Jason Cohen — Q&A and Smart Bear Live


(This article is part of the MicroConf 2015 Recap. Want to explore more talks from the event? Go back to the Recap Hub)

Main Concept

  • As an entrepreneur, you have an obligation to create things that are important. 
  • The journey is the important part. Not the end. Focusing on the journey and the experience — not the end — helps reduce the stress of the entrepreneurial journey. 
  • Price 20% higher than expected so you can offer a discount to them

Talk Recap

Question #1: “Validating WPEngine — How do you recommend validating a product?”

  • Before he had the idea for WPEngine, he validated that by explaining what the product did…
    • but then respond back with separate feedback on how / what the product should be
  • It’s important to run down a full view of the product, reveal what the price is, and go through how you invalidate an idea — finding objections

Question #2: “How do you ask about price?”

  • If people aren’t flinching at the price, that’s a good sign that it could be bigger

Question #3: “There’s some thoughts that you should collect cash up front to validate”

  • Do that!
  • Cash that check. Take money in square!
  • Crowd funding is a great way to raise the money
    • But it isn’t actually validation
    • It isn’t a distribution system that you can repeat
    • So those early adopters may not be a market that you can reapeat

Question #4: “What if someone has something they’re building that’s too complicated to describe?”

  • “I don’t believe in that”
    • Google can describe what they do
  • If you can’t describe it in a short phrase, then you haven’t fully thought through what you’re selling
  • You’re going to have to put headlines and buttons on your site — you’ll need a phrase that describes what you are doing
  • The job of validation is finding out if the person you’re talking to is the right target person
  • Google is a good example
    • “Organize the world’s information”
    • …but they make money selling ads
    • So although ads are the business, the mission is to organize information, and that power (that information) is what they monetize

Question #5: “Hypothetical: You have a situation, but it isn’t working as well as you want. How do you know when to quit vs push forward? “

  • Appointment Reminder is a perfect example
    • Growing — but slowly and painfully
  • Seth Godin wrote the book The Dip
    • …you’ll read it and still say “I don’t know what to do!”
  • There’s no clear formula to follow
  • What patrick / jacob said is a good metric: is this something that I want to continue doing for my life?
  • Being an entrepreneur is never a good financial choice
    • But financially everything is going to be slower than you want, marketing will take longer and harder
    • …because that’s life. Building software or remodeling your kitchen, that’s how it goes.

Question #6: “What tells you that you’ve hit product/market fit?”

  • There’s a struggle where as a consultant the turning point is when you’re just scrambling as a consultant between project and raising your rates
  • For a product, usually you can see the metrics and that tells you when you’re starting to grow
  • At the end of the day, there’s no good explanation / signal that shows

Question #7: “What were you doing before you hit product/market fit?”

  • It’s important to watch what you’re customers are buying — and how they’re buying.
  • It’s important to understand your customers buying criteria — how do they buy? What are their purchasing / pricing requirements?

Question #8: “When does it make sense to move up in price points in the market? What would you change as you move up in your price points?”

  • Depends on the type of company you want to build
  • Always good to push prices up as you can
  • One company, selling products for $300/year
    • Asked: Who are your customers?
    • Tested changing pricing from annually to monthly
    • 0 change
  • One company selling a product optimizing Facebook ads
    • A/B test selling the product $30/hour
    • …no change in sales
    • …..so you continue testing raising the price
  • People are scared “What if my customers do X or Y”
    • Freeze their prices.
    • Work with them.
    • Talk with them.

Question #9: “What drives you to keep showing up after a few successful exits?”

  • The selfish answer is that I enjoy seeing the original idea move forward
  • The fact that we can provide opportunity for the right type of attitude to succeed
  • The fact that we can provide a company that matches up with how we want to help people succeed
  • Similarly, we’re here to help our customers succeed in their businesses
  • As an entrepreneur, you have an obligation to create things that are important.

Smart Bear Live

Company #1: Anders Pierson — TimeBlock.com

  • Questions: Who is the target market?
    • Small to mid-sized development companies
  • Questions: What is going to kill the business (most likely)?
    • Lack of money
  • Questions: What’s preventing you from getting to revenue quickly?
    • Not enough people knowing about the product
  • Questions: How many people know about your product right now?
    • ~25 companies
  • Questions: How much are people paying you?
    • $49/user/month
  • Questions: What’s the next step to launching?
    • I don’t have the app yet
  • Questions: Why not sell the other 25 on the spreadsheet version?
    • They have different expectations
  • Questions: How can you extend the runway?
    • Start selling to the people you’re already promoting the product to.
    • Over-price and then offer a 20% discount, so they feel like they’re getting a deal.

Company #2: James Kennedy — procurementexpress.com

  • Question: How do we get in front of CFOs of a company of the right size to promote an app?
    • Even at 80-100 person companies, there are other people in the company that are internal and are able to advocate for this product.
    • Similarly, find the EA (executive assistant) in the system and start advocating to them to purchase this product
  • Primary Point: The CFO might not be the ultimate decision maker within the company. 

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(This article is part of the MicroConf 2015 Recap. Want to explore more talks from the event? Go back to the Recap Hub)