Mobile-first, minimal team feedback software
Vibe was a mobile-first, fast team feedback tool developed in 2014. It was live for 4 months & deployed within 3 mid-sized startup companies (50+ employees).
I shut down Vibe because the vision I had for it did not align with what the market wanted, and I had enough runway to try out a completely different idea. To be specific: I wanted to build a minimal product that put employees’ enjoyment first, but the market wanted a robust, feature-rich feedback tool with enterprise-grade compliance. Other companies were already doing that just fine, and I didn’t think I’d be able to 10x their results.
I built Vibe initially due to my experiences at Place, a high-growth startup, where I was the first employee. I saw the team expand very rapidly & honest feedback degrade over time. This created a tricky situation for management, where problems weren’t spotted until they were already causing damage. We all know the feeling! People don’t want to admit something in their wheelhouse is going wrong (or might go wrong), and those who support them don’t want to make accusations too early.
Ironically, the product worked well where it was deployed! Some issues were detected within the companies that used Vibe, and managers were able to adjust. But the buyers within an organization with the appropriate budget were HR leaders, and they saw Vibe as competing with enterprise feedback tools. I learned a really important lesson from this: when creating a product, it’s best that your users are also your decision-makers. As much as employees liked it, they didn’t call the shots.