Week 4 Lecture: Do things that don’t Scale/PR/How to Get Started

Speaker – Stanley Tang

  • Do things that don’t scale
  • Rapid launch
    • They launched an early prototype of their business in one day. It was really crude and not user friendly, but it got the job done and was a great proof of concept fro them.
  • 3 Things he learned starting DoorDash
    • Test your hypothesis
    • Launch Fast
    • Do things that don’t scale
      • This is one of your biggest competitive advantages

Speaker – Walker Williams

  • mainly wants to focus on things that don’t scale
    • Find your first users
      • there is no silver bullet for user acquisition
      • When you first launch your company, it will be a new product so it will be a really tough sell for the first users.
        • Do not expect a fast ROI on your time
        • Avoid giving your product away for free. The users must value your product.
    • Turning those users into champions
      • Delight your users with experiences they will remember
      • Talk to your users – constantly and for as long as possible
        • Run customer service as long as possible
        • Proactively reach out to current an churned customers
        • Social media/communities
      • Problems are inevitable, do whatever it takes to make them right
    • Finding product/market fit
      • The product you launch with will not be the product that finds market fit
      • Optimize for speed over scalability/clean code
      • Only worry about the next order of magnitude. Don’t worry about a million users if you are working on a thousand
        • Necessity is the mother of invention: you’ll find a way to make it work
      • Do things that don’t scale as long as you possibly can. This is a huge competitive advantage
        • Talk to users
        • Move fast in development


Speaker – Justin Kan

  • Press should have a targeted audience and goals
    • investors
    • customers
    • industry
  • Focus on local press at first – you will likely be working in the local market anyways, so you do not need national press.
  • Types of stories
    • Product launches
    • Fundraising
    • Milestones/metrics
    • Business overviews
    • Stunts – example of “WePay” which dropped off an ice block with cash frozen in it at a PayPal developer conference
    • Hiring announcements
    • Contributed articles
  • Think about your story objectively. It doesn’t have to be completely original, just original enough
  • Mechanics of a story:
    • Think of a story
    • Get introduced: talk to a reporter – get reference from a friend who has recently been reported on
    • Set a date (4-7 days in advance)
    • Reach out (get a commitment to invest time)
    • Pitch
    • Follow up
    • Launch your news
  • Use the golden rule: help your friends get reporters, help reporters get good sources for stories


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