MSP | 0 comments

Produce8 cold called me and managed to set up a 20 minute demo. I guess they caught me on a good day because I spoke for a few minute. Produce8 is a young company, a few months at most into their public launch phase.

The pitch is that the move to mostly-digital (not in office) work has made us less productive, prone to burnout, etc.

This isn’t a hard pitch for business owners to appreciate.

So they are out to help us fix it! Here is how they describe their benefits:

Produce8 uncovers patterns that represent focus, distractions, burnout, and the time it takes to reset after context switching. We use the interactions teams have with their applications to help them address the challenges of the digital workplace.

Cool. What does that mean?

Quick aside: I did get permission during the demo for a blog article

Let’s start with the insights: there are four and they are…

  • How much time you worked
  • How much of it was screen time
  • What your digital intensity score is, which looks like screen time divided by working hours.
  • Focus score

The first three are self-explanatory, I don’t recall the definition of the focus score but I assume it scores context-switching by frequency and duration of app changes.

That’s it for insights.

Then you have metrics. Which is essentially how much time was spent in what app and when, across a time range of your choice. You can view it for your team or yourself. You can choose a time range for both insights and metrics.

Here is workspace (aka team) view of metrics:

They have an official list of integrations, but it is a browser extension and desktop application you download to track. ConnectWise has an API integration, everything else is based off the browser extension and desktop application.

So, what makes this different than other solutions?

Their answer: They don’t “spy” on you. It isn’t screen recording. Browser history is optional, you can even filter by website. If I don’t want to report my Facebook activity I don’t have to, but I can still report my productive time on Slack.

The metrics are “un-opinionated” which is a marketing way of saying they only present the raw data. There is no analysis.

And, as they like to bring up, they have some of the same VC backers as IT Glue, Scalepad and Quoter.

That’s it. That’s the entire product.

My Thoughts

1. This isn’t marketed towards MSPs 1or all the screenshots would have Teams, Outlook, OneNote and the PSA/RMM of your choice. My understanding is that the backers have experience in the channel so they are selling (not marketing) there first.

I also don’t understand the real value prop to MSPs: we’re going to see that our day is spent in Teams, Outlook, PSA/RMM etc., and that context switching happens often. Super often, especially for anyone working support.

This doesn’t mean that there is zero value. In a very limited free trial we did I was surprised to see how much time one of my techs spent in Outlook, but the rest of the days I looked at followed the pattern I expected. A team member was surprised to see how much time he spent working.

2. They aren’t anywhere first to market — see Toggl Track which has been around for years. Produce8 lacks serious differentiation. Worse, Toggl and others include a richer yet of features for the same price ($18/user/month).

3. Their target should be enterprise, not MSPs. VC guys: when you realize I saved you 6 months and tens of thousands of dollars just send me a check for half the savings.

I don’t know how many MSP employees (users) there are in North America, out of 15,000-ish MSPs2 but under half a million seems like a decent guess. That’s an OK SAM, but the TAM will be much, much lower. On top of that, the average MSP is 4 or 5 people. Produce8 is looking at $100/mo/MSP for the average sale. That means they need 1,000 “average” MSPs to get to $100k in MRR3, a full 7-10% of the market. Ouch.

In addition, see point #1 above, they’ll have a very hard time demonstrating value to MSPs. Again, we know what our guys are in and that they context switch all the time. Welcome to the Channel.

As of 2019, the Fortune 500 employed nearly 30 million people. In addition, there will be a much higher need at the enterprise level.

Very few MSPs make it to the point where a middle-management layer is required. You must have a pretty high gross revenue before that is the case. I’d guess $3m-$5m for anything beyond an operations supervisor and a marketing coordinator. This means management and the owner will know what people are into just by walking around the office.

Enterprise is different: there are so many management levels that even midlevel management doesn’t have a clear view of what the people doing the work spend their time on. Produce8 can give them a window into that world. Even departments in a large company will require more monitoring if they want to keep tabs on everyone have analytical data of the workday.

The MRR potential is so, so much higher. Even cutting prices by 50%, the number of companies/departments they need to bring on board to match the $100k MRR is substantially less. 4 to 5 times fewer customers will bring in the same amount of MRR.

Maybe this is the long-term plan for Produce8, I suggest they make it their short-term plan.

And for the love of MRR, market that your app works with Microsoft Apps.

I reached out to Produce 8 for comment, I have not heard by back publish time.


Screenshots provided by the Produce8 media kit.

Screenshot sources are from Produce8’s media kit, which is wonderfully done. I was shown live data during the demo and it looked just like the screenshots.

  1. I really think they think like a SaaS company. Their media kit is on Notion, which is basically OneNote for developers and creator types. The integrations highlight products, like Asana, G Suite, Zoom, QBO, Jira, Trello, Mailchimp,, Github, Basecamp, Zapier and Dropbox. The productivity ecosystem outside of the M365 platform. ↩︎
  2. I’ve heard estimates from 10,000 to 40,000 on the number of North American MSPs. The lower bounds seems more believable to me, although if you count every microbusiness that does monthly contracts maybe you will move higher, but that isn’t my focus here. ↩︎
  3. What’s special about $100k in MRR? Nothing, it’s just a round number that both MSPs and SaaS companies already have a conception of, and what it means. ↩︎


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