Skip to main content

#372 – Last Season on the Cupcake Squad

Friday Ship #372 | November 3rd, 2023


As we begin a new trimester at Parabol, our Squads pause from our regular rhythm to reflect on our work over the past four months and decide on what’s next.

One of our Squads, the Self-Serve Cupcakes, spent most of this calendar year focused on building a compelling Team tier offering, and since January, we’ve more than doubled Team-tier MRR.

At the start of the year, we focused exclusively on conversions, while in this past trimester, we shifted our attention towards increasing the number of active users in those converted orgs.

To accomplish that, we wanted to make it easier to invite teammates, share content from Parabol, and improve the overall experience so that you can’t help but tell your colleagues about us.

Here’s a quick run-through of some of the features we’ve built over the past trimester.

Google Calendar Integration

Many users create a calendar event that includes a link to the video call, but the Parabol meeting link might be shared in Slack, a Zoom chat, email, or manually added to the calendar event.

To make this process frictionless, we built a Google Calendar integration. This should also make it easier to invite colleagues to Parabol, as you can simply invite them to the calendar event.

This is currently being used internally at Parabol and will be rolled out once our Google application is approved.


We’d like to offer more high-level insights so that managers who aren’t able to attend every meeting can still know how their teams are feeling. By solving this use case, we believe managers will be more likely to encourage other teams within their organisation to join Parabol.

This is our first step in this direction, which is now being rolled out:


One-on-ones are perhaps the most common meeting type, so we built a product for exactly this. It involved adding a new user picker where you can quickly invite your teammate who may or may not have a Parabol account.


We focused on making it easier for users to invite team members. We added an invite input when creating a new team, which now accounts for 37.5% of total invites.

We also added an invite link in the sidebar, which opens after creating a team. And finally, we enabled users to create a new team and invite colleagues from the meeting settings.

Auto Join

Related to our focus on invitations is our new “Auto Join” feature. With this, users can select a team that they would like new users with verified emails to join automatically.

At Parabol, we would like all new users with the same email domain to automatically join their colleagues in our “Company”, “Growth”, and “Product” teams. This should reduce the friction of new users requesting an invite link for each team. We’re now starting to roll this out with a small group of users.

Summary to PDF

We’ve added a button to our meeting summary that lets you download the summary to a PDF, as users have mentioned that they’d like to share their summary internally.

Share Summary

We shipped a way to share topics from a Retro in Slack. After testing this with users, we didn’t see enough usage and decided to drop this experiment.

New Trimester

While we’re delighted that Team-tier revenue has continued to grow substantially over the trimester, our Starter usage growth has slowed. In the next trimester, we’ll be focusing on improving this.

To decide on what to focus on and which features to build, we:

  • Started with an async brainstorm using a Parabol Retro where everyone at the company could share their ideas on how to improve usage
  • Our Squad met synchronously to discuss each idea
  • We held a Sprint Poker meeting where we estimated the difficulty of the new ideas
  • And finally, we discussed which features should initially focus on in the new trimester

With the company’s barbell strategy in mind, we’ll start by shipping some small wins quickly while also working on a few more speculative features.

To begin with, we’ll focus on the following:

Onboarding Improvements

We haven’t focused on this for a while, and we believe there’s some low-hanging fruit available. We’ll make some small changes to help new users get value from Parabol faster and encourage them to invite their teammates.

Recurring Retros

Most people have Retros every week or two. Rather than creating a Parabol Retro each time, it would be great if you could set up your cadence so that meetings are created automatically.

Recurrence is already been very popular in our Standups product, so hopefully, we’ll see a similar effect in Retros. It should also tie in nicely with our Google Calendar integration.

Microsoft Sign-In

You can currently sign up with Google Sign-In, but many users use Outlook. To make the sign-up flow smoother, we’re adding Microsoft Sign-In too.

Template Limits

We restricted access to some public templates and put them on the Team tier. While that’s been a good conversion lever, we’re concerned that it could be damaging the user experience and affecting growth. We’re now increasing the number of free templates and running an experiment to assess the impact template limits have on usage.

Public Teams

We’ll be experimenting with making all teams within an organisation visible in the left sidebar rather than just the ones you’re a member of. If you click on a team you’re not a member of, you’ll be able to send a request to join the team.


We’ll be building a product that helps you to show your appreciation for the great work a colleague has done. We hope that this will make Parabol a more positive place and start to encourage usage outside of Parabol meetings.

And, now that we’re focused on usage in the Starter tier rather than our self-serve offering, we made the very important decision to change our name from the Self-Serve Cupcakes to the Self-Raising Cupcakes 🧁.

If you’d like early access to any of these features or if you have ideas on what you’d like us to build, send us an email at!


Metrics are slightly down this week, possibly due to Halloween, however the number of Standup meetings continues to increase.

This week we…

…made five deployments! We kicked the tires on our new Kubernetes architecture and made several deployments. It’s now a dramatically faster, easier, and more stable deployment process.

…announced our marketing learnings and achievements. We had our best-ever trimester for web signups with 27.7% growth, reaching 2k web signups in one month.

…increased the number of free templates on the Starter tier.

Next week we’ll…

…begin our second Sprint of the new trimester.

Nick O’Ferrall

Nick O’Ferrall

Nick is a frontend-leaning software developer. He has a keen interest in entrepreneurship having worked for a variety of start-ups including Tab (YC 15), Tilt (YC 12) and focaldata. Nick is from London, England but hopes to move to a sunnier climate soon.

All your agile meetings in one place

Run efficient meetings, get your team talking, and save time. Parabol is free for up to 2 teams.