What makes you think people want so much customisation?
Honestly, a different font/typeface on every page would look awful, IMO.
The best advice I can give you is to read a book called The Lean Startup by Eric Reis. The idea is that you release early and quickly and build your product based directly on customer feedback - not on what you think they want.
Most of these sites are going to give you traffic you will never be able to build a business on. You really need to spend some time thinking about who your perfect customer is and where they can be found, it's not in the tiny and often irrelevant overlap between "startup traffic" and "your specific market".
eg: inbound.io who wrote this list and others as part of their content marketing strategy. You're selling a social media tool, you could be mining fb/twitter/linkedin and looking for companies committed to social media. Why hope any of them are reading this when you can just go and contact them directly at any scale you want.
YC person and gmail inventor Paul Buchheit said this recently:
Exposing yourself to the direct, harsh feedback of the market is key. I've noticed that bad
founders will do just about anything to avoid this. Instead of selling, which is hard, they
spend their time going to conferences and meetups, trying to do PR, talking to biz dev
people about partnerships, etc. It all sounds like work, but mainly serves to insulate them
from the harsh reality that nobody wants their product.
That's what these sites are. Telling startups you're a startup instead of telling your market you have a product they need.
Just some helpful feedback from a customer, I want a pair. I instantly hopped to Amazon since I saw you sell a pair there.
But there's no Amazon prime. I want it the 21st not the 25th to the 28th.
I know I'm being picky, but my splurge purchase that I get two days from now from entering in zero info on Amazon turned into a non-sale. At least right now.
(I don't mean this rudely, just sharing for the sake of feedback collection. I instantly fell in love with the site, images, tone, etc which made me want to splurge fast).
I have read somewhere, not sure where. I think this was in “Zero to One”. There are entry barriers to existing business models. Lets say you decide to come up with a new Reddit app. There are however already plenty of established Reddit apps, so why would users switch from fully developed app to your alpha/beta startup app? I think in the book they quantify that they new idea has to be at least 5-10x better than existing alternatives, for people to break formed habits and switch to new option.
Hence it is “easier” to capture the market with new idea, where there is no competition, than to come up more effective solution to existing model. Honestly read “Zero to One”, the whole book is about innovation and how you should be striving for a monopoly with your innovation. When you compete with existing business idea, its a zero sum game, as you just get a piece from existing market, however when you truly innovate, you create a brand new market - 1. Hence zero to one.
You may want to check out this article as I found it useful in formulating our equity split.
As the author points out, the only wrong answer is 50/50. One of you needs to be empowered to make executive decisions. It sounds as if you're a bit intimidated by your partner, so you need to determine what you bring to the table and be confident of your worth. This formula may help you with that. And of course, I would also suggest being very transparent and open about the decision as it's just the first of many obstacles to work through. Good luck!
Edit: added emphasis to the only wrong answer
Thank you for doing this :-)
1 - Name of app/website/startup?
2 - One sentence description on what problem your startup solves?
We help people find great movies to watch quickly and efficiently.
3 - How do users currently solve that problem?
They make due with default UI's of Netflix / Amazon / iTunes etc.
They use websites such as IMDb, iCheckMovies, or google trying to find something.
They ask other people for suggestions.
4 - Name of the top competitor? (try not to leave this answer empty)
IMDb, iCheckMovies and similar.
5 - How does it make money? (e.g. subscriptions)
Currently it doesn't except for donations/patreon and affiliate amazon/itunes links. We might introduce non-invasive ads in the future. Ethical aggregated data monetization is another possibility. User privacy will always be most important so selling data that identifies a user is out of the question.
6 - Who is the target user? (e.g. 18-22 year old college students that need tutoring help)
People who watch moderate to high amount of movies and have already seen most of the well known films.
7 - What is your monthly users + revenue?
Around 20k monthly users, currently we're in the process of light growth to validate our product market fit. We have no revenue except for a few donations and affiliate clicks (we don't push it so it's a minor amount).
8 - What is your role?
Co-founder, designer, front end dev, growth & retention.
9 - Size of team? Is anyone remote?
Two people working full time, one person helping a bit with social media presence. Basically two people for now. The person who helps a bit is remote.
Building your own Auth system is hard, like very, very hard.
I would advise you piggyback of another system until you scale to get a competent security tech team to build this architecture OR consider additional security like SMS confirmation on login?
I've used Auth0 in the past, which is great: https://auth0.com/
Thank me later. Sell him the idea in the first 3-5 minutes. Surround yourself with credibility. You are 80% likely to batch it but you have to start somewhere. Never forget that the most successful people have failed the most. You only need one yes.
For a aspiring Habit/Behavior Designer?
Hooked by Nir Eyal <-- as a practical guide, this is in a league of it's own.
Thinking Fast and Slow by Daniel Kahneman
Designing for Behavior Change by Stephen Wende
Nudge by Thaler and Sunstein
Predictably Irrational by Dan Ariely
Drive by Daniel Pink
The Power of Habit by Charles Duhigg
Subliminal by Leonard Mlodinow
No I don't. When people say they want personalized results, they generally mean localized results (like local weather and restaurants), which we can do without tracking people. We've seen no compelling evidence that further personalization really helps, and some decent evidence that it hurts. That said, we do have a region setting that works anonymously that boosts results from a particular region, and you could theoretically extend that concept in a still anonymous way to categories (like I'm a programmer). That hasn't been a priority, however, because we just haven't seen the need.
The Lean Startup is really a rebranding of the much-more-in-depth-and-interesting Four Steps to the Epiphany by Steve Blank. https://www.amazon.com/Four-Steps-Epiphany-Steve-Blank/dp/0989200507 - as acknowledged most of the time by the author.
Whether that is really a rebranding of the scientific method, I'm not sure. One of the assumed elements of the scientific method as practiced in most academic situations is that you have a lot of time - and startups do not. The idea that you can repeat the same experiment twice when it comes to startups is questionable too.
I also don't really think it's accurate to compare the Toyota Way to Lean Startup or the scientific method. The Toyota Way is very focused on optimizing production based on internal feedback loops.
I think fast and accurate feedback loops are the common thread, however. Pushing for good, simple data, and measuring the right things is useful in all these situations.
Heya, try this: http://angel.co/
I threw up a quick "about me" one late autumn, forgot about it, then got a request for coffee some months later. That meeting turned into a cascading series of events that have defined my startup experience to date, plus spun off a whole bunch of good things for the day job and side projects.
I like how buffer did it. Use a formula driven by revenue. I was previously also making around $200k but live in a part of the country where Cost of LIving is low. When the convo came up as I was closing my seed round, I offered to set my salary at $65K + $15k per mil of revenue. Keeps things simple, transparent, and aligned.
I know I'm going to get downvoted for this, but I'm genuinely shocked at how many people post in this subreddit when a quick google would answer their question. If you google any variation of "how to find startup jobs," you'll get a ton of resources, and http://angel.co/jobs is going to be at, or near, the top of your results every time.
Stripe Atlas (https://stripe.com/atlas) does everything for you including incorporation, filing for an EIN, initial board docs, stock purchase agreements, invention assignment, for $500 which is pretty fucking awesome. Recommend highly!
I just read The E-Myth Revisited and I cannot recommend it enough for any entrepreneur. It talks about how to build a sustainable business.
You don't need a co-founder and you don't need investors.
Build an MVP in 3 months and see how it goes.
Do not make the mistake of wasting 3 years to build something no one wants. Do not give half to a co-founder for something you can handle in the beginning.
Also, subscribe to Valuetainment. It has phenomenal content on everything you'd need.
One of the few books I'd call a must read. Essentially Peter believes we should stop killing ourselves with incremental gain startups, and instead focus on delivering 10X value. Anything less isn't worth your time, which of course is our most precious asset.
His ideas are in the same vein as Peter Diamondis, who asks people in his two books to work on problems that will help a billion people, because it's also the only way to become a billionaire.
A quick read, you should take plenty of notes reading Zero to One.
There's a good book on this called "The E Myth" that might help shed some light on this for you. It's not a huge long book, but it goes into the idea that running a business is entirely different than working in your field.
Also, try to keep in perspective your experience. If you fail, so what? You have a great opportunity here to try something. If it works then great! If not, you might go back to a 9-5 with a new appreciation for the simplicity of it all.
I reccomend "Zero to One: Notes on Startups, or How to Build the Future" by venture capitalist, PayPal co-founder, and early Facebook investor Peter Thiel along with Blake Masters
The comments in this hacker news thread strongly advise that you index instead of scraping. The difference being that indexing provides extra value by enriching the data, whereas scraping is straight up theft (probably depending on which lawyers you talk to).
Google is an indexer and most people are OK with them. Other people tried to be indexers and get into trouble (like the guy who used apartment rental ads from craiglist to create a user-friendly search site. I believe Craigslist sued him).
What you are doing is called negative option billing, and it is specifically forbidden by BrainTree's Acceptable Use Policy.
It's even illegal in some states.
You simply cannot charge someone for not doing something, even if they agree to it.
The work-around would be to charge users upfront, debit their account if they fail to check-in, then send the balance to the charity at the end of the month.
Then the purchase is done upfront, the user is being billed a known amount, and they are conducting the transaction personally at the time the credit card is charged.
VISIT US @ impresspages.org
WE ARE ImpressPages CMS, an open-source CMS for both, developers and content managers. Our super easy admin panel with inline editing and drag&drop features makes managing websites more of a game than a job. On the other hand, if you're a programmer you can easily put your skills to work and build beautiful things using our MVC engine. Check the full feature list here.
WE'RE LOOKING FOR people who are looking for us. Give it a try or give us your feedback if you already did. Let's talk CMS!
Psst.. Next week we are launching our preview version of ImpressPages CMS 4.0. Get in touch to see the new hot (like, really hot!) thing.
A few questions off the top of my head:
The core of your advice is good: know your investors. But poorly-written, typo-laden articles with an author picture taken from TPDNE should be met with very strong suspicion.
Also, this (link to tos):
>You are responsible for all of your activity in connection with the Service and accessing the Site. You may not use the Site or the Service:
>(vii) to sell, lease, share, transfer, or sublicense the Service or derive income from the use of the Service in conjunction with IFTTT APIs or other web services, whether for direct commercial or monetary gain or otherwise, without IFTTT's prior, express, written permission;
So...Plan on them blocking your access to the service eventually and dealing with the multitude of headaches that come with it.
What's the idea though? Hit me in a PM or email () if you like! I might be able to provide some guidance...APIs and data mining are my bread and butter. And generally speaking - there's an open source library that's almost plug and play for every service that IFTTT integrates with. I'm also way too freaking busy to steal your idea!
Every person at every corporation is different. I know one guy at a Fortune company with a Billion dollar budget that will talk to any one and everyone. His only consideration: What can you do for me? If you send him an email with a dollar amount in benefit and a sentence of the offering (and it is something they don't do already) you get a call.
For a game company I imagine the real value is in creating the game and then demoing the game to a publisher. Without a track record I am not sure a game company would even be interested in your idea. Now if you had worked for a previous game company and developed an in-house tool that any company could use and would save 1.5MM/year for a 30 developer game team in workflow improvement for only $129.99/month I bet every game company in the world would return your email.
Now, so as not being the Internet asshole that shoots you down completely. Purchase a game from a company you love, say Rocket League. Look for the credits. I have absolutely no idea where they would be (https://www.igdb.com/games/rocket-league/credits or just beat the game?) Find people in that list that you might now. Turns out (from Linked In) I know quite a few people that know people in that list. So I could ask one of my friends for a warm introduction then befriend the person you are introduced to. But don't sell to that person build a relationship.
Business is about connections.
I don't think anyone has mentioned it yet, but Stripe recently came out with a very nuts-and-bolts guide.
It's written by Patrick McKenzie, who is an OG for starting internet businesses. Here's his site, he has a ton of blog posts that could help you out.
If Yelp was starting out today they would most likely be a mobile-first company.
Think about how your customers/users will interact with your product.
Would the restaurants/businesses prefer setting up their business on yelp using a phone or a computer? Probably computer, if I had to guess.
But would the customers rating the restaurant/business do that on a computer or on their phone? Probably phone, and I'd bet they do it just after finishing their meal..
Think about your user, and how you would want them to interact with your software, and then decide from there.
P.S If you build your software using technology like Ionic you can build a mobile and web app using only 1 codebase. Obviously there are some downsides to using this approach, but they upsides are fantastic. 1 codebase for iOS, Android, and web...
Stripe is the way to go to manage SaaS subscription payments.
Don't worry about the legal, admin, and all that stuff for now. Focus on building a useful product that people want.
I would recommend you check out the Indie Hackers community: https://www.indiehackers.com/ , you'll find a lot of useful resources and most importantly a supportive community to help you on your journey.
Best of luck!
A true classic business book might help your thinking here -- there are sections about meetings and one-on-ones -- it's called High Output Management by Andy Grove and it's exceptionally cleanly and simply written. And it won't take you too long either. It has quite a following and that following is well deserved. It's a classic for a reason. I think it could help you as it has many others.
My recommendation would be Stripe Connect
Stripe in general is great to work with. Connect makes it basically as simple as each charge having a sender and receiver. The handle mostly all of the middle ground. Fees are charged per transaction so you'd have to find some way to monetise it i guess.
If you've got more questions after you look through the above link then let me know.
Dribbble is a good resource for inspiration for stuff like this: https://dribbble.com/search?q=team
Also keep in mind that this won't be viewed by anyone other than job candidates researching your company. The page for my company gets about 10-20 hits per month max.
Jesus. Can we please ban all posts about ello?
The interface is just horrid, the design is terrible and it's probably the most awkward "social network" that's out there, here's a nice writeup on the design. There's a reason why investors are pulling out of the project. I get their whole "oh, well we're going to be different and not sell your data." Yeah, that's what they all say until they see the server bill. Ello got lucky. Ridiculously lucky to have all of this hype.
Also, if you even think that this web app is even on the same wavelength as a multi-billion dollar social network, I'm very concerned for you.
So it depends where are in the lifecycle of your business, funded or not, solo or not etc.
To broadly answer your question I would:
Buy Personal MBA, The Jelly Effect, Inbound Marketing, Hooked, Zero to One and every other business book you can get your hands on.
Find a mentor. Non-technical and local to you. Take them for lunch once a month. Learn.
Read Growth Hackers, Inbound.org, Producthunt, Hacker News. Immerse yourself in the "scene"
Sell. Practice selling. Fail lots. Get better.
That's it really. The best businessmen learn by doing, the same as coders.
I know you just asked for communities, but there's more to it than that.
I wish you luck but you're entering a very difficult business. I actually wrote the exact same application a few years ago. I commented on my experience and the problems with this business model here: https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=4433811
The promo video for my application is still on youtube: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=l_Arl9h35GY
I'd be very happy to chat privately about the experience and lend any insight I can to help. Feel free to PM me.
You may have slightly misquoted Steve Blank--the teacher of Eric Ries, who wrote The Lean Startup. Steve's definition of a startup (which I tend to agree with) is: "A startup is a temporary organization used to search for a repeatable and scalable business model." It need not attempt to take over the world. Because it's about the search for a business model (rather than only the execution of one), parts of a business can flow into and out of the state of being a startup. By this definition, startups become "small businesses" when they begin executing on their (supposedly validated) business model.
I felt that Zero To One was very underwhelming. It had some good generalities for startups but I felt he was hypocritical or too simple in some sections. Also he did not really expand on the idea of creating something from 'Zero to One' which should to be a critical part of the book considering it is the title.
Agreed, and to try to test that as quickly as possible.
Without getting users you haven't met before to try your products it's impossible to really test whether or not the product fits anywhere so optimising that CR from free rather than paid makes a difference.
It does depend what you're trying to test of course, at very early stages you might literally just be attempting to have anyone try it out to find out who might actually want it - it can be surprising when you find your market isn't the one you initially thought it was. Services like Product Hunt can be good for investigating the fit. (Yes, that is our current launch, apologies for the spam!)
It has rookie written all over it in the California startup scene. Its actually a big red flag and usually stop the conversation. A few threads on hackernews on about NDAs that are worth reading like this one.
Keep negotiating until you're happy with the contract. This needs to be a win/win for both sides.
Have you seen Stripe's "Founder's Guide for Equity"? https://stripe.com/atlas/guides/equity - written by Patrick "Charge More" McKenzie.
Not sure if this will help but I read this yesterday and it really helped me calm down and continue working on my side hustle. https://typesense.org/blog/the-unreasonable-effectiveness-of-just-showing-up-everyday/
This is usually something your Payment Gateway should be able to handle, so it sounds like you might want to change providers... I would not recormend going through PCI yourself, it will be much easier to switch providers to someone who can handle it for you. You don't mention who/what this "3rd party API" is?
I have found the business model canvas pretty useful to determine if an idea is a product and has customers, this free udacity course helps you complete a business model.
The course is by Steve Blank who teaches entrepreneurship at Stanford Business school.
Defining/mocking the MVP and confirming the value of your product are usually good first activities after completing the model and determining if you need cofounders.
For purely creative ventures like movies or songs its pretty hard to confirm with either an mvp or customer interviews.
Have you heard about the Google Analytics Solution Gallery?
You can find there loads of dashboards, custom reports and advanced segments from people like Avinash Kaushik (The "God" of Analytics), the Google Analytics team, and many other experts.
Hope that helps.
This would actually make a cool monthly thread, recapping on the shared startups from a year before.
Seems like the top post, Glip was acquired by something called RingCentral, I'd be interested to hear from /u/ppezaris about what the acquisition process was like / how it came about / how big his/her company was before they were considered for acquisition.
My android app "Investing Checklist" launched yesterday and on day one got 250 downloads. Seems like it's off to a good start, so looking forward to keeping up momentum! It helps investors analyze companies to invest in.
I have put 50€ into an Instagram campaign, 50€ into a Facebook campaign and 75€ into a Google ad campaign. I plan on reaching out to influences on Instagram, Facebook, and YouTube. Anyone have any other advise for initial marketing? Thanks!
Investing Checklist: https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=lifeunlocked.valueinvestingcheatsheet
Not sure how Fiverr does it, but if you use Stripe, they have a `Connected Accounts` feature where you are the platform but payments go directly to Stripe accounts registered with your platform. If you decide to take commission or fees, it is automatically sent to your own Stripe business account.
Connected Accounts can also be managed by your backend, ie someone registers for your platform without a stripe account will get a stripe account created for them, and they will simply have to connect their own bank account to get payouts.
See https://stripe.com/connect for details. I haven't used Stripe Connect for a while so I can't remember how it all works, but this way there is no tax implications for the payments facilitated through your platform, as far as I remember.
I’d say you’re best with Trello - simple, easy, free, Kanban tool that should fulfil all those and more.
Plus it integrates with Google Apps. I’m an avid user, use it every day, and makes project management easy as anything.
Both of you should check out Wave Accounting, if you're interested in formally keep track of finances. It's free accounting software.
I run Whizkins to help with entrepreneurs. Both of you are too young to use my application right now, but I've only done that because of some legal processes I have structured in my site, and being a minor will make it difficult for counterparties to work with you on the platform.
For example, as you may have found out, being a minor can make it difficult for people to transact with you because most of your contracts by law are voidable (exceptions are contracts formed around basic necessities), which makes it risky for the other parties to enter into contracts with you since at anytime, you could say without consequences "welp, I don't want to do this contract anymore. I'm outty."
I hate that developers/designers feel the need to give things away for free in order to build a portfolio. It cheapens everyone's work, but I know it's difficult to be hired if you don't have something to show. I would say, imagine some services and build your own version (working or not). Or just take what's already out there and make your own version. See Dribbble to get an idea of what I mean.
> Linode I have no idea because in order to see the pricing I would have had to sign up
No? Just click on pricing https://www.linode.com/pricing
"Cloud" providers have hourly pricing and a API to spin up servers, if you don't need that, Hetzner is fine.
/r/Startups is for tips that can help founders, and even if you don't use a metal in your color it can help you out in other ways. For example, I'm going to put an awesome link right now to a website that is a social network for colors called ColourLovers. That link actually takes you to the top rated palettes of all time. From there, someone with no design skills can find good colors that are known to go well together for use in logos or on branding and websites. So from what you may consider a useless post, there is actually tons of useful content!
I've taken note over the years and know there are countless examples. But off the top of my head, they were aggressively optimistic on telemedicine years ago, at a time when most (even VCs) were not. They predicted the recent gaming boom and notion of the "metaverse" as the new social network (before that was a mainstream term), e.g. with their backing of Roblox and Rec Room. They also placed heavy bets on neobanks when that was a very new concept, and many fintech applications we take for granted nowadays, same with superapps, et cetera. Crypto is a perfect example, as they invested heavily in 2017 knowing a crash was imminent but that the market was here to stay. That was a controversial opinion at the time. But they were right, with Blockstack, Celo, etc.
I think that the phrase is really about people overvaluing their ideas and undervaluing the execution. So for example you meet some douchebag and he has a killer app idea that he wants you to make and split the equity 50/50. Or people have ideas that they keep under wraps and make you sign an NDA to discuss it.
The point is that these ideas are not worth anything unless they are executed properly. And if they are executed poorly then they will not work.
Also most ideas are refined and changed during execution - read The Lean Startup.
Per your HN profile, you had just created the account. Hacker News will auto kill links from new accounts which may be spammy. You have not been hell banned.
Well, the title of the post from the blog is "These 4+ Startup Copywriting Mistakes Will Kill Your Page". That seems to me like it is advice.
You also have no idea if the new version is better until you try it. When people do marketing for a living they quickly learn that it is difficult to predict what works and what doesn't until you test it. What happens if version 2 isn't as good as you thought it was? Are you going to write another blog post as an addendum to this one?
If you want to blog about how exciting your startup is, I wont get on your case. Startups can be fun and exciting and if you want to share that with the world, go for it. Just don't write blog posts giving advice to other people, especially if it's essentially off the cuff. It's a double crime: The advice is probably bad for the reader and you wasted a bunch of time writing it.
If you still want to give advice, then at least give me data. Write something like this:
> We used to have an older version that converted at 5%. Then we a/b tested version 2 and the conversion rate was 10%. Using an a/b testing calculator, I've verified the results are significant. Here are major differences between the versions that I believed accounted for the improvement.
Actually, I wouldn't recommend spending a dime on a logo if we are talking new startup here.
There's not a single startup in the history of the internet that has failed because of its logo.
And remember Google and Coca Cola - they managed with a free logo.
Here's what to do instead.
For the mobile app icon go to TheNounProject and grab an icon. Put it in a circle or other shape and add some effect in Illustrator.
For the text grab some fancy professional font. There's plenty of them if you google "free professional fonts".
To make your life easier, Squarespace created http://www.squarespace.com/logo/ which basically takes the whole NounProject database and lets you generate a logo with their icons and a nice typeface.
I'm myself a designer and I never spend more than a couple hours on a logo, and tbh even 2 hours is hella of a lot of time for a logo for a startup.
I just posted this comment at the blog, but I'm not sure if it's going to be approved. Dashboards is a subject that I'm very interested in because my company provides a related product. This was my comment:
> I found that if the dashboards are not prevalent, people often forget to look at them... well, I do, even the ones I care about. I check them out every day and one day I forget and I lose the habit and puff, it's gone from my day to day work.
> That's why I created a solution, Screensaver Ninja, a screensaver that displays web pages, such as Google Analytics, KISSmetrics, Geckoboard, or even custom built dashboards, so that whenever any computer at your office is not being used, it turns into an information dissemination machine of the data you care about. You can learn more about it here: https://Screensaver.Ninja
Fog creek put this on their pricing page:
If you're not satisfied, for any reason, within 90 days you get a full refund, period, no questions asked. We don't want your money if you're not amazingly happy.
First off, get rid of your dev team. I understand you have already sunk money into the project but you need to be able to cut your losses. I say this for 2 reasons: First, you need to know when your project is getting completed (and it sounds like that isn't the case), any good developer will more or less hold themselves accountable to a specific timeframe. Second, if these guys are writing bad code, "revamping" later on will literally require you starting from scratch. No good developer is going to waste time going through lines of poorly written code, it is more efficient to start over.
2 solutions, depending on your remaining budget.
Hire a new developer, interview them before you enter a contract. oDesk (http://odesk.com/) is a good place to start looking for someone. Hire someone in America!! Im assuming you are from here.
Create your own MVP prototype. Try Marvel (https://marvelapp.com/). It won't be a fully functioning product, but you can definitely use it to convey how your concept will work.
Bubble.io and you build yourself with no code. Pretty sure there is even a tutorial to build a YouTube and I’ll get it for you. I would build an mvp here and see if you gain traction. Save your money and validate
I'd recommend looking at something like ionic or steroids for building out a native app in HTML. It will make your life much easier and you can get some nice things going pretty damn quickly with their development tools over starting a fresh with bare phonegap/cordova.
Not sure if this applies, I don't know much about data scraping - but my friend has a data scraping web app that you can use. To my knowledge - you can use it on the larger sites: https://www.parsehub.com/
It generates slick video slideshows out of your photographs with ken-burns style animations set to music. It used to have a one-and-done purchase model but has since tried to move to a monthly fee. I can't imagine why. I've used it twice, once for a funeral, once for a wedding. When they switched to monthly I gave up using it.
I don't think it's a poor deal, it's an incredibly bad deal. If you've been working for a year, with 3 people (as I understand it) and you're taking in an investment of $100k for 25% equity this means (in a very broad and non-technical way):
Please please please find another angel. Go list on http://angel.co and harass everyone but don't take this deal. Especially if you're changing it like you said.
Trello ( https://trello.com ) is a great free multi user task board. It has due dates, attachments, assign users, comments and a lot more.
It's really nice to be able see everything at a glance.
There are more fully feature tools out there, but you can't beat trello for simplicity and focused feature set.
You need to do customer development, check out books like "The Mom Test" and "Lean Customer Development". But before your prospective customers will want to talk to you you need to get some credibility. Try to create some content that solves problems that they are aware of, then you'll be able to talk with them.
Sorry for the snark, but the best way to do it, is to actually do it. The "do" matters far more than any idea etc. This is actually a very common newbie error: worrying about patents, secrecy etc.
Build your idea and get it out there: look up "The Lean Startup" (Eric Ries) and Steve Blank's writings and talks.
Rapidly validate a handful without needing a dev. Read Running Lean by Ash Muraya, read Mom Test by Rob Fitzpatrick, read a summary of the 4 Steps to the Epiphany. It will take time but you will know if any of the ideas have value.
No matter what market you enter you are going to want to use marketing to accelerate that word of mouth of your great product. Sales? Not always. Check out how Atlassian did it, pretty sweet.
Here is an excerpt from Peter Theil's book Zero to One that may be interesting:
>In Silicon Valley, nerds are skeptical of advertising, marketing, and sales because they seem superficial and irrational. But advertising matters because it works. It works on nerds, and it works on you. You may think that you're an exception; that your preferences are authentic, and advertising only works on other people. It's easy to resist the most obvious sales pitches, so we entertain a false confidence in our own independence of mind. But advertising doesn't exist to make you buy a product right away; it exists to embed subtle impressions that will drive sales later. Anyone who can't acknowledge its likely effect on himself is doubly deceived.
People are WAY too focused on avoiding dilution. Dilution is quite rarely a problem. It's something to keep an eye on, but it shouldn't really have much impact on your decision-making in the ideation stage. And if you're smart about who you bring on as an investor, dilution will simply mean that there are more awesome people out there who have skin in the game. That's a good thing.
But to answer your questions:
The biggest problem with most of them is they imply there is a recipe - a formula - for getting to success. There isn't.
If someone has the spare time, and understands something like "The Lean Startup" isn't even applicable outside an extremely narrow type of business, there isn't much harm in reading them.
But honestly, people would be better off spending that time going out and talking to potential customers.
It makes me utterly cringe when I see 'marketing' conflated with things like SEO, SERP, Facebook ad campaigns, website font choices, and on and on. But I guarantee you that your points will be completely missed by 90% of readers, because the things that you're suggesting are deceptively difficult. It's far easier to fiddle with your ad campaign keywords or run A/B testing, than it is to define and create a marketing plan which might deprecate your previous work. It's far far easier to mess around with fonts than it is to network and generate leads.
My number one gripe and number one suggestion for every entrepreneur is this: if you have to read books, stop reading The Lean Startup and Zero to One et al, and read an undergrad introduction to marketing, and an undergrad introduction to finance. If you have the drive to be an entrepreneur, and you actually understand marketing, you'll be ahead of a lot of people.
You need to identify who you truly are and find a name that backs it up.
-Tinder is used to refer to the smallest pieces of getting a fire started. Tinder as a company uses the name because its the first step in "igniting a spark" between two people.
-Uber used to be called "UberCab" until they switched to simply "Uber". Here is a description of the name "Uber". It essentially means a better alternative.
Theoretically, the name of successful companies isn't why they became successful. As long as it is memorable, easy to say, and something your target market understands then the name will be just fine.
Digital Ocean recently added scalable block storage to their service, allowing you to attach up to 16TB of SSD backed storage to your nodes.
I'm waiting for Linode to do something similar.
As everyone says, find a lawyer. Here are a couple places to start...
Don't be offended if a lawyer doesn't call you back. That is just their way of saying that this case isn't a good fit for them (so you don't want them anyway). Most lawyers have had bad experiences (threats, etc) telling people that their case doesn't meet their profile, so some will just go silent rather than communicating they aren't interested.
See if you can find one that works in M&A (mergers and acquisitions).
an acquihire is a normal purchase of a whole company, which gets incorporated into a parent company, i.e. absorbed. its product may be discontinued.
the reason it's called an acquiHIRE is because in fact it's a hidden hiring strategy. Entrepreneurs don't want to work as a java engineer for some huge faceless corporation. they much prefer to build something new and own it.
so huge faceless corporations will purchase companies at an early stage to get access to these employees.
this is not considered a desirable outcome or one to target by people who are starting companies. It's a 'soft landing' or barely better than just dissolving the company.
there is huge backlash when large companies do this in a misleading way - i.e. pretend to want to make an investment and leave a company independent so it can grow under independent management (like when Facebook got an investment from Peter Thiel when it was still a dorm room project), but in fact are just trying to fill out an open vacancy in their organization.
Here's a write-up about this:
"Hi, it’s Google Corporate Development"
You can see a large backlash against this strategy here -
It's a poor way of joining a company, i.e. a bit of a scam and not what entrepreneurs are trying to build, for the most part. an engineer building a company doesn't want an extra $1M net worth while being locked into a medium well-paying job. They want to grow their baby and have it dominate its market, more or less independently, with investors who add value and help make it happen but don't begin directing the founders as employees per se.
I recently read an article on HN that addressed this issue. https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=8166614 I don't know how factual the information pertaining to their beginning is, but it makes sense. Basically Uber came in offering a more efficient or add-on to black car service's dispatching. The black car company had nothing to lose, they were just expanding. So aside from signing up independent drivers like now...they were signing up mostly full companies.
I discovered uber when it came to Dallas (prior to uberX). So I don't know their original strategy but it could have been similar to how I found them. I attend a number of charity events with ticket prices above $100...a very attractive gift card package would be placed in the "goodie bag" for the event.
Ok, I'll bite. Our landing page for our new patent search engine can be found at Patent Monk
Looking forward to your critique, especially as we're changing it up in the next week now that we've launched on Product Hunt
Uhm honestly, this takes a lot of experience. A couple sources where you can find out how much a MVP would cost is, gigster.com , chat w someone and explain what you would need done. and upwork.com find a developer/designer who could build a layout of your site/app.
The common thing is to worry about someone taking your ideal and making billions of dollars. I do consulting and I can say that almost every developer is too busy and is approached with many ideas every year to take an idea. It makes sense to worry about it but you have to figure out an estimate somehow.
Last thing I would say is to thing about what technical pieces you would need: Do you need a database server to store information? (what kind, just user data or big files like pictures and video), offline app or online? Is there going to be money flowing through in the app? etc.
You really need an accounting system. You'll be glad later that you started early. We use Xero but really any of the top ones eg Freshbooks will do.
If you absolutely can't spend the subscription amount yet and you've got some leet hacker skills, then try out something like http://www.ledger-cli.org/ or one of it's ports. This will allow you to export to a more dedicated system down the road.
No. You cannot do whatever you want with the photos just because they are in the public domain -- available under a CC0 license.
I am using some of those sites myself, but be aware that you might face legal issues if a photo shows:
Photos of clearly identifiable people require a model release; for buildings you need a property release. Brands require some form of contract that gives you permission to use their logo/products.
Pixabay has a blog post about what public domain means in terms of what-is-allowed and what-is-not.
In your opinion, what are the things that makes your product standout from alternative, free options like Open Web Analytics?
Congrats on being able to make a living from something you created on your own!
Watch an idiot use it.
For the past week or two we've been using Inspectlet on our app ChartBlocks. Highly recommend it.
We couldn't understand why people were struggling to make good charts. We installed the Inspectlet code and every single person that it recorded was getting stuck at the same point. There wasn't a bug, it just wasn't obvious what you needed to do. We were seeing people give up time and time again after spending 10-15 seconds looking for a particular tool.
Sure as a developer I would probably have clicked around a bit more and persevered but I'm not making an app just for developers. We turned it into more of a wizard so that it's hard to go wrong and user engagement with the product has been much better.
$100 is still too much, unless you're sending out emails on a near-daily basis.
Amazon will deliver your emails for $0.10 per thousand. Assuming you send out emails once per week, that would cost you $28.
You can explore IndieHackers. Its a community of people who started side projects. You can start your own side project or collaborate with others. I like its products section with different filters.
I was a jazz musician who ended up co-founding a startup and running a team of nearly 40 people (and went through an acquisition). I totally get what you're going through!
The best books I can think of for your situation are:
If you'd like to chat sometime, send me a message. I've been through a ton of ups and downs, from patent trolls, to crashing on Black Friday, to key employees quitting etc.
Excel will probably grow pretty unwieldy pretty quick.
I've heard good things about airtable
Also I'd look into a dedicated client management system. Zoho, Salesforce, Insightly and those like.
We do 100% remote work. Our setup:
GSuite: Emails, file sharing etc
Gitlab: Code repo
Lastpass: Password sharing
Toggl: Time tracking
Clickup: Task tracking
Telegram: Chatting. I would prefer to switch to Discord but owner doesn't want to
Also depending on other needs:
Datadog: Server monitoring
Pagerduty: For when shit goes down.
Yubikey: This is hardware but is a secure 2FA device. Since I essentially run everything needed for the company I need the most secure 2FA method possible. Yubikey where I can.
ProtonVPN: Secure VPN with some static IPs. This way I can whitelist logins.
Postman: API testing
Lucidcharts: Graphing / Flow process
Teamviewer: Fixing issues
For sure! It sounds like a great idea for a consulting firm.
If you're just getting started, I would read The Innovator's Dilemma. In short, company's have incentives for short-term (quarterly) revenue goals, and often don't invest in industry-shifting R&D that will keep them on the cutting edge. Small businesses have a huge advantage in this area, both to compete, or even to help big businesses be competitive by training them in new ways of thinking.
If you're literally looking to get started, what kind of simple, pro-bono work could you do? If you could do a survey of some kind with the city (for free) to find different ways to save them money, then they could turn around and hire you to take care of the changes. E.g. let's say you find a way to save a system or machine $1,000,000 a year by making changes that cost $300k. You could then charge $150,000, and your client will still come out on top that year (and every year after, assuming they maintain those changes).
Free work pays for itself in clients later on, because it establishes you as a trustworthy person/company.
Love the books The Lean Startup and Exponential Organizations!
I have worked at 3. The main things to do are:
The Lean Startup Manual from the father of Customer Development, Steve Blank.
It's setup in a way to allow you to dive into chapters that you feel you need most help in, rather than a book you read cover to cover.
I've read Zero to One, was ok, definitely one of those motivational books, but wasn't massively practical which is something I prefer.
Four Hour Work Week - Tim Ferriss (I was very cynical and to say it's changed my view of the world is an understatement)
E-Myth Revisited - Michael Gerber (Just read this, surrounded by what seems a lot of fluff this book has nonetheless got some great points and guides to setting up a business)
> I’ve spent six months building this ... they couldn’t justify paying for such a service
Ouch! You just described Eric Ries's book ( http://theleanstartup.com/ ). He spent 6 months and millions of dollars building an application. Then he launched it and no one pressed the download button.
His epiphany was that he could have spent one day building the website with the download button and could have found out that he wasn't building what people wanted.
It sounds like you may have missed a step of "getting out of the building" and talking to customers. There are probably a dozen ways you could have validated whether people found value in this idea/plug-in before you spent 6 months building it.
It also sounds like you didn't find a problem to solve. Instead you built a technology first, and now are trying to find who has the problem to solve with that technology. This is backwards.
Instead, if you think there are opportunities in e-mail, great, go validate it. Start doing deep interviews with customers who use e-mail a lot and start learn how they use it. Observe them. Not only what they say... but what do they do? You'll gain valuable insights from this.
Once you think you have a problem, go validate that it exists, that the market is big enough, and that the pain is big enough that someone will pay you to solve it for them.
Two highly recommend books:
Running Lean - Ash Maurya
The Startup Owner's Manual - Steve Blank
You'll find in both books that building your technology comes much, much later than you think.
The idea is good but can you explain to me the following:
What makes your service unique from a scenario where Thingiverse starts a eshop selling models hosted by companies?
Does your product replace the firmware on the printers so that copying the model being printed is prevented?
I work with and also own a 3D printer, already signed up for the trial on the site.
You are too early. You have no traction, nor any reason for investors to believe you can do this much better than existing players in the space.
ie. there are a lot of online tutoring tools, http://mashable.com/2013/08/20/online-tutoring-resources/
How are you different?
If I were you, id consider focusing on a single topic area, and make it the best resource for tutoring.
Then, go get some traction.
Then, write a pitch deck.
A convertible note is a wonderful way to raise money and avoid certain tax issues but also can still prevent you from losing a crap ton of equity for such a small amount.
It basically works like this, they will essentially be giving you a loan for X amount let's say $5,000 at 5% interest for 3 years.
Up until the end of the loan they will have the ability to convert this loan into common stock. Usually this will occur when you raise more money such as a Series A. You sweeten the deal by adding a Cap Rate and a Discount however this prevents you from giving % points. Instead you are giving them the ability to buy shares which may seem small but it's really a big deal.
If you have questions or want more info on doing this here's a few good links.
This also keeps the IRS off your back because when you take shares of your company they can tax it at value price. Since convertible debt doesn't actually valuate your company you aren't stuck at a higher valuation.
Here's a relevant quora post:
tl;dr you're probably more productive doing other stuff in your free time rather than butt time.