You’re past the subject and probably asking yourself “Wait what did I just read — is that a Star Wars reference?”
Yes. Yes, it is. It’s a new thing in this newsletter. In fact, brace yourself for more.
Hi, by the way. It’s me — Tem.
I’m the human who runs Optemization.com (remote team productivity agency). You probably forgot I exist because this is the first email in 17 months, 2 weeks and 5 days.
Boy, it’s good to slide back into that inbox.
Speaking of, in this email, I’ll quickly update you on what Optemization has been up to and what we’re cooking up moving forward! Hopefully, that'll remind you why you subscribed (previous posts are here)
- Solo → a by-the-numbers business update
- Rise of Skywalker → the formation of our team and culture
- A New Hope → what we’re building next
While our marketing was in solitude confinement, here’s what we’ve been up to in the productivity/collaboration tools galaxy
💼 We completed 65 projects for 53 clients
- Landed our first “huge” clients — MetaLab, Discord and CommerceHub.
- Got to work with really fun startups — Blank Street, Causal, and Loop.
- Built projects ranging for behemoth Zapier workflows to elegant knowledge bases in Notion.
✨ We built out the team from two to 13 teammates
- We’re remote-first, living and working in eight different countries.
- We first connected through the Notion community across on Telegram, Twitter, and Slack.
- Our workspace and systems had to evolve to work for a squad, instead of a duo.
💸 We grew annual revenue 554% from $47k to $312k in 2021
- In April 2022 we brought an all-time record revenue of $64,181.77
- Revenue mostly increased due to us raising our average engagement prices from $4k to $15k
- I also paid taxes for the first-time, fucked up cash flow and almost bankrupted the company
Rise of Skywalker
Now, what’s up with all the Star Wars references?
Well, it’s part of the unique Optemization culture. When we first started hosting all-team meetings, I called each one an “episode.” After the company turned two, the idea evolved into a fun naming convention. Team meetings became episodes of seasons that denote the company’s age and each one gets a thematic title based on a film or a TV show episode.
Albeit entertaining, this was a small part of the effort. Most of our time and energy outside of services went into collectively figuring out who we are as an organization, what do we want to accomplish, and why it’s worth it.
After a lengthy yet deeply thoughtful process we arrived a the following:
Vision → empower a million distributed teams to work better together.
Mission → help distributed teams build systems that promote autonomy, trust, and collaboration.
Values → conscientiousness, openness, autonomy, systems thinking, and trust (COAST).
These statements now live on our workspace homepage and serve as a guide for everything we do. It informs how we deliver service, sell our offer, market our content, recruit new hires and make partnerships.
It felt extremely important to figure this out once the core team was formed because we lacked an identity. Optemization sprouted out organically as Notion consulting became a thing. Customers and ourselves pegged us as the Notion Jedi Masters, which sounds epic but feels deeply confusing because Notion is used by so many different people for so many different use cases. Habit trackers, CRMs, knowledge bases, websites, meeting notes, ATS, docs, etc. We were pulled in a hundred different directions simultaneously, so we needed to pick a niche, focus and develop a unique yet repeatable angle.
After extensive soul searching, which I’ll be sure to share, we decided to double down on three things:
- Clients: we’ll work with high-growth and fast-paced companies with 50-200 employees, at least some of whom are working remotely.
- Service: in partnership with said clients, we’ll build modern systems and workspaces that will empower employees to work better together in a hybrid or remote-first environment.
- Value: the service that we provide will benefit clients by improving the employees’ capacity – to be autonomous, transparent, and collaborative.
I bet that, naturally, the value will lead to a growth in individual productivity, collective efficiency , and employee retention.
If you happen to stop by our website, you’ll see that the website was revamped with these ideas in mind. It’s still very much a work in progress.
A New Hope
As we sharpened the understanding of who we want to work with and why we had to rethink the “how.”
Firstly, content will become a very important part of our work. I tend to forget but the likely truth is that most of the world has no idea about Notion, knowledge management, or the wonderful things that can be accomplished with a modern workspace.
So, starting with this newsletter, we take it upon ourselves to share, teach, and ignite passions about this stuff. Moving forward, expect to receive issues on:
- Guides, resources and templates to help with building workspaces and systems
- Framework breakdowns that help with understanding systems design theory
- Templates that help distributed teams with better organization, prioritization and execution
- Tips and curated content that help with improving personal and organizational productivity
- Tool reviews and comparisons that help managers intelligently pick the right tool
- Detailed case studies that help with learning how we enable our clients to work better
Secondly, our business model will change. To date, Optemization has been predominantly a service-based company. We have launched and shortly discontinued premium Notion templates but most of the revenue has been earned through selling expertise and time for money.
While this business model can scale with time and patience, it doesn’t quite match our ambitions. That’s why we’ve begun a process to productize our services.
Much is still uncertain about how exactly this will work but I envision something that pulls the best parts from Notion templates, systems design courses, and operations software tools.
Like an interactive LEGO manual that helps you transform your startup into the fastest ship in the galaxy. Your own, Millennium Falcon, if I may.
Tem & Team Optemization
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