Business questions worth answering

We're growing 400% per year, with zero cash left, still optimistic: All the numbers, stats, and details on how we're running our AI startup

Business questions worth answering

I just read an article from Gabriel Mays with a list of "business questions worth asking".

I found the list thought-provoking, however "provoking thoughts" seemed to waste a huge opportunity to actually dive deep by trying to answer, not just ask, those questions.

So there you go. Here's how we'd answer those questions at OneTake:

The 3 most important questions

How do we get customers in the door?

Right now:

  • We run affiliate webinars to the audiences of other businesses (mostly course creators and information marketers). We make the offer for a quarterly or annual subscription
  • We run a free online Challenge every month to teach entrepreneurs about A.I., and from there we sell a quarterly/annual subscription of our software
  • We run one-off campaigns regularly to our inside list to offer a free premium (like a course or some video gear) as an incentive to try out the monthly subscription
  • We offer a free trial from our homepage, which brings a tiny portion of our traffic and sales numbers

This month, we want to launch an actual ungated trial so that people can try out the service themselves before subscribing with credit card.

How do we get customers to the “wow” moment quickly?

We offer a huge surprise incentive for users to upload their first video (if you do that right after signing up, you get upgraded to the next tier for free) and this results in 77% of new users taking action (and getting to the Wow moment) on the spot.

The Magic Button: When a customer uploads their video, all she has to do to get the "wow moment" is to click a single button and let our AI perform the editing.

How do we deliver value as often as possible?

We run 2-week sprints and release a new version of the software every 14 days.

Our CEO runs a customer demo live for 2 hours to showcase all the new features, answer questions, take feature requests.

20% of all our customers attend every session.

Customers & value propositions

Why don’t customers buy? Why don’t they stay? Do we know?

From running close to a hundred live sessions and webinars, here's what we know:

  • Some customers don't buy because of missing features: things that would be obvious or straightforward in a manual video editor like Veed, Premiere, etc. but are counter-intuitively difficult to do in our single-click AI solution. 
    We've got a list and we're releasing features to tick all of those boxes. The current such weakness we're working on: it's not simple for users to add images to our videos.
  • We have low churn (~4% now, so average retention is 25 months) but most of the churn happens right after signup. When people churn it's mostly because they have a need for precision that our tool doesn't match. If someone is a "power user" of legacy video tools, it is super frustrating for them that we don't offer the same granular capabilities. Think: Photoshop power user trying to use Canva in 2015. 
    These customers are not currently a match for what we do. We offer simplicity at the cost of fine-grained control.
  • Some users churn in foreign markets because they lack the level of content, training and live experiences that we create for our French-speaking users. An US-based user gets mostly access to the software, while a French User, in the last 30 days as I'm writing this, would also have gotten the equivalent of 8 days of training, live coaching, online challenges, demos, etc. 
    We're working to add more training and live content for international users.

The results of working hard on churn

We had assumed our churn would start out at maybe 20%+ month-on-month, like a lot of startups, and would progressively go under 10%.

Instead it's been much better:

Our churn rate started a little under 20%, and then plumetted to under 4% right now, which means the average user will stay more than 2 years on average

Does our product make things easier or help our customers serve their clients better?

Yes, that's our promise.

  • Our users can edit their videos with the click of a single button (our AI does all the work)
  • So they're able to create more and better content for their clients
  • They are able to allow their clients to watch this content in the end client's language with our seamless translation (content, voice cloning, and lip sync, plus automatic language detection). So if they are an American company selling to a Mexican buyer, the buyer will see both the sales video and the online course in Spanish.

How do we make it so customers using our product are significantly better off than before?

Many of our customers have never published a video online. Many more have only ever published very little online content because of the "blank page syndrome" coupled with the technical hassle of shooting and editing those videos. We solve all those problems.

So our customers get to finally be content creators and share their message to sell their products and services.

How do we understand what people think they want and translate the value of our products into their terms?

We are in contact with these users every day. We do 1-on-1 Zoom calls with users who have questions, doubts, need hand-holding, etc.

And during our bi-weekly live session, users get to tell us about all their requests and wants.

Are we starting with technology or with customers? We should start with customers and work back towards the tech because the tech is just a tool to solve customer problems.

Our founder and CEO was part of the target market himself (has created thousands of videos and run several education and information marketing businesses) so we started with a vision that wasn't completely possible at the time (the AI tech wasn't yet there when we started in 2021).

We are still pursuing this vision and this roadmap, but we're letting our actual paying users inform the priorities on this timeline and we discard the initially-planned features that seem out-of-scope for what customers want.

How do we sell the innovation, not the product?

A small part of the Product work is staying on top of some of the developments that our customers are hearing from the rest of the market.

For instance, making the assistant "multi-modal" (making it possible to talk to it to give instructions as you would to a freelancer) was a move driven by the competitive space. It was on the roadmap for more than a year, but we pushed it earlier because we want to stay ahead ; remaining "innovative" and moving fast is a big part of our marketing both to current paying users, and prospective customers.

When customers use our product, how do we want it to change them? How do we sell that vision to get them to switch? What value does this deliver to customers?

We want to give our customers better confidence in their speaking, presentation, and selling skills.

Allowing them to be "imperfect" at the time of recording is a big part of that.

We also provide free training sessions with experts on related topics : public speaking, voice projection, marketing an advertising.

Are we doing what’s right for the customer? Always? No matter what?

One way we're doing what's right for the customer is that we grandfather paying users to all new updates, as well to the bonuses offered on later promotions.

This has been a big part of our retention strategy : users know that if they show up on one of our webinars or online challenges and we announce a fast-action bonus for new buyers, all previous users can also request and get access to it.*

* legal disclaimer: This statement is not a contractual clause and should be taken as reflecting the historical record rather than making promises about the future.

Are we building a business around products customers love to use?


That's how we get to grow 10-15% month-on-month, while also increasing retention of the existing users over time:

Our ARR trajectory from $0 in January 2022 (the first pre-sale) to USD $425,000 in October 2023 (less than 2 years!)

When you only have a single product to sell, and it's subscription-based, focusing on building something people will love is the only trick we had.

Strategic introspection & core competencies

Companies that are too invested in the way things used to be, and who work on old assumptions, die. What assumptions is our business based on? Are they still true? Will they continue to be?

Many of our initial assumptions were wrong. For instance, we initially assumed that we could sell the software the same way that Russell Brunson sells Clickfunnels (as a bundle of a relevant infoproduct coupled with a "free" 1-year subscription to the software), and this offer bombed. Hard.

Selling the software itself was what made the difference:

OneTake.AI (then-called only took off when we quit trying to use the Clickfunnels playbook

There are vision problems, business model problems, and execution problems. Which do we have?

We have an execution problem. We are taking off like a jet plane (yay, say outsiders looking on) but we should really be taking off like a rocketship.

So what's been lagging?

We think we lack on the product management side. Our CEO does both this and the marketing and the live sessions, etc. So we're shipping reasonably fast, but we could be shipping way faster.

As an example, we were amongst the first in the world to deliver video translation (with lip sync) but another startup put out this feature too at just about the same time. Being one in 2 to deliver a feature in this fast-moving field of AI is cool. But we had a working proof of concept of it 14 months earlier (August 2022)... Despite all the other stuff we shipped in the meanwhile, we think it simply took too long for us to go from proof of concept to product.

We have a very ambitious roadmap, and life is short, so we're right now recruiting a kick-ass Product Manager / Product Owner. If that's you, just get in touch via email!

If you know just the right person for the job, you can also forward them the link below :

OneTake AI is hiring a Product Owner/ Product manager - job description here

Companies succeed when they focus on what is truly unique to them. What can we be uniquely good at?

Making things accessible to the entrepreneurs who have been stuck because of the technical hassles.

We aim to make something extremely powerful, that fits in a single button click.

Are we differentiated, or are we the low-cost leader?

We aim to be differentiated. We don't fight competitors on cost.

Our subscription is a higher "step" to join, but this allows us to be so much more generous that we don't nickel-and-dime users on "minutes of video" or "megabytes uploaded" like legacy video software does.

Are we chasing field mice or hunting antelope?

We're going after the antelope :-)

How we do this:

Focus on monthly growth goals (+20% is the goal) and only take marketing actions that can significantly affect the goal. 

  • E.g. a partner flew in our CEO off to Asia for a week to speak to their event ; this was worth it because the expected number of sales were 30 with a predicted minimum worst-case scenario of 10. At the time we had ~100 users so this made total sense. We ended up getting a dozen buyers.
  • Because we are growing +300% year-on-year, the exact same event on the same dates in 2024 would not make sense because being out for a full week to get +12 users is not worth it when the business has 400+ users and the monthly goal is +80 or more.

Are there any places we succeeded because a strong market allowed us to be strategically inept? Think about Twitter: Product market fit was so strong that they never had to do the hard work of 1) understanding what made them successful and 2) building a real business model until it was too late.

It might be true in the sense that we've used our CEO's name, reputation, and email list to get started, and this was playing the game in "easy mode".

Getting out to the wider "cold" market is where we're going to see the true strength of what we've built and how well we can sell it.

Right now our CAC is $1,300 (which means the payback period on that advertising cost is 1 year!) so that's way too expensive for our means.

Cutting this down (to under $300) is our new priority.

What things about our [market/customers] will never change? Are we investing enough in those?

Opinionated hot take : while there is a LOT of demand from businesses to generate synthetic content (eg avatars such as what Synthesia or Heygen provide), we believe that entrepreneurs will always want to be in the limelight.

We don't believe that synthetic content will replace organic content. It will flood all channels, yes. It will represent an overwhelming portion of consumed content, yes.

But there will forever be an infinite stream of people who want to start a business, share what they know, and be the one delivering that content (whether on stage, in a retreat, in an onlline course, etc.). This is our audience and we're 100% invested in them. Hence our strategic choices.

Assume it’s one year from now, and we failed at our goal. What went wrong?

Well this one hits close to home right now:

Despite good MRR and awesome growth, we're still "default dead" in November 2023

So far I (Sébastien, co-founder) have funded the whole venture out of my own pocket.

Now my fingers are starting to feel the linen threads at the bottom of that pocket. And though I'm raising a pre-seed round, it's... the slowest and most frustrating process ever.

So where do we go from now? Well, what we do right now is work on that growth. Go from 15% per month to 20% and then 50% and then higher.

In so many businesses, growth will kill you faster. But here we have awesome unit economics, and it's only getting better:

By retaining customers longer and providing more features, we add more value and retain more of that value, which is why we've tripled our retention and LTV just this year

So every customer we get is a profitable customer:

The magic of being a software company is to have great gross margins. This will keep growing as we have a larger user base to amortize our costs.

A year from now, if we've failed, it will be because we didn't reach breakeven fast enough.

That will be if:

  • We didn't cut costs enough during the critical time from now to Q1 2024
  • We didn't go all-out on all the free acquisition methods we could (word of mouth, affiliates, our own list, AI directories)

What would my replacement do if I (the CEO) was fired?

So first we'd need to define which role i'd be replaced in:

On a week where there is a big marketing event, that's half of the CEO's time that is blocked off right there. In most weeks, my time is spent mostly either on marketing tasks or product tasks. So product is slower when I'm marketing, and marketing is slower when I'm working on product.

If I (Sébastien) was fired as a CEO, my replacement would probably reach out to VC networks and raise a proper venture-capital seed round rather than trying to raise from family and friends.

While I'm super happy that I've already raised 20% of my round from family and friends already in the last month, it's a very frustrating process. I like marketing (making an irresistible offer to the market at large to attract the relevant leads so they can self-select and buy) ; I hate sales (having to patiently listen to the excuses and dilly-dallying of one single person at a time, and then followup with neverending patience because humans love procrastinating on a decision).

Getting would-be investors to say "oh yeah, I'm interested" or "Yes I'm definitely in" is not enough to actually get the contracts signed. That's maybe step 1 of getting there.

If I was also fired as the head of Product, my replacement would be much more effective than I am there, just by virtue of being full-time 😅

So we'd finally get a roadmap that is clearly organized in GitLab in a chronological order that makes sense to both the technical and non-technical teams. This would help us move forward faster.

If I was also fired as the spokesperson for the company, my replacement would create more publicly-accessible content. Right now I'm doing a lot of video content, but that is mostly bottom-of-the-funnel : live webinar presentations, live challenge sessions (just did over 20 hours of work of live presentations this week). All of that content is what delivers sales and growth right now, but none of it is "public".

It's not ideal that as a video company, we're not putting out YouTube videos ; it's not ideal that as an AI company we're not publishing videos about AI and the content economy.

If I was also fired as the head of marketing, my replacement would implement more of the "normal" software company playbook. Things that are missing now that should be priority for product marketing:

  • putting in place an ungated trial of the software upfront and center on our homepage (implementing a freemium model)
  • making sure we're listed on all the "AI aggregator" and "AI directory" websites
  • putting together a strong funnel for freemium customers to upgrade to a paid subscription
  • at the same time, running experiments to scale our existing webinar to cold traffic on Facebook Ads and YouTube Ads

Culture is a microcosm of the leader’s psychology. How is yours?

What's cool about our culture:

  • We love our people. Those entrepreneurs, mostly women, who purchase our software, are enthusiastic, optimistic, generous people who want to talk about the ideas, products and themes that they're passionate about. Because we love these people so much, we are very "reachable" (through live chat, email, SMS, phone calls, and even 1-on-1 Zoom calls). As both co-founders are introverts, we're very happy that this love for customers came through from the "leader's psychology" ; while the introvert side of the leader's psychology is mitigated by having a cheerful competent team manning the front office.
  • We're generous with customers. We keep adding new benefits for existing customers and we're not too fussy about making their lives easier. This is reflected in our pricing*, but also in some simple guidelines that our customer success team follows. For instance, if a customer has spent all their credits for the month, they can just reach out to us for more*. Which means we still don't have a "buy more credits page", because nobody's ever needed it. Bad for short-term monetization but great for retention.
  • We build systems. Repetitive tasks are described in detailed SOPs (Standard Operating Procedures), decisions follow a framework, etc.

* legal disclaimer: This statement is not a contractual clause and should be taken as reflecting the historical record rather than making promises about the future.

What's less cool about it:

  • This startup is a spinoff from a pre-existing online coaching company (the Free Entrepreneurs Movement). We still haven't shrugged off all of the heritage that comes from that. The previous business was fairly personality-driven with the CEO (Sébastien) being the face of the business. This has served us well to get to here, but now it's time to fully transition away from that.

Are we listening enough to the people on the front lines?

We try to :-)

We have a system for the Customer Success team to alert the other teams (especially the dev team) on both critical problems, and customer problems or requests.

A "critical problem" is a problem on the critical path for customers. As a User, you should 100% of the time be able to:

  • Buy a subscription
  • Login with a Magic Link
  • Upload a video
  • Click the Magic Button
  • See the resulting edited video/presentation
  • Get a share link, embed code, and download links for the audio and video

If anything in that chain is broken, we have an emergency (and we have a process for that).

Outside of that, any other bug or feature request is logged into GitLab and shared during team meetings or through our Signal thread.

Are we putting enough importance on making the ‘important thing’ good?

We probably could do that even more with better product management.

We have a North Star metric for the product (number of hours of video edited per customer per week).

We've acted on that metric (e.g. by sending update notices and reminders to users if we notice that usage is slowing down) but it's not really driving all of our business like it could.

Are we doing too much marketing (waving our arms) and not enough branding (building trust)?

😒 Yep... definitely.

Are we maximizing our addressable market?

We've done a big shift on this one this year (after receiving advice from Dylan Frost, CEO of The Wholesale Formula) because our marketing used to focus on "online course creators" (our initial narrow niche). It turns out that there are many more businesses that need video for things other than creating online courses! 😉

So we've evolved our marketing to be less restrictive. The total addressable market (TAM) is 5 million businesses in first-world countries that are producing or aiming to produce video content on a regular basis to educate or sell. At our ARPU, that is a $6 billion dollar TAM.

What’s our unfair advantage?

We chose an industry and a business model that has built-in high-retention. Instead of simply editing videos, we also act as the video hosting service and provide features that no other video hosting company can currently match. (e.g. the automatic video translation and automatic playback of the video in the viewer's language). This means we have a high stick rate and pain-of-disconnect, so our retention and LTV will only grow over time.


Where will the profits be in the future?

On this current trajectory:

  • We should reach $1MM ARR in about 4 to 8 months, which makes us profitable with $200k in gross profit
  • At $10MM ARR (which is our goal 2 years later) we should have $5MM+ in profit
  • At $100MM ARR (the 5-year goal) we should have $35MM+ in annual profit

How do we embrace the transition to A.I. and growth of the A.I. trend?

Right now, it feels like A.I. is everywhere (just like we felt as if the Internet was everywhere in 1999), but that's because it's being "talked about" everywhere while adoption is still in its infancy.

We believe that there are still many more "10x moments" to be had as an A.I. company.

Right now we are surfing the "A.I. trend" because our customers are much more interested about A.I. than they were when I was talking about our artificial intelligence software in May 2022 (honestly ; nobody cared. It was painful ngl 😂)

But we are not targeting an easy AI case that ChatGPT will just take over next month... we're targeting a valuable business case that has existed before AI, and will exist after AI is no longer "fashionable" and is no longer a big search term.

What trends are we best positioned to take advantage of?

Trends we're latching on:

  1. Customer curiosity about A.I. and what it can do
  2. The creator economy, and more people wanting to publish content online / start an online business post-COVID

What’s the future state of the world, and what needs will people have because of it?

The world is plunging now into the "Content Apocalypse of 2024".

Because of this, our people (the entrepreneurs generating content) will need:

  • To stand out when the table stakes are exponentially higher and so much polished, perfect content is available
  • To keep their viewers/leads/customers when they have them watching
  • To feel heard
  • To feel that they contribute
  • To feel and look and sound professional
  • To feel important

How do we thrive in a post-"A.I.-trend" world?

Nobody has a clue what a world post-A.I.-trend looks like. (Or, even, if we'll all still be here.)

But what we do would still be valuable without the A.I. component. Billions of dollars of video editing software has been sold, and billions of dollars of video editing services have been sold. 

This need will go on. The people running [insert big conference or live event] will still want to put the recordings out there. The speaker will still want their keynote edited. Etc.

Are we fighting gravity?

We are Kittinger jumping down the stratosphere into the gravity well. Bring it on.

To answer this more seriously:

In early 2022 I benefited from a consulting session from Annie Hyman Pratt, CEO of Leading Edge Teams, ex-CEO of The Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf, and author of The People Part: Seven Agreements Entrepreneurs and Leaders Make to Build Teams, Accelerate Growth, and Banish Burnout for Good.

During the consulting day, Annie said something that profoundly shocked me:

"We as entrepreneurs think that our own performance is responsible for 90% or more of the performance of the company. That is false. The real impact is maybe 5%."

I was dumbfounded, so she clarified:

Success comes from having momentum on your side. Too many entrepreneurs are pushing a boulder uphill. If that's what you're doing, you're always going to feel like you need bigger muscles, better discipline, a better boulder-rolling technique. 

What you could do instead is find a lighter boulder. 

What would be even better than that is to decide you want to push the boulder down the hill.

There's just a lot more momentum in the downhill-boulder business.

So Annie helped me see that my business needed a fundamental change. Only 5% of the business performance is my performance as CEO ;so what are the other 95%?

According to Annie, it goes in this order:

  1. Picking a project that I'm built for. Something that matches my strengths, weaknesses, passion, motivation and ambitions.
    That's like picking a boulder that is the right size for me and "feels right".
  2. Picking a business model and execution that has momentum.This means (a) choosing an industry that is on fire, (b) selling a product or service that people are already spending money on, and (c) having a strategy that is already proven, high-leverage, sustainable, and easy.
    (Picking a boulder that is light enough and rolls easily)
  3. Being in the right place at the right time. Each market and industry has its "perfect moment in time". You want to get started in one of those. Where is the growth? Where will the growth be and remain for 10 years?
    (Picking a starting spot where the ground slopes sharply down, instead of being flat or starting at the foot of the hill looking up)

And that's how I decided to shut down my 7-figure "training and coaching" business and pick something that I was (1) excited about and born to do, (2) in high demand because entrepreneurs want to create video more than ever, and (3) I could see was just the beginning of a gigantic trend.

(Although, as mentioned above, I was a bit early and had to wait a while for the market to be interested in "AI")

I could see how growing a subscription-revenue, AI-based, SaaS cloud started was stacking the deck in my favor... I was just a bit optimistic on the timeline :)

Opportunities & adaptive strategy

If outsized success is achieved by going to extremes, how do we do this? How would competitors do this?

How we can go to extremes product-wise

  • We could simplify our interface yet further so that it is even more streamlined. Just the upload/drag-and-drop field, and then not even a button to click. Our AI would even choose a powerful relevant video title and file it in the right project folder, etc.
  • We could do this even for batch uploads, so the entire process, even better than "1-click", becomes hands-off.
  • We could automagically fix your video beyond "video editing", by rephrasing unclear segments, and even adding filters such as applying makeup if you're not looking your best (this last one is an actual customer request by the way ☺️ - submitted by our female Japanese customers and upvoted by almost all of our other female customers in each market)

How we can go to extremes marketing-wise

  • We could (if we had deeper pockets) eat the cost of the video intake, processing, editing and hosting and have a generous free plan (with a watermark or something of the sort). That might help us gain users faster

How would competitors do it

  • By embracing synthetic content. While we promise "little work", synthetic content has an even more attractive promise ("zero" work).

What would 10x better look like? How would we start over? What is the customer’s fundamental problem, and how do we solve it this way?

Tough question...

Our vision is for OneTake AI tobe as close as possible to getting a super-talented (human) video editor to work for you.

10x better would mean having "your guy" be both smarter and show more initiative.

If you could somehow have less work to do around the video, that would be 10x helpful. If as a user I could just fire off my phone's camera or my laptop's webcam, record with no fuss, and then maybe just tell the AI what to do with the video once it's ready... Something where I have "zero work left" after I click "stop" on the recording session...

We need to think about this more, but it sure would be an interesting direction to take things!

What big bets are we making?

We're betting that there will be more people wanting to create online content and videos, and more entrepreneurs in particular.

We're betting that if it becomes easier, each of them will create more content.

What would winning look like if it were easy?

OneTake AI's CEO, Sébastien Night, receiving an award from Hotmart for being one of the fastest-growing companies recently onboarded on their platform.

It's amazing that we've gotten this far, reached $425k ARR, and we're still not really "publicly" launched on all these places that all these other AI startups are visible on.


If it's easy, then once we launch on all these platforms, people will just storm the gates to sign up for our free trial.

I'm expecting things to be hard though, and to require a lot of learning and a lot of focus and har dwork. It's all been hard to get here honestly, so I'm not expecting it to be any different to get to the next level.

How do we leverage commodity services as a bootstrap for higher-level services? (e.g., data gravity)

Wow, I honestly had a hard time figuring out what this question meant, so I had to go on an epic chat session with our AI bot to answer that... and find out that it's an example of the answer.

Our commodity services:

  • We allow users to upload and host videos
  • We edit these videos for them into a professional presentation

As a result, we are stockpiling data: the videos themselves.

  • This enables us to offer other valuable services, like our assistant (OneTake Chat) which learns from all of the user's videos in order to provide more content ideas, video scripts, facebook ads, etc. The more content a user uploads, the better responses the user will get from the AI, so we outperform ChatGPT for our user's use cases
  • We also offer video translation, with a seamless language detection system at the moment of playback, so there is an incentive for Users to use our player instead of downloading the video as mp4 to use a 3rd-party player
  • The more data that our users upload and host with us, the more value they get from the system, and the harder it is to switch, so we do have data gravity.

Complex systems can’t be designed. They can only evolve. Can we seed any “Cambrian explosions” around our business or ecosystem?

We plan to do this by making an API available within the next quarter.

Our goal is that any app (for instance a Learning Management System - LMS) that needs user-generated videos can use our software to help their own users get over the hurdle of video editing.

It will also enable users to embed us in all kinds of automated processes through Zapier, or other connections. If we can allow people to hook us into their Zoom coaching session so that the replay is edited, translated, uploaded to their Content Management System (CMS) or Wordpress blog within minutes, then it's a major win on both sides.

Where should we tinker with objectives vs. tinkering with alternatives? Sometimes related: It’s often easier to change the rules of competition than to change our fundamental nature as a company.

OK, I feel like some of those questions come from Gabriel May's notes after reading some blog post or other, and I have no clue what this one means. Skipping it for now.

Are our investments aligned with our opportunities?

Our top 3 biggest opportunities right now:

  1. There are a bunch of directories, communities and platforms dedicated to helping people discover AI tools. And many people using those to choose and buy AI tools.
  2. Helping more people create watermarked videos to publish online has been a very successful playbook for Heygen, so we should do that.
  3. There's a lot of low-hanging fruit in terms of partnerships and affiliate relationships with content creators and influencers that could recommend us.

We're not investing nearly enough on those.

Experience & differentiation

UX is more than just UI. It’s the holistic user experience, including how people buy. How can we improve here?

Yeah... so we used an UX firm to make our initial prototype two years ago:

We built a clickable prototype with a team of UX designers way before we wrote the actual code. Since we sell to non-technical users, making things simple was crucial. Notice the name of the app (Veepsi) which has changed twice since :-)

After all the changes and updates we've had, I think it's time we rethink both our UI and our UX.

We have something 100 times more powerful, but we didn't stray too far from the initial plan:

The same screen of the actual software, two years later

We can definitely improve the onboarding for a new user.

Features don’t create differentiation. Experiences do. Does [X] align well with marketing to leverage cycles? Does it drive behavior change for true differentiation?

One more of those cryptic questions. I'm going to assume it means "are you making sure that the features you released recently are in alignment with your marketing efforts and your promise?"

And if that's the question, then yes, because we prioritize features like this (in this specific order):

  1. Features that help us onboard new users (e.g. features that look really compelling and useful during a live demo and get people to buy)
  2. Features that fill an unmet need and are easy or cheap to build an MVP for and iterate over time
  3. Features that focus on non-users and casual users, and get them better results faster
  4. Features that help power users get even more value in a simpler and faster way

Does every product we have complement the rest of our products and make them more attractive?


How can we pull modular components together into solutions around customer problems?

That is literally everything we do.

Are we relentlessly removing friction for our customers?

This is one of the toughest parts of our work on the product, and we haven't perfectly nailed this one yet.

Our entire promise is to remove friction ; that's what people expect from a one-click editor.

But then it's difficult to prioritize between:

  • "removing big-picture friction"... For instance when we released OneTake Chat, a major feature to remove the friction of the Blank Page Syndrome, which brings a ton of value to users, versus
  • "removing the friction our own app generates" : For instance typing the entire description of what you want into the chat window is friction ; being able to verbally improvise/ramble and having the AI understand this audio feed and do the work is also valued by users.

So we kind of go back-and-forth. I wish we had a proper rocks-pebbles-sand system as WPEngine's Jason Cohen describes in his great article. We'll get there.


Are incentives across the organizations/teams/products aligned?

Right now everyone has a simple incentive: to help the company succeed. By succeed I mean survive ; and then, win.

What outcomes are we incentivizing?

We don't currently have an incentive program.

Management is about creating a series of incentives where people do the right thing because it’s in their best interest to do so. Do we have clear tasks and goals, clearly communicated, with clear and frequent measurement?

We have those, and we have a weekly meeting to measure, report and act on these metrics.

Strategy is about decisions and trade-offs: Are we moving one step in 20 directions or 20 steps in one direction? Focus over compromise. Strategy is what you don’t do.

Hmm. It feels like we could communicate strategy better.

This is the CEO's role and we need to reconsider how strategy is commincated to the team.

A strategy exists, it's just not as well communicated as could be:-)


Are we building in costs that we won’t be able to get back from the market?

Right now, it feels like this for the translation feature. It was costly to build and it is costly to run.

However this gives us the opportunity to have a higher tier, because our generous policy (hinted at above) made it very hard to have a feature-differentiator for multiple plans.

So we're hoping that we can now increase our ARPU with it.

Over the long run, the most efficient wins. How efficient are we relative to competitors? How do we become more efficient?

We are probably more cash-efficient than competitors for the simple reason that we're short on cash and almost all significant competitors are VC-backed.

As a result we are probably less effective than competitors in the sense that we have limits and constraints they don't have, so that's a challenge.

Where can we turn expense lines into revenue lines?

Very interesting question!

One thing that comes to mind is that we're paying a lot of money for GPUs right now, and when they're not running our own service, we might be able to "re-sell" this GPU time on or similar. Maybe.

Are we celebrating shipping/execution as a habit?


We celebrate by having a live session called "The Real Time" every other Friday with customers!

We've been running these live sessions for the last 2 years. Everytme we release a new update. They last about 2 hours each so we can answer all the questions. Dozens of clients attend every call (20% of all customers show up on every session)

Recently we ran mostly to our French customers because US-based customers were much fewer in number and didn't attend the English-language live sessions as much. We want to go back to having an English session again. This year we've also run a special session in Japanese too!

How do we get 80% of what we want for 20% of the work?

Great question!

We haven't done an evergreen webinar because the software evolves too fast: by the time the evergreen webinar is up, some of the objection-answering slides from the presentation are obsolete because we've solved that objection with a simpler, better feature.

Right now all our webinars are live and that's where most sales come from.

By building a webinar that is more evergreen, now that the product is solid, we can definitely focus on 20% of the work (attract new signups and trials) and potentially still get 80% of the conversion we get on the live ones.

And... that's it!

Wow, answering all those questions was a really interesting process. It brought us some new insights, as well as a very useful deep-dive to share with the team so everyone can better understand where we're at and where we're going.

I hope you will also answer some of those questions, and share it with us!

Do you want our AI to edit videos for you?

Just click here to find out more about what OneTake AI does, or...

Sign up for a free trial right here!

Sébastien Night

Sébastien Night


Sébastien Night is the co-founder and CEO of OneTake AI. He's an IT engineer from École Centrale, bestselling author, public speaker and TV personality.