Startups

How to Gain Traction Through Partnerships & Avoid Becoming a Commodity

Interview with David Terei, CEO and Co-founder of Memcachier By Poornima Vijayashanker When Amazon launched ElastiCache, an in-memory cache web service, David Terei and a fellow Stanford PhD student named Amit Levy were fascinated with the technology. Rather than being intimidated by the giant, they were inspired to make a better version of the product that would make developers’ lives easier. They talked to potential developer customers, validated the need for the product, and then built MemCachier. Read on to hear how they ... Read more

Bootstrapping a Startup to a Profitable Multi-Million Dollar Business

Interview with Ben Congleton, CEO and Co-founder of Olark By Poornima Vijayashanker A high-school-aged Ben Congleton started an IT consulting company with a couple friends and just $100. The next company he bootstrapped, Olark, is now a multi-million dollar business. In this interview with Ben, we’ll learn why his cofounder team decided to bootstrap instead of raising much capital, and how they got their first customers. Olark is a live chat software service that helps businesses boost sales, resolve issues, and understand their customers.  Poornima: ... Read more

Turn Your Skills into a Startup

Interview with Thomson Nguyen, CEO and Co-Founder of Framed Data By Poornima Vijayashanker I sat down with Thomson Nguyen, CEO and Co-founder of Framed Data, to chat about how he based the company on his existing expertise from his previous job. We also talked about why it’s OK — and smart — to launch an early product even if breaks a little, in order to get validation that customers what it. Framed Data takes data from businesses and turns it into actionable insights and decisions. Poornima: “Let’s start with your background. What ... Read more

How an Early Employee Made Her Mark at a Growing Startup

Interview with Brittany Forsyth, Head of Human Relations at Shopify   I sat down with Brittany Forsyth, the Head of Human Relations at Shopify, to discuss what it’s like to work on someone else’s startup idea as an early employee. Brittany joined the company when it was a 20-person fledgling business and has seen the culture evolve as the service spread worldwide. Shopify is a commerce platform that allows anyone to sell products online, in-store and everywhere in between. It powers over 100,000 retailers in ... Read more

Getting Your Product Hunted Like a Pro

By Poornima Vijayashanker Back in 2007 I was working on my first startup, Mint.com, and in our efforts to be scrappy we explored a variety of marketing platforms to acquire our first set of users. A few of the folks on our marketing team mentioned that they wanted to leverage the content from our blog on Digg. Instead of just putting it out there, they took the time to understand how to use Digg effectively, through a combination of infographics and high-quality ... Read more

Interview with Julia Grace, Head of Engineering at Tindie

Where do NASA, Google, Intel, and the world’s best makers go to create and buy gadgets? They head over to Tindie, the popular hardware marketplace. If anyone knows how to build great products and manage a top-tier engineering team, it’s Julia Grace, Tindie’s Head of Engineering. I sat down with Julia to talk about her approach to building an engineering team and products. In this excerpt from our interview, you’ll learn about her journey from 8-bit video game programmer to Silicon Valley ... Read more

Monetize Before Making Your Product

By Poornima Vijayashanker This post is based on my latest book: How to Transform Your Ideas into Software Products When I was 6 I took my first stab at being an entrepreneur. I recruited my neighbor, another 6-year-old, and convinced her that we could become millionaires before we were 18. I could tell she was one of those sensible girls who thought I was full of hot air. So to bring it down to a level that would appeal to her sensible nature, I ... Read more

Differentiating with Design

By Poornima Vijayashanker We know the impact design has on a user’s experience and a product’s adoption. But many product designers don’t realize that design can also be used as an effective strategy when it comes to positioning a new product. In this excerpt taken from my upcoming book How to Transform Ideas into Software Products, you’ll learn about companies that have effectively positioned based on design, and how to evaluate a competitor’s design to position your own offering. At the end of last ... Read more

Getting Working Capital to Fund Your Product and Your Business

By Poornima Vijayashanker This post is based on Chapter 14 from my latest book: How to Transform Your Ideas into Software Products As the old adage goes, “It takes money to make money.” If your goal is to eventually build a business, then you’ll need to realize that this requires capital, and I want you to have a sense of how you can get this funding. I also think there are a lot of myths about how software products are built, and I want to ... Read more

Building Products Beyond the Launch

By Poornima Vijayashanker I’ve contributed to more than a handful of launches. Probably the most successful and public one to date has been Mint.com’s launch at the original TechCrunch40 competition, where we walked away as winners of a nice $50K check! It was definitely an atypical launch. What I’ve learned from both successful and underwhelming launches is that you get more than one chance. While launch day is important, it is not what is going to make or break your product’s success. A ... Read more
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