What was it?
RecollectYou was a project built by my wife and I that came out of years of thinking and tinkering about with the idea of memories as a product.
We took all the work out of sending a meaningful, sentimental gift to your loved ones but asking you a series of heartfelt questions, you could record them super easily on your phone and then we would drip email them to the recipient over 7 days.
In a world ravaged by a pandemic where we hadn't seen our family in over a year it felt like it would be a slam dunk.
It took us about 40 hours to build.
What were the results?
We managed to get featured in the independent (newspaper in the UK) which led to a Christmas bump.
We made ~$3k revenue over Christmas and had about $400 in costs over the whole project, so while small, it was profitable.
After Christmas we ran ads, launched on Etsy at a super discounted price and offered referral bonuses... all to no change.
The magic was disappearing and we couldn't seem to get anymore customers
We ran the Sean Ellis test on every sender and recipient but couldn't get to a health PMF score (results here)
Aside from standard product metrics - we did manage to share an incredible amount of joy. Users raved about it to us and their partners (recipients or senders). It was beautiful to be cc'd in on emails between children and parents, girlfriends and boyfriends and grandkids and grandparents.
The whole project felt really good. We did a good thing. Users gave great reviews,
After the Christmas hit we couldn't bring sales back up.
Ads and direct response didn't do much for us.
We launched an Etsy store and discounted below cost - after all it is the largest gift seller in the world, but an Etsy store is a whole other project so traction was low. Customers who bought at a heavily discounted price didn't leave reviews defeating the project.
Just before valentines day we gave everyone who had purchased or received RecollectYou a free set to send to someone else and redemption was 0%. From a product standpoint this was an enormous red flag.
The other major inhibiter was that the RecollectYou experience is one that is powerfully emotional. It is not normal for someone to share that with a friend and urge them to buy it unless they share their recordings which are very personal. Thus we have zero referral loop.
If I was going to try again in this space I would work with making it remarkable and sharable from day 1. I truly believe that is the only way to scale in this space.
Fundamentally - We still believe in memories as a service, but I think the complexity of what is needed requires real code and real build. (we built everything with no code tools).
Working on a product with my wife - designing, debating, building and shipping something with her is a set of memories I will never lose for as long as I live, and we realise how fortunate we are to have had that opportunity.
Overall killing RecollectYou hurt - I really thought amid a pandemic it would be a home run.
Continually in progress
If you've failed, and you want to talk about it but no one "gets it" or want's to talk to you about it. I'm here.
If not, take 10 seconds for yourself, breathe deep, watch the water - and let's jump in.
Either way I would fully recommend reading "When Smart People Fail".
This page follows on from this post.