Remember how God built up Earth in six days thanks to an intense week-long planet accelerator? With an incredible quick growth of user base thanks to the growth hacking technique ‘sex’. In the first quarter, numbers seemed promising, and the sky was the limit. What about the second quarter?
User forecasts turned out to be spot on for the first half of this quarter. The number of ‘life’ subscriptions was skyrocketing – a hockeystick to the stars. When hitting 2011, the database counted seven billion users, subscriptions were being signed at an exponential rate.
Thanks to Earth’s ‘raw materials’, amazing building bricks for new features, users found ways to create new tools to boost the pleasure level of their subscriptions.
Unfortunately though, there was something going unnoticed, threatening the future of startup Earth. For one, some of Earth’s users started prohibiting others access to its infrastructure and ingredients. Which resulted in a relatively small group of subscribers creating new opportunities in their favor, and putting others on a strict ramen noodle diet.
Also, extraction of raw materials was going quicker than they could recover. Circular ecosystems were getting crushed and turned into pretty much straight left-to-right lines, putting Earth’s USP’s in serious jeopardy.
Most important, this change in Earth’s systems had a negative impact on users. Because of the new linear systems and a growing inequality between users, subscriptions were starting to drop.
Initial subscriptions were still growing, thanks to a smooth sales team, but customer care and UX designers were failing miserably. As a result, users were quitting their contracts after only a couple of years in the game. And forecasts were that this number of dropouts would take on in the decades to come.
On top of this all, the loss of subscription quality was already an upcoming trend. Some of Earth’s specialties – that made angels throw in bags of planet investment in the first place – were no longer a given fact. Delivery of clean air to breath, fresh water to drink, nutritious food to eat, green fields and forests to wander (the stuff users specifically signed up for) was getting more complicated by each year.
A week in Paris
It took time and several user groups to go on strike before management started to take this downfall seriously. But once it hit them, they started to worry sick. They didn’t even have time to monetize their investments yet, and now it looked like all effort was going down the drain! Investors were not happy and started to phone in and step by more often.
The team called for an emergency meeting at the end of book year 2015, in a user hub called Paris. They booked in all week to redefine their strategy and to change course from upcoming bankruptcy to potential Universopoly.
What could possibly be the pivot Earth was in such a desperate need of? Would it come in time and offer proper ROI’s for investors?
After the first nights of brainstorming, the management team already came up with a solution to tackle the problem. A planet B. Earth Extra.
Venus seemed like a solid option. It was for sale at an interesting rate and it was big enough to transfer at least half of the users to, taking off the pressure of Earth’s resources. Transforming Venus would be quite a bit of work, but hey, God had pulled it off before!
Only one problem though: time. The transfer had to happen rather yesterday than tomorrow. So they went in for quick prototyping and started up the testing process.
Small groups of beta users were temporarily transferred to the new location for research purposes. The outcome was straightforward. Users thought Venus sucked. And they were in no mood to stay transferred during its transition period. So far for option Planet B.
With just a couple of days in Paris left, the team dived back into problem solving mood. Apparently they had to look for rapid changes within their own systems. They agreed on the starting point: radical inclusion of all users and circular systems. But how to shape this into a solution?
God and his team will be brainstorming, working out solutions and eventually pitch a pivot until part 3 of this startup fairytale trilogy.
Photo by Pieter van Marion (creative commons via Flickr)