While Syed and Hassan take a short break from upgrading VIVA, I am spending a lot of my mental energy on defining how to better service customers - both event organisers and event goers.
(An aside: I still dislike the word "event" in describing the content on VIVA. They are broader than just events, but it seems that "event discovery" is an industry term from which no one has departed. I suspect it is because no one has found a better word yet. Can we make one up? A portmanteau of entertainment plus leisure activites... leisurtainment?)
Ultimately, VIVA is nothing more than a platform. It is the content that keeps people returning, and so the selection and presentation of content are key to this. More and more, I feel that the way we are presenting information on VIVA needs to be improved... show me less but show me better. And though we know this, the move towards better and more relevant recommendations runs us into a selection problem.
So, we keep mulling.
Melissa moved to Mr Tipply's about a week ago. We hadn't caught up in person in about a year. I have been wondering - where did that last year go?
When Mel and I last caught up, she was working for Harlequin Inn at Pyrmont and VIVA was just about to launch. We had no users and no event organisers... in hindsight, we barely had a product.
The team used to joke about how it took more than 30 seconds to download and rank all of the events. Now, about 5 seconds flat... and with a much improved interface. I say "joke", but it was more like a coping mechanism - and thankfully the combined tech genius of Syed and Hassan fixed that.
Over the course of the last year, I have come to learn a lot about consumer behaviour and product management. Almost invisibly, I think I am nearing competence... nearly. And with the process also comes exhaustion ~ the feeling that because all progress is imperceivable, there is no progress at all. It is thanks to Melissa and people like her that I can reflect on how far we have come... and how far we may go still.
So I remind myself ~ keep going. Push. Push. Push. We are doing it so people can find things they love to do. We are doing this to make the world a happier place.
Ian and I went to the final day of the jam-packed AWS conference in Sydney today. It was an astonishing turn out. I had not seen so many engineers and technicians all together like this in a room before. It was awe-inspiring to think that everyone here was creating something.
Somehow, I have also become wrapped in this world of creation. I am simultaneously fearful and excited... how will I ever keep up with everything that is happening? How will VIVA ever do well going up against so many other things?
It felt a little bit like that old saying, to run is to stand still.
So we run, and we keep on running.
We ended the Easter long weekend with a shareholders' meeting in our new offices at Jones Bay Wharf, and so working on VIVA received less attention that it needed this weekend. Adam is probably going to be disappointed at my lack of work... and I am too.
Sam messaged last week volunteering to help, but I am somewhat disorganised at the moment, so I have not called on his time as I know I should. This will also disappoint Adam, probably.
There were also QA tasks to be done, and I have not attended to those either...
But... new office! Yay!
All through the Easter long weekend, I was stressing about exactly how to pitch the "pivot" of VIVA. A part of me wonders if this is going a little too niche... but if Peter Lord and Nic Wright are right - and they probably are - then going niche is actually the best thing that we can do with VIVA.
There is a startup mantra, "do one thing, and do it really well". So this pivot is about doing that one thing really well. What worries me is whether we can do this well enough...
We are a little behind on releasing the next version...
Syed and Hassan have been working hard on the next version of the app for iOS and Android, and they are getting closer every week. We are a little behind schedule, but the result will hopefully be worthwhile.
The long weekend and the near-total shutdown of the business world has given me the rare opportunity to take a small break to enjoy lunch with the fam.