Flash of Insight: From Doer v1 to Doer v2
by Barrett Nash, CEO and Cofounder, InfiniteUp
At the beginning of September, while on a four hour taxi ride from the airport in Kutaisi, Georgia to the capital Tbilisi, I was confronting a professional and personal challenge.
I had recently launched a technology product in Kenya called Doer, influenced by dozens of interviews, years of personal insight, and an obvious product gap: improving business experiences in Kenya. I was sure it would succeed, so I started telling my advisors because I thought they might watch a product launch in real time.
One Step Back
However, the product didn’t work. I made false assumptions. Doer v1 was based on gig pairing between those needing jobs done and those willing to do them. I compared it to ‘an Uber Eats for the hustle economy’. I knew trust would be an issue but thought we’d figure it out. We didn’t. I assumed people would make UpWork/Fiverr-style prompts like ‘fetch potatoes from the market’ but that flow didn’t work.
There were positives: hundreds of active odd-job seekers, breakthrough user insights, successful radius feature integration, and perfecting Large Language Model assisted insights.
But organically, no one created a job on the platform. We at InfiniteUp made this issue number one. The metrics didn’t warrant further investigation.
This failure was a personal challenge too. InfiniteUp had stretched our startup capital to 19 months where we built and tested over a dozen fully developed apps in Africa. I’d hoped we’d have a success by now.
That’s the startup/VC game. My cofounders and I know if we don’t have users or revenue, we don’t have a company.
Driving from Kutaisi to Tbilisi, daydreaming about Doer, I had a series of connected ideas.
I remembered seeing a YellowPages at a friend’s and thought how useful it was without Google Maps.
I reflected on map literacy research in Kigali. Running an Uber for motorcycles, I tried improving the interface as drivers complained clients didn’t know maps. Over five ‘Design Sprint’ interviews, I found our audience often didn’t understand Google Maps, narrowly using the search bar. Recent research in Nairobi corroborated this for Kenya.
Flash of Insight
If YellowPages was great until Google Maps replaced it… what would a YellowPages be without Google Maps?
Before, InfiniteUp paired JobGivers and JobDoers, causing imbalances. But what if we just became a business directory organized by category, not maps, directing job seekers to existing service businesses?
We could use Google Maps API to grab businesses. Sell premium placement to those wanting top ranking.
Go Try It Out
That MVP is what InfiniteUp released today. My team worked tirelessly and under a month launched a complete, beautiful, web-app running on any smartphone showing nearby businesses. It’s so simple but I believe that simplicity could allow this product to thrive.
Watch this space as I share Doer v2’s next steps.