First of all, how are you and your Family doing in these COVID-19 Times?
Paul Mit: It is a hard and challenging time for the whole World. We sympathize with everyone and especially with those who suffered from COVID-19. We were lucky enough, and neither our family members nor our team caught the virus. Everybody is safe and sound, and we wish the threat is soon over.
Andrew Severin: We tried our best to support our users for which the transition to remote work and falling demand were crucial. I hope we defeat the virus soon.
Tell us about you, your Career, how you Founded or Joined FlowMapp
Andrew Severin: I have been working as a designer for ten years. I graduated from Bauman Moscow State Technical University, where I studied UI/UX Design. The education helped me to found my design-agency, which we called Brandivision. And this company was a start point for launching FlowMapp in 2017.
Paul Mit: Before FlowMapp, I gained quite a varied experience. I worked in marketing and performance agencies, developed digital products in e-commerce, trading, and logistics. That was an incredible time, and I was lucky to have an opportunity to work in such teams as Yandex, MediaCom WPP, and British Higher School of Art & Design. The skills I got there helped me to start FlowMapp. Since then, our startup takes all our time, grabs all our attention and focus.
How does FlowMapp Innovate?
Andrew Severin: It is a good question because innovations are the most important thing that helps FlowMapp to develop. Our main task is to reinvent the way the product and design teams use UX tools. We also invent ways these tools can be integrated into one platform.
Paul Mit: Fully agree with Andrew. To always be on the cutting edge of technology, we use the following methods to find and implement ideas:
- We avoid studying competitors because this strategy does not work for innovative companies.
- Our users are the primary inspiration source for us. We never stop exploring our clients’ processes, problems, approaches, ideas, and suggestions.
- We observe trends in related areas and reflect on how this might affect our product.
Our knowledge is another authoritative source of information. To get ideas from the heads of our team members, we conduct strategic sessions, brainstorms, and daily stand-ups. Well, most of the innovation is born at our Friday parties.
How the Coronavirus Pandemic affects your Business, and how are you coping?
Paul Mit: Frankly speaking, as representatives of SaaS and Productivity Tools in the industry, we are experiencing an interest grow in online collaborative tools. I suppose this happens because of the global trend for remote team interactions and the digitalization of services.
Andrew Severin: We don’t have to complain because it’s been already three months as we have been breaking all our records in terms of the number of new users and registrations, user acquisition and adoption, and the growth of product metrics. It is a time of change and new challenges for us.
Nevertheless, the crisis can cause negative consequences for absolutely all market representatives even indirectly, for example, through current clients who will have to decrease their costs. But we look at the situation positively and believe that the world economy will recover due to business activity, and we are preparing for any scenario.
Did you have to make Difficult Choices and what are the Lessons Learned?
Andrew Severin: The most important question that we asked ourselves was: How much time do we need to change the company’s processes, approaches to development, and customer relations? It took us only 5 minutes to discuss it and make the final decision.
We did not doubt that there would be a global shift. All our processes should be optimized and reconsidered: remote work, internal communication, changes in customer success & support, hiring new team members, product priorities, and functional development.
It is an excellent mobilization experience that I hope we will never need again.
How do you Deal with Stress and Anxiety? How do you Project yourself and FlowMapp in the Future?
Paul Mit: In our opinion, discussing stress and anxiety may have an adverse effect, but any measures to prevent it also have the opposite effect. Thus, stress takes roots and accumulates even more.
Our team culture and atmosphere take a positive vibe as a key mood in which there is no place for these negative things. In the DNA code of our communications and team actions, we founded a conscious attitude to what is going on around us. Therefore, we do not need any additional steps to protect ourselves and our company.
Who are your Competitors? And how do you plan to stay in the Game?
Andrew Severin: We try not to observe our competitors because this significantly affects the product vision and can cause irreparable harm to the strategy. Watching your competitors, you are looking into the past.
Paul Mit: That’s right, but I would like to add that we don’t even have such a notion as a “competitor.” Our product is continuously changing. We invent new functional things; we enter new markets and audiences; we affect client processes that we did not understand before.
Global changes in the use of SaaS services lead to infinite variations in the use of the software. It means that a current development team or company can simultaneously use 2, 3, 4, or more services of a similar focus. And that is not a big surprise because the number of distributed teams and T-shaped professionals is growing, and they cannot be limited in their tool choices. According to our worldview, our competitors are our potential partners.
Your Final Thoughts
Paul Mit: We live and work in an exciting time when changes happen so quickly that sometimes it is simply physically impossible to respond to them. We have defined a strategy for ourselves that helps us to develop the product and grow — Product Led Growth regularly.
To describe all our experience by a sentence, I would like to add that the focus of absolutely all strengths at the end-user solves tasks in crucial and important domains as acquisition, activation, and retention, which demand more resources in other business strategies.
Andrew Severin: I would add that the foundation of this strategy always consists of a deep understanding of consumers, improving user experience, and providing value to end-users.