Experiments that took us to where we are today

You don’t turn an idea into a company.
You turn it into an experiment.

But what does that actually mean? I figured it’d be helpful to share a couple of experiments that Marco ran last year as we were getting our business off the ground.

Disclaimer alert: We still run lots of experiments, and as mentioned in the previous post, we anticipate that there will be more pivots that we’ll embark on in the future. What we focus on is how much we can learn from each experiment, and how to integrate those learnings into the new version of our business.

Can we create a consumer-facing events tool?

Our first experiment was whether we could we create a social events tool that people preferred using over Facebook Events, group text, email, or whatever other medium they used for social events. 

We've excluded this experiment, because we'll be coming back here in the future - excited to share what we couldn't at the beginning of COVID :) 

The TL;DR was - starting an events tool for IRL experiences when noone was allowed to go outside wasn't the best business model. So...

Pivot: Focus on virtual experiences instead of IRL experiences

Are people willing to do virtual experiences, and are suppliers willing to host them?

Could we create a community of people who would sign up and attend virtual experiences, while building out inventory by getting creators to host them?

We could grow this initial community and expand the marketplace (Airbnb Virtual Experiences from scratch).

How we tested our hypothesis

With a lack of social interaction, people were open to trying new things. Also, businesses were closing down and open to experimenting. Using a friend's software company Bottle, we built a list of 1K+ people who opted in to hearing about Marco events within 1-2 months and had weekly events that benefited local businesses and creators in the Bay Area hurt by COVID.


Lessons we learned

  • New categories are messy (at first) - There's nothing more awkward than hosting a virtual art show with four of your photographer friends for an 8 person audience. But stick with it and you can quickly see categories start to mature
  • Experiences are better with groups - Random people interacting via Zoom can be even more awkward than random people interacting in person. The experience can be much better for people who know each other. Experiences are a great way to build community
  • Go-to-market innovation can be an advantage - Businesses are (and always were) in need of a better way to build community. We became laser-focused on the B2B use case

Pivot: Focus on the B2B use case for virtual experiences

Can we provide companies and teams with a better way to bring their people together through virtual experiences?

Could we find companies that would pay for virtual experiences, and find compelling hosts of high-quality virtual experiences?

If this works, this could be a viable business with great unit economics, and a G2M strategy we could execute on.

How we tested our hypothesis

We made a pdf of a handful of our favorite virtual experiences. Several we had been testing in the 2nd experience, but we got the suppliers to agree to host them if any company actually booked them.

Lessons we learned

  • You may not need any tech to test a hypothesis - We initially ran around with a PDF and generated $10K in GMV in our first month, doubling that in our second month. This was all without a website!
  • We can help improve company culture - Based on post-event survey data, 80%+ of respondents shared a moment that brought them together or learned something new, and 95%+ finished the experience feeling less stressed or re-energized
  • G2M can be one of the most important differentiators - Focusing on a specific go-to-market channel can be a key differentiator, and allow for valuable focus as you seek product - market - channel fit

It all starts with an idea - 3

Overall, we're super excited about what we're building at Marco. We think it may be a great place to build a large core business given the market size, but also affords us the ability to expand to other markets in the experiences space.

Most of all, we’re having a ton of fun. We think you will too. Try a Marco experience with your company or team!


Our next experiment


We've proven that we can create best-in-class virtual experiences that tens of thousands of people have enjoyed. Stay tuned for our next post about the next experiment that Marco will be testing in our journey! 

The Future of Culture in your Inbox