Right now, I am working a lot on Speak Ai.
The technology is getting better. Software revenue is growing.
Yet, I still feel like I haven’t solved a problem. I feel like I’m trying to solve too many problems at once. It’s turned our technology and product into something partway for a lot of solutions.
Need to transcribe? You can do it, but we don’t have all the features to make this intuitive and competitive with other offerings?
Want to analyze Zoom calls? Well you can, you just need to upload every recording manually. No one is going to do that.
I saw a tweet recently that said “Software depreciates. Content appreciates.”. It hit me so hard.
For years now, I’ve fantasized about building software that is more valuable than me so I could increase my earnings and live a better life. That dream has been distorted as I’ve learned lessons in my own life, worked as tirelessly as possible on it, and invested tons of my time and money into it.
Here I am several years later with something. But, a lot of people still aren’t really sure what. Is it software for myself? Or for organizations? Who is the target customer? How do you reach them?
These are questions people are asking me constantly. And, questions I am asking myself.
I’ve ran through these questions, I’ve answered it for investor slide decks, grants, potential customers, friends and family. Yet, I’m not fully convinced. It seems no one else is either.
So, I have to realize: I am fabricating I’ve solved a problem.
Here’s one example that showed how far off I am. Zamir Khan, a fantastic friend of mine, who I split an office with for several years, built VidHug, surprise group videos made easy:
perfect for birthdays, anniversaries, retirements or any special occasion.
He didn’t feel it at the time, but the name is eloquent, the product tells you what it is. VidHug didn’t grow the way Zamir wanted it to for years and I saw how difficult this time was. He wondered if he built something of value.
He may have wavered on that, but what he was building remained clear.
When COVID-19 came, all the sudden people couldn’t get together in-person. Enter VidHug. Just send a link out, grab a bunch of videos from everyone, and edit them together to make an amazing gift video to someone.
Since COVID-19 started, VidHug has skyrocketed. More than just anniversaries and birthdays, VidHug started to get used for well wished, schools, businesses and more.
VidHug had a purpose. It solved a problem. People had the problem. They used and paid for VidHug. It really is incredible. Since then, I know life has been surreal for Zamir. It’s been surreal for me to watch. I couldn’t be happier for him. He is a mentor and one of the nicest people I’ve ever met. And he’s spread joy and love across the world.
I have not. I am not solidly addressing a pain point. I am trying my best, but I am swimming in a see of options. It’s okay. It’s part of life. It’s part of the challenge. It’s on me to get closer to something worth solving.
Before, it was always about the software. But now, with other factors, and that realization from the tweet, I realize it’s more than that.
I need to provide value. I need to find solutions for people. That’s another lesson I learned: companies don’t pay for tools they pay for solutions. I just have a tool right now and you need to have a lot of understanding on how to use it before anything makes sense and before anyone would deem it worthwhile.
What are the problems I am trying to solve?
There is too much information.
I and other people are getting depressed, anxious, sad, stressed, and traumatized. It is affecting our personal and professional lives. It sometimes renders us unproductive, hopeless, and devaluing ourselves.
I want to make media more interactive and engaging. I’m bored of the current paradigm. We have so much potential we aren’t fulfilling with media experiences.
But, as you see above, a lot of these are just personal gripes. Those are not a reflection of what everyone else needs.
I don’t know why I’m so frustrated at the moment about it all but I am. I need to go back to the drawing board for myself and for everyone I’m working on this with. For everyone I imagine even getting value out of what I am trying to build.
I’m surviving with grants, emergency wade subsidies, SR&ED, and no-interest loans because of COVID-19. Yes, we continue to grow and you need to do what you can to get yourself through, but it just doesn’t feel right to me.
I want to be able to sustain myself. I want to provide enough value I don’t need to rely on grants. Why am I exploring into the future when I can’t solve the problems of today?
I don’t need to get down on myself. But, I can be critical. I can remind myself that I need to do better.