Chapter 13 — Chattodo — A social network of action. An essay for the investor.
When I failed with $100,000 in building a social network with a desire to beat Facebook in 2009, the next challenge I wanted to take up was to build a system that produces better leaders in the world. Why? I wanted to work on the greatest problem in the world — too many educated leaders, but too few courageous result-oriented leaders. I am on a mission to free the world through our social network of action — Chattodo.
This documentary is enough to tell you why building Chattodo is important to me.
A remote team of 10 people uses on average 10 apps daily for research, communication and task management.e.g. Slack, Trello, Evernote, Googel docs, google caledar, emails, Wunderlist, Whasapp etc. According to our observation, each person of that team loses 30 minutes per day in switching from one app to another, and another 30 mins in tracking todos mentioned in chats i.e. 1 hour per day switching from one app to another which represents 10 hours per team per day. That is why we are building Chattodo.
Humans have always been better at inventing tools than using them wisely. In the 1950s, artificial…
I don’t want such a world.
Status of my app:
We have our prototype on Google play store. Start using it now! Now we need money to get to the launch ready version.
The app has not been publically launched and hence, has traction in only double figures. Therefore, there has been no need for us yet to have dabbled in cost or revenue projections. We don’t need to worry about revenue for what I am proposing needs to be attempted by India, anyway.
I bring to YOU our need for $200,000 to build a launch worthy productivity tool as a chat first application for android as our first step towards this vision. At modest estimates, I envision 1 million users in one year with just that much money.
Get some sense of the problem.
Get a sense of the problem with advertising. Would you like it if a human was doing this? Don’t think the implications of AI is any different:
Former Facebook executive Chamath Palihapitiya, recently expressed to an audience at Stanford University his regret and guilt for having contributed to creating the social network, saying it was “ripping society apart”, and even recommending that people stop using it. Palihapitiya’s comments last month were made a day after Facebook’s founding president, Sean Parker, criticized the way that the company “exploit[s] a vulnerability in human psychology” by creating a “social-validation feedback loop” during an interview at an Axios event.
An intelligent — Productivity app + Note making app + Bookmarking app + Chatting app. All 4 in one with one unified design.
If you are interested in joining our team write to me at firstname.lastname@example.org
The larger vision as demonstrated in the next 2 videos is for 2025.
Behold, here is my expression about our competition.
Team build — The way the team is represented by/in a company should get democratized now
While building Preseed I encountered a problem of listing in and listing out of my team members. More so, as we are an organisation that runs a very liberal culture of hiring and firing. Here people come at will and leave at will and we don’t batt an eyelid. We sort of really enjoy going with the flow of both entry and exit. To make this transition of an employee entry into my company and exit from my company smooth and botheration free, I want to give the control of all an employees representation to the employee himself.
In essence what I am saying is that the team admin only need to approve to add an employee into the team, where the employee himself writes his own job description, adds his own social icons, uploads his id docs, gets access to all related HR documents, understand his roles, performance indicators, compensations, rewards, get connected to the team and start getting introduced to whoever he needs to work with within the team. This will be a place for all employee matters of a company. This feature is a big feature of our product.
So this will extend in the future to be a dashboard for the HR department(which with the help of this tool will only become thinner) and the employees of a company, for large companies.
But for now, we will just do it’s MVP and look to build some traction for it, as indicated on it’s current web page.
Social Feeds and personality in greater detail for this is what will translate our chat app into a social network of action:
Notice the (i) — Project: Web Id
This time let your web id be a pin code.
I hate the way people have to exchange their contact co ordinates day to day with different people.
If I exchange a number, an email or a twitter handle with a person, or a unique Pin Code he should get an access to all my public identity systems; but that doesn’t happen yet. Instead there are longer and uglier ways of finding people on our phone contact books and even more complicated ways of finding them on social web.
Worst is that if I have to save someone’s number or twitter handle or email, I have to add their name first and then type out their related URL. Then one day I may need their facebook, quora or soundcloud id, then, I will have to reach them again to get it. Worse, even though at my end I have recorded their details, meaning I have put in that effort into recording details on my contact app for this person, yet this person will have to repeat the process of writing my name in his contact book, my phone number, my email etc. IT IS ALL TOO AGE OLD.
Add to contactcards through a pin, number, email or twitter, or any other product listed there.
-Cards with carousal exerience.
-The experience of the whole product is this card. There is nothing more than 1 card that will meet the eye of the user at any given time.
We mean it, it is the simplest and more scalable solution to what bump and evernote hello attempted to do.
-Embedded into the default contact apps of ones phones.
To one day have this product be a ‘protocol’ for identity of millions of people on this new age social web.
We will together hustle enough to make this a reality.
A passing thought
The way I envision this product it could be a great chat app of sorts too. Anyway let this not distract the key and only purpose of this product i.e. to be a contact app for the new age, the mobile web age.
HIRING AND MONETISATION PER TASK
Question: What differentiates our product in the market? What is our competitive advantage? Or will be moving forward?
Answer: The clear strength of this product is in it’s simplicity and novelty, hard to find now a days, in productivity tools. Most of them are rip offs of each other just designed differently. We are fundamentally different and that makes it very worthy of attention for acquisition from extra ordinary companies. Most of the competitive todo listing apps work on input basis, as in you have to physically type the todo up then submit it to save a task. It breaks the flow of communication. In our case, the flow of discussion is not broken and yet one is able to record that task at that very instance.
Chat apps including Slack, assumes that communication between 2 participants or more can keep moving forward as is, unless ofcourse the user wants to drown himself or herself in the sea of features and integrations on Slack; and for those words that look like clear tasks, the participants will either remember those, or participants will make notes of those where ever they want, by retyping those. Worse still, they assume, it is okay to make them scroll up to find what all is their task. Is that the result of the empathy they have for teams communicating? Unless and until the experience is not exactly like how I am suggesting through the image below, Slack is not aiding its simplest users best. What about Whatsapp? Lets not even start there.
Slack is the right latter stage investor for Todoed.
I once even thought of writing to Mr. Butterfield,
I am building a product that can eat into your market share over the course of the next 5 years. I assure you. To what portion? The same portion as of the market share proportionate to that portion of over all communication on Slack, which is one on one communication. However, the good news is, we are making this product hoping that you will keep a big piece of it. (We think if we ever were to be acquired, the acquirer would be you, Slack would acquire us. Unless we beat you at what you are doing. Although that is not the aim, if anything, the aim is to aid you :).
I don’t know what is the size of it. I just know I am one such user from that exact market portion, that portion, in which chat exchange is attributed to one on one communication. I communicate a lot like that. I assume there must be a lot of users of Slack communicating like that. You must know the numbers. Since, you are Slack. The product used by everyone from my target market. However, my target market is not only limited to the users of Slack. Because users of Slack are the mature productive audience. My product will help onboard them, when they are not so mature.
That is exactly why I write to you. I have a crisp vision. I will take 3 years to execute it without you. I will take less than 1 year to execute it with you as the sole investor(because I don’t want anyone other than you). I have laid a part of that vision already. I can demo it to you. It’s right here — www.chattodo.co
Chattodo is to Slack, what Twitter is to Facebook. Fundamentally different.
Touch a message, and that message could be moved to a todo list for which currently other apps are integrated with Slack, whether with Zapier, or directly.
Btw, here is why this chat product that I am proposing is necessary -
1. Slack is a winner. Period. It is a winner of the world of group communication for productive people. Very meaningful for companies. Currently even startups of 3 humans are using Slack. For lack of better options of products that just facilitate their communication among these 3. No need for having so many buttons and options when there are just 3 people to talk to. To such men and women, our product will be more meaningful, not only because it does this least very crisply, it also makes your conversations more actionable, because it does the least, it has room for doing something new to the chat experience of those who in swift moments of thoughts want to communicate one on one, while being actionable and accountable. Our chat app, can induce these 3 to be more accountable for tasks that were discussed in such chats.
2. Slack assumes that we, productive people with a team, just want to communicate with, each other, in groups — There are 3 problems here A). Each other — No, we communicate with our self too. Our product, is a todo listing / note making tool. This is how a conversation with self happens. B). In groups — No, sometimes all we want is to communicate with one person out of the 10 I communicate with for work. I don’t need no group/channel chat interfacing in such moments. C). Before I communicate with others, there are times when I communicate with my self — and then I, address that thought which I just typed on the text edit box of Todoed to the person I want to communicate to. Pay attention to this point please. It is deep. To do this currently I have to open the chat box for that person, and then re produce that thought, to type to his chat box. With the Chat product I am proposing there is tremendous empathy for this effort of opening the chat box for such a thought. In our chat app, you put your thought first, and address it right there to the concerned person. You don’t address the person first before putting in the thought. If you have to open the chat screen of that person or any chat screen, then you are adressing the person first, even before actually baking the thought you have. No opening of his chat box hence, just one text edit box is enough. So these fellows can further such delegated tasks as a chats as well, in the chat screen, and this message that you sent, will show up as a todo item right there too as well as in his chat window with you. And wonderfully, exactly in the same space where you sent a message to your co worker, which btw, magically shows up in his todo list, you could send a message to yourself, your thought, to yourself, which also magically shows up in your todo list.
Did I say todo list?
Above, I indicated, that since this chat app will do the least, (imagine facebook for 10 people kind of chatting, just stripped down of casual features and emoticons), hence, it has room for doing more. Something fundamentally new, not only helping in facilitating communication, but also with one tap, absolutely one tap, make that communication, actionable.
This is why this chat app, designed for instant one on one styled conversations* only, will make people more productive, then any other chat product in the world.
Because it has a way of making your chats more productive even more seamlessly than you could do it with Slack integrated with Wunderlist.
Chattodo is what will make this possible -
Chattodo chatting will move that chat message to a todo list, with just one single tap — on that chat message.
This act of making things typed, reach a todo list, that seamlessly, is exactly why we are making this chat app.
Lets see how it goes.
However, if Slack is not interested in Todoed, then our next company to go to will be Yammer. Todoed can be a tool that can revive Yammer or Upwork.
Not only that, Chattodo is a product that can kill Evernote, for being a much better tool for note making. To say the least. It will go all the way to being more useful for one on one productivity communication/chat. The space google to facebook, all are eyeing to nail.
I do see the possibility for Chattodo to emerge as an eventual winner in productivity market inclusive of notes, todo listing and chats. I am convinced we may have a better vision than the biggies, we may not have the technology for the AI part, just yet. They will be better at that. But only till we get to that. We are not wiling to underestimate ourselves.
Also, we will help make this transition happen too:
The 5Ps of the Crowd Economy - Crowdsourcing Week
Is your organization ready for the crowd economy? The crowd economy is a dynamic ecosystem of productive people who…
Not only that, I have a vague vision for a smart phone case/a voice recording device for productivity too. Even a semi smart watch. Not a smart watch like apple watch. By that standard, a less than a quarter smart watch. But that minimal watch which only serves the purpose of Todeod without really being smart. May be a small ring with a voice recorder to have you speak your mind into.
But this all is a figment of imagination, what is real is the current MVP, and how that matures to serve best what it is already doing as of today. That is more important than the figments of rest of my imagination about the most effective productivity eco system.
I repeat — I will be happy if Chattodo for now, just does one thing right — That is, it really turns any chat into a task with just one touch, through its chrome extension. This one thing, with perfect user experience and notification/delegation and reminder system will make even it’s MVP mighty useful.
Chattodo needs money.
Be my guide in building the next generation Facebook in the next 5 years,
Why the standard question of traction may not be the most appropriate question for a moonshot innovation in its nascent stage when founders are seeking support from investors to continue their R&D towards launch?
For now, let's turn the lens on another kind of traction- which we have already created- meaningful moments and activities noticed by users, media and the tech community.
I often wonder if my life would be the same inspired life if I was chasing traction instead of a chasing a world changing vision which did not fit the bill for the rule of — build MVP — followed by traction, before I could raise money. Please tell me how I would then change the world for the better?
Start-up land is littered with failure.
Every hack on smart investing will preach that before approaching an investor you must have dragged your feet over the thorns littered over that holiest of grails- TRACTION. For after all what good is a business that does not yield profits? Yet, if that critical question on TRACTION is duly asked and answered before any investment, why the high rates of failure and a subsequent celebration of failure as the norm in start-up land?
Could it be that the holy grail itself is flawed in a period where most of our problems have been solved or are perceived to have been solved to an acceptable degree beyond which improvements are not possible in a human, hence imperfect world?
I say YES.
Most start-ups offer incremental changes, but what if you had a moon- shot innovation for a problem the world has ceased to consider as one. Or a problem considered solved?
Read step 4 on www.preseed.in.
Once again — Why the standard question of projections/metric may not be relevant to our scheme of things at this stage?
We have developed the prototype, not the launch version of the app. Why? Like we said above — just imagine, will you use a chatting app in 2017 which looks and feels worse than Whatsapp, Slack, Snapchat or Fb messenger? We won’t. So for us to make the presence of our app felt, we must spend at least 100 thousand dollars to actually build a finger licking beautiful product to launch it with the optimism that it will eat up some of the market share of communication away from Whatsapp, FB messenger and Slack. This implies that every waking hour of ours must go into the broad understanding of the market, vision and team camaraderie first; then the development of the app, then the launch of the app, and then following of metrics and somewhere along the way, dabbling in projections will happen.
What is our valuation, in case you seek to invest in us?
$1 million, by Berkus method of valuation. Follow this link to know why. Non-negotiable, for if you are investing in us you feel there is a potential of billions of dollars in value creation. $1 million today is 1/1000th of that value creation potential.
You may request the demo by writing to email@example.com. We will send to you the demo video first. If that seems reasonable and if you still wish to test the prototype, we will have to set it up for you. Currently because of being cash strapped for resources we have a prototype which can be used by just two people and is being used by one of my co-founders and me. We will have to remove our own user account to enable you and your fellow tester to test it.
Investment Required from you, $100,000 for 5% equity:
Milestones lead investment plan —
Stages of investment required :
a) Rs. 30 Lakhs required to a closed alpha launch. Expected number of active users after Alpha launch — 1000 in 3 months. At this stage our focus will be to build a feedback measuring loop environment with these 1000 users rather than growing further.
b) When achieved timely, another Rs. 30 lakhs will be required further for global internet marketing led by a Product Hunt launch in San Francisco towards 20,000+ active users from there in 6 months. (20,000+ active users for a communication product earned from Product hunt in 9 months will indicate an extraordinary future for such a tool, for it indicates that these influential users chose our product Chattodo over and above Whatsapp and Slack)
C) At the stage (b) our value for next round of investment will be 10 million dollars in less than 1 year.
2. Return — The investors s can choose to exit at this point by selling all their 5% equity stocks of our company netting in 1 million dollars, or they can sit back and watch us grown through the following rounds of investment by the best investors in the world over 3 years to get to a billion dollars in value. This is how historically successful communication products have grown. We will follow that path of growth too, for our product vision is no less than theirs. Investor value is expected to grow at least 10 times in one year.
Note -: We are making a product that many enterprise tech companies will pay millions of dollars to acquire within one year. However, our desire is to lead it all the way to an IPO achieving billions of dollars in valuations.
Yes, this is a dream, but a very well envisioned dream.
At this stage we can only speculate optimistically that, the on the ground team and the vision we have is capable of a value creation beyond this number. The only assurance here is our grit and our lives investment in it. If we fail to succeed in this, I lose 10 years of my research, observation and product, and they lose over Rs. 50 lakhs of investment across a 6 months period. No startup at this stage comes with an assurance. They come with mind, sweat and hope, that one day, they will be counted among the greatest companies in the world.
In addition to the valuable vision, team and skills that I bring to the investor, I also offer the assurance of not being a first-time entrepreneur.
Open this link to read further on my note about — Chattodo for schools?