Progress Update: November 2023

So the big news for this month is the advent of Clans v1 which I am cautiously-optimistic will be a game-changer. This now gives you the ability to in 30sec create a co-branded version of Problemattic and use it as a custom impact portal for mobilizing your community. You can see a quick demo of how to set this up here:

This was the major dev push for this past month and I’m pleased to have the v1 live as of today. It’s super basic feature-wise for now but the core functionality is there for delivering a co-branded version of the app for any visitors who come in via referral link when you are running a clan. Anyone who signs up via your referral link will not only get the custom branding and be attributed to you (and visible in your dashboard) but they too will get a custom referral link which defaults to your clan so you’ll be able to trace a lineage of user acquisition in your network. Next I’ll be adding the capability to snapshot custom filters for all of the main entities (Problems, Solutions, Bounties, Events, Members) and freeze those as a default setting for your clan that’s inherited automatically by new members. The net result of all that will be the ability to offer a custom impact portal with a constrained subset of entities that make it more meaningful to your members.

Other Wins

The other main feature rollout this past month was deployment of a proper mobile UI. The app now has the look & feel of a LinkedIn or Twitter on mobile and retains a sensible nav bar at the bottom.

This makes it way more pleasant to use the app on mobile and absent native OS mobile app is a pretty solid mobile UX.

Next Month’s Focus

The goal is minimal platform dev this month. My aim is to get the minimum viable set of features in place to make this cobranded experience compelling and then shift emphasis into biz dev and seek to get 1-2 initial orgs using the platform with their communities. I believe the ability to snapshot a set of custom filters and have those inheritable at the clan level is table stakes but once that capability exists then this should be a very compelling value prop given that it’s zero-cost and near-zero time for an organization to begin using this. More extensive customization presents opportunities for paid upgrades but all energy for now is around getting this working for a handful of orgs and filling in the holes where MVP functionality is currently missing.

Project Success
The best PR we can do is still to birth a project which creates massive impact so we can celebrate it as a case study. For now however I believe the immediate focus is best constrained to making Clans effective. That should go a long way towards solving the talent & capital recruitment challenge that we’re currently facing and once that’s running well enough, then I can shift emphasis towards doubling-down on supporting a project or two.

No events currently planned given the holidays. I’m loosely targeting mid-Jan for our next Fixathon in Lisbon. If you have an account created with your geography specified the system will notify you.

Suspending all deliberate podcast interviews until Clans is working. I did publish a content piece this month on “Career Transition Advice and Resources.” @letsmakegreat adeptly noticed at our last event that a commonality amongst participants was that many were in a mode of career transition (whether via layoff or voluntary sabbatical). I’ve had a string of conversations over the past two weeks with a handful of friends who are in the same boat and decided to compile all my advice/links in a single post. That seemed to resonate and has gotten a lot of shares which is promising from a content marketing perspective since folks who are receptive to that content are precisely the people who are a fit for us.

Biz Dev
This should hopefully transition to being the key focus this month. Some fraction of people who create custom impact portals via the new Clans feature will want extra customization and if that happens, this should be a natural fountain of leadgen as well as a way to delegate some of the recruitment role for getting talent and capital onto the platform.

Open Questions

As always there’s 1000 things vying for the top spot at any given moment so prioritization of focus is the main challenge. The main directions that are competing right now are these:

  • Go heads-down on making Clans work. ← this is IMO the most promising direction and what I’m presently focused on.
  • Drop everything and focus on growth hacking the bounty funding piece. Figure out creative uses of ChatGPT to identify and do outreach to qualified philanthropists and approach them directly to fund existing bounties or create new ones.
  • Seek to offload the technical aspects by either hunting for a technical co-founder or by migrating everything from the technical roadmap into well-crafted project opps on Problemattic Meta.
  • Focus on making one project successful with impact so we can have a case study to celebrate. ← this should become easier once Clans is in place and working.
  • Shape the platform to support for-profit, commercial initiatives beyond the current impact-focus. ← this feels like both a departure from the ethos of the project as well as making it less-focused and a more generic incubator platform.

In light of all that ^^ I’m sticking (for now) to the path of making Clans work for 1-2 initial orgs and rounding out the missing features so it’s a compelling value prop. I’ll change that strategy if/when it seems appropriate but for now IMO that’s the right play.

I discovered Development Impact Bonds this month via a conversation with Matt of Stronger Foundations. This is interesting because it’s an existing model that accomplishes a similar result albeit different mechanics. Their model shares the outcome-based unlock aspect however relies upon a public/private partnership and a pre-agreement between investors and government entity. Our model does not rely upon this agreement and instead uses RPGF game theory with the bounty set by whichever entity is incentivizing the outcome, open competition by anyone who wants to start or join a project and then the impact investor providing the liquidity in the system by pulling forward a portion of the bounty rewards via bets on projects. At any rate this is encouraging for multiple reasons: always great to find independent validation for something you’re doing but also “Permissionless Development Impact Bonds as a Service,” while still a mouthful, depending on the audience might be a simpler elevator pitch to package up what we’re doing.

Traffic Snapshot

That traffic spike is the aforementioned blog post I did on career transition resources.

The technical roadmap as always can be found here. Thanks for reading.