Know how to succeed companies and projects with minority, case of Pocket

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You can save the page you care about so you can read it even when you are offline from another smartphone etc.PocketHas more than 20 million users and stores more than 2 billion contents on various websites and SNS, but contrary to the scale of service, the current Pocket is only 20 employees It is supported. It is CEO of such PocketNate WinerMr. thinks, "What should I do to leave a few exquisite and big results?"First Round CapitalIt is summarized in.

The Story Behind How Pocket Hit 20 M Users with 20 People - First Round Review

Eight years have elapsed since Pocket's service began to be available in 2015. During that four-year period, Pocket employees are only Mr. Winer, starting with a website and developing iOS applications, millions of users We had done it all by yourself, until support of. When four years passed since the service began to increase the number of personnel, Mr. Winer seemed to have felt as "five people are too much", "Why do I have to work with 10 people to do the work I can do alone?" Was it questionable? " From the beginning, it was based on the following idea that Mr. Weiner, who assumed that "to expand the scale of the company with a small number of elite", succeeded in making Pocket successful.

◆ To be focused on few people or to assume that

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In 2015, Pocket has more than 20 projects. In other words, it was more than the number of employees. The company has to keep fighting regardless of the scale, but if it is a large-scale company, decide on leaders, assign engineers to each work, advance work with the work, and work The process will increase. Mr. Weiner's view that start-ups, which require promptness, can focus on the job itself with fewer personnel, and can respond promptly and prioritize accurately.

As the first quarter of 2015 has passed, the progress of the entire Pocket project is not very good. But at such time I learned that "Mozilla wants to be able to use Pocket in all versions of Firefox" and narrow down the focus of the entire team to "one with Firefox". For small-scale companies, if you think that it's worth concentrating on one project, it is important to explore ways you can do something. In the case of Pocket, work was done quickly by concentrating the whole team on integration with Firefox, not only was it possible to perform high quality work but also the employees' spirit increased. With that momentum I was able to get to the next project and I was able to raise the efficiency in the end rather than doing a project in a shared manner.

The same can be said for large-scale companies, even if we have 100 employees, remembering when all the employees were in one room, "Should we all go to this project?" Mr. Weiner's idea is that if the answer "Yes" is returned to the self asking, "You should concentrate on one project." As large companies can afford, we will allocate personnel to "things I do not need to do now". However, companies of small size are forced to concentrate "to eliminate waste", and conversely, it will be a strength. Think of "projects that create" change "in the next 90 days" every quarter and move towards the best possible assumptions.

◆ To solidify the foundation of my own culture, but to increase what I can do

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Mr. Winer who was founded by one person was the only person who took charge of corporate culture, so I was able to do a dense cultural formation in the development stage of Pocket. Pocket's corporate culture is "trust", "being challenging" and "directly managing Pocket", but this can be said to be the nature of Mr. Winer itself.

As many startups continue to operate the company, fields that can not be done at all are expected to come along the way. In the case of Pocket the design hit it. Mr. Weiner who had experience in engineering and product creation, but since he had no experience in designing, he hired Nicky as the designer for the first time. She redesigned Pocket's design which consisted of yellow and black and continues to be in charge of the current Pocket design. "We need to hire people who do not have value to ourselves," Mr. Winer said.

Pocket who hired people after consolidating the foundation of corporate culture, but by employing multiple people who are sufficient for "trust" which is one of Pocket's corporate culture, we will work even without Ms. Winer and decide It was able to do. For those who trust and respect each other, Mr. Weiner said that by talking, Mr. Winer alone could create a better solution than thinking about a solution to the problem.

As companies with smaller sizes grow, they will have to look to the good side of corporate culture. And, these corporate cultures are greatly related not only to the ease of work but also to the completeness of the product.

◆ Make things simple and easy

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Pocket has become a service that now has many users by partnering with many net services such as Twitter and Firefox. And now, there is a chance that Mr. Winer is unable to hold even the number of employees doubled. When the start-up is in this state, the CEO's possible means are "to hire large numbers of people" and "to improve the platform". Mr. Winer's advice will be useful for the CEO who chooses the latter.

The guideline when Pocket makes a decision is "How can we realize everything in a simple way?" One of them is the development of proprietary API, when Rakuten asked "Can you integrate Kobo and Pocket in two months?", It is normal to write a code from 1 in the team's total, It was realized in two weeks thanks to the development of API which can be integrated with many net services with one code.

According to Mr. Winer, the ideal is "the company can integrate arbitrarily without contacting Mr. Winer and the team." By introducing a simple solution, we will be able to deal with many problems with small numbers of people.

However, deriving a simple method that can be dealt with without human involvement is different from completely automating the startup. Pocket creates add-ons with the goal of partnering with Firefox, updating many times, showing Pocket's history and data, so that we can integrate with Firefox, we need to manipulate it in person.

In addition, the partnership will settle the contract, but the relationship will begin there. For example, in the case of Pocket, Apple and Google maintain transparency so that you can understand that "Pocket is looking at the market right now". Doing so makes it easier for partner companies to make contacts when they think "do this," and Pocket itself is also easier to get to work. "We are thinking about ways to provide services to our partners and how they will help us grow," Mr. Winer said.

◆ Thinking about "how users grow the company"


For small companies, users can be "one who develops products to the next stage." Therefore, if there is a beta channel, it is important to make it an interactive format that can be developed jointly, not a one-way street. "In the early stage Pocket was a product like a falling waterfall, once a year we will do a big release and in the next 6 months we will go underground and develop big things again and announce it. The thing was accepted by the user, but we thought that we should face more frequently, "Mr. Winer said. In the case of a small company, the user is both a beneficiary and a cooperator. By making the service more open, Pocket has become able to look at solutions to problems for growth, not looking for details.

By having a relationship with the user, Pocket, which only released once a year, changed to release every 5 to 6 weeks. It is difficult to put the product in perfect condition before opening it to the public. Pocket was aiming for releasing in a perfect state once, but now I understand that even if there is a bug in the product, everything is not going to be bad.

Rather than doing big releases at once, repeating releases in small pieces makes it possible for users to provide feedback, and also understands that users can hear their feedback. With this mechanism, users are not "people who use products unilaterally" but "one of the remote teams".

In addition, in case of Pocket, it not only collects feedback from users, but actually uses feedback as a guideline for product roadmap. It seems to investigate the reaction from the user and to incorporate the function into the beta version actually, so it is not just "to listen", but to truly mean "to listen to the user's voice" the importance of Mr. Winer I am preaching. Users who comment "I do not like this" may not indicate a solution, but if you read the text to the end, there is a possibility that a piece of a big challenge is shown there.

For example, at the top of the Pocket application, two tabs were newly added, "MYLIST" and "RECOMMENDED", which was born as a result of investigating the voice from the user. There was a problem of which part of the screen to attach the function, but if you attach a button to the bottom of the screen, the positional relationship of the other buttons will be incorrect, so the problem that the thumb is difficult to reach It seems that the function was placed at the top of the screen while holding it.

And there are three important things when investigating user's voice, the first is to divide the user into winds like "casual user", "core user", "user who does not use much service". Second, when conducting a questionnaire, content should be completed so that it can answer within 5 minutes. And the third is to provide multiple feedback methods such as "feedback button", "mail", "popup". Regarding the third one in particular, Pocket has a feature that pop-ups are displayed in the style of "Hey. Everything OK?" When the user has left the application open for 5 minutes or more .

As mentioned above, there are ways to be forced to focus on the project with a small number of people, to be able to integrate even if the surrounding net service does not contact Pocket, to develop together with the user By taking, Pocket has expanded the size of the company without increasing the number of employees.

"In the past I said that people around the world are impossible when I said" I will incorporate the function to read later ", but a few years later I integrated Firefox and Pocket," said Wainner Like many startup CEOs, he has a huge dream. "I now want to increase the scale of the service so that as many people can use the platform as much as possible and I want them to not only enjoy the product but also help the development I think that it is possible if there are hundreds of partners and the help of millions of users, it is possible. "Mr. Winer said that he will continue to operate the company with a few elite people in the future.

in Note, Posted by darkhorse_log