This is certainly stating the obvious and is self-evident in the life of a company, but before questioning myself about the strategy of a start-up like Uriji Jami, I had never grasped how crucial it was to its success. Or its failure.
In Uriji Jami’s foundation, the vision is the first step, the first pillar: ‘Our life is our main asset’. I had discussed it at length in my previous post in a fascinating interview with our two founders, Jean Clauteaux and James Aschehoug. The vision, does not vary, and in fact, it must absolutely not change or you risk having to start everything from scratch. The second pillar on which rests the foundation of the start-up, the strategy is a momentum put in place for the success of a project. A momentum that calls for a forward movement. A ‘pivot’ is when the strategy evolves. “The pivot is a structural change that enables to test a new fundamental hypothesis. All entrepreneurs must eventually face the question to persevere or pivot” says James. In strategy, you must do everything in order to win. For Jean, it is the “imagination of the objective to reach“.
The strategy applied to Uriji Jami is made up of multiple phases interconnected with each other. It all starts by the questioning, the relevance of the hesitation. For Jean, this is the meditation phase. “In this strategic doubt, we want to understand what’s happening around us, the changes that the digital revolution are causing. What are the mutations to communications and human relationships that they entail?” It is during those questionings, that the founders define the problem and build a strategy to solve it. James insists on the knowledge of other social media, their dynamics, their operation and functionalities. “To understand their ecosystem, identify their current limits, raise awareness of people towards our start-up and create a community.” In view of the Uriji app launch, this community of early adopters must include a network of ‘inspiring people’ that attracts other people. Thus, when the new users will download the Uriji app, there will already be on the social network some quality content, that is human and authentic. A content that can give users ideas on how to present their own stories and potential.
After the questioning comes the design of the project: what makes Uriji Jami unique compared to other social networks. “Uriji is the first digital initiative oriented towards the future“, keeps repeating Jean. Currently there is no social network that is specifically designed to develop your projects. To enable that, James indicates that it is essential to “create a social network with good people willing to share their dreams and stories to fulfil their human potential“. Here we are touching at the very essence of existence. We exist through our experiences, through our aspirations. We exist through our potential of we have been and what we will become. For Jean, this potential “is a fundamental element in the future deployment of Uriji. A person that grows his asset in his life experiences and life aspirations, is someone who is growing his potential.”
Once the design is introduced, a brand is created, the Uriji brand, by showcasing the idea and history of the project from inception. We find this in the numerous videos posted online by Jean Clauteaux. Simultaneously, we implement a robust and technological product. Today it is the website and the iOS app, tomorrow it will also be a web-application and an Android app. The creation of the product, that I will cover in a future post, is not only an important step, but an extremely vibrant and moving one. The product materialises the idea, thus the mobile application allows us to use the concept. We move away from existential philosophy to the digital tool. And this gradual shift from the idea, from the more or less abstract vision of the founders to the concrete and digital implementation by the developers is already an achievement.
Following the brand and the Uriji Jami product set-up, they questioned the fundamental motivation of future users, that will bring them to use the app. Is this the tool to “project their aspirations and valorise their experience, their life as an asset, with the added bonus of earning a bit of money?” wonders Jean. And it’s here that the idea of ‘traction’ gets all its significance. For James, given that a start-up is defined by growth, “traction is the sign that the company is taking off“. Traction is vital for the development and survival of a start-up. And James insists on this point. “It is also interesting to notice that start-ups fail more often because of a lack of traction than because they fail to build their product. Traction is growth.” According to Jean, traction is what reveals the solidity of the project. “Traction means the project’s ability to move by itself“, independently from any external financial support.
Eventually, to launch the product, you must engage in communication. For James, it is important to choose the most suitable channel to communicate. The importance of sharing on the different social media is crucial. Contrary to what we might think, explaining a concept and be understood is no easy task. Jean emphasis this point. “Communication is to ensure that internally and externally people understand the project. And then buy into it, acquire it and make it their own.” Uriji Jami must therefore occupy the digital space offered by other social media to communicate and grow.
For Jean, “the product’s promise is to allow you to develop a life strategy through the simple exposure of your experience and your aspirations, your stories and your dreams.” Uriji Jami’s strategy is like a mirror of what each user’s life strategy could be: transform life into an asset in order to achieve your potential.