Put Yourself in a Position to Be Lucky

Last week I spoke at a University of Toronto event to a small group of students. They were mostly business students (so I implored them to learn how to code and be useful–seriously business students, learn to code). As I was going to the event and reviewing my notes, I wrote the following down: Put […]

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Prioritize Product Development by the Four Stages of Use

When prioritizing feature development I like to think of a product in four pieces: Ongoing Engagement, Onboarding, First User Experience and Marketing/Growth. These are actually the steps a user goes through during their lifecycle with your product (listed in reverse). Think of your product less in terms of features and more in terms of the […]

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Product Debt

If you’ve spent any amount of time around developers you should be familiar with the term technical debt. Technical debt comes from hacking things together quickly and moving on. It accumulates over time. It can come back to bite you in the ass (if you scale to the point where the debt becomes obvious). It’s […]

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Experimenting with Product, Price and Market

Every startup has to experiment with product, price and market to find the right combination that allows them to scale and win. But if you find yourself experimenting with all three at the same time, you need to take a step back and evaluate where you’re really at. Last week I wrote about product/market fit […]

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Product/Market Fit and Lean Analytics

In the last couple weeks I’ve read a few great blog posts about product/market fit and the confusion that exists around what it really means. I’d say for many early stage startups, product/market fit is thought of as that point in time when you’ve finally built a product that people use and it’s time to […]

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“No Marketing” Isn’t as Impressive as You Think

Almost every early stage startup that pitches me these days talks about the traction they’ve had with absolutely no marketing whatsoever. “We have five hundred signups and we’ve done no marketing at all.” “Our beta list is growing quickly–and we’re not even marketing yet!” “Customers are knocking at our door, and that’s with no marketing.” […]

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Taking Advantage of Startup Accelerators

Last week a company that I advise, Qimple, got accepted into 500 Startups. It’s great to see. Lots of people are congratulating them on Facebook and Twitter. They’re incredibly excited. In Canada we buzz about our entrepreneurs “making it” south of the border. All warm and fuzzy. But let’s be clear: Qimple hasn’t won squat. […]

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The Book Publisher of the Future – an Open Spec

Ever since writing Lean Analytics I’ve been thinking about what a new publishing company might look like, one that is designed to do more than print books. I even contemplated starting a new company to tackle the problems in book publishing (but I decided against it). Still, I can’t help but get aggravated about how […]

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Onboarding Isn’t About Signups, It’s About Long-Term Engagement

At some point in your startup’s existence you’ll need to focus a lot of attention on your product’s onboarding experience. Don’t worry about this right away. At the start just make sure people can sign up and go get some early adopters by any means necessary. Once you’ve proven that a small number of people […]

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GoInstant is Gone But the Story Continues

Some time ago, GoInstant finally turned off their website and said “goodbye”. I know this was a bittersweet moment for many, because I worked so hard, side-by-side, with the team for 3 years. I’m no longer at GoInstant (which was acquired by Salesforce), but it was sad for me too. In the end, GoInstant was […]

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