TL;DR:

Maker: Roberto Díaz (@_robertodiaz_ on Twitter).

Product: Blockchain Toolkit (deprecated).

In 1 tweet: Online course that helped understand the value of blockchain technology from a business perspective.

Revenue: $29,156

Done in: 1 month


Hey,

Since this is the first episode of the Maker's Way newsletter, I think the best thing to do is practice what I preach. So I'll do a transparency exercise and talk about one of my few successes in a myriad of failures.

1.Who am I

I'm Roberto Díaz, former Blockchain Head @UST Global. Previously, I've lead growth @anfix, did marketing and product @bit2me, and founded a (failed) startup in my last year of college, when I was studying business administration.

There I started to design and do marketing stuff, then learned to code, and nowadays, I'm mixing all of it to build all kinds of projects, like litpath or this newsletter.

2.The Problem

If you know what Blockchain technology is, you are probably an early adopter of cryptocurrencies.

If you knew what it was In 2015, you had to be a hard tech freak (and probably a crypto-anarchist).

At that time, I was working at a Bitcoin startup.

And I was usually contacted by people working at banks or innovation areas of big companies, asking me questions like:

How does Bitcoin technically work? Is it a scam?

What is the technology that powers it?

Where can be applied at my company?

I realized they were having difficulties understanding the value of the technology (it's even difficult to understand now), so I started asking them if they would buy a course teaching exactly that.

All of them said yes, so I started building.

3.The Solution

Blockchain Toolkit homepage

Launched in 2015 (and now deprecated), Blockchain Toolkit was the first online course that helped to understand blockchain technology from a business perspective.

The pitch was simple: Start speaking the blockchain language.

And it's structure was:

  1. Basic concepts
  2. Currencies
  3. Contracts
  4. Society
  5. Protocols and networks

Plus, a glossary with all the technical jargon defined.

The content was formatted in video, articles, and Evernote notebooks.

To do it, I first structured the course program (as you'd do with any other product), and then I wrote all of it as if I were telling it to you.

This way, when recording it, I just put the content in a teleprompter app on the iPad and read it while recording.

4.How much money it made

It did $19.109 in direct sales through the platform (Teachable) plus $10.047 more selling bundles to companies, issuing coupons and selling them straight away (and avoiding Teachable and PayPal fees).

It grossed a total of $29,156 in sales during the product lifecycle.

5.Who was my target customer

BT aimed at people working in innovation areas, with a mixed business-technical background in markets where blockchain technology could make an impact.

It ended being purchased mainly by people at big companies like BBVA, Santander, PwC, Carrefour, Iberdrola, Capgemini, Deloitte, KPMG, or Accenture.

6.How I acquired customers

Since blockchain was an extremely niche topic, it was difficult to reach them via SEO or Ads.

So I did it mainly through Linkedin direct messages. It's not a scalable tactic, but since it was a small target and I was selling it at a premium price point (€349 + VAT), it was worth the effort.

The funny thing is that I met highly ranked people at those companies and it helped me some years later get into my previous job (Blockchain head @UST Global).

7.Business model

Pay once, access forever.

I put two pricing tiers:

  • Plus (access to all contents of the course), €349 + VAT.
  • Executive (plus + 2 hours of consulting), €899 + VAT.

I offered discounts for companies purchasing five or more units.

Also, Capgemini (a big consulting firm) asked for in-person training for their C-Level executives.

8.Technology used

  • Teachable to host and distribute the course.
  • Mailchimp to manage the email list.
  • Sketch to design graphic assets and landing page.
  • Google docs to write all the content.
  • Sony Vegas for video editing.
  • Teleprompter app for recordings.

9.Key takeaways

  • Being first in a niche is risky but can become a competitive advantage.
  • Ask your target customers straight away about your idea.
  • Linkedin is excellent if you are segmenting by job-related attributes.

Thanks for your time!

See you in the next episode - Roberto.

If this article is useful to you, it'd be awesome if you could forward it to a friend. Sharing would help me a lot to reach more people like you :)

You can find more case studies here.


P.S: I'm sharing my journey as a digital maker in Twitter. There, I talk every day about what I'm building, the tools I'm using, the obstacles I face and much more.

Follow me to see it in first person. Don't forget to say hi!