I like everything you guys are doing. I used Marvel app several times for quick protos and it was always great. Since I have some experience with accelerators and startups in general, here are my .2 cents:
You raised $ too early and not enough: 6 months runway is not enough and you will have to (perhaps you should start already if you are not on it yet) work on another round and that will steal A LOT of focus so you can work on stupid things like keynotes and do meetings.
I think your choice to rewrite the whole thing wasn't good, you should have focused on making $ as soon as possible. I understand this is hard because you know your current version is i.e. slow and not working exactly like you want but this is very fast world and you can't focus on experience if you don't have enough time and $. Patching it would be better option I believe.
Focus on making $ and bringing in more users , not on bugs (excluding critical bugs) or pixel perfect interface.
Don't give too much priority to feature suggestions from users, it's distracting, focus on $
- You need to be very aggressive here, Invite X friends and get X etc.
- Pixel perfect interface is of course really nice to have, but in this case (timing, money situation) it's not important and you don't have the luxury to focus on it.
P.S. I can help you and add banner or something on pttrns.com, where is exactly the audience you want.
Good luck and hold tight!
Some of this is hard, cold, and exactly what you need.
We heavily use Invision—who is probably your biggest competition (they're a former client too). If you want to chat with someone whose agency is a power user, I'm available. firstname.lastname@example.org
Thanks Michael! Emailing you now :)
Thanks! I'm going to drop you a mail but this is great feedback.
I'm actually in the fundraising process now and you're right, it's incredibly disruptive (just like it was the first time round). My main aim to shield the team from it, do all the keynotes, meetings etc so development can continue with delays.
It was a tough decision (and a big risk) but because people are using Marvel to do their work, present, pitches, meetings etc, every time it broke for long periods of time (which became frequent), we felt like shit. Of course nobody wants to let down their users, but our gut was telling us that adding Pro accounts to the unstable platform was a bad idea.
Definitely agree with with 1 & 2 the other points, we have some great ideas about how to do this
Mailing you now :)
I will sound very naive, but that's okay. I think you did right by your users by focusing on the "pixel stuff", as others may call it. I have been watching your work because of that and I have seen impressive growth in your ability to execute design. Your capability to communicate with your audience and great humility is where you stand out the most to me. So, great job.
That being said, I do agree with others who have said before me that you didn't focus enough on how the service would cost. The message that your product is "Free" is a double edge sword. Nothing is really free, at some point your users will either be annoyed by ads, lack of support (because the product wasn't successful) or will be deceived to learn the cost of the service. I think it's good to be honest and straightforward.
We all know that designers aren't good at charging money or at creating a sound business plan. I was terrible at it. We're growing. But please, don't loose your craftsmanship over that. Don't focus on money before creating value for your users, who are designers like you. Keep doing what you love and I know you will get there.
Transparency FTW! Thanks for sharing.
Murat, as someone considering starting another business, this post was great! It is interesting to see where startups are spending money.
Glad it was useful! Hopefully I can make this a regular update
Yeah, I am really enjoying reading about how companies work their way up and yet be so open about it. It is good learning for others and great to see support from all around.
Thanks for sharing, Murat.
Great stuff Murat, thanks for sharing! :) Glad to see how Marvel is growing up!!
Cheers Sebastian! We should have another catch-up soon!