3 Things Coursepad Learned in 2014

Hey guys,

2014 has been a great year for Coursepad!

Here’s just a quick rundown on what we did and achieved last year!

  • We launched the 30 Day Life Upgrade for Robin Sharma, which is currently being used by thousands of users worldwide!
  • We exhibited at StartupAsia, Techventure, and NUS InnovFest 2014
  • We hopped over to Silicon Valley to learn from big boys in tech (Google, Facebook, Evernote), accelerators, VCs and other startups (learnt so much from Nitrous.io)!
  • We organized our very first sales event — Supersize with Coursepad — which was a huge success with more than 35 training organisations represented.
  • We expanded our core team to 10 very awesome people!
  • We improved our internship program, providing hands-on software and business training to our world-class interns (we even had our intern Louis who flew in all the way from France to join us)
  • We are working on 2 huge projects that will really change how two large organisations learn on the go!
  • We did a rethink + overhaul of our design and user experience

That’s really cool and all, but even more important for us is some key learning points we took from 2014. We are sharing this to let you guys know where we’re heading, and also hopefully help some of you who are going through these too!

What we learned in 2014:

1. Single-minded focus is key for Sales & Marketing (+ startup success)

While scoping out our target market in 2014, we decided that we needed to get the following market: HR managers of organizations that wanted to train their team in an easy way, and training consultants that wanted to offer more effective training solutions and higher value for their clients.

Turns out that wasn’t specific enough.

Our messages were still designed too broadly, and its effect was diluted. To cater to an audience covering most organizations, the stories and examples were too unfocused. We contacted all kinds of organizations without focusing just on one segment.

As a result, we didn’t really learn in-depth enough about a particular customer segment, and thus missed out very nuanced details about what they really want, how they work, messages that provoke them etc.

In 2015, we are aiming to create value for just a specific type of user. We really want a core group of users that love us, rather than a huge mass of people that are lukewarm about us.

Sam Altman, founder of YCombinator also emphasizes on this in the video below.

2. We said yes to too much customisation

In 2014, we felt really fortunate to get a few large projects from enterprise customers.

Being large organizations, they also had a strong vision and a long list of requirements. It may be an awesome and challenging adventure, but it also taxed our team heavily, and distracted many of us from actually working on building features and a product that was rapidly scalable.

Although exciting, the opportunity cost of having to delay your main product for just one or two clients pushed our general product launch back a bit and taxed the team. We’re going to be a lot more disciplined with our features + roadmap in 2015.

3. We had a lot to learn on software project management

As we went on with building customized apps and the main Coursepad app, we met with many bugs and feature requests.

Back in early 2014, we had a very compact team handling all our design and development work, and they were absolutely amazing at doing a lot of work with so little manpower. However as the year progressed and as we got more projects, it got harder to manage which features to build and which bugs to squash first. Even as we expanded our team, a lot of the work was done hit-a-mole style, where we did work that seemed the most important at the moment.

Although our team was technically capable, a lot of energy was wasted on managing the project and allocating resources to ad-hoc requests. Towards the end of 2014, we realized that we needed a better methodology and process of working, especially when we’re expanding our team.

In 2015, we are implementing the Scrum Methodology for a more tangible, flexible approach to tackle our design and development needs. We think it’ll work great because it allows the team to visualize and manage the work process and progress.

What do we have in store for 2015?

  • An overhaul for the UI/UX for Coursepad, including the back-end. It’s going to be super simple and easy to use!
  • Robust and accessible applications for iOS, Android and the Web.
  • Amazing value creation for our targeted users — we’ve got something in the works that we hope you can’t say no to!
  • Be the thought leader for mobile and elearning solutions that can spur better performance and success in our client’s teams.

Cheers to an amazing year ahead!

Wishing you well,

Kevin

Kevin Chan and Team Coursepad

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