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Does your startup story stick to your RIBS? The Best PR Advice You’ve Never Heard

Does your startup story stick to your RIBS? The Best PR Advice You’ve Never Heard | Ideas for entrepreneurs | Scoop.it
“Imagine you’re sitting across from a reporter at lunch. You’re telling them what you do, your story, why they should care about your product. You have to convince this reporter to not only write about you, but that what you’re doing matters.
Guillaume Decugiss insight:
One of the common myths in Silicon Valley is that startups don't need marketing. But as shown by this long but excellent series of insights by Caryn Marooney, Head of Technology Communications for Facebook and co-founder of OutCast - the prominent SV PR agency, this couldn't be less true.
Marc Kneepkens's curator insight, March 14, 2014 9:15 PM

Very detailed, step by step self inquiry test for your startup. Highly recommended.

I took her advice and created a tagline while reading it: "Know how to get funded". It's on my site now at www.Business-Funding-Insider.com

David Siracusa's curator insight, May 30, 2015 5:53 PM

So many sales people rarely seem able to define what they do and how they help people in one or two short sentences.  It took me longer than I ever thought it should have to develop such a seemingly easy, yet ridiculously, important task.

Ideas for entrepreneurs
Serial entrepreneurship is constant learning. Here's what I found impacting.
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So you think you know your business model?

A mentor master class I've been doing for The Refiners, the cross-boarder acceleration program for foreign founders in Silicon Valley. Business models are hard to define for entrepreneurs because as a startup this is precisely your #1 mission: research (in the R&D sense), experiment, pivot and ultimately find a scalable business model for your company.

Guillaume Decugiss insight:

Sharing some of my war stories that I shared earlier this week with entrepreneurs from The Refiners' accelerator program. And trying to come out with some kind of methodology to address the key questions around defining a business model. 

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From Product-Market Fit to Product-Market-Price Fit

From Product-Market Fit to Product-Market-Price Fit | Ideas for entrepreneurs | Scoop.it
The startup community obsesses over finding product-market fit. But, now it's time to find product-market-price fit. Kyle Poyar explains why.
Guillaume Decugiss insight:
Pricing as a key element of product-market fit. Probably one of the most powerful instrument for a startup founder defining a go-to-market strategy.
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Struggle porn - why working hard is not a good metric to measure entrepreneurial success

I say @GaryVee because I don’t know Gary Vaynerchuk personally. He could be delightful and entirely unlike his online persona. But his Internet character is doing harm to would-be entrepreneurs…
Guillaume Decugiss insight:
Great opinionated post by Nat Eliason on why worshipping struggle and hard work is not a good thing for entrepreneurs. I rarely work on week-ends and after 18 years doing this, i don’t feel my successes and failures have been correlated with the number of hours I worked.
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Why you should focus on user intent - and not just A/B test results

Why you should focus on user intent - and not just A/B test results | Ideas for entrepreneurs | Scoop.it
When a +10% isn’t really a +10% OK, this is an infuriating startup experience: You ship an experiment that’s +10% in your conversion funnel. Then your revenue/installs/whatever goes up by +10% right? Wrong :( Turns out usually it goes up a little bit, or maybe not at all. Why is that? Let’s call this the …
Guillaume Decugiss insight:

There’s a fundamental flaw in many growth hacking approaches: the numbers don’t add up. 10% here, 10% there, etc... but at the end of the day you don’t see the +50% improvement to your top line. 


 


Andrew Chen not only puts a name on this but outlines how to deal with it by segmenting your users and customers by intent. 

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Why brand marketing is mostly useless for startups

Why brand marketing is mostly useless for startups | Ideas for entrepreneurs | Scoop.it
Brand marketing is mostly useless for consumer startups. Startups build a great brand by being successful, finding product market fit and scaling traction, etc. But it’s not a real lever. Let’s not mix up correlation with causation! If this seems contrarian to you, it’s because there’s a vast ecosystem of consultants, agencies, and other middlemen …
Guillaume Decugiss insight:

Right on. I've been on TechCrunch and we had decent coverage for Scoop.it. Did it help our user acquisition? Not really. 

 

For Scoop.it and my previous startup (a b2c mobile platform), I've thought a lot about how to build a brand. And while I respect there might be some exceptions, I very much second what Andrew Chen writes here: building a brand is mostly the consequence - not the cause

 

It doesn't mean there's just nothing to do other than growing to build a brand. The story your company tells, the values your product expresses, how it's design, how you communicate and many other things will shape your brand a certain way. But whether it's big or small - or said more bluntly whether you have a brand or not - remains tightly coupled with how much you grow. 

 

So, as a startup founder, unless you're an exceptional marketing genius, your best bet is probably to focus on product market fit and finding the right acquisition channels while paying attention to the story you tell. The brand will follow. 

 

PS: in his post, Andrew focuses on consumer startups but I would say that it's probably also true for most B2B startups. Even though they have more targeted PR / influencer marketing channels they can leverage for brand building purposes, I would consider them from a pure ROI standpoint as customer acquisition channels. And consider any resulting brand awareness impact a bonus. 

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This is what a healthy freemium business model looks like

This is what a healthy freemium business model looks like | Ideas for entrepreneurs | Scoop.it
Tomasz Tunguz is a venture capitalist at Redpoint and writes about startups, fund raising, SaaS companies, and best practices for founders.
Guillaume Decugiss insight:
Tom Tunguz analyzed the S1 filing from Dropbox which contains impressive numbers. Freemium models can be hard to scale - something I’ve learned the hard way. A common mistake is to think that freemium is when you have X% of your users potentially willing to pay for your product and the rest who never will. But as Dropbox numbers show, a healthy freemium model is when 100% of your users are potentially premium customers and when it’s just a matter of j’me before they become one. That’s at this condition that you can have 2% conversion - and not 2% of 2%.
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Ten Year's Worth of Learnings About Pricing

Ten Year's Worth of Learnings About Pricing | Ideas for entrepreneurs | Scoop.it
Tomasz Tunguz is a venture capitalist at Redpoint and writes about startups, fund raising, SaaS companies, and best practices for founders.
Guillaume Decugiss insight:

A good high level recap by Tom Tunguz of the different ways to price and why. 

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The 10 Things I’d Tell My Younger CEO Self to Do Better Next Time

The 10 Things I’d Tell My Younger CEO Self to Do Better Next Time | Ideas for entrepreneurs | Scoop.it
The 10 Things I’d Tell My Younger CEO Self to Do Better Next Time. What are the Top 10 things I’d tell myself to do better, if I could go back in time?
Guillaume Decugiss insight:

SaaStr's Jason Lemkin shares some great lessons in that post. I can definitely echo to some of them but I actually found I've been at times too slow on big decisions (his #1 tip is to slow them down). While I agree that rushing things on impulse can be bad, some of my mistakes came from not reacting soon enough when things were bad. And ignoring - or wanting to ignore - signs that they were.

 

What are the things you'd be doing better next time? 

Ian Berry's curator insight, October 30, 2017 8:06 PM
All good advice
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Why non-Bay Area startups struggle to find investors here

Why non-Bay Area startups struggle to find investors here | Ideas for entrepreneurs | Scoop.it
Raising money is hard. And it’s even harder if you’re an entrepreneur from outside the Bay Area. Entrepreneurs from outside of Silicon Valley often struggle to raise money here. There’s issues with culture and style, differences in expectations, as well as our emphasis on growth over monetization. I’m reminded of this every time I travel …
Guillaume Decugiss insight:

Excellent summary by Andrew Chen on the cultural gap when it comes to fund raising in Europe vs Silicon Valley.

 

On the positive side, I'd add that, coming from Europe where access is often hard and networks often closed ones, I was surprised by how accessible VC's were. It doesn't mean they'll invest easily though, unlike what most foreign founders still think and as Andrew Chen explains in this post. 

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Ready to scale? Not if you haven't gone through these 3 steps first

Ready to scale? Not if you haven't gone through these 3 steps first | Ideas for entrepreneurs | Scoop.it
The Startup Genome analysis, which investigated 650 Internet startups, found that “premature scaling is the most common reason for startups to perform poorly and lose the battle early on”.
Guillaume Decugiss insight:
Great summary of what premature scaling is. And how to ensure you validate the right steps before attempting to scale.
Marc Kneepkens's curator insight, September 18, 2017 10:27 AM

..."Premature scaling, thus, is a startup killer. But what, exactly, is premature scaling?

And how can you prevent it from leading to the death of your company? In this article I’ll provide detailed answers to these two questions as well as outline various key strategies for successfully growing your business."

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Why startups shouldn't do launches

Why startups shouldn't do launches | Ideas for entrepreneurs | Scoop.it

Here's a common question I get from startups, especially in the early stages: when should we launch? My answer is almost always the same: don't

Guillaume Decugiss insight:

As we're developing a new product with the Scoop.it team, I was re-reading this great post by Eric Ries on the fallacy of product launches for startups. This was also the topic for one of the roundtables I participated to at the recent CrossLink capital's Alpha Summit.

 

As startup people, most of us have dreamed of doing an Apple-like product launch. Get on stage, capture attention, unveil something amazing, etc...

 

But most startups don't have the opportunity to mobilize attention in a big way like Apple or other big companies do. Unless they have a big personal brand, founders won't get huge attention for their new babies - however beautiful they think it might be. 

 

Perhaps more importantly, Apple-style launches mean getting products 100% ready and flawless which - for software startups - is terribly wrong. To quote LinkedIn founder Reid Hoffman: "If you are not embarrassed by the first version of your product, you’ve launched too late."

 

Finally, even a good launch is temporary. Great startups succeed by getting long-term, sustainable growth.

 

Not 15' of fame. 

 

I failed at this several times but we got one right with Scoop.it's launch-that-wasn't-a-launch. Instead of trying to get massive PR coverage we couldn't get anyway, we launched a private beta, reached out to influential people who cared about the content curation problem, got them to use our first version which led them to blog about it and iterated the product for close to one year before finally opening the doors.

 

4 million users later, I think of this of our most successful launch (that wasn't). 

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Can you really be a lean startup if you're an AI company?

Can you really be a lean startup if you're an AI company? | Ideas for entrepreneurs | Scoop.it
It once would have seemed like a crazy barrier to get large amounts of data, but startups are finding all sorts of creative ways to do it.
Guillaume Decugiss insight:

The hype on AI is real says FirstMark Capital's Matt Turck. But he warns that big data is one of the key drivers. If you don't have access to large data sets, you can't train any AI to learn anything. So as he notes, there's a lot of talent recruiting, data gathering and then learning and fine-tuning before you can launch a product. The lean startup approach of "launch, fail fast and learn" therefore doesn't work. 

 

To which I'll add another point. Will you eventually own the data stream your AI relies on to learn? If you do then great. But if you don't, how defensible is your future business if your data comes from Facebook or Google API's?

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The end of Silicon Valley's monopoly on talent

The end of Silicon Valley's monopoly on talent | Ideas for entrepreneurs | Scoop.it

"Today, it’s quite common to meet startups who house their product and engineering centers in Portland, Vancouver, Toronto, Beijing, Waterloo, Paris, or London. Some companies are even relocating their headquarters to these geographies after getting off the ground in the valley."

Guillaume Decugiss insight:

When I was studying engineering and thinking about going to grad school, I had my own version of the American dream. I had done a short internship in a Silicon Valley company, I had visited the Stanford campus and I had one obsession: I wanted to come back and be a part of this ecosystem. Because this is where people knew, this is where tech talent and knowledge resided. 

 

So 20+ years ago (closer to 25 now... damn...), I went to grad school at Stanford and it changed my life. I discovered so many things that weren't even discussed or taught in European universities that I couldn't list them all.

 

Today, this situation has changed completely as Tom Tunguz explains in this post. Make no mistake though: Silicon Valley is still unrivaled for tech in many ways. Ecosystem, access to funding, tech culture (with its pros and cons as recent coverage unfortunately showed), go-to-market, scaling, market access, etc... But one thing is very different from 25 years ago: great engineering talent doesn't need to be in Silicon Valley to be great. 

 

I've tested that first-hand being a French founder in San Francisco with an engineering team based in France. Very frequently, I meet peers who will tell me about such and such new technology that's trending in Silicon Valley. And of course, I tell my team about it. But almost systematically, they tell me they've known about it for months or tested it and sometimes implemented it already themselves. The Internet makes the world smaller but it makes the tech world an even tinier little village as engineers are now hyper connected.

 

Tom adds a new point to this which is the economic equation. All of us foreign founders in Silicon Valley have felt what he explains very personally. We all have rising costs, budgets which are getting harder and harder to balance and - unlike our peers who grew up in the Bay Area - a clear understanding of how much attractive the alternative is economically. 

 

When I relocated 6 years ago to San Francisco with an engineering team based in France, it felt very exotic. I kept explaining that yes, we have good engineers in France - not just bakers, winemakers and luxury clothes designers. Now, when I say my engineering team is based in France, it looks smart. 

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The Only Metric That Matters

The Only Metric That Matters | Ideas for entrepreneurs | Scoop.it
One question I get asked a lot by founders and product managers I meet is “Are my metrics good enough?” This might refer to good enough to raise money, or good enough to keep working on a feature or…
Guillaume Decugiss insight:

Yes, there's only one really. But where it gets tricky is understanding how to measure it and more importantly what to do about it. 

 

I've found myself it's easy to crunch a lot of data and feel you're understanding things where actually talking to real people is irreplaceable. There are lots of things data don't capture that people will explain. 

 

And it's when you start hearing the same story over and over again that the pattern becomes obvious. As well as the data... and the way to improve it. 

Ian Berry's curator insight, June 26, 2017 8:58 PM
Excellent thought provoking case studies in the slides and questions
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Here’s how likely your startup is to get acquired at any stage

Here’s how likely your startup is to get acquired at any stage | Ideas for entrepreneurs | Scoop.it
Let’s say you randomly selected 1,000 seed-stage startups based in the United States. How many of those would go on to raise a Series A?
Guillaume Decugiss insight:

Interesting stats from TechCrunch. Even though I'm not sure many entrepreneurs really care about the odds of success. 

Marc Kneepkens's curator insight, May 22, 2017 6:22 PM

The dwindling curves of #startup success...

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The Utter Uselessness of Job Interviews

The Utter Uselessness of Job Interviews | Ideas for entrepreneurs | Scoop.it
We use them to try to “get to know” people. It doesn’t work.
Guillaume Decugiss insight:

Recruiting is hard. And if you had any doubt about this, science has now proven it: by combining random interviews in a series of tests, researchers have found that interviews can not only be irrelevant to detect whether a candidate will perform in his/her job but it can also be counterproductive. 

 

Are you using any tests in your recruitment process?

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Growth hacking is bullshit

Growth hacking is bullshit | Ideas for entrepreneurs | Scoop.it
Growth is the lifeblood of startups. Growth is what differentiates Snapchat from hipster coffee shops. It’s the difference between revenue-less Instagram and The New York Times. It’s why investors…
Guillaume Decugiss insight:
Awesome read by Intercom head of growth that captures a lot of what I've been experiencing myself. Local and micro optimizations are not enough to build a long-term growing product.
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SaaS Pricing benchmarks by OpenView Labs

SaaS Pricing benchmarks by OpenView Labs | Ideas for entrepreneurs | Scoop.it
After surveying more than 1,000 software executives about their SaaS pricing habits, we've uncovered some alarming gaps. View the results here.
Guillaume Decugiss insight:

OpenView Labs' Kyle Poyar finds that these figures demonstrate a lack of maturity by a lot of SaaS companies in their pricing strategy. 

 

Their survey is really nice and will make you think about your own approach to pricing if you're in SaaS. 

 

My own thoughts while I took the quizz is that pricing is indeed a key element of the mix and is often not tested enough. But for some legitimate reasons too: it's quite hard to do solid A/B test on pricing when you're in early-stage phases as you'll probably won't have enough data to produce significant results quickly. And when you're beyond that phase, it can be perceived as harder to change. 

 

But at the end of the day, this is inspiring data and should inspire you to design some interesting pricing experiments. 

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Why VCs Should First be Startup CEOs

Why VCs Should First be Startup CEOs | Ideas for entrepreneurs | Scoop.it
Venture Capitalists who are serious about turning their firms into more than one-fund wonders may want to have their associates actually start and run a company for a year.
Guillaume Decugiss insight:
Nothing beats having been in the trenches according to Steve Blank. And because starting a company now requires less than a year and $500k, he suggests to make it part of the VC-partner training program.
Marc Kneepkens's curator insight, January 4, 2017 12:06 PM

Great idea. Get some experience in the field.

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What It’s Like to do YC Demo Day as a VC then as an Entrepreneur

What It’s Like to do YC Demo Day as a VC then as an Entrepreneur | Ideas for entrepreneurs | Scoop.it
Last year I participated in YC Demo Day as a VC. This year I’m participating as part of “the batch”.
Guillaume Decugiss insight:

Where you also learn that asking the right questions as a VC is not that easy.

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Why I turned down $500K, Pissed off my investors, and Shut down my startup

Why I turned down $500K, Pissed off my investors, and Shut down my startup | Ideas for entrepreneurs | Scoop.it
I just did what no startup founder is ever supposed to do. I gave up. It wasn’t even one of those glorious “fail fast and fail forward” learning experiences. After seven months of hard work and two
Guillaume Decugiss insight:

Cut your losses or pivot? Great question... And a really really hard one to find out. "Errare humanum est perseverare diabolicum."

 

In this post, Tom Romero details the product / market fit flaw of his product he analyzed and decided not to fix. should you be always analytical in that decision? Can you be? 

 

There are situations when you won't be able to analyze. For instance, when it's about pivoting to a totally different project - as we did pivoting form Goojet to Scoop.it - you don't have data or facts to analyze. You just have the motivation, the inspiration or the feeling that it's the right thing to do. Startup history - from Paypal to Slack and Instagram - shows us that some total reboots have succeeded to create unicorns. 

 

But Tom definitely has a point. To take our same example, we tried to fix Goojet multiple times before giving up and rebooting to a total pivot. Could we have cut our losses earlier by understanding Goojet - as a product and not as a team and company - could not be fixed? Most probably. 

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You can't A/B test your way to product/market fit

You can't A/B test your way to product/market fit | Ideas for entrepreneurs | Scoop.it

At small-scale, intuition and research trumps statistical analysis.

Guillaume Decugiss insight:

A/B tests are statistically significant only with large numbers. You can play with Optimizely's tools (picture) or use this one by RJ Metrics or even this other one. Doing that, you'll rapidly convince yourself of a simple mathematic truth: it takes a lot of events to achieve 90% confidence - something early stage startups usually don't have. 

 

tom Tunguz makes some great points but the other mistake I've made (and see other do) is to believe you can A/B test a whole UX. A/B tests are good to determine the impact on a direct conversion: typically whether or not landing page A converts better than landing page B. But when you start to look at indirect events like retention or activity level, it becomes very hard to tell. What's worse: it even gets polluted when you have a lot of activity. 

 

So while A/B tests are great and should be used, they're not the way to find product / market fit - interviews and qualitative research are - and they're not the magic answer to everything even at a later stage when you're trying to optimize revenue, usage and retention.

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Cross border startups finally have a dedicated acceleration program: the Refiners

Discover The Refiners - Cross border accelerator in San Francisco for foreign startups to thrive in the Silicon Valley
Guillaume Decugiss insight:

It's so hard and time-consuming to understand everything about Silicon Valley while you relocate and run a startup with a part of your team back at home. Cross-boarder startups needed an acceleration program badly. Now they have one thanks to Geraldine Le Meur, Carlos Diaz and Pierre Gaubil. Well done, guys and go Refiners!

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Is the Tech Bubble Popping? Ping Pong Offers an Answer

Is the Tech Bubble Popping? Ping Pong Offers an Answer | Ideas for entrepreneurs | Scoop.it
Falling ping-pong table sales give a peek into the economics of Silicon Valley, where the right to play table tennis on the job is sacrosanct
Guillaume Decugiss insight:

Big data correlations at work :-)

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Why and how startups should leverage content marketing

Content Marketing for Startups by Susan Su. What is content marketing? Content marketing is any marketing that involves the creation and sharing of medi
Guillaume Decugiss insight:

Is content marketing for established companies only? 500 Startups' Susan Su says no and articulates how to embrace it from an early stage.

Guillaume Decugis's curator insight, April 28, 2016 10:40 PM

Startups should be focused and there's a tendency in Silicon Valley to be "product-only" companies while in early stage. But building a product without customer feedback is a recipe for disaster so marketing is not a late stage activity. And as Susan Su from 500 startups articulates very clearly in this webinar, content now prevails over ads in many ways so that your best bet as a founding team to get your first users, collect feedback and iterate from your MVP might well be content marketing. 

 

The thing is content is complex and time consuming so entrepreneurs embracing it need to be efficient. This webinar gives a great list of recommendations on how to do that and be a lean content marketer.

prepareexcitable's comment, August 19, 2016 1:14 AM

This is so great!
Curated by Guillaume Decugis
Co-Founder & CEO @Scoopit. Entrepreneur (Musiwave, Goojet). Engineer-turned-marketer. Skier. Rock singer. http://scoop.it/u/gdecugis

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