Ask me anything!

(Mike Eidlin) #22

Hey @andrewchen -

We’re creating a book discovery platform, called BookBucket where we prioritize people recommending books, over publishers recommending books to read. I came up with this idea when I realized there was no standardized platform to find book suggestions from influencers, such as yourself. Goodreads additionally just doesn’t quite cut it.

Do you have a few requirements, features, standards, you’d like to see before you were to sign up for a service likes this where you can suggest books to others, discover books from other influencers?


(Andrew Chen) #23

@yaohongkok @meidlin the whole idea of critiquing an idea when it’s just an idea- I don’t believe in it :smile:
Get your product out to market, try to get some users, and once you have some data, it’ll be a lot more useful to engage in a discussion to interpret that data.

(Mike Eidlin) #24

@andrewchen Got it! Will do, don’t forget about us when I get back to you in a few months… Until then, off to NY to meet with Barnes & Noble! :slight_smile:

(Zetong Teoh) #33

@andrewchen I quite like the interface of this forum! the functionalities are simple yet intuitive! is this another online tool? or did you build it from scratch?

(Andrew Chen) #34

The forum software is called Discourse- look it up! I haven’t modified it much, maybe in the future.

(Shola) #35

Okay imaginative question here…

Picture this. If you had to sit in a boardroom on a desert island with 7 of the most creative, amazing, talented, big-results-pulling people who were experts in user/customer acquisition via online advertising/paid media who would those 7 be?

Why did you pick them?

Note: not folks who use other acquisition methods like SEO, content marketing, etc - strictly online advertising (which is arguably the most controllable, repeatable, scalable and predictable and trackable method out there).

Going to get my popcorn so I can read your response!

Top 7 people to hang out with on a desert island
(Tom Volkar) #36

One of my coaching clients has developed a relationship app. I know this is a big question but how would you answer it. What is the get people to try a new app? What is the most effective way to get people to share your new app?

How do you get people to try a new app?
(Stephen Willis) #37

I have an app launching spring 2015 called MeMakeMistake that is the first social network/service for righting a wrong. I would like to get press coverage before launch date. I have already done social media marketing with FB and gained subscribers. I read an article that said you need to reach out directly to the writer or reporter besides just giving a news tip.

I have done that and everything, offered exclusive rights with incentive for users and am not getting anyone returning those emails or messages. I have only reached out one time to each entity to avoid being pushy. I have targeted the correct technology blogs and magazines.

How do I get press coverage without having any connections and starting from scratch? Does anyone on this network have any connections? Maybe I have to wait until the app launches…

How to get the attention of tech reporters?
(blunt) #39

Andrew … I’m interested in acquisition costs for teens / maybe younger… thoughts… ?
Can you opine or point me in the right direction for information ?

(Robin Johnson) #40

It’s a great question. My $0.02:

  • You have all the power PRE-launch. Once it’s out, you only have leverage if it’s doing exceptionally well.
  • Finding the right contact is important. I wanted coverage on TechCrunch, so I looked for reporters who often wrote about my space, and then reached out with a friendly note.
  • It helps to be different. There are 100s (1000s?) of apps launching all the time. Why should they write about you? Perhaps you’re working with the senior blah blah blah of “awesome-credibility”- co? Or maybe you ran a private beta / email signup and you got of responses?

At the end of the day, if you don’t have traction or a particularly noteworthy partner / adviser / story, then it’s going to be difficult to get big media attention. In that case, maybe try small(er) media?

Keep in mind that whoever writes about you, they want to look great and get lots of views and shares. It helps if you can give them the angle or media or some sort of story that gets them 1/2 way there.

Hope this helps.

(Stephen Willis) #41

That is great advice and it does help to have a story that relates to people. What gave me some potential leverage is I did premature Facebook advertising at the beginning thinking I was going to launch last year. That did not end up happening because of developer issues. Regardless though, a producer Margaret Pergler from ABC Good Morning America saw my add for the app and asked me to get in touch. I called her cell and talked with her. Sadly, at the time the app was not near being finished. She did tell me to get back with her when finished for a possible future segment. We will find out if she is still interested…

Thanks for your time and good points. I will work on polishing my story.

(Robin Johnson) #42

@andrewchen - I see you’re associated with the Maven incubator (?) I’m extremely excited to apply for it with my startup. Can you share your thoughts on it + any tips on applying?

FYI - @skitapp is a place where you can create and share interactive videos – videos that can be remixed and continued, and even “played” like a game. We’re in beta now and our stats are looking really good…which is why I’m thinking Maven could be a 1+1 = 10 sort of thing. Thx in advance for insights. :smile:

Any tips on applying to the Maven Ventures Incubator?
(Max Galka) #43

Hi @andrewchen -

For an early stage startup looking to raise a seed round, the prospect of spending months going back and forth with VCs is not very appealing, especially when there is already more work to be done than there are hours in the day.

In your opinion, roughly how much can a startup realistically raise purely from angels (super angels / angel associations not included)?


How much can a startup realistically raise purely from angels?
(Les) #44

Hi Andrew: I read your article about “The Law of Shitty Clickthroughs”. I have actually read it 3 times ( I mostly don’t read an article through to the end – :-)). Excellent perspective!

As a Digital Marketer, I struggle with choosing the right channel for a specific initiative (on a daily basis!). What you are saying in your article resounds with me @ 100%. It seems like any given channel has limited shelf life in terms of rates of success.

My Challenge: I have a client who is a multi-national. They have a Newsletter that they want to increase subscriptions to. It’s English Language. The target audience is relatively small — and multilingual. I have run an experiment with LinkedIn ads (great targeting – lousy copy parameters). Success so far has been minimal. But the cost per acquisition is absolutely great.

I am wondering if you have any suggestions in terms of “unique channels” that I could explore. There is no shortage of organizations that are ready to take my money…

(Ali Shakeri) #45

Hi Andrew,

Your article “The Law of Shitty Clickthroughs” has been a big inspiration for our upcoming mobile app (artist-centric music messaging) so I figured I’d reach out to pick your brain.

We are planning on launching an iOS app next month and have a solid existing platform to get our first 100,000 downloads within one month (web app with 55k artists / grows at 5% per week with $0 spent on marketing / 1m+ visits monthly by fans w/o accounts / team = 2 web devs + 1 iOS + 1 marketing).

The network and viral loop we’re relying on for user adoption is the artist-fan relationship (core experience = you get a song + message from your favorite artist). And we’ve also made it very easy for artists to get their fans to follow them (SoundCloud integration and deep-linking help this), but the one issue that’s giving us the most trouble is content-creation.

Right now the only way an artist could send a song out to his fans on the mobile app is if he logged onto our web platform and made a “post” - a considerable barrier to content creation. Furthermore, the only songs that fans can “share” amongst one another on the mobile app are ones that have been sent to them by artists, sent to them by their friends (who would have received them from an artist first), or by a small handful of popular tracks that we pull from our own charting system.

We think the biggest “senders” on our platform will be artists (electronic musicians are no strangers to self-promotion) and we want to make the content creation process for them as seamless as possible, however we also want to get to market as quick as we can to avoid feature creep + analysis paralysis.

What would be a good way to determine if artists not being able to send tracks from within the mobile app is a deal-breaker?

On one hand, we can spend the extra 1-2 weeks to build an internal posting system. On the other hand, we can spend 2 days to create the ability for them to post from their mobile browser - which would allow us to build internal posting into a second version of the app (this might be a shoddy experience though and would be dumped in the second version).

TL;DR When is something unnecessary “feature creep” and when is something worth building in?


(Stephen Willis) #46

This is a great question and something I struggled with in building MeMakeMistake for dual platforms (android and web). The only thing that would separate the mobile platform from the web platform is the back-end or admin dashboard. Everything else should mirror each other. I made the web platform API control if you will the mobile platform. In that I mean guided endpoints, etc.

I think you will miss out on prospects or members who do everything by mobile or tablets. Here is why. 89% out of mobile users use apps to view their media. Only 11% user web browsers on their mobile device. That is why things like a web frames are not popular unless it is built into the app for stuff like FAQ and Terms & Conditions. Not only that, hardly anyone saves a web link on their smartphone. So to answer your question. In order to have a MVP that relates to everyone, you will need to spend the time in version 1 for an internal posting system. This is what I would strongly recommend. For me it would be a deal-breaker.

The benefits of this is exclusivity and event driven that will create your content in due time. The only downside is the type of song shared (popular/unpopular) determines the growth of more content. If you have weak artists then you will have few followers for that artist and platform.

This is a great idea. I looked at the site and noticed that basically the artist can create a pitch kit, but do you have connections for them to pitch to. That is also a downside. You can give someone all the tools to look good, but do you point them in a direction where they can find reputable A&Rs, publishers, etc.

If you added a feature in version 2 to match musicians with A&Rs then that would also be a deal-breaker to have more artists and fans sign-up. This would be a big step because you would need to have survey research and a questionnaire to be able to correctly match the artist with an A&R.

I hope this helps.

(Ali Shakeri) #47

Everything that you’d said here makes total sense. Thank you for the response!

So the press kit functionality is actually something we’re looking to kill soon (it’s semi-hidden in the UI). Our most popular tool has been a content gate (i.e. that helps musicians trade their music for social media followers. We’ve done plenty of A&R outreach and they are more of a “we’ll find them without your help” kind of crowd. The one thing everyone universally wants in music is to get more fans!

This tool puts ToneDen in front of hundreds of thousands of fans each month, and at the moment we have no where to put them (hence the mobile app that lets them receive + send tracks from their favorite artists). Thanks!

(Stephen Willis) #48

There is a reason why Elon Musk said, “Paypal sucks!” even though he is one of the co-founders. From a customer and development point of view Paypal has many flaws and is not user friendly. There one-click checkout is a pain if you do not understand that each agreement is company specific. That means you have to specify with each company what is the primary or secondary choice.

I would highly recommend Stripe. They do ACH transfers and it is easy to integrate into any platform. There is no c/c info stored on your servers as it is done by passing a secure token.

For development you can have a custom form and pass the json response.

Also, the fees are I think the lowest between Paypal and

(Camille Taylor) #49

Hey! Just a quick thought but, what time do you reach out to journalists in regards to getting a write-up?

You can easily apply some principals on email marketing to get more responses. Try sending out an email at 9 or 10pm, after their inbox is done being cluttered by other stuff. Your email will stand out, as most emails get sent during work hours. Be personable, interesting, and valuable.

I had read this tip from Morgan Brown’s newsletter and it had a lot of great insight behind it, and I don’t mind forwarding it to you if you’d like. I also highly recommend following his newsletter- always insightful despite being daily.

(Stephen Willis) #50

Hi Camille and thanks for reaching out.

I send emails between 10pm and 1am. I hope I am not waking the journalists up;)

I honestly have tried to be personal.

Here is an email I sent out to a Tech Crunch reporter.

Hi Colleen,

I saw your video posting on the app “Yo” and can appreciate how you can derive a great story with such a simplistic app.

Would like you to tell a story for MeMakeMistake, an app and online application launching spring 2015.

In March 2014 I sent a friend a text I regretted and felt pretty guilty. That is when I realized most people need a way to break the ice and fix a mistake. Some people do not have the right words to say. That is when MeMakeMistake was born. A social network/service for apologizing.

Send a friend an apology based on the type of mistake made. Your friend can forgive you with one click of a button.

First platform ever for apologizing and righting a wrong.
There will be a library of apologies based on different categories.
Friends can keep track of their apologies and update the status.

I can also give TC readers an exclusive two month membership free.

Thanks for your time and hope to hear back.

All my contact info…

By all means, please send me the newsletter. I am sure I am missing something in all of this and would really like to land a story before launch.

The only reason I can think I might not be getting a response is because I do not have a demo for them to try, just screenshots and animated web commercials until the MVP is complete.