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The Cheezus Thread - A Startup Journey

Discussion in 'Careers, Employment and Professional Development' started by randomshenans, 18 Jan 2021.

  1. dirtychinchilla

    Capodecina

    Joined: 2 May 2011

    Posts: 10,544

    Location: Woking, Surrey

    Ah very good.
     
  2. randomshenans

    Capodecina

    Joined: 11 Sep 2009

    Posts: 12,774

    Location: France, Alsace

    Still here. Still going.

    Trying to get everyone up to speed and effectively working in distributed teams, with little existing process (it was just me of course before) is a slog but we're getting there. Slowly.

    Had the Virtual Cheese Awards last week, which actually provided some nice connections. One of whom runs about 6 companies; an IT company, a classic car renovation company, has part ownership of a creamery, same with a salmon farm in scotland and also runs Cheshire Cheese Company. He takes on all marketing and online presence for cheese producers. Sets up sites, stores, channels and social and makes sure they tell the cheese producers story. He represents about 650 cheese producers in the UK doing this and would love to be one of the first people to get their cheese sold through cheezus and is willing to help make that happen.
    This has kicked me up the butt to get to that point, so trying to work out the best way to make this happen. Lists are being made. Things are being done. Hoping we can do a 3 month turn around on this massive feature... that's my aim!

    We have a new version due to be released any day now too. Just waiting on a final small change and Android will be live and then we can submit to Apple for their oh so fun process.

    The list I made today:
    • Drop Simon a note to follow up - ask about joint competition
    • Get @Ahmad Tawfik and @Dan Moffatt together to work out best route to selling/ buying
    • @Mina Booth to send contact of scottish cheese man
    • @Ross to catch up with Kara from VCAs
    • @Ross Redo the descriptions for app stores to make it more clear
    • Release latest changes of Cheezus to app stores (iOS and Android) - @Ahmad Tawfik & @Ross
    • Create Amazon affiliate for Cheezus - Send details to @Roshni - @Ross
    • @Ross work with @Dan Moffatt to put in place best code commiting/ working/ releasing process
    • Start working with @Roshni on some outline basic modeling for projections - also with @Mina Booth to make sure our % structure makes sense from a margins point of view per sale etc.
    • Create strategy with @Mina Booth for what goes on what channel (web, app, social) and what joins them together cohesively.
    • @Ross work on customer journey for both buying and selling (consumers and cheese producers) to aid Ahmad and Dan's work
    • anything else Ross decides to add - adding jira items, updating confluence, adding logins/ accounts to 1password etc.
    Keep pushing on! The demand seems to be there from sellers and producers. Need to make it slick and improve the experience for consumers and we'll get closer to the goal!
     
  3. Martynt74

    Capodecina

    Joined: 20 Feb 2004

    Posts: 17,279

    Location: Higher Walton

    The fact there's so much interest from people in industry is exciting. Helps to see a real tangible end goal.
     
  4. randomshenans

    Capodecina

    Joined: 11 Sep 2009

    Posts: 12,774

    Location: France, Alsace

    Yea, totally and I need those things to keep me going :p but it's been really nice to hear. Essentially focus is on creating value for them without the barriers. So using tech to make sure they don't have the overhead to get on board.

    I've been trying to explore some funding from grants, as there are funds for agricultural efficiencies, which covers supply chain and improving revenue opportunities (which isn't via evil supermarkets who ruin all producers). It's a mine field though, so I've got Roshni on it :D Especially now post Brexit. It's impossible to work out but see what she comes up with.

    Gitlab all setup and looking to get Dan and Ahmad all working together properly and not locally, in a bad, non scalable way :p

    Also done some work on rough UI for producers / sellers:



    Now need to work on what it looks like for a producer/ seller on the backend...
     
  5. Omega_

    Gangster

    Joined: 8 Oct 2018

    Posts: 222

    Location: Bolton

    Love reading the updates as do others keep us in the loop! Very good progress and lots of hard work done. Looks like you still got a long way to go but very interesting seeing the journey. best of luck!
     
  6. taB

    Hitman

    Joined: 2 Apr 2009

    Posts: 740

  7. randomshenans

    Capodecina

    Joined: 11 Sep 2009

    Posts: 12,774

    Location: France, Alsace

    Haha you're the second person to send this to me on this!

    Thank you man! I appreciate that a lot.

    I have more updates, but no time to type them at the moment. **** has all gone a bit mental at the day job. I'll post in Business & moment when I get a moment and update here too.

    Little update: Android version now should be up to date and latest. iOS one was being worked on yesterday, hopefully have it submitted for review today pending Ahmad's productivity!
     
  8. randomshenans

    Capodecina

    Joined: 11 Sep 2009

    Posts: 12,774

    Location: France, Alsace

    Trying to sort out Ahmad getting this iOS release out (which I have to say he does via a space macbook of mine and teamviewer as he has no mac :D )is a mission at the moment. I just want it out so we can draw a line under it and do a backlog groom and look at how we can hit our 3 month goal of getting this buying/ selling solution out the door. He said the other day. He did some, and then said tomorrow. Then it was today. Now it's today or tomorrow. Dan is trying to set up his environment so he can best understand what has been done and how, so he can help build off that too. Yet it's painful for this as well. For some reason he's really defensive...

    [​IMG]

    Sigh.

    I spend so long trying to get him to understand this ****. He's actually the only ****** getting paid lol

    He quoted for the whole deliverables, which he's about half way through. Next he was going to work on translation / localisation of the app, but we think he should now focus his efforts on helping get us closer to a revenue generation source, rather than what was the plan (which is more focused on scaling to other countries). Having looked at opportunities, fastest route to revenue is the wisest, we can build on that and the translation / language/ localisation stuff will come, just not before buying and selling options.

    I've done some super late nights at the day job this week, so hoping now I can really focus on some user journey mapping and UI stuff, so at least we can jump right into delivery as soon as I can get Ahmad to push this stuff out!
     
  9. sb89

    Gangster

    Joined: 24 May 2011

    Posts: 252

    "But what if I don't like him to work on my source code" - red flag there.
     
  10. randomshenans

    Capodecina

    Joined: 11 Sep 2009

    Posts: 12,774

    Location: France, Alsace

    Oh totally. This is why I'm trying to get everything centralised and this main release done for now. Then we work from there. I need to keep all things good to get this out and for a knowledge share and then at least Dan can crack on without us feeling hostage to him, which I feel we are currently. I'll get there, and when we are not so dependent, we can get him to do parts we need and carry on with other things at the same time, rather than at the moment being at a halt until he sorts his **** out.
     
  11. randomshenans

    Capodecina

    Joined: 11 Sep 2009

    Posts: 12,774

    Location: France, Alsace

    iOS updates are out. I've told him to now forget previous deliverables so we can look at fastest way to our new goal of buying options. I want to find some time between thurs / friday afternoon where him, Dan and I can get together and do some knowledge sharing, some upskilling and backlog grooming. Right now it's my biggest blocker which I'm trying to remove so we can increase cadence as it's frustrating as hell.

    Either way, we closed out May with OK growth. We just need to keep the focus on but fire fighting is frustrating and feeling like I'm not being productive as well which isn't helpful.

    Hey ho, progress is progress. Keep on pushing.
     
  12. randomshenans

    Capodecina

    Joined: 11 Sep 2009

    Posts: 12,774

    Location: France, Alsace

    Had a really good chat with Dan and Ahmad last night, next stuff is on me before they can get going, so obviously my aim is to get that out as fast as possible so I spent last night working on the user journey for the buyer / app side of buying cheese which is:

    [​IMG]

    Might have missed some things off, but that's pretty much it.

    Now tonight I need to get the user journey done from a seller's perspective and then crack on with some rough design stuff on both in XD and then we can crack on. The main things at the moment are the user journeys so they can work out how to do it.

    I am hopeful we're back to cooking on gas and hopefully I can up the pace on things now.
     
  13. randomshenans

    Capodecina

    Joined: 11 Sep 2009

    Posts: 12,774

    Location: France, Alsace



    Done a fair bit more on the user journeys as well as some of the golden path (of sorts) for buying cheese! Now need to flash out some more of the edge case options (adding payment method, address, promo code, errors, removing / editing basket stuff, and all the other possible paths) but it's getting there. I'll try and finish some more of this off tonight and then start to build out the UI side of things for the sellers, too. Then I will kick it off properly and stop blocking these guys building it!
     
  14. randomshenans

    Capodecina

    Joined: 11 Sep 2009

    Posts: 12,774

    Location: France, Alsace

  15. dLockers

    Soldato

    Joined: 21 Jan 2010

    Posts: 7,464

  16. randomshenans

    Capodecina

    Joined: 11 Sep 2009

    Posts: 12,774

    Location: France, Alsace

    July has been what I thought I would say "a so-so month" but in the end it's been very positive. It started poorly, with my off the radar trying to focus on not having a mental breakdown and **** just generally getting the better of me at home, I wasn't doing great on any front so this kind of didn't seem important. Having said that I am working on me and that's a long old road so back I got on that cheesy horse and slapped it's ***!

    Social grew - instagram was a small 2% growth but engagement on that audience was up. So overall positive. I got back into posting and scheduling regularly, which I think has helped.
    LinkedIn up 7% which is good and again, engagement is high on those. Right audience as well, for producers and suppliers, which is a positive.

    App downloads started slowly but we've just passed 1000 to 1019 now. Huge numbers? No. Gains? Yes. We started on 272 at the end of last year. It was in the appstores from March I think it was, so 10 months to get 272 and we're tripled that number inside half that time. Got to look at the positives and the cost has been fairly low (sponsoring cheese awards biggest cost, rest is all time).

    This made me dig more into the appstores though. Android we ranked about 120th for "cheese " and 108th for "cheese app" (in the UK, in the US it was something like 92nd and 120th)- which is awful. This means that every time people search cheese app, or cheese, they'll never find us! No wonder I feel this 1000 users has been a slog - why am I not putting more effort into people finding the app when they search the app store? Do people search a lot for Cheese or Cheese app in the UK and US? (main countries I'm focusing on as a start)
    Yes, they do.
    In fact, in the US c.36,764 people search for "cheese" each day in the Play Store and 6,918 people search for cheese app. A day!!
    In the UK it's a lot smaller, but not insignificant at all. 7621 searches a day for cheese and 783 for cheese app.

    Hell, I'm bitching about gaining 750 users I've fought c. 7 months for when I have people literally looking for this stuff daily!? What an idiot!!

    Since I have started looking at this I've been working on purely these 2 markets and the key words cheese and cheese app. With Android I've moved up our ranking to 4th in the UK for cheese app while we're still at 115th for cheese. It's up 5, but not good and will take some time to improve the ranking. The US is up too; 8th for cheese app and 120th for cheese. So you can see the improvement. I'm going to be working on iOS as well but just started that. We are so bad on that one we don't even fall in the top 250!! Dammmn!

    Aim to get us in at 1st place for both terms in both stores... I hope!

    On the iOS side 42k people search for cheese a day in the US and 8k people search for cheese app. The UK has 8k for cheese and 800 for cheese app. Again, per day. Imagine the numbers we could pull in if we improved this?

    Other pluses are; I completed all the UI and user journey for buying / selling cheeses - we've got a plan and broken it down. We're going to start with a woocommerce sync from producers woocommerce instances to one we run and will use their APIs to push all this to our app too. Makes it very easy and actually pretty good to setup. Don't need to recreate payment gateways, Dbs etc. We're on this now.

    As well as this I've started getting producers emailing me asking if we can chat about getting their stuff on the app, so further validation from that side we're building something useful for them. Lots of improvements to do, but we're getting there slowly now I've kicked myself again!

    Just wanted to check in and share. I like to do this for me and if it can help people, it's always good. I admit when I could have done things better. I'm sure focusing on app store presence from the start would have pushed us in numbers much further along than we are but hey, lesson learned!
     
  17. randomshenans

    Capodecina

    Joined: 11 Sep 2009

    Posts: 12,774

    Location: France, Alsace

    We are getting some decent results from the app store work I've done...

    [​IMG]

    While it's been a meh few weeks so far for me sorting my **** out I haven't stopped the key things I need to do. I now just need to plan out the work. We've done some estimates on the sync work to do. Now to get Ahmad on the work and fixing some **** while building out new ****.

    Happy with that growth, but still a lot of work to do on the iOS store presence. Next release I'll tidy up the listing and that as keywords aren't ranking like I want them and you can't change it without releasing a new build.

    Had a great call with a very good chat with some producers too about getting on the app. They're super keen so now pull out the stops to build the damn thing out more.

    I might take some time off work and crack on with the planning of it all.
     
  18. randomshenans

    Capodecina

    Joined: 11 Sep 2009

    Posts: 12,774

    Location: France, Alsace

    Had a really good meeting with the guys on Weds and did a backlog grooming. A lot of bugs we did estimates on and kicked off a longer 4 weekly sprint due to Dan's time being spread out more. Ahmad cracked on and this weekend got a lot of the minor fixes knocked out. Have a couple more to do and then we can crack on with breaking down the epic of cheese buying. It's getting slowly closer though...

    While they're doing that, I try my hand at anything and obviously doing app store stuff has been on my plate. With that I wanted to not only improve how we ranked but our conversion rate in the app store, so I updated all our screenshots etc. in the listings. Android allows you to do it on the fly but iOS of course you need to push a release. Which, to be fair, is something we'll be doing a lot more as this also improves the ranking on apples app store. All about trying to make it work best. I need to learn the real tips for iOS before we push this release this week but slowly learning.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    On top of that I've updated all cheeses in our backend that were without details and this week I need to add some new cheeses that I have been putting out on our social and finish some UI stuff for the cheese buying. I have some bits and pieces I need to work out, like how existing cheeses tie into products for sale and what that link looks like and how it will be displayed. So this week I'll work that out.

    Either way, decent week. We're still growing nicely and the app store work is definitely paying off.

    Did this last week and doing it again this week. Not 100% for this, I have a lot of life admin going on at the moment but still it's helpful to have some time to look at some of this on a day when I can schedule nothing else.
     
  19. FoxEye

    Caporegime

    Joined: 17 Feb 2006

    Posts: 28,285

    Location: Cornwall

    Interesting read.

    Seems that making an app is 5% making an app, and 95% marketing and social media... at least that's the impression I'm getting.
     
  20. randomshenans

    Capodecina

    Joined: 11 Sep 2009

    Posts: 12,774

    Location: France, Alsace

    Making an app is 100% making an app.

    Building a business is different... an app is simply a customer channel for that business. Our aim is to make it a valuable one so people use it to purchase as it provides them value. At the same time, we'll be monetizing our other customer channels, too. Which is why we build up all channels with the work I'm doing. No matter what the business, you build an audience and monetize it. Make sense?

    It's not always done like that... but in one way or another your sales funnel will look similar. Happy to answer any questions though.