From 0 to 0.0.1

How we’ve built a startup from a doomed product.

Gabriel Szanto
Jan 2, 2017 · 6 min read

Chapter 1: Qwote

The journey starts back end of 2014 when my co-founder and I were working on a side project called Qwote.

Chapter 2: The Fame

The product organically gained some traction and got featured in blogs and newsletters, including Netted by the Webbys and Product Hunt 😽.

We had a lot of positive feedbacks, users coming from around the world and a ton of new cool features to implement…

We saw an opportunity and decided to leave our daily jobs to start working on Qwote fulltime.
My co-founder, Tierry, was a frontend engineer at Fifty-Five, a data an analytics company.
And I was working as a business manager at Apple.

Chapter 3: Back to reality

Engagement and retention metrics didn’t take off, user signups were declining…

When you’re targeting everyone, you basically target no one.

We knew that if our product didn’t solve a real pain for one of our audiences, adding new features wouldn’t fix it. 💩

Chapter 4: The Backup Plan

We decided to play our own version of the MVP playbook and laid down a strategy to lure users and find out our target audience:

1. We segmented our audience into 13 different categories;

Chapter 5: The Results

Luckily for us, the results were pretty clear.

Developers were the most interested in our product.

They converted with:

  • Conversion rate from the landing page (i.e they clicked on Pricing and Plan): 32% versus 10% on average for all other audiences;
  • Conversion rate from the pricing page (i.e free or paid plan): 37%
  • Even 3 of them clicked on a Paid Plan — without seeing anything from the product…

Chapter 6: The Pivot

We had identified an audience interested in our service. We now had to sit down and think a lot about the main problems developers had to face when building up their personal library of content (code, frameworks, docs, etc.).

  1. Choosing the right resource can be daunting and is (very) time consuming;
  2. Saving useful resources is difficult because bookmarking tools are not designed for developers.

2,000 developers signed up in less than 3 weeks

Double check:

To make sure we were still in the right direction, we implemented a feedback loop and asked 3 questions to each new user via email:

It was now time to actually build the product…

Chapter 7: SlugBay

In September 2016 (9 months later), we launched a first version of SlugBay in private beta.


SlugBay is a platform for developers to find and share…

Gabriel Szanto

Written by

Founder La French Touch Podcast | Product Freelance | Previously at Apple, Google, more.



SlugBay is a platform for developers to find and share resources.

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