washing my Honda accord with bottled water rn

Hey all! Sorry for no newsletter the last two weeks.

I’ll give you the quick whats up with me. The good and the bad.

The Bad

Honestly I’ve been fucking up when it comes to shipping product these last two weeks. The product hasn’t changed at all in in many ways I’ve gone backwards these last two weeks. Please learn from following mistakes, I know I will.

Perhaps it was the distraction around raising money or perhaps it was just me going crazy staying at home 24/7. I made a somewhat questionable decision last week to literally redo our backend so it’d use Postgres instead of Firebase purely because I know I can ship features faster w/ Postgres. I don’t think redoing the backend was the problem, the problem was that I shifted focus away from existing users. I took “redoing the backend” as an excuse to change the product. I had this loop that was working where:

potential user enters Zip via ad -> they sign up for free lessons -> they get new lessons every week.

Simple. Easy. It worked.

Instead of just making this loop stronger I literally abandoned it and came up with a whole new loop in my head where:

potential user enters Zip via ad -> they’re able to “subscribe” to different lesson plans (ex. addition w/ single digits, sight words, specific letters, etc) -> they get update emails when we add new activities to the things they’re subscribed to.

This is fucked and I see that now and I hope everyone can see that.

Perhaps my new idea was good, but that’s not the point. The point is I threw away something that was working and changed up my whole mindset around the product short-term. Like a damn fool.

Anyways, there’s that. I feel like startups never talk about this stuff because they’re ashamed but I don’t really care. No use in hiding stuff.

The Good

Two weeks ago, Zip got into a pretty awesome accelerator and we raised some money from them which was perfect timing because I had like $3K left in my account. So, we won’t be dying for at least the next few months which is awesome because this lets me focus purely on product + users. I don’t have to worry if my next DoorDash order will be my last or if I can afford to hire new teachers.

Up Next

So, I can’t really afford to be making these sort of costly mistakes that cost me 7-10 days. It’s really messed up. To myself, to the space, and to potential users. Homeschooling needs to exist. Homeschooling needs to be easier. Parents needs what I’m making now.

In any case, I’m pretty hyped for whats coming up. I’ve been talking to users and figuring out a lot of cool directions Zip could go. Live teacher sessions, legal + compliance software, and premium lessons around niche topics. It’s not like we’re finding a dead end when it comes to features users want + will pay for :).

This next week, I just want to focus on lesson plans and at least get back to where I was 2 weeks ago + have a clearer more stable product. I think lesson plans are immensely important because they drive all our traffic right now and have decent traction. I just want to make that loop really strong. If I can get 1000s of parents using Zip to teach their child, damn, I know I can build on that and continue iterating towards and immensely successful product.

Just gotta focus…

See yah next week.