Michael Dubakov
Michael Dubakov
Founder, Fibery.io
Startup Diary

#37. Keep fighting in September 2021

TLDR: Meditations on complexity 🧶. Fibery Partners program 🔥. New templates 🔬. Automations rules webinar 🗝. Huge WIP 🐚.

Flashback: #36. 20k MRR in August 2021.

Meditations

It’s useful to reflect from time to time. We’ve released Fibery 1.0 in April 2020 as an MVP and got enough feedback to understand in what direction we want to move. After this release, we’ve focused on Fibery for Product Teams and released Fibery 1.5 in February 2021. We focused on product development companies and positioned Fibery as the all-in-one solution for product teams.

Eight months passed. 22 product companies became paid customers (the other 40 new customers are not product companies). MRR growth is steady, but quite slow IMHO:

Fibery MRR by months
Fibery MRR by months

I had a feeling that something is missed in Fibery and tried to understand what exactly. It’s not an easy task, since there are so many components in a startup that melt into a complex system with the market. There are many problems, but what are the most important?

I think our top problem is Fibery complexity. So far we didn’t find a way to explain Fibery to many people. On top of that Fibery sales model is self-serve. So we end up in a weird state:

Fibery state
Fibery state

The self-serve model works when you sell something simple or at least something that people can understand on their own without spending enormous effort. The direct sales model works for complex products, but they should be relatively expensive to justify the cost. These are two quadrants that can lead to great results, but Fibery is not in any of them.

Actually, when you have a good model, solutions look trivial.

  1. We can try a direct sales model to explain the product to the potential customers via live sessions (think Superhuman way).
  2. We can simplify the product or at least invent a decent getting started experience to make Fibery comprehensible.

To be honest, direct sales is not our style. But here we have a good proxy — partners program. Consultants and Fibery is a perfect match. They know their domain, while Fibery is flexible enough to accommodate. So we just launched Partners Program.

Simplification and explanation is the real goal since all our major competitors are doing it better than we do. Our problem here is that we are somewhat too clever. We operate on high levels of abstractions and don’t make Fibery easy to understand. App creation process in Fibery is abstract, you have to work with Types, Fields, and Relations. While in ALL other tools it is more exact, you work with Tables, and the Type concept is hidden.

We are going to redesign Apps setup experience and remove the extra-abstraction level from the system. I hope it will improve activation metric and improve conversion.

Our customers ❤️ Fibery and it delivers tons of value, but it takes months to really get it. We have to reduce months to weeks at least.


We lost Fibery telemetry two weeks ago and so far it did not recover (we are working on it). So some numbers are not there.

Main numbers ( sign shows the changes between May, June, July, and August and September):

Fibery. Build your company workspace with no code

Paid accounts:     140    → 145   → 155   → 155 
Active accounts:   300    → 310   → 340   → ?
Active users:      1.9K   → 2K    → 2.1K  → ?
Team size:         22     → 22    → 23    → 23
Run rate:          $130K  → $130K → $135K → $135K/month  
MRR:               $17K   → $18K  → $20K  → $20K/month

Finally, few new posts in our blog:

New outreach experiment

Last year we tried an outreach sales experiment and it failed. Now we are trying it again with help of a specialized agency.

Our metric here is 20 demos per month to our target persona who can benefit from Fibery: Product Manager, Product Ops, CPO.

The agency uses two channels: LinkedIn and phone. Not sure how I feel about it. In LinkedIn, they automate things and write an initial message under my name to get contacted. It’s similar to Intercom automation, but still, it may lead to additional replies, and I am afraid it can be misleading…

New templates: Test Management, Invoice Management, Inventory

We’re continuing to expand cases to show Fibery power. There are three new templates for Test Management, Invoice Management, and Inventory tracking.

This is Chris explaining the Inventory Management template in great detail:

Fibery partners program

In September we’ve launched Fibery Partners Program. Fibery is cool but complex. It demands setup and configuration effort to extract value, and many people just don’t have time for that. But consultants do. We hope that this program will be a win-win for Fibery, consultants, and our customers.

  • 🥇 Steady revenue stream. Early Fibery Partners will receive 30% of all licenses sold.
  • 💎 Free Fibery account for your own company.
  • 🥱 Escape the tools forcing you into their way of working.

We have 10 partners already. Jump in!

Webinar: Do less manual work with Fibery Automations

Not all developers can do webinars, but Sergey does. It includes quite extensive and complex examples of Fibery automations power. Check it out.

Product Updates

We have quite (too?) many features in development, and just two releases last month. Automations, Slack integration and Timeline View got serious updates.

DONE

Milestones on a Timeline

Releases, conferences, product launches — everything preceded by 🔥🚒 time is a good candidate to visualize as a milestone.

In a classic Fibery fashion, there are no hardcodes: pick any Type(s), any common Field, and use the usual filters to keep truly relevant events only.

timeline milestone

New Slack app

Fibery🤝Slack integration has been here for a while — we’ve simplified the connection and packed all the functionality into a single app.

Here’s what’s changed in a nutshell:

  1. Once an Admin connects Fibery and Slack workspaces, the integration starts working for all users without each one having to authenticate.
  2. Notifications are delivered to Fibery app instead of your DM. This means you are free not only to turn notifications on/off in Fibery but also to tweak settings within Slack.
  3. All the /fibery functionality including creating Entities and posting vacations now reside in the same app. If you use Slack, please connect it to Fibery using this direct link 4 or via the updated notification settings:

fibery slack

“Entity linked/unlinked” trigger in Rules

Now Automation Rules 1 can react to one Entity being linked to another:

link trigger

Date Ranges in Formulas and Automations

Calculate date ranges (with or without time) in Formulas, Rules, and Buttons:

date range

Filter linked Entities in Automations

When updating, deleting, or unliking linked Entities in Rules and Buttons, narrow the action down to relevant Entities:

filter linked

IN PROGRESS

Blocks in Entity View

We announced Blocks in July, and started to work on them in August. So far we are still in the ideation phase since blocks in Fibery are quite high-grained and closer to semantic blocks than usual low-grained structure blocks. For example, header is a block in Notion, but not a block in Fibery. As an example, there are only two blocks in the feature description below: Problem and Solution.

blocks f

Release estimation: 🏋️‍♀️

New multi-panel navigation

The new navigation is still in the ideation phase and we are working on prototypes. We are close, here is a quick preview of how it might look.

Multi-panel navigation prototype
Multi-panel navigation prototype

Release estimation: 2 months

Fetch emails from Gmail/IMAP

This integration will help to fetch emails from specialized inboxes. For example, if you have support(at)___.com inbox, you may fetch all emails into Fibery and link feedback to features, create bugs from support requests, etc.

Email integration in Fibery
Email integration in Fibery

Release estimation: 1 week

Delete Workspace (aka Account)

Boring, but a necessary feature to reduce the burden on our developers. Now we delete workspaces manually by request, and it is a tedious job. Nobody likes it.

Release estimation: 2 weeks

Formula: Sort, First, and Last functions

Formulas need some more power to handle collections better. It appeared this is not a trivial thing to implement.

In nearest future it will be possible to dig deep stuff like this:

Contacts.First().Companies.First().Name

Tasks.Filter(State.Name != "Done").Sort(Rank).First()

Release estimation: 2 weeks

Undelete App, Type, and Field

Victor is finalizing this endless feature (he hopes so) and going to vacation:

v

Release estimation: 2 weeks

Automations: recurring tasks

Recurring tasks are important to close many useful cases: creating repetitive tasks, events, reports, etc. We are working on this feature and hope to release it quite soon. Here is a glimpse of UI:

time trigger

Release estimation: 3 weeks

🚎 Random from our Slack

Random tweet

https://twitter.com/johncutlefish/status/1436725058982928384

Random image

Deep work
Deep work

Random link

A decade and a half of instability: The history of Google messaging apps.

Random quote

Guess the game:

Early in the game’s development, before the beginning of prototyping, deadlines for StarCraft II caused all of Team 5 except Eric Dodds and Ben Brode to be reassigned to that game for around a year. This isolation allowed the two designers to work in an even more focused way, with only the two of them to settle prototyping decisions, and were able to rapidly progress through myriad design iterations. For a long time Dodds and Brode used only pen and paper to create their prototypes, cutting pieces of paper to create test cards.

Random dopamine 😍 feedback

Other than that, I’m really enjoying the platform. It was just architected right. Based on your fundamental design, things just flow better and you can do things in Fibery that you just cannot do in other platforms. For example, having one view with multiple Entities displayed in relation to one another? You just can’t do that in another competing platorm that I’m aware of. Not Coda. Not Airtable. Not Notion. Not Quickbase. Not Appian. Not Zoho.

Random cortisol 😥 channel post

Sorry, one last thing. I looks like you have embedded Miro into your Whiteboards, which is great. We will use this alot. However, it appears to be a very old, limited version of Miro. Is it possible to update it to include the current Miro functionality / interface / features?

Have a nice day!

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