December in South Africa is called the "Silly Season" and it's because people generally do not take any leave during the year and work super hard so they can rest a whole month at the end of each year.
Bursts need to get some much needed lateral thinking done in this time and I will use this month to work through some cool new ideas I have to make composing updates easier, much needed UX enhancements and the potential of "Slack" like workspaces for data safety.
2019 should be a good year for Bursts and I'd like to think that after getting some great feedback from trusted people that it would add value to people's lives. Value that someone would likely pay for.
Today I sent the first batch of early adopter invites for bursts. It marks a massive milestone for myself and this app that I can serve up a complete working flow for a person to use.
Even though there is a bit of a road ahead with features and integrations that still need to ship, I feel having something in front of people is great. Even though it's not a fully featured app yet.
I sent out the first drip round to the signed up people and the engagement has been great so far.
It's a massive milestone for me to have come to this point. This is the first step to building a relationship with people and nudge them into registering for the closed beta.
I created a signup drip campaign that tells the person about why I built this service and gives them some use cases as described in some of my earlier updates.
I started YC startup school 10 weeks ago with the goal of having a full flow version of bursts available for closed beta signups.
I have graduated today and I am super excited to start sending out the first invites out early next week. It starts with a tiny 2 email on-boarding campaign to give background information about why I am building this and it gives some insight into the upcoming features and progress that already exists.
The next email is the registration link that allows someone to add their password that's checked against haveibeenpwned.com
Here is my graduation:
I had just recently started at a new company and the product and stakeholder teams were remote.
I sent out the first weekly update by hand for our team after a bit of research showed me that there were zero conversations about what everyone was busy with and what the progress was on projects.
I sent our team's update out taking great care in the type of language I use to keep it lighthearted and easy to read for non technical people.
They loved it, the business I mean. Everyone was super surprised that we actually got so much done in a week and the email itself got some incredible engagement from the senior leadership and management teams. Below is a screenshot of the open stats for that same day.
The same day that the prototype was validated I decided to enter into YC startup school to guide me through building a product. Where I knew how to do it technically, I didn't know where to start in terms of the other things and for 10 weeks this course guided me to where I needed to be.
I started a twitter #openstartups thread to share basic stats about my journey until I graduate.
Successfully validated the prototype of bursts with a bunch of work colleagues . The flow included these pages:
It was a very basic prototype but the premise of the content was what was validated.
This was the first real example that was entirely done by hand. I wrote a nodejs script to automate sending an email through sendgrid using a command in my terminal. It just needed to look nice on a mobile screen because the people that it needed to silence was running between strategy and budget meetings.
(I realise that sounds bad, but my frustration at the time was that everyone was so busy, no one actually spoke to one another about simple things, creating an incredible amount of anxiety all around)
It grabbed rendered html from a file I generated using mjml and it contained a list of things our team was doing at the time.
Purely out of frustration this was born into a world where people were not talking to one another and no one knew the progress of simple things even though github and jira was kept nicely up to date.
This was a shot in the dark and it worked out great.
Suddenly there was a bit of excitement back in the air of our planning meetings. People didn't ask about statuses of tickets anymore, they mused about "How cool would it be if X?"
The anxiety around projects came down because of a simple bulleted list. This was the spark that started my journey down the road of making a platform so that I can share the love with other people that might be experiencing the same frustrations.
Bursts exist to solve my problem of an easy platform to connect and catch up stakeholders in whichever company I work at. It saves a lot of time when conversations are about real problems instead of status reports.