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[...] in a startup you flip rapidly from day-to- day – one where you are euphorically convinced you are going to own the world, to a day in which doom seems only weeks away and you feel completely ruined, and back again [...] -Marc Andreessen

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Heaps of failure (sprinkled with success)

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Hi. I'm Tyler. ● Entrepreneur, designer & hacker from the states ● Currently Entrepreneur In Residence @ CreativeHQ ● 3 startups - Web SaaS & indie game dev studio ● In a previous life was an artist / designer for AAA games Tyler Wanlass / Hackers & Founders / 2012

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The Business(es) Fuel & Spark Games - 2007 - 2008 Xbox Live Indie Games - (XBLIG) RocketBall - launch title for platform The Laboratory - 2009-2010 App Store / iOS Flipn' Monsters! - ~125,000 downloads

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The Business(es) May 2010 - 2012 Subscription business (SaaS) Sells Premium video tutorials for creative software Terabytes of video content streamed / month Hundreds of hours of tutorial content Utilizes external content producers (contractors) ~1 1/2 years to break 100k revenue run rate

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The Business(es) 2012 Lets creatives build awesome portfolio websites. Still in 'private beta' - sign-up today :) Launching sometime this year Still in search mode

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Everything is against you when you try to start something new. If you want to change people's habits or routines be prepared to exert an extreme amount of energy to make that happen. People are averse to change.

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Team & Founder Conflict Extra Reading: 'The Founder's Dilemma' -Noam Wasserman ● Single largest reason new ventures fail ● Didn't avoid skill overlap with initial team ● Didn't check expectations at the start ● Not everyone is cut out to be an entrepreneur ● Social relationships are bad for co-founders - hard to talk about tough issues if you're friends!

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Quick MVP's Extra Reading: 'The Lean Startup' - Eric Ries ● Utilized outsourcing to quickly build our MVP's ● Leveraged off the shelf tech to validate assumptions ● Conscious that product will undergo a re-build later ● If you're proud of the product you're shipping too late

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You're a search party in a blizzard, not an assembly line at McD's. In the start you're looking repeatable patterns and fit. You're NOT an assembly line making cheese burgers. Search and execution are distinctly separate phases.

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Search vs. Execution? Extra Reading: '4 Steps to the Epiphany' - Steve Blank ● Switched from search to execution too soon ● Premature scaling ● Didn't find our product market fit ● Didn't embrace failure as an essential part of loop 3dmotive

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Search Then Execution! ● Continue in search mode even when It's hard! ● Focusing on product market fit ● Embracing failure - it's constant but gets 'less worse' ● If you're not failing, you're not trying hard enough Smolio Extra Reading: '4 Steps to the Epiphany' - Steve Blank

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Test test test - results can often be counter intuitive.

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Not Data Driven ● You can't improve what you can't measure ● Didn't set expectations or meaningful KPI's ● Not everyone was committed - without that it will fail 3dmotive Extra Reading: 'The Lean Startup' - Eric Ries

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Data Driven ● We measure & track everything... ● ... But don't obsess over data ● Everyone is committed, everyone tests ● Have a framework for rigorous testing Smolio Extra Reading: '4 Steps to the Epiphany' - Steve Blank

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ABT - Always Be Testing ● Split testing customer surveys was a huge win ● 129% increase in response rate - reciprocity - read more: ● Test everything - retention emails, upgrade opportunities, etc. Extra Reading: 'Yes!: 50 Scientifically Proven Ways to Be Persuasive' - Robert Cialdini’s

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Don't compare your insides to someone else's outsides. Don't compare your business idea to another business that's been running for years. Your day 1 product won't be anywhere near there.

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Waited to Pivot ● Pivoted a year & half in - business was a walking zombie, had already plateaued ● Should have pivoted sooner while risk was lower ● Change was abrupt for customers ● Didn't listen to customers, slow to address issues post- pivot 3dmotive

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Success Post Pivot ● Big improvement in revenue and profit after 1 month ● Began a more data based approach ● Rapidly increased content production ● Too little, too late? 3dmotive

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Be proactive - not reactive. If you're worrying about what your competitors are doing you'll always be following. Be proactive and make the change you'd like to see - don't react to what your competitors are doing.

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Followed the Competition ● Began shipping physical DVD products ● Were afraid to be left behind by competitors ● Customers and data said otherwise but we continued - DVD sales did not justify the costs or effort 3dmotive

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Have a Strong Vision ● Core values agreed upon by team, written down ● Interview and really listen to customers ● Don't be phased by what the competition is doing ● Stay true to your vision but listen to the data Smolio Extra Reading: 'The Startup Owner's Manual' - Steve Blank

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Revenue means you're doing something meaningful. Profit means you're doing it wisely. Great quote / concept / idea from Derek Sivers,

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Focused on Bottom Line ● Revenue is important... ● ...But Profit is more important ● Aggressive with expenses ● Large reserves of cash means you're wasting opportunities - reinvested in biz, R&D, content, etc 3dmotive

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Don't stick to what you're good at. Get out of the comfort zone. It's too easy to keep your head down and just work on the product. That isn't always the most important thing you can be doing though. Product is 1/3 of the picture. Biz dev, marketing, relationship building, etc are hugely important.

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Product is Only 1 Part ● Majority of focus placed on building the product ● Marketing & Advertising suffered (not the same thing :) ● Product launch was slow, mainly word of mouth ● Day 1 sales sucked. 3dmotive

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Focused on Non-Dev Tasks ● Quickly built our customer list & social channels ● Engaged w/ niche communities ● Creative advertising oppertunties ● Aggressive SEO strategy 3dmotive

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Beta Ramp Up ● Creative non-paid ways to acquire testers ● Going to niche communities pre-launch ● Trying aggressive viral strategy ● Thinking about customer acquisition and monetization together before launch Smolio

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Quantity is better than quality (sometimes). Don't worry about making it perfect. Build as much as you can as quickly as you can. You'll learn the full extent of your abilities and be able to address any faults much sooner.

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Thanks! Questions? / [email protected]