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Failing Since 2012 – S01E03

Previously on ‘Failing Since 2012’ S01 E01 & E02, Dinker Charak, Founder of Roo Kids app, talked about the first two years of the startup. Now read on …

Failing. Not failed!

The First Purge (Early 2014)


Our first one-and-a-half-year journey was full of experiments, twists, turns, pivots and blind chases. This resulted in 23 products. Each is a start-up idea in itself.

It was clear that we could not do it all and had to drop ones that were digressions, had no future or just could not be maintained by our small team.

Team Size

One thing that I have not talked about is our team size. Mostly by intent and at times by co-incidence, the team size has always been 4 and that includes me. When one left, another joined in and the team size remained the same.

It was quite a feat for a team of 4 to create 23 products in 1.5 years. But we had to drop some of this small team had to maintain products and keep the quality high.

Purge Begins

We listed all the products and variants. Then we assigned them a score based on the following factors:

1. Virality: We defined virality as growth driven by a user who had to bring other users to the product/platform for it to be of use. Eg: If I download Skype to chat with friends, I have to ensure that those friends also download Skype, register, and add me as a friend so we can chat. And those new users would bring in others.

2. SEO: Can the product benefit from SEO and how easy will it be to SEO optimize it?

3. Busy-Parent Proof: Does this product require a lot of parents’ time? Or, will it still be useful with minimal parental intervention? The less time it required, the better.

4. Ease of Adoption: Does this product require a lot of set up and do users really have to jump through lots of hoops before it can be used?

5. Clear Pain Point: Does this product solve a very obvious pain point? A yes is preferable.

6. Engagement: How engaging is the product?

7. Monetizability: How easy is it to monetize this product using existing models like ads, subscriptions, etc?

8. Low Maintenance: Does the product need lots of maintenance? Does the underlying platform update often and the product may need regular work to stay compatible (very much an issue in an app)? Low maintenance is always good.

9. Low 3rd Party Dependency: Eg: Facebook Apps depend a lot on Facebook’s policies and these keep changing. It may lead to rework or even at times total nixing of the product.

10. Copy Proof: How easy is it for any random Tom, Dick or Harish to create a copycat?

This is what the analysis looked like:


Based on these 10 factors, we narrowed it down to a smaller list of products we will work on.

We then grouped similar ones and created a more focused set of products we will work on.

Rest everything was purged. Deleted and taken offline. This was not that easy. We had worked a lot on these products and naturally were emotionally attached to these products. These were like our babies and it almost felt like we were harming our own babies. But it had to be done.


We now came down to just 7 products. And rest of the year was focused on these seven products: – Art, Sketching, Sketching Contests (as in we dig parenting) –  Articles Targeting Parents and Kids app reviews
Roo Kids – Instant Messaging App
Kill My Time – A quiz app – Games for Kids
Warofga – War of Galaxies Trading Cards
My Sketch Roo – Sketching iOS app


Keep reading (E01, E02, E03, E04, E05, Startup Lessons). 

Dinker Charak

Dinker has over a decade of experience in building products across diverse domains such as Industrial Automation, Home Automation, Operating Systems, High Energy Particle Physics, Embedded Systems, Online Video Advertising, Messaging, K-12 education and Private Banking. He also founded Gungroo Software. He books '#ProMa: Product Management Tools, Methods & Some Off-the-wall Ideas' and 'The Neutrinos Are Coming and Other Stories' are available globally. He also manages, an Indian Sci-fi portal.

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