Becoming Better at Staying in Touch

As the previous year came to end I’ve decided to take my first personal retreat to decompress and digest all that has happened in 2017 both for OpsYard as well as my personal life.

I’ve been fortunate enough to grow my little product studio from me plus another person working part-time, into a team of 9 with revenue in the mid-six figures range.

As someone with no experience running a small organization, I’ve had to learn everything from accounting, sales and hiring for company/process fit.

To those of you that went through it, you know what it is, to those that are about to start their journey, I’ll boil my advice to two words: consistency and perseverance.

This growth came at a cost, which I’ve been warned about by my parents.

You have to make sacrifices if you want to focus and grow.

My biggest sacrifice in 2017 was my friends and family, I’ve neglected to maintain relationships with the very people that pushed me get to where I’m today.

This is something I see as a pattern in my fellow entrepreneurs.

Those that are on the climb, dedicate 99% of their energy to growing their business, once they achieve what they set out to do which could take a couple years but usually ends up being decades, it’s already too late. They have lost their childhood friends, distant relatives and their immediate family barely knows them.

Of course these are some broad generalizations.

This lead me to think about how I can both achieve the aggressive goals I set out for OpsYard in 2018 but the same time become better at staying in touch with family and friends.

Since I like to think in how to break down things into a repeatable process, below is my little outline on how to approach the problem.

Shout out to Jono Lai (@jonathanlai) for introducing me to the concept of: “the different ways people show love” from the book “The 5 Love Languages”.

If I had to put it in “lean startup” terms:

Hypothesis:

  • Business owners have a tough time maintaining meaningful relationships with their friends and family.

Solution:

  • Provide an easy way to set simple recurring reminders for these relationships.

Product:

  • Take the concept of a bare-bones CRM & apply behavioral psychology principles as limitations of the software.

This, of course, sounds like taking something that should intrinsically be a human interaction dictated by love/friendships into a soulless process dictated by a machine.

However, if the outcome of using it is that I build a stronger bond with even 10% of those I want to, the net result is better than what would’ve probably happened otherwise.

Now since this is a passion project that I might tinker with over time, I’m building it myself (first time writing code in over a year) with a very limited time budget.

This drives the scope of what I can do to a minimum, so instead of building a full blow web or mobile app, I’ll start with the basics:

  1. Simple entry form (Who / When / Where)
  2. Authentication on each reminder via Email Link (Slack style)
  3. Email Reminders frequency based Social Groups

The social group limitations are loosely based on the Dunbar’s number which is

“A suggested cognitive limit to the number of people with whom one can maintain stable social relationships”.

 

Those will be limited to:

  • Family: 10 people
  • Friends 20 people
  • Acquaintances: 30 people

Following what I defined in the hypothesis, these limitations should significantly benefit the target user in the long run.

I think this provides a good outline of what I’ll be building over the next couple of days.

If you have advice on how to you’d approach this problem or would like to get access to this project, shoot me a message on Twitter or just visit the project page.

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