Sharing Success

An experiment in celebrating our best work

A few months ago, John, Alex and I had a surprising realization:

We’ve done a lot of awesome work that most people — even in our own networks — don’t know about.

This struck us as weird.

We’d built, achieved and learned a bunch of (we think) cool stuff. We could remember celebrating at least some of that stuff with high-fives or drinks with co-workers. And we’d been fairly active on public social media like Twitter and LinkedIn.

But we hadn’t put much time or effort into promoting the work we’re most proud of. As a result, we’d unintentionally concealed our accomplishments from people that could have given us a friendly shout out, chimed in with timely feedback, or even tapped us to help solve similar problems elsewhere.

So why hadn’t we spoken up? Once we asked ourselves the question, these culprits came to mind:

  • Our resumes (even the online ones) were horribly out-of-date. Makes sense: Who likes working on their resume? And does anyone actually read it?
  • We don’t blog regularly. Our bad: We know that writing openly has benefits. But meaningful blogging is time intensive. We bet we’re not the only ones who can’t decide what’s worthy of the effort, or prolific enough to write about it all.
  • We don’t feel comfortable bragging via social media. We all know that guy. We don’t want to be that guy.

And then we wondered: How many others have built, achieved and learned cool stuff that they’ve similarly and unknowingly kept secret?

So we did what any self-respecting product people would do…

Run a few tests on unsuspecting friends & colleagues ☺

Test #1: Will people respond when tagged in an “email celebration” of a project we actually collaborated on?

Results: 75% open, 80 % click-thru rate.

Solid start! Right away, we found out that people responded strongly to being celebrated by a fellow collaborator for their role in a successful project. This makes sense since it’s often easier to receive praise from another person than it is from yourself.

Test #2: Will people who click-through from the email confirm their role in the project?

Results: 100% confirmed role. No questions asked about what a “confirm” even means…

Again, not a huge shock. When a friend or colleague highlights their team for a job well done, team members are free to take their share of credit and recognition.

Test #3 : Will people who confirm their role want to create a Haiku of their own?

Results: 50% clicked to create their own Haiku. Not bad.

It’s nice to be credited in others’ narratives, but we also imagined that folks would want to take control of telling their own stories, or “Haikus”. 50% clicking-to-create is a strong indicator of intent that signaled we might be onto something.

Test #4 : Quantitatively, people seemed to behave inline with our hypotheses. What about out the qualitative “why”?

This is where it got interesting. And not just because I’m shoeless.

Here’s what our unknowing test subjects had to say after finding out they’d been duped:

  • “This made me feel warm and fuzzy and can be way more valuable than Linkedin asking people to praise you for skills that don’t even mean anything.”
  • “This is awesome. I really did get happy at the thought that you would go out of your way to give me public credit on something I helped with, also something that you know I am looking to master. You’ve got juice and endorsements matter. I loved the experiment. Reminded me of having fun with things.”
  • “AJAY. Haiku — I fucking want / find value in this so much. Just opened the email. Brilliant man, I think you’re onto something. A Linkedin / dribbble hybrid in a way, but with so much more value if you can say what exactly you helped improve…”

All in all, it took about 8 hours to build and launch this set of experiments.

And we validated a number of key pain points that prevent people from sharing work they’re proud of.

We also identified a key potential benefit of Haiku we hadn’t foreseen:

Sharing professional experiences can be just as sentimental, fun and heart-warming as sharing social ones.

And that’s not something people are doing much of online…yet

For the test, our copy was written quickly and our visual design was plenty dirty. But the experiment worked, and we’re proud of it. (One day, it might even warrant its own Haiku.)

All in all, these tests have given us the confidence to build an alpha product around celebrating and sharing work you’re proud of. We’ll be launching the private alpha soon and would love your feedback. Join our small group of Haikuists here