Daily Stand-up August 22, 2020

#TheCommitals: Weekly Check In (Week 35)

Janice @Janice

How did you fare last week?
What's on deck for this week?
What's your goal for the month?
[Optional] Still on target for end of year goal?
[Optional] Brief description of project with link (if applicable)

@louisswiss, @helengriffinjr, @vimalin, @jpusateri, @Guidione_Machava, @natejcho, @DF_V, @davey, @VisionIsScary
@breedaddy, @janice

  1. 4

    UPDATE

    Had hoped to launch by end of month. But likely will require one more week to write the content. But solid progress was made, including the launch of the landing page. Feedback would be most appreciated!

    Website

    • Home [Completed]
    • About [Completed]
    • Contact [Completed]
    • Thank you [Completed]
    • Oops [Completed]
    • Legal [Completed]
    • Blog [Completed]
    • Stripe integration [Completed]
    • Comment integration [Completed]

    Blog Post

    • First draft [Completed]
    • Second draft [Completed]
    • Editing and proofing [Completed]

    Onboarding

    • Pick mail automation app. [Completed]
    • Create email template. [In Progress]
    • Set up automations. [Completed]
    • Write three days of content.

    Module 1

    • Determine content and automation.
    • Write 5 days of content.

    Module 2

    • Determine content and automation.
    • Write 5 days of content.

    END OF YEAR

    30K MRR. What the hell. Might as well go big or go home. To achieve that revenue, I must provide value for 1000 subscribers.

    PROJECT

    Name. Diversity Decoded
    Tagline: Refactor your tech team for diversity.
    Elevator Pitch: A daily newsletter of short, actionable insights for tech leadership to build and retain diverse talent.
    Link: https://diversitydecoded.dev/

    1. 2

      @louisswiss, @helengriffinjr, @vimalin, @jpusateri, @Guidione_Machava, @natejcho, @DF_V, @davey, @VisionIsScary
      @breedaddy

      May I get your opinion on my "subscription magnet"? Once I'm ready to launch, my gameplan is to share my first blog post on LinkedIn. I want to accomplish/convey:

      1. Something eye-catching. Provocative. But not too provocative. Something that will stand out among the LinkedIn feed.
      2. Something of value. For folks that haven't thought proactively about "preferred pronouns", here's a reference guide.
      3. For those curious in my newsletter, an indicator of my writing style and approach to diversity and inclusion.

      General critique is most welcomed, but I'd also appreciate answers to the following questions (especially the first):

      1. Is it too provocative? Should I tone down the language?
      2. If you were an engineering manager, would you share this piece?

      https://diversitydecoded.dev/is-asking-others-to-use-gender-pronouns-legit/

      1. 2
        1. The extreme examples make it more clear as to why it is important, so I think it is fine from that perspective.

        Having said that, a white person probably should not use the example with the n word, so it is not something they can use as ammunition in a meeting about why they should change their strategy on the current use of pronouns.

        1. Heck yes.

        re. optional or required.
        Also leaning towards the optional part. Perhaps automation can help if you make it required. I mean if the company is already storing the standard "male/female/non binary" field, then that can be used to prefill the pronouns data.
        That might help on lowering friction when this is required to fill in.

        1. 1

          😂Good point re someone other than Black might not feel comfortable sharing that particular argument. Especially in today's polarized world!

          I also like the idea re pre-population! If I can bear to read that article one more time (I swear I've read it a gazillion times and made a gazillion edits. #WritingIsHard

      2. 2

        Super well-writen article. To be honest I did not understand why people used pronouns on their twitter profiles until now.

        1. I think it should be short like: Are gender pronouns legit?
        2. Definitely yes. Your article is a must-read for managers.
        1. 1
          1. 🙇🏾‍♀️

          Thanks for taking the time to read!

      3. 2
        1. Not too provocative
        2. Absolutely, it would increase awareness and increase awareness of my increase in awareness ;)
        3. The size of the title and subTitle fonts push your pic and all the rest below the fold, feel like a missed opportunity here
        1. 1
          1. Cool. Relieved to your feedback on here as you've seen like articles like this in your feed.

          2. (Laughing!) Awesome!

          3. My profile pic beneath the fold? Or something else? (This sucker is long form so some seriously shrinkage would be required to get it all in!)

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            Yes, your pic and name could be above the fold on mobile, and that would be a big improvement

      4. 2

        Is it published or are you asking for feedback on the headline?

        1. 1

          (Laughing!) You can tell I was in a bit of a rush. The localhost as been replaced with something you can actually access! Keen to read what you think! (And I fixed the bug!)

        2. 1

          It is published. I seem to have some technical problems! If visiting the link directly, it's a crap shoot in the content shows! If that link didn't work for you, check out this one: https://diversitydecoded.dev/is-asking-others-to-use-gender-pronouns-legit/

    2. 2

      I promise I'm not trying to be overly critical. Part of why I took so long a break from this site is because it started to feel a little like an echo chamber. Constructive criticism only. I promise I'm not trying to blow out any fires.

      The newsletter concept as pitched feels like creating a job rather than a business.

      The site looks good, but this feels a little overpriced as a content play. I wonder if you couldn't 10x your price point and pitch as a periodic consultation and review with a free diversity focused newsletter serving as a regular pitch to potential customers. I suspect if you pitched (with authority) to enough businesses, you'd find more than enough to fund the goal. Considering your background and past projects, it might be worth 'war-gaming' the concept as if you were your own media agent.

      I'd bet this could make money, but I could see this growing into books and training programs far beyond the newsletter.

      1. 1

        (Laughing!) Blow, baby blow! I appreciate the critical eye!

        Didn't catch your drift on the first bit. Creating a job for my subscribers? Or creating a job for me? If the latter, true. But I do have an escape hatch should the burden of generating content become to great. I'm setting up the newsletter to bean evergreen email course. So at any time, I can tap out and folks can still enter the top of the funnel.

        But honestly, if I'm making a difference and a good chunk of change, I wouldn't mind if this was my job.

        Have you read the newsletter article from @csallen or checked out the interview Sam Parr? Both say to charge more than you think you should. And I do believe that this content is valuable. Especially given the context Stateside. I didn't have the tits to charge as much as they recommended. But I did double the average and believe I can easily justify the price point as I'm offering play-by-play solutions. (Grinning) But we'll see who's right come launch to validate!

        I am doing DEI consultant work now. (Just received my return invite from a unicorn as well as a first invitation from a first federal agency.) And eventually, I will tie the two together.

        1. 2

          I guess I missed the evergreen course play you were making, but since you already seem to be pairing it with DEI consultancy I think you're already doing everything I was thinking. Well played :P

    3. 2

      @Janice you are so organized. Nice to see your progress.

      1. 1

        (Laughing!) I try!

    4. 2

      I am excited as HECK for you. I can absolutely see you hitting your goal. I love your Stripe integration too. It's all so slick! What did you do your page with this time around?

      1. 1

        Thanks, @Davey! I go through intense confidence swings - from what the hell am I doing to this might actually work. We shall see. Validation is around the corner.

        I went JAMstack for quick deployment! Gatsby for the framework, Contentful for the headless CMS, Netlify for deployment and Stripe for payments.

  2. 3

    LAST WEEK

    I have managed to create the right key visual design language for the conference (I will share this soon).
    I have finished the sponsorship presentation.
    I have managed to get a New York-based design agency to help to promote the event.
    I have finished and published the article where I explain why this project should exist. You can read it here: https://uxdesign.cc/can-africa-design-51003524aa95

    THIS WEEK

    My goal is to update de visual language of the conference website.

    PROJECT
    The best designers in the world will get together in a 24 hours conference to help change the future of designers in Africa.

    1-4-1
    Every ticket you purchase enables us to invest in one year of design education for designers in Africa. Join us and improve the future of design education in Africa, while improving your skills in the process.

    Name: World-Class Designer Conference
    Tagline: The future of design is African, and you can help build it
    Elevator Pitch: BE THE CHANGE. Buy one ticket a give 1 African designer access to 1 year of online design education, mentorship and access to job opportunities.

    END OF YEAR
    Expected to raise 400K and give access to world-class design education to 2000 Africans.

    1. 2

      I love this type of group level engagement, good luck.
      Curious, what form does the mentor-ship take?

      1. 1

        Thanks, @jpusateri.
        The mentorship sessions will be open-ended. A one-on-one session where students will be able to ask questions and bits of advice to more experienced designers from the network.

    2. 1

      Article looks great! (Love the graphic image chosen!) Should you have some sort of call to action or questions that encourage comments at the end of the article? Maybe something like what steps have you taken/what ideas do you have to contribute to prep or attitude?

      How many folks engage with your content will be a telling signal.

      Also love the goal! When do you start officially raising monies?

      1. 1

        Hi @Janice, thanks for taking the time to read the article, I really appreciate it, I will definitely add a call to action. I have received a few messages from people around the world who want to help now. But I believe that with a call to action I would have more. We (I am creating a team) will start raiding money (selling tickets) by the end of September.

  3. 3

    Last week

    • Production was put on hold so I could identify/refocus on the problem from the SMB perspective.
    • Kept a SMB deal (I thought was closed) from going south. I got the buyer to reconsider by listening to them.

    This week

    • Figure out a plan to split 5-hr shift for product, manual, and automated outreach.
    • Reprioritize tasks off of recent feedback and progress.

    Status

    • Goal: case study Not late, but feeling the urgency.

    WIP

    • Jovial matches software developers with clients to avoid crazy project proposals.
    • Join mailing list, if you're looking for freelance/consulting software/web dev projects.
    1. 2

      Interesting placement, feels like it could morph into a reverse-headhunting concept where companies would submit a development brief and you would respond with a list of potential (and ideally proven) qualified developers.

      Are you pitching to businesses yet? Feels like you could approach this somewhat like a temp agency that tracks down development instead of manpower.

      1. 1

        Yes and yes. That pretty much sums up Jovial. I'm talking to both sides, but with more emphasis on SMBs.

    2. 2

      Congrats on retaining the buyer! That's huge! Anything from that conversation that you can integrate/automate?

      1. 1

        Yup, the convo reveal a step to automate when leads opt-in. Plus, it gave me content for follow-up and follow-through emails.

  4. 3

    Really, really great copy.

    1. 2

      (Grinning) Happy to credit for this one. But not sure who this is directed towards!

      1. 2

        Ha yes, your site’s copy @Janice!

  5. 3

    How did you fare last week?
    As mentioned last week, spent most time on my consulting day job.

    Managed to convert the prospect to a new customer for which I'll be doing some interesting javascript related work soon.

    The free blogging for business course from Ahrefs is indeed useful to watch. A lot of what's in there is sort of obvious and of course also shows off unique Ahrefs functionality, but .. the extra insights you get are often real nuggets. This is very useful for me to continue watching as improving my SEO fits my "pay once" price model for Vimalin much better than buying adverts ever can.

    Worked a bit on Vimalin to add resizable screens (yes, this was not yet in there)

    What's on deck for this week?
    Mostly consulting, but will also set aside some time for Vimalin, either working on eliminating more paper cuts and/or publishing the update at all the shareware sites that link to Vimalin.

    Continue the Ahrefs course (currently at lesson 5)

    1. 1

      What are the SEO metrics you track currently for Vimalin? Where do you currently stand and where do you hope to go?

      1. 2

        The metrics I currently track are very basic.

        I look at the visitor statistics for my site and also the bandwidth used over the month. Bandwidth roughly translates to downloads.

        The absolute numbers are not that high, but it is (slowly) growing and as long as that is the case then things are going in the right direction. Currently at 2.7x the numbers from 2018 and the year isn't finished yet. (2018 to 2019 was 66% increase in visitors)

  6. 3

    Great stuff Janice. What email automation tool did you go for ?

    1. 1

      I'm still going back and forth. But for validation, I'm going with ConvertKit. Managed to get a 30 day trial. So no cost for the experiment. Of all the automation builders, their builder experience was the best hands down.

      Have you checked out any? If yes, any you'd recommend?

  7. 2

    late as usual:P

    I'm less focused on product work lately and really focused on personal productivity, focus, and building systems so that my life becomes easier to build atop.

    Some of this just me getting my debts under control and resetting myself, but some of it is also me building a framework for everything in my life.

    Curious, though it is already determined that weekly calls might not be ideal for everyone here, I do wonder if a couple of people here might be willing to piece together a weekly global growth-focused call. I'm looking to put together a focused group to help track and encourage every aspect of a successful life.

    Social, financial, business, health...basically everything is on the table. The idea is for these things to be discussed transparently within the group, but perhaps not publicly as might be implied by operating within the IndieHackers forum framework.

    My thoughts are that a smallish group of tightly focused folks, dedicated to sharing and growing independently with feedback from each other could reinforce really help everyone involved leverage both personal and professional growth. Maybe that just means "whole life mastermind group". I'd like to start a weekly call lasting between 1 and 2 hours with a set agenda, but completely separate from the check-in style updates that we've built up here.

    Still considering a couple product ideas right now, so not zero progress, but I'm nothing concrete in development at the moment.

    1. 1

      I'd be up for something one a month. And post summer. The weekly calls are tough for me personally, because I like to go camping most summer weekends. And during the week, main gig + side hustle makes for a packed schedule.

      I think in-person real-time interaction is important. But asyn easier to implement.

  8. 2

    LAST WEEK

    • New logo, which I like better than the OLD Logo
    • Change in direction for launch of Lift Academy, focusing on community and serving their needs
    • I worked HARD on a new kind of onboarding system to help keep creeps out of the Academy. I've never seen anything like it, it's something kids will get right away, and really seems to do the trick. I don't know if it's FOOL proof, but so far I can't think of a way to fool it. So it could crash and burn hard if everyone hates it, but it will be unique and I'm happy about that.
    • I fixed my Stripe implementation to support subscriptions finally

    THIS WEEK

    • Finish the onboarding system (today?)
    • Implement the buddy matching system
    • Schedule the first live show and Tik-Tok swarm event
    • Figure out the Zoom settings to do live onboarding and the first live show
    • Update my landing pages to reflect the pivot/changes
    • LAUNCH the community for Lift Academy. Right now, calling it the Lift Squad

    GOAL FOR MONTH

    • Launch Lift Academy community - on target

    GOAL FOR YEAR
    $10k MRR. Need this to be my full-time gig. I'll need 1250 subscribers at $7.99 each

    Project
    Make new friends, learn life skills.
    Lift Academy

    1. 1

      How are you matching users together?
      The grouping aspect of this is my only real concern.

      I wonder if gated entry and user vetting might actually be a selling point that could increase your price target. There is also a case where you could potentially pitch this as a group level purchase to whole schools that might pay for a whole year up front.

      I was hesitant about the concept at first but it's grown me a lot in the last week or two.

      1. 1

        The news of the day is driving its creation for sure.

        When you sign up, you specify matching preference flags. Boys, girls, kids a little older than me, kids a little younger, kids near me, etc. are all checkboxes. You also pick the apps/games you’re looking to find friends for.

        There’s a whole tag system which can be used for advanced matching as well.

        When you go to find someone, it will rate the results but is a loose gate right now.

        The buddy matching algorithm will try to cherry pick users for you based on all of the above, and the more data it has the better it will work. I need to futz around with the tag system better.

        The 3 use cases are:
        You meet someone and want to trade gamer IDs. But you forget their name is dragonslayer766xx2. Instead you trade your simpler name or give a hashtag to discover you by. Once you’re friends they will see all your gamer tags/channel/app names that you’ve entered.

        You use the Find feature to cast a wide or narrow net and send some friend requests.

        You let Buddy Matcher work in the background to cherry pick for you. It might tell you reasons why it made the pick. Like “matched prefs”, “a lot in common”, or “lives near you”

        Building all of the above little by little bit Buddy Matcher still not implemented today. Find and trade are working great.

        Full parental notifications for connections you make, and tracking views of friends too to have data to detect bad actors!!!

        This is HELLA fun to build, but also feels like I’m recreating Facebook.

        1. 1

          I bet, but there is a distinction in my mind between "public facebook" and ".edu email required facebook". I remember it being a much more friendly and honestly social network when it first spread to the central and south texas schools after starting at Harvard.

          Seems like a super fun place to be in but a lot of work.
          Good luck finding that balance.

    2. 1

      Logo is definitely better. (Grinning) But could definitely be better still.
      What's unique about the onboarding? (And why would someone hate it?)

      1. 2

        I capture a video of the user reading a prepared phrase as a major part of the user registration, to prove that the user is a kid and not a creeep. Getting on camera is something kids are super familiar with, but I don't pretend to know how everyone feels :)

        1. 1

          Should prove interesting! Are you A/B-ing two different paths to see whether onboarding is too high of a road block?

          1. 1

            Yes, going to A/B test up the process, I have the ability to turn on/off different steps very quickly or change their order

  9. 1

    Hello, I am trying to start a new project.
    I am in the phase of idea validation and comparing other competitors of the idea. I hope to finalize this by the end of the current week.

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