How do you build virality into your product?

The classic marketing funnel and where virality helps I’ve posted previously about the need to build virality into consumer products, for one simple reason: any other cost of customer acquisition is just too high. But how do you go about building virality into your product? Easier said than done! Everyone wants WOM (Word of Mouth) marketing … Continue reading “How do you build virality into your product?”

How Snapchat succeeded without built-in virality

I previously wrote a post entitled Build In Virality or Bust, positing that the only way to succeed with a consumer software business was to build virality into the application from the get-go. Well The New York Times article How Snapchat, Often Overlooked, Transformed Social Networks, points out that sharing, the key driver for virality in … Continue reading “How Snapchat succeeded without built-in virality”

Everyone talks about virality but no one knows how to create it

  Josh Elman has a terrific article The Five Types of Virality and choosing the right one for your product to grow on the Greylock Partners site. (Greylock funded two of my companies, Course Technology, Inc. and Mainspring Communications) back in the last century. I posted about the need to build virality into B2C products … Continue reading “Everyone talks about virality but no one knows how to create it”

B2C – build in virality or bust

My experience  with consumer -facing products is limited to iShop, a mobile shopping app developed by Smartworlds in the early 2000’s, and Endorfyn, from PopSleuth, Inc., a web app designed to keep fans up to date on new releases from their favorite artists, developed three years ago. iShop never got any further than a very positive … Continue reading “B2C – build in virality or bust”

What makes for a successful business freemium model product?

Interest in the freemium model, where the venture gives away one version of its product in order to up-sell those users to a more feature-rich paid version, has had its ups in downs in the business market. But with freemium model companies like DropBox, Zoom, and Slack going public it’s definitely on the upswing now. … Continue reading “What makes for a successful business freemium model product?”

How do you build retention into your product?

  There are three key customer-related tasks for any consumer company: customer acquisition, customer engagement, and customer retention. Subscription businesses, be they telecom companies, Netflix, Apple Music, or SaaS companies, are all faced with the problem of customer turnover, known as “churn.” In fact churn can be so high that many telecom and cable companies … Continue reading “How do you build retention into your product?”

Why advertising doesn’t work as the business model for discussion sites

Alex Hern’s interview with Roger McNamee on The Guardian: ‘It’s bigger than Facebook. This is a problem with the entire industry’ prompted me to buy McNamee’s book  Zucked: Waking Up to the Facebook Catastrophe.! I highly recommend the book for anyone wanting to understand why the DNA of social networks – their baked-in model of advertising … Continue reading “Why advertising doesn’t work as the business model for discussion sites”

Are you investor ready?

Today is the deadline for applications to MIT’s Demo Day to be held in April. Demo Day gives selected Venture Mentoring Service founders five minutes to pitch to the audience of VCs and angels. I work almost exclusively with raw startups, whether at MIT VMS, The MIT Sandbox Fund or the MIT Post-Doc Association. Very, … Continue reading “Are you investor ready?”

Lessons to be learned from a web publisher

Saeed Jones and Isaac Fitzgerald, replying to tweets during a commercial break on “AM to DM,” a weekday morning show produced by BuzzFeed News. The show is paid for by Twitter.CreditDavid Dee Delgado for The New York Times. Today’s New York Times article Founder’s Big Idea to Revive BuzzFeed’s Fortunes? A Merger With Rivals contains a … Continue reading “Lessons to be learned from a web publisher”

The four types of startup risks and how to mitigate them

For many years I’ve believed there are only three types of risks to a startup: market, technology, and the team. But recently another risk type is coming to the fore: government regulation. Government regulation has long been a risk for medical devices and pharma companies. These are highly regulated markets. A biotech company can be … Continue reading “The four types of startup risks and how to mitigate them”