accidentally put seasoned pinto beans in my ear instead of my airpods oops

About 50 of you replied to my last newsletter to get invited to Zip’s monthly update. Thanks for that :). You all have some funny favorite words that made me chuckle.

“ok” from someone named “mywritingis bad” killed me I couldn’t stop laughing ahaha.

Anyways.

Been feeling pretty down. Idk why. Sometimes it be that way. Remote work is hurting me for sure. Not having an HQ I can just go to, call home, and make my own sucks. I guess I just need to deal with it for the next 4-6 months as what will happen w/ COVID becomes clearer.

Just been trying to keep up the excitement best I can with music, books, and Naruto. If my energy levels dip, it will literally show in Zip’s metrics so - can’t really let that happen. Being a founder is really just a test of managing emotions after all.

Also - really can’t afford to let my emotions take a hit when this is really Zip’s time to shine :)!

I’m going to try and carve out more time for harder workouts daily. That should help. I used to run like 5-10 miles a day. I haven’t been doing much lately like that.

Anyways.

Here’s a slide from a presentation I saw the other week. I’ve been following it a bunch and its been super helpful. I do it like 1-2 times a day.

Anyways. Chat later. Hopefully I’ll feel less shit next week once I try some new things.

lost boy living fast

Hey!

Private Newsletter

Won’t be writing about Zip in detail once a week anymore on here.

Instead, I’ll be doing it once a month on a private newsletter. If you want to get in, just reply to email with your favorite word and I’ll invite you.

If you’re here just for Zip, unsubscribe :).

I’ll be continuing this newsletter to chronicle my dumb adventures on a weekly basis but it’ll just be much less focused on my company!

Hype

Been pretty excited lately.

I’ve been on a healthy diet of good books, Naruto, and user interviews.

Pretty good combo, overall.

Also, been going Sage Mode (or rather, attempting to) every day as well which has been good. Just 70 minutes every day where I close my eyes, sit somewhere quiet, and do nothing. The noise in my head has been massively reduced. Everything is getting clearer when it comes to Zip and life in general.

Users

Had about 35 user interviews in the last 7 days. Usually, when I’m not sure what to do I just talk to my users. And, it always works.

Users seems to love the current version of Zip and praised us heavily. But, that doesn’t really matter. What became clear is there is so much more we need to do to make this a legit product that lasts past the pandemic.

But, I have a really good idea of what users want :). Even though I’ve only been working on this version of Zip for 2 months. I’ve been working with these types of users for nearly 9 months now! I’ve pivoted a bunch but the user demographic has barely changed which means many learnings transfer over between pivots.

Song Of The Year So Far

In love with this track by Danger Incorporated off their new album Hackers of The World Unite. 100% the song of the year for me thus far.

Alrighty, back to fixing education :). Here’s a picture from a user of her 4 kids taking a Zip class.

Image


i just drank a mocha and my BPM is over 9000

Hey every1.

Few lil updates.

Y-Combinator

Zip’s was part of Y-Combinator S20! Not many people apart from my close buddies knew I was going through it for the last few months, so, happy to tell everyone here :).

60+ links for Y Combinator Application and Interview Advice | by Rohit  Mittal | Build the future

It was awesome. A solid 9.0/10 experience, despite being fully-remote. My batchmates are some of the brightest people I’ve ever met. My YC Partners were amazing and ridiculously helpful, shout-out to them: Aaron Epstein (Co-Founder @ Creative Market), Kevin Lin (Co-Founder @ Twitch), and Tim Brady (CPO / Employee #1 @ Yahoo).

I could write many pages on my YC experience, but, I think I have more important things to do at the moment :). I’ve noted all the details down in my personal journal and perhaps I’ll write something more lengthy when I have more time to do so.

Digital Demo Day was last Monday. Pretty easy and super well run by YC. Zip did well. Made it into TechCruch’s Top 20 here which doesn’t mean a whole lot but good to know that the press clearly understands what we do. Also, good for SEO ;).

Raised Money

Yeah, so, raised money! I was already in talks with a VC before Demo Day and closed right on Demo Day. I don’t really wanna say how much or from who left but I’ll just say Zip is now extremely well-capitalized to attack the problem + market effectively :).

Raising money is perhaps something else I’ll write more about one day.

With that said…we’re hiring full-timers!!

Check out the posting here. Compensation range included in the posting as wel.

I’m going to add more positions over the next few days right now I just have the one for an engineer. Mainly looking for engineers, a content producer, a curriculum creator, and an operations person in the immediate future.

I’m really excited.

Really really excited.

It’s time to build :).

Sage Mode

I’ve always seen meditation as something pretty wack. Idk why. I guess it just seems weird. Why would you want to do nothing?

But, I was watching Naruto the other day and he was training for this new ability called “Sage Mode” where he meditates and gathers energy from nature around him. Once he achieves Sage Mode he has increase speed, reaction time, and strength.

So basically I was inspired by this and also tried to go Sage Mode myself. I literally copied Naruto’s training.

I’ve been spending around 75 minutes every day just sitting still with my eyes closed somewhere quiet. I don’t try to clear my head or anything because I think that’s lame. All I do is sit there and let my thoughts do their thing.

It is insanely difficult. Oh my gosh.

Days 1-5 were…horrifyingly hard. I couldn’t stop thinking for the full 75 minutes. Everything from everyday problems with Zip to funny memories from my childhood kept popping up.

I’d have these excruciating headaches for the rest of the day. But, a homie’s gotta hit Sage Mode.

It’s getting easier though. I’m only a week in. But, it’s been good. I’ll likely keep it up daily. I feel clearer after.

Sometimes I have these moments of “nothingness” where I’m truly thinking of nothing because I already thought through all my thoughts.

Hopefully, I can hit Sage Mode soon but I’m pretty far off right now. I’m not calling it meditation because meditation doesn’t sound exciting and Sage Mode is cool to me.

Books

Currently reading “The Everything Store” which is about Amazon’s rise and this book is a solid 8/10 so far 50% in. It just hypes me up. Sometimes as a founder I feel like I just need a never-ending supply of hype and books like these deliver that to me :).






dropped hot coffee from dunkin on my face mask

Hey everyone!

Last week, was Week 6 of classes @ Zip and we had 16,072 total class joins. That’s wild. Each class is 30 minutes which means we had 8036 hours watched on Zip last week. Our average concurrents per class were hovering around 500 students. We were peaking at 780 students in a single class.

Right now we have two problems:

Long term retention isn’t where I want it to be. Week 3 retention is 50% which is decent, but, it keeps going down week over week bit by bit. This doesn’t surprise me really. The only retention feature Zip has right now is the email I send out once a week. Plus, the product isn’t irresistible right now, it’s barely passable. But - the goal wasn’t to make an irresistible product in 7 weeks, it was to learn a lot about the end-user to make well-educated guesses around what we’d need to make it irresistible. It was also to learn how to efficiently produce educational child media which I had zero experience with. I’m feeling super confident on both fronts.

School is starting this week for most kids. What’s interesting is, our WAUs didn’t dip much this week. What dipped is the average # of classes students take per week which went from 7 in the summer time to 5 now. Might not sound like a lot but that’s a 28% dip. Talking to parents, this is mainly because Zip’s schedule collides with virtual/physical school schedule right now. Makes sense. We only cover a small % of hours per week right now. If Zip were 12 hours per week 7 days a week the average # of classes students take per week during the school year would actually go up, I think. We’d also begin to garner a more global audience. Already today, Zip has users in India, Canada, UK, and Saudi Arabia.

I’m at an interesting point with Zip.

I can 100% see the path to millions of paying users right now and see a world where in 3-6 years Zip is the place every kid wants to go and every parent will do anything to get their kid into. Well. I guess I already saw that 6 months ago but it’s more clear now.

I think I need to just keep talking to users, put together the dream team, and keep efficiently executing on a small # of really good ideas that cause the KPI to go up.

A quote to end :)

“Every great wizard in history has started out as nothing more than what we are now - students. If they can do it, why not us”

- Harry Potter

Song of the week is by my boy Safe Sin

boba tea leaking from my ceiling help

Sup lads. A little late but hey that’s okay.

Very busy week. I made a short-term move to Orlando, got a place for 7 months, and am just setting up shop here for the time being vs at my parent’s house in Miami. I was going to set up a home office at my new apartment, but, I learned from my previous company that you should never work where you live.

So, I found a really nice private office at a building right next door to my apartment building. $900 a month. Offices are 80% empty. Free coffee. It’s chill + safe from COVID I think b/c it’s super-low traffic and there are tons of safety precautions the building manager is taking.

Anyways.

Started charging for Zip last week to see what would happen. About ~14% of our WAUs (users who come back more than one week in a row) converted just like that via a single email and a sketchy Webflow link for $40 a month. So, went from $0 -> $5K MRR in under 48 hours.

Refunded them all today and canceled their subscriptions. It was just a test after all.

Just going to grow Zip as a free product, improve retention, optimize for heavy usage, and make it absolutely irresistible for kids and parents. I want to have the best product in the space.

Staying free vs growing paid is something I’ve thought a lot about, of course. It’s weird, I know.

I’m still solo. I don’t even have the bandwidth to charge right now. There are bigger problems at hand that I need to solve w/ the product. I’m going to go solve those. I’m not super worried about people giving me their $. I’m more worried about executing on the crazy ideas I have in my brain.

Plus, I think we can get to 100K WAUs by December 2020. Then, if 13.5% convert @ $40 a month (like they did last week) we’d be doing over $6M in ARR just like that.

The world needs Zip right now. Desperately. And, I don’t wanna stop people from using it b/c of a dumb paywall. I rather go viral, get users into our ecosystem, iterate with them, and make every single person who makes an account on Zip our #1 fan.

I wanna talk to everyone.

Learn. Learn. Learn.

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