The best product few people have ever used 👀
This month 👾 Monzo’s growth secrets | Scaling a startup with no code | YC founder accountability template | 4 months to $40k + loads more…
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I'm a big fan of Monzo and have been since it was initially called Mondo in 2015. They later got a trademark challenge and rebranded to Monzo. In 2015 I sneaked my way into their alpha launch and managed to snag a test card (#314). Monzo has had its fair share of ups and downs over the past few years but seems to be bouncing back.
Tom Bloomfield, co-founder and ex-CEO wrote a fascinating and rare blog post recently which goes into great detail about how the founding team got its first users to how it hit one million customers in just 3 years. I guess their growth strategy worked given I had to lie my way into the launch party. It's a fascinating read and if you only have time to read one thing let it be this. (5min read)
🎁 Bonus read: A week in the life of a PM at Monzo
It's been four years since Jon and Justin launched Transistor - a podcast publishing platform. After 6 months of building the platform in their spare time while working their day jobs, they publically launched. After 1 month of launching they had 46 paying customers sign up; earning about $1,400 a month. They forecasted it would take five years to get to $21,000 in monthly recurring revenue (enough for them to go full-time). After listening to their customers and building out their feature set, just 2 months after they achieved their goal of $21k in MRR they quit their jobs to go full-time.
When self-funding a startup, you're caught between two realities: investing real time and money into the product, but the product isn't yet giving you anything back.
Their dream was to build an independent podcast hosting company. This is their story. (4min read)
🎁 Bonus content: Check out Justin's brutalist-themed photocopied personal website
Microsoft just launched its open-sourced library of more than 1,500 of its 3D emojis, making them free for us creators to remix and build upon. All of their 1,538 emoji libraries are currently available on Figma and GitHub in a move that Microsoft hopes will encourage more creativity and inclusivity in the emoji space. The file includes a portion of the full set - Smileys & Emotion, Body, Animals. Creators will be able to take most of Microsoft’s bright and colorful 3D emoji and remix them into stickers, use them in content, or create unique sets of emoji.
Justin Mares discovered a great template from Y Combinator. It's actually for their cohort of startup founders and teams to use for their weekly sprint updates, however, Justin quite rightly pointed out it "feels like this sort of fast, informal accountability + reporting would be super useful to a lot of people who have just started working on something new." I love this idea of personal/ team accountability each week. It even works great for side projects making sure you turn up each week and try.
Are you launched?
How many weeks till launch?
How many customers did you talk to last week & what did you learn from them
1-10 what is your morale
What has most improved your primary metric
What is your biggest obstacle right now
What are your top 1-3 goals for next week
I recreated the template on Notion which you duplicate for free here. I made some minor improvements to the questions outlined above. Let me know what you think.
A colleague recently shared this short YouTube vid by Kenan Saleh - previously founder HaloCars and now Head of Lyft Media. Picture this, in just 10 months Kenan whilst at college creates an advertising startup selling rideshare ad space to brands and gets acquired by Lift. What's even more impressive is he built his entire product with a bunch of no-code tools, including, Zapier, Airtable, TypeForm, Gmail and Twilio to name a few. In this video, he shares his entire tech stack and how he's continued to leverage no code tools at Lyft.
Last month I shared a link to the Midjourney beta but this month I actually gave it a shot and it's pretty mindblowing. Unlike DALL-E it seems everyone can get access. Interestingly they use Discord as a means to interact with the tool. I simply type in the descriptive words and in a few seconds I can see my words come to life in the form of artwork. Not even my incredible wordsmithing can explain the capabilities of this tool so let me show you instead. Check out Jeff Han's portfolio of designs created with Midjourney. I would happily part with my cash for some of these prints. I'm blown away by some of the AI generative art tools that have recently launched and it's still in its infancy.
Stable Diffusion also announced its public open source release which you can give a shot now.
🎁 Bonus content: Check out this machine learning art, it's mesmerising. I want this in a 60inch digital frame playing in a loop.
Do you ever wonder what technology some of the most successful startups in the world are using? Well, Arsen Kolyba is a Product Designer currently building companies.tools. A site which curates the tools used by some of the best tech teams in the world. I've been nerding out on this site for waaay too long but found some interesting new tools I haven't heard of before which I almost certainly will be giving a shot in the near future. Currently, it boasts 23 categories and over 300 products.
This month’s latest early access beta products brought you by Beta Directory are:
Vani: The visual home where teams create and work together.
Outverse: Built for the next generation of online communities.
Airdropr: The no-code web3 marketing stack.
👾 Friends of Creator Club
This month I want to give a shout-out to Microns - created by Ilya. If you're looking to buy or sell a micro-startup check out the Microns marketplace. I'm a subscriber to their newsletter and look forward to seeing the latest projects for sale. Better still, if you're looking to sell there are no fees!
🐽 Other links to consume
🐦 Tweet of the month
Hassan Bhatti shared this fascinating thread which breakdowns a challenge from a Stanford business professor to his class in 2009. How would you approach this challange? You have $5 and 2 hours to make as much profit as possible. I have to say I don't think I would have thought of the winning idea.
This month I'm going to leave you the 93 Apple Newton MessagePad. Ye that's right the OG iPad. The Newton was conceived on an airplane. That’s where Michael Tchao pitched the idea to Apple’s CEO, John Sculley, in early 91. The company would announce it the following year. However, the product was killed shortly after. But it wasn't just killed, it was violently murdered, dragged into a closet by its hair and kicked to death by Steve Jobs on his return to Apple in 97.
Key features included email, fax, notes, and the ability to recognize and interpret words written on its screen (badly).
That's it for this month!
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Until next month,
Sam | @thisdickie 👨💻