Y Combinator, Advocate Marketing, Product/Market Fit, Gamification, Customer Retention, Metrics, Boards, SEO, Product Mgt, Roundup#15 Oct 20 2013
This weekend’s Roundup #15 from Startup Management is a manual selection from the hundreds of weekly articles being curated. Previous issues are available here. There are 24 article links in this edition.
Y Combinator Startup School
If you’d like to know what Product/Market Fit [SUM Library link] looks like, here’s an excellent Slideshare from Andrew Chen, Zero to Product/Market Fit. “One balanced approach is: clone 80%, innovate on 20%, and one warning: metaphors often lead to fake markets.” Must read.
Customer Retention and Gamification
Tomasz Tunguz explains Using Gaming Product Hacks to Maximize Freemium SaaS Growth, aided by a HoneyTracks slideshare on Game Analytics. He stresses the primordial importance of Retention. “Growing quickly through viral or paid channels is foolish if the product can’t retain users.” And here’s a simple case study from KISSmetrics, How a Little Nudge Increased Email Subscribership by 500%. That nudge is basically a pop-up asking users to sign-up to the email. And Carlos Eduardo Espinal makes a good case for Why startups need to constantly communicate with their customers. Surprisingly, many of them don’t.
Matt Mickiewicz has a list of 7 common hiring mistakes to avoid, in Why your tech startup can’t hire engineers (and how to fix it). One of them, “seeking someone in your own image who is willing to work 18-hour days.”
Fred Wilson says to use Tech Ops As a Metaphor For Building, Running, and Leading a Company, and lays out 8 points in this 15-min video. I agree, with the addition that managers also need soft skills to manage people, and maybe the analogy is to treat systems with care, like humans. Michael Skok has published a video of his Startup Secrets series, from building a compelling value proposition, to funding strategies. Steve Blank attacks the Demo Days ritual, and explains why accelerators should mimic “Moneyball”. I personally don’t agree that Demo Days are bad, because they do offer the startups a level-playing field of exposure that is open and balanced. And Amir Elaguizy enumerates 58 Things he learned at Y Combinator. It’s a great list.
KISSmetrics has 26 Resources to Help You Master Customer Development Interviews. It’s an exhaustive list. Lisa Regan goes to great lengths at explaining that Lean Startup is applicable for large companies, in Lean Startup at Scale. If you’re a big company, anything that makes you become faster is useful.
A little known secret of advocate marketing is that it’s a full-time job. The Influitive blog has a good post that describes the responsibilities of an Advocate Marketing Manager, in 6 Qualities All Advocate Markets Have in Common. There are two sides: a) program design and management, and b) knowing your customers and how to engage them.
KISSmetrics reminds us that “great PR is more than just a press release”, in Why Your PR Isn’t Working (and How to Fix it).
Reid Hoffman shares a monumental presentation of his Series B pitch deck to Greylock, and dispels 7 myths of pitching, in What I Wish I Knew Before Pitching LinkedIn to VCs. Must Read. Must Keep. And if you’re interested in how US VCs are shaping the Canadian startup landscape, here’s my in-depth analysis, using Mattermark data, 2013 Canadian Startups Analysis: Full of US VCs and Still Low Investments.
Rand Fishkin says Visitor Analytics Aren’t Enough for Modern Marketers. He lists the characteristics of the 3 segments of players: competitive analytics, visitor analytics, and CRM + Business Analytics. Personally, I think the web analytics space is ripe for M&A, because there are too many players, with too many overlapping features, and no clear leader.
Mark Suster reminds us that “the single biggest mistake most product teams make is building technology for what they believe the user would want rather than what the actual end-user needs”, in How to Avoid a Common Product Mistake Many Teams Make. Laura Klein has a similar message, in Stop Making Users Explore, where she says, “users don’t care about exploring your product”, and “what users care about is themselves.” Tom Eisenmann explains the importance of writing Market Requirements Documents (MRD’s) and Product Requirements Documents (PRDs), even for agile implementations, in Critique of PM101 Market Requirement Documents. Key reason? It makes it easier to provide feedback. And Noah Weiss has an amazingly well written and clear rendition of the Twitter growth numbers, in A Product Managers’ reading of Twitter’s S-1, a must read and a great example of how putting numbers in graphs provides excellent clarity.
First Round Capital reveals The Secrets to Making Board Meetings Suck Less, with advice from Jeff Bonforte who just sold his company Xobni to Yahoo. “Every single entrepreneur forgets that the board works for them.”
Rand Fishkin explains How Google is Changing Long-Tail Search with Efforts Like Hummingbird. If you’d like to understand what “lumping” means, read it.
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