We had an interesting journey so far with Brunch. We started in 2020 with Razvan to build a tool we needed for the agency and Mihai Ivascu joined the team in 2021 to help us grow and scale globally. The plan was to grow fast with the first iteration of the product and get the first 100 paying users by the end of this year. We got some users but traction wasn’t good enough to scale fast enough so we stopped for a bit, focused on understanding where we are and what we can do better, right in the middle of our fundraising campaign on Seedblink.
We had previous experience with building products and worked together as a team before so we thought this can be easy. It’s not. We knew that this can be an iterative process but hoped we can get it right from the beginning. We knew that building a better solution can take time and a lot of work but we hoped we can hack it.
For the past two months, we took a lot more time to discuss with active and potential users and understand what we can do better. Feedback was good in general and everyone liked the idea of Brunch but some things seemed to be missing to make the current product a great solution that people can adopt and use easily. Here are a few things we learned:
1. Feedback on anything (in your browser)
With our current version, you can add feedback on live websites but you cannot use Brunch for anything that is under a login. People mentioned that it would be great to be able to add feedback on a local app, an app that you can only access after you log in, or even on a Facebook page.
With the next iteration, you will be able to add feedback on anything that’s in your browser. It can be great for an agency working with a client on building digital assets, for a product team working on fixing bugs in an app, or for a digital marketing team discussing improvements for their social media campaigns. If you see it in your browser you can add a comment, change text or style, share it with anyone, and get help.
2. Simple solutions CAN be better
We were trying to build something we thought would make the user experience simple. It turned out the user wasn’t impressed by how simple the experience was and the implementation presented too many technical challenges. We were spending a lot of time fixing bugs without enough progress. Also because we were storing entire web pages in Brunch at some point we would have been forced to charge a lot more for bigger projects.
Sometimes simple is not better. Now we’re building a web app to aggregate and manage all the content in one place but we use a Chrome extension (Safari will follow) to get input into the web app. Like this, it’s easier to alter anything in your browser with fewer possible bugs. In this structure, we can build other gateways in the future as well.
3. Build with your users
As we were used to building stuff we started to build too fast. We built first and talked with potential users after. This translated into a slower feedback loop at first. When you already have a big chunk of the app already built, it can take a lot of effort to change things. For us, it was a good opportunity to rethink the tech behind, refactor and structure things so that it’s even easier to iterate in the future.
A few months ago we started to talk a lot more with our users and to get feedback constantly. All these interactions shaped our current understanding of what our users need: interact with anything in the browser, approval process, easy to manage access rights, easy access to experts. Of course, this understanding will evolve over time and we will build an even better product.
4. A business solution not a feature
We started by building a feature that was nice but it was not enough to change behavior for our users. What we understood in the meantime is that we need to focus on building a business solution for remote teams that work asynchronously. This will probably include an approval process, a community of experts, a public marketplace, and a few other possible features. We will test each one at a time and get feedback.
We also understood that it’s important to focus on building for teams with a painful enough problem that would use our solution over and over again. At first, we focused on small digital marketing agencies and freelancers but they don’t always have consistent behaviors. For the current iteration, we started to discuss with marketing and product teams and they seem to get a lot more value and even bigger teams are interested in testing the next iteration.
Building a great product takes time and iterations and we’re learning that with Brunch for sure. We got good feedback with the current live version from clients and investors and even if we don’t have thousands of active users yet, we’re making good constant progress. I’m sure we will get there as we’re constantly learning and building a great team of active members and friends.