Ask me anything!


Hey Andrew,

A quick question on a terminology from one of your post.

What does ‘Database-up Design’ mean in Paper/Wireframe Prototype?

I google the term, but many technological explanations come up with (bottom-up and top-down database system design, system architecture, etc.)

Any practical explanation?

What does database-up design mean?
(Jeff Biart) #73

Hi Andrew,

I am from Montpellier in France. I have been reading your essays for some months now, and it has been really useful. Thanks a lot !

I am currently launching Memorink.

I would like you to test the app and tell me what you think of it.
I am not going to tell you what it is all about so you can see if it is well understandable.

And i am currently facing problems to market it, so if you have the time, i would be more than happy to have some tips from you :smile:


(Sanket Nadhani) #74

Have you seen Telescope?

I started using Discourse as well for a community I am trying to build but over time, Discourse is coming off as a very opinionated product. For example, I cannot send email digests to active members - and they count an active user as anyone who has been on the site even for a second in the last x days.

Also not possible to just sign up to the digest email using just an email.

That’s when I checked out Telescope which looks better, has fewer options as you mentioned and is much more marketing-friendly. I will give it a try if and when I am crazy enough to start another community :smile:

(Mitchell Posada) #75

I have been away from Bay Area for 6 years now. I’m looking to expand and narrow the list of investor targets to participate in a Seed round in a hardware/software startup. We’re probably too advanced for a hardware accelerator (there are 5 in SF alone) given that we have an issued patent and conceptual prototype finished and located in South Park. Below is a sample but hoping to get some additional suggestions – especially angels.

Brick & Mortar
Andy Rubin / Playground – most interested in this one
Tandem Capital
Shasta ventures
Lion Wells

Any suggestions welcome.

Thank you,

(Craig) #76

Andrew - I’m sure you’ll agree that founder agreements and early equity splits are an essential part of the start-up journey. Any ‘plain english’ agreements that you liked more than others you could share? thx


Andrew - I enjoyed your recent post on mobile app retention. Are you citing data calculated using rolling retention stats or classic retention as defined here

Thank you!

(Stephen Willis) #78

What intriguing essay topics might we see from you in the future?

(Ricardo) #79

Hi Andrew, I watched your website since your post about viral loop, I used this technique to build my Adqusition dashboard in the past with a startup here in Costa Rica and thanks man to share!!!

What do you think about the Ask Me Anything boom? And Which tool do you use?

No business questions: Do you want to come to Costa Rica?

(Vinish Garg) #80


A startup is interested to hire me as a ‘consultant content strategy’ on equity only (no salary). I see the potential in the product. Can you share any directions on how I can quote how much equity, and terms?


  • Vinish

How much equity to give advisors?
(Marius Ciortea) #82

Hi Andrew/Community,

I’m need to start a ad based acquisition campaign ASAP :). Are they any good pace you can recommend for me to start. Assume I don’t know much. I need a guide that can walk me tough step, by step on what I need to do. My main goal is acquisition, based on a freemium model.

Thank you or any community member that is will to help me out. If you are in SF, I would even buy you free lunch, if you are willing to consult :).


Where to start with paid acquisition?
(Alexey) #83

Any thoughts about how to move from winter Moscow to SF, we are small great team (developer, design, pm & marketing and backend engineer) with our fingerprints in a products with more than 10mil MAU (Yandex. Maps, myMail).
Thanks for an advice!

How to move from Moscow to SF
(Rakesh Sharma) #84

Hey Andrew… Hope you are doing great… I am getting an app built. Just wondering if you could advise on where to host it.

Dumb question, Please pardon me… :wink:

(Russell Cowdrey) #86

Hi Anderw and anyone else willing to answer,

The first question I have is around my financial projections about a social/messaging platform (see my intro: Introduce yourself! What are you working on these days?).

For financial projections, is slow and steady growth like Nextdoor, or trully viral growth like whatsapp the right strategy if I am coming to the the valley?

First, I truly believe we have the data to make our product super viral (multiple shares per cohort). I have raised above $300k in the Dallas area but have used incredibly low numbers with no real viral aspects since the Dallas investor has a hard time believing real social media numbers like instagram, whatsapp etc. I have used your formula for viral acquisition and user retention to build out new numbers. I did add an increasing level of retention over time as we improve the experience and there is also no way for one cohort to share more than one time which I think we will be able to do. If you could saturation would take place much faster so that could be a double edge sword.

My second question is that I have two pitch decks, one that I use for presentations like million cups etc and it is very visual (lots of color backgrounds etc). The second I have is much more plain vanilla but pretty much says the same thing. Which ptich deck is the best for the SF/Valley VC, plain or colorful?

Thanks in advance for anyone’s replies,


(Andrew Chen) #87

It sounds like you are optimizing for the wrong things. I don’t think investors care much about plain versus colorful pitch decks. Instead, read this:

That’s the best guide on the planet right now on raising money in Silicon Valley. To be honest, it sounds like you are a long way from being able to successfully do a raise out here, but you should start learning sooner rather than later.

(Russell Cowdrey) #88

Ouch, but thanks I guess. I’ve read many articles similar to the one you passed along. It was a great refresher. I’m assuming my first question was just as dumb as the second since you did not answer it (financial projections). Thus I won’t really worry about either style or projections. (I’ll go with the pretty one with the low numbers since they are already there).

Have you looked at the demo of our alpha? It just scratches the surface of where Plum is going. (2 min)

Here is my very first open pitch. (8 min)

Are we really that far off from being able to pitch out there?

(Michael) #89

Hey Andrew,

I recently started a business called which offers custom poetry on demand. I love what I’m doing, and I’ve received a few orders, but I find it hard to reach buyers at the right moment (where they’re actively looking to purchase a gift).

Any ideas for how to efficiently market this business? Any potential growthhacks you can think of?

(Slavik Kaushan ) #90

Hey Andrew! Congrats with Uber!
You sound really exiting about Uber and it’s more like outsider excitement still.
What is more exiting thing there for you ?
From our emails you are very practical guy so would be really great to know your visions.

The background of this question is very simple - I am not getting what’s so cool about Uber.
See it as great innovative logistic business and every body around talking about some mega future which I don’t get and it’s scary :wink:

Would really appreciate your feedback.

Thank you!

(Maggie Campbell) #91


I work for Element Three, a marketing agency on the north side of Indianapolis and I am conducting preliminary research around additional speakers for our marketing conference called and: a marketing conference. The event will be held at the J.W. Marriott in downtown Indianapolis on Monday, June 13, 2016. After 3 years of growing the event - it will be the largest marketing conference held in the state next year.

For additional context, please take a look at this year’s recap site and a look into next year which will feature Rand Fishkin of Moz as a keynote speaker along with 10 additional top Science and Story professionals.

With your entrepreneurial spirit and extensive expertise in marketing, mobile, and metrics, paired with your ability to tell bold and unique stories in your essays makes you a fantastic match for our event.

Thank you for your time, and I look forward to hearing from you.

Maggie Campbell
Marketing Specialist, Element Three

(CY) #92

Hi Andrew,

I hope you are doing well at Uber.

I will like to ask for your permission on republication on at our blog. What’s your email for contact?


(Andrew Chen) #93

No thanks, please don’t republish!