Coffeeopia: how it all started
So, here's the thing: we've been working on Coffeeopia for 121 days already.
I've been meaning to start taking notes somewhere with the idea of building in public but to tell you the truth I haven't been very successful. To be even more frank I've been lazy and scared — both at the same time. Lazy because writing involves a lot of thinking and scared because I'm not sure if I'm at all good at this (both of these actually — writing and product management). Well, since I've already started, let's kick this thing off.
I have a long history with coffee (I bet all of us do). I've been into coffee in different shapes and forms, I'm a huge fan of all things Italy (espresso included) and I have amazing coffee machines at the office. At some point of time I switched to drinking black coffee only for fitness reasons (milk has more calories and so on). In general black coffee is shit, let's admit it. So at some point I started looking for ways to make it taste better: adding honey, spices, lemon, making bulletproof coffee, etc.
A couple of years ago I discovered buying coffee in beans and this changed my entire life: new coffee shops, different brewing methods, discovering pour over, getting into details. So when COVID hit and all coffee shops closed I immediately purchased all the necessary coffee equipment and started ordering beans.
This is when realization came. I didn't know which coffee I would like, I couldn't really try them before buying any more. I couldn't find any coffee recommendation service and ended up doing 2 things: asking friends and ordering things randomly based on descriptors used on the packaging and the bean countries.
Having done that for a month I realized there's a niche. I am into coffee and I love all things coffee, I know there's an amazing community around good quality coffee (coined 'specialty coffee') and I decided I want to connect people like me with roasters and amazing coffee. Call it a Vivino (or Untappd if you're into beer) for specialty coffee.
It's not only recommended, it's mandatory for a Product Manager (PM) to have a pet project (or several). Having a pet project lets a PM practice different skills and gain new knowledge in a real-life simulator environment.
This was the idea behind working on Coffeeopia, which quickly grew into something much bigger. Truth be told, it was quite a messy process in the beginning: lots of ideas, no prioritization, no knowledge of the industry whatsoever and a lot more.
What I decided I should do is find a mentor, which I did. But not quite. The good thing is Askhat (the mentor) did give a lot of useful information all things product management. The downside is he actually gathered a group of 7-8 people whom he mentored together. As you can guess by the end of the course I had more questions than answers.
Nevertheless I quickly figured out which steps need to be taken and decided to progress step by step. I'll cover it all in the upcoming posts tagged Coffeeopia.
This is not my first product and I don't know if it will be successful at all. But what I do realize is that I want to keep track of what happens: the ups & downs, mistakes and learnings, successes and failures, thoughts, discussions and results — the whole journey, which will include my feelings as well.
Should you want to just track what's been done, we have our company blog which also has a lot of updates and thoughts.
Have I said this before? Stay tuned, I haven't even started yet!