Notorious Hustlers's Podcast

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Jas was at Rocket Internet, and set up a few companies. He sold City Deal to Groupon and ran Zolando which was the biggest ecommerce company to come out of Europe. Groupon was focussed on services, so Jas decided to look at high margin products that could be sourced locally and they done a mattress deal on Groupon. From idea to launch, they made a website, went to a few manufacturers. One of the manufacturers said they are biggest and can handle 20,000+ mattresses. They put the deal live and sold 6,000 mattresses on the first day! They then went back to the manufacturers and told them they had secured 6,000 orders that need to be delivered in one month.  They worked with a company in Blackburn who ended up digging tunnels at the back of their office to keep the production going because neighbours had complained and closed down the office.  How did you launch 3 companies while working full time? The companies that Jas launched were actually for Rocket Internet. Their initial idea for Europe was to launch a few companies and eBay seemed the most interesting. They went to eBay and said they want to take it to Europe, eBay didn’t think Europe would be interested in ecommerce, so the Samwer brothers built a mini eBay themselves and 100 days later they sold it for 50 milion. They also sold the company Jamster and City Deal. How did you go from idea to launching on Groupon in a space of just two weeks! Jas was quite lucky to have three people working with him. All three focussed on different areas, Jas focussed on building websites, another person focussed on sourcing the product and the last person focussed on logistics, delivery, customer service, etc.  Broadly speaking, Marketing, Web/Product Management and Fund Raising are the three areas you need to focus on when launching a product on Groupon.  Millions of things get sold on Groupon, how did you know what would work? A guy contacted him from Groupon, that was from a Groupon store on Phoenix and identified that selling mattresses was so popular it crashed it site, so it was luck of the draw, they expected to sell 50–100, but sold 6,000. How did you iterate the product for those 6,000 mattresses?  At the time Jas missed his train and he had 15 minutes to make a decision, so he sat on quite a few mattresses and chose the one which was within his price range and ordered those! Since then, they’ve gone through multiple iterations and when someone called and told us they wanted to return the product they used that research top optimise a mattress that would work well for people. As they expanded, they got product specialists and mattress experts and told them they wanted it to be cooler, and bouncier, they done all this research while selling on Groupon. By this time they had sold over 75,000 mattresses and had a very good idea of what works.  At what point where you ready to leave the corporate world to go off on your own? Jas always wanted to eventually leave, he left the Samwer brothers multiple times and failed every time and they took him back every time. There’s about 40,000 people now but at the time there was only about 30 people, so in the beginning they gave him an equity stake to go out and build a company in Poland. The more Jas did it, the more he realised he wanted to run his own company.  When you failed, what were your lessons from these failures? It’s really important to hire good people. Initially they hired young people because they were confident enough to tell these guys what to do, but eventually you realise all the knowledge is coming from you. At Eve Sleep now, they have people who are incredible and just get on with it from a variety of backgrounds once you explain to them what the strategy is.  Raising a lot of money. They raised very aggressively until they got to 57m, this gives you some buffer and allows you to take some risk because you’ve got room for error.  As someone who’s very experienced in raising money, what did you learn throughout this process and what’s the best way to raise funding? Honestly, you just got to keep on doing it. The more you do it, the better you get. You’ll get a lot of push back so you’ll hear a lot of rejection and so you’ve just got to be very thick skinned.  One of the Samwer brothers, introduced them to most of the VCs in London which really helped. However it’s about building something big, don’t get caught on the small details, focus on what the vision is and where you can take mattresses.  What did you learn from these brothers that were clearly very influential in your life? Jas worked on an internet company and he had no idea where to start. They mentioned to him that he needed to him think big but focus small, what’s the next things you need to do. Think in tiny steps and add up. Work harder than anybody else. Not in terms of sitting in front of a computer, but think from the perspective of never giving up and taking a no for an answer.  On a personal level, where do you get that drive from? Jas really enjoys the process, with a market cap at 150m it’s great but that wasn’t the goal from the outset. He just loves the process, proving people wrong, but doesn’t enjoy things just because they are successful and it’s for these reasons that he enjoyed the ones that failed just as much as he enjoyed the ones that succeeded.  Your focussed changed from Sales to actually doing branding, how did that transition happen? Kuba Wieczore was about to setup a branding agency. They wanted to build something more substantial, so he jumped on board as one of the main co-founders.  How do you keep people interested in just one product? It’s about inspiring customers when they first come across your product because it’s a onetime purchase. They do now have 15 products on the website and they intend to keep adding more as the years go by.  What was your drive to keep your mattress simple as opposed to making iterations and launching pocket sprung, memory foam etc.? When they launched on Groupon they only launched one time of mattress. It was difficult to explain to customers what “soft” or “firm”. As they started talking with customers, they realised that if they offer a 100 day trial customers can decide for themselves if the product if right for them so they made it instrumental to their marketing. It’s like when you go to a hotel room, you don’t ask about the type of bed, you just expect a comfortable bed and that’s what Eve is. What are the key elements of creating a distinctive brand? A point of view. So many mattresses out there, they got stuck on there that’s interesting. Every great day starts the night before. No sleep brand talks about being awake. Simple, catchy message and making something interesting. How do you deal with copycat brands that start cropping up?  Guys in the US done some clever PR things that Eve could do, some of their competitors could go into retail stores and do things in a better way than them, but they been doing so much longer with more markets and products.  Eve Sleep is more of a leader in the market because they’ve been doing it longer than everybody else so they ensure they keep current by being creative.  How do you keep innovating as a company and as a brand to stay at the forefront of the industry? Although they hired people, none of the leadership are from the Mattress Industry. They bring the best from amazing companies from all around the UK and just fuse together the best of what everybody brings.  One day they had an investor who said they’ve never invested in a company without seeing their offices, so they rented an office for one day and got a lot of friends to sit with their laptops on the desks. They then had the investor meeting which was about 10 minutes at which point they tried on the mattress and sat on it — this is a real story about being creative and that’s what the branding and the mattress brings.  How do you do things differently? It’s hard, there’s a few boring things they would have done differently i.e. perhaps not launch in certain markets too fast, didn’t take the restrictions of other markets too seriously etc. However when you look around there’s a lot to be grateful for. You work with your buddies and cousins, and you have an amazing company with people you love and a market cap at £150m, it’s hard to think of the failures. There’s a few boring things like a poor accounting software, but that’s insignificant.  By the time they launched Eve, they knew exactly what to do to make it a success because they had already experienced a lot of the failures prior to launching Eve.  How did you convince investors without having a brand, offices, and email lists etc.? How did you convey to them you’re a serious company?  The whole process from idea to launch took about 5 months and they had an incredible team which made them seem credible because they knew the category really well. Their first round of funding was at £600k, which was pretty small for a VC. They were very lean initially and Jas lived off the money he made from selling mattresses. However, what investors want to see is some traction. A lot of the £600k went into marketing, tech and IT but as they started seeing press and traction, they started investing more money in the later rounds.  They didn’t raise money until they were really confident that it would work? They were a money machine from day one by making £2m so they didn’t feel the need to go to investors. This time he just had an amazing brand and he felt so confident that he knew exactly what he was doing, and so much so that they said well if it doesn’t work we should just give up. Everything was aligned to perfection. When you did the Marketing Strategies initially, how did you promote to market? Was it key words or growth hacking strategies? When they first went to market they got a bit of press because they raised funding. Their product was for the consumer market so it generated more interested. The next 3–4 months they focussed on Google Ads and keyword bidding which Jas had done while at Rocket Internet. As they grew, they focussed on Facebook Ads and had an agency to help with that, and as they grew very big they tried TV and Underground, but it’s very expensive so if you do it, ensure you have a financial buffer to iterate and fail like A/B testing.  Press: funding round, it got a bit of interest, google ads, keyword bidding, 3–4  What‘s our advice for going into business with friends and family? When it’s good, it’s great, but when it’s bad it’s a disaster. Jas and Kuba think very similarly despite coming from different backgrounds. They have completely different skills but think along the same lines. There’s not a right solution for this. Two of Jas’s friends left Eve Sleep, but they still remained good friends. A lot of nasty things were said and done but you need to remember your friends and family above all else.  Did you have any formal process in place to catch up with each other?  Not really, we’re family so there’s no formal process. You’ve got to be thick skinned and comfortable with what people say about you. It requires you to have humility and when you’re wrong the ability to say sorry. It’s okay to disagree with each other but because of how busy they both are there’s no formalities in place because family trumps business.  How did you deal with naysayers and those saying your ideas won’t work? Honestly, it came from years and years being in the game. After a while it doesn’t affect you anymore. If people are wrong then that’s great, and if people are right then that’s fine too. In the beginning you’ll remember all those that said you won’t be successful, but later on you’ll see those exact same people either switch or continue to say those things so you realise it doesn’t really matter what anybody thinks.  With your mattresses you went to market without a product, would you recommend this strategy? It doesn’t matter because with each batch they sent it was iterated from the last. The first was good enough but they made changes as they went along, and now they have some of the best reviews in the country How to manage control and still without overseeing too heavily what people are doing? The 6–7 direct reports have constant communication with Jas and they are discussing things all day. Initially Jas used to micro manage, but now he tried not to interfere. The people he’s working with are some of the best in the industry and they’ve earned the ability to be able to be left with what they need to do because they’ve proven and delivered time and time again. Remember the goal is not to be in control because you don’t need to. Overtime you’ll get the balance right. How did you cope mentally during the difficult time? Even when the business wasn’t doing well, Jas loved every moment of it. As part of his morning routine he’d go for a surf in California at 6am before the kids got up. This was his way of coping, but also that he surrounded himself with friends and family that even in the worst of times things didn’t seem too bad.  How did you embed you vision and culture in people? Jas chose people that were a lot more sociable than him including James and Kuba. These guys were a lot more fun! Jas mentions that he’s approachable but he likes to focus and let people who are more sociable take control in places that are the their strengths. He’s seen companies with good cultures thrive and those that don’t have good cultures tend to fall apart very quickly.  What advice would you have for a company that’s looking to scale as quickly as Eve Sleep? Start funding rounds asap. Once you get the money in, raise even more money even if you don’t need to. Investors have the ability to sense desperation and you always want to be in a position where you don’t need it because this energy comes across.  Hire the best people. 
Who is Nir Eyal? Nir Eyal writes, consults, and teaches about the intersection of psychology, technology, and business. The M.I.T. Technology Review dubbed Nir, “The Prophet of Habit-Forming Technology.” Nir founded two tech companies since 2003 and has taught at the Stanford Graduate School of Business and the Hasso Plattner Institute of Design at Stanford. He is the author of the bestselling book, Hooked: How to Build Habit-Forming Products. In addition to blogging at NirAndFar.com, Nir’s writing has been featured in The Harvard Business Review, TechCrunch, and Psychology Today. Nir is also an active investor in habit-forming technologies. Some of his past investments include: Refresh.io (acquired by LinkedIn), Worklife (acquired by Cisco), Eventbrite, Product Hunt, Marco Polo, Presence Learning, 7 Cups, Pana, Kahoot!, Byte Foods, Anchor.fm, and Symphony Commerce So Nir, how did it begin? Talk us through the journey. Nir started his career is the gaming and advertising industry, and these companies are based on mind control. He progressively became fascinated with how companies always knew what to show you on the screen to keep you playing these games.  Nir saw many companies come and go, based on how well they changed user behaviour. He wanted to learn how this was possible and how any company can affect user behaviour for the purpose of good and improving peoples lives.  He wanted to actually find a book that taught him how to do this, and so he spent many years in the industry speaking with behavioural specialists, design experts, people in the field, and people who’ve created Instagram, Facebook, Whatsapp, etc. As he gained more knowledge, Nir started blogging and very quickly realised it’s not just for him — many other companies are interested in these concepts. This book has now been turned into a course at Stanford University and now Nir spends most of his time doing public speaking, working product teams and only companies that utilise this methodology for good, such as education products.  What are the 4 basic steps of the hooked model? As this loop continues, customer preferences are shaped and habits are formed.  (Credit: Business Insider)  Trigger:  A trigger is the actuator of behavior — the spark plug in the engine. Triggers come in two types: external and internal.viii Habit-forming products start by alerting users with external triggers like an email, a website link, or the app icon on a phone. Action: Following the trigger comes the action: the behavior done in anticipation of a reward. The simple action of clicking on the interesting picture in her newsfeed takes Barbra to a website called Pinterest, a “pinboard-style photo-sharing” site. Variable Reward:  What distinguishes the Hook Model from a plain vanilla feedback loop is the hook’s ability to create a craving. Feedback loops are all around us, but predictable ones don’t create desire. The unsurprising response of your fridge light turning on when you open the door doesn’t drive you to keep opening it again and again. However, add some variability to the mix — say a different treat magically appears in your fridge every time you open it — and voila, intrigue is created. Investment The last phase of the Hook Model is where the user does a bit of work. The investment phase increases the odds that the user will make another pass through the hook cycle in the future. The investment occurs when the user puts something into the product of service such as time, data, effort, social capital, or money. Is there a connection between falling out of habits in our personal lives to technological products? Nir focuses on product design as opposed to habits in real life. Interestingly in the current time, we are co-creating the products in real time. Lots of products offline and online have a hook, but products that are connected with feedback have their products go though the hook much faster.  The fact that you can make a product in real time is very special, so if you think about the history of technological innovation or mass market production, Henry Ford famously said, “you can have any colour of novelty as long as it’s black”. Why? Because it was expensive to have the factory produce cars in different colours.  Through history and innovation, this process has been occurring faster and faster, until today, you are literally co-creating a platform. Let’s take Facebook — every time you like, comment, share, etc you are tailoring the product to your use.  Companies today that are very successful pass people through the four stages of the hook model very quickly.  How do you find the right trigger for your audience and how do you find the correct reward for the audience? There are two types of Triggers, you have the internal trigger and the external trigger.  External Triggers are things in our environment that tell us what to do next. This can be a notification, an ad, an email — anything that tells us what to do next with some kind of information in your environment.  For an association in the long term, it’s essential to have a long term Trigger. These are emotions, and more specifically negative emotions. When you’re feeling lonely you check Facebook or Tinder, if you’re feeling uncertain, you’ll check Google, if you’re feeling bored, you’ll check YouTube or Reddit. It’s all about the “itch” you seek to scratch. Every product (irrespective of what it is) has one fundamental goal and that goal is to modulate a persons mood. Everything makes us feel different. As someone who’s building a product that you want to turn into a habit, you need to understand when your customer is going to feel that “itch” during the day and how do you become that solution of choice.  To find the right reward, it’s about scratching the users itch and scratching in a way that’s better than the alternatives. Their current solution may involve sticky tape and putting things together in a very difficult way and your solution could be a super easy way of doing things that’s better than any of their alternatives.  When you want a user to conduct the initial action, should you offer a fixed or variable reward? For the past 150 years, the way you changed the perception was that you purchased ads. This is caused the mirror exposure effect — the more you see an object, the more impressions are made upon you and the more you like that thing. It’s no coincidence that the two candidates in the elections were household names.  In a country of 300m people, neither candidate was the best, but people had seen these names hundreds of thousands of times so they developed an affinity of these names. This is why we know the brand Coca-Cola — this is how advertisers used to do this, they kept showing you the brand again and again.  Interestingly, Twitter or Instagram don’t advertise as much. Why? It’s not the brand, it’s the product itself, the experience of using the product that changes our habits. With so much noise in the environment, including ads, content etc how do you stand out when time is so limited? Give them a hook! The ultimate form of a habit forming product is to no longer require external triggers. External Triggers is something which is rented from other people. For example, if you buy an advert through Google, you are renting someone’s habit of using the platform.  Eventually, the user learns to associate the use of the product or service with the internal trigger. So now you feel lonely, or bored or frustrated, you turn to a particular product or service.  This is why social media companies don’t post adverts. Their business models rely on you doing it by yourself or those companies go out of business.  How easy is it to transform from the external Trigger to the Internal Trigger? We use the external trigger the first few times to remind the user or when to use the product. The closer you couple the external trigger and internal trigger, the more likely you are to change long term use because users develop a particular association.  At a time when Instagram Influencers are on the rise, could we use this principles to keep users coming back again and again? Many companies have a problem where the product itself is not frequently used. What do you do in these situations? You can bolt on something that can become a habit.  Let’s take the two ‘C’s: Content and Community. If you can create a Content Habit, there’s a company in the US called William Sinoma that does cookware, they realised buying cookware will never become a habit so they created a website called Taste and released interesting content and formed a habit around the consumption of the content so that the result of the engagement will eventually be monetisation.  When it comes to online businesses, most are so fixated on checking out, they neglect the idea of checking in. How do you engage folks enough? Through forming a community around your products.  What is the most common Principle out of the 4 that most businesses are getting wrong? Every business is different, there’s not one that most people get wrong. The two biggest mistake companies make is that they think the people in silicon valley ‘just got lucky’, this just isn’t true. As well as not investing in the hooked model itself, companies just arn’t structured enough to utilise the hooked model because they’re stuck in their old ways of doing things.  Many companies follow a rule which is a huge mistake of simply trying to build the best product. The best product doesn’t always win.  There’s numerous companies that had the best technology that died because they didn’t create a customer habit. When you don’t create these habits, anybody can come in at a cheaper price and swoop your customers away. What do you look for when Investing in companies? Nir uses a framework called the GEM Model. Every company requires the following: G — Growth E — Engagement  M — Monetisation Nir focuses on the ‘E’. However each of these three things are necessary, individually they are not sufficient.  What other things do Entrepreneurs need to do to impress Investors and secure funding? Nir advises that we should back up a little bit and challenge the notion about why a company would need to impress investors at all. Investment isn’t something that’s sold, it’s something that’s bought. If you have to sell an investor, you’ve already lost the game. You should be selling your customer. If you can sell your customer and you’ve got a way to profitably grow that Enterprise, investors will come begging.  How do you know when somebody is hooked? That’s a great question — everybody company is different and this will vary from company to company. As we improve the quality of our product, is the number of hooked users increasing in a particular cohort? You’ll often find that on certain elements of the hooked model, you’ll need some improvement. Once you’ve improved your product you check if there’s a greater frequency of people in a particular cohort who are hooked? Can the Hooked model be used by bootstrapping stage and funded stage? In fact, it’s most useful at the very very early stage. Before you hire anyone, the best place to use the hooked model is to use it at the very beginning. Ask yourself the questions that are in the book and you’ll have the hook really well flushed out.   The other stage when they use this is when something is broken, this is when people aren’t sticking around. A lot of companies and VCs that go to him, they have an amazing growth rate, yet they are a leaky bucket because too many people are coming and going. Engagement is when you block those holes in the bucket and get people to stick around, only then will growth matter. 
Jason Crawford How did the journey begin? Jason worked at Amazon, this is when the seeds for Fieldbook started getting planted. It was surprising to him that companies dedicated so much time developing internal tools. Amazon focussed on building a system that helped track their internal recruiting. Years later, Jason joined a startup where he built internal tools for them too which was a data collection workflow tracking system. The problem with spreadsheets is that very quickly you end up using the system for things like project tracking, inventory and CRM, when in reality Spreadsheets are more specifically for those in finance.  Jason worked at Amazon, this is when the seeds for Fieldbook started getting planted. It was surprising to him that companies dedicated so much time developing internal tools. Amazon focussed on building a system that helped track their internal recruiting. Years later, Jason joined a startup where he built internal tools for them too which was a data collection workflow tracking system. The problem with spreadsheets is that very quickly you end up using the system for things like project tracking, inventory and CRM, when in reality Spreadsheets are more specifically for those in finance.  What did you learn from startups and what was instrumental to your learning when you were first starting out? Jason always wanted to start his own company, but over the years the motivation changed. Initially he didn’t want to work for anybody else, but as he matured he realised there’s a lot of people he could learn from. For Jason, running a company was the ultimate challenge and as he got more experience, he slowly shifted in the direction of running a startup all without a plan. From companies like Amazon, he learnt a lot about processes and vision. After Amazon, the startup in Seattle called: “Pelago” was a location based social network pre-iPhone. While working at the startup, he wrote software for feature phones like the Motorola Raze.  A lot of lessons from this, this was right around the time the lean startup movement was getting off the ground in 2008, Jason realised the value that Eric Ries was bringing and some of the lessons were really working well for Jason including doing monthly iterations of softwares instead of weekly.  Click Here For: Eric Ries Blog What is Fieldbook? Fieldbook is a simple online database that anyone can use as a spreadsheet. Fieldbook is a better solution for those use cases where you may be logging inventory, project management and using spreadsheets as a CRM. How did you validate the business case for Fieldbook? Validation goal is not something that happens once, it’s an ongoing process. It’s constant testing against users in the market. Before they had a demo or prototype, he went around asking people to show him their spreadsheets. Asked a number of questions that identified what people did with it, problems, what they used it for, etc.  After initial conversations, make a quick demo that shows people the concept that gets better feedback. What are the problems that people need to solve. Get people to try it. Start well before you think the product is ready, but start with your closest friends and family. Show it to people who know you the best and will forgive you how bad it is.  There’s a couple of perspectives on this, Reid Hoffman says that if you’re not embarrassed with the first prototype then you left it too late, others say well if why would you ever try and get feedback on a half baked product, but it’s important to remember both of these arguments are based around “launch time”, there’s really not a particular launch time because you’re constantly getting feedback. Your immediate network will give you your first 100 users. Then you go can go to BETA List which a platform specifically for products in BETA phase. When you have something a little more substantial you can launch your product on Product Hunt. There’s all sorts of ways to get people in, keep trying new things out and keep testing it.  At what point do you stop testing and you get ready for that launch? Look at both qualitative and quantitative metrics. Ask smart questions like: are people sticking with your product? Are people paying for your product? etc. The data you look at depends on your platform. For example, a SaaS platform you look at conversions, paying customers etc. For a social network you look at engagement, virality etc.  Andy Jones: Sustainable Growth = Top of Funnel (getting people on the product) + Magic Moment (when people see value in your product) + Core Product Value (on going value you deliver that keeps people retained). You want to start by proving Core Product Value before Top of Funnel and you’re not great at Magic Moment, because this teaches people what you’re doing will be worth it. Initially you’ll have to hand hold people through the process, at this point it doesn’t matter if things scale or not because you’re just proving core product value.  A lot of Entrepreneurs see the big launches that people are doing and go for big fancy launches but this results in premature launches, which means that people go into a leaky bucket.  How did you find investors? Finding investors is a lot like creating a product. Jason has raised a few early stage funding rounds now. It’s about starting with people you know, put together a pitch and show it to your closest friends and family. When you do this you’ll get great feedback on the opportunity, holes, and areas you need to work. Eventually you’ll be in a place where you’ve asked a lot of people and you’ve filled many of the loop holes that are present.  Then reach out to people in your immediate network, this may be angel investors or people that know angel investors. Ask them if they wouldn’t mind spending some time to review your pitch, if they are happy with it, they will pass it to others in their network or better yet, invest themselves.  Remember, if you can convince angel investors, you can convince larger venture capital companies.  What makes a successful pitch? Cover the basics, you need explain what you do clearly, quickly and concisely. Investors need to be able to tell what you’re doing very fast for them to be interested. Other things you want to consider include: explain the opportunity, explain the market, compare yourself and your alternatives and even compare yourself against those that aren’t competition but alternative solutions.  It’s important to know who your target market is and how they are solving the problem today. There’s always going to be different pitches for different businesses so don’t be too formulaic about it.  Resources:  Sequila capital Pitch Deck Template Fred Wilson AVC — Best Seed Pitch Ever Jason Lemkin Pitching Advice How did you get onto the App Sumo Platform? App Sumo actually approached Fieldbook. The deal they offered was very above board, they ensured that they aligned the incentives and it was scheduled months in advance. App Sumo understands what would be a good deal, and they write the copy once you provide them with screenshots, demo videos etc.  What are some of the pitfalls you would avoid if you had to start the process again? At some points they got distracted and lost sight of the original vision, you often do this as a you’re looking for a silver bullet, and then you realise there’s no silver bullet, there’s no a tonne of lead bullets! Success lies in the ability to do day to day execution, and staying true to the vision. As Jeff Besos says: stay stubborn to the vision and flexible on the details. Make progress and incrementally through daily execution.  How do you continue to get feedback now that the product is launched? Fieldbook built a waitlist and then got people off the waitlist if they agreed to do a user test. This worked better than usertesting.com because had an incentive to do the user test which in turn gave them invaluable feedback.  This is a great opportunity to ask a lot of questions. When users are using your product for the first time sign up, be the silent observer don’t help them because then you’ll understand how a user interacts with your product. There’s a catch 22 between Marketing and Building Product. What do you focus on and when? It’s an iterative process, as you iterate you’re going to capture more people who are going to be your user testers. At one point, nobody was even interested in testing the product and that’s when they realised that they are not pitching an interesting concept, so they needed to change the way they market the product. They iterated their way to a demo video to get people excited and then they built a product around what excited people.  Some people create a landing page like a one page site, but you can always use platforms like Product Hunt and a section called upcoming where you can use it to collect user subscriptions. It’s also important to start with a community, this could be a blog or a Facebook Group.  When people weren’t receiving the product well, how did you know it wasn’t the product but it was the marketing instead? Honestly, it’s about your vision. Some products start from a tech trigger. In the success business, you need a market, a technology that enables the product, price point the market is willing to pay and the right channels to reach the correct people.  You don’t need to start in one place you just need to ensure it comes together in the end It’s like seeing a mountain so far in the distance you don’t know how you’re going to get there, but at the same time it’s so huge that you don’t need to worry about the small details on how you’re going to get there Seeing that mountain in the distance and having the drive is what get you there You talk about everything coming together as a symphony, but how do know which area of the symphony isn’t working? There’s no formulaic approach to this. There can be all sorts of problems that could occur and it can be very difficult to find out where the issue is. You need to work on keep going to a deeper level, i.e. if your ad copy is not working, try change this, if there’s no results go to a deeper level and choose a new channel, see how things progress, if there’s no change here then question the market. Whatever you do, just keep going deeper. What have you seen that is best practice when it comes to creating a SAAS product? Your Marketing is your promise to the users and you win if you deliver on that promise. Just ensure you ask people what they are hoping to get out of the product or service. Success is getting people to that magic moment.  An interesting talk is about Josh Elman is that Twitter actually increased the number of steps it takes to complete your profile but it was successful because it was clearer and more intuitive. Twitter found that more steps actually led to higher conversions, so it’s important to be very clear in the steps when creating a SAAS Platform.  To hear a talk by Josh Elman click here.  Everyone needs to learn different lessons, but the top three takeaways are: Have the closest possible connection to the users Be data driven and be qualitative. Ensure there’s weekly iterations to the products.  Keep the momentum going and have a strong vision. 
Who is Jonah Berger? Jonah Berger is a marketing professor at the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania and bestselling author of Contagious: Why Things Catch On and Invisible Influence: The Hidden Forces that Shape Behavior. Dr. Berger has spent over 15 years studying how social influence works and how it drives products and ideas to catch on. He’s taught Wharton’s top ranked online course, published dozens of articles in top-tier academic journals, consulted for a variety of Fortune 500 companies, and popular outlets like the New York Times and Harvard Business Review often cover his work. What is Contagious? Contagious is all about the science of word of mouth, lots of companies from big to small want to see things catch on and we see examples of things that catch on. However, underneath that there is a question — Why? Why do somethings catch on, and other fail? It’s not about high budgets or even having the best product. It’s about Word of mouth and social influence. Advertising and paid media is expensive and not very effective. Dollar spent on word of mouth, goes 10 times as far as a dollar spent on advertising. How do we get people talking about and sharing our stuff? We often think it’s luck, or chance but it’s not, it’s a science behind it. We’ve looked at thousands of online content, tens of thousands of brands, millions of purchases across US and the world. The same 6 ‘STEPPS’, keep coming up again and again. The ‘STEPPS’ Framework (credit: unruly.co): 1. Social Currency People care about how they look to others. They want to seem smart, cool, and in-the-know. So be sure to find the inner-remarkability (e.g. Will it Blend?) and make people feel like insiders. 2.Triggers Top-of-mind means tip-of-tongue. So consider the context and grow your habitat so that people are frequently triggered to think about your product or idea. Rebecca Black’s ‘Friday’ music video is a great example of this. 3.Emotion When we care, we share. Emotional content often goes viral, so focus on feelings rather than function. And kindle the fire using high arousal emotions. 4.Public Built to show, built to grow. The more public something is, the more likely people will imitate it. Design products and initiatives that advertise themselves (e.g. red bottom shoes) and create some visible behavioural residue. 5.Practical Value News you can use. Useful things get shared. So highlight incredible value and expertise so that people can easily pass it on. 6.Stories Information travels under what seems like idle chatter. Stories are vessels — so build a Trojan Horse. Create a narrative or story that people want to tell which carries your idea along for the ride. Each of these explains why people talk and share and why all sorts of products and services catch on.  What is the best way to gain social currency at a time when people like Instagram Influencers are on the rise? Much more important than the technology, it’s the psychology. One platform is not more important than the other, it’s about understanding why people are sharing on platforms. Companies change platforms because they hear that’s where their users are. Foursquare was big, then it wasn’t. Vine was a big thing, then it wasn’t. It’s really easy to focus on the technology, but to be successful, you need to focus on the psychology.  Why do some accounts do better than others? It’s not about having social connections, it’s about getting those connections to share and engage with your content. To get social currency: the better you make someone look, the more likely they are to talk about it and share it.  Example: Please don’t tell — a hidden bar in NYC. ‘Please don’t tell’ is a NYC bar hidden inside of a hotdog restaurant. You can have whatever hotdog you want, but at the back of the restaurant, there’s a rotary dial phone, when you pick up the phone you dial the number and if you’re lucky and they have space the back door of the phone booth will open and you’ll be led into a secret bar.  What’s interesting about ‘Please don’t tell’ is that when we think about Marketing and communications, we think it’s about telling people how great we are, we think it’s really important to be really out there. In some cases however, secrets are interesting — think about the last time someone told you a secret and told you not to tell anyone else. What’s the first thing you do with that information, you tell someone! Having access to information that not everyone has, makes you look smart. You look in the know. Social Media and Instagram Influencers focus heavily on their lifestyle of flying first class, taking pics with celebs, on vacation. Nobody posts about being in the office working on Excel spreadsheets! Why? Because it doesn’t make them look good.  Two things are important: People like sharing things that make them look good. To get people to share our stuff, we need to make them look good. Accounts too often focus on the user having a good time, but there’s no incentive for a viewer to share that information. Nobody cares about you, they care about how it makes them look.  Interesting Example: Beyonce released an album a couple of years ago. No advertising, all she did was put a picture up of it on Instagram. Why? She knew how her followers would be the first people to tell everyone else about it. Being ahead of the curve, makes you look smart.  If you go to YouTube and look at the first comment, it literally says: “First” (I was there before everyone). It’s not about us, it’s about our audience, how can we make them look smart? When we give people social currency, they talk about us, but we get to come along for the ride.  The importance of Triggers: All of the above is about talking about things we like. However, there are many things we like, that we don’t talk about. It’s like having restaurant in the are you love in your town or city where you love the food, and it’s great, you really like it, but you don’t go because you forget about it. However, if someone says: “Hey! Let’s go to that Restaurant” you often don’t hesitate. The challenge is that you don’t think about that particular restaurant.  70% of purchase is consideration. Most people only say what’s at the top of their mind they are filling voids in conversation, so they talk about all sorts of things such as the weather, what they’re doing on the weekend, their kids, etc. Why? Because this is at the top of their mind. However, what we need to trigger is what’s going to get people to talk about us. Therefore, Triggers are little environmental reminders that remind users of a product or service that isn’t there.  For example, when we say: “PB and”… you think “J” as in Jelly. When I say “Rum and…”, you think “coke”. When you watch a movie, you often eat popcorn. These two things have no correlation other than a complimentary association. The question we need to ask ourselves is, what are our triggers? What’s reminds people of our product or service.  All companies have a great message, but will the message get people to think about the company? If people like you, but they don’t think about you, it’s going going to matter very much.  There’s “Kit Kat and Coffee”, there’s “Popcorn and Movies”, there’s “PB & J”. However, what about a SaaS Platform that’s not tangible — how do you create Triggers for these? The principles are exactly the same. When thinking about Triggers, there’s 4 main questions that need answering: Who? — Who’s the audience? Who should think about our product or service? This is target demographics. When? When do we want people to think about us? It’s unlikely that people will think about us all the time, so if you’re a service for example, you need to ask yourself: “When do I want people to think about me?” or better yet, “What problem are they having where my product can be the peanut butter service”.  What’s around at that time? How can we create that link? A study was done at Stanford where we wanted to get under graduates to eat more fruits. Undergrads say they want to eat more fruits and vegetables, but they just don’t do it.  So they tried two slogans: Live the healthy way, eat 5 fruits and veggies a day: traditional nice sounding slogan that many companies would use.  Each and every dining hall tray needs 5 fruits and veggies a day.  Interestingly, people liked the first slogan, but didn’t really like the second slogan. We showed them the font and slogan a few times and over a two week study, we looked at the fruit and veggie consumption and found something interesting. The first slogan (they liked), sounded very good, but didn’t change behaviour. The second slogan (which they related a 1/10) and didn’t like actually made them eat 25% more fruits and veg a day.  Why? We followed the 4 questions: Who? Students at Stanford University.  What’s the when? We don’t want them to think about fruits and veggies all the time, just when the behaviour is taking place.  What’s in the environment at these times? A dining tray. How did we create a link to it? That silly slogan. So when we think of a SaaS slogan, or if you’re an influencer looking to increase your following, then think about the “when” — i.e when you want people to think about you, and think about what will be around at that time. What’s the sense? What’s that tray? What’s missing? This will help identify our triggers for us to come to mind at the right time.  What’s the secret to making virality a regular occurrence? The reason why this question was asked is because after the ALS Ice Bucket challenge, many people tried to “copycat” actions that were all for a good cause, however this was to no avail, even though it followed the exact same model as the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge — so why did the Ice Bucket Challege work and why didn’t the copycat versions work? Jonah mentioned that we think things are the same, however, we don’t actually understand why they’re working. Two things may look very similar, however actually may be quite different on the inside. What’s important is the Inside (what’s driving the behaviour, but not how it looks). After the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge, Jonah received a flood of emails with ideas from organisations on ideas to go viral like spraying ketchup and mustard on each other (not the worst idea he’s heard), for a good cause! Too often companies think that if they just copy what people did to be successful then it will also be successful. Doing the same thing as someone done before isn’t going to be enough. Think about if someone jumped from behind the wall and spooked you, yeah it may work well the first time, but if you do it again and again, it’s not going to be scary, because it’s not surprising, novel or different and therefore it’s not going to work in the same way.  The key thing is why. Figure out why something is successful and how you can make something new, interesting or novel. People often talk about having 1000 true fans, but how many people do you need to start a trend like Movember? Is there a minimum amount of people required to make something catch on?   It’s not about the number, no matter wether this is 1,000 or 2,000. Going viral, isn’t even the goal. When you want to create a “viral video” you work with an ad agency, often at times they go out and pay a bunch of people to watch your content so that they can say it went viral.  However, the goal isn’t to get 1000 people to watch your stuff, it’s to get 1000 people to share and engage with your stuff.  Example: Warby Parker Warby Parker often got questions about various topics and they realised they didn’t have the space on Twitter to answer the questions properly. So they started creating videos. The videos were getting between 100–150 views, and this doesn’t seem much. It’s definitely a far figure from the 10 million views a viral video would get, however, each person sharing it and getting 150 views is much more powerful than the piece of content shared 1m times.  The goals not to be a flash in the pan, the goal is each one for each one. The goal is get each person to share our content. Anything your customer does on your platform is an opportunity to bake word of mouth into the service.  At a time on society where attention is so limited, how do we increase sharing and engagement as we go into 2018? It’s important to understand that the principles of Contagious were around way before the times of Social Media. Often at times users think that 80–95% of word of mouth is done online, when in fact only 7% of the world of mouth actually is. People will always share what will make them look good. Any opportunity when a user is on your platform is your opportunity (irrespective of time) is your opportunity to give them a reason to tell others about your product or service. What would you say are the top 3 latest hacks that companies need to implement going into 2018? The science is the same. Start with understanding your customers. What do they need? Why are they doing what they’re doing and use that to build word of mouth. The second part is actually understand the “STEPPS”. What’s the social currency that will bring your brand for the ride, how can you put a trigger in the environment that reminds people about your product/service.  How can you make your product more observable? What’s an emotional story that users can carry along for the ride? Following the 6 STEPPS in Contagious will really help with word of mouth. Last but not least, be authentic. It’s really easy to talk about us, but it’s much more harder to talk to our customers in a way they’ll understand. Brands that do this very well are very successful. 
Jas was at Rocket Internet, and set up a few companies. He sold City Deal to Groupon and ran Zolando which was the biggest ecommerce company to come out of Europe. Groupon was focussed on services, so Jas decided to look at high margin products that could be sourced locally and they done a mattress deal on Groupon. From idea to launch, they made a website, went to a few manufacturers. One of the manufacturers said they are biggest and can handle 20,000+ mattresses. They put the deal live and sold 6,000 mattresses on the first day! They then went back to the manufacturers and told them they had secured 6,000 orders that need to be delivered in one month.  They worked with a company in Blackburn who ended up digging tunnels at the back of their office to keep the production going because neighbours had complained and closed down the office.  How did you launch 3 companies while working full time? The companies that Jas launched were actually for Rocket Internet. Their initial idea for Europe was to launch a few companies and eBay seemed the most interesting. They went to eBay and said they want to take it to Europe, eBay didn’t think Europe would be interested in ecommerce, so the Samwer brothers built a mini eBay themselves and 100 days later they sold it for 50 milion. They also sold the company Jamster and City Deal. How did you go from idea to launching on Groupon in a space of just two weeks! Jas was quite lucky to have three people working with him. All three focussed on different areas, Jas focussed on building websites, another person focussed on sourcing the product and the last person focussed on logistics, delivery, customer service, etc.  Broadly speaking, Marketing, Web/Product Management and Fund Raising are the three areas you need to focus on when launching a product on Groupon.  Millions of things get sold on Groupon, how did you know what would work? A guy contacted him from Groupon, that was from a Groupon store on Phoenix and identified that selling mattresses was so popular it crashed it site, so it was luck of the draw, they expected to sell 50–100, but sold 6,000. How did you iterate the product for those 6,000 mattresses?  At the time Jas missed his train and he had 15 minutes to make a decision, so he sat on quite a few mattresses and chose the one which was within his price range and ordered those! Since then, they’ve gone through multiple iterations and when someone called and told us they wanted to return the product they used that research top optimise a mattress that would work well for people. As they expanded, they got product specialists and mattress experts and told them they wanted it to be cooler, and bouncier, they done all this research while selling on Groupon. By this time they had sold over 75,000 mattresses and had a very good idea of what works.  At what point where you ready to leave the corporate world to go off on your own? Jas always wanted to eventually leave, he left the Samwer brothers multiple times and failed every time and they took him back every time. There’s about 40,000 people now but at the time there was only about 30 people, so in the beginning they gave him an equity stake to go out and build a company in Poland. The more Jas did it, the more he realised he wanted to run his own company.  When you failed, what were your lessons from these failures? It’s really important to hire good people. Initially they hired young people because they were confident enough to tell these guys what to do, but eventually you realise all the knowledge is coming from you. At Eve Sleep now, they have people who are incredible and just get on with it from a variety of backgrounds once you explain to them what the strategy is.  Raising a lot of money. They raised very aggressively until they got to 57m, this gives you some buffer and allows you to take some risk because you’ve got room for error.  As someone who’s very experienced in raising money, what did you learn throughout this process and what’s the best way to raise funding? Honestly, you just got to keep on doing it. The more you do it, the better you get. You’ll get a lot of push back so you’ll hear a lot of rejection and so you’ve just got to be very thick skinned.  One of the Samwer brothers, introduced them to most of the VCs in London which really helped. However it’s about building something big, don’t get caught on the small details, focus on what the vision is and where you can take mattresses.  What did you learn from these brothers that were clearly very influential in your life? Jas worked on an internet company and he had no idea where to start. They mentioned to him that he needed to him think big but focus small, what’s the next things you need to do. Think in tiny steps and add up. Work harder than anybody else. Not in terms of sitting in front of a computer, but think from the perspective of never giving up and taking a no for an answer.  On a personal level, where do you get that drive from? Jas really enjoys the process, with a market cap at 150m it’s great but that wasn’t the goal from the outset. He just loves the process, proving people wrong, but doesn’t enjoy things just because they are successful and it’s for these reasons that he enjoyed the ones that failed just as much as he enjoyed the ones that succeeded.  Your focussed changed from Sales to actually doing branding, how did that transition happen? Kuba Wieczore was about to setup a branding agency. They wanted to build something more substantial, so he jumped on board as one of the main co-founders.  How do you keep people interested in just one product? It’s about inspiring customers when they first come across your product because it’s a onetime purchase. They do now have 15 products on the website and they intend to keep adding more as the years go by.  What was your drive to keep your mattress simple as opposed to making iterations and launching pocket sprung, memory foam etc.? When they launched on Groupon they only launched one time of mattress. It was difficult to explain to customers what “soft” or “firm”. As they started talking with customers, they realised that if they offer a 100 day trial customers can decide for themselves if the product if right for them so they made it instrumental to their marketing. It’s like when you go to a hotel room, you don’t ask about the type of bed, you just expect a comfortable bed and that’s what Eve is. What are the key elements of creating a distinctive brand? A point of view. So many mattresses out there, they got stuck on there that’s interesting. Every great day starts the night before. No sleep brand talks about being awake. Simple, catchy message and making something interesting. How do you deal with copycat brands that start cropping up?  Guys in the US done some clever PR things that Eve could do, some of their competitors could go into retail stores and do things in a better way than them, but they been doing so much longer with more markets and products.  Eve Sleep is more of a leader in the market because they’ve been doing it longer than everybody else so they ensure they keep current by being creative.  How do you keep innovating as a company and as a brand to stay at the forefront of the industry? Although they hired people, none of the leadership are from the Mattress Industry. They bring the best from amazing companies from all around the UK and just fuse together the best of what everybody brings.  One day they had an investor who said they’ve never invested in a company without seeing their offices, so they rented an office for one day and got a lot of friends to sit with their laptops on the desks. They then had the investor meeting which was about 10 minutes at which point they tried on the mattress and sat on it — this is a real story about being creative and that’s what the branding and the mattress brings.  How do you do things differently? It’s hard, there’s a few boring things they would have done differently i.e. perhaps not launch in certain markets too fast, didn’t take the restrictions of other markets too seriously etc. However when you look around there’s a lot to be grateful for. You work with your buddies and cousins, and you have an amazing company with people you love and a market cap at £150m, it’s hard to think of the failures. There’s a few boring things like a poor accounting software, but that’s insignificant.  By the time they launched Eve, they knew exactly what to do to make it a success because they had already experienced a lot of the failures prior to launching Eve.  How did you convince investors without having a brand, offices, and email lists etc.? How did you convey to them you’re a serious company?  The whole process from idea to launch took about 5 months and they had an incredible team which made them seem credible because they knew the category really well. Their first round of funding was at £600k, which was pretty small for a VC. They were very lean initially and Jas lived off the money he made from selling mattresses. However, what investors want to see is some traction. A lot of the £600k went into marketing, tech and IT but as they started seeing press and traction, they started investing more money in the later rounds.  They didn’t raise money until they were really confident that it would work? They were a money machine from day one by making £2m so they didn’t feel the need to go to investors. This time he just had an amazing brand and he felt so confident that he knew exactly what he was doing, and so much so that they said well if it doesn’t work we should just give up. Everything was aligned to perfection. When you did the Marketing Strategies initially, how did you promote to market? Was it key words or growth hacking strategies? When they first went to market they got a bit of press because they raised funding. Their product was for the consumer market so it generated more interested. The next 3–4 months they focussed on Google Ads and keyword bidding which Jas had done while at Rocket Internet. As they grew, they focussed on Facebook Ads and had an agency to help with that, and as they grew very big they tried TV and Underground, but it’s very expensive so if you do it, ensure you have a financial buffer to iterate and fail like A/B testing.  Press: funding round, it got a bit of interest, google ads, keyword bidding, 3–4  What‘s our advice for going into business with friends and family? When it’s good, it’s great, but when it’s bad it’s a disaster. Jas and Kuba think very similarly despite coming from different backgrounds. They have completely different skills but think along the same lines. There’s not a right solution for this. Two of Jas’s friends left Eve Sleep, but they still remained good friends. A lot of nasty things were said and done but you need to remember your friends and family above all else.  Did you have any formal process in place to catch up with each other?  Not really, we’re family so there’s no formal process. You’ve got to be thick skinned and comfortable with what people say about you. It requires you to have humility and when you’re wrong the ability to say sorry. It’s okay to disagree with each other but because of how busy they both are there’s no formalities in place because family trumps business.  How did you deal with naysayers and those saying your ideas won’t work? Honestly, it came from years and years being in the game. After a while it doesn’t affect you anymore. If people are wrong then that’s great, and if people are right then that’s fine too. In the beginning you’ll remember all those that said you won’t be successful, but later on you’ll see those exact same people either switch or continue to say those things so you realise it doesn’t really matter what anybody thinks.  With your mattresses you went to market without a product, would you recommend this strategy? It doesn’t matter because with each batch they sent it was iterated from the last. The first was good enough but they made changes as they went along, and now they have some of the best reviews in the country How to manage control and still without overseeing too heavily what people are doing? The 6–7 direct reports have constant communication with Jas and they are discussing things all day. Initially Jas used to micro manage, but now he tried not to interfere. The people he’s working with are some of the best in the industry and they’ve earned the ability to be able to be left with what they need to do because they’ve proven and delivered time and time again. Remember the goal is not to be in control because you don’t need to. Overtime you’ll get the balance right. How did you cope mentally during the difficult time? Even when the business wasn’t doing well, Jas loved every moment of it. As part of his morning routine he’d go for a surf in California at 6am before the kids got up. This was his way of coping, but also that he surrounded himself with friends and family that even in the worst of times things didn’t seem too bad.  How did you embed you vision and culture in people? Jas chose people that were a lot more sociable than him including James and Kuba. These guys were a lot more fun! Jas mentions that he’s approachable but he likes to focus and let people who are more sociable take control in places that are the their strengths. He’s seen companies with good cultures thrive and those that don’t have good cultures tend to fall apart very quickly.  What advice would you have for a company that’s looking to scale as quickly as Eve Sleep? Start funding rounds asap. Once you get the money in, raise even more money even if you don’t need to. Investors have the ability to sense desperation and you always want to be in a position where you don’t need it because this energy comes across.  Hire the best people. 
Damian Kimmelman Due Dil stands for Due Diligence. They aggregate data on private companies and have data on 100 million companies. The data they have is used within sales, marketing, credit, and compliance for the purposes of automating tasks and creating efficiency.  How did you find the gap in the market to come up with the idea? Damian had a rather unsavoury experience with his ex-business partner who falsified his accounts to get a loan from the bank. Damian hadn’t done his due diligence and nor did the bank. The banks had a lot of information but it was very fragmented, this meant that nobody understood who their counter party was, thus Due Dil was born to provide due diligence.  If someone is looking for a business partner, what sort of due diligence should someone do and what would you recommend? There’s nothing better than history, having worked a long time with someone. There’s tonnes of resources to really understand what a person has done in their past. It’s important to remember that the past does not equal the future, but you should always enabled with as much information on the counter parties as possible. What qualities do you actually look for form a Co-Founder? It’s important to remember that having a business partner is about synergy. The question you need to ask yourself is, do you better each other? Do you improve the work of one and another and do not resent each other for improving the work. Some people like to do better than others and take all the credit.  How was going about the journey getting funding? Damian had never gone out to get funding before. Right now the tech scene in London is pretty well developed, many businesses came before and are much bigger. Getting funding was about how different and how transformative you are as a company.  When Due Dil first went to market, a lot of people thought what they were doing was actually illegal and this actually worked in their favour because it got people talking about them.  Going to investors is about creating a strong value proposition and then how you plan on transforming the industry. How do you keep going despite people thinking what you’re doing is illegal? How did you put the naysayers to one side and focus on what you wanted to do? One of things he looks for is grit and perseverance. Perseverance trumps any other characteristics, this is an exceptional quality. It’s important to remember that at every single stage of your business you’re going to get naysayers.  You need to be mindful of the naysayers, but confident enough in the path you’re choosing. He wishes that he could have the confidence that he does not when he started in business because he would have avoided a lot of second guessing and making mistakes.  How much importance do you place on humility, and what are your triggers to step outside comfortable zone? The first pitch that Damian ever done, Mike Butcher from Tech Crunch told him that he needed to find someone else to do his pitching. Damian always suffered from confidence issues and used to second guess things. Part of having grit involves having humility. You’ve got to have an approach where short term your pessimistic and long term optimistic, but it’s also about having the drive and resourcefulness. You’ve got to look at obstacles as opportunities.  A study was done on perseverance by Harvard Business Review where they found people who had the greatest perseverance. They looked at survivors of the holocaust. The people who survived, had realism, humility, they were resourceful, had drive and a purpose.  One of the survivors who wanted to write a book on the psychology of being in prison camps actually turned his experience there into a game. What is your trigger to do something that is outside of your comfort zone? They are probably going to forget about it after a while and talk s*** about Apple. It really doesn’t matter. It’s a long road ahead and you’ve got many years to improve yourself. What were your biggest influencers to develop grit?  Everyone quantifies grit in a different way, it’s not natural to anyone, and it’s conditioned. It’s a product of failure and picking yourself back up again and dusting your shoulders to pursue a objective. If you constantly apply yourself to get there. At what point at time do you decide to quit, where’s the balance between grit and quitting? In order to do this correctly, you need to define what failure and success look line from the onset. This is important so you don’t lie to yourself when something is a success and failure. It’s about having a clear and thoughtful way to describe what success and failure looks like because for each person is going to be different. It’s not a fixed answer. A lot of people say success was just around the corner for a number of people and then they decided to quit. When you’re confident in your own perseverance it’s important to hit those goals, and then you can be quite objective about failure.  Failure is too often an emotional experience rather than part of the journey. Failure and success are not what you should be focused on. You should focus on constantly learning. The most successful companies don’t focus on failure and success because you’ll ultimately anti-fragile and you’ll break. If you’re constantly improving and learning, those are the most impressive businesses. When you look at businesses, how do you evaluate and define what a successful business is? There’s a number of ways of look at what makes a business successful. There’s the classical way, where you can look at their cogs and their top line figures.  Alternatively, you can look at companies like amazon where they’ve not turned a profit year on year and you start to think is that the only way to proceed. It really depends on what business you’re talking about and what their goals are.  Damian’s personal definition of a successful business is long term value creation for the stake holders.  What have you learnt throughout the journey that you would have done different to avoid some of the pitfalls you’ve come across? Define Success and Failure. If you don’t make failure part of the learning experience, you’ll create a lot of conflict and complexity which slows the business down.  Should you market an idea first and get market validation with thousands of subscribers or should you get an idea and pursue down the path of pitching to investors? Successful businesses have been created in either way. Bear in mind, can you deliver immediate value? Online there’s been 20 years of businesses and the business models are pretty known it would be foolish to not have an understanding of how you’re going to make money from the onset.  There’s plenty of books out there that can help. You can plan on acquiring new users, and turning them into customers through fremium models, that’s one method. You can also withhold charging for a while, but not having an understanding on how you’re going to make money is rather foolish. Even space X know how they’re going to make money one day and they are incredibly complex. Understand what value and to who the value would be the greatest?  That definition of success of failure and ideas change DueDil have pivoted and iterated, but Damian argues it would be a lot easier when you’re trying to test and issue before hand because it’s slightly different from a product market fit. Identify where you’re driving the most value, that’s where you should focus on. How do you find what’s of most value? It’s really based on qualitative data and talking to end users as well as understanding pain pints and making you’re extracting the right feedback.  End-users get pitched to all the time, how do you actually get them to speak to you so that they know you’re serious about adding value? There’s a few clever techniques, this one works really well. Damian’s trick is to go to linked in, go to past employees and ask them if they do paid consultancy and if you can have a 15 minute chat. It’s not a bait and switch because if they’re good you make you pay them. You can extract so much value from people just by asking the right questions and they have so much understanding because they’ve left the company. What about medium sized companies? At every size, there’s different techniques. The worry is using the wrong technique and assume you’re getting the right answers. Identify what the objective is and figure out how you’re going to get the answers. If you’re trying to do user research call up and email people. Why? Everybody loves being an expert. When you interview someone, they often thank you for interviewing them so be sure to ask as many questions as possible. Also, don’t worry about looking like an idiot. Give people a caveat that so many questions will sound stupid but you’re going to ask them anyway and you can laugh later about how stupid they are. How many people should you ask? 5 is the golden number, then test the hypothesis.  Due Dil hires smart people, what’s your criteria to hire someone smart? When you’re bootstrapping it can be a gamble hiring the wrong person. The first people you should hire shouldn’t be the smartest, they should be the hustlers, and these are generalists and people that are entrepreneurial. They should have an inquisitive nature and be very flexible. Then once you start heading in the right direction you can focus more on hiring people more suitable for a specific task.  How do you make others believe in what you believe? It’s important to understand what you have and what they are after. The more you understand what their aspirations are, the more you can understand what value to you is and what value to them is.  How do CEOs keep their ears on the ground to ensure their listening to the voices of their employees? One business he knows, the CEO would call up line managers and ask about their numbers and if they didn’t know their numbers, that could spill trouble, but that’s very operational. Alternative is having 121’s, and hallway chats. The bigger you get the harder communication becomes and that’s always the weakest link of a company.  Simon Sinek has some good points but they are not universal, for example. Elon Musk is probably shit to work with but he’s transformative, and so is Steve Jobs. However, those businesses are extremely fragile most of the time and it doesn’t work for 90% of leaders. Leaders need to focus on being empathetic.  What are your Top 5 takeaways for business owners? Define what success and failure Try and build a growth mentality and culture by organising meetings Proper definition and a value proposition People values vs company values Always understand what stage you’re hiring for. 
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Podcast Details

Started
Mar 19th, 2018
Latest Episode
Jul 31st, 2018
Release Period
Daily
No. of Episodes
6
Avg. Episode Length
39 minutes
Explicit
No

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