Hello world…again

Well we did it. We hit 10,000 users in 10 weeks in Boston and it feels great. Before we begin to describe the purpose of this blog a quick recap of the past two years and how we have gotten here is important.

Attempt 1)

Pivoting from Gopinion to Spots.

We originally started our company as a real-time customer feedback platform. The premise was users would submit on location feedback and would receive a coupon/reward to the business for doing so. We focused all of our efforts in the Harvard square area and signed on +3,000 users and over +100 businesses. Although the product received positive reviews the main issue was that users wanted to use the platform to directly share and receive real-time business information with their friends. We used the initial traction and user feedback to raise a small angel round and pivoted the company to Spots.

A wireframe for our first product.

Fugly as hell.

Attempt 2)

Spots v2…predicting/crowdsourcing everything but with no crowd.

When we pivoted the company to a real-time business search engine we looked at Waze for how we would get our data. Spots v1 was built around simplicity. It only displayed info oncrowds, wait-times and lines. All of the information was either predicted by our predictive back end algorithm or was crowdsourced by users. It was pretty clear early on that this was not resonating with users and our retention was low. Was this an issue of vision or execution? We found out it was a little bit of both. A) Vision- although one of the main intrigues and the uniqueness of our product was the ability to see occupancy levels and wait-times it was not enough to carry the daily value of the product. B) Execution- Although Spots intends to be a crowdsourced community similar to Waze it needed a tool to prime the value pump for our first users. By implementing the live request system (a 24/7 concierge that contacts businesses and gathers wait-times, lines and availability) we were able to provide the complete real-time search experience from day 1.

Getting closer but still not exactly ground breaking.

Crowdsourcing with no crowd isn’t incredibly effective.

Attempt 3)

Spots v2…experiential search is working.

After our first two iterations we have found that Spots demands to be more than just a wait-time widget. Through countless user interviews and product testing we are discovering what our users are looking for is an experiential search platform. We will go into what this means in a future post. Are we there yet? Absolutely not. But we’re starting to get some people interested which is incredibly exciting. You can check it out here.


Now we’re talking…

Now about this blog.

We want to basically show you what is happening behind the scenes. The title “10k to 10m” is to depict the story we are hoping to tell as we chug along to a product that has 10,000,000 million users. We want to show a behind the scenes look to our decision making process and the challenges we face in trying to build a real-time network. Entries will include but not be limited to the following:

  1. The thought that goes into our creative process. This includes product and content decisions.
  2. Thoughts from team members.
  3. Our recommendations for things to do in Boston (and hopefully around the world someday).

Thank you for joining us on this journey. If you have any feedback or questions please email our team at joey@spotsapp.us.

Happy Spotting,