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Increasing credibility with clients, first enterprise contract of 2021 signed (Week 42)

Faizan Patankar on 19 April 2021

On a completely random note, having a really good chair is probably the best investment you can make for your home/office.

Like now, when I am meant to update my blog. But the chair takes priority. I miss the days of going to IKEA and sitting on chairs to test them out. Not sure when I can do that next, hopefully soon!

It's been 6 weeks since my last blog. Which is a larger gap than my previous blog post (of 4 weeks). I know, it's progressively getting longer.

You don't need to be a data scientist to work out that the next blog could take 9 weeks (work that out, wizards).

If this is the first blog you are reading, let me clarify, I don't usually write like this. Or maybe I do write like this. I really don't know what people think when they read my blog. This time round please do leave a comment or message on LinkedIn or Twitter telling me how you find my writing.

That's just an ego boost, no, Faizan?

Yes, yes you could be right. Maybe it is.

No, the reason I am taking this long-winded intro to this blog post is that this is a blog that I am writing, having been peer pressured into it by my team.

Yeah, some of my team members get pleasure out of reminding me I don't write enough blogs.

So, Faizan, why are you not blogging about Amygda's updates weekly? You promised.

I did promise to build Amygda in public. And share my journey in weekly blogs.

Things have been quite busy at Amygda. As a small team dealing with enterprise clients and long sales cycles means there's always something we are juggling.

I am sure, there is someone reading this blog, who I need to get back to in person and I haven't. Sorry! However my most used word for 2020, 2019 and probably for 2021 is going to be "sorry for the late reply...."

OK, before we cancel you, give us some updates on Amygda

Cool...cool....cool...

We have signed a customer focussing on reducing unscheduled downtime to high-value assets. Over time we will go more public with the info. But for now, it's a crazy busy time for us.

The roadmap now is to deliver lots of value to this enterprise client. By the end of 2021 having them as a reference customer is the ultimate aim. Because once they find that value, they have an unfair advantage.

What we are doing with this first client is going to be the norm in this industry in the next 18-24 months. At least in the UK and Europe, and probably the US too in the meantime.

So, obviously we are pretty excited.

That's one of the reasons for not having enough time to continue writing this blog.

What else is happening on the customer side?

Busy, busy, busy.

  • We have one signed contract.
  • There is one more client we are on track to get over the line. And this one is going to be a real eyebrow-raiser.
  • We have 2 trials being discussed through our go-to-market channels.
  • And 4-5 warm prospects that are being nurtured in the sales pipeline
  • Then folks we can't invest too much time on right now with our bandwidth (double-digits, not triple-digit numbers)

As a startup selling to enterprises, we deal with long sales cycles. We don't shy away from that. And it does take a lot of effort to nurture each campaign.

Currently, we do founder-sales. And our sales process isn't too high tech. However, we don't outsource or get external help on the sales process. Here's why.

We are still experimenting with our product, and have discovery calls that help us understand the problem much much better. I know more about the problem now, than I did a week ago, and I will know more in a week's time than I know today.

So, at least until the end of 2021, I don't think we can get external help on sales.

Right now, our clients choose us for a combination of team and product. Not just one or the either. We have to bring our own product marketing up to a stage where we can get external help and scale-up.

So what's the plan to tackle sales going ahead?

Sales are important.

And for that reason, for the next funding round (seed) that we plan to do in Q4, 2021 I really want to focus on investors that have a sales focus.

Sales are the best way of derisking investment. Not just for investors, but for us too. As founders and early employees invest a tonne of time into startups. We are all invested in Amygda. The sacrifices my team makes are incredible.

So, I am currently reviewing investors that would be a great fit for Amygda. if there are any you think I should definitely look at, let me know (on LinkedIn or Twitter).

How's the product coming along?

Product dev is super-exciting. We are hiring on that front. By now you've probably read my post on how hard it is to find the right talent.

We are a small team of 4 on the product.

Our backlog is taller than me (which isn't hard to get to by the way). However, whereever I have been doign product, the backlog is always large. There is no, right number of engineers to have in the team who can tackle a backlog.

Anyways, why do we have backlogs?

It's just a digital way of making a to-do list. Nothing more than that. It feeds my ego that I know where things are. I know about the roadmap, planning, falana falana....

Honestly, backlogs just feed the human thirst to be in control. We lack so much focus, and have so little time in the world that every time something is discussed, rather than take a decision then - we procrastinate.

We say, let's put that in the backlog to prioritise later.

I do it, all product owners do it, and agile cheerleaders too. So this isn't a dig at anyone.

Rather, this is a dig at each and every one of us. Who now, cult-like, pledge our allegiance to tools and processes. Forgetting that nothing beats speed.

Anyways... now is not the time to be a rebel. So let's get back to my blog.

In short, product development is going well. We are behind on front-end development, and that's the push for now.

What's more?

I couldn't think of any other way of giving this section a title, so just called it What's more. It's a section of randomness.

One piece of content that has become a cornerstone for me is this blog, Defensible Machine Learning. Authored by Ankur Goyal, and Alana Anderson. Have a read. Articulated very well, and thoughtful.

Credit: Image from Defensible Machine Learning blog (link above)

What am I currently reading?

You wouldn't ask that question, but I shall randomly answer it. You see, I can interview myself.

Currently reading; The Begining of Infinity (buy it from whatever place you buy books from).

It is an utterly challenging book for me. It begins by challenging empiricism. And I stand for empiricism. That sounds trivial. But is more consequential than that. (Admittedly, I have been accused of being in vain at times, over what I think is consequential in life).

Still reading it, so there are no more spoiler alerts for you.

OK, I think I have written enough.

So, that's all folks.

. . .

What do you think of this week? Let me know via messaging me on LinkedIn or tweet me @faizanpatankar. I love talking, just mention you read my blog.

In previous updates:

On customers, product dev, and design (week 36)

Story of a pen, a ripple effect from 20 years ago (week 32)

End of the year update on Amygda (week 26)