What annoys me the most of Pioneer reviews
Shared by manojranaweera · 21d ago · 50 comments

2 things - No idea why this is not bloody obvious to some of you.

kendsouza · 15d ago

‘The lady doth protest too much, methinks,’ :)
What's more annoying than the constant self promotion or the repititive plug of '...1000 volunteers...'?
Having said that, I agree with Andrew below entirely.
Are you here for accelerating your business and help others to do the same or is this just about climbing the leaderboard?

manojranaweera · 15d ago

If I don't promote my own, who would?

The pace of my startup is already set. We have a strategy that is being implemented. I do love the idea of getting to the top.

manojranaweera · 15d ago

Plus I like to think that those who get frustrated actually do end up helping the most - frustration comes due to "caring". You don't need to agree with me, but love to hear your thoughts nevertheless.

kendsouza · 15d ago

Giving in to frustration is never a good sign because then you tend to react impulsively and negatively.

A while ago, I had responded to another question on why I use Pioneer. Here goes..

'25 weeks so far. Chasing the elusive leaderboard all the time is a futile excercise. You have to make it work for you and your business.
Here's how it has aided me..

1. Execution
It helps me work towards the tasks everyday because of the goals I set every week. And the smallest tasks have added up greatly. In the end it is consistent execution of tasks that will set u apart.
2. Journaling
My submissions have become sort of a business journal for me.
3. Presentation
Giving and receiving feedback has helped me greatly not only in presenting my company CloudInfoSystems, but also on how I present it. You have to be open to all feedback from others and also give a honest feedback to others .
4. Insights
I have gained valuable insights into a lot of new ideas and tech just by the interaction here.'

kendsouza · 15d ago

By the way, I have ran a few marathons in my life. It was never about winning for me. It was just about finishing the race and boy .. it felt great everytime I did that:)

manojranaweera · 15d ago

There are those who love taking part and those who want to win. It separates boys from men! Again, you don't need to agree.

I have no chance of completing a marathon. Or any interest in running. But started cycling when I turned 46. Now I am 53. It's the only extracurricular activity I do other than pxxx off everyone here.

Chill up my friend!

kendsouza · 15d ago

So is taking up cycling all about winning?

manojranaweera · 15d ago

I'm glad to hear Pioneer is helping you.

For me, I am here for a bit of fun. I don't want to boast about myself, but I have been building tech startups since 2004. If I ever find a break, I would build functionality like this (weekly updates) into https://techcelerate.ventures for our 25+ tech startups.

With me, you get a straight-talking contributor. You won't get any BS from me. I'm very transparent and public.

This will lead to people either liking me or hating me - but that is your choice.

You need colourful people to make a thriving community. We don't all need to agree. Frustrations are just a normal part of being human. At least it's for me.

kendsouza · 15d ago

Of course..we need colorful folks here:) But if you want to dish it out, you need to take it too when folks call you out. It goes both ways.

manojranaweera · 15d ago

Fair enough - as you have already done.

manojranaweera · 14d ago

I realised why most of you did not like this. It's because of my tone. I bet I can re-create the same video which everyone here would fall in love with, but still talk about the same issue.

This is a good example of "tone" (delivery of message) and the sensitivity of the modern world we live in.

andrew-miit.co · 16d ago

Wow lots of negativity on this thread with a little bit of mind reading to boot. Here's my two cents as a player who's been around for a while.

1. You can't know how others are playing the game unless they tell you directly. This will be my 54th consecutive update and I have no idea how others play the game. Focus on how YOU play the game, and don't assume everyone else does the same.

2. You get out what you put in. Don't complain about the quality of updates if you're not giving detailed feedback to all 20 players each week. It's a bit rich to complain about the amount of effort someone is making when you're not putting in 100% yourself. As Andy said it doesn't take much to offer a few words of encouragement or actionable advice each week.

3. The magic of Pioneer is that anyone can PARTICIPATE no matter what stage or level of experience you're at. I've yet to come across another accelerator or program that facilitates startups at every level from idea stage onwards. If you think that some people should be excluded because they're not good enough then I ask - who decides? And what if they decide that YOU'RE not good enough?

There's plenty of accelerators that filter participants based on skill. I also many people complaining that there's no place for idea stage founders or outsiders. That place is Pioneer. If you want to compete with a more refined level of competition hit up YC, Launch, Techstars etc etc.

4. The analogy to a marathon is correct, because every marathon has not only front runners but many entrants that finish hours after the race has been won. No one cares about these guys - until they come back and eventually win. I want to see them win. Pioneer IS a tournament. It's also a GYM for founders. They provide actionable tools to help founders get BETTER. If they just cull people who don't make the cut, how do they get better? It's not all about the standings. We've been #1 in Asia/Oceania several times and never "won". But we're 1000x better for going through the process.

Here are some things that have helped us:

- Giving detailed feedback to EVERY player each week increases our chance of being selected as favorite. There is a total of 400 points available for doing so which can make a big difference to your rankings. If you don't have 400 for "Feedback to other players" you're missing an opportunity to climb the leader board.

- Use response templates. You'll find that you're giving a lot of repetitious advice or that there are improvements that apply to a number of players each week. Set up some templates that you can cut and paste and modify accordingly. Be thoughtful - don't just say "Good work, well done" - but you'll find this will cut your review time in half and give you more time to provide useful feedback.

- Experiment with your update format. I see people get frustrated when they don't get a good result in voting even when they've made a lot of progress. Then they get disheartened and think others aren't voting correctly etc. I've experienced this too. One of our best weeks I summarized everything in a Notion doc and absolutely tanked in voting. What we've found is that the format of our updates has a bigger effect on voting than the content, so experiment and figure out what works for you.

- Focus on what matters. I'm pretty sure I'm right when I say most people aren't here to win Pioneer, they're here to build an awesome startup. So while it's nice to see leader board success it has very little impact on the likelyhood of startup success. We've been top 50 for a year and reviewed 15 times without being selected and yet I couldn't be happier with where we are or how we've benefited from being part of the Pioneer community.

Ask yourself what your main goal is from participating in the Pioneer tournament. If that answer is along the lines of "build a better startup" then go all in on the process and ignore the noise.

manojranaweera · 15d ago

By the way, I did 20 reviews today. Not sure I can keep up every week though.

miriamdorsett · 9d ago

How do you give more reviews over the ten that they send us?

andrew-miit.co · 1d ago

10 pairs = 20 reviews

manojranaweera · 1d ago

Did another 20.

andrew-miit.co · 1d ago

Manoj you're crushing it! Are you finding it's helping your rankings?

manojranaweera · 23h ago

Hi Andrew

Remember sometime back I complaint about dropping to 43rd on the European rankings? The week after, I did nothing differently but moved up quite a bit. Since then I have tried harder and seems to be going up.

I'm focusing on the ASK and metrics. Sometimes shouting at people for messing things up.

Anyway, I am still enjoying being here.

By the way, not sure you saw this https://www.skilledup.life/year1/

andrew-miit.co · 6h ago

That's awesome man, congrats on reaching that milestone!

jb · 15d ago

You did really well. Just continue at this spirit!

manojranaweera · 16d ago

Hey Andrew, that's way too long to read. But I think I got the gist of what you are trying to say. It's my 49th week. I give feedback to 10. It's your choice to go beyond if you wish. I simply don't have time on a Monday, especially when most have the two problems I highlighted.

For me, I am here to have a bit of fun. Yes, the community helps to improve the startups. But I also want to see whether I can hit No 1 before I leave. I know I should aim to review 20 but that's a tall ask on a Monday morning.

We are actually complaining about others responding with "Good work, well done". I never use templates. Every response is 100% specific. I dislike those who use templated responses as the responses tend to be irrelevant. Surprise to hear you do it as well. Maybe you are at another level to most of us.

I also see Pioneer as a product. And some of us are airing our frustrations, which may help to improve it. We are all different. But frustrations if not checked in may lead to revolt. Sometimes airing frustrations are better than keeping them inside.

Keep up the good work.

oras · 20d ago

I'm more annoyed by startups who don't have a landing page, vague descriptions for their products and yet there is no way to skip to give meaningful feedback to founders who really care to improve.

I think there should be criteria to qualify for being in the weekly feedback. I can't tell you how many times I closed the feedback after reaching projects with no details, no clear requirements to give feedback for.

AndyDent-Touchgram · 19d ago

It takes a few seconds to type some polite encouragement to suggest they can just share a Google doc or some images of their plans. Consider the people who are on Pioneer who are not part of the standard startup scene and may be massively intimidated about putting up a landing page.

oras · 18d ago

Andy, it is nice to encourage other founders but this is a tournament. You don't expect going to a marathon to find some people at the front that haven't prepared and not even wearing running shoes.

If someone doesn't know how to make a landing page or is intimidated by having one, there should be a place for them with guidance to qualify to enter the tournament. Otherwise, they are not going to learn or add any value to others.

manojranaweera · 18d ago

Wow. Very well articulated than my response. Thanks Oras!

AndyDent-Touchgram · 18d ago

this is a tournament

Maybe I'm not playing by exactly the same rules as you think should apply.
And maybe we're both wrong.

manojranaweera · 18d ago

Hi Andy

Should they have a separate area then? Pre-Tournament space?

You need a level of mental toughness if you want to build scalable tech product startups. I really don't want to spend my time saying the same thing over and over, every Monday.

Do we really need to molly cuddle folks who do not bother reading what's expected of them on the form? I assume that everyone here had some level of education.

My reviews always question why the ASK and website link (doc whatever) is missing. Most don't even acknowledge the comments or try to improve.

The same goes for some of the reviews I receive. Few words which do not answer my own ASK. They don't even read anything - just type few words to stay in the Tournament.

Anyway, I am glad you don't get emotional about the Tournament reviews.

manojranaweera · 18d ago

I wonder whether we could have the option to ignore poor tournament entries - pass them and focus on the ones completed by serious players.

oras · 18d ago

I have requested this feature around 3 months ago https://frontier.pioneer.app/posts/24bee933-pioneer-voting-feature-request

Nothing yet.

manojranaweera · 18d ago

I have the feeling that the Pioneer team enjoys our frustrations.

arthtyagi · 16d ago

Exactly my issue with these Pioneer updates. What’s more annoying is that they sit right within updates from startups and projects that are making actual progress and then we need to vote on either a robotics company that made progress and a guy with no landing page, it’s a bit weird.

Another thing, most people just do the reviews for the points so sometimes they won’t even look at your progress, they vote randomly and put in, “Great work, good luck!”. I’ve got this review multiple times and I always ask for feedback in that feedback field so I’m pretty sure they are just doing it for the points.

manojranaweera · 16d ago

Wish Pioneer would clean up these folks! Maybe have a report button. Such waste and not good for my blood pressure either.

manojranaweera · 16d ago

I used to give even these folks an upvote, think I will stop being too nice.

manojranaweera · 20d ago

ah yes, me too. If I am running Pioneer, I won't let this happen. But I am not.

I might end up helping tech startups who use https://skilledup.life to get their act together. Need some thought and a plan including assembling a volunteer team to deliver it.

We are getting closer to 1000. 174 to go.

antonio · 16d ago

Completely agree. I'm new around here but last week I did my first reviews and most projects had no KPIs or very vague ones and most didn't complete the field in which they could ask what they want feedback about.

I think the feedback field is super useful and it's being the one from which I received more useful insights and other people's opinions.

manojranaweera · 16d ago

May be we should campaign to get Pioneer to do something about this. I value my time and don't want to waste it on individuals who can't be axxx.

jb · 16d ago

In the Pioneer tournament, I would recommend following the instructions and ignoring the emotions. We don't have to know about or get acquainted with the participants at all. While voting, you may come across a candidate you feel does not deserve your attention and waste your time. Instead, think of it as sacrificing your time for the betterment of the Pioneer system...

antonio · 16d ago

To start, I'd just change the feedback field to required instead of optional

jb · 21d ago

By the first problem, do you mean people are not updating their KPIs? Outdated profiles? I was curious how many profiles do you review every week? And do you see a lot of these?

You said you ignore the progress updates, but how do you decide which candidate is the better one?  

manojranaweera · 21d ago

Quite a lot of them don't know how to change the KPI settings after setting them for the first time.

I only review 10 now. Used to review 20. The selection of the company is unfortunately quite bias. I have very little time to review these on Monday. So I read what the company does and ASK.

jb · 20d ago

I am not in the tournament yet, but what you say is quite bad. Pioneer is supposed to attract highly ambitious people. Unfortunately, it seems to me that it is not quite the case. The instructions say when deciding on a vote, look at the progress, not to the idea. Pioneers must be really hating this Monday thing then.

Anyway, that's not important. When voting starts, just give them genuine, encouraging feedback like a parent does to their kids. Tell them to take accountability a little bit seriously.

And try to review all of them.

manojranaweera · 20d ago

Hi jb

Why are you not in the tournament? I thought everyone is by default.

When you see problem children, shouldn't we get the whip out like the old days?

To be frank, I get value out of Pioneer - but I also see it as part of my "procrastination"

One of the things of doing this Loom video is to send folks to the video everytime someone says they don't know how to change KPIs. Quite a few don't know the importance of the ASK.

We are users of the product called Pioneer. That's how I see it. As users, we have the freedom to use the Product as we want. Pioneer may want us to review the full progress. But I am doing what I think is most effective based on my own experience.

PS: I've been running tech product companies since 2004. Lot of failures. Exited www.edocr.com in 2015 and now building (or trying to) build 5 interconnected businesses over the next 17 years.

jb · 20d ago

Hi! I freshly re-opened the account, didn't submit weekly updates yet.

You shouldn't be necessarily "soft" by giving feedback, and it could be a little bit direct but genuinely encouraging.

Pioneer is a community, and the members have a common interest to succeed in whatever they are after. And while getting there, the process should be exciting. And the quality of the community is at the hands of its members. The Pioneer should be the source of excitement and encouragement. Bad actors should be ostracised. But how do we do it? By giving genuinely constructive feedback. So unfit people leave or change their behavior. That's how I see it, but I might be deadly wrong.

I see you have a lot of experience and good stuff with EdOCR. I also want to succeed like that :)

I was wondering if you are familiar with UK Startup Visa? Do you endorse people if they want to come to the UK?

manojranaweera · 20d ago

I'm too small a fish to endorse. Is this the £50k investment one? Techcelerate as a whole is still too small. I'm having to treat 2021 as the capacity-building year.

We are now getting better at using our own volunteers from https://skilledup.life to build both SkilledUp Life as well as https://deallite.uk.

Sadly I cannot use them for https://techcelerate.ventures, as Techcelerate is a service company - my own rules hurting me.

jb · 20d ago

I see.

I was referring to this one: https://www.gov.uk/start-up-visa.

The endorsing body should not need to provide funds. They could be in the form of an accelerator, where the funds could come from the candidate himself. Take a look at these: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/endorsing-bodies-start-up/start-up.

manojranaweera · 20d ago

I am sure we had lots of conversations before Jb, but if I recall you are in Australia aren't you? Wish your profile is connected to company, your Linkedin profile or similar.

What is missing?

Don't tell me it's capital or knowledge. To me, knowledge is out there. Capital is not required unless you are building deep tech. You need some cash, but don't need a lot.

So what's the issue?

jb · 20d ago

For me, the main issue is my current environment. Online communities might be good in some capacity, but they cannot replace the actual city/town.

And, I am not from Australia. :)

manojranaweera · 20d ago

Ok. Feel free to drop me an email manoj.ranaweera@techcelerate.ventures

jb · 20d ago

Awesome, thank you, Manoj!

dougdavis · 18d ago

At least for us, my KPIs got locked after we were experimenting with them. Pioneer made it so we couldn't edit them for 2 weeks. This is apparently a feature although I am not sure why a founder wouldn't have full freedom to change their KPIs on demand LOL Maybe this is a poor attempt at making people think twice before setting a KPI, but that seems a little heavy handed. Why pioneer thinks they should be able to dictate this is beyond me. At least for us, ended in a bad outcome.