A Small Story:

Year: 2014 AD.

My product at that time, Augment, had a great run at Hacker News - 6+ hours at the top of HN. We were at week 4 after launch and had about 400+ weekly active users.

We were a new type of tool. We helped access productivity apps in Gmail - it's common now, but in 2014, we were the only ones.

Now that things were settling down, we started talking to our customers.

One of the first conversations we have was with Debbie, an office assistant in Ohio. She said that she might not continue using our product. Soon 20 other customers said similar things. This was out of 60 or so interviews.

So 30% of our customers were going to churn. Heck, only about 15% of our customers were actually happy with us. This was a disaster and there was nothing we could do about it.

Fortunately, our marketing head at the time Zain (and now my cofounder) had a question - "ok, so who is happy about our product, and why are they happy? These interviews indicate we suck. And yet there are people who like us. WHY?"

Why indeed?

So in the next interviews we started asking this question. Once we assembled all the data we luckily found a simple pattern.

~ 95% of the happy ones were freelancers. Additionally, ~70% of those were designers !! Bingo..

What seemed like a disaster had actually pointed us in a directi0n. We knew where to run.

And run we did - from 400 weekly actives (with 30% potential churn) to 3000+ weekly active (with <20% churn).

Of course mistakes were made along the way, things were said and one day, we shut it down. But the learnings stayed with us for a lifetime - not just the dry ones - like segment your market - but the abstract ones - what seems like a disaster might be an opportunity.

If you liked this ..
.. and would like to stay in the loop, subscribe here