Learnings: After 850,000 users on ETHX.

I have been fortunate enough to be a part of an awesome team and an even better product — ethx.

For the uninitiated ethx is creating a decentralised economy and internet — by developing an internet based on value. We are creating a complete blockchain suite — which would enable users to get the real advantages of this amazing technology blockchain and enterprises can get on it, almost instantaneously.

In the last 9 months, ethx has garnered over 850,000 users globally. This is with a negligible amount spent on marketing. It has been all about growth hacks, experiments, iterations, hooks, learning and adapting to the user moods.

I will do a separate post on how to get these kinds of mind-blowing numbers for a new product.

For this post, I wanted to primarily focus on my own learnings vis a vis running such a startup and keeping the momentum after explosive growth.

  1. Customer Support — Would sound incredibly cliched but 850,000 odd people decided to entrust us with their personal details. They allowed us to become a part of their daily life and for that we are grateful. We had to expand the team to make sure that we are able to provide robust customer support to people, round the clock. We deployed bots in the time frames where it was not possible initially to have a live person. This was a process in itself, as we had to read and analyse all the questions that have ever come up via the forum, on social media, emails or over support tickets — we churned and came up with the most pressing ones which were fed to the bot.
  2. A super-active community — A community should be not just about your product. It is about the product but it is also so much more, people should be able to debate, share ideas and information in a healthy way with our community members to actually make it active and engaging. It should be the go-to place for your users to get their daily dose of information in the sector. We created this via our forum.
  3. Team- You would need a strong team, who is willing to put aside their own differences personally and professionally and take on the bull. Our team — did not care about their job description but really came together to build a vision that we had week after week. They learned on the go and implemented.
  4. Fail Quickly — this is not just in terms of the new products or features but also in terms of the people we added to the team. If somebody did not seem a good fit, they were quickly shown the door rather than creating a crease in the entire fabric of the team. We tested features via A/B testing, we tested any changes in the design too — by having our special set of alpha users, to make sure that we are not creating any resistance for the users. Even a simple email was tested with multiple opt-in lists, with different designs. Segmenting was taken very seriously.
  5. Being dynamic — we keep learning. Period. There is no other way to put it. We have recently created a page for all the recommended courses and books that our team members should read or go through, at their own discretion — the idea is to make sure that everybody is growing and putting it into the betterment of the product.
  6. Customer Attitude — the attitude of users globally is not the same. The essentials are the same, like the need for good customer support, seamless service and hand holding in the case of new features. What is not the same, is the perception of new features, the way people adapt, understanding the delays or bugs, the patience level and the mindset. This is a delicate notion that takes time, every individual needs to be treated in a way that is palatable to them. This is why it is super important to have multiple people handling multiple client personas. The subtle nuances make it an almost in-depth study in human psychology.

These were the few learnings and this is thankfully, a perpetual process.

The gist can be just this — Innovation is not just a product, it is a journey.

(This post was originally published on Medium, Dec 10, 2018)

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