Meet with HoloBase product manager: How to get the first 1000 users?

Sep 22, 2021 Other

We have started a new feature centered on product managers. In this series of topics, we will invite some product managers of Internet products in China and overseas, who will share with you the perspectives of product cold start, user requirements analysis, and Internet product thinking. In regards to this issue, we have invited Amal, the product manager of HoloBase, who is relatively close to you, to share with you. We hope this article can help you understand more about the latest revision of HoloBase and some of the expectations that HoloBase carries.


HoloBase - as a bridge of connection

HoloBase is a news aggregation platform under GeekPark that focuses on business development models and venture investment opportunities in China's Internet industry, aiming to follow the development of China's Internet industry in real-time and connect it to the global capital market. Currently, HoloBase has accumulated nearly 20,000 users, who are tech entrepreneurs and business executives from 18 countries.

Starting from 2021, HoloBase transforms from a single content service platform to a user community. "There are also many Chinese tech media that are providing overseas users with products about the dynamics of China's Internet tech industry. Compared to them, HoloBase is more interested in being a connection bridge based on information services. We believe that communication is valuable and are willing to put in efforts to build a valuable community." Amal said this when talking about the advantages of HoloBase.

HoloBase held weekly online discussions on Telegram non-stop through the first half of 2021, covering topics such as Mars exploration, Pop Mart and Generation Z consumption, and Musk's startup experience. The connection between HoloBase and its users has grown stronger.


How did HoloBase get the first thousand users?

Although over 20,000 users have traveled with HoloBase today, the product had a tough time getting its first one thousand users, and Amal shared with us how the team's psychology, goals, and product design changed as the product gained more users.

"In the beginning the team predicted some natural traffic to the website, believing in the standard that users would grow as long as they continued to enjoy high-quality content." But things didn't go as planned, and after three months, HoloBase was still an unloved product. "So we had to try an online promotion, introducing HoloBase one-on-one to people who might be interested and inviting them to sign up. Even then, at the beginning of our promotion, there were no registered users. Then we put together a list of what HoloBase could offer to users, referenced competing products for pricing, gave it to users as a free sign-up package, and we finally gained our first user."

HoloBase was a product incubated by a Chinese tech media outlet, and at the time, how to complete a cold boot of the product was a step not considered by the team. Just like the old days of paper media, content providers were in the dominant position. Information websites think there will be natural traffic. However, in the Internet era, user experience and feelings are the most important criteria to test a product.

"I still remember when we got the first registered user. The product had been live for over three months at that time and the operations team was actually demoralized. But one afternoon while everyone was still hanging in there, a user from Indonesia became the first registered user of HoloBase." After successfully getting the first user, HoloBase began to reflect on the process. First, the operation team sought out HoloBase's target users and connected with them, and successfully found the online gathering place of the target users - LinkedIn. Secondly, HoloBase demonstrated the value of the product to users in a simple and clear way and eventually won their trust. The next thing to do is to think about how to string these right things together to form a replicable customer acquisition process and keep optimizing this process to improve the efficiency of customer acquisition.

"When we had 1,000 users, we knew that our current workflow was right and that we would get more users if we kept doing the "copy-optimize-copy" process. But after gaining 10,000 users, we started to think about what else we could offer to our users beyond the value we were currently providing to them, and whether we could build some connections between users and create new value loops. So we set up HoloBase community to provide a platform for users to communicate. At the same time, we also held some online networking events and invited some distinguished guests to participate," Amal shared.


The new version of HoloBase and its value

HoloBase is getting its first major revamp in 2021. The revamp has enhanced HoloBase's events and networking properties, and HoloBase's global startup community regularly invites great guests to join in online networking events. The product has now been updated with an "Event" module, which allows users to keep up with upcoming HoloBase events and summaries of past events on the site. Users who are not part of the HoloBase community and are interested can join the HoloBase global community through the portal on the website. At the same time, the product has also made some upgrades in terms of content, adding thematic modules and a tagging system to help users access content more efficiently.

When it comes to what value HoloBase can bring to users, Amal gave the following answer. "HoloBase can provide value to users from these three aspects: information, resources, and communication. China's Internet has developed rapidly in recent times, with many emerging business models and cutting-edge technologies and relying on a supermarket of 1.4 billion people to quickly land and validate and collect a lot of feedback. These business models, cutting-edge technologies, and their landing experiences are very valuable, and we hope to share this valuable information with Internet industry practitioners in other countries. Based on this information sharing, we hope to help them establish connections and form a new value cycle, upgrading from HoloBase's centralized content and value output to a decentralized communication community through exchanges of ideas that bring new value circulation for users. In addition, HoloBase's parent company is GeekPark, one of the leading technology media in China. We have the ability and resources to be a bridge of communication link between Chinese and overseas enterprises, helping to match resources, establish connections and reach cooperation between the two."


Product cold start from the perspective of a product manager

Users and products are a relationship of mutual achievement. The product solves problems and provides value for the user. Very often, users' needs are constantly changing during the cycle of experiencing a product, which prompts the product side to continuously adjust and iterate the product to make it more in line with the core demands of users and meet their usage scenarios. So how do you find the point that initially attracts users?

During the cold start of HoloBase, I also consulted a lot of information trying to learn what others were doing. I noticed that many well-known products had cold starts where the founders did all the things they could, and they stuck with it and succeeded. Ben Silbermann, co-founder of Pinterest, for example, says they did all sorts of pretty desperate things. He used to walk past the Apple store on his way home, go in and download Pinterest on all the computers. Then he just stood back and said, 'Wow, this thing called Pinterest, it's really hot. '"

Amal, in her work, also summed up some experiences about product cold start.

  1. Define who your users are
  2. Find a gathering place for them (whether online or offline) and try to connect with them
  3. Deliver the value of your product in a clear and concise way

The growth of HoloBase in the past two years comes from the endless tolerance from users and satisfaction given by users to the team. In conjunction with this website revamp, HoloBase has invited Amal, the product manager, to hold a sharing session for everyone on September 29th (next Wednesday) at 8 pm BST. Any suggestions about HoloBase are welcome, and Amal will also share more about the website revamp and the cold start of the product.

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