Friday, November 16, 2012

The Next Step

For the past week, we've switched from coding to startup tasks:  talking to users and understanding our market.

We learned the following from talking to real users who test-drove our different prototypes:

  1. We know from Prototype 1 & 2 (the flash generator and that users like to create image-captioned memes about friends and browse memes. They're personal and funny!
  2. We know from Prototype 1 & 2 that Memeja virally spread via FB posts BUT that people wanted a level of privacy/social circle (old Memeja was too public)
  3. We know from Prototype 3 that invitation is difficult with email invitations. Users kept saying that Facebook was more natural. In our tutorial, many users simply skipped the Invitation step. But in Prototype 2, we saw that people had no problem 'tagging' their friends (which would post the meme to FB). 
  4. We know from Prototype 3 that without meme-browsing, it was difficult to get the ball rolling. We had a handful of early adopters but without public viewing like Prototype 2, it was difficult to foster community.
  5. We know from Prototype 4 ( a site that tested whether people liked viewing rage comics), people love rage comics as a medium. We also learned that people highly disliked current rage comic creation platforms because of poor UI/UX (this is a pain point I felt too).
Max and I sat down at Starbucks today and hashed out the next step. We thought through our own pain sharing stories and how to better surface content to share with friends.

We will create and test the following with users:
  1. Instead of email, Facebook integration. It seems so many other startups only have Facebook Connect now, but I am skeptical. From a user perspective, FB connect should be a complement not standalone. Practically speaking, people will invite their friends via Facebook -- we're confident this will increase the virality of the product.
  2. We are going to introduce a feed specific to the school (so for e.g., memes only for Dartmouth). When a user logs in, we automatically subscribe them to a feed. We're testing how much users would like following different feeds (like sub-reddits for memes). Yes, this has been done to a small extent with Facebook College Groups, but it's only the start. If you like the meme, you can drag the meme into album. This makes it easier for users to surface and share content. 
  3. Upon registering, users must start an album by inviting a friend into it. This could have adverse effects but since the product itself is about sharing experiences -- it seems only logical to us that the first step is to invite your friend into an album. We're testing to see how high the bounce rate is for this.
  4. Recreation of experience: we've been asking users about this for a long time. People seem excited about it but it's really the execution that matters here. This is what will differentiate our albums from simple Facebook messaging. 
We're excited to see what users think about this new model. We will finish it by Monday so we can go out and ask on Mon/Tues/Wed. More importantly, we're excited to start creating memes about Dartmouth and finally being able to share experiences better with our friends.

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