Pankaj Patidar, started his own software company Quazma when he was in college. He is working on side project called iConvey, the feedback management tool for Saas companies. TechnoVans team asked about his experience and journey as an entrepreneur and more specifically about the iConvey application he is building in public. And we came up with this interesting story.
Interview with Pankaj Patidar, creator of iConvey, the Feedback Management tool for SaaS companies
Please tell us about yourself.
Hey there, I’m Pankaj Patidar.
I’m a Software Engineer, an Entrepreneur, and an Introvert. I was born in Mandsaur and moved to Indore, India where I did my Engineering. When I was in college, I started a software company named Quazma, and I’ve been running it for 6+ years now.
You are active on Twitter, There you talk about the iConvey.io platform. Can you please tell us more about it? How it all started?
iConvey is a side project that I started a few months back.
Within Quazma, most of my time goes into managing my team and clients. It’s exciting to grow this company but these days I started feeling bore, every day is the same. I miss the good old days when I used to do a lot of coding after all I’m a programmer by heart. So, I thought of starting a side project where I can spend some time coding and learn new things. But, I needed an idea for that side project.
And here’s how I got it.
I manage a lot of clients on daily basis and I know the pain of getting scattered feedback and managing it every single day. My team and I used to spend half of our time responding to user feedback, prioritizing it, collecting it from different places, and so on. I quickly realized feedback management for companies is a real pain. So I tried to find an existing feedback management solution and to be honest, there are tons of existing tools available. But nothing suited my need, I wanted something affordable and easy-to-use tool. There’s Canny, a really good tool but it’s too big and expensive for small projects.
So that’s how I decided to go with the idea of building a Feedback management tool for SaaS companies. I named it iConvey because it is something that conveys ideas or feedback from customers to clients or vice versa.
What are the challenges you faced while building and promoting iConvey.io?
Well, I’m a software engineer. So Building a product was the easiest part for me.
Now comes the challenges. Sales and Marketing.
So I started with some research on how to run and promote these SaaS products. And learned about Indie Hackers, Audience building, and the BuildInPublic trend. And that’s when I decided to build a dedicated audience and become an important member of the IndieHackers community.
Twitter was the easiest place for me to start, I found tons of entrepreneurs, founders, builders, and creators. It was a great opportunity for me to learn and get useful feedback. I do not speak much. Luckily Twitter and other online communities allow interacting with people just by writing, haha. The next day I quit Instagram, Facebook, Whatsapp, and other social networks and started using Twitter.
I posted web development tips, marketing resources, personal thoughts, and other content to grow on Twitter. It took me about 2+ months to get to about 1k followers. I’m still working on it and growing slow and steadily.
Meanwhile, I created a landing page and waiting list for iConvey and started collecting emails. I got something under 100 emails in a month.
After about a month, I was ready with the very first version of my product and I launched it on Twitter. It was not a success but I was happy.
I started building a lot of products in the past but never finished them. This was the first one that I launched. My journey was begun and I was excited. I got a handful of customers on the Free plan and a lot of useful feedback and appreciation.
What are your future goals or roadmap of iConvey.io?
Well, the first goal is to find the product-market fit. It’s still in the early days and will require a lot of iterations to make it to a solid product. The goal for 2021 is to build a sustainable and profitable business.
There are few more products I’ll be launching in 2021. So stay tuned…
As you are into the software development industry, What is the ONE thing you love about Open Source projects?
Open-source projects are the backbone of the industry. We take a lot from the community, tons of open software, and packages we use on daily basis. Open source is a way to give back to the community.
I always wanted to contribute to the open-source, it’s on my personal roadmap to build or contribute to an open-source project in 2021.
Tell us about an achievement you are most proud of?
Well, The most significant thing I’m proud of is that I’m providing employment to a few people. In our company, we are a team of ~30. And it’s a great feeling when you realize that you are helping a bunch of people living their dreams.
What is your experience with building in public?
Being an entrepreneur, somedays you don’t feel like doing anything at all, or somedays you are just high in motivation. It’s very easy to take a break. The hard part is getting back to it. In your early days, you are not accountable to anyone, you have no customers and inventors or a team. You are all alone and it’s very likely you lose motivation after a little burnout. So You need an accountability system.
And here comes the Build In Public. Building in public helps you grow a small community that cares for you and what you are building. Sharing your progress in public creates a loyal follower base of people who want to see you succeed.
Building in public is commitment-in-public. Once you start sharing progress, people expect more to come. For that to happen, you need to continue working on your projects.
Twitter is my Build In Public platform, I share all my ups and downs, success and failures, ideas, and thoughts on Twitter.
How do you generate new ideas?
Well, there is no specific process. It’s just random thoughts pop up in my head. I capture them and put them on my Trello board and let them grow in my mind before I start considering them.
How do you manage your time in a day? Please give us details about your daily routine.
I’m a lazy person. I try a lot of new things and I fail. But that doesn’t stop me to try more things, haha. I tried waking up at 5 am, and some days I tried sleeping at 5 am. The process goes on, I keep trying whatever works. I don’t restrict myself to a set of rules.
These days I wake up at 6, do some workouts, start working on my side projects until 10 then start with the regular company work until 6 pm and then either I go back to the side project or spend the rest of the day with family.
What are your thoughts about the TechnoVans.com platform?
TechnoVans is doing a great job of empowering and sharing stories of newcomers in the Tech industry.
Being an Entrepreneur, I always visit this platform in search of new founders, ideas, and startup stories that motivate and inspire more and more people to come forward and start a business.
We need more platforms like this.