Fanfare August 22 🎉
This is a slightly redacted version of the update I shared with the team and our investor. I removed our cash-at-hand numbers and anonymized customers since I didn't ask for permission to name them.
August was a good month for us. We improved Fanfare significantly and launched the self-service sign-up. We have our first, literal, handful of active users, some of which we know will pay. Marketing efforts have started okay but require more focus.
It is now one year since we officially started to work on Fanfare. I'm happy that we stand where we are now. We were faster than I feared but slower than I had hoped.
Users talked to:
Months to 0:
17 (by Feb. 2024) // Includes some buffer
- We removed our waitlist and opened for self-service sign-up on 2022-08-03.
- Fanfare is now being used by 4 monthly active users (MAU).
- We expect to earn $5 each from two of them in the coming days when their trials end. Two users are getting Fanfare for free. One is a non-profit, and the other is a sci-fi podcast. Both do a lot of testing for us.
- Had a first user sign-up from a cold email campaign.
- Deployed a new highlight detection model, showing improved quality on our training set.
- Had a tech talk with Avi, discussing how we could measure the quality of our highlight models.
- Launched a blog with a first post.
- Greatly improved the editor based on user feedback by making it more straightforward, better looking, and allowing users to save their styles as templates. Changes were announced in our first-ever release notes (that a couple of users actually read).
- Pushed through a lot of paperwork.
- I tried many forms of outreach last month: Google Ads, Twitter DMs, blog posts, Upwork, and cold emails. All of those get traffic to our page, but nothing stands out as the best approach so far. I'll take a more organized and focused approach to reach out in September by drilling down into niches of customers and putting quality over quantitative vanity metrics.
- We had one user sign-up but then canceled. As the reason for canceling, he stated that Fanfare was "too complicated to use." I reached out to him via email, asking for more context and offering help, but I didn't get a reply. This exemplifies that ads are an opaque source of customers and that it's hard to tell if such users were not a great fit from the beginning or if we truly have a problem with the product.
- I talked to A., the founder of a science festival in Switzerland, which would be a great client. However, our transcription provider has a bug, which makes the German transcripts unusable. They are telling us every other week that they are working on it, but we haven't been able to continue with A. so far.
- Eric and his girlfriend worked from NYC for three weeks before flying back home. We had an excellent time together.
- Summer holidays seemed good for Michael, Krzysztof, and Chris too. I enjoyed my time in Switzerland a lot. I think we're all happy to get back to work, with some more consistent stretches of work ahead of us.
- I realized that I need to do more outdoor sports to balance myself out, so I'm planning to do more cycling. I've also learned that one week of holiday at a time is not helping me recharge enough, so I'll do two weeks of holiday in October.
- Team morale is good. We do feel more stress from going live, though, as this comes with more ad-hoc requests from customers and occasional firefighting when something goes wrong. We also understand that we have a solid but limited runway. We talk about this as a team, and I'm hopeful we can channel this energy to focus on the most important tasks and move us forward.
- We discussed that ideally, we would know within a year if the current idea for Fanfare can be a viable company. If we end up needing more investments, this will give us about 6 months to raise money or get a loan. This doesn't mean we wouldn't want to change directions earlier if we realize that we're not moving forward at a reasonable pace. My preferred option and goal is still to break even before Bea's investment run out.
Customer stories 📣
- The non-profit has been posting two Fanfare clips weekly (one on Twitter and one on Instagram) since August 1st. They have more than 500k followers on Twitter. On Instagram, we see that their video posts are doing much better than the audio-only posts they used to do.
- One client has been trying to post every morning, inspired by my blog post. He's also said he's enjoying testing features for us.
- J., E., and K. are the users I've talked to over Zoom. They all repeatedly said they were delighted with the quality of Fanfare.
- Do you know any podcasters or YouTubers that could be interested in Fanfare?
Outlook for next Month 🔭
- Product: Named templates, background images, and more fonts are all requests from users that we'll implement. We'll test the first iteration of making transcripts public with J. This could help us organically reach more users in the future as we profit from our clients' built-in audiences.
- Marketing: More focused outreach. Read up on strategies that have worked for similar companies. I'll start with a 2h course from Outseta "The first 500". Start using our highlights model to semi-automate outreach to podcasters.
I'm looking forward to September. Let me know if you have any feedback or questions regarding this update.
Basil CEO Fanfare🎉
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