Interview of Mr BS by yours truly (SB).
[SB] Tell us a little bit about your journey so far.
[BS] Well I graduated in summer of ‘13 from a second tier ivy league college with highest honours. While in college I was fascinated with the blogging world, especially blogging about startups and tech. So I applied to be a blogger covering tech at a well known blog and got hired. There during my 3 months I covered startups from bigdata computing, cloud computing, mobile and consumer space. I hosted chat shows and MCed events and so on.
[SB] So you had good exposure to technology before?
[BS] None at all. I had no clue about what these technologies meant and what they enabled. But it seems they are really important stuff based on number of pageviews and RTs we were getting. So this shit must be super important you know!
[SB] Cool. But you left the job when you got hired as a growth hacker right? Tell us more about how that happened.
[BS] Well, part of my job was to meet lot of budding entrepreneurs and educated them on what gets more PVs and eyeballs and help them in making up stories which achieved our internal goals. On one such meeting I found a startup had a great story. 5 founders, all from great schools with lots of twitter followers and facebook friends. They had a launchrock page for their new startup and yet they were able to get only 13 signups! All the blogs covered their story and it was such a promising startup and it made me wonder why despite all the PR and RTs and Likes, no one is signing up on their launchrock page. What else would a user want? They had a great logo, great about us page with jazzy mouse over events. Product and problem description were missing. But anyone who has spent 3 months in startup world would tell you that ideas dont matter. People change ideas, they pivot almost every hour if not more. So what was going wrong here?
[SB] I see.
[BS] So thought it will be a great challenge to see how I can add more value to this startup and what I can learn myself. So when founder, ceo and managing director, pitched the job of growth hacker, I immediately latched on to it.
[SB] Awesome! How did that go?
[BS] Well, first thing we did was compartmentalize users. We talked to all 13 people who signed up. Turned out 5 were founders. (I had not signed up yet, despite writing 3 articles about them!). 3 were launchrock employees. And remaining turned out to be geeks who wanted to make sure they get in on everything that cool before any one. So they can tweet something original and increase there follower count.
[SB] Well that doesnt sound so promising.
[BS] Exactly. So we analyzed all the data we had, ran it through hadoop clusters etc. And we realized launchrock just isnt cool any more. That was a big eye-opener. But as they say its never too late. So we decided to pivot. We moved from launchrock to a fully weebly.com hosted website.
[SB] That is a big move and very risky if I may add.
[BS] True. Couple of founders were very apprehensive about it. They got too attached to the launchrock page. We had few board meetings and finally they were able to see merits of new strategy. So with everyone onboard, we embarked on creating fully functional weebly site. We A/B tested each and every word. We even A/B tested which A/B testing tool to use! I was determined to not leave any stone turned. Finally after toiling for 30 days we launched new site which had everything. Tweet scroller, PR kit, journey of startup so far. A blog. Everything. Except product of course.
[SB] Why still no information on product?
[BS] Well we were not clear what we are going to build. Every who’s who in startup community will tell you, it is all about what customer wants. Listen and iterate. So first we needed to get customers. Building product after that is easy. We would just raise Series FU and outsource the whole thing.
[SB] That sounds good. Go on.
[BS] So we launched the site. Sent out pressers to every blog and twelebs. They were so impressed with our press kit that they wrote about us immediately. And with in 10 days of launch, 45 days since I joined, we now have 812 sign ups. All organic with out spending any marketing dollars!!
[SB] *Stands up and applauds*
[SB] This is brilliant! So what made you start on your own?
[BS] Now I had two important skills in with me, I could write about stuff I dont understand due to my experience at tech blog. And I also successfully growth hacked a failing startup to enormous success. They are already taking coaching classes to pass interviews at all major accelerators and soon will land with funding and it is a straight drive to Mt Gold from there. So not much challenge left. I thought, I am still young. I am still just 22. I still have 3 good years left in me, so should I take easy route and ride glory with this one startup or should I take risk. Choice was obvious.
[SB] So tell us about your own venture - youneedabath.com is it?
[BS] That is right. What I observed in my 45 days at the startup is - I missed shower on 28 days out of 45! That is more than 50%. That isnt good. So I asked around. And all founders, early employees seems to have the same problem. Putting it in to-do list, trello, asana just isnt working for any one. So there is a definite problem which needs a specialize solution. And hence youneedbath.com.
[SB] What is current state of the startup?
[BS] Well, we are looking to build initial team. Ninja programmers who are ready to take leap of faith and work for free+equity. Also figuring out launch strategy. See this is going to be mobile-only startup. And there is no launchrock for mobile. There no weebly for mobile. So it is going to be very hard. But we nothing is easy and we will get there.
[SB] Awesome. I look forward to hearing more about your startup. It is indeed a great journey so far and we are sure youneedbath is going to be the most promising startup there is! Everyone needs bath. So potentially 6B customers! And no one can out-bath you. May the bigdata with you and God’s of cloud computing smile upon you always.
[BS] Thank you.