— COMPANY NAME
CEO & Founder
In 2016, I left my full-time role at Google and launched Broadcast, a social media aggregator that automatically posts scheduled marketing content across all your social media channels.
As a founder of Broadcast, I fulfilled multiple roles, including that of the sole designer and front-end developer.
After several iterations, we successfully launched the product. Although Broadcast gained some traction, we lacked sufficient runway to continue development and compete with larger, well-funded teams in this industry.
Before we started development, we explored several concepts and obtained feedback from prospective customers. Since this industry was unfamiliar to my co-founder and me, we were uncertain of our customers' most pressing needs and how they would utilize our product.
In the initial version, we incorporated a primary and secondary side navigation that appeared when users explored a subsection of the application. While aesthetically pleasing, the navigation adversely affected usability since it made it challenging to determine the user’s location within the application. As a result, we replaced it with a much simpler and cleaner version.
We initially placed too much emphasis on making each type of social media post look unique. Although visually appealing, it was impractical for everyday users and development due to inconsistencies in design components.
Lastly, we used a 3-step wizard in the composer, which proved excessive and confusing for users. They preferred a simple form to quickly create social media content. This initial concept was instrumental in highlighting these issues before we began front-end development.
Upon receiving feedback and realizing that many of our assumptions were flawed, we underwent another round of design revisions. We simplified the navigation, social media posts, and composer to make the product more user-friendly.
Our improved onboarding experience facilitated user movement by providing straightforward zero states. Moreover, our post composer was much more accessible, enabling users to quickly select social media channels and create personalized content for each network.
We conducted further user studies and discovered that the navigation remained problematic. Specifically, our previous decision to create “campaigns” and posts within them was too complex. This breakthrough prompted us to abandon the multi-level navigation system in favor of a simpler, flatter architecture that users could more readily comprehend.
The final version of Broadcast was a streamlined product with simple and clear navigation. Removing campaigns allowed us to create a much flatter information architecture, with five primary sections that made using the product much more intuitive. We removed all extraneous features, making calls to action and user-generated content more prominent.
Our updated posts stream provided users with the option to view content in a continuous feed or a calendar, making it easier to plan and manage social media activity. The feature also facilitated simple social media account management on a single screen.
Our content composer was designed to be elegant, effective, and user-friendly. Users could select multiple accounts and schedule posts across all of their social media channels with ease. We also incorporated character counters for Twitter and LinkedIn to enable our customers to craft content that could be easily shared across both platforms.
For those who have founded or worked in early-stage startups, getting traction and raising funding are some of the biggest challenges. With an ocean of competitors and SaaS products out there, it is difficult to stand out and outwork your competitors. It is essential to have a unique angle or feature (or a few of them) to create obvious differentiation between yourself and other companies. While every good product starts with “What problem are we solving?”, the next question in the sequence should be “Why/how can I do this 10x better than others?” Overall, we created a great product, but it wasn’t 10x better than our competition or different enough to create a clear advantage.
Raising funding is also extremely challenging, contrary to what the general public may believe. Often, your product idea needs to be “transformative," "groundbreaking," or "disruptive” to impress investors. Creating a good product is often insufficient to inspire investors to buy into your vision. This is why moonshots often receive funding, even if their chances of success are minimal.
Overall, I have learned numerous lessons from this experience, which has made me appreciate the challenges of startups even more.