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?