Monthly Archives: November 2014

How to Run a User Interview

Lecture 16: How to Run a User Interview

Link: How to Start a Startup

(You can find notes to the other lectures here.) 
 

Emmett Shear (@eshear)

How to Start a StartupIf you’re building something that is just for you then you don’t need to talk to anyone else.
Most startups are not just built for the person that is using them.
The first question for any startup is who is my user and where am I going to find them?
You don’t want to talk to just one type of person.
In interviews you want to stay as far away from features as possible.
It is important to talk to many extremes of people.
If you ask a user if a feature is good they will tell you it is great. You cannot ask if a feature is actually good or not.
Get people to give you their credit card and you can guarantee they are interested in the feature.
Data doesn’t tell you where you need to go. It doesn’t tell you what the problems are that you need to address.
When talking to a user you’re going to get negative feedback about your favorite feature a lot of the time.
(When running a user interview) don’t show people your product.
If you just talk to who is easy to talk to you’re not getting the best data.
Record interviews. It stops you taking notes in the middle and you can play them for other people.
You don’t want to do interviews over email if you can avoid it.
The most interesting learnings come from the, “Interesting. Tell me more.”
Ask if you can record it. It is not polite to record people without their consent.
The crucial people to get your project started for the first six months are not who will be using it three years later.

How to Manage

Lecture 15: How to Manage

Link: How to Start a Startup

(You can find notes to the other lectures here.) 

Ben Horowitz (@bhorowitz)

How to Start a StartupWhen you are making a critical decision you have to understand how it will be interpreted from all points of view.
You have to be able to see the decision through the eyes of the company as a whole.
You’ve got to understand what your decision means to everybody not just the person you’re talking to.
When you give out raises when people ask for them you’re going to be giving out a lot of raises.
For raises you have to be formal to save your own culture.
Don’t do (raises) off cycle.
To be an executive you often have to be aggressive in this world.
Your employees know each other more than they know you.
When you hire people you try to hire the very best.
The reason somebody fails on the job is that you didn’t accurately enough match them with the needs of the position.
Sometimes it is necessary to take somebody’s job. It is not necessary to take their dignity.
If you’re married to somebody who is supportive it makes it a thousand times easier.
You’ve got to keep your focus on what you can do and not on what happened to you.

9 Tactics for Aggressive Time Management

Episode 204 | 9 Tactics for Aggressive Time Management
Date: 2014-09-30
Link: Startups for the Rest of Us
 
Have the willpower to prioritize and to move things out of email into your to do list.
Turn off email, Facebook, Twitter, text message, or any other notifications during the day that can interrupt you.
Stop consuming mainstream news.
Put your phone in the other room when you’re with your family.
Don’t say “email me” or “call me” unless you really mean it.
Say no a lot.
Most of the time your default answer should be know unless you have a compelling reason to say yes.
When you say yes to things people will ask for more things.
Early on in your career you should say yes to more.
Most people over commit themselves in general.
Either don’t do Twitter at all or schedule your time to do it.
Use a to do list in the cloud.
Eliminate meetings.
Maker schedule vs. manager schedule.

How to Build A Marketing Calendar

Episode 203 | How to Build A Marketing Calendar
Date: 2014-09-23
Link: Startups for the Rest of Us
 
You don’t want too many emails going out the same week.
A marketing calendar is supposed to help you not shoot from the hip. It lays out what you need to do and you can work towards it.
Use Excel or Google spreadsheets.
Write down all marketing activities you want to engage in or try out in the future.
Your marketing game plan needs to live for several years.
It is a living and breathing document.
Niche down your target audience as much as you can so that you can effectively write to them.
If you’re before product-market fit you only want to plan a month or two out.
If you’re really starting to scale and you know your audience and message then you can plan six months out.
For each marketing strategy break that down into its component tasks.
There is a bit of art in prioritizing marketing activities.
Give yourself enough time for your marketing activities to work.
You can outsource writing articles.
You want to get to the point where somebody who is not a founder can do it well enough.
Don’t push out bad content just because you have a content calendar.

Outbound Sales for Startups with Guest Steli Efti

Episode 202 | Outbound Sales for Startups with Guest Steli Efti
Date: 2014-09-16
Link: Startups for the Rest of Us
 
Book: Ultimate Startup Guide to Outbound Sales
Cold calling and cold emailing has a stigma to it.
Rather than talking sales is a lot more about asking questions and proactively listening.
When listening someone will convince you that your solution is the right one and you need to tell them that.
Sales is more psychologically hard. You don’t have to do anything that is physically hard.
When you do sales you can’t avoid rejection. You have to embrace it.
We all can get good at sales.
Sales is highs and lows.
On every single day you’re not going to have the same outcome.
Make your goal to get rejected every day.
Sales will come as a result of making calls. Don’t tie your goals to sales.
In the early days it is more about learning.
In the early days focus on how I can learn as much as humanely possible about your customer.
Cold email usually works better for large established organization and works to just get in touch with the right person to schedule a demo with.
Cold calling sometimes works better in the SMB market than the enterprise market.
To do cold calling the customer lifetime value should be at least a few thousand dollars.
The reasons people will not buy your product will be about ten to twenty objections that you hear every single day. Write those down. Then write down an answer to each of them. The answer doesn’t need to perfect it just needs to be short. Two to three sentences max.
People like confident people.
A lot of people outsource sales because they think they don’t know how to do it.
steli@close.io

Dealing with Crunch-Time Stress, Balancing Life and Work and More Listener Questions

Episode 201 | Dealing with Crunch-Time Stress, Balancing Life and Work and More Listener Questions
Date: 2014-09-09
Link: Startups for the Rest of Us
 
Test database backups.
Trying to acquire a competitor will give you an idea of market size.
Decreasing caffeine levels is a bad idea when you get close to crunch time.
Advanced preparation is what will help you with a major upgrade or transition.
That last thing you want to do is make major decisions at 3:00 am.
When working really focus on work.
Don’t try to work when with your kids.
Take some time for yourself every day.
We all need some time to ourselves.
When you change your schedule to work more or less it needs to be intentional.

Broke on a Friend’s Couch to Successful Entrepreneur with Dwight Peters of BackersHub

SPI 117 : Broke on a Friend’s Couch to Successful Entrepreneur with Dwight Peters of BackersHub
Date: 2014-07-10
Link: Smart Passive Income
 
Really find your client’s pain point. What is keeping them up at night?
Create a product that is aligned with what your clients want.
60% of Kickstarter revenue comes from repeat backers.
Whatever you’re doing right now do it right now.
Start faster.
Try not to overthink everything.
Create tiers. Give people different options of value.
Start small and move quickly.
Monetize ASAP.
If you have competitors that is okay because that means there is a market for what you are doing.

Copywriting Tips and Formulas with Kevin Rogers

SPI 116 : Copywriting Tips and Formulas with Kevin Rogers
Date: 2014-07-03
Link: Smart Passive Income
 
There is no one size fits all formula for copywriting.
Imagine yourself having a conversation with who you expect to be your most bitter or cynical prospective customer. Write down what you would respond with to their questions and objections.
Bullets are a really essential part of copywriting.
Bullets often become great heads, subheads, or subject lines in emails.
If you just read the subheads in a good sales letter you can pretty much get the gist.
A lot of people come to an offer when they are in pain.
When a lot of teaching is going on is the best kind of copy.
It is all about context and being transparent and honest.
Great bullets often come from what things aren’t.
You need to get attention. Then you need to make a connection. Then you need to inspire them to take action.
The connection is the most difficult part.
Know. Like. Trust.
The human attention span is eight seconds.
Joke Formula: Identity. Struggle. Discovery. Suprise.
Marketing Formula: Identity. Struggle. Discovery. Results. Call to Action.
Misdirection is bad. You’re trying to establish trust.
The way to win over a stranger in any situation is to be honest and vulnerable.
Any time you are drawn into something save it or snap a picture of it with your phone.
Book: Headless Body in Topless Bar
Everybody wants to sit and read a well-written story.
The best way to write a headline is to have a headline to write about.
You have to be testing all of the time.
The only judgement that matters if people are clicking and taking action on it.
The biggest headline mistake by far is trying to close the deal in the headline.
The headlines only job is to get the next line of text read or your video watched.

9000 Unread Emails to Inbox Zero: My Executive Assistant Shares How We Did It (And How You Can Too!)

SPI 115 : 9000 Unread Emails to Inbox Zero: My Executive Assistant Shares How We Did It (And How You Can Too!)
Date: 2014-06-28
Link: Smart Passive Income
 
It is a difficult thing to change your mindset and work habits to come around to inbox zero.
Sometimes you have to declare email bankruptcy.
Have specific folders.
Have high-priority folders.
You have to be able to deal with a lot of different communication styles.
Turn off email notifications on your phone.
Only get email when you want it.
zenhabits.net
Book: Getting Things Done

User Stories and BIG Project Production with My Team!

SPI 114 : User Stories and BIG Project Production with My Team!
Date: 2014-06-19
Link: Smart Passive Income
 
It is important to have the developer in there early on because it gives the developer context on what they are actually building.
You shouldn’t put all of the bells and whistles in the first iteration.
Great ideas don’t turn to vapor and disappear.
Slack is a great tool for team communication.
Email is a black hole for communication. You can’t keep track of a project’s communication through it.
There are always bumps in the road.
agilemanifesto.org
There is never, ever a product that starts and ends the way it was supposed to.
There is always going to be bugs. It is never going to be perfect.
After you create pay attention to what you just did and how it is affecting people.
Make sure the user enjoys the experience. Every detail counts.
Work hard. Finish things.
Make stuff happen.