part V

Gassed out

USA → Bulgaria

After months of hard work, the new product, Swipes Workspace, was finally ready. In March we released a Beta version, but it was met with mixed signals. While few enjoyed the fresh new mindset behind it, most users were confused about our new take on collaboration. Few users seemed to stick around and after digging further we realized what the problem was.

In our aim to create something that is useful and unique we went a step too far.

Swipes Workspace was way too different from the other tools on the market at that time. We had re-imagined how a planning tool should look like — replaced tasks with steps, deadlines with now/later categories. The product wasn't self explanatory. It meant that we had to invest a lot resources in explaining and selling this new way of working. Yet, we didn't have the big brand, nor the big budget to push such a novelty.

Meanwhile our team returned to Sofia for the wedding of Yana and Kasper. We were tired of moving back and forth moving and decided to stay in Bulgaria for a while. This gave us a much needed stability in our personal lives. In the mean time the team was working relentlessly on improving the product and preparing for the official launch in October.

We were running out of energy. It's like when the little fuel lamp lights up on the dashboard of your car. We knew we had to refuel, but we choose to keep going, hoping we will have enough to get to our next destination.

It was launch day. The product was out but none of us had the energy to push forward. After months of work the team felt more relieved than happy to finally see it through. Despite the heroic act and initial interest from the launch the product was churning too many users. Once again we faced another failed attempt. Resources were drying up. And we just needed some time off from the Swipes Workspace.

We had sustained another defeat, but we were not giving up. While on a maternity leave Yana conceived a clever way for our team to finance our operations. She called the concept We against You. We would use our expertese to challenge and help tech companies improve their products and brands. Anyone who wasn't working on a client project would be jumping back on Swipes.

We reached out and waited. At first we did not have any expectations, after all we were not an agency specialized in freelance work. But soon we realized that with all those years promoting Swipes, we have made a name for ourselves. So the projects started running down and we had enough money to pay rent and salaries.