Suits & Romantics
As the kind of guy who considers the whole idea of pickled herring delightful, I eagerly anticipated our first company offsite in the far-off, windmill-dotted land of Copenhagen. The experience exceeded all expectations, it's hard not to cherish sharing drinks and food and laughs together in person for the first time. Among the most exciting aspects of the trip was at last meeting my co-founder, Tom, face-to-face after over a decade of collaborating, even pre-Metafy. It felt as though we'd been lifelong friends, with the meeting serving as a mere formality. He's got that way about him, the lovable fuck.
While it feels so long ago, that offsite played a key role in my understanding of what it takes to lead. It was there, amid the cobbled streets and wafts of fresh smørrebrød, that it hit me... the theme of the next investor letter!
Suits and romantics.
Life, my friends, is a delicate balance of the bland and the bold, the beige and the bright, the smørre and the brød. As a sandwich needs both bread and filling, so too does a company need practicality and passion.
Suits, and romantics.
Metafy wasn't exempt from this cosmic rule. During that offsite, we gathered in a conference room decorated in such a way that it felt like we'd been teleported to Marrakech by some viking voodoo magic. It was in this moroccan-but-still-copenhagen setting that we tackled the ever-contentious question:
How will our business actually turn a profit?
We'd debated this topic for weeks leading up to this - it was time for a decision. The room was divided - shirts and skins. Wait, no. Suits and romantics. It was clear that this needed to be a suit decision. And so, it was. We introduced a 15% transaction fee on all sessions across the platform.
... An overwhelming success?!
Only a handful of coaches went rogue; the majority simply wished for our survival. This single decision cemented our future, demonstrating that if we provide value, we can extract it as well. That's the sweet spot, and we'll delve into that later. The crucial takeaway here is the enhanced effectiveness of our communication when people began self-identifying their leanings and recognizing the ideal lean for making specific decisions. Internal disputes dwindled. The team started utilizing this understanding to troubleshoot: "We put a suit in a romantic's role, no wonder he's struggling."
I've come around to the belief that the right balance of suits and romantics is essential for achieving anything out of the ordinary. Romantics help us fall in love with a product or idea, they put magic into the air. Meanwhile, suits act as vigilant sentinels, ensuring said product or idea survives long enough for the romantics to weave yet more wonder into the world. Both are essential.
I'm more of a romantic, I know this because I still write love letters on actual paper and use a quill pen, and my wardrobe is full of vests and cravats to match. I've learned to recognize my leanings and compensate for them with my team.
And so, my dear investors, we arrive at the delightful plot twist in our tale: the rise of two unsuspecting heroes. Their innate "suit" qualities perfectly complement my more romantic inclinations, equipping us to navigate the challenges that lie ahead while maintaining our company's unique character and aspirational vision.
John Adams, our previously unstoppable VP of Whatever Needs Doing, has ascended to the lofty position of CCO. John's infectious get-shit-done attitude and skill at forging lasting partnerships has been an undeniable asset to us over the last two years. He shares no relation to the dead president, but would love it if you'd ask about it!
Victor Folmann, the numbers wizard who formerly served as our VP of Not Running out of Money, is taking the reins as our COO. Victor's pragmatism, efficiency, and operational mastery have kept us moving like a well-oiled machine. He also beat Tom 1v1 in one of them violent gun games the kids play while we were in Copenhagen. Tom patiently plots his revenge, the lovable fuck.
I'm confident that their promotions will prove invaluable to Metafy.
Hold onto your hats, cats and cravats — things are about to get interesting!
A Look at Q1
As Q1 drew to a close, Memberships' debut left a mere 10 days on the calendar. Yet, it was evident that our last-minute arrival would make a splash. This recurring revenue stream has planted a seed that we expect to flourish, while also positioning our session business in the fast lane to profitability.
For two damn years, we'd trumpeted, "Experts keep 100% of their earnings on Metafy!" But as March tiptoed in, we faced the gut-wrenching decision to ask for 15% of our Experts' session earnings.
The day we broke the news, I was a bag of nerves. We braced for the five stages of grief, particularly anger and bargaining. Sure, there was a smattering of backlash, but most responses ended to the same tune, "I'll back whatever it takes to keep Metafy afloat." We'd handed these folks a lifeline in an industry where making ends meet is like herding cats, and we're always concocting new ways for them to line their pockets. You can't put a price on that kind of value.
While the take rate's full impact on our finances and GMV will truly strut its stuff in Q2, we can still raise a glass to a solid Q1 finish.
- Unique Active Experts: 1,062 → 1,091 (+3%)
- Unique Active Students: 7,612 → 8,457 (+11%)
- Booked Sessions: 16,757 → 19,737 (+18%)
- GMV: $766,406 → $873,000 (+14%)
- Cash on hand: $15,278,691
- Monthly burn: $610,906
Additionally, the number of times people said “hey cool neck tattoo” when seeing my Metafy logo rose sharply, from 1 to 3 instances.
The first quarter of 2023 has seen the most intense focus we’ve had as a product team and company overall. We've witnessed firsthand the sheer power of concentrated effort and are keen to build on our successes while refining our approach as we scale. It's shaping up to be a thrilling year for us.
The big focus? Metafy, as a members club for gaming. This is the bedrock upon which we'll be doubling, nay, tripling down for the foreseeable future. And there are already aspects of our memberships platform that make us beam with pride.
Take, for instance, the video-watching experience on Metafy. We poured our hearts and souls into ensuring not only that the core functionality is top-notch, but also that our Metafy Partners take center stage. We've created seamless pathways to sessions and related content, making this platform a true standout.
The Supporter Program
A shining star of the Membership experience, and what we reckon will turbocharge our growth, is the Supporter program. This crafty little system enables members to dedicate a portion of their membership fee directly towards their favorite coaches or creators. As a new form of passive income, we're hoping to free creators from the relentless hamster wheel of daily content creation—and that's on top of the royalties they get from content consumption. Who doesn't like a win-win?
More to come as we continue to refine and improve this offering.
Taking a cut
Remember that 15% cut we introduced? Let's talk about it. We knew that our teensy-tiny 5% platform fee just wasn't gonna cut it long-term. Not if we wanted to be one of those not-dead companies, at least.
And, would you look at that? We had our highest revenue month.
Word on the Street
Casually rolling out a spanking new streaming product is a hell of a dice roll, but unlike my usual Hail Mary 11-leg parlays, this one hit. It wasn't a picture-perfect launch, 'cause let's face it, those don't exist, but the response?
Oh boy, it's been off-the-charts incredible.