Podcast 5: Growth Hacking and Startup Ideas with Patrick Vlaskovits
New York Times bestselling author of The Lean Entrepreneur and co-founder of Superpowered, Patrick Vlaskovits, talks about how to apply growth hacking and lean startup principles to your company to find product-market fit and avoid common mistakes and pitfalls many entrepreneurs fall into. From coming up with startup ideas to evaluating them and marketing them, Patrick brings his wealth of expertise to bear in this great interview.
- What does your new startup, Superpowered, do? It is an easy to use cross-platform API/SDK that competes with Apple’s Core Audio but works across all devices.
- How did you bring a lean startup mentality into Superpowered when you joined? I ask “what is the value we are delivering to any specific customer segment?” and ask “how do we message that?” That’s an iterative process. For example, how you message to a game studio will be different than how you message to an indie developer.
- Do you have any good marketing tips/tricks? Listen to the words that your customers are using and reflect them back upon them. You have to study the customer segment and how they talk and make sure you are using their language.
- How does a developer learn to do marketing? Stop listing facts and figures and features on your website. Start telling stories about the problems that people have who would need your product. That will resonate much stronger with your customers.
- Did you learn anything surprising getting ready to growth hack Superpowered? Yes, I discovered how developers are finding Superpowered. The story about how people find Superpowered is that they search Stack Overflow for a sound problem. Understand this story is key to unlocking growth hacking.
- How do you find product-market fit? Product-Market Fit is not a static state. It needs care and feeding per segment. You have to align the right customer segment with the right value proposition and the right technology.
- What are the top 3 most common mistakes that you see startup founders make? 1) Not being aggressive enough with experimentation 2) Trying to be all things to all people 3)
- Andreessen Horowitz says that most startups they see don’t have a solid marketing plan. How can people avoid this mistake? Most founders look down on sales and marketing. If you just put some time and focus into it, study things like the KISSmetrics Blog if you don’t know what you are doing.
- How has marketing changed in the last few years for startups? Growth Hacking is not just a series of cute little hacks (which I like a lot, by the way). Growth Hacking is about finding new customer channels.
- Is growth hacking something people should pay attention to or just a passing fad? Some people say growth hacking is just marketing rebranded. It’s not. Growth hacking is about finding a novel medium for spreading the message about your company.
About the Author
Lucas Carlson is a hands-on consultant, author and entrepreneur. He helps founders discover opportunities for growth, both for their companies and for themselves. He was the CEO and founder of AppFog, a popular startup acquired in 2013 after signing up over 100,000 developers and raising nearly $10M in venture funding from top angels and VCs.