If you’ve been following Parakeeto for a while, you may have noticed a few changes recently as it relates to our product and positioning.

I want to take a few moments in this post to address what those changes are, why we made them, and what you can expect from us going forward as a company.

What’s Changed?

First and foremost, the elephant in the room: What happened to our value prop about “agency operations dashboards” and being able to track all your internal metrics in one place?

You’ll notice on our main site that our focus has now shifted to helping agencies generate estimates more quickly, and with a more data-driven approach. While at first glance this might seem like a stark departure from our original positioning, you should know that long-term, it’s not.

The truth is this: the original thesis of our product and company have not changed – what has is the path we plan to take in order to get there.

What is Estimates by Parakeeto?

Our newest product connects to your Harvest account, pulls in all your historical projects and time entries, and helps you generate accurate, data-driven estimates in seconds.

It does this by allowing you to choose projects that have a similar structure or type of workflow to the one you’re estimating (even if they didn’t have a similar scope or budget), and graphs the relationship between hours & time for each project, as well as each Task or Role within those projects.

Parakeeto Estimates – Selecting Projects from Harvest

This allows you to see exactly how your new estimate stacks up against past performance, and learn from your past projects as you estimate new ones and gives you real-time feedback as you make tweaks to hours, budgets and services.

Parakeeto Estimates – Adjusting Tasks in an Estimate

We’re extremely excited to announce that we’re opening up our closed-beta to this product today. If you’re interested in applying for that closed beta just click here and we’ll chat.

How Did We Get Here?

Well, as most startups do – we learned a few things as we opened our first product up to the “real world”. In our case, we learned a number of really important things from those initial users getting on board:

  • We were wrong about our assumptions with regard to what an average agency’s time-tracking data and project estimation data would look like. Neither of those data sets were consistently clean or organized.
  • Before we could help agencies analyze their data, we first had to help most of them structure it and keep it clean.
  • There wasn’t really any best-practice, or any good tools out there for smaller agencies to help solve this problem.

To give you a short summation, we spent most of our time in our closed beta helping our users attempt to clean, structure, update and synchronize their historical time-tracking and project estimation data and not enough of it showing them useful insights about their business.

When we started asking “why” and digging deeper into how that data came to be so disorganized, we realized there was this gap around estimation that really hadn’t been solved, and needed to be solved before we could do a good job of doing advanced analytics.

We started learning about the often ad-hawk & cursory process agencies were using to estimate the scope and price of their projects. We also learned about the challenges of setting up their time-tracking data to measure against those assumptions and how time-consuming it was go to back and learn from that data.

It was setting a very poor foundation for data analysis down the road – which was making using a product like Parakeeto accessible only to those with the most organized, and cleanest data sets (those agencies were few and far in between)

As we did more and more customer interviews and understood more about this problem, we realized there was an opportunity to solve a very important problem and actually put this “messy” data to work whilst also helping users of that product create a strong foundation in their data for deeper analysis.

That’s when we started prototyping, testing and eventually building Estimates – which brings us to where we are today.

So, What’s Next for Parakeeto?

Our focus continues to be on helping boutique and independent agencies get the intelligence they need to stay profitable and competitive in their business. Our original thesis about the problems and challenges they face hasn’t changed. We still believe there’s a need for a platform that can measure the operational efficiency of an agency, help identify opportunities, and even help predict what’s to come.

What has changed, however, is the path we’re taking to get there and our execution when it comes to identifying and acting on the feedback we get from our clients and the market. This “pivot” is a reflection of that, and is a look at what’s to come.

While we have a strong vision about what the future of our product looks like, we need to remain open to having our assumptions and closely held beliefs challenged. This decision to shift our focus wasn’t an easy one, but it was one we had to make in order to uphold our belief that the most important thing we can do is solve hard problems our customers are facing every day. (Even if that means admitting that we were wrong.)

It’s possible (even likely) that Parakeeto will one day look different than what we’re predicting today. Ultimately that will be determined by the people who decide to join us on our journey and contribute their feedback to help us find the right path, solve the right problems and build the right thing to make their lives easier.

If that sounds like something you’d like to be a part of, drop me a line – I’d love to connect.