Data is an Input and a Filter into the Product Development Process
OCTOBER 17, 2016
Recently I spoke at CrunchConf in Budapest. It was a great experience. The conference is fantastic for people interested in data (e.g. data analysts, scientists, product managers, etc.) Lean Analytics
“You Don’t Look Like a Founder”
OCTOBER 27, 2016
WTF does that even mean? It means: You’re not a young white guy. And it’s total b t. Heather Anne Carson, co-founder @ Repable recently posted this on Facebook: (She didn’t ask me to write this.) Oy. It’s not surprising that guys feel / think this way (but saying it out loud really demonstrates a whole […].
Onboarding Isn’t About Signups, It’s About Long-Term Engagement
JANUARY 4, 2015
At some point in your startup’s existence you’ll need to focus a lot of attention on your product’s onboarding experience. Tweet.
The Importance of Understanding Your Best Users
JUNE 20, 2014
You need to define what a “good” user is for your startup. In Lean Analytics we call this the Stickiness Stage. Clicks? Page views? tl;dr.
Context Matters When Building a Great Product
MAY 16, 2016
What are your users doing right before they use your product? What about right after? These are important questions that can help you build a better product. It’s not enough to understand the pain or problem your product solves; you also have to understand the circumstances in which it helps. What time of day is […]. Product Management
“No Marketing” Isn’t as Impressive as You Think
JANUARY 26, 2015
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!” ” […].
Experimenting with Product, Price and Market
FEBRUARY 9, 2015
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 […]. Lean Startup
Product/Market Fit and Lean Analytics
FEBRUARY 2, 2015
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 […].
FEBRUARY 16, 2015
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 […].
Launch Your Startup When You’ve Already Won
FEBRUARY 6, 2014
The tech industry is overly-obsessed with making noise, being self-congratulatory and too often, focused on the wrong things. doesn’t help them.
Don’t be Data-Driven, be Problem-Driven
JUNE 16, 2014
Recently a founder of an early stage startup asked me, “How do I convince my co-founder and team to be more data-driven?”
Every Startup Employee is a Marketer
JANUARY 24, 2014
In an early, small startup, everyone wears many hats. So you’ve got a small team of developers building products for other developers. Marketin
Engagement is a Long-Term Process
JUNE 24, 2014
Drip marketing is a way engaging people before they buy. Most companies don’t do a great job of it. They might send a lot of email (e.g.
Responsibility, Accountability and Levelling Up
MARCH 15, 2016
In hierarchical organizations, levelling up is fairly clear–it means moving up the ladder from one position to the next. Those interested in doing so have a clearer path (although it’s not easy) to more responsibility. Hierarchies with lots of levels have all sorts of issues, but they do make levelling up more obvious. Scaling Startups
The Challenge of Changing People’s Behavior
JANUARY 30, 2014
Building a product is easy. Getting people to use your product consistently is hard. The real challenge is changing people’s behavior. Startups
Optimize for Happiness
APRIL 25, 2016
Last Friday, April 22nd was the 30th anniversary of my brother’s death. He died at 8 years old. wrote about it a few years ago as a way of celebrating his life and remembering him. Time heals. But it still f **g hurts. Not surprisingly, it’s around this time of year that I really reflect […]. Personal Development
Introducing Highline BETA – a Startup Co-Creation Company
JULY 11, 2016
Today, I’m launching a new company: Highline BETA. I’m co-founding Highline BETA with Marcus Daniels. I’ve known Marcus a long time and we’ve stayed in touch throughout the years. We’ve now found the right time and opportunity to work together. Highline BETA is something different. What does that mean? It […].
The Startup Rollercoaster is Real
SEPTEMBER 12, 2016
You know what’s hard? Starting a company. You know what’s fun? Starting a company. There’s something about the insane challenge that makes starting a company so incredible. Having said that, I really don’t enjoy being told I’m wrong, or that my plan/idea/approach won’t work. (I don’t know many people who like that!) And when people […].
Put Yourself in a Position to Be Lucky
MARCH 2, 2015
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 […]. Personal Development
Size Matters in Seed Investments
FEBRUARY 10, 2014
Tomasz Tunguz has done a great analysis of the likelihood of follow on financing based on the size of your seed round. So what does this tell us?
Want to Raise Money? Ask for Advice
JANUARY 28, 2014
When you start raising money for your startup, people will tell you, “If you want advice, ask for money. If you want money, ask for advice.”
6 Things You Need to Pivot Successfully
JANUARY 27, 2013
Pivot. We’re all familiar with the word — and many people now roll their eyes when they hear it. The word has been bastardized, overused, and taken out of context. But it doesn’t mean pivots aren’t important. Dont hate the word, hate the people that use it incorrectly and ignore its importance. Pivot. Say it with me. Pivot.
No longer at VarageSale
JANUARY 31, 2016
Sometimes (most of the time?) things don’t go as planned. If there’s one constant in life, particularly in the world of startups, it’s change. And last week there was a big change in my life. I’m no longer at VarageSale. I’m now going to take a bit of time (to relax, catch up on things, […]. Personal Development
My First 9 Months as an Angel Investor
SEPTEMBER 20, 2013
As a founding partner of Year One Labs (an early stage accelerator), which operated actively in 2010-2011, I participated in 5 very early stage investments. But that wasn’t angel investing (although it had some similarities). Nine months ago I made my first independent angel investment. I’ve made 7 in total. Angel investing is fun.
Structure Matters (Scaling Startups)
FEBRUARY 8, 2016
When you first start a company there’s very little structure involved. You have a couple founders, an idea and (hopefully) a ton of passion for the problem you’re trying to solve. Lean Startup provides a methodology for how to do things, but generally the work and overall experience is pretty chaotic. Scaling Startups
Taking Advantage of Startup Accelerators
JANUARY 19, 2015
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. Startup Accelerators
Lean Startup and Lean Analytics in the Enterprise
JANUARY 14, 2014
It’s clear that Lean Startup is shifting from startups to the enterprise. There’s still a lot to learn amongst early stage entrepreneurs, and a lot of discussion that’s needed around implementing Lean Startup, but attention has definitely shifted to applying the framework in large organizations. It’s already happening.
Design is Purpose Driven and Solves Problems
FEBRUARY 14, 2014
I’m not a designer. Or an expert in UX or UI. Sometimes that means adding features. Sometimes that means taking features away. People go crazy.
When is it Time to Pivot or Quit?
DECEMBER 20, 2012
Entrepreneurs aren’t quitters. To succeed you need to be resilient, thick skinned and borderline crazy. But sometimes, you have to quit.
NOVEMBER 24, 2011
But are small features really that easy to build? Small features are not necessarily easily to build. Session Lock is below the list of participants.
Single Founders or Co-Founders?
JUNE 18, 2014
Conventional wisdom says that startups should have two or three founders. People tend to have pretty strong opinions on the issue, although I doubt they have definitive evidence / proof to back up their opinions. Some investors won’t even invest in single founders at all–so understandably for entrepreneurs this is a big issue. Startups
Digging Deeper into Lean Business Model Canvases
MAY 26, 2011
If you haven’t seen it, check out his recent presentation: When the Boardroom is Bits. More specifically, they don’t go deep enough.
Don’t Sell Technology, Sell Magic
NOVEMBER 2, 2011
Tech startups aren’t in the technology business. Startups need to sell magic. Most don’t care. They don’t need to. That’s it.
Tiny, New, Addictive Behaviors (or How to Build an Awesome Minimum Viable Product)
JULY 2, 2013
Early on, once you’ve identified a problem genuinely worth solving, you need to build a Minimum Viable Product (MVP) and put it into the hands of early adopters. In Lean Analytics , we call this the Stickiness Stage. Sometimes they move ahead anyway and hope they can acquire (customers) their way out of the problem…it doesn’t work.
Lessons Learned Launching a Lean Startup Accelerator
JUNE 6, 2011
Year One Labs is a Lean Startup accelerator. Since our launch we’ve co-created and invested in 5 startups (which was our target number).
Quiet and Boring: How to Build a Successful Startup
SEPTEMBER 27, 2012
A few days ago, Indeed (a job aggregator site) announced that they had been acquired by a Japanese company called Recruit Co Ltd. One story I saw pegged the acquisition close to a billion dollars. I’ve heard through the grapevine about some very happy investors. Indeed is a big company (25,000 employees, 80 million unique visitors per month.)
The Role of Product Managers
JUNE 8, 2012
I came across an interesting discussion on Branch about the role and future of product managers. I’m not a member there so I couldn’t respond directly, but figured I’d put my thoughts here instead. Yesterday the discussion only had a few comments on it. In that way, Product Managers are very similar to CEOs. Crappy developers.
How Many Metrics Do You Need to Run Your Startup?
AUGUST 14, 2012
Answer: Only one. One of the concepts we’re pushing hard in the Lean Analytics book is the One Metric That Matters (OMTM). Just one.
A Sense of Duty in Startups
FEBRUARY 18, 2014
Some people (founders and employees) have a sense of duty towards the work they do. Others do not. For me, duty is about caring. and push through.
JULY 20, 2012
You spend enough time with enough startups and you genuinely come to appreciate the importance of The Hustler. The Hustler plays a few levels above where he * should, but gets away with it because of sheer willpower, ego and perceptivity. Tweet. The Hustler also gets into the nitty-gritty. The Hustler does not network for the sake of networking.