Travis MorrisonExperienced product owner - B2B & B2C

Principal @ TSM Consulting
Senior Manager @ Cornerstone On Demand
Head of Product @ Workpop
Lead Product Manager @ Zynga
Senior Account Manager @ Google

Recent Answers

Typically these types of partnerships have detailed contracts that lay our which party is responsible for paying out any kind of competition winnings. There could be all kinds of goods/services trading places between the companies so it isn't as clear as "Company B always pays". You would need to look at the contract between the two companies.

Great and very important question. Assaf did a great job with his answer, so most of my points below are agreeing with him, but I have a few extra nuggets ;)

1. The first thing you need to do is clearly define your target audience for the video and how you are going to use the video. Do the people watching this video know anything about your company? Or will this video likely be their first introduction to you? This will help you decide how much of the video is explaining who you are and what you do vs. why your viewer should take the next step with you (I'll go into more detail on this in a later point). You also need to understand how the video will be used. Will you be emailing this to sales leads? Will this be prominantly displayed on your homepage or acquisition funnel on your website? Will you be using this video as a video ad? Once you have this defined you can more easily craft the video.

2. Do competitive research! No need to re-create the wheel here. What do your competitors do in their videos? Just because they do something doesn't mean it's good... but it will give you an idea of what your audience may be accustomed to. If you feel like your competitors all leave out a key pain point that you've identified, you can key in on that and use that as a differentiator. You should also assume that your potential customers might be comparing you to your competion based on your video, so make sure you come out on top by crafting your video with your competitors' videos in mind. I've included some example explainer videos that I helped create at a recent startup as references:

This is our first version when we were just starting out with a very small budget (~$500):

This is our most recent video with a much larger budget (~$3000):

3. Make sure your video is short and sweet. No longer than 2 minutes. May even need to be shorter depending on how you expect to use the vide0 (see point 1). The more engaged your audience, the longer you can allow the video to be.

4.Always have a call to action. At the end of the video what do you want the person watching to do? Sign up for an account? Start a trial? Call you for a demo? Make sure you are explicit with what you want your audience to do.

5. This may be obvious but if you are launching globably think about the language you should use in the video. Are you going to have it voiced over in multiple languages? Typically if you want to go with English but have clients in Europe a voice actor with an English accent (i.e. from UK) plays better with that audience as it feels more local then someone from the US (and typically people in the US like it too).

6. Personally I wouldn't describe your competitors or go into what they do or don't have for a few reasons: First, if your audience doesn't know about your competitor, they do now! Second, it might shorten the "shelf life" of your video as you don't control your competitor's product or roadmap so if you say you have something they don't, that could only be true right now and might be false quickly (and then you might need to pull the video).

I have a lot more thoughts here. Let me know if you'd like to chat further!

If you're looking for a list of the software options out here, this is a fairly exhaustive list:

Personally I've used Jira, Trello, and Asana:

Jira: The established leader for more technical task management and is used by organizations big and small for agile software development. I would use this software if your work is technical in nature and you are mainly going to have developers, product managers, and/or designers touching these tasks. In my experience, Jira isn't as easy to use for "non-engineering" roles such as marketing, sales etc. and you could have low adoption trying to push this software to those groups.

Trello: Similar to Jira in its usage mainly for development work and not cross-discipline, but this software is a little lighter weight. This is great for smaller companies who have fairly simple projects they want to track across the engineering/product teams.

Asana: This software is a little simpler to understand for non-tech roles. I've used this well to help coordinate projects cross-division (projects that span multiple teams including non-technical teams like marketing, sales, customer support etc.). Great for keeping the team focused across discipline on each task necessary for larger projects.

Hope this is helpful.

I agree with Shannon, I think the first thing you need to understand if what is the goal for the SWAG you are selling. If the goal is a secondary revenue stream, and you believe it can be consequential towards your bottom line, then you can do the following:

1. Do some quick research on other startups/tech companies that sell SWAG to see where the market is priced at.

2. Do some quick market research with a survey to existing customers or even a random set of potential customers using something like Google Surveys ( to get a quick barometer of the price point that feels plausible

3. A/B test different price points to understand your demand curve and maximize profit

4. Likely a good idea to price slightly higher than your ideal price and then offer a discount

If instead you want to maximize the volume of SWAG sold to help evangelize your customer base and drive awareness/growth, then you don't want to maximize profit you want to maximize sales while staying within your acceptable cost scenario (may be comfortable losing a little money on each sale as a marketing cost, may want to be break even, etc.). You may even want to charge a premium for purchased SWAG to subsidize additional SWAG that you give to free to your highest profile customers or best evangelists. At my previous startup we used SWAG as a "user love" tool, giving out SWAG to our biggest fans or as a parting gift when customers visited our office.

If you'd like to chat more let me know!

I think what you're asking is how do you know when you've reached true product market fit. There is a ton of literature out there on this and if you search for "product market fit" you'll probably have more than enough information to apply to your own business, but it depends a lot on the product and the market you are in. Some businesses, like those going after B2B, small businesses, have a harder time reaching "critical mass" because those markets are extremely fragmented. Others like Facebook, that targeted small, close knit communities with high k factors and word of mouth virality (colleges), can gain traction over night and can be very apparent. I would look for inflection points in key metrics that you are watching for your business: CPA (cost per acquisition), Organic/Non-paid acquisition, referrals, key retention metrics etc. to see if your k-factor is increasing. This can be a good leading indicator that you have reached product market fit.

Good luck and if you'd like to chat more let me know!

I think it's difficult to answer this question without more background on the type of marketplace you are trying to develop a pricing model for. If the marketplace involves businesses on one side and consumers on the other, it's standard to charge the businesses and not the consumers (think hiring platforms that charges business to post jobs and don't charge applicants for applying to jobs). If the marketplace involves two different types of consumers (Air BnB) then you might charge something on both sides, so it's important to make that distinction.

That being said, what's most important at first is growth (and balanced growth on both sides of the marketplace). Choose a pricing model that accelerates growth on the "dominant" side of your marketplace. When I say dominant, I mean is there one side of the marketplace that drives growth for the platform as a whole. Going back to my hiring platform example, the employers are the "dominant" side of the marketplace, because if you add more employers (and thus more jobs) to the platform, you gain more opportunities to show to potential applicants, driving candidate volume in turn. So in the hiring world, you would focus your business model on making employers as happy (and as willing to post new jobs) as possible so that you can scale your platform.

I hope this is helpful and if you'd like to chat more let me know!

First of all, congrats on starting your business! I was head of product for a marketplace company in the hiring space for 4 years so I have a significant amount of experience building a marketplace similar to yours from the ground up. I also know how challenging it can be to reach your customer base! These types of businesses are extremely fragmented and so it can be difficult to reach "critical mass" where your cost per new customer drops significantly. Here are some suggestions:

1. Study your competition. There are plenty of other marketplaces out there like yours (at least given the brief synopsis above) so you can see what has worked for them by studying their public growth tactics. Are they relying heavily on Google AdWords? Do they put out a lot of content that gets significant traffic? Do they have strong referral programs/rewards that seem to be successful? Take a look at these and assume that anything they are doing is at least worth a test for you

2. With any marketplace it's incredibly important to grow both sides of the market (supply AND demand) at similar rates, otherwise one side will not be happy (and if they aren't happy they won't retain). Because of this, I would be hyper focused on your growth by either field/location/etc. Don't try and build your entire platform across all categories at once. Start small with one or just a few key, high demand, categories and focus all of your marketing budget/attention at these demos. If you spread yourself too thin no one will be happy.

3. Rely on what I call the "second mover advantage". Because there are other platforms doing similar things, find ways to use those platforms to grow your own. Contact freelancers on the other platforms, or post your own projects that eventually lead people back to your platform. Make sure you aren't violating terms of service, but do everything right up until that line to bring customers from more established platforms over to yours: offer incentives, discounts, even operate at a loss to get your first customers on board. You are lucky that you don't need to build demand in this sector from scratch so use that as an advantage.

Good luck, and if you'd like to discuss further let me know!

If startups never entered markets with competition, we wouldn't have Google (Altavista was market leader), Lyft (Uber), Zoom (Microsoft/Skype) or countless other darlings that are now large publicly traded companies... It's more important to choose a market where you feel that you have a competitive advantage over incumbents. Could be tweak to their product that you believe adds additional value, could be the strength of your team and your ability to move more quickly, could be your go to market strategy; the key is finding something that separates your brand from others in the space and carves out a piece of the market where you can be successful. There is always room for innovation in any market, even those that are fairly saturated with competition. Find your competitive advantage and exploit it!

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