Myths & Truths About Building a Web Product

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There are a lot of misconceptions out there about how to build software. Here are some great tips to make sure you maximize your investment and build something users love.
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  • 1. PRESENTED BY: Myths & Truths - Building a Product PRESENTED BY: PRESENTERS: JESUS RAMIREZ VP, PRODUCT, TALLWAVE DAVE ALBERTSON CEO, CO-FOUNDER, SHELVSPACE
  • 2. INTRODUCTION WWW.TALLWAVE.COM/SANDCASTLE INFO@TALLWAVE.COM
  • 3. INTRODUCTION ● ● ● WWW.TALLWAVE.COM/SANDCASTLE INFO@TALLWAVE.COM
  • 4. AGENDA WWW.TALLWAVE.COM/SANDCASTLE INFO@TALLWAVE.COM
  • 5. THE MYTHS WWW.TALLWAVE.COM/SANDCASTLE INFO@TALLWAVE.COM
  • 6. MYTH #1: YOU NEED TO HAVE A FULLY FUNCTIONAL PRODUCT TO APPROACH CUSTOMERS WWW.TALLWAVE.COM/SANDCASTLE INFO@TALLWAVE.COM
  • 7. MISCONCEPTION “Customers will be turned away if the product is not fully ready” Pride, Perfectionism, Worry WWW.TALLWAVE.COM/SANDCASTLE INFO@TALLWAVE.COM
  • 8. REALITY #1 If you’re not embarrassed by the first version of your product, you shipped it too late” Reid Hoffman, LinkedIn Fail Fast, Learn, Find “Reach” WWW.TALLWAVE.COM/SANDCASTLE INFO@TALLWAVE.COM
  • 9. REALITY #2 If you wait until product is built to approach your customers, you lose opportunity to: • Identify the best problems to solve • Get better ideas • Be told that your idea stinks • Discover how to find more customers • Discover how to give customers what they want WWW.TALLWAVE.COM/SANDCASTLE INFO@TALLWAVE.COM
  • 10. SUPPORTING FACTS: BUILDING PRODUCTS IS EXPENSIVE $$$ WWW.TALLWAVE.COM/SANDCASTLE INFO@TALLWAVE.COM
  • 11. • Early goal is to learn • It’s easier than ever to build prototype • It’s easier than ever to find and test users • It’s far riskier NOT to THE TRUTH: A PROTOTYPE IS ALL YOU NEED TO APPROACH CUSTOMERS WWW.TALLWAVE.COM/SANDCASTLE INFO@TALLWAVE.COM
  • 12. TIPS: 1. Use cheap rapid prototyping tools such as InVision, UXPin, Solidify, proto.io 2. Use cheap rapid prototyping resources such as Elance, fiverr, or oDesk 3. Partner with a UX / prototyping group 4. Be genuine with what you are doing, observe, and listen WWW.TALLWAVE.COM/SANDCASTLE INFO@TALLWAVE.COM
  • 13. MYTH #2: YOU ALREADY KNOW WHICH FEATURES USERS WILL LOVE MOST WWW.TALLWAVE.COM/SANDCASTLE INFO@TALLWAVE.COM
  • 14. WWW.TALLWAVE.COM/SANDCASTLE INFO@TALLWAVE.COM MISCONCEPTION “I know more than my users” Arrogance, Tunnel Vision, Steve Jobs effect
  • 15. REALITY #1: You’ll build a much better product if you involve & collaborate with your users Different Points-of-View, Evangelists, Community WWW.TALLWAVE.COM/SANDCASTLE INFO@TALLWAVE.COM
  • 16. REALITY #2: Falling in love with your original idea can stunt growth “Startups that pivot once or twice raise 2.5x more money, have 3.6x better user growth, and are 52% less likely to scale prematurely than startups that pivot more than 2 times or not at all” WWW.TALLWAVE.COM/SANDCASTLE INFO@TALLWAVE.COM Marmer, Max, Bjoern L. Herrmann, Ertan Dogrultan, and Ron Berman. Startup Genome Report. Rep. Startup Compass, 2011. Web. Oct. 2014.
  • 17. THE TRUTH: Count on your product changing; Users will show you if you are watching • WWW.TALLWAVE.COM/SANDCASTLE INFO@TALLWAVE.COM
  • 18. EXAMPLES: The Point → Groupon: wrong audience Burbn → Instagram: wrong functionality (post plans, move location/check-in, post photos) WWW.TALLWAVE.COM/SANDCASTLE INFO@TALLWAVE.COM
  • 19. TIPS: 1. Observe (don’t ask) your users 2. Build prototypes & test new ideas 3. Study metrics! 4. Be open to pivots, don’t fall in love with a single idea 5. Focus on the GOOD, kill the CLUTTER 6. Be shrewd with your product & user experience WWW.TALLWAVE.COM/SANDCASTLE INFO@TALLWAVE.COM
  • 20. MYTH #3: YOU NEED A TECHNICAL FOUNDER TO GET YOUR IDEA OFF THE GROUND WWW.TALLWAVE.COM/SANDCASTLE INFO@TALLWAVE.COM
  • 21. MISCONCEPTION “Without a Chief Technology leader I am dead in the water” Paralysis, Knowledge Gap WWW.TALLWAVE.COM/SANDCASTLE INFO@TALLWAVE.COM
  • 22. WWW.TALLWAVE.COM/SANDCASTLE INFO@TALLWAVE.COM REALITY #1 Best Technical Co-founders are like VC’s -- they need validated NEED & MARKET Fit, Proof, Vision
  • 23. WWW.TALLWAVE.COM/SANDCASTLE INFO@TALLWAVE.COM REALITY #2 Finding perfect marriage is difficult, but much easier when you know what you are looking for Design, Culture, Platform
  • 24. • Designers/prototypers can often carry you further than CTOs in the early stages • Risk of a wrong fit is costly • Getting off ground first will often attract best talent and fit THE TRUTH: SOMETIMES ITS WORTH THE WAIT WWW.TALLWAVE.COM/SANDCASTLE INFO@TALLWAVE.COM
  • 25. TIPS: 1. Find great design prototyping skillsets 2. Ensure you understand market segment and how they want to experience a solution before finding the right fit (e.g. iPhone, desktop, scaling requirements) 3. Your early tech co-founder may not be your CTO as you scale, ensure you have culture and vision fit WWW.TALLWAVE.COM/SANDCASTLE INFO@TALLWAVE.COM
  • 26. MYTH #4: YOU CAN APPEAL TO EVERYONE WWW.TALLWAVE.COM/SANDCASTLE INFO@TALLWAVE.COM
  • 27. MISCONCEPTION: THESE GUYS DID IT! WWW.TALLWAVE.COM/SANDCASTLE INFO@TALLWAVE.COM
  • 28. BUT THEY DIDN’T START THAT WAY WWW.TALLWAVE.COM/SANDCASTLE INFO@TALLWAVE.COM Originally focused on colleges, limited to Harvard and few other Ivy League Schools Originally limited to hosts w/ air mattresses willing to serve breakfast to guests Started with books. Had a list of top 20 products, but chose books because of low cost and universal appeal
  • 29. WWW.TALLWAVE.COM/SANDCASTLE INFO@TALLWAVE.COM Reality #1 Lack of focus creates scattered efforts
  • 30. WWW.TALLWAVE.COM/SANDCASTLE INFO@TALLWAVE.COM Reality #2 You have limited capital
  • 31. TRUTH: YOU CAN’T AFFORD TO FOCUS ON EVERYONE source: Crunchbase WWW.TALLWAVE.COM/SANDCASTLE INFO@TALLWAVE.COM
  • 32. TIPS: • Target niche, but maintain broad appeal • Build a product few LOVE vs. a product many SORTA LIKE • Focus on an acute entry point (e.g. deepest customer pain, market white-space, least resistance, inefficiencies) WWW.TALLWAVE.COM/SANDCASTLE INFO@TALLWAVE.COM
  • 33. MYTH #5: YOU NEED PRODUCT IN MARKET / MM OF USERS / REVENUE TO RAISE CAPITAL WWW.TALLWAVE.COM/SANDCASTLE INFO@TALLWAVE.COM
  • 34. MISCONCEPTION “Investor will only invest in product that works and growing” Funding Sources, Experience, Knowledge WWW.TALLWAVE.COM/SANDCASTLE INFO@TALLWAVE.COM
  • 35. REALITY #1 Seed Investors invest in the team and the belief in your go-to-market plan. Proof points, Storytelling , Business Model WWW.TALLWAVE.COM/SANDCASTLE INFO@TALLWAVE.COM
  • 36. REALITY #2 It may take hundreds of pitches, but the right partners are out there. Background, Desire for Change, Belief WWW.TALLWAVE.COM/SANDCASTLE INFO@TALLWAVE.COM
  • 37. • More investors than entrepreneurs, sometimes not easy to find • Most investors will tell you perceived gaps, they are not always right but you will learn from the themes • Be sure to share vision, team, and why you will win…….don’t over-focus on product THE TRUTH: THERE ARE INVESTORS OUT THERE FOR ALL STAGES OF BUSINESS WWW.TALLWAVE.COM/SANDCASTLE INFO@TALLWAVE.COM
  • 38. TIPS: 1. List on angel list and other funding sources, talk to whoever will listen 2. Build target of all investors you can find that match criteria, search for investors with your model or industry background 3. Prepare for full-time funding efforts, don’t give up, keep building and pitching until you get it right WWW.TALLWAVE.COM/SANDCASTLE INFO@TALLWAVE.COM
  • 39. MYTH #6: YOU’LL BE AN OVERNIGHT SUCCESS WWW.TALLWAVE.COM/SANDCASTLE INFO@TALLWAVE.COM
  • 40. WWW.TALLWAVE.COM/SANDCASTLE INFO@TALLWAVE.COM MISCONCEPTION “Successful startups made it big overnight” “I’ll build a product, users will flock to buy it and in a few years I’ll sell/exit and drink champagne” Wishful thinking, distorted perception
  • 41. WWW.TALLWAVE.COM/SANDCASTLE INFO@TALLWAVE.COM Reality #1 False expectations can be dangerous and lead to short-sighted decisions Examples: Short-term revenue vs long-term vision New features vs user experience
  • 42. Reality #2: Worth spending time early on (while low cash flow) focusing on right users, product offering & go to market “Your startup is a learning machine to validate your business before you run out of money” - Eric Ries WWW.TALLWAVE.COM/SANDCASTLE INFO@TALLWAVE.COM
  • 43. TRUTH: There is no such thing as an overnight success WWW.TALLWAVE.COM/SANDCASTLE INFO@TALLWAVE.COM
  • 44. “OVERNIGHT” SUCCESSES WWW.TALLWAVE.COM/SANDCASTLE INFO@TALLWAVE.COM Angry Birds The mobile game was a huge success. But Rovio had been through 50 mobile games up to that point and almost went bankrupt before it hit big. Was founded in 2007 and been around for 7 years despite being the poster-child for viral growth. Founded in 2006 (8 years ago) and battled the US record labels for 4 years just to enter the US market. OTHER NOTABLES Evernote: Was founded in 2007 (7 years) despite it’s hardcore and loyal users. Buffer: Was founded 2010 and just raised its first VC round.
  • 45. TIPS: • Buckle down, strap in • Invest in long-term product vision, culture and user growth WWW.TALLWAVE.COM/SANDCASTLE INFO@TALLWAVE.COM
  • 46. Questions? WWW.TALLWAVE.COM/SANDCASTLE INFO@TALLWAVE.COM
  • 47. PRESENTED BY: Myths & Truths - Building a Product PRESENTED BY: PRESENTERS: JESUS RAMIREZ VP, PRODUCT, TALLWAVE jesus.ramirez@tallawave.com DAVE ALBERTSON CEO, CO-FOUNDER, SHELVSPACE
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