DayZero-poster
I co-founded a new company over the past month that’s starting to turn into a small team. At Onswipe, we got a lot of the culture right, but there were many many things we just didn’t do until it was later on. When it’s “later on” there are many new people always coming in the door and a ton of other external tasks pulling you in other directions. Before “later on” happens, I like to call the first six months of a startup “day zero” – the time when you’re building your first product, hiring the first team, and getting it ready to launch. That’s the time when you should be setting the values of the company, not “later on”. It sets the tone on a few important things for future hires and the entire team. An example we’ve set is: “Always ask yourself what can I remove from the…Continue Reading
facebook-instant-articles
Facebook just launched Instant Articles today. In short, it allows articles that used to be web links to load as part of the native code inside their native iOS application. I spent a good four + years working on a similar problem with Onswipe – how do we make the web feel as fast, fluid, and beautiful as a native app? As much as we tried to replicate the performance of a native app on the web- it isn’t possible with modern web browsers or even any future web browsers. We tried everything from our own javascript libraries for touch interactions, rendering the content server side so it loaded super fast, and building our own ad server for full page ads. These were great leaps forward, but none of them were on par with native app performance. The two main reasons are – ad servers usually load dozens of nested…Continue Reading
frequently-addressable-market-FAM
It’s exciting to see many startups going after big markets like transportation, food, and health. They’re much larger than the typical markets of software – IT budgets or advertising budgets. A good related read on the topic of Total Addressable Market comes from Hunter Walk. Just as important as Total Addressable Market is Frequently Addressable Market (FAM). You may be going after a big market, but the real question is the frequency in which your market buys your product. Here’s why it’s just as important and how to think about it: Lack of frequency leaves you open to competitors stealing the customer you introduced to the market Lets say that you get someone to download your app, use your service, and even pay for it. That’s great and the first step to building a business, but if they never come back again, they’re a one and done customer. If Uber…Continue Reading
startup-risks-distribution
Over the past month or so, many have had issue with Twitter and how they’re turning on startups like Meerkat and Datasift. Though it’s unfortunate, these companies are run by smart individuals and they likely never planned to be too dependent on Twitter. The issue isn’t about being too dependent on one platform as this is the exception, not the rule for most startups. The real issue is preventing your company from having the bulk of its distribution concentrated in one source. What does this mean? As a startup, your customers are going to come from many different places. For example, it might include – search (SEO), viral channels, public relations, direct sales, 2 sided referrals and many more. In the beginning, you’re going to want to focus in on one or two channels at most, as you can only focus on so many resources. Over time, you’re going to…Continue Reading
local-discovery-broken
I think local discovery is one of the big software problems we haven’t solved yet. The problem is akin to this – Google helps you find what you need online by putting in a parameter and drives traffic to the online world. No one has perfectly cracked the nut of find what you need in the real world by entering in a parameter and therefore driving traffic to the real world. Approximately 5% of spend is done online, yet 95% of spend is done offline, so through that lens we’re looking a pretty worthy problem. With everyone now having a smartphone in their pocket, it’s a problem we need to see solved. PCs helped us find and make things happen in the digital world (Google), smartphones help us find and make things happen in the real world (Uber). Below are some of the problems I see: Not enough intent data…Continue Reading