Recap: Sprint #1, I have a Dream

And we're off 🚀

Hey everyone!

Things are moving quickly! Huge thank you to those who subscribed to this newsletter! Please feel free to share with others that may be interested.



  • Recap

  • Demo

  • User Research

  • Target Segment

  • Raman / Ivan 1:1


  • We kicked off the design and engineering work with our team at Povio Labs. Shout out to Valentina (project management), Gasper and Vejsil (engineering), and Krispin, Zlatko, and Vida (design). We're really excited to work together on this.

  • I spent the majority of the week conducting user research interviews with PMs and students at Kellogg.

  • Vejsil put together a front-end MVP that transcribes your speech input into a written transcription and highlights a hardcoded list of filler words (demo below!)

  • We're still refining our asynchronous work-stream. Our goal is to get our Notion workspace to hold all task management, documents, and discussions. We've encouraged the team to record video demos and post them to Notion rather than trying to coordinate live meetings at odd hours.

  • Ivan and I went live on Clubhouse during our 1:1 last Thursday and discussed design iterations and launch plans. If you missed it, I’ve included some meeting notes below and you can join us this Thursday when we run it back - look out for a link later this week on Twitter.

Baby Steps! We have a prototype to play with:

User Research

We conducted 10+ user interviews last week discussing public speaking and Rhetoric. We learned a lot:

  1. Filler words, pace, and "qualifying" phrases were the most discussed speech tendencies that interviewees wanted to improve on. "Qualifying" phrases, such as "if you know what I mean”, tend to decrease your perceived confidence and detract from the point you were trying to make. These came up often in interviews.

  2. We showed interviewees a blank screen in Google Slides and asked them to visualize what their desktop looked like in a meeting by dragging colored boxes onto the slide. Next, we asked them drag a green box, representing the Rhetoric app, to visualize how they would integrate it into their screen during a meeting:

    1. Interviewees were interested in tracking performance over time. This could be in the form of a dashboard within the application or an email summary at the end of the meeting.

    2. Seeing a live transcription during the meeting may be distracting. Exploring designs that minimize space and distraction while maximizing utility will be key.

    3. Interviewees believed they have "unique" filler words that others may not have. Customization of filters will be worthwhile.

    4. When describing an “amazing” public speaker, interviewees focused on the emotional side of presentation rather than the functional (e.g., filler words). The best presenters were contagious: eliciting an emotional connection with their viewers.

    5. There are different public speaking standards by gender. This will be important to consider when building out the product.

Overall, the conversations were energizing. It was great to hear people get excited about Rhetoric.

Target Segment

We've received quite a few questions about who our target segment is. This product is applicable for anyone that finds themselves speaking in online meetings often. However, we need to build with a certain user in mind. In the short-term, we are building for the following:

  • 0 - 5 years of professional experience

  • highly motivated to develop soft skills and understands the value of strong presentation in career progression

  • interested in integrating new methods to improve daily performance

  • majority of the day is spent in meetings with speaking or presentation roles

  • is an Associate Product Manager (APM) at a top technology company

We know that young professionals are eager to learn and would be willing to try new applications or methods to build on their soft-skills. Specifically building for APMs is worthwhile because they are consistently speaking and presenting in meetings and can provide strong product feedback. Maybe we can even recruit 1 or 2 to join us 😃.

Raman / Ivan 1:1

We took our 1:1 conversation to Clubhouse. One interesting discussion we had was on when to launch. It’s uncomfortable to think about launching a spartan MVP when there are so many features and clean UI/UX designs we want to include. However, the sooner we can (1) get specific user feedback on the product to iterate on and (2) realize revenue to fund engineering, the better.

We want to hear from you!

  • What features do you want to see included in the product?

  • Any advice on how to up-level an asynchronous work experience? What are your favorite Notion templates?

  • Interest in chatting more about this? Grab some time here.