Going public

September 1, 2022

Blame it on imposter syndrome or me being stubborn. I've wanted to write you for a while but I've kept on pushing it further into the future. However, today is the day. Today is the day I start building in public.

I have no clue what to expect from this. Whether building in public is going to help me to be more disciplined or it's adding a bunch of interesting people to my journey, I'm about to find out.

A short intro. The last 8 years have been about building Eli5, a software product studio. Eli5 is basically an agency, clients pay us to build things that solve their users' problems. Before you start shaking your head and mumble 'What a f'ing idiot'  because I've been building an agency business, there is a lot of value to be found in this type of business if done right.

  • Eli5 is great for attracting talented and kind people who mostly stay with the company for multiple years and sometimes even become business partners;
  • The work we do is very diverse and challenging, keeping us sharp and always on the cutting edge of new tech; and
  • We build solutions for problems that have not been solved before, resulting in an incredible amount of specific knowledge which we can turn into new businesses.

My business partner and I cherish these three points and we firmly believe they'll fade at a larger scale. So we've decided to remain small by choice and focus on expanding our business in another way.

Eli5 has always been a tough one to sell. Clients pay between 30k and 300k for us to design and develop a software product, taking us between 6 weeks and 4 months for a first version, depending on the product. And then we're not talking about post-launch development yet. So, long sales cycles with big dependencies on my business partner and I. We've thought about productising Eli5's service but this would affect the attraction of talent and diminish the aggregation of specific knowledge.

Building low threshold productised service companies around Eli5

Having a healthy inflow of potential projects for high-ticket services costs a lot money. You need to continuously scan the market, identify new opportunities, and build relationships to close new business. But what if you could build a healthy inflow of potential projects that's actually earning you money instead of costing you? We've decided to build service businesses around Eli5 which offer complementary services that are suitable for productisation making them significantly easier to sell.

No-code design studio

The first one is Noco, a no-code design studio, which has launched as of last year. Noco does one thing very well which is building high-end custom websites through no- and low-code tools such as Webflow. We've completely systemised our service, resulting in a very competitive fixed price while keeping the fully custom designed output. Noco takes clients from input to output in 3 weeks. Combining competitive pricing and fast delivery with high quality custom design results in Noco being easy to sell. While the company is profitable, it also introduces Eli5 to all of its clientele.

Product validation service

Before building a software product, at Eli5 we've always pushed our clients to validate their product upfront in order to increase the odds of building something viable. At Eli5 we know exactly how to do this and we know there is demand for it. It's a service that can stand on its own, and likely will even perform significantly better having its own proposition, team, and systems. Personally I'm most excited about this one. Every upfront-validation project is a potential project for our software product studio.

What's next?

While the No-code design studio, Noco, is running and profitable, the product validation studio is still in the making. Although I have a really strong urge to start building a system for Noco's inbound/outbound sales, I'm first going to translate the product validation studio's proposition to a proper website. After that the inbound/outbound systems for both companies are going to get all of my attention. We're also in the midst of finding someone who can potentially lead the validation business. If you know anyone who's incredibly skilled at product design, customer development, and value proposition design, feel free to connect us :)

The bigger picture

This part entails the service side of our larger business. To keep things clear and easy to understand I will end it here for now. In upcoming newsletters I'll lay out the other parts of the business, which are media, products, and ventures.

Till next time!


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