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Showing posts from November, 2015

Fresh Thanksgiving Thanks – Because It’s Cheesy But Fun

Ah, we’re back already for Thanksgiving. Not sure where this year went, and it won’t be too long before I do my end-of-the-year post.
It’s cheesy to write a post giving thanks, but that’s exactly what I’m going to do anyways. Last year‘s post already covers many of the same things I would want to cover now, so I won’t list them again. 
Here are five fresh thankful things: 1.Ever expanding connections from anywhere and everywhere. This year, I’ve picked up projects from meeting people at UK Consulate events, Starbucks, and the like. Doesn’t matter where I am, people have been happy to meet, talk shop, and stay connected. 2.Adding odd experiences to my CV. This year, I’ve been pulled into FOUR different photoshoots ranging from school magazines to company collateral. Never done that before. 3.Keep On Getting Up. Early part of this summer was brutal for me – I'm Tired of Faking It, But I Want This War. But after realizing I was at a soul-crushing place, I put in elements to catch myse…

Starting With Nothing: Solving Early Churn With Empty State Design

I recently stumbled on an article on TechCrunch about empty state designs – “The Most Overlooked Aspect of UX Design Could Be The Most Important”. It’s pretty good, and I won’t rehash the whole thing.
In gist, empty state design refers to the design and experience (UI/ UX) of an application when a new user opens an app or new feature. For example, if you just downloaded a photo sharing app, what would the app say and do to motivate you to use it? Poor empty state designs can lead to confusion, diminished interest, and the like which ultimately yields high churn early on.
Benjamin Brandall, the author, writes empty state designs should tell the user three things: What is this page/ platform for?Why are you, the user, seeing this?How can you fill out this page?Body Boss was built quite feature heavy without clear call-to-actions upon new registration. We noticed this more apparently when we were signing up coaches on the spot at a trade show early on.

When coaches entered, there was an …

Complementing a Visionary Founder with a Scaler CEO

I had lunch with the Founder of one of the startups I’m working with and the company’s CEO. The Founder is the visionary, and ran the business for the last several years. Early this year, the Founder tapped the CEO from the outside to take over the company’s day-to-day.
Normally, the CEO role encompasses strategic and visionary activities; however, in this case, the company Founder continues the strategic duties. The CEO is the “scaler”.
I sat down with the CEO privately to ask him what being a scaler meant to him: Does not need to be the one with the original idea. Instead, he embraces ambiguity in the direction of the company, and is excited for the opportunity to grow (scale)Instills processes to complement startup scrappiness with structure. The startup, in this case, has product-market fit, revenue, and a sense of the future direction – prime opportunity for a scaler. As an early-stage startup, processes are more machine gun spray. With maturity, the scaler focuses the company o…

My Favorite Tips from Sam Altman’s Startup Playbook

Last week, TechCrunch published 62 Tips from Y Combinator’s Startup Instruction Manual. It was written by YC’s President Sam Altman with some good quotes to ponder when doing a startup. I wanted to share my favorite Altmanisms: “Today’s successful companies all started with a product that their early users loved so much they told other people about it. If you fail to do this, you will fail.”“The fast you can develop self-belief and not get dragged down by haters, the better off you’ll be. No matter how successful you are, the haters will never go away.”“The best ideas sound bad but are in fact good. So you don’t need to be too secretive with your idea – if it’s actually a good idea, it likely won’t sound like it’s worth stealing.”“Founder need both rigidity and flexibility. You want to have strong beliefs about the core of the company and its mission, but still be willing to learn new things when it comes to almost everything else.”“If you have a pre-existing relationship with your co…

From Parable to Startup, Sower to Entrepreneur

Jim Rohn, inspirational author and speaker, shared the “Parable of the Sower” from the Bible to illustrate the law of averages – ~7’ video below. He’s famous, too, for the notion you’re the average of the five people closest to you. Turns out the parable has many lessons for entrepreneurs and startups.

Jim shares how despite birds eating many seeds and complexities of shallow, rocky soil, the sower keeps sowing. Never once does the sower mind the birds or the soil knowing that if he were to chase the birds, he’d get off course.
“If you chase the birds, you’ve left the field. You’re not sowing anymore.” The logic is that the sower sows more seeds than the birds can get and more seeds that would survive the hot days.
Some relevant points to this story, and indeed the law of averages, for entrepreneurs:
Not every prospect is a buyer, so sell (engage) with as many of the market and you’ll close many.The birds of a startup can be many including requests for more features, chasing funding, me…

Consider Monetizing Third-Party Beneficiaries Along a User’s Journey

An entrepreneur recently asked me how to monetize her app. She’s made great progress building and marketing her app. In fact, she’s been asked to do several interviews and has been invited to conferences all over. Next, she’s seeking investment to support growth, but has few ideas on monetization. Given specific challenges, she could consider monetizing based on third-parties.
Some background: the entrepreneur’s app empowers users to reach long-term safety and security. Since app launch, she’s ridden an impressive wave of press and publicity. Her app is cause-related, and given the most common user demographic, users are not financially stable. Meanwhile, as a for-profit company, asking for donations to support app development and her cause has been troublesome.
The app helps users navigate the long process getting from “low-point” to “high-point”. Because her target users have little disposable income, charging users will be a major deterrent and possibly dilute the power of her ca…

The 5 Big Take-Aways from Mobility LIVE 2015: Where’s Mobility Heading?

Last week, I attended the 3rd annual Mobility LIVE conference in Atlanta. This year’s event had a distinct Internet of Things (IoT) and Wearables flavor with the intersection of mobility.
I heard from over 15 speakers and panels ranging from CEOs of Fortune 500 companies to early-stage entrepreneurs and to execs at ad agencies and investment firms. Topics spanned location-based marketing technology, wearables, the future of mobility and connectivity, to Atlanta’s budding entrepreneurial ecosystem and investors’ takes on the future.
Poring over my Day 1 and Day 2 notes from the conference, I’ve distilled the conference into 5 take-aways for your enjoyment. Here we go:
Security is the greatest concern. Every panel noted security as a concern as more devices become connected and wireless. However, I’m wondering if there’s a sense that the companies will figure out security. Instead, it’s about overcoming security concerns for the public who are incredibly skeptical of Big Brother, too…