When I worked with the big banks they saw Know Your Customer as a tick box exercise. Something they had to do to avoid being fined by the regulators (again!)
They have a captive market of ‘customers’ – though thankfully that’s beginning to change! Your startup on the other hand has no such luxury. We need to earn customers. One by one. From scratch.
Getting the first customer means knowing who she is. Getting more customers means understanding how she and others like her think. Keeping customers requires true empathy.
When trying to get to so-called product-market fit, the first step is into your prospective customer’s shoes. If you don’t know who she is, why she cares about what you have to offer, and where she hangs out then you may as well not bother.
Greg Sands (founder & managing partner at Costanoa Venture Capital) clearly gets this and gives his take.
The Selfish Economy
There was a time when our only option to lure customers was to bombard them incessantly. En masse with ads. Many companies and even funded startups still think that’s all they can do. Trouble is. It doesn’t work. Less now than ever. Brian Solis argues that technology is the key for marketing to become personal and empathetic toward our customers. Indeed that’s the only way to win.
It’s no longer enough to make a profit. More and more companies are realising that to succeed in an ever more crowded world, we need to stand for something. A mission, a vision whatever you want to call it. Something bigger than ‘come buy my crap’. A movement is now underway…
How to Lose Staff Gracefully
Buffer have just let go of 11% of their staff! I love this social sharing company. Been using them since they started. We can all learn from their honesty, openness and transparency in how they’re dealing with this difficult issue.
“Building companies is hard. It takes a lot of luck and impeccable timing. But none of that matters unless you also have great people. Great people usually join companies because of the scope and freedom of their work, the quality of the people they get to work with and the impact of the product they are building. But they also join because, no matter how mission driven people are, they expect to be rewarded (richly, so) through stock options or its cousin, the RSU.” A must-read by Chamath Palihapitiya.
Seed Funding is Blossoming
Once upon a time, we as startup founders would hope to get one big dollop of so-called seed funding before an even bigger dollop of Series-A, etc… Today, however, the landscape has changed. Way more variations are available including the bit-sized chunks as we go. David Beisel at NextView venture walks us through the options.
9 Ways to Value A Pre-revenue Startup
What the Heck is a DAO?
Few people have the perspective of Don Tapscott. I’m almost finished his brilliant book on Blockchain. Here, he gives us an excellent primer on what the heck a DAO (Decentralised Autonomous Organisation) is and why we should care.
Blockchain Should Walk Before Trying to Run
Joi Ito tells us why Blockchain is like the Internet in 1990 or the late ’80s. His point is that we unless we take a breath and sort out the basic infrastructure first, then we risk discrediting the whole idea. Well worth a read.
Long-term Stock Exchange
I love this. Way back in 2011 Eric Ries proposed in his Lean Startup book a way for companies to stay incentivised for taking the long-view, and keeping customers front and centre. No-one took him up on the idea. So, he’s now doing it himself…
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Image: Sean MacEntee