The Cheezus Thread - A Startup Journey

Caporegime
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Don't take this the wrong way, because it's not a dig.

It seems to me, with my romantic vision of the past, that 100 years ago a shoemaker would own and run his business and be 99% focused on making shoes.

These days, the shoemaker would probably be the least paid person in the shoemaking business, and "Head of Marketing and PR" would probably earn 10x as much :p

It is what it is. The world is run by marketing people, PR and social media people. Or so it appears, to this layman.

Again not a dig and I know I have no idea about business :p I just find it curious that the app - the tangible product - is just one "customer channel" and all the other channels (social media, etc) are equally if not more important than the actual product.

Or maybe I'm looking at it wrong, and the product is not just the app, but the - what would they say - "ecosystem surrounding the app" :p

In either case I wish you the best with your efforts. Do keep updating us!
 
Soldato
Joined
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@randomshenans I don't care about cheese or what they go with, I didn't even know that this was a thing.

But I love what you are doing and that you are chasing after it. You've inspired me to get at what i'm doing with a more regimented approach.

Godspeed randomshenans
 
Soldato
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France, Alsace
Or maybe I'm looking at it wrong, and the product is not just the app, but the - what would they say - "ecosystem surrounding the app" :p
I suppose this is more correct. We have our company mission - what we're aiming to do/ the value we aim to provide. We then have multiple different "products" that could help us achieve that. The app is one of those, in the same way our social channels would be and our website. Each product should have similar users, but the motivators to use / go to each product vary, so you have to understand those audiences and how best to draw people into them. Social, can we build the audiences so they feel our posts provide value, so they follow and interact and adding products to our posts can then help convert? Can we make the app useful enough so that people use it more and again, build that audience so providing sales opportunities means we can convert those users? etc etc

Godspeed randomshenans

Ah thanks man. I enjoy documenting it. I love the journey and the process. I learn more each part and it's all a learn and hopefully helps me get further along. Every time I learn I bring it back into the business and try and do that better.


Just filed our taxes with HMRC - loss of 3,484 - so I managed to spend about 3.5k on getting here - probably more added this year because of general amounts etc. but I think we'll be at about 5k total so far.

I have another $1k upcoming for dev work - which should get us to our buy / sell cheese functionality.

I've done all the UI for it now and we've worked out how best to setup the linking of cheeses/ products. Regular meetings happening weekly and getting through stuff which is nice.
 
Soldato
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Had some great tech meetings over the last few weeks, just getting everything in order. We have a pretty much golden path for our beta on this feature release, but had some challenges with data structure etc. with some of the linking of cheese to products and producers and how that will be managed.

We also were going to use an off the shelf plugin to sync from producers sites to ours, which then shows to the app, but that had a downside of having to pay $30 each producer for the plugin, and we eventually found out it wouldn't give us the flexibility we needed. It allowed us to sync from a producers wooCommerce to ours, but didn't allow us to dictate what was sync'd and where to sync it to. One of the limitations we ran into in general was the fact that wooCommerce has products, but no producer attribute. We need this for the obvious linking between producer and their associated products.

tjHvulL.mp4


Getting round this I decided to use the product categories in Woo. Each producer will be a category, which allows you to associate cheese with that producer (you can see our test of this online on the site: https://shop.cheezus.co/product-category/producers/butlers-farmhouse-cheese/) ignore the site itself, this is purely to use for the building and data but gives you the idea. Now we're in the process of putting together the UI side of things, pulling the data from that site to the app in the right structure.
Dan is working on building out our version of the plugin that will allow us to sync what we choose, to the categories we want on our side.

Growth has been decent. I'm trying to be more consistent with everything and making that a priority even when work work is busy, which it really is at the moment. Either way, we're still aiming to be ready for a christmas push. Producers have been reaching out looking to get on board, so hoping we have a decent amount to work with and onboard when the time comes. Considering I cannot afford to throw money at it and the progress we're still making, I'm content :) Just need to keep pushing everyone :D

/My update
 
Soldato
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You continue to astound me with how you manage to cope with a high pressure day job and still drive through such an impressive side project such as this. Top work mate, genuinely.
 
Soldato
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France, Alsace
https://finance.yahoo.com/news/chee...NaAervCJmSfsEanEfvNDn9N-EH2mNIFbvwUc370e9XLz5

Some more recent reports on the cheese / dairy industry and the growth.

You continue to astound me with how you manage to cope with a high pressure day job and still drive through such an impressive side project such as this. Top work mate, genuinely.
Ah thanks man! Great part of it is, now that I work in product as well, it's a nice synergy between both. So it feels like education more than anything! I'm really weird, I don't think I couldn't do something like this. I think I have issues :D Appreciate it though, really.

Spent some time over lunch setting up woo commerce / revolut business payments gateway so no fees and directly sends the cash from orders into your business account, which is great. Saves any 1-3% fees, which is great and it's super easy.

Also added some products so Ahmad can crack on with both examples of unique cheeses and more generic ones. In the example above, you see searching for cheddar will obviously yield many results. As such it'll take you to the main cheddar page and then using tags in the backend you'll get all cheddars, such as: https://shop.cheezus.co/?s=cheddar&post_type=product which should be easy enough to hook up to the app as a search string and associate it with the cheddar entity on our app side.

Scheduled all cheese posts for this week and Ahmad is cracking on with getting the UI done or started anyway tomorrow.

I was supposed to jump on the bike at lunch but instead ate a cheese board and did this :D
 

EVH

EVH

Caporegime
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Wales
Great project, but the name is very Early-2000 punk rock band. If that makes sense?

Have you done any market research with different names?
 
Associate
Joined
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1,012
Great project, but the name is very Early-2000 punk rock band. If that makes sense?

Have you done any market research with different names?

I think Kanye West when I see the name although my favourite punk band of that era was Rancid! Which would be a terrible choice of name :cry:
 
Soldato
Joined
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13,144
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France, Alsace
Hello all. What a year. It's been a funny one for many reasons, not least covid continuing in the way it has but my life, in the words of the Fresh Prince, got flipped turned upside down.

I thought it would be as good a place as any to do a 2021 retro as a lot of it is Cheezus, but also a lot is not. Bear with me.

This year my Wife and I separated after 10yrs together. It was tough leading up to that, when looking back, as I lived in my home office for the whole year. Mentally it was a really tough year for 9-10 of those months. I don't blame anyone for the breakdown of our relationship. A relationship is two way. We both played parts in it, and were clearing miscommunicating for some time leading up to that day. We probably wanted to before, but felt the stigma and pressure of the kids not to. It was the best thing we could have done. Without dwelling on the past, I spent a lot of time reflecting, learning about me and trying to grow, so it's been a huge personal growth year for me.

The downside of this though, was the attention spent on other things. In my relationship, I was never really "allowed" to spend money on things like Cheezus. It wasn't a priority for some, but for me it was. The end result was wanted, without the risk/cost and work. I am happy to put those things in and so because of that, post separation I have pushed things forwards nicely.

Alas, whilst I didn't spent greatly in the year on development, I did put time in each week to make sure the social side of things was covered. With some weeks where I just couldn't do it, but for the most part I was consistent with getting things done.

App users grew from this time last year 10x

So regardless, I'm pleased with the work done. Every metric grew nicely.

The above development work has been planned, paid for and is now underway. I would have liked it done by Christmas (big cheese time) but it's coming anyway. I know what we need to do and it's getting done. Sitting down with some of the guys in the new year to sort out plans for next steps and what it means. Certain people (CMO) has not pulled any of their weight (I feel they should be covering social tbh not me, but it's always me) so I will be having discussions with everyone and outlining my expectations for the new year and 2022. I want to set out with clear expectations and objectives. Make things properly set and official. If people want to be a part, go for it, if not, no problem.

Cheezus wise, given the circumstances as well as how busy work has been as well, I'm very pleased with growth. Next year I am very excited for what's to come. Hitting 10k users would be a massive thing, which I'd like to do.

Other things:

Fulltime Job - I don't know what I expected here, but it's been very frustrating as a place to work. I knew how dysfunctional it was, I've contracted there long enough, but I'm such a **** I always think things can change and it was an exciting chance to make a difference in Product. Which I love. I found it's not been the case and spent most of my time frustrated. It gave me some confidence in what I do though, so it's been good in that sense and while I haven't achieved anywhere near what I'd have liked to, I made progress in educating the masses. I also realised they don't own me. They pay for some of my time, but outside of that, it's my life. I made that very clear to my boss who thinks contacting me on my holidays is acceptable and so no doubt have ****** some people off, but life is too short.

The job market is really very good at the moment and in my time off in December I had two interviews for interesting companies as fully remote jobs (head of product and head of product operations). One very well known blockchain company, been round since 2017 and a series B company doing some really interesting stuff, looking to IPO in the next 3-5yr, so interesting options. Talking to them both more in the new year. Either way, I will never let work control and dictate my life as I have in the past.

YouTube - Some of you will know I have a YT channel where I do my endless projects (yea yea I know, I know) and the main reason I set it up was to keep myself accountable to my projects. It wasn't supposed to be anything serious. I then posted a "short" which was when they were brand new. It was a 10s clip that I edited from a news website I'd literally just seen of a guy in pants ice skating in amsterdam on the frozen river and falling in. I thought nothing of it. We had about 2k subs at the time.
It "went viral" and I hate that saying, but it really did. It keeps going to this day. This was posted in March and as of this post, has 82.7m views, has got 2.4m views in the last 48hrs and 65k in the last hour. It seems to pump up and down all year... this has taken our subscriber count from 2k to 43.3k - mad.
Shorts at the time and for a long time didn't make you any money, so that 80m meant nothing. They changed that last month in France and so it's started to make money. Due to that though, I started recently posting more shorts. There is an audience there and they're getting very decent (not 80m decent but you know) views, so I figured I'd keep creating consistent content across our instagram/facebook/ tiktok (I hate that platform but hey) and YT shorts. Making sure the content was more inline with our car sort of stuff.
At the same time I earned enough in YT rev this year to get a better camera than my phone and figure if I can start to capture that audience with our general YT videos, it could be healthy money wise. I know people with channels with around the same sub count but higher views on general content, who make 2,5k a month. I post anyway, it's about time I made it better. Content, production, editing. I'm going to start to make an effort. If this could pay for my projects... :p I need an R8 is all I'm saying.

This year I track prepped (kinda) the C1, redid the whole inside of the Taxi (which I LOVE) and has it's seats being recovered in Feb! Which will finish off the inside. Test drove many cars. Bought a RR Sport, modded a RR Sport, broke a RR sport :D, kicked back off with trying to get my S4 back on the road (which has some ace new things!)

Without this push of YT, I'd not have done half of this. Or had so much fun on quad bikes and go karts with the kids. It's been great.

Other Business Activity - My 7yr old launched her first business this month (https://byharper.co.uk) not promoting, you're not my audience, just for you to see :D She loves making bows and hair stuff. Her hair is so damn long and gorgeous, she's a star. She loves making it and I think must have got something from me as this wasn't the first time she wanted to sell things. It started with lemonade, then her "art" but we were the only buyers. I told her doing it at home wasn't good. Setup a site and she's done more sales in her first month than I ever have :cry: granted it's only in the hundreds, but it's very very good. She is using the money to buy different materials for hair bands, soft bows and scrunchies. We're picking it tonight. I'm trying to automate some of the making process with my plotter, so we can keep churning things out.

Zach is 14. He's wanted to make clothes for ages, so I bought a screen printing press. With school and all things going on we never had time to sort it all out (he has been preparing for his GCSE equiv) - So over December holidays I chatted with him and we've created a whole plan. We have a room in the basement, which is like 5mx5m or something, that just has a lot of my wife's baking stuff ALL ******* OVER IT! She won't box it up and take it, so him and I will do that and set that room up as the printing room. The press we have is a cheap one so we want to keep things simple. He has some test shirts and ink, we have the screens and the stuff to print on them. Now it's setup and testing. We have an idea for a really catchy brand. It's actually really good. More will come on this but we own the trademark in a few countries :cry: our aim is to get to the point we can buy better equipment to start. See how it goes from there.

General - I never really put much thought into the house. It wasn't something that I did, it was always my wife. However, having had her leave and me be here, I felt a bit lost. I didn't feel at home in my own home. Coupled with me trying to find myself and workout what I needed and who I was. It was a good time to combine it all as one. I have completely redone downstairs. Have a absolutely lush baby grand piano, that I rebuilt in 3 days. I built myself a telecaster, have new lights and lamps all over. I have bought all the things needed for me to make a mammoth dining table, as well as custom metal TV cabinet and coffee table. I'll kick those off in the new year too. I cannot wait for the next phase of changes. The place is really starting to feel like me. Which is very comforting and I love it.

Today I put up these:

d3RZ8Pe.jpg


VvYys4p.jpg

MeYeVdw.jpg

O9NrpID.jpg

They're not what most would have, and that's fine. I love them. I picked these three and they're in that order for a reason. It starts with ambition, it takes hustle, but more than anything you need gratitude for every single thing in your life.

Closing:

I'm truly grateful for where I am in life right now. I am grateful for the journey I am on and the journey I have been on in this last 12 months. I have learnt to be honest and open with my kids about how I'm feeling. I am open about not having all the answers and making mistakes. I have learnt that happiness is nothing something you strive for, which I did for many years. It's not a destination, but it's the little things you find joy in every single day. I love learning about myself and my needs and putting trust in myself to push for things I believe in.

I will always push things to the max. I will always take on too much, but by god I'll give it 100% on every single thing I do.

So much love for people in here and on OcUK. Those who support my threads, those who merely follow them, and those who reached out when I was struggling. I am truly grateful for so many great people.

I hope you can find some light in what has been a strange year as I have. I'm not setting resolutions, I'm just going out to continue to grow and continue to find joy in the small things in life.

Ross xx
 
Soldato
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France, Alsace
So.... the app still going yea?
Yes! haha we've 10x'd our userbase and still have lined up producers to sync to the app for ordering cheese directly from the app, to them. We have a single backend system (actually WooCommerce) that is currently being built out app side to allow sales from the app, which will process payments and all the customer journey for buying, tracking etc. an order, which will come from our main backend. That backend will sync with all the producers shops, so when the order comes to the app, it checks the API, which checks their shop, which then places the order to us, which passes it on to them. We process payment our end, pass it on to them minus our % commission. They fulfil the order, when it's updated on their system, it updates ours and sends updates to app and email.
Simple really.

The app side of buying is in progress at the moment. Our backend is all ready. We now need to sort the sync from producers to us. A HUGE chunk in the UK use Woo/Shopify and one more i forget, but that covers 75%. Which we have a simple sync from woo > woo, but we need the plugin to be able to sync items from their store to specific categories that we want on our end (each producer has their own category) which the off the shelf won't allow. So we're reverse engineering it to then add some more features of our own. That's the only thing I need Dan to crack.I'm meeting him in the new year to iron out the plan and timelines.

So yes. It's not just running but will be hugely changed in the next few months in so many ways. So much more to come!
 
Permabanned
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238
So your YouTube channel vision is essentialy clipping parts of other popular videos in the hope to gain a large amount of views? Sounds a bit hopeful to me, as well as a bit cringe. Stick to the other stuff you did, stay consistent and you do much better IMO, I enjoyed some of your other stuff.

I think you have to have a stick with a particular niche on YouTube, unless you believe in magical beans.

Also the channel name is a bit ghey
 
Soldato
Joined
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13,144
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France, Alsace
So your YouTube channel vision is essentialy clipping parts of other popular videos in the hope to gain a large amount of views? Sounds a bit hopeful to me, as well as a bit cringe. Stick to the other stuff you did, stay consistent and you do much better IMO, I enjoyed some of your other stuff.
I suppose I didn't really explain the vision well at all. I completely agree with what you're saying, and while I have recently posted a couple of clipped parts (as I haven't actually created any other videos over the christmas holiday period), my actual strategy would be to create long form content, as my general videos, and use clips of those, or create the short form content out of those/ while making those. So that way the audience is inline as is the content and it's easier to see the cross over on the two. That's my aim for this year for sure. I will stay consistent. My car stuff is what I plan on sticking with.

Thanks for the feedback though I appreciate it. Also on the name. I am planning on changing it, as it's all me now anyway, I was considering just using my username here randomshenans, but open to feedback in general. Again, I do appreciate feedback :)
 

A2Z

A2Z

Soldato
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@randomshenans did you watch the first episode of the new Dragon's Den? Cheesegeek were the first one on.. and got investment from a dragon. They are turning over £1m... I can't really see the market being big enough for 2 apps doing the same thing..
 
Soldato
Joined
11 Sep 2009
Posts
13,144
Location
France, Alsace
@randomshenans did you watch the first episode of the new Dragon's Den? Cheesegeek were the first one on.. and got investment from a dragon. They are turning over £1m... I can't really see the market being big enough for 2 apps doing the same thing..
They don't really do the same thing, but I did see it. I love how they used the exact term vivino for cheese. If they had actually googled it they would have seen it just points to all of our stuff.

Anyway, they do all the fulfillment themselves, and do subscription boxes as a general model. Ours is different, and while we're using the UK as a start, my model would mean that we can do it all around the world without any issues with fulfilment and cost. For them to do the same it would have to be setup in every location to do so.
 
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