Radically Honest Blog

#14. Anxious September 2019

TLDR: Domain evolution is done. Notifications are done. Actions Buttons are done. Fall is free 🍄. Creators! Polishing is terrifying 🐌. Nevertheless, we will go public in November 💪.

Flashback: #13. Hot August 2019.

As usual, main numbers ( sign shows changes between August and September):

Product:           Fibery — SaaS B2B (SMB) work management platform
Stage:             Private Beta
Launch:            Q4 2019 (public)
Development:       31 months 
Leads/month:       500 → 380
Total Accounts:    490 → 520
Active Accounts:   15 → 20
Team size:         10
Burn rate:         ~$40K/month
MRR:               $0


We eliminated some fancy features from the first public release scope and replaced them with polishing. Fibery should be fast, slick and enjoyable. It is not there yet. October and part of November will be dedicated to closing the gaps and designing getting started experience.

Public Release

We are going to release Fibery in November. Let’s be more precise, in November 2019. We had many workable hypothesis for public release, but with the first release we are going to verify just one of them and focus on Creators or “Tinkerers”.

"MacLean and his colleagues classified three kinds of users according to programming sophistication: workers, "tinkerers" and programmers. In the office setting that was studied, tinkerers performed the same function as local developers and translators in helping less sophisticated users gain access to more advanced program features." 

— A Small Matter of Programming. By Bonnie A. Nardi, 1993

Here is the Creator portrait 🎻:

  • Likely have quite specific problem domain (education, consulting, agency, etc.). In most cases such domains are not supported by mainstream tools well.
  • Loves to tinker with tools, build own solutions to the problems and play “power user” role inside his team.
  • Likes helping other people to solve problems.

With that in mind, in the first release we are NOT FOCUSING on:

  • ✘ Popular domains (like Software Development, Product Management or Startups) where many existing tools shine. If you just want “better JIRA”, then probably Fibery is not for you now.
  • ✘ Simple scenarios where Trello is almost enough. So “slightly more advanced than Trello” is not our target as well.

Fibery web site, on-boarding experience and all promotion materials will focus on Creators.

Getting Started

Getting started experience is hard to design. We are thinking about the main valuable thing in Fibery and how to make people get it.

Our core value so far is:

Make your own *connected** Apps. Fast.

How to show it to people inside Fibery? We are going to redesign App creation flow and make it easier. For example, it is hard to mentally link abstract Types with Views in sidebar, App concept itself is not so easy to grasp as well. In general, there are several potential solutions:

  1. Pre-install several Apps and show App creation later. The problem with this approach is that it’s hard to know what Apps to pre-install, since our users tend to have quite unique Apps.
  2. Nudge user to create his first App right away. However, this may look totally unfamiliar and frighten people.

Since our first release will be focused on Creators with unique problems/domains/processes, we are going to stick with solution #2. Thus we will redesign and streamline Apps creation flow in October.

North Star Metric (NSM)

Our main metric is the number of collaborative Apps. By collaborative we mean that an app is used by more than one person. I hope next month we will start to track it and post results here.

Read some info about North Star Metric:

How North Star Metrics Can Lead You South

What if this release fail?

Well, our first goal is the same — 100 active accounts. With stable release this goal will be easier to achieve.

Nevertheless, if we will not get them in 2–3 months, we are going to re-focus on Burnout.so concept.


DONE: Delete Types, Fields and Apps gracefully

Now you can delete Fields, Types and Apps without fear. Fibery cleans everything up.

DONE: Performance improvements

Backend performance was greatly improved for most use cases.

X-db-query-count: 53 
X-exec-query-plan-total-elapsed-ms: 866.9ms 
X-db-query-count: 2 
X-exec-query-plan-total-elapsed-ms: 202.5ms

However, frontend is not great yet and overall feeling is annoyance. We will address it in Fibery polishing in October.

DONE: Field editing redesign

Polishing has been started in September and Types editing screen got some attention. It will be further improved next month.

Type editor.
Type editor.

DONE: Billing integration

After almost 3 years of development we are going to make some money to have a future to live. Billing integration is already there. We are still thinking about final prices and restrictions though.

Fibery pricing scheme. So far.
Fibery pricing scheme. So far.

DONE: Permissions: Contributor per App

Contributor is a new role that allow users create new entities and modify assigned entities only inside an App. It enables many cases where you want to prevent sudden content modification by all users.

Contributor will contribute

DONE: Action Buttons

We were unable to complete full-blown automation till November, but we did complete Action Buttons.

Now you can create custom Action Buttons for Types using Fibery API and… Javascript. We know that this is not super user friendly, so in future we are going to provide quite many pre-built actions and Action Button setup will be easier.

Here is “Assign to Me” action button example:

“Assign to Me” Action Button code.
“Assign to Me” Action Button code.

You can even see Action Buttons in Tables as a column:

Action Buttons + Table View.
Action Buttons + Table View.

📍Read Action Buttons User Guide, check Action Buttons API Reference and copy Examples.

Under the hood Action is executed in Javascript server-side environment. Essentially this is a serverless approach where you just write actions (functions) and don't care about execution environment. However, we did not use AWS Lambda, but re-used service created by clever guys inside Targetprocess.

There are many applications of Action Buttons and you can get excited. However, some programming skills are needed. We will add more examples into actions repository eventually and in many cases you will be able create new actions using “programming by example”.

DONE: Slack and Email Notifications

We’ve finalized notifications till public release. Now you can receive important events in Slack or via Email. Each user can enable or disable her notifications:

In Progress: Web Site

Till November we are going to have brand new web site. In the meantime, Fibery logo was simplified by Ilya:

Fibery logo in different colors.
Fibery logo in different colors.

In Progress: New Sidebar + Folders

We decided to re-write sidebar to include Folders and make drag and drop much better. Ihar Trafimovich is pushing his React skills to the limit, but I hope we will complete it in ~3 weeks.

In Progress: App creation flow re-design

This is a part of Getting Started. We are going to nudge new user create an app and see for herself whether Fibery can be helpful.

Getting Started flow.
Getting Started flow.

In Progress: Canvas View

Canvas View is slowly moving forward. We’re not so sure it will be ready till the public release, but Vadim Gaidukevich will do his best to make it happen 💪.

Canvas View WIP. Not fancy. Yet.
Canvas View WIP. Not fancy. Yet.

Public Release Roadmap

We’ve finalized Domain evolution, permissions, Notifications and Action buttons in September. Two remaining large Initiatives are Getting Started and Polishing. We’re going to release in November 💪.

  1. ✔︎ Search
  2. ✔︎ CSV Import
  3. ︎︎✔︎ Public API
  4. ✔︎ Metrics (Formula Field)
  5. ✔ Table View. We discovered that Boards are not enough for many cases, and we will add Table View (or Spreadsheet View if you like)
  6. ✔ Domain evolution: we will finalize renames (Apps, Types, Fields). Now it causes some problems.
  7. ✔ Permissions: Collaborator role (a user that can’t change things created by other users), and we will deny Views modification by ordinary users as well
  8. ✔✘ [Only Action Buttons so far] Automation Rules. It will enable process automation, like internal Zapier.
  9. ✔ Notifications (mentions, in-app, activity stream, Slack, Email).
  10. ✘ [Postponed] History information and reports (CFD, Burndown Chart, Burnup Chart, Burnout Chart)
  11. ⇢ Account management and payments
  12. ⇢ New web site
  13. ⇢ Getting Started experience
  14. ⇢ Polish EVERYTHING.
  15. Haha 😅

🍡 Random

Random Image from our Slack channel:

Pre-release anxiety.

Random video:

Random link from our Slack channel:

At Dynamicland, The Building Is The Computer

Random quote:

In one anecdote, Kay relates showing a custom system (built in Smalltalk) meant to facilitate non-expert “programming,” to executives from Xerox PARC. This system was a kind of highly advanced programming language meant to make human-machine interaction at a very high level intuitive for non-expert users. At one point during a demonstration, a vice president, after an hour of working with the system, realized he was programming

To be continued → #15. Multi-tasking October 2019.

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