Mission Chai

First New Year Plan. 3rd Jan, 2021

A cold, drizzly Sunday morning in Cambridge. 8am.

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This morning, we sliced up the coming year into quarters containing goals & plans; this involved prototyping, deciding who to speak to and when, setting quantitative goals and "quit conditions".

Prototyping

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Taking to the whiteboard room, with sketched plans in hand, we set to work. Green pen? Out of ink. Blue pen? Out of ink. Red pen? Yeah, this one works (barely).

Looking at the sketches we had prepared for potential products, we classified these into species, genus and family. "WhatsApp meets Twitter, or StackOverflow meets Omegle, maybe Google meets Snapchat."

The product we settled with looks very much like a refinement/a new perspective on the product we built last quarter. We decided to take what we have and make it as engaging as possible, perhaps changing the UI in novel ways to achieve this goal.

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Goal setting

I've never made an app before, I've never started a business before - more or less everything in the plan will involve learning something new and doing things for the first time. Which is awesome and incredibly exciting for me! But it means I ought to ask a "believable expert" for advice - speaking to someone who knows what they're doing could make all the difference between failing & succeeding. Therefore, a big part of our plan involved deciding who to speak to and when. Are these people even going to be willing to speak to me? I'm gonna find out!

Another exciting part of our plan was setting "quit conditions". We decided that, for the end of each quarter, if metrics for the app were below x then we would need to seriously reconsider our approach.

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So here are our crazy goals. As my Dad loves to say:

We’re all in the gutter, but some of us are looking at the stars - Oscar Wilde

Q1

  • An amazing story / mission

  • Feb+March: Hire 3 people easily - by sharing our mission (20% should love it)

  • Find 3 Believable experts who have built products and talk to them for feedback

  • Have a decent product

  • 1k daily users

- Quit conditions (March 28th)

  • BOTH MUST BE TRUE - Bias to quit.

  • PRODUCT: If we have 200 or less people who logged into the product yesterday (27th) and used it, and it wasn't their first time. Even if it's 199, it's still not good, it should be 1000! Quit.

  • PEOPLE: If we have 2 or less talented people attached (sum(experts+coders) >= 3 who Will would cry if they were 'fired')

Q2

  • An amazing product

  • 10k daily users

  • A scalable organisation

  • Have 5 outside devs (hire 3, fire 1, this Q,)

  • Have 5 experts we can talk to (3 from Q1 + 2 more)

- Quit condition (June 27th)

  • BOTH MUST BE TRUE - Bias to quit.

  • PRODUCT: If we have 5k or less people who logged into the product yesterday (26th) and used it, and it wasn't their first time. Even if it's 4999, it's still not good, it should be 10,000! Quit.

  • PEOPLE: If we have 2 or less talented people attached (sum(experts+coders) >= 6 who Will would cry if they were 'fired')

    Q3

  • 100k daily users

Q4

  • 1MM daily users

  • Raise (20million at 100MM valuation) from VC in China+Silly Valley (10MM each).

  • If our valuation is less than 50 million William will quit 6-12 months after.

The Logic Behind Our Goals

You might be thinking that those goals are insane, given that we don’t yet have proven product-market fit. Q4 in particular may sound brutal. But we believe that a huge success will be an overnight success, or it will never be one at all. Instagram gained 25,000 users on their first day, and hit 1 million users in 3 months.

In the case that we don’t reach these goals, there’s always the opportunity to pivot, learn and rethink things.

Why does Q2 involve firing 1 person? To get the right people, it helps to iterate. Will is a hiring whizz, so I’ll happily trust him on these things.

Concluding Remarks

This year is hopefully going to be difficult, exciting and an opportunity to learn and grow! And above all I hope we can create something awesome which makes the world a better place.


9 months ago

Christie-Carol Beauchamp