Humble Beginnings in Yoyogi
Five Friends. One Dream.
We wanted to create something that people would absolutely need to have. An app that when people looked back, they thought "how did I ever live without this thing?". This dream that we shared, to make the next "must have" app, drove us forward. Five friends with a vision in our hearts, fates intertwined from our previous workplace, founded our company in a small office in Yoyogi.
Partners in scheduling
How the Idea of TimeTree was Born
"When plans almost always involve other people, why are there only tools for individuals?" This question guided us and was the starting point to how we approached TimeTree. "Re-imagining the schedule as if it were to be shared".
Entirety of Calendars Shared
As the original development team talked and discussed, the form of TimeTree began to take solid form within our minds. Questions were thrown back and forth, and discussions between us. What is the best method of sharing? Who are we going to be sharing with? Those closest to us, yes? If we are sharing calendars, wouldn't the ability to talk and communicate about them be good? These questions helped define our dreams and set us on the right path.
A Much Needed Helping Hand
At last, we released our service to the public to the deafening cry of ... nothing. Nobody knew about us, nobody posted about us, and news sites did not report about us. We began to feel despair and lose heart. Fred, one of the founders of TimeTree, began brooding at home. According to his wife, he was disappointed in the performance of the app. Dismayed with his husband heartbroken, June posted about the app and quite quickly found the tweet with more than 10,000 retweets! The media then started picking up and we became a conversation topic.
Growth: Communication and Conversation
As we geared up to take our operation to full scale, we began to discuss how we wanted to run the company. We wanted to make using our service similar to going to your hairdresser. That feeling of being able to strike up a conversation. A way of connecting with one another and building a relationship. Although it is hard to connect face to face with our users, we wanted to try for a friendly, approachable way to managing our business. We wanted to focus on what is truly important to us: Managing with a focus on communication.
Out of the Frying Pan
One Step at a Time
And into the freezer. We went cold. After the hype on twitter, our growth began to die down and with it the number of new users began dropping by the day. We did our best to continuously add improvements, respond to inquiries and pushed ourselves to the limit. But still, new users did not come. Holding back our uneasiness, we preserved, continued to survey users for their opinions and searched for a breakthrough.
Walking, Walking, and More Walking
Discussions, Day-in and Day-out
We only had 10 team members at this time. Our days in the office were filled with brainstorming and discussion on how we could expand TimeTree. We would regularly flee the confines of the office and take walks to Meiji Shrine, which was just across the road from us. We would continue discussions while taking in the scenery and drinking in the fresh air. This became a large part of our daily routine, and we still often go for walks.
The End of "He Said, She Said"
Family Use Turns the Tide
Countless interviews with users told us one thing: Families were very happy with TimeTree. Somebody told us in person that it ended "he said, she said" disagreements. We decided to target TimeTree at families as our first call of action. Around this time, we also began to introduce useful tips and examples, and user numbers began to climb once again.
Communication as a Building Tool
Building an Organization From the Ground Up
We started TimeTree with the thought of “Rethinking schedule management”. But as we grew, so did our ideals. We encouraged members to come forward and share their ideas. We discussed and shaped the organization of our company through these talks and found ourselves growing. Less concerned with office attendance, we let our members work from wherever they would like. If you needed something, we wanted you to buy it. Discussions weren’t to be held in a hierarchy, but on equal footing. Importance was placed upon the question “Why are we doing this?”. In the end, many different ideas came to fruition, and we are a better company for it.
Invitation to the Office!
Good communication has always been an important part to how we operated. We had the idea to invite some of our users through the app, which then asked if they would be interested to come and have a chat at our our office party. This turned out to be our first official user party, complete with our own members, a handful of users and most importantly, fresh oven baked pizza!
Winning Apple's "BEST OF 2015" and Reaching 1 Million Users！
A Wonderful Surprise at the End of the Year
At the end of 2015, amongst a merry office and festive glow, TimeTree was recognized and awarded by Apple the "BEST OF 2015” app award! Cheers were heard throughout the office as everyone was buzzing with excitement! Very soon after, we hit our historical landmark of 1 million users.
With More Users...
Office Moves to Nishi-Shinjuku
Came more management. With more management, a bigger space was needed. Our small office in Yoyogi just was not cutting it any more. So we decided to pick up and ship off... just down the road to West of Shinjuku. We only had one condition on wherever we moved: It had to have a place we could walk nearby. With a larger office space, we were able to upgrade our cozy office party to a full on event: TimeTree day!
A Boost of Self-Confidence
A conversation had started. A sharp increase in downloads and people talking about how our app helped them organize their lives gave us the confidence that lives truly were made better with a shared calendar. In order to make TimeTree the “Must-have” app of Japan, we broadcast an advertisement on national television, all over Japan. Rather than focusing on the features of TimeTree and what it could do, we showcased scenes of users actually using TimeTree. We wanted to convey the feeling of joy that our users felt, using our app to organize their life.
Reaching 10 Million Users!
A Waypoint in 2018
4 years and a few months after launch, TimeTree hit 10 million users. A terrific achievement. Next stop, 100 million!