How to Start a Startup Lecture: How to Build Products Users Love

Presenter: Kevin Hale

  • He created the startup called WuFoo
    • They were fanatical about creating meaningful relationships with their customers.
    • New users = Dating
      • First impressions
    • Existing users = Marriage
    • Be unique – think about what the person’s face looks like when they are going through tough page. Be remarkable….Examples
      • Wufoo has a dinosaur icon, if you hover over it, it has “raaarrr” in text
      • Vimeo – if you type in “fart”, it make fart noises as you go up and down the page
      • Mailchimp makes all of their resources (how to articles) look like magazine articles
      • Change the origin story of how people are interacting with your stuff
      • Subscribe to “little big details” website
  • John Gottman
    • Couples fight about 5 things – you can compare these things to customer support when you are thinking about your products:
      • Money / cost/billing
      • Kids / Users’ clients
      • Sex / performance
      • Time / roadmap
      • Others / others (competition and partnerships)
    • Customer support is what is between every single interaction event.
    • Software engineers and designers are often divorced from their consequences of their actions
      • before launch, all you are doing is creating software: everything is perfect
      • after launch – reality sets in and they have to deal with all the “business crap”.
      • Created SDD: support driven development
        • You make everyone do customer support: creators = supporters
        • After 2 or 3 calls about the same thing, the engineer will just fix it
    • The 4 horsemen of why people break up
      • Criticism “you never…”
      • Contempt “purposeful insult”
      • Defensiveness “not trying to take accountability”
      • Stonewalling “shutting down” – one of the worst things we can do in a relationship
        • This happens with startups all the time “i don’t need to respond to this user”
        • AirBnB founders used to answer customer support themselves
        • WuFoo asked for their emotional state: excited, confused, worried, angry, etc… 75% of the people filled this out and it gave the users a chance to express their emotions without using normal ways (!!!!, ALL CAPS, curse words)
    • Relationships Atrophy
      • Relationships that go for a while 15-20 years then get divorced. You need to keep injecting energy into the equation.
        • WuFoo added a ‘since you’ve been gone’ screen that shows all of the things that have been updated in the application since the last time they have been there.
        • Everyone saying “thank you” – everyone would write a handwritten “thank you” note on Fridays to show users that they are appreciated around Christmas.
    • Discipline of market leaders: three ways to achieve market dominance
      • Best price
        • logistics focus
      • Best product
        • R&D focus
      • Best overall solution
        • Customer intimate
          • This one takes ZERO money to accomplish. You can do this at any point by having positive interactions with your customer


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