The problems of 2018 and the solutions of 2019

Ziga Luksa
Jul 6, 2019 · 5 min read

It’s been a while since you last heard from us, and that was not right. Whether you are an awaiting fan or a contributor, we understand your frustrations. We would like to apologize for the lack of communication in the last couple of months. The truth is that the community is ALWAYS right and we really do appreciate your questions, feedback, and comments.
A lot has happened since… Roller coaster rides on a daily basis. But there is a silver lining at the end, so stay with me through this honest post.

After a deep low, Futourist is alive and kicking stronger than ever before.

The winter

It’s a privilege for an ICO to be able to fly so low under the radar. It took a lot of pressure off the team and enabled us to focus on real problems. And if you were in any way involved in crypto last winter, you probably know there were problems. With prices declining from the start of 2018, it was really hard for a lot of small-scale ICOs of 2018. It is no secret that from the start of the Futourist ICO, to the end of that same year, currencies we accepted in the ICO dropped by ~85% in value. Many of those who scaled too fast are gone today.

The development

The development of the Futourist platform started in Q2 of last year and really got to speed in Q3. Trying not to scale too fast, but still, deliver the MVP product to the market fast, proved to be a real challenge. The development team was only 3-man strong at the beginning and 5 at the end of 2018. The complex nature of our platform (video streaming, multiple front-ends, mobile apps, web, blockchain,…) forced us to pick our priorities. To optimize the development costs and speed, we decided to go completely “serverless” with Firebase and Cloudinary on the back-end side. On the front-end, we decided to go with ReactJS for the web and React Native for our mobile apps. The programming language of choice was JavaScript, across all those technologies. And that was a great idea since the team at the time were JavaScript web developers. Except for one thing. React Native really isn’t just JS.

We delivered on the backend and a limited version of most of our web front-ends. The backend set up, admin dashboard running, web app released in beta, business dashboard in testing. But things got really messy with our mobile app, arguably the most important one. React Native proved to be the wrong choice for our team. With no native developers in the team and not many resources to be spent, we were in a constant battle with buggy 3rd party provided or open-source code. In the end, our conclusion is that React Native demands native developers for any medium- to the high-complexity app. This one we had to scratch off and throw away entirely.

The New Year

The situation for the New Year was more than comfortable for Futourist. With ETH reaching absurdly low levels, it became obvious that our runway got so short that we might not even be able to take off.

There is one more thing to know here. Due to the nature of the subject, this is going to be a short paragraph, but to understand the situation further, you need to know that a terrible family tragedy struck in our team before the end of last year. Our CTO was away for months after that, spending most of his time in the hospital. It was up to the rest of the team to handle things, restructure and move on, which took extra time. Something major had to be done at that point if we were to fulfill our promises.

The Pivot

The decision, in the end, was not hard. In a matter of days, we pivoted from a product-oriented company to a full-scale digital agency. We set the remaining ICO funds on the side and started earning our own money.

In Q1 and Q2 of 2019, we made a 6-digit number, which was enough to sustain the team over this period, without digging into investments. We also decided to part ways with certain team members, which were not the right fit for the company. We optimized our expenses and reduced our burn rate significantly. The development team itself has made significant know-how progress. We are actively looking for other means of financing, and have made progress there as well (another blog about this coming soon).

We feel the team is stronger than ever. It had some serious ups and downs, but right now we are working as hard as possible and the determination to deliver is at its peak. It hurts us deeply when Futourist is marked with words like “scam”. We are far more than that and we’ll do everything to prove that.

The restart of Futourist

The process of restarting the development of Futourist has now begun! Plans are being made on how to tackle the mobile app problem, as well as on how to progress with web front-ends. Please understand that things take time. We are still involved in the digital agency space, which is good, we have an additional stream of revenue. There is still some cleanup to do after this 6-month fallout and the developers who are not here anymore. But as said before, the team is strong and we will do everything to deliver. If no more unpleasant surprises come along the way, and crypto markets hold on, you should be seeing more deliveries from us in the autumn.

The strong supporters

We are extremely happy to have received such strong support from the most important travel institution in Slovenia — Slovenian Tourist Organisation. It all started last year when our platform was released in beta, and to this date, we are building a strong relationship with them, developing a pilot project we have talked about at WTM in London, last year. We are also happy that the umbrella organization for all EU travel organizations, the European Travel Commission, is supporting us. But most importantly, we would like to thank each and every member of our community.

The Futourist is, after all, a community based project, and we couldn’t have done it without your support!


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