Progress Update: December 2023

This is the last #buildinpublic update of 2023. I’ll first do a progress update for December and then do a short recap of highlights from 2023 and a look forward to 2024.

Hiking Piestwa Peak in Phoenix, AZ the day after Christmas. Photo credit: Jill Gillespie.

For any new readers here, welcome. I do #buildinpublic updates monthly as a way to remain accountable and open the kimono on this whole initiative and give a window into my thinking and our progress. You can find all the updates here and subscribe via email by creating an account.

The main win this past month was in getting the “Clans” feature to a stable v1. Last month I came to the realization that the most high-leverage way to solve the talent and capital recruiting challenge was to make it possible to white label Problemattic itself and allow anyone to be us. The goal remains the same: to get all the world’s problems and fixers under one roof and coordinate citizen-led initiatives for positive change. To that end I’m happy to report Clans is now at a stable v1 deployment and anyone can now run their own cobranded impact portal using our software.

Other Wins

  • Created a 4th user segment called “Community Organizer” and setup a landing page and video showing how to use the Clans feature for running your own impact portal via our software.
  • Now supports three different project types: non-profit, for-profit and open source.
  • Can now save your filter preferences to your account and then inject those into a clan. These preferences are then propagated at the clan level either as user-changeable default settings or enforced as hard constraints limiting which problems, projects & SDGs are displayed for a clan’s users.
  • Referral tracking works at the clan level and branding is now retained even for anonymous visitors who come via a clan-based referral link.
  • Projects filtered by resource tags will now automatically search all sub-trees of requested project deliverables.
  • Discourse now has a ChatGPT-powered AI chatbot making it possible for forum users of Trust level 1+ to use GPT to query any of the content in the forums.

What I’m Thinking About

We’re in a good spot cost-wise. Our monthly run rate with all hosting costs and software services is right around $250/mo which is completely stomach-able. We end 2023 with essentially a feature complete first version of a software stack that handles bounties, members, events, problems, crowd-funding, trading, project management and messaging. It’s all now “wikipedia-fied” and extensible by anyone as well as being co-brandable. My goal now is to shift emphasis from technical dev to bizdev and work with a small set of highly-motivated communities who get the vision in Q1 2024 and refine the clan features to better serve them and ideally get a few project wins. I’m cautiously optimistic that we’re at an inflection point where things are about to get interesting.

Open Questions

  • Priority of focus is always the main question. I believe the right path from here is to work with a handful of communities that represent promising talent and capital sources and make the “impact portal as a service” work. Doing that well should make everything else fall into place. I have some promising leads I’m already working with on this front.
  • Offloading some of the Bubble dev work would be helpful as it would free me up to do more of the above bizdev focus. I’m torn between going the route of hunting for a Bubble-proficient technical cofounder vs. dogfooding the platform for this purpose and incubating Problemattic with itself. I’ve talked about this in the past a bit but in theory we should be able to get to a singularity of sorts in that Problemattic as it currently stands should be able to incubate itself and use all the current mechanics to carry forward its development. This is likely the proper path as it more aligns with the goal of building a protocol vs a company.

Next Month’s Focus

Ideally there should be minimal technical dev in the near term. Emphasis will be around outreach to promising communities for being early impact portal adopters.
Project Success
As of now Message Everywhere represents our most promising project and therefore it will receive the brunt of my energy allocated to project advancement. We decided to keep their existing MVP built in Bubble so I’ll be hunting for Bubble devs who want to be involved in that project.
I’m in process of planning our next pair of events in Lisbon targeting Feb 3rd and Feb 17th for our next Idea and Build Days respectively. Will post listings soon for those. We’re likely partnering with Future Founders of Lisbon for promoting the for-profit track on those.
I have a couple of very solid podcast guests lined up but I’m slow-playing these interviews for now and taking them on a casual basis. I’m going to run an experiment and try writing up some Bubble dev learnings on the blog targeted to that community and syndicate those posts to the Bubble Forums as #buildinpublic pieces. I wrote a Career Transition piece last month that got a lot of shares and given the need for Bubble dev help I think this could be a good recruitment strategy.

Traffic Snapshot

Our traffic is still largely event-driven currently and given there have been no events recently that explains the lukewarm traffic stats:

Year in Review

I want to take a minute and do a quick retrospective of 2023 and set some intentions for 2024.
I am very pleased with overall progress of this effort. When I look back at the past year it was essentially a podcast blog a year ago and now it’s evolved into the vision I had for a mashup of Upwork meets Meetup plus Startup Weekend meets Kickstarter with an ICO platform and trading capabilities.

We did 10 events in 2023 in Lisbon and the platform now has the capability for anyone to use the same web-based admin tools I use to run these events in his/her city.

The technical features I’m most proud of are the trading platform, tokenized project management, self-healing infrastructure, the game theory of two-tier bounty system and the cobrandable “Clans” feature. I’ll likely do a show & tell for our next Nocode Lisboa meeting where I walk through the main lessons of each of these and then unpack in greater detail in some written pieces that I’ll publish to the blog.

2024 is all about converting some projects into impact, getting to sustainable revenue, opening dev up and delegating some of the Bubble dev and making impact portal as a service (IPaaS) a thing. I would like to recognize advisors Jason Barney, Mike Fioritto and Benny Fischer for their continued support and Jeff Boles for being a champion of Problemattic in AZ with various orgs. I’m excited for IPaaS and doing a potential summer Euro road trip to roll out our events in different cities around Europe. Thanks as always for reading my updates and if you haven’t already be sure to create an account and setup a profile so you can plug into this movement early-on. cheers

The technical roadmap as always can be found here.

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