Michael Dubakov
Michael Dubakov
Founder, Fibery.io
Startup Diary

#38. Experimenting in October 2021

TLDR: Activation stats 🥶. Experiment with Fibery structure 😍. Experiment with 90-days trial 👎. Experiment with live onboarding 🦸‍♀️. Experiment with an outreach agency 👎. Partners program 💕. Faster performance 🚠. Recurring rules 🐉. Email sync 🕊.

Flashback: #37. Keep fighting in September 2021

Something about activation

I dug deeper into our usage metrics and discovered that 70% of new accounts use Fibery for less than 10 minutes 😅.

After a year and a half, we have ~1.5% average conversion rate from leads to active accounts and ~0.7% conversion rate from leads to paid customers. By “active” we mean an account with 2+ people that use Fibery at least 3 days every week.

There are some improvements, last year conversion from leads to active accounts was ~1.1%, now it is ~1.7%, but I believe we should strive for better conversion. Fibery looks more complex than it really is. For a newcomer, it’s hard to survive till aha-moment and real value. That is why we are changing some core processes and getting starting experience.

Experiment with Fibery structure. In progress.

Here is an interesting discussion about upcoming changes. Overall, we are making Fibery less abstract.

People don’t get concepts like Type (it’s too abstract). App term is misleading. Fibery flexibility is well hidden in the App Setup screen. Our new approach will help people to learn the main building blocks faster and set up everything faster.

new setup

Notion and Airtable did a great job here, while Fibery tried to increase the level of abstraction. It was too much for many people.

We’ll also rename some core terms: App → Space and Type → Database. Please don’t be surprised with this change, we are going to release it next week.

Experiment with a 90-days trial. Failed.

In May 2021 we’ve increased the trial duration from 30 to 90 days with the hope that it will improve activation. Our line of thinking was “OK, Fibery is complex, let’s give people more time to play with it”. Well, it had zero effect on activation, but it also had a negative effect on paid customers conversion. People don’t need more time, they need a faster way to aha-moment 🤷‍♀️.

In October we reverted the trial back to 30 days. Usually, a month is enough. If it is not, we are happy to extend the trial by your request (if you really need more time to find the value using Fibery).

Experiment with live onboarding. In progress.

While we are making Fibery easier to grasp, why not experiment with the onboarding flow? We decided to apply Superhuman onboarding pattern and disabled sign-ups from the website last week. Now you have to face Polina to get an account. Polina will show you the main things in Fibery, answer a few questions, and smile. (If you did not meet Polina yet, you should. In the worst case, you will get some dopamine 😋).

We’ve onboarded just 8 accounts so far, 3 of them are active now.

Experiment with an outreach agency. Failed.

We hired an outreach sales agency and gave it two months to start delivering something. Our target metric was 20 demos/customer discovery sessions per month. Guess how many sessions we got? Take a pause and take a guess.

Your guess most likely was wrong. We got exactly zero sessions.

Here is an example of the first-touch script they send to us for approval.

Hi XXXX,
Working with your industry colleagues who use our platform Fibery to build seamless systems for product management, road-mapping, and feedback. What does this mean?

- Efficient smart workflows across different departments.
- Realtime visibility combatting the dispersion of the tools you currently use – creating a seamless and fully adaptable strategy deployment for each unique use case.
- Product management, customer feedback, marketing, and road-mapping in one collaborative space – with no code

How is your company combatting the miscommunication and visibility across your various department?
I’d like to introduce you to our Fibery platform, what is your availability like this or next week?

BR.

And that is how our team reacted (the most polite member):

Well, if no-one minds me being brutal, then I think it is absolutely sh*t. First sentence doesn't even make sense, and the bullet points are total bullsh*t bingo ('a seamless and fully adaptable strategy deployment'). Also, who ever says, "combatting the dispersion of the tools you use"? I would rarely use combat as a verb, and certainly never 'combatting' (used twice).

I’d say it was a cultural misfit for us, but it was the first sales agency we interacted with and we did not do a good job evaluating our options. We broke up with the agency.

I wanted to insert this into every monthly update, but I resisted. No more!
I wanted to insert this into every monthly update, but I resisted. No more!

Experiment with another outreach agency. In progress.

Surprise! These guys look good.

We had a single conversation with them and decided to give it a go.

Some facts about this new agency that I shared with the team:

  • Very good feedback from the companies they worked with. Some of them have long-term relations still.
  • They write cool texts and have an insane response rate: 12% as a min, 20% is typical.
  • They do the whole sales cycle, initial contact, demo, etc. Otherwise, it will not fly on their opinion. If they find leads and just pass them for the demo to us, conversion will be very low.
  • They have a network of 200 sales people. For every new project they do an internal competition: curious sales people evaluate the product and market, write sales strategy and present to the heads. Based on that, heads select two sales that will join the project.
  • They like informal style, their CRM is called Fucking Easy CRM. I fucking love that.

I hope I will not insert the gif above into this section next month 🤞.

Partners program

Fibery Partners program looks promising thus far. We’ve received 60 applications and will have about 15 active partners soon. Interest is there, and many people do understand the power of Fibery and its value to their customers.

Feel free to join the program and have a lively conversation with Chris. Chris is not Polina, but he does produce dopamine as well 😋.

Metrics

We got our telemetry back. Here are the main numbers ( sign shows the changes between July, August, September, and October):

Fibery. Build your company workspace with no code

Paid accounts:     145   → 155   → 155   → 150
Active accounts:   310   → 340   → ?     → 350
Active users:      2K    → 2.1K  → ?     → 2.5K
Team size:         22    → 23    → 23    → 24
Run rate:          $130K → $135K → $135K → $140K/month  
MRR:               $18K  → $20K  → $20K  → $22K/month

MRR growth is slower than we want, but it all depends on new users activation.

mrr oct 2021

New Template: Influencer CRM

Keep track of cooperation with Influencers. Track Revenue and engagements from your ambassadors.

Product Updates

Almost all stalled things were completed and now we are focusing on three major themes: Getting started and Fibery re-structuring, Permissions, and Blocks.

DONE

Faster performance

We’ve significantly improved Fibery performance over the last few weeks. Entity Views open much faster, and overall it should feel better now.

Entity View improved performance
Entity View improved performance

Recurring Rules

The possibility to execute rules on schedule is available now. You can automate various flows, like:

  • Notify a team about daily meeting
  • Create release with two iterations every four weeks
  • Create rule that will mark done stories as archived
  • You name it.

re rule

Email Integration (IMAP)

Finally, Fibery followed Zawinski’s Law of Software Envelopment!

Every program attempts to expand until it can read mail. Those programs which cannot so expand are replaced by ones which can.

Fibery can fetch emails from any IMAP account. It’s handy for several cases. For example:

  • you receive issues and feature requests to some email address and want to create Bugs or Features from incoming emails.
  • you receive job positions applications and want to create new candidates or link emails to existing candidates.
  • you receive service alerts to some email and want to log these alerts into Fibery as Incidents.

Sort(), First() and Last() in formulas

You can do clever things with collections, like sort them and extract the first or last element.

Epics.Sort(Name).First().Name

Companies.Sort([Creation Date], false).First().Contacts.Count()

Companies.Sort(Name).First().Country.Name

Undelete Types and Fields

Sometimes you delete a field. Or a Type with 10000000 entities. Manual fields or Types restoration sucks. We got fed up and implemented Undelete action. Find deleted Types and Fields in Audit Log, get them back, and sleep well.

Delete Workspace

Manual workspace deletion sucks. We got fed up and implemented Delete Workspace functionality. If you no longer love Fibery, use it. Just try. Go for it. It deletes EVERYTHING (GDPR is happy).

del

Whiteboard: Handwriting pen

Whiteboard got better. Draw something ugly!

pen

IN PROGRESS

Blocks in Entity View

We are moving forward with Blocks, but slower than expected. Still, we experimented with the UX and everything looks kinda OK so far:

Experimental blocks in Fibery
Experimental blocks in Fibery

Release estimation: 2 months

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

Permissions

We’re finally starting permissions improvements. Here is the quick summary of our permissions approach. It took us several months to find a conceptual solution. Now we are happy and moving forward.

perms

Release estimation: 🏋️‍♀️🏋️‍♀️ months

Random from our Slack 🧵

Random tweet

Random image

"Potato Toys" - a 1931 Soviet guide to making toys out of potatoes. Have fun.
"Potato Toys" - a 1931 Soviet guide to making toys out of potatoes. Have fun.

Random link

Beyond Smart. “One of the most surprising ingredients in having new ideas is writing ability. There’s a class of new ideas that are best discovered by writing essays and books.”

Random quote

‘Squid Game’ creator Hwang Dong-hyuk wrote the show in 2009 but was rejected by studios for 10 years. He once had to stop writing the script + sell his $675 laptop due to money struggles. Today, it’s #1 in 90 countries + set to become the most-watched show in Netflix history.

Random dopamine 😍 feedback

PS: BTW, I never seen a company warning me and follow up on the fact that I am not making the full use of my paid subscription as stated in the bottom of this e-mail. That’s very nice. Fibery do set apart from others on these little things you all do. I like it.

Random cortisol 😥 channel post

It is fun that Fibery has a random emoji on the login screen; could your team add a blacklist of emojis so we don’t get eggplant emojis 🍆?

Have a nice day!

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