In December 2018, I moved to San Francisco to participate in Y Combinator with my idea for an assistant that helps you while you code. YC was the perfect place to meet some of the smartest programmers who could use all the help they could get to move fast and launch a successful startup. While collecting feedback from our earliest users, we discovered something huge. With over 200 companies in the YC batch, the only ones that everyone knew about and loved stood out because they were obsessed with their users, not their code.
You might have heard famous stories about founders doing things very manually at first. Ambitious startups still do this today; They remain very hands on with their users (Superhuman is famous for religiously hand-holding and adapting to feedback from their users. At the time of writing this post, they still do not accept signups on their site without a manual onboarding).
Companies have to do a lot of work to stay this diligent and there just aren't any good tools to help. The most common solution we see companies doing, even at a larger scale, is connecting every tool they use into Slack and writing Slack bots so they know when something happens. Very quickly, this leads to a noisy
#bots channel that nobody looks at.
When it comes to actually supporting users, teams resort to using an admin panel designed for their database (not for humans) to change values for a user, and navigating the various tools they use (Intercom, Stripe, etc.) to take action. Working directly with the source means a lot could go wrong and leaves a lot to be desired.
Larger companies build internal tools, and nearly everyone has some some form of tool to help look up a user and their data. However, this needs to be kept up to date as new features get supported, which usually requires a team of engineers, and as companies grow, more people tend rely on this dashboard:
- Support reps need to inspect and manage users, issue refunds, or even login as a user to replicate issues.
- PMs and sales teams need to know how a prospects experience with the product has been.
- Design and marketing teams care about the user journey leading up to a signup or a drop off.
Is there really a way to fix this madness?
Every fast-moving company needs a way to measure every part of their product as they iterate, and there are a ton of products to help (Mixpanel, Heap, Segment, etc.). Companies also rely on tools like Intercom or Stripe, all of which provide a critical service while collecting data from the users on your app. Using this data, one could build really good profiles to give you a clear picture on each user.
With Windsor we are trying to do just that - we want to give companies a definitive way to check in and very quickly learn everything a user has done on your platform. The benchmark we are aiming for is Facebook or LinkedIn.
The profile page is the definitive place to learn all about a user. Every user is addressable with a unique URL like
https://windsor.io/u/pranaygp so you can share a page about a user the same way you would share links to Facebook or LinkedIn.
Our Mission is to Humanize Data. Companies are forced to interact with data in ways that serve as a means to an end - logs, transactions, reports, graphs, events, messages, errors, etc. We believe companies, and the people that run them, are providing a service to people and care deeply about those people so it only makes sense that the tools we use to run companies focus on users and what they need to succeed - everything else comes next.