18
Feb 12

Got Non-Technical Founder Blues? Here’s Some Stuff You Need to Know

A road from an idea in your head, to an actual product. Your highest priority is to start walking it

A road from an idea in your head, to an actual product. Your highest priority is to start walking it

You don’t have to be a real tech geek to have an idea for a high tech business. Not anymore. A hypothesis: when it comes to high-tech business ideas, non-technical people  have recently outnumbered the beloved geeks.

However, ideas are still dime a dozen, and the real difference is in the ability to execute. And here, the techies still have the upper hand.  

So, dear non-technical founder, this one is for you. Continue reading →


11
Feb 12

Metrics, schmetrics. What the heck is all that noise about??

Build, measure, learn. Actionable metrics vs. vanity metrics. Cohort analysis. Sorry, I may be simple, but can you speak English please?

I get the principle. We want to build products people love. We want to find a repeatable and scalable way to reach customers and make money. And metrics can help us measure if we are on the right track to achieve that. You can also talk to customers (and you should), but metrics are cool as you measure what customer do, not what they say.

I get that. But how do I get started? Continue reading →


29
Jan 12

3 Things Your Mama Didn’t Teach You about Keeping Things Simple

Simple is Beutiful

Simple is Beautiful

We may seem so advanced. But the well kept secret about human beings is that we are really simple creatures. We like simple stuff we can understand quickly. Life’s already way to complicated. Want to reach to us? Don’t make us think. Keep it simple, please.

This applies everywhere. Marketing. Pitching your business. Writing. Talking. And is especially true for us building product companies. Products thrive on simplicity. Solve one problem, and do it really well. Don’t make users think.

Less really is more. So let’s hear ‘em. Continue reading →


25
Jan 12

The simplest minimum viable product ever! Traction included

Tiny Birds

Tiny Birds

How would your product look like if you could change habits of your users? According to BJ Fogg, now you can. Using #tinyhabits. And it’s not just the approach that’s cool. BJ really blew my mind with his minimum viable product.

BJ Fogg, a professor from Stanford, has been studying human behavior for 18 years. And he has discovered a very simple way to help anyone install a new habit. All it takes is to pick 3 tiny habits and stick to them for a week. And follow these simple rules: Continue reading →


22
Jan 12

How should Innovators Really Talk to their Customers?

Sarah Louis-Jean, an aspiring dancer from Vancouver

Sarah Louis-Jean, an aspiring dancer from Vancouver

It’s an invigorating feeling to be the driving force behind bringing something new to the world.  Alas, innovation happens under conditions of extreme uncertainty.  Especially because your goal goes beyond just creating something new. You are trying to discover, build and tune the fine mechanics of a business model. A machine that will repeatably acquire increasing number of customers, and delight them enough to part with their hard earn money.

At the center of this discovery process is a very human customer. And a very human activity: talking to them. Here’s couple of thoughts on how to do that (and how not to do it). Continue reading →


21
Jan 12

3 Lessons I Learned from the Founder Institute

Vlad Pitching Grant Snap

Vlad Pitching Grant Snap. Thanks Gilbert (@blueclock) for the photos!

55 people applied, 22 were selected, 7 survived and I won the Founder Institute Brussels fall semester with my startup. What a ride!

One of the things that makes life so interesting for me is constant learning. And I don’t think I ever learned so much in four months time, as I did during this program.

I’d like to share my top three lessons with you.

1. Feedback really matters. I got feedback from 26 experienced entrepreneurs, and many, many times from my wonderful peers in the program. Two things really surprised me. Continue reading →


15
Jan 12

Why Bother Talking to Customers? Here’s my top 5

The truth about your business model is outside, which is why we need to get out of our buildings and talk to our customers. Here is a couple of questions I ask myself before I actually step out:

Interview mic

Make this moment count

  • Why am I doing this batch of interviews (the topic of this post)?
  • Who should I talk to?
  • What to talk to them about?
  • Where are my customers (how to reach them, how quickly can I produce a list of concrete names)?
  • How will I contact them (e-mail/phone script), carry out the interview (interview script), and process results?

Watch out: although I am suggesting to take some time to think about these questions, over-thinking is known to happen. The whole point of interviews is to get feedback so you can iterate. Fast. Seriously, go and start scheduling.

Answering the first question – Why? – is really the first step. So, why bother? Continue reading →