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Hi, I'm Farzad Ban, founder of 3drops & Roadmap. Welcome to my second edition of 3drops newsletter. A monthly email with all the behind-the-scene stories, updates, experiments and lessons we've learned in the past month in the effort of building a more transparent company. You can unsubscribe here if you are no longer interested. I appreciate your time.
Thursday 6th Feb ・ 2nd issue・ January report
I'm obsessed with Products. For me, discovering a cool new app makes me as happy as if somebody just handed me the keys to the new Cybertruck. 

But part of me always saw this as a phase I had to overcome to focus more on the things that grew our business. Like expanding our offerings to take on more projects. The same path most agencies take when more clients keep showing up. To become a one-stop-shop for startups. So we did the same thing.

We scaled our remote team to over 20 members across 4 continents. We expanded our services to branding, marketing, product design and development. We had even built a small motion studio within 3drops to produce product videos for startups. On paper, 3drops was quickly growing to become one of the few fastest-growing agencies. But internally, it didn't feel as exciting as we thought. We felt like we were failing to live up to our potential. 

So in 2018, we decided to take a break from client work and do a little soul searching for our company. It was the first time in almost a decade we had the freedom of time so we knew we would regret it if we didn't take it. With a bank account that could last a small team a few years, we changed our direction and set a new destination. To build a sustainable business without relying on client work. We figured the best way to do this is by building SaaS solutions aimed at teams like us by scratching our own itch. At that time, we had already launched Roadmap Beta to Product Hunt which was very well received. It was awarded as one of the 12 most popular product launches in that year. So we decided to invest our time to bootstrap Roadmap into a healthy and profitable startup with a team of its own.

Roadmap was the first of its kind. A simple solution for remote teams to get aligned on priorities, and track their progress. With no products alike, our numbers were growing beyond our imagination. But that sweet rainbow didn't last long. Half a year into our work, almost all leading team project management tools like Asana, Jira and even Dropbox had already caught up with our unique features. So naturally, at first, we reacted by responding in the same way. Implementing more features to our product to keep up in this competitive market. But half a year down that path, we noticed we were moving in the opposite direction of what we aimed for. We were losing momentum playing this feature war and our MRR growth was suffering. So we turned to the people who know us best. We asked our customers to guide us in the right direction. We asked them why they chose us over alternatives and they came back with two features that they valued the most in our solution: Simplicity and Visual Overview. With our Northstar on sight, we started improving our key features and got rid of everything else. Fast forward to now, Roadmap is a healthy startup growing at ~10-20% in MRR per month since then. 

Sure it was risky to decisions to stop our main source of income 2 years. Sure I wasn't easy turning down great projects from companies like IKEA, Redbull and many others during that time. Sure I can admit I was up until sunrise countless nights because I was worried about whether I had made the right decisions. But in the end, it turned out to be one of the best decision I made in 3drops history. 

Those two years reminded us what we can accomplish when we focus on what we do best. So in 2020, I'm excited to announce that 3drops is now accepting client work with only one focus: Strategic Product Design to grow B2B SaaS businesses.

So we recommend, if you are looking for a design firm to work on your company's branding, contact Pentagram. If you are looking for an agency to rework your marketing website, reach out to Ueno. But if you are looking for a team to take your Product Design to the next level, 3drops would love to hear from you. 

Now, let's review what we shipped in January:
Company updates

3drops is now only accepting B2B SaaS projects

Super excited to bring 3drops back to clients. We are already fully booked in Q1 with limited availability in Q2. So get in touch if you need our help by just hitting reply to this email.

P.S. We are itching to design the next-gen Analytics/Tracking software for startups. If you are already working on this or know somebody who does, send them our way. ✨
Get in touch →

Roadmap is now integrated with over 1000 tools 

Our number one most requested feature since the start just went live!
With our new Zapier integration, you can sync Roadmap with over 1000 apps like Jira, Github, Trello or Google Calendar. 
Accept your early access invite → 

And we quietly released a new thing last week! 🙈

As a product-obsessed founder, I spend a lot of time trying out new SaaS solutions for startups to keep my team in-sync with the latest technologies, trends and ideas. Today we made a little thing to keep track of them all. 
Check out Tools →
Got a minute to add your company's tool stack?
Submit your tools here →   
Featured Dribbble Shot
We are back to posting regularly to Dribbble. 🏀

Have a look →  
From the blog 

Our favourite Roadmap + Zapier automations

To kick off our new Zapier integration, I wrote a short post about our most popular Zaps and how we connect Roadmap with our tools like Slack, Jira/Github and Google Calendar to keep them in-sync. 

Tools that make our remote studio tick

For a product remote team like us, tools are like office swag. We get overly excited every time we try a new app and over the past decade, we've subscribed to tons and spent a fortune trialling different solutions. In this post, I'm sharing my opinion on the tools we use and their alternatives. ✌︎
Until the next time,
I remain your friend,  

@farzadban 

☺︎
Once a month, I send an email similar to this one sharing the stories and updates that happened at 3drops and Roadmap at the past month, in the effort of building a more transparent company. Not interested anymore? Simply unsubscribe. I appreciate your time.