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10 Things Done Wrong Innovation

In: Business and Management

Submitted By mrtgrpcn
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10 you don’t have to. by: tara ‘missrogue’ hunt

things I’ve done wrong

who am I and why I’m qualified to talk about this stuff:
• co-founder + CEO • been raising $$ for >1yr • raised $200k F&F • believed the hype • lived in SF for 4yrs • made a crapload of mistakes already • serial entrepreneur (but first startup)


focused on the ‘big picture’ too much

the original* pitch deck
*since 2008 when I put this deck together, I’ve done 75+ versions...

“The hard part is to figure out the fewest possible features that could possibly accomplish your company’s goals.” Eric Ries

The advantages of Minimum Viable Product (MVP)

1.test your assumptions 2.minimal wasted time/energy 3.iterative based on real customer needs

The trouble with Minimum Viable Product (MVP) has to be viable has to be viable has to be viable

key: build something your customers can use.

what we did wrong: kept focusing on (our idea of) the final product and building minimum components of it rather than thinking about what our customers could really use.

we were wandering lost in the sea of aimless builds with no data and no reason

unfortunately, it took us a year and $200k to figure this out. fortunately, we’ve figured it out.

3 ways to figure out MVP
1. Think about the problem you want to solve and ask yourself: “Could I accomplish this on an email list?” Try it. On an email list. OR think about how people solve it currently. Can you hack that? 2. Talk to as many of your intended customers as possible and ask them for little things they really need. Build something that keeps coming up from these conversations in a weekend. 3. No audience? No problem to solve? Twitter, for instance, didn’t start out to solve a problem, but they launched a pretty minimal product. It was engaging because it was super simple to use. Think: Instagram.

STOP thinking about the big picture*. START thinking about creating value NOW.

*a big picture is very good to have, but note that these things tend to shift, morph and become something altogether new over time.


focused on the wrong things

wrong things: anything that pushes people to do what you want them to do (i.e. spend time on your site)

right things: things that let people do what they want to do where they want to do it

What to focus on #1:

onramps and offramps

onramps the ways we allow people to post to our apps from other places

offramps the ways we allow people to post to other places from our apps

Facebook connect Twitter connect Mobile app Email forwarding Bookmarklet/Browser add-ons Buyo buttons on other sites

Facebook likes, comments, recommends, etc. Posting to Twitter SMS/MMS Email sending Browser notifications Site widgets/embeds

What to focus on #2:


you don’t need a crystal ball to tell you what to do next, you need analytics.

PR, Search, WOM Is there a story?

Landing pages
Is the message clear? Is it compelling?

Pricing/ Sign up Actions/ Payment process interaction options How easy is the sign up?
How easy is Can the user adding live without it? content/ How simple is paying? interacting?

Tell a friend/ invites
Is this so awesome they’ll wanna tell friends? Do you make it easy? measure: invites, tweets, fb posts, emails + other referrals

measure: measure: measure: unique visitors bounce rate on completion/ from various entry pages abandonment sources

measure: events/tasks win: engagement with actions/ interactions growing
Mixpanel KISS Metrics Google Analytics

measure: transactions/ shopping cart abandonment

win: unique visitors growing steadily

win: bounce win: sign up rate low + growth + filling moving to sign up profile up Google Analytics Mixpanel KISS metrics Mixpanel KISS Metrics Google Analytics

win: growing percentage of paid customers
Mixpanel KISS Metrics Google Analytics

win: growing percentage of customers sharing + inviting others
Mixpanel KISS Metrics Google Analytics Google Analytics

framework courtesy of Alistair Croll + Sean Power in AMAZING book “Complete Web Monitoring”







What to focus on #3:

user experience

once you have a good sense of where you are losing people, figure out what you are doing wrong and fix the experience.

Heard you get no traffic. are you talking to the right audience? solving a real need? bad optimization? research needed.



Engaged Bought Referred people are lots of sign ups + using + use, but buying, but nobody is nobody is sharing buying.

you lose people you get people in sign up, lots of the sign- but then hits, but up. never do nobody anything. signs up. is the sign up are the is your process instructions clear? Is message simple clear? are enough? posting too hard? do you talking do you you have to the right have performance audience? performance issues? issues?

is it simple something enough? people like, obvious? but isn’t a are they just ‘painkiller’ using your enough to product or buy? in love?

is sharing

when you have a clue through analytics, you move onto talking to your customers individually (and through surveys) to get more data.


didn’t spend enough time on culture from day one

Aren’t they cute?

picking a co-founder is on the same level as picking a husband or a wife.

Things to look for in a co-founder
1. complimentary skills 2. ability to ‘pull their own weight’ - these are co-founders, not employees 3. good conflict resolution skills (ability to kiss and makeup after the biggest fights you will ever have) 4. undying faith in you, the team and what you are doing 5. strong personality

if you ARE married or in a relationship, your husband/wife needs to understand you just brought a second (and 3rd) spouse into your life.

Culture is key: our 8 cultural values


didn’t quit my ‘day job’ fast enough

“I’m all in” I was home after our incorporation about 25% of the time for the first 8 months of Buyosphere.


drank my own Kool-Aid

I admit it. I have an ego the size of Germany.

just because you’re on TechCrunch doesn’t mean that anyone cares...

So many things that were cool, but didn’t matter
• chosen as a ASTIA portfolio company • named as one of the 25 Women-Led Startups to Watch by Fast Company Magazine • We raised $200k in F&F convertible debt from really fancy people • chosen as a TechCrunch Disrupt (SF) Finalist • Featured on Mashable, TechCrunch, ReadWriteWeb, SFChronicle, Building43 (Scobleizer), WowElle and more...

what matters? product/market fit. nothing else.
(Robert Scoble can offer you his first born and unless you find product/market fit, you have a ways to go.)


underestimated the time it would take to raise money

How long we thought it will take to raise money How long it actually took

in months



the amount of time we had to get VERY creative = 9 months



Seed money

raise money

get to traction

if we got to traction, raising money would be simple if we raised money, we could have more runway to get to traction (or at least hire A level people)


listened to the tech press

“So, to hell with all that noise. It’s just a big mass of envy, chatter and FOMO. Let’s get excited and make things.” Caterina Fake


focused too much on competition

I made hundreds of these... blah not even an issue a little too close for comfort, but we’re obviously up and over there weeeee! look at us up here!


yoda yeah, these ones are okay, but are missing the big picture, right?


opposite of blah

a quadrant has nothing to do with how you will fare against your competitors. (refer to point #2 on what matters)

fact: just because they’ve raised more $$ than you, it doesn’t mean they will win. (we’ve watched at least 10 ‘competitors’ raise oodles of dough and then shutter or pivot)


didn’t learn from competition

as we weren’t raising money, they were hiring big teams to make mistakes for us!


didn’t communicate

there is no such thing as over-communication when you are doing a startup.

but...there is

that you should also know about


thing I’ve done right

“Many of life's failures are people who did not realize how close they were to success when they gave up.”
Thomas Edison

the entrepreneurial venn desire to delusional A change the status quo

A. those that go postal B. dictators C. serial killers D. startup entrepreneurs

thank you for being crazy, audacious dreamers. xo

Tara (@missrogue) Hunt ceo/co-founder, Buyosphere 514-679-2951…...

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