10 things I’ve done wrong...so you don’t have to. by: tara ‘missrogue’ hunt
who am I and why I’mqualiﬁed to talk about this stuff:• co-founder + CEO Buyosphere.com• been raising $$ for >1yr• raised $200k F&F• believed the hype• lived in SF for 4yrs• made a crapload of mistakes already• serial entrepreneur (but ﬁrst startup)
what we did wrong: kept focusing on (our idea of)the ﬁnal product and building minimum componentsof it rather than thinking about what our customerscould really use.
we were wandering lost in thesea of aimless builds with no data and no reason
unfortunately, it took us a year and $200k to ﬁgure this out. fortunately, we’ve ﬁgured it out.
3 ways to ﬁgure out MVP1. Think about the problem you want to solve and ask yourself: “Could I accomplish this on an email list?” Try it. On an email list. OR think about how people solve it currently. Can you hack that?2. Talk to as many of your intended customers as possible and ask them for little things they really need. Build something that keeps coming up from these conversations in a weekend.3. No audience? No problem to solve? Twitter, for instance, didn’t start out to solve a problem, but they launched a pretty minimal product. It was engaging because it was super simple to use. Think: Instagram.
STOP thinking about the big picture*. START thinking about creating value NOW.*a big picture is very good to have, but note that these things tend to shift, morph and become somethingaltogether new over time.
onramps offrampsthe ways we allow people to post to our the ways we allow people to post to apps from other places other places from our apps Facebook likes, comments, Facebook connect recommends, etc. Twitter connect Posting to Twitter Mobile app SMS/MMS Email forwarding Email sendingBookmarklet/Browser add-ons Browser notiﬁcations Buyo buttons on other sites Site widgets/embeds
you don’t need a crystal ball to tell you what to do next, you need analytics.
Heard Arrived Used Engaged Bought Referred framework courtesy of Alistair Croll + Sean Power in AMAZING book PR, Pricing/ Tell a Landing Sign up Actions/ Search, Payment friend/ pages process interaction WOM options invites Is the How easy How easy is Can the user Is this so “Complete Web Monitoring”Is there a message adding live without it? awesome they’ll clear? Is it is the sign content/ How simple is wanna tell story? friends? Do you compelling? up? interacting? paying? make it easy? measure: measure: measure: invites, measure: measure:unique visitors measure: transactions/ tweets, fb posts, bounce rate on completion/ from various events/tasks shopping cart emails + other sources entry pages abandonment abandonment referrals win: unique win: bounce win: win: growing win: growing win: sign up engagement percentage of visitors rate low + percentage of growth + ﬁlling with actions/ customers growing moving to sign interactions paid sharing + up proﬁle steadily up growing customers inviting others clicktale.com Mixpanel Mixpanel Mixpanel Mixpanelunbounce.com Google Analytics KISS Metrics KISS Metrics KISS Metrics KISS MetricsGoogle Analytics Mixpanel Google Analytics Google Analytics Google Analytics Google Analytics KISS metrics
once you have a good sense of where you arelosing people, ﬁgure out what you are doingwrong and ﬁx the experience.
Heard Arrived Used Engaged Bought Referred you lose you get people people are you get people in lots of sign up,no trafﬁc. lots of the sign- but then sign ups + using + hits, but up. use, but buying, but never do are you nobody nobody is nobody is anything. sharing talking to signs up. is the sign buying. the right up are the is sharingaudience? is it is your process instructions simple solving a something enough? message simple clear? Isreal need? people like, obvious? bad clear? are enough? posting too but isn’t a are they just you talking do you hard? dooptimization? ‘painkiller’ using your you have research to the right have enough to product or performance needed. audience? performance buy? in love? issues? issues?
when you have a clue through analytics, you moveonto talking to your customers individually (andthrough surveys) to get more data.
3. didn’t spend enough time on culture from day one
picking a co-founder is on the same level aspicking a husband or a wife.
Things to look for in a co-founder1. complimentary skills2. ability to ‘pull their own weight’ - these are co-founders, not employees3. good conﬂict resolution skills (ability to kiss and makeup after the biggest ﬁghts you will ever have)4. undying faith in you, the team and what you are doing5. strong personality
if you ARE married or in a relationship, yourhusband/wife needs to understand you justbrought a second (and 3rd) spouse into your life.
Culture is key: our 8 cultural values1. YES!!! 7. BREAKING THE MOLD2. TRUTH & TRANSPARENCY 8. EVERYBODY IS A CONTRIBUTOR3. NOT TAKING OURSELVES TOO SERIOUSLY4. STRIVING TOWARDS WIZARDRY5. FRIENDSHIP & KINSHIP6. WE’RE NOT GOOD ENOUGH
I admit it. I have an ego the size of Germany.
just because you’re on TechCrunch doesn’t meanthat anyone cares...
So many things that were cool, but didn’t matter• chosen as a ASTIA portfolio company• named as one of the 25 Women-Led Startups to Watch by Fast Company Magazine• We raised $200k in F&F convertible debt from really fancy people• chosen as a TechCrunch Disrupt (SF) Finalist• Featured on Mashable, TechCrunch, ReadWriteWeb, SFChronicle, Building43 (Scobleizer), WowElle and more...
what matters? product/market ﬁt. nothing else.(Robert Scoble can offer you his ﬁrst born and unless you ﬁndproduct/market ﬁt, you have a ways to go.)
6. underestimated the time it would take to raise money
How long we thought it will take to raise money How long it actually took 12 12 the amount of time we had 8 to get VERYin months creative = 9 4 months 3 0 Seed money
raise money get to traction if we got to traction, raising money would be simpleif we raised money, we could have more runway to get to traction (or at least hire A level people)
I made hundreds of these... blah a little too close for comfort, but weeeee! not even an we’re obviously look at us issue up and over up here! thereyadda yoda yeah, these looooosers... ones are okay, but are missing the big picture, right? opposite of blah
a quadrant has nothing to do with how you willfare against your competitors. (refer to point #2 onwhat matters)
fact: just because they’ve raised more $$ thanyou, it doesn’t mean they will win. (we’ve watched atleast 10 ‘competitors’ raise oodles of dough and then shutter orpivot)