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Myths & Truths - Building a Product

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Myths & Truths - Building a Product December 10, 2014 PRESENTED BY: PRESENTERS: JESUS RAMIREZ VP, PRODUCT, TALLWAVE DAVE ALBERTSON CEO, CO-FOUNDER, SHELVSPACE


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INTRODUCTION JESUS RAMIREZ Vice President, Product Tallwave LLC Product designer, entrepreneur and problem solver. Helps early stage tech startups design and build products that users love through a human-centered, empathy driven design approach. In a previous life: DrFirst Zazzle Stanford d.school


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INTRODUCTION Dave Albertson CEO, Co-Founder Shelvspace Product executive, entrepreneur, and startup advisor. Build dynamic product teams and companies with focus on culture, design, and demand driven solutions. In a previous life: Intel iCrossing Infusionsoft


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AGENDA Myth 1: You need to have a fully functional product to approach customers Myth 2: You already know which features users will love most Myth 3: You need a technical founder to get your idea off the ground Myth 4: You can appeal to everyone Myth 5: You need a product in market to raise capital Myth 6: You’ll be an overnight success


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THE MYTHS


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MYTH #1: YOU NEED TO HAVE A FULLY FUNCTIONAL PRODUCT TO APPROACH CUSTOMERS


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MISCONCEPTION “Customers will be turned away if the product is not fully ready” Pride, Perfectionism, Worry


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REALITY #1 If you’re not embarrassed by the first version of your product, you shipped it too late” Reid Hoffman, LinkedIn Fail Fast, Learn, Find “Reach”


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REALITY #2 If you wait until product is built to approach your customers, you lose opportunity to: Identify the best problems to solve Get better ideas Be told that your idea stinks Discover how to find more customers Discover how to give customers what they want


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SUPPORTING FACTS: BUILDING PRODUCTS IS EXPENSIVE $$$


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Early goal is to learn It’s easier than ever to build prototype It’s easier than ever to find and test users It’s far riskier NOT to THE TRUTH: A PROTOTYPE IS ALL YOU NEED TO APPROACH CUSTOMERS


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TIPS: Use cheap rapid prototyping tools such as InVision, UXPin, Solidify, proto.io Use cheap rapid prototyping resources such as Elance, fiverr, or oDesk Partner with a UX / prototyping group Be genuine with what you are doing, observe, and listen


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MYTH #2: YOU ALREADY KNOW WHICH FEATURES USERS WILL LOVE MOST


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MISCONCEPTION “I know more than my users” Arrogance, Tunnel Vision, Steve Jobs effect


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REALITY #1: You’ll build a much better product if you involve & collaborate with your users Different Points-of-View, Evangelists, Community


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REALITY #2: Falling in love with your original idea can stunt growth “Startups that pivot once or twice raise 2.5x more money, have 3.6x better user growth, and are 52% less likely to scale prematurely than startups that pivot more than 2 times or not at all” Marmer, Max, Bjoern L. Herrmann, Ertan Dogrultan, and Ron Berman. Startup Genome Report. Rep. Startup Compass, 2011. Web. Oct. 2014.


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THE TRUTH: Count on your product changing; Users will show you if you are watching


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EXAMPLES: The Point > Groupon: wrong audience Burbn > Instagram: wrong functionality (post plans, move location/check-in, post photos)


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TIPS: Observe (don’t ask) your users Build prototypes & test new ideas Study metrics! Be open to pivots, don’t fall in love with a single idea Focus on the GOOD, kill the CLUTTER Be shrewd with your product & user experience


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MYTH #3: YOU NEED A TECHNICAL FOUNDER TO GET YOUR IDEA OFF THE GROUND


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MISCONCEPTION “Without a Chief Technology leader I am dead in the water” Paralysis, Knowledge Gap


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REALITY #1 Best Technical Co-founders are like VC’s -- they need validated NEED & MARKET Fit, Proof, Vision


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REALITY #2 Finding perfect marriage is difficult, but much easier when you know what you are looking for Design, Culture, Platform


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Designers/prototypers can often carry you further than CTOs in the early stages Risk of a wrong fit is costly Getting off ground first will often attract best talent and fit THE TRUTH: SOMETIMES ITS WORTH THE WAIT


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TIPS: Find great design prototyping skillsets Ensure you understand market segment and how they want to experience a solution before finding the right fit (e.g. iPhone, desktop, scaling requirements) Your early tech co-founder may not be your CTO as you scale, ensure you have culture and vision fit


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MYTH #4: YOU CAN APPEAL TO EVERYONE


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MISCONCEPTION: THESE GUYS DID IT!


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BUT THEY DIDN’T START THAT WAY Originally focused on colleges, limited to Harvard and few other Ivy League Schools Originally limited to hosts w/ air mattresses willing to serve breakfast to guests Started with books. Had a list of top 20 products, but chose books because of low cost and universal appeal


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Reality #1 Lack of focus creates scattered efforts


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Reality #2 You have limited capital


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TRUTH: YOU CAN’T AFFORD TO FOCUS ON EVERYONE source: Crunchbase


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TIPS: Target niche, but maintain broad appeal Build a product few LOVE vs. a product many SORTA LIKE Focus on an acute entry point (e.g. deepest customer pain, market white-space, least resistance, inefficiencies)


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MYTH #5: YOU NEED PRODUCT IN MARKET / MM OF USERS / REVENUE TO RAISE CAPITAL


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MISCONCEPTION “Investor will only invest in product that works and growing” Funding Sources, Experience, Knowledge


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REALITY #1 Seed Investors invest in the team and the belief in your go-to-market plan. Proof points, Storytelling , Business Model


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REALITY #2 It may take hundreds of pitches, but the right partners are out there. Background, Desire for Change, Belief


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More investors than entrepreneurs, sometimes not easy to find Most investors will tell you perceived gaps, they are not always right but you will learn from the themes Be sure to share vision, team, and why you will win…….don’t over-focus on product THE TRUTH: THERE ARE INVESTORS OUT THERE FOR ALL STAGES OF BUSINESS


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TIPS: List on angel list and other funding sources, talk to whoever will listen Build target of all investors you can find that match criteria, search for investors with your model or industry background Prepare for full-time funding efforts, don’t give up, keep building and pitching until you get it right


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MYTH #6: YOU’LL BE AN OVERNIGHT SUCCESS


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MISCONCEPTION “Successful startups made it big overnight” “I’ll build a product, users will flock to buy it and in a few years I’ll sell/exit and drink champagne” Wishful thinking, distorted perception


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Reality #1 False expectations can be dangerous and lead to short-sighted decisions Examples: Short-term revenue vs long-term vision New features vs user experience


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Reality #2: Worth spending time early on (while low cash flow) focusing on right users, product offering & go to market “Your startup is a learning machine to validate your business before you run out of money” - Eric Ries


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TRUTH: There is no such thing as an overnight success


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“OVERNIGHT” SUCCESSES Angry Birds The mobile game was a huge success. But Rovio had been through 50 mobile games up to that point and almost went bankrupt before it hit big. Was founded in 2007 and been around for 7 years despite being the poster-child for viral growth. Founded in 2006 (8 years ago) and battled the US record labels for 4 years just to enter the US market. OTHER NOTABLES Evernote: Was founded in 2007 (7 years) despite it’s hardcore and loyal users. Buffer: Was founded 2010 and just raised its first VC round.


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TIPS: Buckle down, strap in Invest in long-term product vision, culture and user growth


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A 2-WEEK BUSINESS VALIDATION + UX PROTOTYPE SPRINT Visualize your product idea Validate your product/market fit assumptions Reduce development costs (code debt) Demonstrate your product to customers and investors TALLWAVE.COM/SANDCASTLE INFO@TALLWAVE.COM


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Questions?


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Myths & Truths - Building a Product December 12, 2014 PRESENTED BY: PRESENTERS: JESUS RAMIREZ VP, PRODUCT, TALLWAVE jesus.ramirez@tallawave.com DAVE ALBERTSON CEO, CO-FOUNDER, SHELVSPACE


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