We had been sitting on the idea of bringing this idea to life for months actually before finally deciding to do it. As with any venture, there are hurdles to overcome when starting out.
It seems that building a great product requires you to live in the Valley and have your team just a few feet from you. What if you could make it feel like you are in the same office? Well, we wanted to build a product called YAC (Yelling Across Cubicles) to do exactly that. We wanted to encourage real-time remote conversation, using your voice, without spinning up conference calls and derailing the entire team’s workflow.
At the time, our biggest issue was YAC started as an internal project. Our main business is actually a product design agency. Do we have the resources to put our people on internal projects instead of client work? Time, money, interest?
I specifically recall having this conversation and wondering if we were going to make the right decision. At the time, we decided to deploy some patience and continue to wait to build YAC. It was tough because we were so antsy, but between time and money it just didn’t make sense for us then.
Fast forward a couple months and the right opportunity finally came to build and launch YAC. Product Hunt’s 2018 Maker’s Festival.
Justin, Hunter, and myself went to the rest of the team and asked who would be down for a fun hackathon project over Thanksgiving break. We explained the idea of YAC to everyone, and making it would be just for fun. Everyone was in.
Now we had new problems to tackle. Coordinating who would do what, what the product should look and feel like, functionality, what the world actually wanted, and a looming time constraint.
We solved these by being extremely meticulous and careful with our time. Our cadence was “In this moment we’ll tackle only X problem, in this moment we’ll tackle only Y problem” and so on. Before we knew it, everyone knew what their tasks were, how the product should work, and we somewhat had a North Star figured out.
Since it was spun up so quickly, there was still uncertainty, but we kept moving forward as we knew something was better than nothing. Finally, we had a live landing page and submitted our app build to Product Hunt. From there we waited with our fingers crossed.
Full-tilt into a new world
Despite its scrappy-ness, we were all super proud of what we put together. From a team-building and culture perspective, it was definitely one of the best things we’ve done to date.
The project finally went live on PH and the response we got was great. Turns out the community loved it as we got absolutely overwhelmed with downloads, feedback, requests, and attention. Within two days after we put out the first version of the app, we had more feedback than we could’ve ever asked for. YAC actually ended up winning the 2018 Makers Festival in the Remote Workers category.
We were then presented with a new, tough decision to make. Should we spin it into an actual product or just let it be a fun memory?
Again, we asked ourselves if we had the capacity to actually run YAC. Our design agency was still fully in the swing of things. After a company wide meeting, where we put all the facts and options out there, we conclusively came to the agreement that we should spin up YAC as it’s own thing.
The product is getting to a great place. Since our first launch on Product Hunt we have added new features, updated the website, and are gearing up to release the rebranded version of the product. We have had a couple remote-startups request a few custom features who are ready to pay, and we are already in talks of raising a seed round to scale YAC and better serve users.
One thing that we learned as we worked on YAC is that entrepreneurs should not dismiss product ideas just because the problem it solves isn’t big enough. Get something out as quick as you can, see if there is a demand, and then work on the product.
You will notice products that solve a problem magically carve a market for themselves, especially if you keep working on it to build features you and your customers love.