What’s something that you want to learn so that my presentation was actually worth while today?
I’m a UW Husky and a graduate from the Foster School of Business!
My past involves being a part of two of the biggest bubbles in the last 15 years. The dot com bubble and
My past includes working for a Paul Allen company called Starwave which launch ESPN, ABC, Disney on the Internet. I’ve run engineering teams and ran the Registration/Billing Systems for Disney and built out their Data Warehousing Systems. I’ve worked in a startup that raised $21M and burned through all of it and it resulted in a super nova. I’ve made every mistake in the book which means I’m qualified to tell you what not to do. In 2011 and 2012 my company was one of the fastest growing companies in Washington State. However, the best accomplishment was being named one of Seattle’s best places to work in 2013. We’re on pace to be listed on the INC 5000 and it’s largely because of my team Katie, Chantel, Grace, and Nikki. Supported over 600 startups and small businesses. For the last couple years I’ve been a judge in the UW Business Plan Competition. I launched the EO Accelerator helping startups go from $250K to reach the $1M mark.
This presentation is not going to be linear nor binary. Building a company and coming up with pricing requires a holistic perspective of what you’re creating and while some people might think of it as a math equation. This isn’t a materials + labor + expenses + profit = cost kind of thing to think about.
Started May 2008 six months later we’re in the worst recession
Those are the only two choices. Win by being more ordinary, more standard, and cheaper. Or win by being faster, more remarkable, and more human.
The social era will reward those organizations that realize they don’t create value all by themselves. Out of this concept birthed a couple things. It was co-creation of an event called New Tech Eastside the sister event to New Tech Seattle. This concept also formed our recruiting services which is something that none of our competition does. Another term to call this is convergence. Where you have two different things that when combined forms a really unique product offering. When doing something like convergence it’s important to do focus on what you’re really good at. Thinkspace is really good at connecting people. A bad example of what convergence is combining bookkeeping with what we do.
Daniel Pink author of Leaders Eat Last.
You are not a leader because you own the company. You are not a leader because everyone reports to you. You are not even a leader because you make tons of money. You are a leader when the people that you serve are your employees. I’m not saying I say yes to everything but when it comes to investing and support them professional and personally I’d pretty much do anything. I have a one sided joke with one of my directors who I introduce as the person that work for and it’s because my leadership philosophy is to serve.
There’s no business model in free. Start with the premium product and move to a free/low cost plan as a marketing campaign to drive paying customers.
This does not apply to a situation where you’re creating a market place and need to generate some critical mass in order to approach advertisers.
Pricing and packaging is part of the product. Perception of quality.
What is my cost + margin = selling price.
You can compete on cost but it’s completely the wrong way to go about it. You might be able to compete on cost for a little while but out in the world there’s someone who’s awake 24 hours a day trying to take you out and they are going to find a way to be more ruthless then you ever could be.
Our old tag line was thinkspace is a community of entrepreneurs with a natural affinity for passion and inspiration.
Don’t lower sign-up friction, raise it.
Pricing impacts the segment - target market that you’re looking to attract.
Let’s face it, there’s a bunch of people out there that only care about price. Let your competition have them, they are the bottom feeders and quite honestly aren’t the people you want as customers.
Race to the bottom.
Passion and inspiration what’s the cost of this?
…and measure what their response is…
Entrepreneurs are a lot like artists and they tend to undervalue their art. They tend to want to give it away, they want people to like it, they want people use it. That leads to focusing on a cost basis is usually the wrong way to look at things. Customers always want a good deal so they are not good to ask.
It’s what drives you. It’s the thing that gets you excited to show up every single day. It requires a higher level of self awareness. When someone asks you what do you for a living, don’t respond back saying what job duties you do, respond back with why you do it. Growth hacking can be done in startups and business but it also can be done to your heart. I lost three friends in three years, one was just 25 years old. Lets just say I’m going to keep expressing how I feel about those close to me. Yes, it takes courage to speak from the heart and it makes you vulnerable but it allows you to feel. Express gratitude and expect nothing in return, ever. Anyone can lead. You can lead through attitude and you can lead through serving. Titles don’t make a leader, influence does. Don’t ever focus on being a manager, focus on being a leader. A leaders does not create followers, they create more leaders. Resilient people understand that failure is not falling down but refusing to get up. I have an incredible amount of respect and admiration for each of my three directors because of their resilience. They have each faced some challenges that are truly inspiring. From what they have gone through, I’d say they each have more strength and resilience than I have. “You must forgive in order to understand. Until you forgive, you defend yourself against the possibility of understanding…If you forgive you may indeed still not understand, but you will be ready to understand, and that is the posture of grace” Home, by Marilynne Robinson.
Pitch Anything by Oren Klaff
How Pricing Impacts Your Brand and Positioning
How Pricing Impacts Your
Branding and Positioning
Founder & CEO
UW Foster School of Business