We showed a new prototype today at Berkeley with a built-in tutorial upon registration. Learned a lot. Even met a Dartmouth '96 / UCSD professor who gave us advice to better our pitch.
We talked to about 30 people today and noticed that the value proposition is still unclear. We showed the albums feature (dragging memes you like to privately shared albums), walked them through the tutorial, and certain problems became immediately apparent:
The tutorial seems to communicate that we are still all about entertainment. The albums led people to pigeonhole Memeja as a fast way to share memes (and create them with the Pull Facebook photo of the generator). Interestingly, people still liked the concept of sharing privately, but our goal is for Memeja to be more than that. What we need to make clear is that Memeja is not only a faster way of sharing memes people love, but that it is a better way of sharing experiences than the current alternative (of writing a long letter or email).
Because we already know that currently alternatives to sharing stories are difficult and time-consuming (typing up a story via email or Facebook message).
When we didn't explain what we were all about, people believed that memes != experiences. And that memes == entertainment. Many Berkeley students characterized Memeja as a site they would go to waste time or distract them from studying. Working with the term "Internet meme" is already an uphill battle because of the associated stigma.
The key, then, is to differentiate Memeja as more than an entertainment site.
Furthermore, I hypothesize that these problems stem from the fundamental construct of our tutorial, which features personal UC Berkeley visual captioned memes. These memes create quick laughs but looking back, they are superficial. They convey no deeper experience that people can relate to.
Another big problem is that when people finish registering, there isn't any content to interact with. Put another way, Memeja only adds value to people's lives when they proactively create an album or a meme. This paradigm is different from other sites, like Quora or Facebook, where value is immediately added when a user registers because of already existing content. Privacy necessitates limited content but an interesting idea is to integrate both: public memes within the context of a larger private group.
The biggest feeling I took away from today is that while we haven't yet found our product-market fit, we are inching closer and closer to a broader understanding of the market/space. We are flexible enough to keep iterating and changing our ideas based on feedback.
Fight. Persist with all determination.