Unlocking potential, Superhuman onboarding...

A newsletter by me, Kiko Homem de Mello, CEO of Qulture.Rocks

Hey!

I'm changing the name of our beloved newsletter!

Wow! So early in the life of it, right?

It's only recently that I've come to grips with what our mission is at Qulture.Rocks. It has always been clear to me that there's something about helping people and companies grow. For some time, we've said our mission was to help companies create cultures that rock, which fits nicely with our brand, but that didn't give me butterflies in the stomach. It's a crucial consequence of our work, but not our why.

As I reflected on what my purpose in life was, I realized that it has much more to do with growth, with unlocking the potential of people and organizations. I'm a great fan of humanity, of our conquests as a species; I'm a fan of Bill Gates, Elon Musk, Steve Jobs, and Sam Walton; I think great things are achieved by groups of people that are united around a common dream and that view themselves as growing beings. And that's really why we exist at Qulture.Rocks. To unlock human potential. It has the bonus of sounding nice as well!

Therefore, I'm changing the name of our newsletter, from The 1% Better Leader to Unlocking Potential. Same message, different delivery :)


Doing things that don't scale and Superhuman

As you probably know, Qulture.Rocks was part of the Y Combinator W18 batch. One of the main reasons we accepted the YC offer was how much I've enjoyed reading - and rereading - Paul Graham's essays. PG, as Graham is called, is cofounder of YC, and has written extensively about everything related to starting a startup.

One of PG's most famous essays is called “Do Things That Don't Scale.” In it, he ushers entrepreneurs not to think about scalability in the early days, and do quite the opposite: do the unscalable, personal things that no big corporation could ever do, like sell every customer yourself, have the whole team answer support tickets, and even target narrow, small looking markets at first.

Anyway, I've been using this very trendy email client in the past six months or so called Superhuman, and it costs me $30 a month. I wont dive into all the hype that surrounds it, which is a lot, nor try to describe how amazing the UI looks (great, but not otherworldly). What I wanted to discuss is how in shock I am that at 3 thousand or so users, they still onboard every new one on a 20-30 minute phone call.

Why do such an onboarding? Do the unit economics add up? Thirty bucks a month with live, human to human onboarding? Not to mention that the founders seem to answer all tweets @ the company themselves. What a great example of a company doing things that don't scale.

The point in doing all that is extremely valuable. By having the team onboard users “manually,” Superhuman is learning a ton about its users. They can actually run usability tests with all of them. Also, they have realized that in the email space, customers can either be power users or non-users, so to speak. People probably won't do email in two different places. It's either customer success or churn, with no fifty shades of grey. So in choosing a non-scalable approach to onboarding, the company takes every new user by the hand and guides her to power-usage.


A recent tweet about feedback


Recommended readings:

Steve Blank, author of Five Steps to the Epiphany, recommends an interesting tool that should precede customer development: market selection.

I was once asked a very deep question that sounds so simple I felt stupid not having the answer clearly articulated: what business are you in? I can now say with confidence that we're in the business of unlocking the potential of our customer organizations. Anyway, First Round Review suggests some other powerful questions that have influenced some cool people.

I recently reread this very old post from Cal Newport about procrastination. Very much worth the read!


That’s it for today. I hope this helps you unlock your potential 🙂

Feedback? No? All good?

Cheers and have a good week[1],

Kiko

[1] I told you it would be week~ish. I've been slammed with our planning for the remaining for the year :)