The road from 1 to one thousand for the smart and free Jira Alternative!

Hello Again,

This was suppose to go out yesterday, but it’s been a crazy week! So today we are diving deep into Tara. I hate Jira, I really do, and I have no idea how Atlassian is worth $46b yet feels like I my OS turns into windows 95 every time I am on there.

Enter Tara: A free and smart alternative designed to help teams move faster in product development. You can run weekly sprints, plan release cycles and ship on-time for everyone from Dev to Growth and Marketing. I am in♥️ with their product.

We talked a lot about consumer products, let take a look into the growth levers for one of my favorite saas products of all time!

🗓The first user - October 2019

So the first user for Tara was..you guessed it Tara. They had to cut the umbilical cord by dropping Trello, Jira and all their task management platforms. This gave the team the chance to really test the metal of the product.

This is one of the powers of forcing functions. When you don’t have a fallback, the only way to proceed is forward! Tara team shipped code on a weekly cadence, they figured out if they can make it work for themselves they gotta be able to make it work for everyone else!

🗓The first 10 users - Jan 2020 - Alpha

In parallel, the team was also conducting a study with some 300+ teams; understanding users, their needs and what they would want to see if Jira was built from the ground up. One of things they realized early on was that people didn’t want their PRDs and Docs to live on a platform, their sprints on another and their task management on a third. So one of the first killer features they came up with was Docs. Integrating your docs directly into the core sprint planning platform.

While they had a few hundred people they were in touch with, not many wanted to use the product. I asked Iba how they actually landed those first 10 customers and her answer was

We banged on doors. We just banged on doors until we managed to officially onboard our first 10 clients from our initial set of 300 or so customers they interviewed.

This was their Alpha version! Now with the Tara team and a handful of customers they were able to prioritize what to build, ship code faster and uncover interesting insights and use cases onto how to evolve the product

🗓The first 125 users - March 2020 - Beta

So how do you go from an Alpha barebones version to a Beta version where you are ready to have a lot more people using your product?

The way Tara did that was by being laser-focused on engagement. How people use your product is much more valuable that actually how many people use it. Once Iba and the team at Tara found out these leading indicators of the product working (going from 1 eng to 2 to 5 to engineering management, then marketing team joining..etc..etc) they decided to launch their beta version: a publicly available waiting list people can join they managed to grow their users from 10-125 in just a few weeks.

Tara is a product obsessed company, similar to how Superhuman or Notion is, and if you happen to use their product, you will REALLY feel that.

So as you can imagine they were very methodical in their Beta approach.

  • Everyone in the company was a de-facto Account/Customer Success manager. Everyone from designers to Engineers to Marketing, each of the 100 customers had an “owner” which was one of the members @ Tara.

  • Everyone in the company talks to customers, everyone!

  • They white listed each sign up manually, they asked people what they hated about Jira, this allowed them to onboard customers based on how much they would actually benefit from their product! Not how big the customer was or who had the best logo they could portray on their website

    The end result is speaks for itself! This teams starting growing organically internally and Tara steadily grew into 300-400 users from that product.

🗓The first 1000 users - April 2020 - Public Launch

So ever since their public launch Tara literally went from 500 to 2000 to 4000 to 8000…etc..etc 🔥

How did they do that? How could a company that spent 6 months acquiring its first few hundred customers explode almost overnight! Tara has been a juggernaut ever since their launch

So Tara relied on product launch! Literally publicly launching their product was their growth lever. Don’t be fooled though, the only reason their launch was so successful was because of how good their product is!

On April 30th Iba and the team at Tara prepared for finally launching their product to the world! They got 1640 votes on product hunt (second most voted product of the day) and landed on the front page on Hackernews! From their the company exploded. It turns out when you build a tool that hacker and developers love it’ll spread faster than covid-19!

🔥 Going Forward

Tara realized that their growth comes from their product first approach. Every sprint they complete is published on their website and Twitter. This is practice they started back in December but still maintain every single sprint! It not just builds discipline but gives their customers an inside look into the company and make them feel a lot more connected to the product they are using! Its like they work there!

Every 4-6 months Tara does a major product release which fuels their growth and reignites the 🚀🚀🚀.

Just a couple of week back they released Tara for teams which absolutely killed it yet again on product hunt with over 1000 upvotes

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See you next week,
Ali Abouelatta

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