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Angel investor and 500Startups founder Dave McClure took to the stage during the Lean Startup Day at SXSW — his presentation centered around startup metrics for lean startups. If you know Dave, you know that typically every third word is a curse word of some sort – my counter had him at about 3.2 words/curse word across his presentation. It was three years ago at SXSW that Dave McClure introduced the world to getting booty by using his startup metrics techniques for pirates.
My favorite part of the presentation was when Dave asked the audience, “when do you stop adding features” and someone in the audience replied, “when you get acquired”. Everyone laughed and Dave quickly noted that was not the right answer – the correct answer is to stop adding features when your users are happy with what you have. I am not sure I agree – can you name one company that has actually stopped adding features?
Here are some of my notes:
- suggests you read the book Spent
- don’t bother pitching him or emailing him – if you want into his network, you better come via a referral (see slide 41)
- the important metrics aren’t uniques or cash – but visitor engagement metrics (see slide 11 below)
- disagrees with Chris Dixon and Fred Wilson around marketing and SEO (I agree with Dave)
- gathering customer data is good, email collection is great because you can “fucking spam your users” (see Dave’s comment below – just to be clear he was joking about spamming customers)
- if your customers pay for your product, you have MVP (minimum viable product)
- hate is more gooder than love (that was my Fake Grimlock impersonation) – basically what Dave means here is that when people hate your product they will tell you specifically what to fix – if they love your product, you will probably only get an “i love your product” response
- testing is cheap, coding is expensive – Dave notes that you are better off testing up the behind before you code because it’s easy to change a test, harder to change code
- Dave featured a slide about cartoons and noted that SouthPark is a really shitty product within a niche and that’s why they won
Dave also discussed pricing – in that you are better off starting with charging for your service and possibly moving free later on than the reverse. He said that way you will get customers initially who really, really want your product. I agree with his conclusion but for a different reason – it’s very, very hard to move to paid when you start free – just look at what the backlash when this is done – but if you go from paid to free, you look like a hero.
Continue reading “SXSW Recap: Startup Metrics for Pirates 2.0” »
AOL has put out a press release today which shows significant growth in usage and advertising engagement for the aol.com site today. The release notes, "Since the homepage redesign was launched in September 2008, advertising click-through rates on the primary 300 x 250 ad banner rose 30%, according to internal metrics…In addition, the redesign is driving stronger consumer usage: total unique visitors and average daily visitors each are up 13%, and total minutes grew by 29%, compared to one year ago, according to the November 2008 comScore Media Metrix Report."
Congrats to AOL on the big usage improvements. Back in July I noted that AOL changed their client app and would enjoy a huge increase in pageviews due to the change. I use aol.com currently to check my AOL mail and I find that the page "clicks" an unbelievable amount of times on each pageload. Does this have anything to do with the increased stats? Doubt it, but there is one interesting thing to note. When you enter/exit AOL mail, it forces a view back to aol.com. There’s no way (at least that I can find) to engage with AOL mail without being forced back to aol.com after you complete your business.
Naturally this wouldn’t directly impact advertising click-through rates, it would certainly affect unique visitor and daily visitor counts. It’s a smart move for AOL – force as many users as you can to see as many pages with ads as possible.
comScore has released their latest m:metrics report showing mobile search usage in the U.S. and several countries in Europe. Nearly 10% of mobile subscribers in the U.S. completed a mobile search and the total mobile search usage is up 68% in the U.S. In Europe where mobile usage is further along, usage is up 38%.
For all of the countries in the chart below, Google leads usage of mobile search. In the U.S., 63% of mobile searches use Google while 34% use Yahoo. In Germany, 85% use Google and in France 62% use Google. Spain and France were the only countries that had near 10% MSN search usage.
Wiki provider Wetpaint is announcing tonight that they have hit the one million mark. The one million number represents "created" wikis on the Wetpaint platform, not active customers. It also seems the company is now marketing their service as "social publishing" rather than wikis. I think wiki is well known in the tech market but social publishing might be more mainstream-friendly.
Wetpaint also released the following stats:
- 8 million pages of content in the network
- users from 177 countries have created wikis on the Wetpaint platform
They are also announcing the launch of the "Golden Paint Can Awards" which will give prizes to 70 Wetpaint sites in 15 categories. Winners will be selected by a celebrity panel of judges, stats and a public vote. I always like to see companies show off their customers, it helps with goodwill with the current customer base and also helps potential customers see what’s possible with the application or service. Zlio does a good job of this – they feature one shop every day on their blog.
Nielsen is out with a new report which brings together TV, Internet and mobile usage together for U.S. households. They found that Americans are watching more than 127 hours a month of television programming. Could the higher gas prices and food prices be a factor in this increase?
Average Internet usage was up 9% to 26 hours a month. New metrics in the report include 2 hours of Internet video per month on average and 3 hours of mobile video for users who are subscribed to a mobile video plan.
The interesting chart is below – this is a breakdown of the above stats by age group. Teens who are subscribed to a mobile video plan are viewing over 5 hours of mobile video a month. For Internet users we see a bell curve with those in the 35-44 age bracket using the Internet the highest amount. But look at those 65+, they are using the Internet over 26 hours on average.
I’ve said many times that the 65+ market is one to consider as you think about creating a startup. I know it’s cool and hip to make a Twitter or FriendFeed, but there are other groups to consider – and many of those groups have money to spend and aren’t demanding free.
Web site tracking service Compete has announced the launch of their "Pro" plan today. They are dropping their previous payment system which basically required you to buy credits and then each report you selected was some amount of credits. Going forward the plans will all be monthly – this should be easier for their current customers but also easier to market to new customers.
They have also added more reports which include: page views, visits per person and daily reach. They are keeping more data as well and you can now go back up to 25 months for report purposes.
The new plans start at $199 a month which includes 50 reports. Compete might lose some customers over this – sometimes you only need one report a month, other times 100, now you are stuck with a minimum of $200 a month. It seems like if you have any credits they are giving you a free month of the basic Pro package. Perfect for the large enterprise customers, not so for small customers, consultants or media outlets. My hope is that they will add a ppv report option as well for say $5-10/report.
Web analytics service comScore is announcing their acquisition of mobile analytics provider M:Metrics. The transaction involves a cash payment of $44.3 million and the issuance of approximately 50,000 options to purchase shares of comScore common stock to certain M:Metrics unvested option holders. As mobile grows here in the U.S., the ability to measure will become more critical – especially for sites that monetize their mobile traffic.
M:Metrics describes their core mobile analytics services as:
MobiLensTM, a syndicated monthly online survey that captures overall mobile phone usage, including device information, data usage, media consumption and demographic characteristics of a representative sample of more than 40,000 mobile device users. MobiLens is available in the U.S., U.K., Germany, France, Spain, and Italy.
MeterDirectTM, the industry’s first on-device meter that passively measures the mobile Internet behavior and media consumption of more than 4,000 existing Smartphone panelists. The M:Metrics metering technology is compatible with more than 280 device models. MeterDirect is currently available in the U.S. and U.K.
M:AdTM, the first competitive tracking service for mobile advertising that continuously monitors clickable display advertising from a broad representative set of mobile Web destinations to reveal leading advertisers across a variety of market segments. M:Ad is currently available in the U.S. and U.K.