Trough of Happiness

Hello, we are Swarmly. We are a small boot-strapped startup based in Glasgow, Scotland. Try the app here: http://itun.es/ibD37t or http://swarmly.co

Our mission is to be an instant answer to the question “where should we go?”, a real time interactive map of where the action is, your social satnav.

A couple of months ago, we put Swarmly in the app store to do limited user testing. 3 weeks ago today, Swarmly got covered in Techcrunch.

A fortnight ago, Andrew Chen wrote a post called After the Techcrunch bump: Life in the “Trough of Sorrow”. The irony…

Given how closely we matched Chen’s graph, I thought now might be a good time to reflect a little on the traffic we experienced and how we are dealing with the trough.

First, the numbers. Obviously, with a TC post, comes a traffic spike. The peak you see in the graph is just under 1050 hits. This translated to around 1500 downloads over the course of the next few days.

Our top 5 Site Traffic Source countries were: US, UK, Czech Republic, India and Germany and in the days following, there has been a continued uptick in new users and usage. Our densest populations of users exist in Glasgow, London, San Francisco, New York and Seoul.

Over the next 2 weeks we have seen around 4k swarms per day all over the globe, with an average of 600 people being seen by our servers each day with between 20 and 70 new installs per day and we have seen over 100,000 swarms in September already. Thursdays are busiest, Sundays are quietest.

For us, this coverage came really quite early in the process, but provides us with an excellent jump-off point to grow and learn from.

Feedback has been overwhelmingly positive. Companies, organisations and users have even gotten in touch to discuss how we can build partnerships to grow users. We’ve had a fantastic level of interest from venues who wish to use the app to promote themselves as well as companies looking to build on the Swarmly platform. We have started to think about what capabilities and features our API should have.

So, the idea has gotten a little traction, some users, some coverage, some customer interest and its all positive. We aren’t fighting the urge to stop, change or pivot, we think we have something.

Is the product working? better than we could have hoped for! We have some improvements lined up to make it easier for people to buzz/tag swarms and make us iOS 6 & iPhone 5 compatible.

How is the on-boarding process? We’ve had positive feedback on this aspect; as long as you own an iPhone (android soon), its incredibly low-friction setup. Retention is good, but we also want to improve how we invite you to share Swarmly with your friends or rate it in the app store so its easier to start multi-person swarms.

Chen talks about picking up small tactical wins… this is where we are now. Lots of people have suggested pre-populated content, we have considered this and it has potential, but we are not quite ready to take in 3rd party data yet.

For now we’ll keep the momentum going with social and on the ground marketing activities. Because of the nature of Swarmly, it helps to have lots of users in a concentrated area. We are using the student population/venues of Glasgow as a test bed and we are currently targeting large numbers of students/venues with various PR and marketing activities during freshers weeks.

Also in the next couple of weeks we will be releasing the latest version of the app with our new instant offers platform baked in. We have several venues lined up to trial the system locally and we are looking forward to getting some feedback on our initial offering.

Swarmly is a long-term play. As a wise man once said.. don’t skate to where the puck is, skate to where the puck is going.

In the startup world there is also a “fail-fast” mantra, but we also like the idea of a slow, steady build up. Especially when it comes to things like mass, public location sharing. The world probably isn’t ready yet, but thats the perfect time to get started.

We are skating to a place where people understand and are ready for more than just smartphone apps, but are instead ready for large scale crowd-sourcing tools that help them make day to day decisions. Platforms that live on connected mobile devices that connect us all to achieve common goals or answer common questions.

A place where people leave geo-location/wifi services on by default, where data connections and decent level of signal are ubiquitous, where carrying 24/7 super-computing power in your pocket is standard for everyone… this will be a long, slow process, but the tipping point is very very near.

Marco.

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