Episode 12 Summary: October 2014 – January 2015
March 10th, 2015
At the end of every Episode at Asana, each team writes a summary of the work they’ve accomplished to share with the company. It’s a huge, collaborative doc that everyone is invited to see. We synthesize the highlights from the episode and share them as an internal memo that we’d now like to share with you.
Episode 12 represented a marked improvement in our ability to set ambitious goals, achieve them on time, and get things (including critical product functionality) over the finish line. We delivered a lot of value to end users, and achieved most (but not all) of our goals around improving our capacity to deliver more value going forward. As the ‘next-generation enterprise collaboration’ market continues to heat up, this kind of performance is essential to both our existing users and to getting Asana to the vast majority of the market, who don’t know there are alternatives to running their teams on email.
Fast-paced, sustainable growth
In E12, we grew revenue by ███%, finishing ahead of our 2014 plan, and got off to a great start in January. We hit every MRR target, both monthly and for the entire episode (reversing the pattern from E11). This is exciting both for us as a company and because revenue is an important proxy for how much value we’re contributing to the world. We added more than 2000 new customers, including household names, as well as lesser-known-doers-of-great-things, many of whom we’ll be highlighting in our newly-launched #withasana campaign. [Ed.: If you’re doing some amazing things with your team, #withasana, we’d love to hear about it.]
Based on our research, the biggest obstacle to new customer acquisition is that the complexity of the user interface can make it difficult for Asana champions to get their entire team on board. We’re addressing this head on with our large investments in the Redesign, new-user-experience improvements, and user education / lifecycle content marketing.
A new Android app, Dashboards, and SAML
Over the last month of E12, ███K people used Asana. We made significant progress in enhancing the capabilities of these humans to convert their imaginations into reality.
We completed Asana’s foundation as a true multi-platform product, launching a beautiful, stable, native Android app. Dashboards launched to strong positive feedback, empowering many organizational leaders with high-level clarity on progress
The cross-platform launch of SAML/SCIM and our Google Apps Marketplace app made the lives of IT people administrating Asana in large organizations much easier . In addition to these major launches, we made a slew of smaller product improvements, including iOS upgrades, Inbox upgrades, workspace merging, and many more.
Stability & speed
E12 had the highest uptime of any episode in Asana’s history, a fantastic and hard-won stability achievement. But there’s a lot of work that remains to be done to help make Asana lighting fast even when you put tons of information in it. While the work didn’t manifest to users in E12, we made huge progress on both LunaDb and LunaUI (Luna2), which together will be speed up the web app (and our development of it!) forever.
Supporting users throughout their lifecycle
We significantly improved the new-user experience for users invited to Asana by someone else., This was our most successful growth experiment win to date lifting total adoption of Asana by 6.2%. Another change increased adopted invitees by 14%. Content is also key to growth, and in E12 we redesigned the Guide and the blog, and created Workstyle, a new destination for sharing insights and advice from inspiring teams and leaders. Next episode, we’ll focus on building out our content and driving more traffic to it.
While we had some effective email campaigns, including a fun New Year’s one, we missed our top-of-the-funnel KRs — not by wide margins — but still misses. Hitting our top of the funnel KRs from now on is a very big focus in 2015.
On the Customer Operations side of the house, we hit all of our SLAs and speed goals in User Operations, and will make those metrics even better with in 2015, when we expand our coverage areas. The team also continues to make great strides increasing satisfaction and retention by working directly with large customers. Growth of the sales team, along with maturing metrics and processes, make us feel confident about our 2015 revenue plan.
A new chapter: the Platform program
Empowering developers to extend Asana is a critical piece of our long-term strategy, and in E12 we made major strides on the Platform program. We shipped EventStreams, improved the API, hired our first Developer Advocate, and launched a new developer site, which should make it easier and more compelling to build on top of Asana.
Understanding and defining our brand
Behind the scenes: We made progress on our redesign — of our entire visual style, the web app’s entire navigation scheme, and our design pattern language — that were inspiring and clear both to us and to users in studies. Introspection yielded clarity on the words that capture our essence and will define our brand: AUTHENTIC, PASSIONATE, EMPOWERING, INTENTIONAL, EFFECTIVE, PLAYFUL. Research yielded clarity on our users’ varying psychologies (internal vs. external motivation, low vs. high perception of friction) and lifecycle phases (from shopping to institutionalizing). And evaluation yielded clarity on some new backend infrastructure technology to deploy.
Building the Asana team for the long haul
This episode, we found 33 outstanding people to join us in our mission. This represented a resounding success on most fronts, especially in operations hiring, but we still fell short on our most critical positions, product[ion] engineering. We’ll be growing the recruiting team in E13 to ensure we can get ahead of our hiring plan. We onboarded these n00basanas with increased efficiency, opened Cafe Luna to feed them, and opened a staircase to better connect them. Our office is now one of the best in the city, which is great for us and for recruiting.
E12 was not without disappointments. We wanted to get more users out of workspaces and into orgs. We wanted to get more developers onto EventStreams. We didn’t ship as many of the early Redesign improvements as we’d expected. But all told, E12 was a strong episode, and we made a lot of progress on a number of fronts. We had several big wins, and we laid the groundwork for many more in E13.
We are increasing our impact as a team, improving our success as a business, and helping humanity thrive by enabling more teams to work together with less effort. We established clear ambitious goals for 2015, but even today we are already seeing the significant positive impact Asana has on our customers’ abilities to manifest their visions. I think one user put it best when they said, “It is because of Asana that we we had a productive year that was efficient.”