Startups

The Art vs Science of User Experience Design

By Poornima Vijayashanker You might have used products that just get the job done. (Think Excel.) They compete with similar products on features, cost, and other mechanics. The problem is, these products become commodities and can lose their users to competition in a heartbeat. Meanwhile, there are standout products that are heralded as works of art. They inspire people and change lives, and consumers stick with these brands for a long time thanks to a glue called love. Most of us want to ... Read more

How to Find Your Other Half: Secrets for a Good Co-Founder Partnership

By Poornima Vijayashanker We all have ideas for features, products, and companies. But we cannot bring them to life alone. Partners and teams help us get out of our echo chambers, see possibilities we’ve never imagined, and put one foot in front of the other when the going gets rough. The best teams are composed of individuals with complementary skill sets, and as we learned back in Episode 4, empathy for one another. But you might be wondering: How does a team form over ... Read more

How to Identify Efforts that Make a Big Impact When Building Software Products

By Poornima Vijayashanker If you’re a technical person, such as an engineer or designer, then your todo list is probably filled with product launches, bug fixes, interviewing candidates, attending meetings, answering emails, and fighting fires. The daily grind can leave you wondering if the work that you do is actually worthwhile and makes a big impact. While it’s easy for people to tell us to work smarter, not harder, the bulk of the work still falls on our shoulders, and it often feels like the ... Read more

How to Close Investors: Stop Pitching and Start Growing Revenue

By Tanya Soman and Poornima Vijayashanker In our previous post we talked about the 3 elements every demo day pitch must have, and the biggest takeaway was to show traction: lead with real success indicators like monthly revenue and revenue growth. And this doesn’t just pertain to demo day. Many investors will say they want to see more traction before they’re ready to invest. You might be thinking, “Well, they just aren’t the right investor. They’re too risk averse!” A lot of founders ... Read more

Trust Your Team or Hire People You Do

By Poornima Vijayashanker A couple months ago I sat down with a startup founder who was also the CEO of the company. He said he felt really overwhelmed and had too much on his plate. So I asked him to list out EVERYTHING that was vying for his attention, including personal tasks. Here is the list he came up with: Hiring a new front-end engineer Hiring a new designer Closing 3 enterprise sales customers Creating a new sales deck to pitch the 3 enterprise sales customers Prospecting 100 new ... Read more

How to Close Checks on Stage: The 3 Elements Every Demo Day Pitch Must Have

By Tanya Soman and Poornima Vijayashanker Most startup founders have one thing in common: they want to raise money for their companies. There’s a lot of anxiety about “the pitch”: How can a founder squeeze their current life’s passion into a 3-minute summary? Will it compel an investor to cut a check? There’s also skepticism: it’s hard to believe that an investor would be willing to write a $50K, $100K, or even $500K check after hearing a 3-minute pitch from a founder. But suspend ... Read more

Trying too hard to land a whale?

By Poornima Vijayashanker A little over a month ago I began advising a new startup. The founders told me about a deal they were working on to acquire a pretty big customer. They were trying to “land a whale”. The founders went all in because they were pretty excited about the prospects of the deal. If they closed the customer it would give them the credibility they needed to attract employees and additional customers, and increase their revenue, which would attract investors. If they ... Read more

How to Build a Community of Evangelists for Your Software Product

By Poornima Vijayashanker We all want customers to crave the products we build. Next, we want them to spread the word, because WOM (word-of-mouth) marketing is THE strongest and most authentic for your product. WOM is a testimonial delivered from one customer to another. The customer spreading the word cares about helping the other person out and is willing to vouch for the product based on benefits they’ve personally experienced. These days, most customer-to-customer testimonials live on the internet through social media, forums, forwarded ... Read more

How to Make Smart Tradeoffs When Developing Software Products

By Poornima Vijayashanker As technologists we want to build software that is friendly, fast, beautiful, reliable, secure, and scalable. And we expect ourselves to deliver it on time and under budget, because our ultimate goal is to have lots of happy customers who can do what they want: cue Daft Punk’s Technologic! But time and energy are finite, and we simply cannot deliver it all at once. We need to choose our priorities, and this choice is one we should make consciously. Evaluating our ... Read more

What might hold you back and how do you push forward?

By Poornima Vijayashanker It’s natural as a founder to look at other founders who are ahead of you and wonder, “Yeah they can do it, but can I?!” When we don’t push past this question and believe in ourselves, we begin to hold ourselves back, and stop taking action. The actions that are needed to: test out an idea, transform it into a product, share it with the world, and get feedback. Or even if we start, then it’s very likely that somewhere on ... Read more
Page 1 of 1412345...10...Last »