I’ve been working with Limnu for just over a year now. We are a small team that's gone from a pretty cool idea to a fledgling startup to a solid business that is on the verge of doing some big stuff.
When I started there were a few hundred users and now we've grown to several thousand, it’s been a 60x growth rate over 8 months. We’ve seen teams from NASA to Nike and from Pinterest to Buzzfeed use Limnu.
“If you can get [tens-of-thousands] of people to do anything you should be happy”
—One of the V.C.s at an event we presented at
In the last few months we’ve smashed through even our own projections. People are sticking around and loving Limnu as well. They write in and tell us how much they love it — seriously, check out the customer stories.
So what did it take to get here? And what did I learn along the way?
Adding More Features is Easy—Keeping Limnu fast, easy, & beautiful is not.
Seriously, we could add features and build new things all day every day. It’s what we, as a team, love to do. It’s hard to not spend all of our time doing it, but it’s against what Dave and Grue set out to do.
See, they want to build the best online whiteboard—what “best” means is something we debate. We know we want it to be easy to get started—no learning curve. It has to be smooth and fast and feel like a real whiteboard. We want it to work for people on tablets and on laptops and even phones.
While a feature may be great for one use, it’s more clutter for all the other uses. That’s why each thing that goes in gets discussed, broken down, beaten to a bloody pulp, mocked up, ripped apart, and then maybe makes it in.
Adding more features is easy, not building another PowerPoint is hard.
With Deep Passion Comes Impassioned Arguments About Silly Things
On a small team where everyone is at the top of their game and really passionate you will have land mines. At some point it’s going to come to blows over what colors we include or which icon we choose.
This is ok as long as you have a CEO that can occasionally step in and smooth everyone’s ruffled feathers (which thank goodness we do).
I’d always rather be on a team that everyone is pushing for the best thing and the best way than a bunch of people that just want to watch the clock and get home.
We’re All Going To Do Things We Don’t Want To Do
On a small team that has to watch the runway, everyone needs to do things they don’t want to do and they aren’t good at (yet). This means writing blog posts. This means interacting with our fans and followers on social media. This means pitching and presenting in lots of crowds.
The good news is, you do it and you get better at it.
Celebrate the Wins
You have to celebrate the wins. Take time out and go get cocktails. There are long stretches of time where it feels like you are sprinting a marathon and you have to just stop sometimes.
This helps you maintain your sense of humor with each other and yourself.
Sometimes You Will Catch a Lucky Break—Be Ready
Sometimes you catch a lucky break like. We’ve caught a few. We were the first online whiteboard in the Slack App Directory. We’ve been contacted by some companies with huge user-bases that want to bring Limnu to their project with our API. We’ve been invited to present at lots of events.
These were all lucky breaks that resulted in users which turned into paying customers which turns into a solid business. Even though some of these had a dash of luck — you have to spend a lot of time making sure you are ready for the lucky break when it comes your way.
While there have been a lot more people than just the three of us working on Limnu, we’re the three in the main office. I did turn to Dave and Grue one day and say, “hot damn guys, we’re like the Yakko, Wakko, and Dot of online whiteboards”. Read what you want into that.
Thanks for the last year and I look forward to more.
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