Luke had an idea for a device that would make it easier for employees and managers to communicate and increase productivity. He kept it as a side business and raised $450,000 to grow its clientele and hire three times as many people. Friday’s approach to workplace communication is similar to an engineer’s approach to creating a codebase. The author is 28 years old and lives in Portland, Maine with his wife, 17-month-old kid, and two dogs. He came up with the idea of Friday in 2013, when he left a job due to a strained relationship with his manager.
Luke had an idea for a device that would make it easier for employees and managers to communicate. He did not start on it until two years later. For several years, he kept it as a side business and increased its monthly revenue to over $10,000. Friday just funded $450,000 with the goal of growing its clientele and hiring three times as many people.
What is your background and what are you concentrating on right now?
Hello to everybody! I am Friday’s creator, Luke. No matter where your team is situated, we have created tools to help you stay connected at work. I’m productizing my most useful insights and making it easier to manually apply what the greatest teams and organizations do after more than six years of working remotely for a variety of firms (in a range of jobs).
It’s true that connecting with people in other places can be tricky, but it doesn’t have to be. To help you build more effective communication procedures at work, we’ve created software. This will improve the information flow and guarantee that everyone is on the same page. In many respects, Friday’s approach to workplace communication is comparable to an engineer’s approach to creating a codebase. roughly the following:
I’m 28 years old, and I live in the lovely city of Portland, Maine, with my wife, our 17-month-old kid, and our two dogs. In my spare time, I like reading and being a father.
What is your background, and how did you come up with this idea?
The year I started considering the idea of Friday was 2013. I had recently left a job because of a strained relationship with my manager at the time. He didn’t ask me “How are things going?” thus I didn’t feel comfortable talking to him about my problems at work. The best bosses I’ve ever worked with often met with me one-on-one and solicited feedback.
After this encounter, I thought it could be feasible to create software to help managers improve the feedback and communication loop between workers and leaders. If correctly developed, a machine would never forget to ask inquiries, unlike a busy boss.
Over the course of a few years, I presented the idea to executives and coworkers. People appeared to appreciate the idea, but I couldn’t tell if it was a good or bad idea because I didn’t have a working prototype. Late in 2015, I made the decision it was time to stop thinking about the idea and start putting it into practice. This is presumably known as the change from wannabe entrepreneur to entrepreneur:)
The idea has changed throughout time. Although I had some success selling the product as a “manager sidekiq” (it increased to $10,000/month), I remained unsatisfied since I felt like there was something greater out there.
When I got to the conclusion that we could develop a technology that could carry out any regular communication event/update at work last year around this time, I was taking into account a number of data points from customers, advisers, and my own personal experience. This might be a tool to assist you build communication skills at work rather than a tool to improve the connection between employee and management. I experienced an insight and grew enthused about the idea. I was still working on this at the time on the weekends and late at night, but I realized I had to go full-time.
There are several tools that improve the efficacy of workplace communication, in my opinion of the market. Slack makes it easier to communicate with coworkers. Zoom makes video chats more practical. To create a more successful communication process, though, help is needed. Owning the required tools is insufficient. Additionally, think about your protocol. It would be like having infrastructure in your house but no water flow control turbines.
Although this pivot was risky, I’m glad we took it. The best part is that we were able to convert many of our current clients, who are now utilizing the new product more regularly than they were previously. That gives me great satisfaction. It supports the validity of our new strategy.
Friday was created by you, how?
I originally hired a software developer in Europe to help me create the prototype of the concept. I tried to keep the MVP’s expenses down as I was paying for everything out of myself.
It took two to three months for this to happen, and then I started persuading my colleagues to use the software in their teams. A select handful chose to help and gave me insightful criticism. It felt amazing and reinforced (in my opinion) that this was of sufficient value to warrant payment when I soon after acquired my first paying customer. I first billed $5 a month per person. The cost wasn’t ideal, but for the great majority of our clients, it was near enough.
We kept working on the product over the following several months, even though it was awful to begin with (see the pictures below), but I didn’t care as long as people valued it enough to pay for it. They also told other corporate leaders about it, which helped us grow the accounts over time.
Due to shame (which, in hindsight, was a mistake), I didn’t formally “launch” the product to the world until a few weeks ago. We successfully debuted on ProductHunt a few days ago. Instead, I used content marketing and a number other makeshift marketing techniques to pique people’s curiosity and get them to subscribe. I would actively ask for feedback right away (and regularly) from everybody who signed up for a free trial.
In many ways, this was like throwing a snowball up a hill. Even if it takes a lot of effort, you are at least moving the avalanche forward. If you are an entrepreneur, you should take every reasonable step (within reason) to attract customers. Most “big bang” deployments never turn out as expected.
The road since Friday has been one of constant iteration, annoyance, and excitement. This, in my opinion, applies to every business. It takes time to straighten things out. Every situation has room for improvement. To fight, there is always a conflagration. This is what excites me about business management, in my opinion. Every day brings a fresh issue that has to be tackled.
What marketing techniques did you use to grow your company?
I have tried a variety of techniques, including:
Harvard Business Review contributor articles about pertinent topics
writing articles and how-to guides on hot topics like one-on-one meetings.
on Twitter, like and following users depending on the topics they were talking about One of the most difficult parts of growing a business is distribution. What competitive edge do you have over your rivals? Finding a marketing strategy that gets easier as your company grows is crucial as many marketing channels are subject to competition (such as paid advertising).
I constantly discover that talking with current customers and improving the product to make it more indispensable is the most effective use of my time. If I do that, people will tell their friends about it.
The best marketing advise I can provide is to simply ask your clients/prospects, “What resources do you use to learn more about [insert topic here]?”
I compare customer acquisition to fishing. You have to go where the salmon are. How do you pinpoint the fish’s location? You enquire as to where they like to hang out.
We tried a lot of trials, but they were all unsuccessful. I once spent money on advertising, for instance, and it was a terrible waste of money. If even a trickle of users consistently signs up, you should concentrate your efforts on making the product better for them. They will tell others about you if you impress them.
What are your long-term goals?
I have a few objectives. I want Friday to be a vital resource for remote teams and to enhance work for as many people as possible. I’d like to do everything I can to offer interesting career possibilities to individuals regardless of their location because I grew up in a town of 900 people. You shouldn’t have to live in a big city to find meaningful work if you have a skill.
Second, I want business to be a way to benefit all parties involved (investors, customers, etc.). I think business is a fantastic tool for enhancing society and the global environment. Many business owners overlook this chance, but I want to approach things differently. If my business was acknowledged as a great place to work that supports the community, it would brighten my day.
My own goal is to be able to support my family and save them from ongoing financial worries. Being able to help less fortunate folks both monetarily and with my time would be ideal.
One day, I’d also like to buy a lovely piece of land. I used to have fun playing in the woods when I was little. I want to go back to the woods!
What were your biggest challenges, and how did you get over them?
I don’t want to overstate my experience since I know that many people have probably gone through a lot to build their enterprises.
My toughest moment last year happened around this time. I was juggling my full-time day work with establishing Friday and maintaining customer happiness while my young boy experienced colic, or incessant crying for no apparent reason. In addition, we were trying to move and sell our house. In addition, I was doing all of the flooring, molding, and other renovations myself in the new house.
Although it was one of the most challenging times in my life, it helped me to develop patience. very with that stated, I am very happy that the season is done. It was harsh.
What are your biggest flaws, exactly? What were your biggest mistakes?
Early in the course of developing the product, I made my worst mistake. We had recently signed a contract with our biggest client and had just invested a lot of work in creating new features. Short version: Their onboarding was a disaster. People who should not have received them received emails indicating that “Bob completed an update” because Bob works for a different organization because notification emails were sent to the wrong client.
This was extremely dishonorable and violated customer confidence in several ways. Code was altered in just one line. We may have found the problem if I had spent more time working on quality assurance.
I detest disappointing our customers. I make an effort to take their trust seriously and not take it for granted. My worst mistakes are ones that I could have prevented with a little more thought, effort, or focus.
What actions would you do differently if you had the chance?
I would first focus all of my efforts on identifying a product anchor and developing a system around a particular use case. When looking for a solution that works, it is so easy to extend and add features, but in practice, the most practical solutions are the simplest. By doing this, you may increase the return on your product development investment.
I might also look at markets that are not currently “hot.” The market heats up as competition increases. Although you could love the competition, your odds of winning can be reduced.
A personal issue should be addressed in the product, in my opinion. It was challenging at one point when I was creating content for a different target market on Friday. It didn’t mean anything to me. Being passionate about a product that you personally appreciate is considerably easier.
The story is over now. If not for the meandering course along the way, I may not be in this location right now, considering the journey’s history.
What educational tools would you suggest for entrepreneurs who are just starting out?
For entrepreneurs, I would suggest reading or watching anything by David Sacks, Keith Rabios, Paul Graham, or Peter Thiel (such as Zero to One). Most advise should be avoided unless the source has a track record of success, in my opinion. You should still consider my advice with a grain of salt.
Beyond businesses, I’ve discovered that reading older literature is quite helpful. Learning timeless ideas is far easier than learning fads that may go out of style in the future. Specifically:
My background in scientific marketing and marketing (Claude Hopkins)
Al Ries and Jack Trout’s list of 22 unchangeable marketing rules
Andy Grove’s High Output Administration
The best advise I can provide is to take action if you want to be successful in business. You may read all the books you want, but ultimately you have to do something. Concentrate on quickening your learning pace, stay in constant contact with clients, and ask plenty of questions. They will show you the route, or at the very least help you go forward steadily:)
For further information
If you’d want to talk more, there are various ways to reach me:
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