In 2012, I got my first job in product marketing by accident. I was one year out of college. A month into my new job, the Director of Product Marketing left suddenly. I will never forget the image in my mind of seeing him standup, walk past my desk with his bag packed, and continue out of the door. It was 1 p.m., and he never came back.
The next day, I was asked to oversee the company's new launch for mobile. I had no idea how to. Over time, I figured out the nuts and bolts of running a campaign, coordinated across different teams, and came up with visuals about the mobile app. It was super hard and stressful.
But for the first time in my life I felt creative. I was thinking about stories and how to tell them. I loved it. I remember driving down 280 feeling excited to work.
There are a lot of hard things about showing off a product. There are the fundamental questions that need to be answered, which never change — why does the product exist? How is it different? What are the magical moments inside it? Then there's the matter of translating those questions into something clear and compelling for anyone to understand. The translation is the hardest part. Things always get lost in translation.
This is especially true when the product asks a lot from the user in order for them to understand it. Maybe they need to upload some data first. Maybe they need to integrate the API into their own stack. Maybe they need to just...login!
Arcade empowers companies to showcase the magical moments in their product by building interactive demos that can be hosted on websites, blogs, and even in tweets. We've raised a $2.5M Seed round led by Upfront Ventures, with participation by Sequoia Capital and amazing angels including Mathilde Collin, Laura Behrens Wu, Sriram Krishnan, Sunil Pai, Jaren Glover, Eric Wittman, Jay Simons, Zach Holman, Jonathan Widawski, Mehdi Boudoukhane, and Lenny Rachitsky.
We've been in beta on a waitlist basis for the past few months, and over 125 Arcades have been hosted and published. We've learned from customers like Alex at Clockwork who, published over 10 Arcades across the brand's properties in order to learn what feature drives most adoption, Divyansh at Houseware who imported Figma files into our platform to validate use cases, and Carly at Carta, who attached Arcades to social media channels in order to boost conversion.
When Rich and I started this journey at Arcade, we focused on product-led growth. We experienced this at Atlassian, where we worked as an engineer and product marketer, and wanted to translate a lot of those learnings to the broader market. However, like all abstract concepts, our mission evolved. We still have a lot of customers who are fueled by product-led growth motions, like Productboard. But we also have customers, like Carta, who are not, and who still get a lot of value out of our product.
This is all to say that even as mission evolved — we still very much believe in product-led growth. Yet we understand the deeper psychology behind our customers a bit more now. They are product managers, founders, designers, marketers, and developers. They are fundamentally makers and creators — of software and of Arcades.
Before they publish, they ask themselves:
Will people love it, or hate it?
Will people use it, or forget about it?
Will people say something mean, or kind?
Was their time building worth it?
Do they build on top of it, or start over?
They feel afraid, but also satisfied.
It's always a little scary to put something out into the world — but there's a deeper emotion behind it — pride. Our mission is to help creators showcase the magical experiences they've built. We want every one of them to feel proud about their work.
We see ourselves now as one of them. We feel and ask ourselves the same things. But I know we're on the right track, when Carly, a customer at Carta said about Arcade:
"Using Arcade to showcase our products is fun. I feel proud of our products when we use Arcade."
When we evolved our brand and partnered with our designer, we chose strong, colorful and diverse monochromatic colors. We leaned into the "2D > 3D" metaphor. We bucked the trend of dark and minimalist themes. Because software can inspire emotion. It can inspire joy, spontaneity — and of course — pride.
If you want to check out Arcade, feel free to sign up!
— Caroline and Rich