The Weekly Review

by Chris Bowler

Derrick Reimer shares the story of his last year. He had left Drip and started working on Level, an alternative to Slack (reminds me a lot of Twist), before choosing to walk away. His desire to build a calmer chat tool is laudable and the story is interesting.

But one point leapt off the (web)page and grabbed my attention. After building an early prototype and sharing with interested users, the results were not what he had hoped:

The response did not live up to my expectations. Only a subset of people who paid booked an onboarding session. Of those who did, some never touched the product. Some who did poke around the product never gave it a real go with their team (and didn’t show much interest in following up with me). A handful did convert.
Every conversion funnel leaks, but I was admittedly disheartened. There seemed to be a curious mismatch between the sentiments I gathered early on and the actions people were taking. If people were ravenous for a solution, why weren’t most people even attempting to pilot Level?

He decided that he needed a larger sample size and invited another 1,000 people to try his product. To similar results:

I observed how people were using it for about a week. There was a lot of poking around and, once again, virtually zero evidence of anyone piloting it with their team. I reached out directly to everyone who made it into the product: are you planning to test Level out? What can I do to help?
It became clear pretty quickly that the gap between interest and implementation was of canyon-like proportions…
Small teams (who have a much easier time making the jump due to their size) didn’t seem that compelled by Level. In follow-up conversations, I discovered that Slack was at most a minor annoyance for them. Suboptimal? Yes. Worth going through the trouble of switching? Probably not.

It turns out that his message resonated with people. But the pain they experienced in their current toolset was not enough to prompt change. This is where the forces behind the jobs-to-be-done framework are so key.

push me, pull me

Our work with Conveyor feels similar to what Derrick experienced. We’ve had multiple rounds of user testing and I’ve learned to not trust the exact words people say to you. Their actions speak much more loudly.

Building a successful product is no easy feat.