Paul Towers, Founder of Task Pigeon
Who are you?
Paul Towers 3 x Entrepreneur and the Founder and CEO of Task Pigeon, a task management application that makes it easy to create, assign and manage the tasks you and your team work on each day.
Can you tell us the story of your business from idea to where you are now?
The initial idea for Task Pigeon came after I tried and failed to find a task management application that worked for me. As a result I had the idea to build a task management application that was visual in nature, but would also provide the flexibility to allow people and teams to work how they wanted (i.e. within the app or via email).
To test out my initial hypothesis I emailed ~50 startup founders and entrepreneurs who I had helped in some way through the various other projects I work on. 85% of people responded and shared their thoughts. What I discovered was that lots of people were in a similar situation as myself. They had tried various tools, but hadn’t yet found the one that was right for them. This essentially led to my hypothesis, that “there is not a one size fits all approach when it comes to task management”.
I took this initial feedback and used it to refine the idea and product. I then outsourced the design to a freelancer off Upwork who was able to take my vision and translate it into mock ups of the solution. This provided me with enough material to then approach a wider audience of around 200 people who I am connected to in the local startup scene. Their feedback largely mirrored the initial group of people I had reached out to.
There was however one last test to do. I paid to list Task Pigeon on BetaList and asked the 80 odd people who subscribed one simple question, “Why did you choose to sign up for our beta?” The feedback provided further evidence that supported my hypothesis. A number of people wrote back to say they liked our UI/UX, approach to task management, or had simply tried and failed to adopt other tools in the past.
As a non-technical founder I was now at the limit of my own skills and needed to secure a software developer for Task Pigeon. I considered a variety of options but ultimately settled on hiring a contract developer off of Angel List. They took the mock ups and supporting documentation and developed the V1 of Task Pigeon.
We then ran a short 4 week beta program that attracted ~150 users, and since launching to the public and being hunted on Product Hunt only a week ago have secured another 150 to 200 users.
What has been your biggest failure or struggle?
I am committed to building a 100% open and transparent startup and blog about the journey to do so at http://blog.taskpigeon.co
The biggest struggle is always time. There is me, my developer and the designer who I hire on an ad hoc basis. With such a small team there are always a million things to be done so I am constantly juggling my priorities and making sure I stay on top of everything.
Looking back further I have had two successful businesses in the past, but about 18 to 24 months ago I made the decision to focus more on getting a tech based startup off the ground. As good as my past two businesses were, neither of them were able to scale. This time round I wanted to build something that had the potential to grow into a large and profitable business. The two startup ideas I pursued failed to get off the ground.
And what has been your biggest achievement or success?
Purchasing my first business as a sixteen year old high school student was definitely a life defining moment. And although it wasn’t the largest “financial” success I have had, without taking the opportunity to buy that business I think my life could have turned out very different.
Beyond that however there are a number of things I am very happy about. Obviously being a husband and father (to my two boys) is right at the top of the list, but I have also enjoyed building all of the other businesses and ventures I have been involved with.
What’s your must read business book?
I am more of a “podcast kind of guy” I enjoy listening to real, first hand accounts of what it takes to build a business as that’s where I think I can get the most value. I also consume a lot of written blog posts and resources from well known founders and VC’s.
On the podcast front through, my top three would be:
– This Week in Startups
– The Pitch
– 20 Minute VC
Listening to just those three podcasts will give you great insight into the world of startups, angel investing and what VC’s are looking for in your pitch.
Who’s your most inspirational CEO or founder?
I can’t go past Elon Musk.
Although he is not the richest man in the world (yet), and has somewhat of an abrupt personality you can’t go past the fact that he is tackling some of the toughest problems in the world of business today. That, and the fact, that he just seems to have endless energy to do more and more things. Whether it be creating a wildly successful electric car company in Tesla, advancing human kinds ability to travel into space cost effectively or even completely re-thinking mass transport by open sourcing the concept for Hyperloop, Elon just seems to be everywhere these days and I think in 50 years time we will look back and have a lot to thank him for.
And can you tell us something weird or interesting about yourself?
I can’t stand still. I always need to be doing something. Before my startup consumed all of my free time I used to train for and compete in ultra endurance running events, such as the North Face 100 and Mt Buffalo 75km Sky Ultramarathon.