I first must apologize for the cheesy “pun intended” title to this post.
If it were easy to build a multi-billion dollar company overnight, everyone would do it! After the success of my first business I knew I wanted to enter into the mobile space. I had the dream of creating a product/app that could help make the world a better place!
Little did I know when I started this journey the magnitude of the challenges that I would face. Perhaps the biggest of them all was managing expectations. Let me explain.. Many of us have Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram accounts; however, most likely none of us were on these networks in the very early days. To properly grow a successful company you have to be flexible and adapt your product based on the feedback you receive and learn from users. This principle is called the Lean Startup Model, and it has been used by all of the successful networks you enjoy today. In fact, most of the successful social networks have “shifted” dramatically from their early concepts.
SocialCoaster has a small but extremely dedicated & amazing team of developers. Like myself, these guys are extremely passionate about our product. Unfortunately, with a small team it can sometimes take quite a bit of time to make necessary changes to the app. For the user, this “downtime” can be discouraging and lead to the belief nothing is happening.
It has been roughly 4-5 months since we initially launched SocialCoaster. We looked at our first launch as our MVP (minimum-viable product). We knew that the product we launched on day 1 was not going to be the product that the world fell in love with; however, we had to start somewhere.
One thing I have learned throughout this journey is that entrepreneurs feel ONLY two emotions, EXTREME HIGHS, and EXTREME LOWS… That is it.
Over the last few months, I have personally experienced both feelings ( a lot ). My daily responsibilities include but are not limited to:
- Managing an awesome team.
- Generating a clear vision for SocialCoaster and relaying that vision to the team.
- Keeping an eye on product development and make sure it is progressing.
- Form partnerships with influencers and organizations.
- Raise funding.
- Manage expectations with our loyal followers.
- Market the app.
- Study the latest trends & techniques. (Lots of reading)
- Public speaking.
- Keep the office clean.
As you can see, running a company is not easy and requires my team and me to wear multiple hats. In order to do this, I have to look at where we are at as a company and prioritize what is most important. Recently, that priority has been focused on raising the capital needed to successful scale SocialCoaster once we exit beta.
Throughout the highs and lows of the last few months one thing has never changed, we have the most amazing followers! Over the past few months I have picked up the phone and called users. We have brought several members into the office to see what they liked/disliked about our app. We have hosted focus groups and read over 100 encouraging letters with feedback for SocialCoaster.
This feedback is what we have relied on in order to make SocialCoaster better. While to the average user is may seem like things in the SocialCoaster world are “slow”, I can assure you otherwise.
In the upcoming weeks we will release SocialCoaster v2.0! This version will be released for iPhone and Android users. I am purposely holding off from disclosing the changes in this update but I will soon release that information.
What I can tell you is that SocialCoaster v2.0 is BY FAR the biggest update that SocialCoaster has ever released. Based on the feedback we received we were able to shift directions and truly allow our users to define who we are. If I could accurately compare/score our current app to the upcoming version it would look something like this:
SocialCoaster v1.0 SocialCoaster v.2.0
User Interface: 6.5/10 9/10
Ease of Use: 5/10 9.5/10
Reliability: 7/10 9/10
Ability to Grow: 4/10 8/10
User Collaboration: 6/10 9/10
As you can see, we feel that the product we have been working on the last few months is superior to the original version. We were able to achieve this solely because of your honesty and feedback.
I am the type of person who wants to solve every problem in one night; however, I have realized that this is not always possible. My team is amazing, they take so much pride in what they do, and when you see the next update you will realize that behind the scenes there is a LOT going on in our office. They work long hours each and everyday… Not for the pay… But because they are passionate!
Despite many hardships, struggles, and challenges we have had to overcome, I am feeling really blessed. For every negative, there has been two positives and right now things seem to be on a good track. I appreciate the continued support from each of you and I cannot wait until I am able to release SocialCoaster v2.0 in a few weeks… It is WAY different, and you are going to love it!