I had many people contacting me on Qoorio, mostly first-time tech entrepreneurs, and they often struggle with a situation I want to speak about.
Founders come up with a great idea, have a lot of enthusiasm, implement the minimal viable product, launch it to the market, and nothing happens.
Customers are not using their product or service as much as they initially thought. They start doubting themselves and their vision. Enthusiasm is replaced with a fear of failure. Fear increases levels of stress, decision-making process gets impaired, and focus on quick fixes increases.
Time goes by, reality does not change, there is little significant change in traction of their products or services. This sometimes turns to a doom cycle, which leads to a shut down of the business, even if it was the most brilliant idea. I have seen that multiple times as an outsider. I have experienced that as an insider.
Well, the thing is that it is very rare to release an MVP and get it to work immediately. I was lucky in my previous company (Vinted) that this happened. However, this is not the case for Qoorio, and it is a huge learning for all of us.
We released the first MVP in July 2019, we got some controversial feedback. Apple was rejecting our app because they assumed we are a paid companionship app. It turned out that the first page of the app had profiles of women and prices meeting them for their knowledge. Our principal engineer was freaking out and thought the business is a done deal. We received a lot of attention from local PR as being a paid celebrity dating app. It started as one celebrity announced that they are happy to meet their fans for money.
On the other hand, there was a handful number of people who understood our concept and tried it multiple times. And were very happy with the experience. We learned that those were our target people – intellectual individuals, willing to learn from each other.
Time was passing by, but the group of people using our app was not increasing as much as we anticipated. Feedback was consistent: service is unique and refreshing. So why is it not growing organically? Something was clearly missing in our understanding, which could unlock the growth. We spoke to different users and looked at the data. We realized that most meetings happened among people who already trusted open humans in advance but did not necessarily know them personally. There was little interest in profiles of people they didn't know earlier, so they could not trust them.
How to trust somebody you don't know that you can learn from them something you don't know, yet looking for? We came up with the second iteration of the product. We improved profiles of open humans so they can specify the topics they are happy to share about with the rest of the community.
This improved the situation, we noticed that people who didn't know each other in advance started contacting each other. However, the positive impact was far below what we were looking for.
How to create a feeling of trust close to somebody you know well of a stranger you find on Qoorio? We realized that having topics is not enough. Often they are quite broad and general and do not necessarily create a feeling we want to create. I would say they solve 2% of what we want to solve. However, they are not enough to create an intellectual and emotional portrait of somebody one can trust.
That's why we are not working hard on the third iteration of Qoorio. In addition to having topics in profiles, we are creating new tools to share an unlimited number of insights for any topic. We believe that this will be a better way to open humans to express their portraits of knowledge & personality.
Are we done with it? Not at all, we are only halfway. Is this going to be the answer to our vision' human to human learning network'? I don't think so. I believe it is a never-ending journey. However, this journey gives us valuable feedback from our users about what to build and what to not build.
Thank you, everyone, who is the part of Qoorio! Please let me know in your comments:
- what do you like about Qoorio?
- what you don't like about Qoorio?
- what do you think is the most critical one thing we should do next?
Why are we afraid of change in our work or life?
🔸 #3 insight: Adapt change
We all strive towards outcomes at work, at home and in our communities because we believe they will make us happy. It might be a good job, a loving relationship, money or possessions. It might be better health or spiritual peace of mind. Let's call all of them our lovely "Cheese".
And it can feel wonderful when we eventually get our cheese. Then, we hold to it tightly and dream it will never end.
Yet life is constantly changing and sometimes it blocks (or even undoes) things we expect, feel we deserve or have worked so long and so hard to accomplish. But because we fear starting again, looking foolish or that we might end up somewhere worse, we often don’t want to change when things begin changing around us.
I always felt very confident about changes around and even called it my comfort zone. Yet life kicked my butt recently at work multiple times. I wasn't growing so fast I was used to. Then, it begun:
- I denied it's my problem.
- I was frustrated and started to blame others.
- I held to what was, instead of what simply now is.
- And I wasn't ready to look for a new cheese.
I'm so lucky to be surrounded by emphatic people who felt my frustration. Immediately offered their help and it took me 24 hours to find a new cheese. I'm sharing this with you and hope it will help like it did to me. Maybe not today, tomorrow, or even this year, but knowing this makes us as individuals stronger.
Change is inevitable. Anticipate it, adapt to it, learn to embrace and enjoy it. Do so and you won’t just suffer less stress and unhappiness, you’ll enjoy more success and fulfillment in every part of your life and your work.
🔸 Book that highlights this issue is "Who Moved My Cheese?" by the best-selling author, Dr. Spencer Johnson. I dedicate this to Ingrida Ziliute, who helped me to move on.
How the comfort zone is ruining your life?
🔸 #4 insight: Comfort zone
This is so known topic that I even doubted to write it. But the more I think about it, the more I understand how close and yet so far this topic is for me.
We all know that there are two groups for all the physical things we can do in our life:
- Inside the comfort zone: takes little or no effort to do, feels comfortable, no mental resistance. For example, for most of the people driving is completely in their comfort zone. They drive to work, shop, home. And since driving is so easy, at one point or another, your brain went and subconsciously placed it inside the comfort zone, so you don’t really think about doing it before you do it, it’s just something you do.
- Outside. Okay, how about going for a run? A lot harder, isn’t it? It’s more physically strenuous, requires more preparation, it makes you lose your breath or sweat, and if you haven’t ran for a while, you’ll probably be really sore the next day. And because you know running is physically strenuous and hard to do, your brain placed it outside the comfort zone. The further outside the comfort zone something is, the more mental resistance there is in the way of doing that thing.
Zone also always shrinking, if you don’t do anything about it. Unless you venture at least a little bit beyond the borders of the comfort zone, it will get smaller and harder to escape. And this is something that most people have experienced in their lives, whether they are aware of it or not.
In my own life this happens all the time, like when I was 18 and got my driving licence, I was so excited at that point, driving was so easy to me and felt very good about it. But since I had no car, lived in the city centre, my brain moved it outside the comfort zone and now I’m really afraid to do it. Of course, brain generates to me all necessary arguments: eco friendly, avoiding traffic jams, walking is good for you. In reality, I’m just staying away from what’s outside my comfort zone now.
This gets even more serious. You know that phrase “Men aren’t taking their health seriously”? I look at myself and I see that I feel more comfortable being sick, suffer pain than go to a doctor. This is because my brain tells me “this is something common, this will stop one day, think of all that wasted time, it will cost a lot, they can’t help anyway” instead of fixing situation I'm in.
Today my back was injured while playing volleyball. I was laying on my back at home in deep pain and wishing it would stop. Then, I started coughing. It made my back pain even worse, like needles crossing me with every cough. Then I realised I was coughing for 2 years already. This is not something new, it just wasn’t in the circle of something easily achievable.
I was so angry on this whole situation that my brain just wanted to cut it all now. Do something! And I did. Today I registered to check my back, my knees and elbows that were in pain from playing 5 times a week. And my coughing. And wrote this post that I was doubting about.
It happens often that our minds' strongest intuitions are wrong, so we will follow an idea and realise after that it didn't have as much impact as we thought it would. These bias are very common but once you know they exist, you can avoid them