on pre-sales (0 to $30,000 in 2 months).   
Product —> Focus on one thing.
Closely watch user's behaviour and let that dictate product decisions.   

  

Failure/learning #4:

Our ICP is sales and business development professionals. And we need to test self-serve/bottom-up adoption. Salespeople don’t want to add new solutions before seeing the value first hand. It's all about ease-of-use and integrations with already used tools.   

Decision/response:  

Simplifying the product, making it compatible with more third-parties and will launch a bottom-up solution early next year.   

Failure/learning #5:

The problem we’re solving: Following-up with relationships is manual, random and fragmented. A huge amount of time and opportunities are wasted because of relationship blindspots.    

Decisions/responses:  

1. Narrowing product focus to a core problem. 
2. Continuously adjusting messaging.  
3. Falling in love with the problem, not the solution.  

  

To all founders reading this:

You’re not judged by your failures, but by how you learn and act on the learnings of those failures.   

Go get it 🚀✊

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