Time in the game: ROSL86

ROSL86 — Reflections on startup life, week 86

For those who’ve been following for a while, you’ll remember that prior to iterating to do Trunk.ly, Alex and I had built a product called Tribalytic.

After launching it (about 12 months ago now) we acquired a few customers we met with many more and we realised that the idea wasn’t really going to scale, so we iterated away to Trunk.ly (this post gives a good summary).

We still continue to operate Tribalytic. Generally speaking it’s very low maintenance now although we did resolve one bug last week which is the first release in months. It’s now 10 months since the current version launched, what have we learnt?

The biggest thing is that time in the game matters. There’s a lot I’m proud of about what we achieved with Tribalytic, but something that I under appreciated at the time I think was the value of the blog (http://blog.tribalytic.com).

I’m not sure that the blog translated to people signing up for Tribalytic, but it has worked as a way of promoting our expertise. Even now, some 8 months or so since the last post, I regularly get people contact me for follow ups to posts seeking more updated information, people seeking quotes for interviews and general activity which is related to the articles we posted.

More than blogging however, there are some specifics about what I think works with the Tribalytic blog:

  1. It was updated regularly at the time
  2. It’s focused — we did use it to rank around specific keywords. We blogged with a purpose. Specifically we were targeting a niche — social media users in Australia.
  3. It was informative. We invested a fair bit of time into the posts.

It’s perhaps not overly surprising then that the most popular post (by far — more popular than the home page of the blog) is this one http://blog.tribalytic.com/how-many-australian-twitter-users-are-there-and-where-are-they-from/. It’s highly focussed and tries to answer a question that, even now, people find hard to answer — just how many people are using Twitter in Australia.

All these reflection leads me to two questions:

  1. While I think pivoting to Trunk.ly is definitely the right idea, I do wonder where we would have got to if we stayed with Tribalytic. We laid a lot of good ground work that’s still generating a level of interest today. What would another 12 months worth of content do for our profile (but would it translate to sales?).
  2. More importantly — we don’t have a similar blogging focus with Trunk.ly — I think this is something we need to start taking more seriously, the long term gains and benefits are clear, but we need to get in the game on this one and start giving it some focus (at the moment we just update new releases which is not really that informative or useful).