Issue #7: A new product is (almost) ready for launch! 🚀

EchoWords demo, thoughts on NextCommit's future, and new insights about the CS space

Okay, I’m not going to postpone once again what I’ve been working on in the last few days 😂.

This week has been super productive! 🚀 

Unfortunately, I need to admit that it’s also because I skipped both training and physiotherapy as I still have stitches on my back, so that was many hours gained. 😅 But I’m itching to train again.

EchoWords is almost ready!

If an image is worth a thousand words, let alone a video! Here’s a demo of EchoWords! ✨ 

When I’m writing this I haven’t recorded the demo yet, so I may end up repeating something 🤣.

Why I built it?

The simple answer is that I needed it myself. 😬 

I spent quite some time thinking and writing this newsletter. One of the reasons that led me to write is that I think I could share some valuable insights or even just thoughts during this solopreneurship transition journey.

The problem is that repurposing the newsletter content to X or LinkedIn takes some time, and I often prefer to allocate my time differently. Indeed, I probably repurposed some of my content on LinkedIn just once. 😅 

Hence, I wanted to streamline the process. ✨ 

Who is the ICP?

Ok, shame on me, I don’t have this fully clear in my head yet. 🤦 

It’s probably fine since it’s just an MVP, I’ll then start shaping it better once real users start using it (hopefully someone will 😅). For now, I expect anyone writing long-form content on whatever platform to have the need or the desire to repurpose it on social media.

Yeah, I know, right now it supports only Beehiiv as source and X as target, but the only reason why I started with those is for dogfooding. 🐕️ 

Starting to talk about EchoWords here and there should first help understand whether someone else other than me faces this problem, and also which platforms should be prioritized to increase the total addressable market.

So far I just shared a recording within my network and waiting for some responses. 🤞 

What are the expectations?

You never get disappointed if you start with low expectations. 🤣 I’m not going to say that this will disrupt the industry, and become a unicorn. 🦄 

As I mentioned already, I started this also to solve a problem of mine. If nobody will end up using it, I will anyway. 😄 

In the end, I spent only 30 hours of work (yeah I do track how I spend my time 😛), so worst case scenario I “wasted” only a full-time week of work. On the other hand, I was able to validate that my own boilerplate helps a lot in building new products fast. It would have taken me ages to get to the same state otherwise.

“Wait, but X API cost is mindblowing!”

You’re damn right! 😭 

X has an API with these 4 tiers:

X API pricing plans

The pricing is just crazy. I don’t know if there are other services out there that go from a $100/month plan to a $5k/month one. 😅 It’s even crazier if we think that AFAIR the first pricing change didn’t have the $5k/month plan, but only a $42k/month plan. That unfortunately killed many indie makers. The pricing changed to $5k/month which could have been bearable for some businesses, but it was already too late as many had already shut down or sold their products.

For EchoWords I’m interested mostly in posting messages. The $100/month plan has 50k posts a month limit. Let’s assume each user has a weekly newsletter and wants to repurpose the content with a thread every weekday, for a total of about 22/23 threads. Let’s assume each thread is around 6 posts, this means that each user would post around 140 posts a month. As a consequence, I have a cap of around 50k / 140 ~ 360 users before being forced to bump to the $5k/month tier.

Said so, if I put a price point of $14/month for 360 users, once I bump the X API plan I would basically go back to having 0 margins. 😂 

The good thing is that:

  • I don’t need to overthink it too much right now, I don’t even know if this will get 20 customers, let alone 360 😅 

  • the number of posts/threads that I used in the calculations is something that I’d consider a “high” usage, and higher plans are not usually priced at $14/month

  • X is not the only platform to post to, so I might be able to generate revenue for example by offering plans for LinkedIn only example

  • etc.

As I said, I think it’s good to be aware of it but to not stress it too much now.

Next Steps

For sure I'd need to implement the scheduling feature before doing a proper launch. Right now, the extraction of the topics and the generation of the threads are done, but I’d consider the scheduling as part of the MLP (Minimum Lovable Product).

I’d also need to triple-check the quality of the repurposed content:

  • does it always respect the original tone?

  • does the thread flow smoothly or each message feel decoupled?

  • etc.

This doesn’t mean I cannot soft-launch it already before having that done! 🚀 Writing about it here is already part of the soft launch, then I’d post it on X, and LinkedIn, and will look for some Reddit threads where this could fit.

I’d like to have first a phase with 10 beta users using the platform for free. This should help me better understand if I’m on top of something and what the path post-MVP should look like. On top of that, I could still use the free X API plan rather than paying already $100/month. 🤣 

Discovery calls for BeaconCX, I mean, chats

If you read my past issues, you might be wondering “Ok, and what about BeaconCX?“ 🤔 

This week I spent some time on Reddit in the r/CustomerSuccess community. This is the thread that I posted: https://www.reddit.com/r/CustomerSuccess/comments/1d5hy9h/im_surprised_by_the_huge_amount_of_posts_and/

Screen from Reddit r/CustomerSuccess post

The good thing is that it got some good attention, and a lot of CS people started sharing what are their main pains! 🤯 

The bad thing is that it seems clear that the biggest issue seems to be that CS as a function is usually not properly or correctly valued within a company. Many complained about bad leadership, fuzzy roles, lack of recognition, etc. It seems that in many companies the executive team is not able to see the value that CS brings. Some highlights I remember were related to the fact that if there’s an upsell, is always thanks to Sales, not CS. If there’s a renewal, same story. This leads to many people being frustrated.

Solving this problem is not trivial. Probably executives don’t even know that they have this visibility problem. In the hypothetical scenario of having a product that would provide executives the visibility of the value of CS, both the user and the buyer would be the executive team itself. Selling someone a solution to a problem they don’t know having, well… 😅 

It would make selling the product a big pain. This reminds me a bit of Athenian where sometimes we needed to educate the buyer about engineering metrics and what problem they solve before being able to sell them a product built around those metrics.

So probably the best would be to abandon the idea of entering the CS space? 🤔 

Thoughts on the future of NextCommit

I put aside NextCommit in the last weeks because I wanted to explore other paths due to the low conversion rate and other reasons I mentioned already in past issues.

The job board space is quite crowded, and it’s not easy to stand out. On top of that, I recently noticed that StackOverflow jobs is back!

Screen for upcoming StackOverflow Jobs

Back in the day, it was my favorite job board hands down. It’s in the same niche of NextCommit (NextCommit is remote-only though) so if things were hard before, now it’s even harder 😅.

This made me think even more about what should I do with it. I’m not going to shut it down anytime soon, I’m still curious to see if organic traffic will increase in the next months after the changes I did. However, I strongly think that the big value of NextCommit comes from the underlying scraper. Maybe I could move the business towards being just a data provider and increase the scope of what is being scraped? 🤔 

I need to think about it.

But in the meantime, the first payout made it through my bank account! 🥳 

Stripe receipt

Revolut transaction statement

Yeah, peanuts. 🥜 

But let’s celebrate small wins! 🥳 

What first? Building the MVP or talking to customers?

Yesterday I just tweeted about launching soon a new product.

You can check the thread yourself, but one of the replies was:

Do you build an MVP before interviewing potential customers?

This is what I answered:

Quoting it here:

Great question! There's no silver bullet approach. If having an MVP takes one/two weeks, I think it's just easier/faster to ship it and verify if it starts getting traction and interest and start talking with potential customers once you have already something to talk about.

If you don't know exactly what is the problem you need to tackle, let alone having the solution. In those cases of course there's no other way than talking to potential customers.

I'm personally using both approaches:

- I wanted to enter the Customer Success space, what I didn't know exactly what were the biggest pains so I talked with both people in my network and started discussing in Reddit with CS people.

- For the product I'm building right now, it's a problem that solves my own pain and I'd have an MLP in less than 2 weeks. This means that worst case scenario I'd have solved my own itch which is not that bad for less than 2 weeks of work. Once launched I'd also open it for few beta testers to get feedback.

- For another product NextCommit I just shipped it because I know that it was solving a problem, that is finding remote tech work. The problem is real, but the business model is another issue.

I’m curious to know if you think differently! ✍️ 

Conclusion

Launching a new product is always exciting! 🤩 

The goal for next week is to have the scheduler in place and have the first feedback from real users. 🤞 

The week after I’ll launch on PH and see what happens. But before that, I’d also need to build a landing page first. 😛 

I hope enjoyed this week’s updates! 👋 

If you’re interested in following my journey, make sure to subscribe or follow me on X/Twitter and LinkedIn!

Appendix

Overview of current status

Here are some snapshots of different stats.

NextCommit

Users

In the last 7 days, I got:

  • +11 signups, now at 182 (+6.4%)

  • 23 active users (sum of daily active users, not weekly unique active users) (it was 16, +44%)

Clerk Summary Stats

Clerk Sign-Ups - Last 7 days

Clerk Active Users - Last 7 days

Stripe

Stripe Gross volume - All time

Plausible Analytics

Analytics for the landing - Last 7 days

Analytics for the app - Last 7 days

Google Search Console

Personal branding

X

X Premium analytics

Beehiiv newsletter

Beehiiv Analytics

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