Like most products, the idea for Taskable started as a problem. There is a moment in time I will always remember as the catalyst for focusing on our particular problem.
I was sitting at my desk, trying to complete a simple task. I needed some basic information to complete this task. But, I had no idea where that information was. Did someone add it as a comment in Asana? No, not there. Maybe it was Slack? Now I'm drowning in a million notifications that need my attention. And Slack search sucks. Still can't find it. Surely that info I need is in my Gmail then? Now I'm answering emails, and yet no sign of the information. Hours later, I still haven't found it, and I've wasted a bunch of time.
It's like those dreams you have where a monster is chasing you, and you know you can escape if you just run. But you can't. You are paralyzed. You are sitting at your desk watching yourself be unproductive. What you need to get done is so simple. If you just had the right information, without navigating across all these platforms and tools and noise and distraction to find it, you'd be done by now.
One day I started talking about this problem I had with my friend and now co-founder Tom. Before I could finish, he completed my thought, describing his same problem in a very similar way. By the time he was done talking, I knew we were on to something. We both had the exact same problem and hadn't yet come across a solution.
Having the same problem was the first indication this might be something worth working on. However, we knew we needed additional validation. So, we set about arranging interviews with prospective users. Using the Mom test, we focused on the problem, listened to how people described it, and really tried to understand the size of the headache.
Nearly everyone we talked to described having the same problem. We learned about our target audience (founders and freelancers), their tools (Gmail and Slack), how this problem felt (chaotic), and how they tried to solve it (Notion or Zapier).
With this data, we scoped out an MVP. We were going to build simple integrations with Slack and Gmail. We'd create a low friction way of pushing data from these products into Taskable: your single source of truth. Tom got to work coding. I started building a landing page and tried to find our early adopters.
Connecting with our target audience
The primary way we began connecting with our target audience was through communities. First, we posted on Betalist and put our upcoming page up at Product Hunt. This was and continues to be a great source of users for Taskable.
We also began spending time in forums and Slack groups where our target audience hung out. We built credibility by providing feedback and sharing insights and content that helped our fellow community members solve problems. We then asked for feedback on our own on our new product. While less scalable than both Betalist and Product Hunt, communities were a better source of engaged prospective users who could provide quality feedback on our MVP.
Over time, this community and content strategy became our primary source of user acquisition. We'd turn comments on people's posts full-on blog posts. We'd repurpose these as Twitter threads and share highlights and links to our blog in other forums. It created a steady stream of website visitors and sign-ups, as well as new friends and supporters.
Our first big break on the business side of things was being selected as Pioneer winners. If you aren't familiar with Pioneer, it's a fully remote accelerator. The way you get in is by playing in a weekly tournament where you post updates, and other users vote on your project.
If I'm totally honest, we started playing the Pioneer tournament as a way to acquire users. Our updates got in front of 10+ of our target users every week, plus we got feedback? It was a no brainer for us. One day we cracked the global top 50, and a week later, we were accepted for the accelerator.
Pioneer has been an excellent experience for us. Being on top of the leaderboard has been a substantial source of prospective users and investors. Our advisor helped solidify our thinking around fundraising and growth. The winner's Slack is an excellent source of feedback, advice, and community. The software perks and cloud credits have saved us a ton of money. And the Livestream/demo day helped us really nail our pitch.
We are still early in our journey, and we haven't yet hit product-market fit. We are talking to users, building features, shipping, and iterating, and making progress. Growth for us right now continues to be around content and community. We are at the stage where we need enough users giving us useful data on the product, but aren't at a stage where we want to grow quickly before we nail the product.
We've tested out some paid acquisition channels to just see how effective it might be. There are some good early signs there. But the most significant source of new users and growth for us comes from content and community.