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Thursday
Dec112014

How I fell in love with—and invested $250k in—the BETTER App

I never invest in music or healthcare startups. In music, anything that’s interesting to consumers is quickly slaughtered by the rights holders, and in health, anything interesting is brutally murdered by red tape.

At least that was my thinking until I fell in love with a simple little App called BETTER.

[Click to tweet (you can edit before sending): http://ctt.ec/BGFyc]

 

What is BETTER?

BETTER is an App that pairs you with a PHA (personal health assistant) in a Facebook-like feed. It costs only $20 per month for individuals and $50 per month for families.

Once in the App you can ask your PHA to do something for you. In the last six months I typed in the following questions and got the following actions:

1. “I get motion sickness and my friend gave me a pill called something like macklazine and I’d like to get a prescription for it for my vacation in Nantucket.”

The PHA informed me that the real name was “meclizine,” talked to my primary care doctor and got me a prescription for a patch that my doctor felt was even more effective. I went on a boat for hours around Nantucket and felt like an old sailor with an iron stomach for the first time in my life!

I would have never taken the time to make the phone call, but because I had the App I literally typed in the request while I was vacationing in Italy. BETTER is an awesome name for this App, but it could also have been called EASY!

Oh yeah, my PHA pinged me when the pharmacy had the drug ready.

Time saved: 2–3 hours.

2. “I’ve caught my daughters cold, and I’ve now got a tickle in my throat, a headache, body aches and a cough. Help!”

My PHA got my primary care doctor on the phone, he knew my symptoms already and we got some meds to a brand-new pharmacy in San Francisco (didn’t have one yet since I had just moved up here).

Time saved: 2 hours.

3. “Here is a photo of a mole on my ankle I’ve had since childhood—it just started bleeding! I’m concerned because my uncles all have skin cancer. Can you find me a dermatologist in San Francisco?”

PHA sent me three doctors, their reviews, and the times they had available. I picked the one I liked best, and they set up the appointment.

Time saved: 3–4 hours.

4. “I’m going to the dermatologist you set up, but I don’t want to fill out any paperwork or sit in a waiting room—can you help?”

My PHA did a Docusign for me to fill out on my phone and let the office know I that I needed to get in and out as fast as possible. Got three moles looked at and one removed—in under 30 minutes.

Total time saved: 4–5 hours.

 

Why this is so great

The health system is a complete mess and is massively time consuming. My family pays $15,000 per year for our health insurance, but we don’t use it much because it takes so long to wait on hold for doctors, get appointments, find out if folks are in our network, fill out paperwork, and generally manage everything.

With our PHA we pay $600 per year—far too cheap in my mind—and we use our healthcare at least 3x more.

For 4% of the cost of our health care we receive 300% of the value! It’s insane!

 

What do I want next from BETTER?

First, I want to have my doctor in my feed. In fact, I want all my doctors in my feed: my GP, my weight-loss doctor (down 20+ pounds and going for 10 more!), my dermatologist (for the moles), and anyone else my PHA hires for me.

Second, I want all my documents inside of BETTER with all my doctors seeing all of the paperwork—and an audit trail to see if they open them!

Third, I want to use a 3rd-party testing service to take blood, saliva, and other tests for me every six months and put them into my BETTER app—alerting my doctors to them so they can do a review and give me any feedback.

Fourth, I want BETTER to take my weight from my Withings scale and my data from my Basis Watch and give it to my PHA, wife, and doctors.

That’s the thing about an inspiring product, when you find one you just come up with all the things you want to add to it!

Whenever I get that feeling I just write a check, and so I gave BETTER $250,000 and I’m planning on giving them another $500,000 with my AngelList Syndicate in a couple of months when they get their next set of features done.

I love the service so much I bought it for all of my employees because so many young people get health care and simply do not use it because it’s too confusing! I’ve had employees come to work sick because they simply don’t have the time or inclination to find a primary care doctor—or even a walk-in clinic! Thousands of dollars in health care that goes unused because young folks don’t know how to use it.

The healthcare system is a mess, that’s why hiring your own PHA—and I call them an advocate NOT an assistant—is so brilliant. Medicine is broken and you NEED an advocate fighting for you and your family.

My main concern right now for the company is they are charging TOO LITTLE. I’ve asked them to add the features I’ve discussed above and charge me $100–150 per month (literally 2–3x as much) because that’s the value I’m getting!

I do hope you try the product out because I think it’s a revolution.

Now, if only I could find a music App to make me change my mind about investing in music startups!

Oh yeah, I asked BETTER to give me a discount code. For 50% off the first paid month, go to www.getbetter.com/app to download the App, and then type jcal in as the referral code on the sign-in screen.

all the best, @jason

PS — I just hosted BETTER’s founder Geoffrey Clapp on This Week in Startups. It’s an amazing discussion about how BETTER works, and the challenges & opportunities of innovating in healthcare. Check it out — http://goo.gl/HYfp7b

PPS — I’ve written two other “Why I invested in…” posts. For Calm.com, which is doing amazingly well http://goo.gl/TdZgWf, and for Swell, which was bought by Apple http://goo.gl/pYPQN0.

PPPS — Are you ready to change your life forever? We’re hiring a Designer in Residence and a Developer in Residence for The Incubator! http://goo.gl/GiseZU

Tuesday
Dec092014

Are you ready to change your life forever?

Are you ready to quit & change your destiny?

Here at LAUNCH our mission is “to support founders & inspire innovation,” and today we’re thrilled to announce our “In Residence” program — a chance for you to change your destiny in this life!

[Click to tweet (you can edit before posting): http://ctt.ec/yO9tA ]

This Thursday we are starting the LAUNCH Incubator, as you may have read. We have seven (perhaps eight if they sign their contract today!) of the most promising startups I’ve ever seen in eight years of hosting the Launch Festival and across 80 investments (Uber and Thumbtack.com are in those 80, so that’s saying something).

Each of these startups represent another 30+ qualified applicants we didn’t take (so, they are the top 3% of the class).

We will be accepting a “Designer in Residence” and a “Developer in Residence” — DIRs for short — for the Incubator starting next Thursday.

The goal for the DIRs will be one of the following:

a) join one of the seven startups as a founder
b) start their own startup during the Incubator (which we will fund with $25,000)
c) learn a ton & get automatically accepted into the spring LAUNCH Incubator class

Here are some other particulars:

1. You don’t have to quit your job right now, you simply need to be able to get to the Thursday night incubator classes by 5PM.
2. The worst-case scenario is that you sit in on 12 of the most informative three-hour classes taking place in the Valley — for free!
3. You need to be world class, not up-and-coming. If you think you’ll be great only after coming out of this experience you’re not the right person. You need to be an elite developer or designer coming into the program — that’s why we’re giving you the slot!
4. Designers: we need to see exceptional work.
5. Developers: we need to see exceptional code.
6. Your participation will be kept 100% confidential — or I will tweet to 200k+ folks that you got the slot. Your choice!
7. You’ll give feedback to each team, each week. So, only free if you feel like helping out. The concept is for you to get a feel for the other teams and decide if you want to jump on their rocket ships.

If you think you have what it takes: apply!

Designer In Residence, LAUNCH Incubator 2015 Winter Session:https://launch.submittable.com/submit/37334

Developer In Residence, LAUNCH Incubator 2015 Winter Session:https://launch.submittable.com/submit/37250

In other LAUNCH Festival news:

Amazing speakers:
Jeff Weiner, LinkedIn
Joanne Wilson, Gotham Gal Ventures
Halle Tecco, Rock Health
Yancey Strickler, Kickstarter
Angela Benton, NewME Accelerator
Chris Sacca, Lowercase Capital
Gigi Brisson, Attractor Ventures
Gary Vaynerchuk, VaynerMedia
Cyan Banister, Banister Capital

Amazing partners:
Connect.com (http://connect.com); IceHouse (http://www.icehousecorp.com); Sequoia Capital (https://www.sequoiacap.com); InvisionApp (http://www.invisionapp.com); Javelin Venture Partners (http://www.javelinventurepartners.com); Macys (http://www.macys.com); Expedia (http://www.expedia.com); Nordstrom (www.nordstrom.com); .Me (http://domain.me); .CO (http://www.go.co); DFJ (http://dfj.com); Get Invited (https://getinvited.to); Modulus (https://modulus.io/); Message Bus (https://messagebus.com); Sinch (https://www.sinch.com); Firebase (https://www.firebase.com); FullContact (https://www.fullcontact.com)

Apply to LAUNCH on stage: https://launch.submittable.com/submit/36488

A complimentary ticket just for you & your best friend, register here:
http://goo.gl/M1Ev6x

all the best, @jason & the amazing LAUNCH Team

PS — I had Jimmy Chamberlin of Smashing Pumpkins fame on This Week in Startups: it’s one of my personal top five interviews of all time:http://goo.gl/Igs0n5. Thanks to our partners FreshBooks and Citrix Sharefile for sponsoring this episode.

PPS — We are looking for a contract- or full-time writer to do startup profiles for our new product “The LAUNCH Ticker Pro.” The LAUNCH Ticker Pro (LTP) is $1,000/year and publishes 150 in-depth profiles of emerging startups my team is considering for the Festival, investment, or the podcast. We are thinking this elite product will only have 100 subscribers and we’ve already signed up five of them in the first week. Apply at http://goo.gl/hzZVry & to signup for LTP visit:http://launchticker.com/plans

PPPS — The LAUNCH Festival costs us $1.4m to put on and we make $0.000 running it. We do it to help founders. As such, we rely on sponsors to help us break even. Everyone who buys a $14,000 sponsorship gets us 1% of the way there, and they help subsidize the 9,500 people who come to the event on scholarship (for free!). PLEASE BE A HERO AND HELP US! Email me personally jason@launch.co and let’s do it!

Wednesday
Nov122014

How to Launch your startup in 100 days — at LAUNCH Festival!

In 109 days we will host the 8th annual LAUNCH Festival…

… and you’re launching your startup at it!

[ Click to tweet this email (you can edit first): http://ctt.ec/lH0g9 ]

Over the eight years, I personally selected and coached startups including: Dropbox ($10B+ valuation), Mint (sold to Intuit for $170M), Yammer (sold to Microsoft for $1.2B), Red Beacon (sold to Home Depot for $70M+), Clicker (sold to CBS for $100m), FitBit ($300M+ valuation), Swype & TrueCar (IPOed this year, $1B valuation) for their six monumental minutes on stage.

Those startups combined, and the 390 others that launched on the stage, are now worth well over 20 billion dollars.

You’re next!

Over 10,000 people are coming this year (more: jc.is/Festival15), and 3,000 will be in the room when you launch.

There is nothing that says your journey can’t start right now. You can launch a killer idea on that stage! Everyone in our industry is, with few exceptions, 1st generation. No one running a unicorn right now is 3rd generation Silicon Valley. Doesn’t exist. It’s not like the people who ran HP let their kids start Microsoft and their kids built Netscape before their kids created Twitter.

99%+ of the folks here in the Bay Area are *imported*, and most are from much humbler beginnings.

Just. Like. You.

Here is all you need to do:

1. Find a problem in the world that you think needs to be solved.

2. Build a team of three people including at least one awesome designer and two developers. If you’re a business person, get three partners.

3. Commit to working 40 hours a week on the idea: that’s only 6 hours a day.

4. You actually don’t have to quit your job—you just have to commit to not wasting time watching TV.
5. Do interviews with actual customers, ask them the basic questions like: “how likely would you be to use this product?,” “how much would you pay for this product per month?” and “how would you solve this problem if the product didn’t exist in the world?”
6. Release an MVP on stage that does at least two or three cool things in a simple fashion, explain how you’ll make money and what five things you are considering doing next (showing designs of those five things—mock ups are ok!).

That’s it.

All of you can do this, but few of you will.

50 of you will get on stage.

40 of those companies will get funded.

25 of those companies will make it to year two.

10 of those companies will have awesome exits.

Two or three of them will change the world.

My good friend Phil Kaplan told me once that an average person has a million-dollar idea every day. I told him that means a stupid person has a million-dollar idea every month and a smart person has a billion-dollar idea every week.

He agreed.

The ideas are out there. The problems are out there.

But folks would rather binge-watch Homeland and Orange is the New Black (both excellent by the way), rather than tackle the hard problems.

Will you “catch up on your shows” or change the world? That’s the question you need to ask yourself.

The LAUNCH Festival is for the folks who are willing to give up their TV and Xbox and focus their lives—even for a brief 120 days—on building a kick ass product.

If that’s you here’s what you need to do:

1. Sign up for this mailing list for updates from me: jc.is/1xdD5Cm

2. Follow twitter.com/launchfestival and twitter.com/jason

3. Watch This Week in Startups when you need a break: jc.is/1qs6BOP

4. Buy the Lean Startups Books

5. Study great product designs at Dribbble.com and Behance.net

6. Learn how to conduct user interviews & contextual interviews:
jc.is/1qs6vXx
jc.is/1u49rye

7. Make a plan to build the top three things — not all the things — that will build credibility with angel investors and early adopters.

8. Anything that doesn’t fit into the plan goes into the “not right now bucket” or “mock it up bucket.”

9. Refine your skills: go to TreeHouse, Lynda or YouTube and f@#$ing figure it out. Be resourceful because the Universe doesn’t care that no one taught you how to do it—it’s your job to do it!

10. Watch Startup Basics here: jc.is/1saU4yT

Credibility comes from how elegant and simple your product is, not how loud you talk.

You demonstrate your worth in this industry by building product and you build product based on your skills. Talk is cheap, ideas are easy and no one gives a s@#$t about your deck.

SHOW. ME. YOUR. PRODUCT!

Product speaks. Don’t overthink this.

Apply here to launch at the Festival: jc.is/1u2xfRV

There are four competitions:

1.0 competition: No screenshots, no press, no AngelList profile, no nothing! You are hidden and people see your product for the first time on stage. You don’t pre-brief the press, you don’t do a demo day before the Festival. You’re on lockdown!

2.0 competition: Whatever is released to the public, press and angellist is your 1.0 and we judge you on the new stuff the world has not seen. This means you have a MASSIVELY compelling new product.

Crowdfunding competition: You have an ACTIVE kickstarter, indiegogo, tilt, etc. campaign going.

LAUNCH Incubator: Six companies hand-selected to spend the next 12 weeks with us here in San Francisco: jc.is/1xzkxwk

Bottom line: you miss 100% of shots you don’t take. The LAUNCH Festival is the most open event in the world:

Free for founders to come: jc.is/1xl9swW
Free for founders to be on stage.
Free for founders to have a demo table (if your product is awesome).

It’s free because we have awesome partners like:

IceHouse (http://www.icehousecorp.com)
DFJ (http://dfj.com)
.CO (http://www.go.co)
Sinch (https://www.sinch.com)
Macys.com (http://www.macys.com)
Expedia (http://www.expedia.com)
.ME (http://domain.me)

IF you care about innovation, founders and startups help us put on the Festival: partners@launch.co. You’ll feel great about doing so, and you will sell into an audience of 10,000 folks who share these stats:

70% spend over $1,000 on personal technology annually
35% are going to buy hosting services this year
40% are founders
of those founders, 35% have raised money for their startup

The 200 companies on stage and in the demo pit, plus the hundreds more in the audience, will be the next Dropbox, Yammer and Mint. Sponsoring the event is how you meet them.

all the best, jason

Monday
Nov102014

Welcome to The Incubator

Here’s a little surprise: starting Dec 1st and ending at the LAUNCH Festival on March 2nd I will be hosting a six-startup incubator called: “The Incubator.”

[ You can refer to it as “The LAUNCH Incubator” if you like. ]

Two of the companies have been selected. One is founded by my former partner on Weblogs Inc, Brian Alvey; the other is by former LAUNCH CEO Jason Demant — I like to keep it all in the family!

That leaves four more slots, one of which I hope to be a team willing to take on thetruthaboutcars.com (based on this request for prototype: http://goo.gl/sxYoJz ). I’d also be interested in most of the Y Combinator list of requests here: http://www.ycombinator.com/rfs/

[ Click to tweet this email (you can edit first): http://ctt.ec/27133 ]

"The Incubator” is going to follow the basic Y Combinator model of 12 weeks and 12 dinners with speakers, but with a few twists:

1. The first half of those talks will all be part of This Week in Startups, the second half will be off the record.

2. Speakers will come from the top 20 ranked speakers at our SCALE event. We tracked the scores of 50+ speakers, after considering 250+ folks seriously for the event. This means the 12 speakers will be giving “field-tested” advice that was ranked highly by the 900 folks who came to SCALE last month.

3. Those six startups will launch in front of 3,000 people at the 10,000+ person LAUNCH Festival compared to 200-300 people at a typical demo day.

4. Each company will be getting $25,000 for 6% (similar to the original Techstars and Y Combinator deals) from the LAUNCH Fund.

5. ALSO: each company will be syndicated for another $25,000 from the LAUNCH Fund and $200k (minimum) to $1m+ from my AngelList Syndicate (depending on how much the founders and the syndicate members want to raise) at a $2-4m pre-money valuation (your call). The largest syndicate we’ve done to date is $750k, but I think these incubator companies will do even better.

6. We will meet for dinner at my house, The Battery, or our offices and talk about product and listen to a speaker.

7. Every year we will do an alumni episode of This Week in Startups with these six startups.
We have four slots open and here is what we are looking for:

a) Stage: 1-18 months old with either no funding, some funding (friends and family), or an angel round. If you have a raised a $3-5m A round I’m not sure it’s a fit.

b) Product: at a minimum you should have impressive mockups or wireframes. Ideally you have an MVP or a released product with some customers. We are NOT looking for a business plan, metrics, or other irrelevant s@#$t. Product speaks in our world. We need to see some product chops to make the right decision.

c) Team: At least two members, but three or four is OK. Optimally we would like a world-class designer and three developers (best chance of success), but we would take a business person with a designer and a developer. We will not accept three business people and no designers or technical folks (because that results in a lot of talk and not a lot of product).

d) Corporation: basically a clean slate is best. So think: a clean cap table, no pending lawsuits, agreement to standard vesting between founders (in case someone bails or things break down). If you’re not incorporated you can do that as you start “the incubator.”

e) Design: I’m a design freak.

f) Pedigree: We don’t give a s@#$t who you are, what your parents did, or what school you went to. We care about your skills, your resiliency, your leadership ability, and how badly you want to win.

The application process is here: https://launch.submittable.com/submit/36533

You will meet with two or three members of my team in November.

Important: If you apply and don’t get into the incubator you may qualify for “early acceptance” to the LAUNCH Festival! So, this is a way to “jump the line” of 1,000 startups competing for the 50 slots at the LAUNCH Festival.

Also, if you apply this time you will be given priority access if we do a summer incubator (which we will do if the majority of these startups get outside funding -- a major proof point).

Note: If a power angel or VC firms wants to put up $25k in investment to each of these firms now, we would love to have one or two partners helping grow these startups.

We will keep you updated at: https://twitter.com/launchincubator

all the best, @jason

PS - If you want to come to the LAUNCH Festival as my guest, click this secret link for a “Builder Pass”: jc.is/1xl9swW

PPS - If you want to start a 60-day free trial to our research service, the LAUNCH Ticker, click here: http://www.launchticker.com/

PPPS - If you are an accredited investor (which means you can afford to lose money angel investing), you can invest in my deals at angel.co/jason/syndicate — of my last 14 deals 13 of them were also syndicated.

AngelList is the future of investing, and I’ve got 450+ investors representing $1.9m in capital in my syndicate. it’s doubling every three months, and our first deal was for $250k and our last deal was for $1m. We ain’t f@$king around! Note: If you’re not an accredited investor you don’t get to play because our government thinks you’re not smart enough to lose your own hard-earned money (talk to them, not me!). Disclaimer: if you want to get in the angel investing game read this first:http://goo.gl/V7kEan

Wednesday
Oct012014

Why founders fail to scale (come to SCALE SCHOOL)

Jason’s List: 42,220 members http://launch.co/
Words: 2,512
Listening to: David Bowie, Changes
TL;DR version: founders ‘fail to scale’ because it’s harder than new features & speaking gigs
Next event: SCALE (school): launchscale.net Oct 23 & 24
-------------
55 days ago I wrote “Startups are about scale,” [ http://bit.ly/1xvaJVB ] with the basic premise that “Building a great product is table stakes in 2014, leaving scaling a startup as the elite skill.”
This isn’t to say that “building a great product” is easy, it’s really f--king hard of course.
The “Age of Excellence” piece [ http://bit.ly/1cx7jFU ] I wrote 887 days ago is dated. Y’all read that and got obsessed with perfection and now there are just too many of you deft product builders!
So, why do so many products “fail to scale?”
There are five reasons.
[Click to tweet: http://ctt.ec/bf1U0 ]
1. Founders choose to focus on features
------------------------
It’s much easier to sit in a room and dream about the killer feature that will save your startup. I’m going through this right now with Inside.com, and I see my other startups work on this as well. It’s fine to explore new features, test things, and even “build for yourself.”
In fact, one of the best things to do is “build for yourself.” However, there is a point in time where you’ve created 5, 6, 7, or 10 features for your product and it’s time to say “enough” and start studying the metrics, doing user interviews, and testing.
As far as I’m concerned this happens at 1,000 daily users for a consumer product and 250 daily users for an enterprise product. At that point you have enough users to solicit feedback and break people into two groups to do A/B tests.
We are getting thousands of daily users at Inside.com and we are very focused on two things: a) figuring out what behaviors increase people’s time in the App and b) figuring out how to get new people into the product.
2. Founders don’t invest in metrics & community
------------------------
In order to really grow a startup you need to increase your knowledge of how your product is being used. There are two basic ways to do this: study people’s behavior and talk to your users.
In terms of metrics you need to figure out how people are using your product with analytics packages like Localytics (mobile), Google Analytics (web), Chartbeat (live web; disclosure, I’m an investor) and Mailchimp/Sendgrid/Dyn (mail open rates, conversions, etc.).
In terms of talking to users I created three groups for Inside (alpha, beta, and delta) in the early months using a Google Group for each. I solicited members for these groups from inside the Inside.com app (literally said “email us to join our beta group to talk about new features!”). Everyone on our team joined these lists and listened. It was eye-opening: our users were wildly more sophisticated than we thought! They were really interested in very, very specific features and they were super loyal to us. Huge win.
3. Founders don’t budget properly
------------------------
I don’t know what the proper budget is for startups, but I actually think growth should be at least 25% of your budget after the product is completed -- perhaps 50%.
The problem is that you need this huge group of people to launch a product, and after the product is done you need half that amount to maintain it.
Of course, hiring 15 people for six months of building the 1.0 and then shifting gears and firing five in order to put that money to work on buying installs, ads, and doing marketing is really not practical -- it’s mercenary and would kill your culture.
So what most folks do is they burn $150k a month on 15 team members and an office, and once the product is in market they say “we have no budget left for marketing this awesome product!”
Then they look at their resources, the team they do have, and they default back to the “feature race,” adding more features.
A startup should basically fund itself with an expectation that they will spend 2/3rds of the eventual monthly budget building (say $100k) and then pop in the $50k a month in marketing in month seven when they launch and learn how to spend it effectively (or if they even should market the product -- they might not want to if it’s a dog!).
4. Founder paralysis: search for a pulse
------------------------
Founders get really scared right after their products launch because of the very typical “launch bump” and the eventual “pit of despair” when the press and social media stop caring about you.
You have to fight the urge to be paralyzed and “search for a pulse.” Is there a “sign of life” in your product? Do folks like it enough that they can’t live without it?
There is an easy way to find out: ask them. One way to phrase it is: “how much would it cost to replace my product -- in time or money -- if we didn’t exist”? Another way is to say “What would you replace us with?” or “How did you solve this before you found us?”
If the product was, say, Thumbtack.com (I’m an investor) it would be something like, “Well, I would have to spend five hours: first calling 10 house painters, then getting five to call me back, three to visit and two to give me quotes.”
That answer means, “f@#k, life without Thumbtack.com would really suck.”
With a consumer product, this can be hard to judge sometimes: questions like “what would life be like without Calm.com or Vine.com?” might elicit the answers:
“Well, I wouldn’t meditate regularly, if at all, without my Calm.com App,” or, “I wouldn’t laugh as much without Vine -- I would miss it!”
Those are valid answers, but it’s sometimes hard to put a cost on something that is just delightful. What’s the cost of losing the funniest guy at your poker game? Well, you have a boring game and folks say “I wish Pollak were here!”
5. No dedicated growth positions
------------------------
Sure, everyone should be thinking about growth, but do you need a specific person in each company focused on this? When I have a growth person at one of my companies, they are solely responsible for seeking the truth around the brutal inevitabilities all founders face: “why are we not growing?” or “why is growth slowing?” or “why are we shrinking?”
In order to plan for growth you need to have someone build that plan, execute that plan and study the results so the next plan can be 20% better. You need someone obsessed with this.
Worse than this is a startup that does have growth positions, or positions with growth responsibility, but they are not given the authority to “grow.” Second guessing folks who you’ve hired to grow the product is worse than not having growth people -- because you’re getting all of the costs and none of the benefits. Listening to the growth team is as critical as having them.
What techniques are there to scale?
------------------------
There are at least 250 viable scaling techniques my team has discovered at Inside.com and LAUNCH.co by interviewing folks from Zillow, Thumbtack, Uber, Pinterest, Twitter, Square and Reddit.
We’ve started to put them in “question format” on a google spreadsheet here: http://bit.ly/1C11USX
You can add your questions here: jc.is/scalequestions
We are inviting 50 of the most important VPs, CMO, Founders and Directors (mainly NOT CEOs, since they hire folks to do scale for them) to speak at my latest event SCALE taking place on Oct 23rd and 24th.
They are going to answer at least 100 of these questions in a confidential meeting (no press, no public videos).
SCALE SCHOOL would be a better name for the event, because you will learn a ton. We’ve invited 700 founders and CTOs to the event and 450 said yes (the other 250 were out of town or have lost their minds!).
We have 50 tickets left and three presentation slots left.
This will be the best event I’ve ever hosted in 20 years because it is going to give a detailed roadmap for your startup. I’ve had my team on this for six months and it has literally cost me hundreds of thousands of dollars to put this event on -- a massive expense.
If you want to come you can buy a ticket here, and if you learn one thing at the event to grow your startup it’s worth the ticket price ($5,000): use promo code email25 to get 25% off: http://bit.ly/10gwpa2
There are scholarships for not-yet-funded startups (my portfolio companies all got three free tickets, a couple got free speaking slots if they were awesome -- part of the value of being a LAUNCH FUND startup!).
If you or a friend’s startup is failing, come to this event. It will turn it around I’m certain -- or at the very least help you get prepared for your next one.
Every seat is classroom style and you can work from this two-track event all day. All paid participants will get access to the complete video series.
If you want to talk about scale with us visit scalechat.com
best @jason
100 important things you’ll learn at SCALE school (launchscale.net):
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How can I increase email open rates?
How do I select my startup's next market?
How do I handle traffic spikes after media exposure?
How do I keep my architecture stable at scale?
How do I simplify my API?
How do I create a brand voice for my startup?
How do I attract service professionals to my marketplace?
How can I increase month-to-month retention for my app?
Which press outlets drive downloads?
Are byline articles in Pando, Business Insider, TechCrunch, and LinkedIn worth my time?
What do I do when a customer is unhappy?
How do I recruit senior designers and developers with limited funding?
How do I speed up my release cycle?
How do I price my product for maximum growth?
How do I know when to pivot my business model?
How do I reduce customer churn for my SaaS company?
How do I make my hardware and software work seamlessly?
How do I build a push notification CMS?
How do I market to a younger demographic?
How can I quickly build an effective referral program?
How can I scale my user acquisition with FB ads?
How do I maintain a sense of community with my users while scaling?
How do I get my crowdfunding campaign featured?
Are infographics expensive to build? Do they drive business & how do I measure their effectiveness?
How do I increase my rank in the app store?
How do I write tweets that increase app installs?
How can I identify new sales people that fit my culture -- and won't quit in 6 months?
How do I reduce churn in my sales team?
How do I streamline my manufacturing?
How do I avoid liability and lawsuits?
How do I onboard independent contractors?
How do I test marketing techniques with a small user base?
How do I best use remote workers?
How do I train my devs on both ios and android?
How do I recruit senior designers and devs with limited funding?
Do I need to hire a growth team?
How do I get actionable feedback from my users?
How do I manage beta groups to test new features?
How do I teach new users how to use my app?
When do I censor my startup's community?
How do I take market share from a bigger competitor?
Should every part of my team grow equally when scaling?
When's the right time to get acquired?
How much should user feedback change my product?
Where can I find testers in the very early stages of a minimum viable product?
How do I get featured by Apple and Google in the App and Play stores?
Should I focus my limited resources on pleasing existing customers or gaining new ones?
Who should my first hire be when scaling?
Should new hires have experience scaling?
How quickly can I scale from one new market to the next?
How do I develop strategic relationships in new markets?
How do I find mentors for my startup?
How do I source leads on Linkedin?
How do I source candidates on Linkedin?
How can I create tweets that convert to sales?
How do I create brand loyalty through email?
How do I acquire users in a new market?
How can I prepare for seasonal spikes in traffic?
How do I partition services to limit risk of a security breach?
How do I transition new features from test to production environments?
How do I develop strategic relationships in new markets?
How do I hire a city manager capable of running a new market?
How should I organize my engineering team?
How do I prevent my website from crashing from too much traffic?
How do I maximize my marketing budget?
How can I use data as marketing material?
How can I increase month to month retention for my app?
How do I push notifications to millions of users?
How can I increase high quality influencers on my twitter handle?
How do I use AdWords to market my startup?
What are the most scalable channels for customer acquisition?
How do I find early customers that could become champions of my product?
How do I make an awesome product video?
How do I get good Yelp reviews for my startup?
How do I train my devs on both ios and android?
How do I limit excess inventory in manufacturing?
How do I manage a remote team?
How do I quickly implement user feedback into my next release?
How do I develop a windows app?
How do I create new apps while maintaining the quality of my core app?
How do I get my revenue model right?
How do I expand internationally?
How transparent should I make reviews of my users?
How do I take advantage of the economic environment?
Should I scale on multiple platforms at once, or focus solely on my strongest?
Should I try to scale as quickly as possible?
How do I monetize free users?
How do I get press for my app in a crowded market?
Should new hires have experience scaling?
How do I keep users' credit card info private?
How do I prevent DDoS attacks?
How do I market to the college demographic?
How do I build an effective street team?
How do I get people to comment on my pins?
How do I email users content they actually want?
How do I get users to stay on my site longer?
What percentage of my marketing budget should go towards advertising?
How do I get a celebrity to talk about my product on Twitter or YouTube?
How do I leverage Vine, Instagram and other short video apps to scale my products?
How can I reduce the number of 1 star reviews for my app?
Add your question by hitting REPLY or entering it here: jc.is/scalequestions
More: http://launchscale.net

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