Uncloud: A retrospective

Startup, take two! Back in 2021 I tried to build a new company. Here’s the gist: A personal search engine and note-taking app. The idea was that by combining search over all your digital stuff with a note taking app (think Notion) you could link together everything, and find
In retrospect, this would have been great positioning for the AI wave that is sweeping the tech world as I write this.
A personal search engine …
notion image

When went well
  • browser parrot
    • scratched our own itch and gave us an initial product to use to grab attention
    • Show HN was successful, 150 downloads
      • while HN success is unpredictable and likely un-repeatable, this was still a win and something we didn’t do (!) for pairwise.
    • Discord link on the website was key to start community building
      • Discord > Slack unless your market is already all over slack
  • uncloud page directed to our existing discord
  • featured a form in order to get the download
    • ask your beta users for info. that’s the price of admission
  • user testing (via usertesting.com, i think)
    • we did not find a way to make these insights actionable
    • we were not systematic (should have prob read the mom test first)
Didn’t go well
  • we could have done so much more on the marketing front
  • we never made use of the emails collected from our beta signup form
    • founder disagreement was increasing as these efforts were paying off, thus we didn’t take advantage
  • cofounder fit
    • nik didn’t want to do venture backed. this could have been sussed out MUCH earlier
    • lack of ‘trust’
      • not in the sense of cofounder is going to intentionally harm the company, but…
      • in the sense that I didn’t trust Nik’s product thinking. maybe trust isn’t the right word. I thought the decisions he made around product were not good, and thus wanted full decision making for myself. however, that would alienate nik and ruin his productivity + motivation
      • by ‘trust’ i mean whatever is necesary for a disagree and commit strategy to work. if we disagreed i didnt’ want to commit to his ideas and he didn’t want to commit to mine