by Frank Thelen
The talk from Frank Thelen starts our series of of expert talks, or Sparks, from Build 06. Frank recounts his experiences from 15 years of founding and hacking, including what to avoid, what to do, what to read and how to hire, for example. Watch the video to get ideas for how to build your organization, your company and your resources.
In his talk Charles Wiles gives 7 product tips to geeky startups. The first three are "Prove It!", "You Don't Have to Build it to Sell It", and "It's About the User, Stupid".
Charles covers what the evidence is you need to prove your product with. Metrics, how do they tell the story of a viable business and how you can improve them. If you focus only on the key goal that the metrics are selected around, you will also mitigate the risk of derailing.
There are many cases where you don't have to build it to sell it. But engagement with a potential user can be a very short one as demonstrated by many well-designed pre-launch landing pages and using marketing tools and market research tools, such as testing your USP with a Google AdWords campaign.
Understanding your core user benefit means first understanding your users, and then ensuring your users understand you. Whatever your distinctive advantage is, make sure you know you communicate and deliver that foremost.
All the points Charles brings up are great reminders for techie startups. You may have heard some of them, but here they are compressed into 15 minutes with great examples. And make sure to watch to the end to get Charles's +7 product tips for double the value. A very liked talk from Build 06.
by Mike Butcher
TechCruch EU Editor Mike Butcher gives an excellent talk on how to talk to the press – and with pretty hilarious examples, how not to talk to the press (or to anyone, really).
The key take-aways for startups:
1) Startups shouldn't think in terms of PR. Startups should think in terms of news. News is different, interesting and uncommon. Be a purple cow.
2) Be a great contact. Keep the interested parties informed and involved.
3) Press likes founders, not marketing people. This is natural: the founders tell the human story of the startup and represent the drive behind the company.
4) Be human. Seriously, even though it is the tech press, the readers are human, we are human and so are you. Pitch in a human way and take into account that the journalists are human, too.
8th–11th July 2011