Dulitha Wijewantha šŸ”®

The vision for Alakazam

Imagine you are a person who sells organic coffee in Singapore city. You spend your attention to source and roast the best coffee. You care a lot about coffee and giving your customers the best experience when shopping for coffee. You invest in designing and building your website for your coffee shop. You give a personal touch to all the packages of coffee that are sent out to your customers. But you have a problem. Your product isn’t selling enough. You want to increase sales and understand how this growth will work over time. Wouldn’t it be magical to have a single text box that you can enter the amount of money that you can invest to get customers and output would be a plan on how to execute this?

EvenĀ better, wouldn’t it be better if it gives you multiple plans and can execute those plans on its own and ask for help only when it’s needed? The execution strategy will evolve over time with the results gathered from the current execution and trends in the market. This is the final vision for Alakazam, a growth assistant that runs your sales and marketing all on its own. Voila, you can finally go and spend your attention on your coffee and deliver the best possibleĀ organic coffee to your customers.

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Why build Alakazam?

This is actually a question that I have wrestled for months to figure out what is the intrinsic motivation that I have which keeps pushing me to build Alakazam. I am pretty certain that it’s nothing to do with immediate gains (mainly as of right now it’s not a lot). Is it the possibility of building a unicorn? I don’t think that one suite the box either. I am trying to understand what got me to work on a product in the sales and marketing space more than anything else. 2 years ago-Dulitha, would have thought that I would start a company in Developer tools or Cloud computing. But strangely enough, I somehow landed myself to build a comprehensive marketing and sales product.

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Agile Board

On our road inĀ building Alakazam, we want to keepĀ better track of ourselves and figure out how to become a living breathing learning machine. The objective is not just to ship a product but iteratively get better at understanding the problem space. This got me and my co-founder Ruban into an interesting discussion near our giant Agile board.

What did I personally learn in the past week? I learned about new language features of Javascript (ES7), particularly of this feature called decorators. I also started abstracting our business logic and naming each component. This exercise taught me that if you can better define the problem, you have understood the problem deeper.

Learning cycles can be directly plugged into our weekly iterations. A weekly iteration is what we use to measure ourselves and our progress. Now the objective is not just to ship features and mark Todos of the gridĀ but also to learn more. This could be related to technology, mental models, project management hacks etc.

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Concentration and Iterations

The hardest part of working on your own ideas and building a product that is yours is keeping track of things. Especially when it comes down to how your time is spent and what are the most important things to be done. It’s very easy to get distracted into solving minor technical issues when you could avoid that choice completely by making smarter choices. The paradox of this is that it’s better to make a choice than to be paralyzed by options available.

Which is why iterations are important. You don’t arrive at the most beautiful thing or the best project structure or the greatest idea over night. You arrive at that over time.

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