This food has product-market fit: A manifesto
A few months back, over some BBQ from Prairie Fire and a couple of beers, my co-founder Tomasz and I got together to discuss the status of Taskable. We had soft-launched our initial idea, which was a way to instantly hire MBA students to help out with business tasks. The response had been underwhelming, and we realised that we weren't really in love with the idea.
What we did know was that we wanted to work on something together, but weren't 100% sure what that thing was. Perhaps breaking a cardinal sin of startups, we kept kicking around problems we had in an effort to uncover what to work on next.
We quickly discovered something that was annoying both us. Given we both had day jobs (in my case working with 3 different clients), as well as this side project, staying on top of everything was tricky. Having multiple accounts on Slack, Asana etc. made it even harder to find the things we needed to get work done.
When we started discussing this problem, it became so apparent to us. Why didn't something like this already exist? A single dashboard into all the various tools you use at work, and in your personal life? Something you can take with you from job to job, and even use in your personal life. Something that provided calm that nothing was slipping through the cracks because you forgot to check the right Slack or email.
The real MVP
Over about an hour, Tom and I began to outline our vision for the first version of the product. It will provide users with a way to integrate Slack and Gmail and pick the incoming messages that they want to turn into actions quickly. We'll next add integrations into the popular project and task management tools so users can aggregate tasks, files and conversations, all in one place. We'll move quickly to add more and more integrations and make Taskable more widely usable for our initial target audience of freelancers, founders and advisors.
We then spent a couple of weeks talking to as many people as we could, mom testing our idea. We found lots of other people like us, having the same problem, wishing for the same type of solution.
The problem/the solution
The problem we are attacking is reasonably straightforward. The information needed to get work done was fragmented across tools. This problem was particularly annoying if, like us, you had multiple instances of Slack, Asana and Gmail. When we came into work in the morning and tried to outline our day, we spent too much time searching across these tools to find everything we needed. When we went searching for it, we got sucked into rabbit holes of Slack messages, email distractions, and wrong document versions.
We want to give everyone a way to unify the actions they need to complete and quickly connect them to the information and context they need to complete those actions. And we want to do it with fewer distractions so people can get work done more quickly and have time for other stuff that's important to them.
We believe a few things:
- Signal > Noise: We want to help work be less noisy and distracting. Reduce notifications and put the information where it needs to be without making a big deal out of it.
- Actions > Plans: The problem with so many workplace tools is that they optimise for communication over action. Slack's slogan of "where work happens" is tad misleading. No one is doing work in Slack, they are discussing work that needs to be done. We want to make it easy to turn that discussion into a plan of action, even if you aren't monitoring Slack 24/7
- Personal > Company: You shouldn't have to squeeze your workflows around the tools your company chooses. We want Taskable to be customizable to fit your needs, portable across workplaces, and aggregate all the work you need to get done.
We are making good progress. We hope to release the first version of the product to test by the middle of January. We'll put it through its paces internally, and ensure it is ready to go out to a broader audience.
If you haven't yet, we hope you'll pre-register. We will send you updates on our progress as we get closer to the launch of our alpha.