August 2012: Andre and Tom have an idea, a Social Network for Doers. We called it iM5!
Year 2013: Tom and Andre are able to raise some funding from friends and family and contribute from thier own persona savings to build iM5 for iOS and Android.
March 2014: iM5 launched at SXSW with 13,000+ downloads in the first day. Most of the volunteer team thinks iM5 is going to be a big success. Tom knows within a day that iM5 is destined to fail, our retention and engagemnet rates were terrible. iM5 was a confused product and did not solve a problem. iM5 is abadoned within 72 hours by our team.
January 2015: While iM5 was a failure we did learn people seemed to enjoy one aspect of iM5, the ability to discover what was happening around them. After interviewing and polling hundreds of people in the social landscape, it seemed clear there was a need for a type of local events app, a more granular facebook events. Tom spends the remainder most 2015 prototyping what we thought would be the next version of iM5.
October 2015: Coding of a MVP of the new product begins.
February 2016: After wresting with the brand identity for many months, Suggest It, Local Suggestions for What’s Happening becomes the new name and tagline.
July 2016: Suggest It launches in Park City, Utah as an experiement to measure market fit. Through social media outreach Suggest It reaches 2000 downloads in the first two weeks, a sample size large enough to measure our traction.
August 2016: 20% of Suggest It’s users visit the app each day. Our hall of famer Rebecca populates content into the app every day and the 20% of our users consume the content and occaisonally engage with other users using the commenting feature. Suggest It is designed for users to “suggest” and publish new content, but only a handful of our active users contribute.
September 2016: After encouraging businesses to publsih content in Suggest It, it becomes clear we build a feature, and not a product that would form the foundation of a sustainable business. Even if we could monetize, the path towards sustainability seems overwhelming and impossible for a company with limited resources. The Suggest It app is abadoned after 8 weeks of activity.
October 2016: During weeks of post mortem analyisis, we realize most people did enjoy Suggest It and the ability to connect with other users. We come away with confidence in having build an app with modest market fit and clearly well liked.
Late 2016 - Early 2017: We conducted focus groups with students at the University of Utah and a couple frats and sororitys. We showcased an eveolved prototype of Suggest It targeted for Universities. Most of the students are not impressed with our product and suggested we should instead focus on improving group messaging. The majority of students use GroupMe out of necesity but are not satisfied with the product itself, Between the disorganized chat and constant notification the consensus was a improved group messaging product was needed.
February 2017: Prototyping, competitor research, and user interviews begin for a concept messaging app. We determine our goal is to build the most effective short-form group messaging product. The new app would require 4 core improvements over existing messaging applications (1) A community hook, to discover groups by location. (2) Pure threaded messaging to keep conversations/topics organized. (3) Excellent notification controls. (4) Needs to delight users with an enjoyable experierence.
October 2017: MVP version 1.0 of LOOP Messenger is released. From our previous learnings, our goal using a small sample size and little marketing expenses (We didnt have any money left) to determine whether LOOP would achive market fit.
February 2018: After making continued improvements and testing various market segments from college students, local sports teams, clubs and dozens of groups become established using LOOP. While our smaple size is small, upon reviewing our user analytics is become clear LOOP has strong engagment and retention rates when groups with 6 or more users have adopted the app.
March 2018: Upon deeper research and speaking with our users, it’s clear LOOP version 1.0 is incomplete and has some critical shortcomings. We identify 11 user experience issues that are preventing new users from becoming actively engaged users. These 11 issues are labled as the “Onboarding Chasm”.
April - May 2018: We are at a crossroads. Without any encouragment, the active groups on LOOP continue to use the appliction on a regualr basis and it’s evident market fit in a modest scale has been achived. However, we are out of money and we do not have the resources to evolve the applicationss and solve our onboarding chasm issues.
May 2018: Reluctant to shut LOOP down and move on, Tom has
December 2018: The LOOP team is actively working towards releasing version 2.0 on iOS and Android, along with development of an web applciation
Contrary to popular lore, most products find market fit and success after years of experimentation.
LOOP has evolved from this common reality and is not an overnight wonder.