In 2016, we built a streamlined recruiter management system. It allowed candidates to connect via LinkedIn, recruiters to post jobs, and employers to filter prospects. The interface was clean and polished. The value was well defined and benefits were obvious.
For months prior, the client also had been working to build an email list. Every week a newsletter would be sent to job-seekers with top jobs in the industry. Employers would also receive an email with top candidates. It was basic and simple.
In the end, their email list was 30x more effective at connecting people to jobs. It wasn’t much, but it worked. It wasn’t sexy, but apparently it didn’t have to be. When he approached investors, they couldn’t reconcile investing in an app when the traditional email was working well. “Comeback when you have a plan that capitalizes on the effectiveness of that email list.”
The technology was not the answer. It was about engagement. What did people actually use?
The early days of New Story, it worked much the same way. Instead of waiting until a revolutionary new platform was ready, one of the founders hacked together a few tools in order to prove the concept. They used a third party donation service. The progress bar had to be updated manually. Each “campaign page” was built from scratch. In light of today’s robust system, it’s nauseating to consider the amount of manual work that must have been involved. It wasn’t amazing, but it was good enough.
When trying to identify what the market wants, it’s worth starting small. There is always time to get bigger and more complex, assuming you can survive long enough to build something people want.