Were you constantly talking to customers when building and iterating Fomo?

"It seems like you concentrated highly on product/engineering-led growth. Was talking to customers on both sides of the coin - those seeing the notifications (customers) and businesses using Fomo - a big part of this process? If so, how did you juggle gathering both sets of insights? Do you have any tips or advice on talking to customers? What does good insight look like? Was it a lot of experimentation?"

Fomo championed what is now called PLG (product-led growth) by doing exactly what you've hinted at -- listening to customers.

specifically this happened during long, back and forth conversations with recent signups who submitted support tickets. i think our casual attitude in these exchanges (no canned response) made customers feel comfortable "dreaming," which in practical terms means pitching feature requests. we received 20-40 tickets /day.

since i (founder) had an eye on the customer service inbox for years, starting as the sole sole support rep, i had the opportunity to chat with 100s of customers directly and later read 1,000s of exchanges as the support team grew to 3 people. i don't think i ever went more than a couple days without getting involved on a ticket, for better or worse.

so that's the context. but the difficult part isn't "listening to customers" so much as deciding which customers to ignore. a lot of marketers use their ICP (ideal customer profile) to create these boundaries, whereas we made the call a bit more qualitatively, essentially based on the customer's vibe. do they overuse exclamation marks? threaten credit chargebacks if we don't do x-y-z?

polite customer requests were expedited (often i'd build the entire feature, then reply "great idea, this is now live!"), rude or low-quality customers (ex: zero-sale brand new Shopify stores) were delayed or denied.

in some cases we built feature requests for a nominal fee (say $100-250), or by requiring the customer to upgrade to our annual plan. asking customers to have skin in the game is a simple but effective way to prioritize the never-ending list of dev tasks.

of course, underscoring all of this was taste, conviction, and saying "no" more times than we ever said yes. i can't count the number of times someone requested tools to input fake data, or generate questionable scarcity with countdown timers, or make their pre-recorded webinar look like a live sales event. no, no, and no were the answers.