Lean Startup Challenge: Weekly Reflection 1

Now that the first week of the challenge is coming to an end, it’s time to look at the results and analyze what they mean (I’ll be doing this every week). Whereas my earlier post concentrated on the qualitative feedback, this one will concentrate on my observations of the quantitative data and define goals for next week.

Acquisition: 40.86%
This is the most bizarre metric. In this week I’ve received a total of 190 visitors to the website out of 465 that could have actually heard about it (by my calculations), since I only mentioned Grafpad so far through word of mouth (and as I found out, my sister helped too), twitter, blog, and Pyjamas mailing list. According to Google Analytics, there were 57 visitors to my blog during the same period, about double the average. Which leads me to believe that the 465 is also a bit inflated since I can’t tell if those¬† people came to my blog from the website or the other way around.

I will admit, however, that there are some inaccuracies in these numbers. For example, since Pyjamas mailing list does not reveal the member names in one nice list (correct me if this is wrong), I instead took all the emails from the duration I’ve been signed up for the list, downloaded them to my local machine through Thunderbird, and wrote a quick Python script to parse out the name of every person who has sent an email to pyjamasdev. It returned 150 names. Obviously the number is inaccurate, since there could be lurker members who do not send emails, but read other posts. There are also members signed up with multiple email accounts, and there are members who have posted throughout the year but have since left the mailing list.

Overall, 41% is a very high number, and not representative of what I expect to see when advertising through Google AdWords or a similar service. It’s quite possible that the number is only this high because other Pyjamas developers wanted to see what another member of Pyjamas community is up to. The number is probably also inflated because I’m underestimating the number of total people who heard of the website (it’s hard to see the true number of impressions when you’re not dealing with actual ads). I suspect this number will drop dramatically as I start advertising rather than showing it to communities that already know me.

Activation: 7.37%
This is an interesting metric. Two people signed up on day 1 (Tuesday), 8 people on day 2, and 4 people on day 3 (Thursday). Thursday was the first day that the demo was up, and in that one day 14 people tried the demo. I suspect that having the demo actually caused the number of sign ups to go down, since people no longer needed to register to play with Grafpad. On the other hand, the demo is a good indicator that there are a lot more interested people than just those who sign up for an account, most just don’t want to bother with registration.

I’m sure there will always be people who try the demo and leave, but the fact that so few actually register is in my opinion further reinforcement of the feedback I got earlier (that users are getting confused by the interface and leaving without registering). I will need to address this for the upcoming week.

Retention: 42.86%
The number of returning users so far is 6. I believe it’s too small of a sample to make any conclusion about retention rate. I’m not surprised that I got 6 people returning, the same people who went through the pain of registering are likely to come back at least once.

Referral: 1.58%
I was hoping this number would be much higher, if for no other reason than the novelty factor alone. Not every day you see a website intelligent enough to figure out what you’re drawing and help you out with it.¬† My goal is to get this number a lot higher. I think the same fixes that improve activation will improve referral as well. After all, if a user doesn’t like the product enough to register for it, he’s not likely to send it to friends either.

Revenue: 0%
No surprises here, I need to make the product addictive enough for the free users for anyone to even consider upgrading.

Goals for Next Week
For next week I will need to significantly improve the activation rate. While I do not yet plan to make big changes to the interface, I will need to work on a first-timer help module that will detect certain user actions and give advice regarding the areas of confusion from this week’s feedback. I will also need to add a feedback form to the main page, as well as clean up the front page so it looks more like a website and less like a landing page. I believe those two items will imrove both the activation, and the referral rate.

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About Alexander Tsepkov

Founder and CEO of Pyjeon. He started out with C++, but switched to Python as his main programming language due to its clean syntax and productivity. He often uses other languages for his work as well, such as JavaScript, Perl, and RapydScript. His posts tend to cover user experience, design considerations, languages, web development, Linux environment, as well as challenges of running a start-up.

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