Welcome back! 👋 You’ve probably been in touch with at least one Lumos Alchemist (or Lumos Team Member for the non-believers) and that’s how you got here. For those of you who are new, we like to send out a thoughts, updates & surprises ~1x quarter to amazing people (that’s you!) we met on our journey.
Today’s newsletter is all about telling stories - featuring a post by our very own designer, Brando! We truly believe that a product doesn't uniquely differentiate itself through features but through a story. Throughout this newsletter, we’d like to share how we think about story-driven product development. But as always, let’s start with something fun!
🤓 Meme of the Quarter - Lumos NFTs!
Since an early team member and one of our investors are owners of CryptoPunks and the whole team has been following the scene, we all had a little bit of fun. First, we designed NFTs for each Lumos team member — check us out on OpenSea. Second, we created the DATE NFT as a team-wide bonding project! Each date you mint can only be captured once and has a carefully designed background.
Join us and you’ll get your own Lumos NFT! 😋
💡 Thought of the Quarter - The Importance of Brand
Post by Brando Vasquez
What does story-led product development actually mean? And how does Branding help here? Our perception of the world is built on stories, which after being expanded from generation to generation, continent to continent, turn into myths.
Branding effectively creates modern-day mythology. Just like our ancestors painted their hunting journeys on caves, or how Greek mythology still resonates with many of us until today, brands transform the way we perceive reality and think about the future.
Remember for a moment the fables and fairytales you were told as a kid. They had the unique power of blurring the lines between reality and fantasy. Stories have always motivated us to listen closely, rethink our perception of our world, and turn fantasy into reality.
If we look at some of today’s most successful companies, we recognize a pattern: They’re all compelling storytellers and excel at elevating reality to a magical state. Apple encouraged us to think different, embrace crazy ideas and change the world. Nike pushed us to Just Do It and improve our lifestyles, regardless of our athleticism or physique. Elon Musk is convincing us to take care of our planet, while also reaching for the stars.
And the beauty of Branding is that it is open to everybody who is daring to participate. Auth0 is an identity company (same market as Lumos 🎉) and was recently acquired by Okta for $6.5bn. With their “developer-first” strategy, they put the engineer as the center of their story: “we make your login box awesome.” A simple introduction to a story that empowers the developer to make their users’ experiences frictionless.
Why do we use Mailchimp and pay twice as much for basically the same feature set as any other competitor offers? Mailchimp’s unique messaging and positioning, many times materialized in their out-of-this-world marketing campaigns (they literally have a film studio) and their awesome resources make us believe that we will connect with our users more meaningfully through Mailchimp.
Differentiating from the competition has transcended features and technicalities. Of course, Lumos is building a technically challenging product, which is extremely exciting. However, that’s not the only main ingredient we need to become a category-changing company that people love. B2C solutions and products are well-aware of this. In that realm, it’s common knowledge that people don’t only make decisions based on hyper-rational descriptions. People actually have emotional triggers that radically influence how they perceive a product or company.
Effective positioning is not immediate, and it’s not easy. Look at how complex it is to position a sculpture in a gallery. Now imagine positioning a whole company (and also doing it to last for years).
Last time we talked about how we’re building something that is not only better, but different. That’s what we are maximizing for at Lumos! Especially in Enterprise, this is something that is setting us apart.
💭 Story of the Quarter - Applying the Theory
So, what does effective positioning mean applied to Lumos? We can break this down into three buckets for how we tell stories:
1) internally within the team,
2) externally to customers and potential candidates and
3) to users while navigating the product.
1) Internal: Naturally, it all starts by nurturing a creative culture. Among our first 7 team members was 1 brand-focused designer and 1 ex-Airbnb frontend engineer who within the first months already shipped an advanced design, brand & frontend system. This shows that we try to build capabilities that are able to tell stories through our product. Also, we organize a talk series called Brand World Updates on a regular basis. There, we dive into inspiring examples of companies telling unbelievable stories that are worth paying attention to. Collins and Superhuman are game-changers here.
2) External: Even though we are still in stealth, we are using tools like this blog or our company page to start building our brand presence. We try to show our authentic selves at every step of this journey. Added to this, we invite any person who is interested to our weekly virtual company hangouts. If you want to join & hear one of the Lumos Live Talks about engineering, product or design, just email us back, we’ll be glad to see you there! Every Tuesday at 12pm PST! :)
3) Within the Product: From a user experience and storytelling perspective, we believe that creating and delivering magical moments differentiates good products from great products. For example, we map out huge user journeys only focusing on the feelings a user should have at every single click on the platform. The question is how an end user could see Lumos as their partner-in-crime on their road to relief, delight and success.
That’s just a small glimpse into how we think about company building at Lumos. We cannot share too much quite yet but we will launch out of stealth soon. Since we are already speaking about launching, we are excited to share that we started an official referral program.
🎉 Updates of the Quarter — Earn $15,000 (!) by referring peeps to Lumos
We are already 12 Alchemists. We expect to at least double it in the upcoming months. That's why we started a public referral program. You earn $15,000 for every successful referral (good pocket money for trips this summer)! Do you want to participate? It's simple:
Who are the 3-4 best engineers, designers or PMs that you know - we strongly encourage referring underrepresented minorities!
Introduce them to me, email@example.com
We'll wire you $15,000 as soon as we hire them. If we hire 3 of your referrals, we'll wire a $10,000 bonus, i.e. $55,000 for three successful referrals.
👋 That’s it for now!
Thanks for reading, and once again: Welcome to the Lumos Friends & Family newsletter.
Feel free to share with friends & family! Sending lots of positive energy,