Most of October was spent in research and interviewing mode, which meant more learning and less feature development. I had the chance to speak with a few competitive research teams, customer success leaders, marketing agencies, and product strategists. Thank you, everyone who chatted with me!
The overarching theme was "simplification". Most people are focused on solving specific, well-constrained problems in their day-to-day. They value solutions to those problems and often don't have the bandwidth (or interest) in deviating too far from that area to explore other opportunities. Sometimes, it's because there's no reward in the exploration, only costs and learning curves. Other times it's because those challenges fall outside of their area of ownership. On calls that veered into sales/pitching territory, I observed that people are interested only in a subset of features and capabilities related to their own work - that's where they ask the most detailed questions and where they project their own use cases.
Outside of that, I've also been dogfooding Recommended Systems, which has been illustrative as to where friction exists, where certain pre-set limits don't make sense, and where the real value and problem-solving comes from.
When I started Recommended Systems, the vision and roadmap stemmed from what I saw and needed as a founder and entrepreneur, solving many related but not necessarily overlapping problems. Those are all still valuable problems to solve! But these conversations have exposed the need to simplify and focus on overlapping capabilities and well-defined problems first, with any focus on expansion a distant second.
So in the spirit of iterative development and being responsive to new information, I'm focusing more on well-coordinated features that resonate with well-defined problems and areas of ownership. I'm particularly doubling down on expanding the competitive monitoring and sales enablement capabilities, which I'll talk about below the fold. You may have also seen our homepage get updated in response to this, and anyone logging in this week will see some of the features/designs that were present earlier start to get removed or reoriented.
Thanks for supporting this journey and following along.
Battlecards: Compare Cards
Battlecards take a bit of time to fill out, but once you do that they end up being extremely useful! As the cofounder of Dragon Blood Balm, I've been doing more sales and outreach to climbing gyms and outdoor/sports-specialty stores. More than once, I've had a location ask me, "what's the difference between you and [x]?"
With Battlecards comparisons, this becomes really easy to do. You can compare your information section by section to see where you stack up, where the similarities start, and where they end. I've started using this for sales calls as well and it's been helpful to have the information readily available.
Comparison charts are something that you find a lot of websites and B2B businesses making as well, and my goal is to be able to leverage this for some of those deliverables as well.
- Export to .pdf & .csv
- Compare multiple cards
- Compare by field (cross-section comparisons)
Battlecards: Template Editor
In addition to getting more mileage out of battlecards, I've learned that different products and different businesses need different kinds of fields. So I'm excited to finally roll out the Battlecards Template Editor, allowing you to add as many fields as you need. The new field editor is already live, and adding new fields will automatically add them to existing battlecards as well.
I'm also starting to experiment with better onboarding and help-text designs, starting here at the template editor.
- Drag & drop field sorting (pictured above)
- Add non-text fields
- Show/hide fields per battlecard
In the Pipeline
As mentioned in the beginning, October was more research, less development. But that doesn't mean that exciting things aren't happening. Just the opposite. I'm excited to say that there are a few highly-requested features coming in the next few weeks and months:
- Email newsletter monitoring
- News monitoring
- Better weekly alerts
- Updated plan limits (removing org limits)
- New onboarding features
- Best practice guides for maximum value
That's it for this week.
As always, we're excited to hear your feedback and ideas. Don't hesitate to reach out to firstname.lastname@example.org if anything comes to mind.