Hi everybody! Dawn here.
You may not know that UN started life with a product idea, focusing on using ML/AI to improve the software delivery process. We quickly realized that it would likely take a while to get a product out the door and paying our salaries, so we came up with this bright idea to offer professional services, hopefully making enough with that to pay employees and keep a couple of people free to work on our product. That became our sole focus. Our first client was Emblem, and we worked closely with Shannon, Michael and the community as we took on some early work.
Over time, each person on the UN team has gotten to learn the Emblem vision in greater depth. And each person has had that light bulb moment, seeing its full potential as we do. Every member of this team is very excited about what all can be done with it. Given that, late last year we began to discuss the option of having Emblem become a part of UN, and Shannon becoming a co-founder of UN as a result. So in January, we did that.
Time marches on, and UN got a couple of other services clients in early 2018. We felt good about that at first, because we were making real revenue. But ... by mid year we were realizing just how much of a drain that was. This is a common story, we know, but sometimes you have to experience stuff to really understand it. We were spending SO MUCH TIME juggling people and managing clients that Emblem was not getting the attention it deserved. This is not to say that there was no work- this is to say that there was not *enough* work, and what there was was not focused enough to drive this product out the door, ready to run with the big dogs. We watched others trickle to market with similar enough products, and we know the time to strike is now.
In August, we made a hard decision, as a whole team. We decided that we would stop providing professional services of any kind and focus the entire company on *just* the Emblem product. We had existing obligations and stayed committed to those contracts. What this has looked like for since August is this: We have stopped all of the work it takes to find new services clients. We have begun meeting regularly as a team to focus the Emblem product, its features, and priorities. We have more clearly defined Emblem Platform Services and the Emblem App. As we have had people free up from services contracts that have ended, their time has turned toward Emblem.
Last week marked the last week of our services contracts. Starting now, this entire company is all in on Emblem. There are 6 of us, and we are working on several different angles. There is work on core Emblem Platform Services, written and deployed in a way that will be robust, scalable, and trustworthy. There is work on the Emblem app, which has changed shape as we have continued focusing on what its purpose is. There is a lot of work in business development- from discussing options with partners, to finding the earliest clients that will help us shape the first few production uses of Emblem, to regularly meeting to discuss our messaging and focus.
One of my favorite little stories about what we have been doing looks like this: Eric has been pulling Shannon and I into a room, where we go over "What is the problem?" "What is the solution?" "How are we implementing that solution?" Eric's experience in messaging and marketing and business development has been both helpful and painful, as Shannon and I are not experienced in developing a "pitch". We write a ton of words on floor to ceiling windows, writing down phrases that we like. We wander through specific possible use cases, detailing exactly how Emblem could work within the system. We ask ourselves questions like "What can you do with it?" and "What can't you do with it?" and "What could it look like in a healthcare context?"
The fun part is that we do that, and then we walk away for a few days, and then we come back and do it again. Each time, our message is a little more confident and a lot more focused.
We are very close to being able to release core Emblem Platform Services testnet, with a documented API for the developers of the world to begin playing with. The Emblem app is focused on exemplifying Emblem Platform Services and is coming along at pace with the core services. We will be updating on both of those very, very soon.