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Startup DNA
Startup DNA
Startup DNA
Startup DNA
Startup DNA
Startup DNA
Startup DNA
Startup DNA
Startup DNA
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Startup DNA

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Startup DNA: the formula behind successful startups in Silicon Valley. These are my personal observations on a few traits that make startups successful. For more info, check out my book "Hello, …

Startup DNA: the formula behind successful startups in Silicon Valley. These are my personal observations on a few traits that make startups successful. For more info, check out my book "Hello, Startup: A Programmer's Guide to Building Products, Technologies, and Teams" at http://www.hello-startup.net.

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  • 1. Startup DNA The formula behind successful startups in Silicon Valley
  • 2. Startup DNA The formula behind successful startups in Silicon Valley
  • 3. About me
  • 4. Yevgeniy Brikman ybrikman.com | @brikis98 | brikis98.blogspot.com Worked at a couple successful startups: LinkedIn, TripAdvisor Built a lot of stuff: Enterprise products, hiring tools, scalable infrastructure, company culture, engineering branding, travel apps, VoIP software, innovation programs. Who I am
  • 5. Who I'm not ● I'm not Paul Graham, Reid Hoffman, Dave McClure, Marc Andreessen (sorry) ● I don't own a company ● I'm a "rank amateur"
  • 6. What I offer is a different perspective: "from the trenches"
  • 7. Wrote a book about what I learned www.hello-startup.net
  • 8. These are my personal observations on a few traits that make startups successful.
  • 9. Outline 1. Make excellent mistakes 2. Boyd’s law 3. Speed wins 4. If you can't measure it, you can't fix it 5. Distribution 6. Sharing
  • 10. Outline 1. Make excellent mistakes 2. Boyd’s law 3. Speed wins 4. If you can't measure it, you can't fix it 5. Distribution 6. Sharing
  • 11. "Make excellent mistakes" Dan Pink [1]
  • 12. The road to startup success is paved with failure
  • 13. Failed projects
  • 14. ● Answers ● Events ● Tweets ● Github ● Countless other experiments that never made it past a "dark launch"
  • 15. ● Beacon ● Places ● Deals ● Credits ● Questions ● Lite ● Email
  • 16. ● Wave ● Buzz ● Labs ● Health ● Knol ● Catalog ● Video ● Answers
  • 17. The Pivot
  • 18. ● Started as a way to share images in Game Neverending, a massively multiplayer online game. ● Rewritten to focus on photo sharing ● Acquired by Yahoo for $35m in 2005
  • 19. ● Started out as burbn, an HTML5 mobile app for location-based social networking with photo sharing as one of many features ● Completely rewritten as a photo sharing focused native app ● Sold to facebook for $1bn in 2012
  • 20. Twitter ● Started out as odeo, a site to create and share podcasts ● Struggling to stay alive, they held a hackathon. Jack Dorsey proposed the microblogging concept (originally, text message only). ● 500m users and $10b valuation in 2012
  • 21. "Timing, perseverance, and ten years of trying will eventually make you look like an overnight success." Biz Stone [2]
  • 22. The Failure
  • 23. Richard Branson ● Virgin Clothes failed ● Virgin Cola failed ● Virgin Vision failed ● Virgin Vodka failed ● Virgin Wine failed ● Virgin Jeans failed ● Virgin Cars failed ● ... and many others failed ● ... but several hundred others succeeded
  • 24. "I have not failed. I have just found 10,000 ways that won’t work." Thomas Edison
  • 25. Reid Hoffman ● His first startup was Socialnet.com: a social network for dating. ● Never heard of it? Exactly. ● Went on to become COO of Paypal, co- founder of LinkedIn, and one of the most successful angel investors of the last decade.
  • 26. "If you're not failing every now and again, it's a sign you're not doing anything very innovative." Woody Allen
  • 27. Note: these are not failures, but experiments. The goal of an experiment is learning.
  • 28. Outline 1. Make excellent mistakes 2. Boyd’s law 3. Speed wins 4. If you can't measure it, you can't fix it 5. Distribution 6. Sharing
  • 29. Boyd's Law of Iteration: "Speed of iteration beats quality of iteration." Roger Session [3]
  • 30. Time Maturity Mature, stable Proof of concept Product development (assumption) Idea
  • 31. Time Maturity Mature, stable Proof of concept Product development (reality) Idea
  • 32. Time Maturity Mature, stable Proof of concept Product development (reality) Idea A very large portion of development time is trial and error
  • 33. In a trial and error world, getting to errors faster is the key to success.
  • 34. Time Maturity Mature, stable Proof of concept Product development (technology comparison) Dynamic/interpreted languages Static languages Idea
  • 35. Time Maturity Mature, stable Proof of concept Product development (technology comparison) Idea Dynamic/interpreted languages Static languages Find error Find error
  • 36. Time Maturity Mature, stable Proof of concept Product development (technology comparison) Idea Boyd’s Law
  • 37. Time Maturity Mature, stable Proof of concept Product development (technology comparison) Idea Dynamic/interpreted languages Static languages Innovation Advantage
  • 38. Time Maturity Mature, stable Proof of concept Product development (framework comparison) Idea RoR, Play Spring MVC, Servlets Innovation Advantage
  • 39. Time Maturity Mature, stable Proof of concept Product development (methodology comparison) Idea Agile, Lean Waterfall Innovation Advantage
  • 40. "If you're not embarrassed by your first release, you've launched too late." Reid Hoffman
  • 41. Outline 1. Make excellent mistakes 2. Boyd’s law 3. Speed wins 4. If you can't measure it, you can't fix it 5. Distribution 6. Sharing
  • 42. "Speed wins" Stephen Kaufer
  • 43. Fundamental idea behind Agile and Lean: some of your assumptions wrong.
  • 44. The problem is, you don’t know which ones.
  • 45. Winners recognize their startup “vision” as a series of untested hypotheses in need of “customer proof.” Steve Blank [4]
  • 46. Time Maturity Mature, stable Proof of concept Product development (reality) Idea “customer proof”
  • 47. “The only way to win is to learn faster than anyone else.” Eric Ries [5]
  • 48. Time Maturity Mature, stable Proof of concept Product development (technology comparison) Idea Faster learning
  • 49. Speed wins strategy: design experiments that offer maximal learning at a minimal cost
  • 50. Minimum Viable Product Henrik Kinberg [6]
  • 51. Change the code See the result Should be as close to 0 as possible Rapid Prototyping
  • 52. Demo ● jsfiddle ● Firebug ● Developer tools ● apigee ● JavaScript API Console ● CodeKit
  • 53. "A programming language is for thinking of programs, not for expressing programs you've already thought of." Paul Graham [7]
  • 54. Leverage ● Always, always, always google first ● "There's an open source library for that" ● Many minds are better than one ● Bonus: learn from the code
  • 55. Demo ● Startup Resources ● node.js modules ● ruby toolbox ● github ● google fonts ● lorem ipsum ● placekitten
  • 56. “The world is changing very fast. Big will not beat small anymore. It will be the fast beating the slow.” Rupert Murdoch
  • 57. Outline 1. Make excellent mistakes 2. Boyd’s law 3. Speed wins 4. If you can't measure it, you can't fix it 5. Distribution 6. Sharing
  • 58. "If you can't measure it, you can't fix it." DJ Patil
  • 59. Fundamental idea behind Agile and Lean: some of your assumptions wrong. You need data to separate the right from the wrong.
  • 60. inGraphs Server metrics
  • 61. inGraphs Database metrics
  • 62. inGraphs Client-side metrics
  • 63. Profile metrics
  • 64. Activity metrics
  • 65. Bug metrics
  • 66. Build metrics
  • 67. Test metrics
  • 68. Measure everything.
  • 69. LiX LinkedIn Experimentation Platform
  • 70. LiX ● Group members into buckets ● Control feature visibility by bucket ● A/B testing ● Feature ramps: dark launch, 1%, 10%, 100%
  • 71. Subscriptions Bucket A
  • 72. Subscriptions Bucket B
  • 73. Subscriptions Bucket C
  • 74. Subscriptions Bucket D
  • 75. Picking the right image for a given user significantly increased CTR
  • 76. "Web 3.0 will be about data." Reid Hoffman
  • 77. Outline 1. Make excellent mistakes 2. Boyd’s law 3. Speed wins 4. If you can't measure it, you can't fix it 5. Distribution 6. Sharing
  • 78. Products do NOT sell themselves.
  • 79. "Poor distribution - not product - is the number one cause of failure." Peter Thiel [8]
  • 80. All credit goes to Peter Thiel [8] and Adam Nash [9] Common distribution channels
  • 81. Sales ● Dedicated sales team: LinkedIn ● Employees as sales team: Square ● CEO as sales team: Palantir [8] ● Competitions, grants: SpaceX [8]
  • 82. Email ● No one likes spam, but email can work: personalized, universal, measurable. ● Direct marketing emails: very low CTR ● Product emails: built into to product interactions. Far better CTRs.
  • 83. Year in Review Email CTRs so high, it was "clicks-per-email"!
  • 84. Facebook photo tagging email My personal CTR on these is 100%.
  • 85. SEO ● Free, measurable, effective ● LinkedIn: public profiles, public groups, LinkedIn Today, LinkedIn influencers ● TripAdvisor: the vast majority of TripAdvisor traffic comes from Google
  • 86. TripAdvisor SEO One of the top search results for almost any hotel
  • 87. LinkedIn SEO "Professional profile of record"
  • 88. Social ● Put it in the stream ● Social gestures: comments, likes, votes ● Just like email spam, the feed is becoming flooded
  • 89. Media ● Blogs, news sites: techcrunch, mashable, huffpost, wired, and many others ● Newspapers, magazines, TV ● Huge reach and a great way to bring in many users in a short time
  • 90. Build relationships with the media
  • 91. Marketing ● Traditional ads: TV, print ads, billboards. Expensive, hard to measure, and rarely used by startups. ● Online ads: CTR, CPM, SEM. Measure everything!
  • 92. Viral Marketing ● Your users attract more users ● Game theory, psychology, sociology ● Free, often measurable (tracking codes)
  • 93. Viral loops must be built into the product. All credit goes to Adam Nash [10] and Rahul Vohra [11]
  • 94. Key Viral Marketing Concepts ● Viral loops: in my product, where do users interact with non-users? ● Viral factor: how many non-users do they reach per viral interaction? ● Cycle time: how often do these viral interactions occur?
  • 95. People You May Know (PYMK) Invite notification shows up via email, web UI, and mobile. When the other member accepts the invite, we show them PYMK too!
  • 96. Twitter @mentions Notification shows up via email, web UI, and mobile
  • 97. Google Analytics & Webmaster Tools Essential tools for measuring the performance of your distribution channels (measure everything!)
  • 98. The best product doesn't always win.
  • 99. The best distribution wins ● Betamax vs. VHS [12] ● Apple vs. Microsoft (early 90's) [13] ● TiVo vs. DVR [14] ● Netscape vs. IE [15]
  • 100. Outline 1. Make excellent mistakes 2. Boyd’s law 3. Speed wins 4. If you can't measure it, you can't fix it 5. Distribution 6. Sharing
  • 101. Silicon Valley companies share (almost) everything.
  • 102. Share Everything ● Papers: MapReduce [16], Dynamo [17] ● Open Source: Hadoop [18], Voldemort [19] ● Hardware: OpenCompute [20] ● Companies: Red Hat [21], Mozilla [22]
  • 103. Open Source SpeakingWriting
  • 104. Why?
  • 105. Mastery: the best way to learn, is to teach.
  • 106. Better code & products: the house is cleanest just before guests arrive
  • 107. Free labor: free QA, free documentation, free bug fixes, ...
  • 108. Publicity: recognition for the company and its employees
  • 109. Happier employees: something they keep forever
  • 110. "If I have seen further it is by standing on the shoulders of giants." Isaac Newton
  • 111. This is why I'm here today. Please share your feedback and experiences with me!
  • 112. Recap 1. Make excellent mistakes 2. Boyd’s law 3. Speed wins 4. If you can't measure it, you can't fix it 5. Distribution 6. Sharing
  • 113. For more info, check out my book www.hello-startup.net
  • 114. Questions?
  • 115. References 1. The Adventures of Johnny Bunko 2. http://www.bizstone.com/2010/09/timing-lessons.html 3. https://msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/library/aa479371.aspx 4. The Startup Owner’s Manual 5. The Lean Startup 6. http://blog.crisp.se/wp-content/uploads/2014/03/unproject.pdf 7. http://www.paulgraham.com/hp.html 8. http://blakemasters.com/post/22405055017/peter-thiels-cs183-startup-class-9-notes-essay 9. http://blog.adamnash.com/2012/03/28/user-acquisition-five-sources-of-traffic/ 10. http://blog.adamnash.com/2012/04/04/user-acquisition-viral-factor-basics/ 11. http://www.linkedin.com/today/post/article/20121002124206-18876785-how-to-model-viral-growth-the-hybrid-model 12. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Videotape_format_war 13. http://www.roughlydrafted.com/RD/Q4.06/9FD12E37-8DC7-4AD1-872F-2021BEDE6D96.html 14. http://www.quora.com/TiVo/Why-did-TiVo-fail 15. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Browser_wars 16. http://research.google.com/archive/mapreduce.html 17. http://www.read.seas.harvard.edu/~kohler/class/cs239-w08/decandia07dynamo.pdf 18. http://hadoop.apache.org/ 19. http://www.project-voldemort.com/voldemort/ 20. http://www.opencompute.org/ 21. http://www.redhat.com/ 22. http://www.mozilla.org/en-US/

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