CategoryMarketing

How to Evaluate a (paid) iPhone App Idea

As I mentioned in my first post in this series, we dove into the App Store with a ($2.99) Productivity App called TouchBase Calender.  It was a part-time effort as we were wrapping up other commitments, with the goal of learning about the App Store, getting up to speed on the iOS SDK and Objective-C, etc.  This post details what we learned about the paid apps market and it contains data that I...

Why You’re Going to Hire the Wrong Designer

“We are not UI experts but do know when we see a good design.” I saw this on a mailing list I occasionally read, in a post where a company was looking to hire their first design employee/contractor. I think it’s a big part of why hiring designers is a process that often ends in failure: because most people who aren’t UI experts (heck, most UI experts fall into this camp as...

Guide to Evaluating Startup Ideas

A great developer I once worked with was kvetching at lunch one day. He’d been working at a well-funded startup for about a year and had come to terms with the fact that the startup was really a pretty dumb idea. He’d wasted a year of his life and had a pile of stock options that weren’t very interesting. His last two jobs had been similar. He asked me a question that, at the...

A Designer in Support of Design Contests

15 years ago, you couldn’t even BEGIN to look for a house without a real estate agent (who takes 6-7% of the purchase price from the buyer). Today, the internet has changed that. 10 years ago, someone starting a small business had to eat a cost of thousands of dollars to get a solid looking logo– often more if they didn’t want to roll the dice on just using a solo designer (of...

How to Ask for an Introduction

I don’t know a ton of important people. But as a founder of a venture-backed startup with some amazing investors and advisors, I do know a few. With Nivi and Naval preaching the gospel of social proof (can I get an “amen”?!) and with fundraising posts and articles espousing the importance of introductions, it’s no surprise that about once a week someone asks me to...

PR for Startups

My startup (RescueTime) has enjoyed some pretty ridiculously good PR (online, print, and video). It’s not a surprise that the most common questions that we get from other founders are about PR. How do you get press and the blogosphere talking about your product? When you research this topic, you’ll see lots of technical and how-to articles that talk about how to build relationships...

Value or Viral?

I can’t help but think that the startup world is a bit drunk on the concept of viral distribution. Distribution is a huge problem for startups, so I suppose that I can’t blame them. First of all, I want to point out that I think viral distribution freakin’ rocks. It’s amazing. It’s awe-inspiring. If you can build virality into your app, do it– and do it early...

Exactly Why 37Signals is So Arrogant

Don Norman recently wrote a fine piece entitled “Why is 37Signals So Arrogant?“. As a student of link/click bait, I have to applaud him. Bravo! It’s right up there with Jason Calacanis’ post about firing anyone who isn’t a workaholic (his followup is a bit more measured). So I’m going to do one better than Don Norman, and tell you exactly why 37Signals is so...

Widgets!

RescueTime will never be a purveyor of widgets (as a primary business), but there’s no denying that widgets are a damn good way to spread the word about your product, assuming that anyone actually wants to install them. A widget that displays exactly how you spend your computer time may be creepy to some. As an old skool fella who is a bit more privacy-focused, I never really thought that a...