Hello there, It's Nikita, and I have exciting news to share. First things first, what was the growth of total users using my products in July 2021?
A whopping 12.76% growth in the user base! It's up 6 297 789 users to 55 660 893 from 49 363 104 last month! I was looking forward to saying that 55M people use my products instead of a mere 49M (not as much of a significant round number). But, again, you can always check the most up-to-date stats at borodutch.com.
If the trend of ~10% monthly increase in user base continues, I'll hit 81M users by 2022, which is extremely close to my end goal of having 100M users. So I guess I'll have to move my end goal now to 1B users.
And here's how I'm going to reach this new milestone.
Can you name the ten most advanced innovations in the social industry over the last ten years? I know it can be shocking, but I'm talking about 2011+, not 2001+ (yes, time flies). The ones that come to my mind are:
- New media types (e.g. audio messages, stickers, short videos, voice chats)
- Suggestion algorithms (everyone's TikTok is different, at least it was the last time I checked)
- Geochats? However, probably not used by anyone except spammers
- AR masks
- Targeted ads
Aaaaaaand... that's it? 6/10? I mean, where's SkyNet? Where's the scary singularity? Is AI only good enough to show me more cute kittens videos if I've already watched a few cute kittens videos?
Well, it's not enough for me and my co-founder — Jason Kim, former co-founder of Taloflow (YC W21, which raised 3M+ from YC Continuity, Wonder Ventures, Voyager Capital, Scott Belsky (CPO @ Adobe), Ian Wong (CTO @ Opendoor) and more).
It's the perfect match: both of us are generalists, but Jason leans more towards the business side, whereas I'm more interested in building the tech. He can develop products, and I can market them, but we do exceptionally well wearing the proper hats.
Fun fact: we were floormates in UBC 10 years ago and worked on iOS mobile apps back then. Now, we are both accomplished product launchers and growth hackers. We came together again to work on the new services at the intersection of social, digital identity (pseudonymity), web3 and gaming.
After selling Shieldy and then after the upcoming sale of Voicy, I'll be even more comfortable. I will be able to live my life, check my products' stats from time to time, build small things for a small number of users again and again. This scares me: what if I'm missing the big thing by not building it?
I talked about the new anxiety with a friend of mine. And the question popped up: "How do people who earned $10M transition to earn $1B, and why not many of them do? Especially if jumping from $10M to $1B is statistically easier than from $0 to $10m."
We concluded that one could only transition from $10M to $1B by building things larger than them. After reaching 100M users, I don't want to gradually build up to 200M, 300M, 400M, etc. I want to build something that will explode. And everything points at social being the most suitable under-innovated industry for this goal. Dosu is the thing larger than me.
To make sure I'm clear on this: I've already reached the 55M users milestone. Now I want to build up to 1B users fast. Dosu is my way of doing it.
Another angle to look at it is where the kids will go after parents come to TikTok? Kids migrated from MySpace to Facebook to Instagram to Snapchat to TikTok whenever their parents joined the platform. So the question is: are you a parent that's on TikTok now? Guess what? Your kids are leaving for another platform.
This platform will be us. Think early Tumblr, LiveJournal, MySpace, Twitter combined with Death Stranding social system. Pseudonymous way to share any thoughts with no toxicity on the platform (nada) with a way to fully customize your profile. Remember spending hours setting up your MySpace or Tumblr page? Unfortunately (or fortunately), the new generation doesn't remember that.
And you can jump on this train that quite literally leaves now. We've already built infrastructure and are making the prototype. So check out dosu.io (or dosu.app, we haven't decided yet). Or check out the designs that we are bringing to life now.
Please shoot us an email to [email protected] (Big Whale Labs is the company that we use to tinker with different ways of approaching pseudonymity). Or contact me on Telegram @borodutch, or email me at [email protected]. We are raising ~$500k pre-seed money to try out a few iterations of different products to see what sticks to the market.
Don't miss this opportunity. Dosu is going to be huge. I'll make sure of that. I no longer want tens of millions of users. I aim at billions.
Voicy is the first product of mine that has seen the "hockey stick" growth. 2 034 242 chats (up 3.5% from 1 965 995 chats a month ago) use it today.
It's a shame that I forgot to note the other stats in the previous issue of Borodutch Invest Updates. I can't compare them to the current ones — well, fixing this for future issues. Voicy is at 11 528 427 users, and 38 008 583 recognized voice messages resulting in 16.76 years of continuous speech.
The cost of it all? Here's some exclusive info that I haven't ever shared: I run Voicy on a $40/month Digital Ocean droplet. Yes, that's it, not a cent more. Millions of chats and people use it, and it doesn't cost me more than an average night out. And the marketing and growth? $0. It just grows on its own.
The stats are, as usual, calmly predictable. I'm pretty sure that Voicy (just like Shieldy before) can benefit from plugging cheap ads at multiple Telegram channels as well as from publicity that the upcoming deal creates. This benefit will be at least a 20%-50% bump in the audience using Voicy. Again, just like with Shieldy, which grew from 20M to 29M users after the deal and publicity.
But what about selling it? I have multiple active bids to sell Voicy, and we are currently preparing the documentation with one of the bidders. Unfortunately, I can't say much yet publically as we haven't yet decided on the limits of joint NDA.
However, I'm open to new bids. Please message me on Telegram @borodutch (or email me at [email protected]). I can share a bit more details with potential buyers. Just like with Shieldy, this deal can be a gold mine in terms of growth. Telegram isn't going anywhere and soon will bypass even the mainstream messengers in the number of users as more and more people become privacy-aware.
I keep saying this, and I keep being proven right. So don't miss this opportunity. By now, you should already be aware that my predictions are always on point.
Oh boy, oh boy, how did Shieldy grow after the acquisition by 1inch! 20M -> 29M (+45%) users, 200K -> 225K (+12.5%) chats. That's in 2 months after the deal! As I mentioned before, the major drivers of growth were the deal publicity plus a bit of non-expensive marketing done by 1inch.
I'm no longer involved in the day-to-day operations of Shieldy. However, I do try my best to consult their developers and support staff on various questions.
Interestingly enough, the deal might have been the reason why a variety of pull requests spawned in the official Shieldy GitHub repository, like adding new languages and features. A few more perks of having the code open source!
By the way, Voicy is also fully open source.
If you don't follow my Telegram channel (in Russian), you might have missed the news. I became a father in July 2021! And Todorant has been helping me in this chaotic period. I don't know how I would remember to take my multivitamins, attend meetings or hold my part of any agreements if Todorant didn't exist. Thanks to Todorant, even with a fragmented sleep pattern, I can still be highly efficient and don't forget a single thing.
Nowadays, I've delegated most of my technical duties to my trusted list of contractors (you guys rock!) The next thing we will be releasing is the new local storage algorithm on the mobile (and then web) that will solve all the performance issues in Todorant! That's what we've been cooking for the last 1.5 months at least. Hence the lack of updates in the Todorant blog.
After this update, I'll start the new marketing push. It seems like I've exhausted the innovators of this market niche. It is time to shoot for early adopters. We are adjusting our marketing materials and in-app experience accordingly.
The number of users is up 3.2% (+1041 users from 32 733) from last month. The number of paying customers increased by 9.95% (+14 from 142) from the previous month.
Keep in mind that Todorant still doesn't have any marketing at all (this will come soon), and 1inch has removed the link to Todorant from Shieldy. You can see when I added this link and when it got removed on the "Number of new users" chart.
But that's ok. The traffic from Shieldy didn't convert to paying customers anyway. It is evident from the fact that the number of added todos hasn't dropped. We'll see what this journey will bring us!
Borodutch Club is the no-BS club of product launchers. I got tired of communities like IndieHackers, WIP and Russian "Mesto." They are full of noise from wannabes and people who try to launch products but never end up launching. They like the notion of being a product launcher, not the actual process and getting the results.
So I've built my elite community of Russian-speaking product launchers. I'm happy to disclose the stats from this community for the very first time. It is currently at 145 members who launched 22 products in the last month. This is what I call "no-BS." And even more products are coming!
I love being a part of this community. It is so elite that I had to shut down registration. One can only join by invite now. Initially, the membership cost was $23.11 per month. The price for the new joiners is $46.22 per month. As you can see, it is well worth it.
I don't plan on growing this community anytime soon. Still, I might open up registration to bring in a fresh wind of changes.
It's challenging to keep track of everything, especially when you have 23 active products serving tens of millions of people 24/7. So I'll try to point out the most exciting things from the data I have.
Delete nudes bot that I've launched in mid-June has grown to 1242 chats with 210 497 users. Up whopping 136 734 users or +185% from 73 763 last month. I guess this product gets the award of the fastest growing product of mine this time! But, again, all of this without any marketing whatsoever.
My Russian blog grew from 17 875 subscribers to 18 035: +160 subscribers or +0.9%. The growth has slowed down, and I'm no longer organically meeting my goal of 20k subscribers by the end of 2021. The reason can also be that Shieldy no longer notes my channel anywhere.
Well, I guess I'll buy a few ad spots on Telegram and grow to 20k anyway. The usual way of acquiring Telegram subscribers. But here's the thing: 21% of my audience have the channel's notifications on! The number is insane! I thought it would be way down.
The rest of the products have slow, steady growth. The notable exception is "Check my text bot" — the spellchecker for channels on Telegram. Hopefully, it is soon going to bypass a million users, currently serving 671 601 people.
Thank you for reading the whole thing! As you can see, I have a concrete goal in mind that I focus on. Every step I take should lead me closer to achieving 1B users across all of my products. Even selling Shieldy and Voicy will help me to allocate more resources to reach for things more significant than me.