All-hands Team Memo May 2024

Philippe Lehoux
by Philippe Lehoux

At Missive, we're not fans of meetings. However, we’ve just started doing all-hands, few times a year, to keep in sync.

The idea is, prior to each, I send a written memo about our vision, challenges, strategies, and roadmap – a snapshot of our current status.

After writing the first one, I decided why not share it with our customers. Here it is, our second memo.

👋 Hello team,

It has been 51 days since our first all-hands; that timespan is 14% of the year. Time flies by incredibly fast, looking back it’s a constant reminder of how time-constrained we are. For this second memo I plan to share updates on various subjects, list the things we’ve achieved, then go over things we have planned for the next few weeks.

On Missive + Tasks

Arnaud and Etienne have been working on scoping the upcoming task improvements.

Arnaud created a demo video of our work in progress. It’s a must watch in full-screen and 4k!

Our goal is to integrate conversations and tasks in a natural way to improve visibility and accountability. As you can imagine, this requires a few core changes to ensure simplicity and ease of use. Let's dive in!

Currently, in Missive, you can assign and close a conversation. This is useful for customer support, where you don’t need to be descriptive about what needs to be done. The act of assigning a customer question is good enough, your colleague will reply to the customer and then close the conversation.

When you need to be more descriptive about the work that needs to be accomplished, Missive offers the ability to create tasks within conversations, each of which can be assigned to a colleague. For instance, you might create a task for your assistant to export a specific PDF report and attach it to one of your drafts.

Having two different mechanisms (assigned conversations and tasks) to keep track of what needs to be done creates complexity. Ultimately, whether it's an assigned conversation or an assigned task, the key is to have tools to plan your day and know what you and your colleagues need to focus on.

This upcoming update will thus not only focus on bringing a My tasks view but also bridge the gap between assigned conversations and tasks. So both can be managed using the same tools (My tasks, Calendars, Due date, etc.)

On the technical side of things, Rafael started brainstorming and scoping the architecture and database changes required for these new functionalities. It has been decided that Denys will be responsible for building the first prototypes of those changes on the backend, and Etienne will lead the front-end.

On SOC 2

Our SOC 2 Type 1 audit started last Tuesday, May 14th. We should receive our SOC 2 Type 1 certification pretty soon.

Going through the different SOC 2 controls was a really interesting and beneficial experience in terms of battle-proofing our different security and privacy processes.

Getting this certification will streamline the onboarding process for larger customers. Instead of filling out custom security questionnaires for each customer, our certification letter will likely serve as a replacement.

The SOC 2 certification will also enhance the credibility of Missive for customers of all sizes, not just the larger ones.

On Product Metrics

It took us more than eight years to include product metrics in Missive, but we finally did it. For most of our history, we were completely blind to how people were using Missive or how our initiatives were impacting users, apart from our direct conversations with customers.

As we scale the team and become less involved in every customer conversation, it is crucial to build a flexible metric dashboard. The workflow is built using Segment for data ingestion and Mixpanel for visualization.

My next step is to build a workflow for Luis and Janie to help them follow up with potential customers. The data in Mixpanel will allow them to reach out with relevant information based on product usage, such as:

  • Have they created rules?
  • Have they created labels?
  • What are their use cases?
  • Have they connected email accounts?
  • Have they had any failed payments?

If you don’t have access to Mixpanel, just ask, and I will invite you.

On Price Increase

On April 15, we released a yearly subscription option, increased the price of all our plans, and removed some plan limitations. This price increase had several goals:

  • Decrease the gap between the price of Missive and our competitors.
  • Increase the incentive for organizations to subscribe to the new yearly subscription.
  • Auto-filter solo users who were churning at a high rate due to a lack of value in the collaborative features central to the Missive experience.

Here are the results of the price increase on our MRR:

We can observe the immediate 10% price increase for all seats, followed by many organizations removing seats they had added to lock in the legacy pricing. We also see numerous organizations switching their subscriptions from monthly to yearly in the following days. This bump and slump in the MRR is expected as more organizations switch to the yearly plan and receive a 20% discount.

Interestingly, before the price increase, the Starter plan was the least popular option among our users. The six-month history limit and the small price difference between the Starter and Productive plans led most new users to choose the Productive plan.

Since April 15, the Starter plan has become the most popular. This is great because it leaves room for those organizations to eventually upgrade to the Productive plan for features like rules and integrations.

On Affiliates

Following the price increase, we also increased the rewards affiliates can get when referring customers to us. Interested to learn more about our affiliate program? I recently wrote a blog post about it here.

On Webinars and Customer Interviews

Luis has taken over the duty of doing webinars. He is still doing the bi-weekly team inbox webinar. He also created one specifically tailored for users on the Productive plan about the rules and integrations.

Luis is also conducting user interviews using the JTBD (jobs to be done) framework. The results of all interviews he made so far can be consulted on Notion.

These interviews, along with our product metrics, will help us better understand our customers and how they use Missive. The ultimate goal is to learn to speak their language, allowing us to better tailor our marketing and sales initiatives.

On Support

Philippe Langlois is doing a great job with support, the number of support messages has stayed relatively the same but the first reply time and handle time has been constantly decreasing over the last few weeks.

Philippe also started to systematically reply to all customers having had a successful interaction with him to get a potential review at Trustpilot, G2 and others. We can clearly see when he started doing this:

On Marketing

For the past few months, we collaborated with a marketing agency to produce content and structure our marketing efforts. However, both parties agreed that we had reached the full potential of this partnership and decided to end it. Moving forward, we will bring all marketing efforts in-house.

I have a strong bias towards action over strategizing, which made it challenging for me to maximize this partnership. Paul Graham’s quote, "If you're not sure what to do as an entrepreneur, do anything. Action produces information," resonates strongly with me.

As an organization, we can't rely on a perfectly fine-tuned recipe for marketing, development, product, etc., because the ingredients are never exactly the same. We need to figure things out ourselves, fail, adapt, and eventually win.

There are no shortcuts; we need to do the hard work ourselves.

On Development

We are now five months in our experiment of scaling up the team with senior developers having years of experience with Ruby/Rails. In those 5 months we have made a lot of progress into not making Missive so dependent on one man, Rafael.

  • Implement CI on GitHub (specs and code formatter).
  • Created and deployed monitoring system for developers access to production server.
  • 1Password secrets to ease development and improve production security posture.
  • Automatic deployment from GitHub to multiple Heroku apps to ultimately let devs other than Raf deploy to production.
  • Better GitHub integration in Missive.
  • Production DB backup monitoring.
  • Updated to the latest Rails version.
  • Updated to Ruby 3.3.
  • Automated user data exports to reduce manual operations requirements.
  • Greg, Denys and Louis-Michel all got familiar with part of the code base only Rafael was familiar with.

Louis-Michel and Denys have each started working on features that are extremely high on our Canny board, so we are quite excited about the next few months.

On The New Office

We just moved to our new office in Quebec city. For Etienne, Rafael and myself, it’s nothing new as it’s the same office where the first line of codes for Missive were coded in 2015 in what was the now defunct co-working space,

Keep all in mind that 36% of our staff is not located in Quebec, so we will stay predominantly a remote first culture. Conversations should happen online (text, video) most of the time.

Rails World + Offsite

We were extremely happy to have secured six tickets to attend the next Rails World in Toronto next September. We will take advantage of the conference to fly everyone to Quebec city a few days before the conference. It will be the first time the whole company will meet in person!

See more information about Rails Word in our Notion.

Customer Field Trip

End of May Janie and I will fly to New-York for 3 days to meet our best customers from the Big Apple. This will be a first for me as I’ve rarely met customers in real life apart from the few we have in Quebec city! I will probably also go to the bay area and LA soon to do the same. Why? From every business-oriented person I talked to, it is an absolute must to meet your best customers in person:

  • You show them that you care. You make them fans for life.
  • You gather real honest feedback you would never have got from just an email or phone call.
  • You can work on their pain and expand their use of your product.
  • They can help us expand our network and share insights on how to sell to their industry.

Trade shows and Conferences

On June 4th and 5th, Janie and I will be attending our first trade show, the Future of Supply Chain. This event focuses on transportation and logistics businesses, which are key customer segments for us. These businesses typically have a large number of user seats and are heavy users of our assignment, chat, and task features.

We will have a small booth, and I will be giving a 7-minute demonstration of Missive on the main stage.

We aim to connect with potential big customers and hopefully secure new business. This will be a valuable learning experience for us and help us define what we need going forward to improve go to market strategies.

Next, we plan to participate in more events within the logistics and transportation industries. Additionally, we will explore opportunities in the travel and hospitality industry, where we also have a strong customer base.

Philippe Lehoux

CEO at Missive
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