Lean Startup

Has Your Branding Changed? 0

Laura Busche ‘s book is based on the Lean StartupTM  principles and is titled; Lean Branding (Lean (O’Reilly)). It is part Laura Buscheof the Lean Startup series of books by O’Reilly. I found her perception of marketing very aligned with mine and at the very start of the podcast asked her to differentiate her way of thinking versus the more traditional ways.

Related Podcast and Transcription: Branding Your Startup

Joe:   It’s very much different than what we’d say a Kotler book on marketing or the more traditional marketing branding books.

Laura:   I’ve read the Kotler books. They are actually…it’s how you start, so principles of marketing, marketing management, all these concepts. The real challenge for me was to bring these concepts to a level where anyone can use them to grow their startups. So it’s more of a tactical book, I’d like to think of it as a handbook. It has more than 100 tactics, it has case studies, examples, templates, checklists, all the kind of thing that you want to have when you’re just getting started and it’s definitely not the kind of book that’s here to introduce complicated theories, it’s rather here to show you how they can be applied. It’s also different from your traditional marketing book because I’m bringing in some insights from design; I’m bringing in some insights from psychology which is my background. I’m a business major and then I did some design management work and now I’m doing research in psychology, so it’s bringing together all of these disciplines and I like to think that that’s exactly what entrepreneurs need to use these tactics.

Joe:   Well I think you bring some interesting concepts there because so much of marketing today is influencing behaviors that’s let’s say in changing behavioral pattern to develop some sustainability, some use in the product anymore.

Laura:   Exactly. Marketing is so influenced by consumer psychology, it’s almost entirely an application of consumer behavior principles but there’s also some interesting things happening from the design end. Designers are starting to use more agile research methods, so rather than just doing all these old focused groups that nobody seems to like or use anymore, it’s becoming this environment where we can explore with ethnography, and we can do interviews, and we can discover consumers that way and it’s just so interesting and that’s one of the largest principles behind the book.

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The Importance of Selling in a Startup 0

The new way of thinking about innovation is not limited to a great product/service idea says Blake Masters, co-author of Zero to One: Notes on Startups, or How to Build the Future.

Related Podcast and Transcription: A Path For Future Innovation

An excerpt from the podcast:

Joe: One of the things I really liked about your book is that, and I’m a sales and marketing guy so you’re going to see where this comes from really easily, but is you truly believe that product just does not sell itself or that that’s a dangerous, maybe a dangerous path to take even if you just created the best widget and you think sales and marketing has some value, correct?

Blake: Tremendous, tremendous value and, everyone knows the product is important, and I think in the wake of the .com crash, at the end of ’99, 2000. People in Silicon Valley really retreated to thinking about product, so ’99, smart non-engineers were doing business development and sales and there is a sense in which today smart non-engineers are sort of judged as they go into sales product or working on a product scheme is somehow more of the moment in Silicon Valley today. I think the product is definitely important. I mean it’s very hard to sell something that’s bad, but it is possible, and it’s certainly, a lot easier to sell something that’s good. What engineers try to do in Silicon Valley is, they fall victim to what we call the field of dreams conceit.

If we build it, this will sell itself. If we build it, the customers will come. That’s almost always false and what we suggest in the book is sales and marketing are underrated precisely because they’re so hard to see and the skill set that makes one good at these things is very opaque in contrast to engineering or product. You look at a product, you can see what it does. You can see how it integrates to your life. If you look at a computer program or that code, either works or it doesn’t. Things are very transparent on the surface. Sales is really quite hidden. A lot of the sales people running around in Silicon Valley don’t call themselves salesman anymore. So, we do have an allergy to sort of obvious sales pitches. No one wants to get sold and go to a used car lot and the dealer comes out to talk to you as a sort of an architect of shadiness.

It’s really important to remember sales is happening all the time. You can’t move your product to a wide audience without some sort of sales strategy. And, the best way to fail in business is probably to, focus all your time and energy on creating a great product without spending a corresponding amount of energy, focused on ‘how do we get it out to people’. Because, I think this is a huge correction in the wrong direction of the over-correction. Startups, especially, need to think really long and hard about their sales strategies because you can build a really good business with just sort of a decent product if you figured out how to sell it to people.

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Using the Lean Startup Method for Product Branding 0

Author Laura Busche joined me for a conversation about startup branding. Her book is based on the Lean StartupTM  principles and is titled; Lean Branding (Lean (O’Reilly)). It is part Laura Buscheof the Lean Startup series of books by O’Reilly.

Lean Branding is a practical toolkit that helps you build your own robust, dynamic brands that generate conversion. You’ll find over 100 DIY branding tactics and inspiring case studies, and step-by-step instructions for building and measuring 25 essential brand strategy ingredients, from logo design to demo-day pitches, using The Lean Startup methodology’s Build-Measure-Learn loop.

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One Bit of Advice from Lean Branding Author 0

Tomorrow will be a special edition of the Business901 Podcast. Lean Branding (Lean (O’Reilly)) author Laura Busche joined me for a great conversation about startup branding. Her book is based on the Lean Startup Principles.  

An excerpt from the Podcast:

Joe: If you could give one bit of advice to someone about branding, what would it be? Lean Branding

Laura: A couple of bits of advice that are in the book, a couple of quotes that I’d like to highlight and that reflect this very solid advice that I would like to give to entrepreneurs or intrapreneurs that are trying to build their brands are, on one side we have this bit of advice, “People relate to people and if your brand feels like people, they’ll relate to you too.” The point behind that is that brands need to be humane and they need to react to people’s aspirations and they also need to build personalities that allow them to relate back to these people. So that’s sort of not very intuitive but once you start getting a hold of how other brands have done it which is something that the book does, you understand how important it is to be humane as a brand.

The second bit of advice which is also a quote from the book is that, “Successful brands have a compelling answer whenever consumers ask, what’s in it for me?” So the “What’s in it for me…” question is something that you need to address. It’s simple, if you want to write it down in front of you, if you want to write it on your walls, if you want to print it somewhere, that’s something you should do because this is the essential question behind your relationship with your buyers. It’s, “What’s in it for me…” and it’s something that the book highlights a lot. Whenever you’ve reached resonance which is what we call in branding, when your message is really being listened to by your consumer and understood, whenever that happens, it’s because you’ve provided a very good answer for their what’s in it for me question.

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Masters on Zero to One 0

The book, Zero to One: Notes on Startups, or How to Build the Future, presents a new way of thinking about innovation: it starts by learning to ask the questions that lead you to find value in unexpected places. Blake Masters

From the book:

The next Bill Gates will not build an operating system. The next Larry Page or Sergey Brin won’t make a search engine. Copying others takes the world from 1 to n, adding more of something familiar. But when you do something new, you go from 0 to 1. Tomorrow’s champions will not win by competing ruthlessly in today’s marketplace; they will escape competition altogether, because their businesses will be unique.

Blake Masters was a student at Stanford Law School in 2012 when his detailed notes on Peter Thiel’s class “Computer Science 183: Startup.” The notes became an internet sensation. Before writing Zero to One with Peter, Blake co-founded Judicata, a legal research technology startup, and worked at Box and Founders Fund.

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A T-Shape Business Model? 0

In next weeks Business901 podcast, I discuss Zero to One: Notes on Startups, or How to Build the Future with Blake Master. Blake was a student at Stanford Law School in 2012 when his detailed notes on Peter Thiel’s class “Computer Science 183: Startup.” The notes became an internet sensation. Before writing Zero to One with Peter, Blake co-founded Judicata, a legal research technology startup, and worked at Box and Founders FundZero to One

An excerpt from the podcast:

Joe: You talk about owning that space. I think of the analogy of a T-shape person is that you have to have a long vertical line in place and own that space before you start spreading horizontally. Is that a good accurate description or could you define that for me a little bit?

Blake: Yeah, exactly. We say every business, to be successful wants to get to this monopoly estate where you really own this really valuable space. You want to own your entire market or as much of it as possible. Well, a startup, especially, starts small. It follows then that the best way to become a monopoly as a small business entrepreneur or as a startup is to start with a very small market. When you start with an extremely small market, you want to dominate it. I think some of the most, fascinating businesses in the last 15 years have started with markets so small that they probably didn’t even appear to be good business opportunities at the beginning.

Mark Zuckerberg started Facebook at Harvard, where the goal was to sign up, the 10,000 students of Harvard at first, not like everybody in the world. You think about a target market of 10,000 people, for free internet product and, in 2004, an MBA Tech might even say that, it doesn’t look like a business opportunity at all.” And yet, what Zuckerberg was able to do with them, not only get, 60% of the target market signed up in a week. All of a sudden that looks like a very auspicious start and then he can sort of, scale out of Ivy League. This becomes an Ivy League phenomenon, kind of scale out in concentric circles to hit colleges, but you don’t let anybody without a .edu e-mail address sign up. Gradually, start from this core that you dominate, and you build out in concentric circles. That’s a really a powerful model. So, if you start thinking about expanding too quickly, precisely that lack of focus, that can hold you back.

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Innovation Power Tools 0

Author Dave Powers offers a practical approach to sustaining long-term growth. The Curve Ahead: Discovering the Path to Unlimited Growth describes how growth companies can build innovation into the rhythm of their business operations and culture using design thinking, prototyping, business model design and other Innovation Power Tools. This podcast is not just for established companies. If you are a Startup and want to see what is ahead if you are successful , you need to listen. Dave Power

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