On Tuesday, I sent an email with a link to 2024 Failory’s reader survey. If you haven’t filled it yet, it’d be amazing if you could take 3 minutes to do it.
Between the people who complete the survey, I’ll be giving away 10 copies of my PMF eBook, 5 consultancy calls with me (30 min long), and 3 licenses of my Pre-Sell to Validate course. Here’s the link to the survey.
Here’s what I got today:
The reasons why Maybe failed, and how it has resurged 💀
A puzzle where you have to identify which news is fake 🧩
An analysis of the unfortunate fate of Open Startups 📉
Startup idea “Grander,” brought by On Deck’s founder 💡
The Secret to Success - Athena
What do the founders of Product Hunt, Honey, OpenAI & 100s of others know that you don’t? How to delegate. They delegate with Athena.
Athena selects the top 1% of applicants, manages performance and continuously trains to keep you and your assistant on the cutting edge.
As a member, you benefit from 100+ playbooks from other top performers from YC, a16z, Sequoia, Coinbase, Stripe, Airbnb, and many more.
😮 Cool Stuff
From Raising $1M, to Shutdown, to Open Source
Last Friday, Josh Pigford tweeted, “Here's what $1,000,000 worth of fintech software looks like…” followed by a link to a GitHub repo containing the code of his shutdown startup, Maybe.
The tweet went viral, and the repo got trending. Josh took this chance to reflect on Maybe’s failure and share why he thinks the project can be successful as an open-source project.
What Was Maybe: Maybe was a “modern financial planning & wealth management platform.”
Unlike other solutions in the space, they didn’t charge management fees — they charged a monthly/annual subscription to access their suite of tools.
It was co-founded by Travis Woods and Josh Pigford. Travis is a CFP and CFA. Josh is an entrepreneur who previously founded Baremetrics, a B2B SaaS he sold for $4M.
Josh has a website where he displays his past projects. I love it cause it’s a perfect demonstration of Failory’s mantra of failing to succeed.
Maybe raised $1.45M from 1,300 investors in a crowdfunding campaign on Republic.
A team of 8 spent the following 18 months building the platform. When they launched, despite having a waiting list of 10,000+ people, only 50 became paying customers (with an average subscription price of $15/mo).
They reduced the team to 3 people and worked on improving the platform based on users’ feedback. But they realized the economics of their model wouldn’t work.
The decision: They shut down Maybe and pivoted into building Detangle, a series of AI tools for understanding legal documents, using the funds they had left (~$240,000).
Timing: Maybe surged in early 2021, along with the crypto and NFT boom. People were excited about being hands-on with their money, making fundraising easy. But when they launched, the market had crashed. The DIY approach to finances was now hard to sell.
Too much time developing: They spent 18 months to achieve something that just worked. Tools to which they integrated, like Plaid, promised a lot but didn’t deliver.
Wrong focus: They spent a lot of time building the perfect product. They aimed to solve every edge user case, even though this didn’t affect the majority of their users. Moreover, over the time they developed the platform, they didn’t look much for user feedback — they’d just make assumptions about what users needed and were willing to pay for.
By the time they launched, they had a lot of burn and too much legacy code and processes to try to rework their product.
Josh is optimistic that Maybe can now work because:
The overhead is almost zero. Only some infrastructure costs, but no wages.
They’ve removed the human component, which removes the financial regulatory overhead (accounts used to have a certified financial advisor).
Personal finance app Mint has shut down on January 1st. There’s a huge influx of demand (~4M users) for new solutions.
Maybe’s team is also building a set of B2B FinTech tools, so they have a new revenue source.
Which News Is Fake?
Three of these things happened this week. One did not. Can you guess the odd one out?
RIP Open Startups
This weekend, I visited Baremetrics Open Startups page after a while, looking for startups that were sharing their metrics openly. I immediately closed the tab with tears in my eyes.
A look into Web Archive shows that the page used to feature 25-30 startups. It now only has 6.
Then I checked Open Startup List. 30 startups, that’s good! Then I checked their metrics page, and barely any were working.
To me, it’s the end of an era.
3-5 years ago, if you were into Twitter, you’d know every startup’s revenue and main metrics.
Startups were transparent as a marketing strategy.
This has changed in recent years. Few founders are sharing their metrics openly.
The commonly mentioned reasons include:
Being open used to look like being candid. Now it looks like bragging.
Sharing metrics doesn’t tell a business’ full story. There’s way more besides the numbers.
Being transparent is a competitive disadvantage. Your competition knows your numbers — you don’t know theirs. Plus, it attracts copycats.
It’s unsafe from a personal perspective. There are lots of bad actors out there.
Opportunity: Everything in life is a cycle. Now that no one is doing it, being an open startup might be a good marketing strategy once again.
Plus, it’s inspiring for others. My 15-year-old version was super motivated to start Failory because of other startups sharing their metrics openly.
Fiverr for High-Value Tasks
Idea: “Grander”. It’s like Fiverr, but for high-value tasks. Smart and talented people post their task offers; businesses pay $1,000+ to get these tasks done in 24 hours.
Fiverr has built this with Fiverr Pro, but I don’t think the people and services offered there are of the standard Erik is thinking for “Grander.”
Some people in the comments mentioned Catalant and Replit Bounties (for dev work).
Some also mentioned Upwork, but it works differently. The business is the one that makes the job post, and the freelancers have to apply.
This level of people Erik is thinking of prefers other working forms rather than the one proposed by Fiverr. They prefer to have longer-term clients.
It’ll be hard to motivate really talented people to join the platform. They probably have better ways to make money.
Fiverr works well because they’re simple tasks. Outsourcing complex tasks is far more difficult and likely to fail.
Refer Failory, Get Rewards
Chances are you have some more friends who would enjoy Failory as much as you do. Share Failory with these friends and cash in on premium resources and swag.
You currently have 0 referrals, only 1 away from receiving my Pitch Deck Airtable.
Or copy and paste this link to others: https://newsletter.failory.com/subscribe?ref=PLACEHOLDER