feedback

The Various Layers of Startup Feedback

After working in tech for a few years, I’d like to share one of my biggest lessons so far. It’s incredibly simple, yet something startups are constantly getting wrong.

Feedback.

I’ll define feedback in this post as information collected that influences what needs to be improved. This manifests itself in many ways. It could be a phone call, survey answer, a collection of analytics events, user tests, etc.

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internet-new-forms

How the internet is creating a new currency

So there’s this video going around the interwebs (full video here).

Long story short – sorority girls spend 10 minutes taking photo of themselves at baseball game.

sorority-baseball-game

My first thought was, “this is insane”, but the video perfectly illustrates something I’ve been meaning to write about for a long time.
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attack-tough

Attack tough growth problems with simplicity

I hate reality TV, but one of my favorite shows right now is called the Profit. In each episode, Marcus Lemonis (the CEO of Camping World) is tasked with going into a struggling business, investing time and money, and (hopefully) eliminating the problems that hampered company growth.

While the show is coated with a veneer of reality tv, there’s a variety of extremely useful lessons packed into each show. One thing Marcus mentions over and over is that company problems typically stem from 1) People 2) Process 3) Product.

What makes this framework so compelling is how Marcus identifies problems using what appears to be a stupidly simple framework. Almost every time this framework is mentioned, the owner appears (at least to me) to be critical. My reasoning is that the owner is too involved in the day-to-day tactics and forgets to step back, and look holistically at the company.

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tech-marketers

A skill every technology marketer needs to know

Over the past few years there’s been an effort to get marketers to learn how to code (or become more technical). As someone who started building ugly websites as a high-schooler, then built WordPress websites to pay my way through college, then learned Ruby/Rails (and spent a summer embedded in an engineering team), I see a technical understanding being an incredibly important skill for marketers.

At an early-stage startup, if you can code, setup analytics, landing pages, and be self-sufficient, you get more done, faster, and with fewer dependencies. If you can do this, very little is holding you back.

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cohorts-ga

Cohort Analysis in Google Analytics

If you were to ask me what I consider to be the most important analysis a company  should constantly be looking at, it’s a cohort analysis. For those of you unfamiliar with what a cohort is, it’s a group of people who share a common characteristic over time.

What does this even mean? Let’s dive into an example to illustrate first:

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promise-deliver-remind

Promise, Deliver, Remind – a simple framework for product growth

When interacting with people outside the world of technology, I oftentimes have to explain what I do on a daily basis. If I don’t want to explain things, I say “my job is to make Safari more money.”

The response goes something like this: “well, doesn’t everyone at the company try to do that?” The answer is yes – but at the same time, a growth team is much more focused on moving those numbers. It’s the primary responsibility to increase revenue (a key metric for us), but at the same time, there’s a plethora of sketchy tactics a company could do to make more money.

I’ve changed my explanation to: “my job is to deliver more value to customers, and increase revenue.” Yes, it’s a bit more abstract, however, making money is a result of delivering more value.

In the rest of the article, I’m going to discuss a simple framework for how to grow your product. This applies to startups as well as established organizations.

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lessons-learned

Lessons Learned Marketing an App (or all the ways I screwed up)

P.S – I have a new side project called Friday Feedback.

Six months ago, I decided that I’d outsource app development, try marketing it, and share what I learn along the way. Here are the posts I wrote before if you’d like to catch up:

  1. I’m building/marketing an app from scratch
  2. Building pre-launch interest
  3. Outsourcing app development
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Consumerization of IT

B2C2B: How consumer-focused software permeates the Enterprise

Last week, David Skok posted a fantastic article about how the enterprise is ripe for companies building “consumer-grade” software applications that are easy to use. I’ve been studying the trend known as the “consumerization of the enterprise” (also known as B2C2B) for several months, and I figured it was time to organize my thoughts.

First, I should define the consumerization of the enterprise. From my perspective, this is when employees test/start using software before gaining “approval” from management. This typically involves the freemium pricing strategy, which breaks down barriers to adoption. While I hesitate to say that the end-user is in control, they certainly have more leverage than before.

Second, in my opinion, this is easily one of most exciting trends in software. For people who work in growth, this is the most lucrative opportunity right now. I see numerous growth teams for consumer-focused companies (Pinterest, Facebook, Airbnb, etc), but not so many for enterprise software. This will change. Below is one reason why:

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Ways to Grow

Ways to Grow

I’ve been thinking quite a bit recently about the different types of growth a company can have. It’s often that I read about a young company that is firing on all cylinders (or so it seems). They’ve found a place in the market, which is typically a result of some innovative/creative process (i.e. – Uber or Airbnb).

While these are great stories, the truth is that most companies are not startups, and while they are expected to increase revenue, 10x isn’t realistic. It’s more like 10%.

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Outsourcing Mobile App Development

Outsourcing Mobile App Development – My Learnings

Update: I wrote a new post covering all my learnings with this app. Check it out!

As I mentioned in a previous post, I’m outsourcing the app development process for Digital Detach on oDesk. I promised to share my learnings so others could learn (and not repeat the mistakes I have made). This post is a culmination of my experience over the past month or so.

P.S. – the app just launched. I’d love if you downloaded it!

I’m going to break this post up into two parts. In the first section, I’m going to discuss my personal experience outsourcing, and in the second part, I’m going to give advice for people looking to outsource development.

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