Brandon LipmanStartup & Venture Capital Enthusiast.
Bio

Startup & Venture Capital Enthusiast. Past Cofounder of 3DLT a marketplace for 3D printed products. Guest Columnist on TechCrunch. I love helping startups grow.



Recent Answers


If you are looking for data take a look at Mattermark which allows you to analyze the data on private companies and funding trends. You can get a free trial which would allow you to see all the data. Two other sites that contains a lot VC data are AngelList and Crunchbase.

If you are looking more for continual curation of analysis from industry leaders then I would recommend the Mattermark Daily. It's a daily newsletter curated by Nick Frost and the Mattermark team with the day's best posts from both investors and operators. It's free and is an absolute must read.

Hopefully this helps!


I have become a Stripe convert. The simplicity and straight forward pricing is great. The platform works seamlessly. Previously I was a big proponent of Paypal but now after a few months with Stripe I am not ever going back. I have not had one issue at all compared to having at least a dozen issues a week with Paypal.

For subscription services, recurring services there really is no comparison to Stripe as they allow you to integrate it and develop custom API's.

If you want to jump on a call we can discuss it further. I can definitely give you some tips to getting up and running with Stripe and if you are using Wordpress as a minimum viable product we can discuss a few plugins that you can use in conjunction. Hopefully this helps!


Great question. This is a common problem with development projects. The scope of the project may not be as clearly set from the beginning as they should have been and project creep inches up.

In the future, I would suggest that you request that your developer create a comprehensive project plan outlining the project in extreme detail with dependencies. Project planning software's help greatly with this. I typically use Smartsheets as it is cloud based and it allows for you the client to see all the intricacies of the project and what the current status of the project is at all times.

I can definitely help you get this project moving in the right direction. Here is what I would want to do:

Have a call with you to understand what has happened up to this point. Identify the deliverables you are looking for. Understanding deliverables is critical. I will then have you introduce me to your developer. Your developer and I will have a call so I can understand where he/she is at and what roadblocks or challenges are being encountered.

I will then take all the information I gather from you and your developer and create project specs (a written explanation of the functionality, and details required for a development team to fulfill your needs) for each feature of the project. I will send these specs to you for your review. You will sign off on these specs if it fully encompasses what you are looking for.

After that, with the developers help I will build out the project plan Gantt Chart which will be used as a map to execute the project. The developer will define optimistic, probable, and pessimistic time estimates for each task. This allows us to get a more realistic time estimates and project variance.

If we find during this process that the developer can't get all this work done with the deadline/budget you are seeking, we will then evaluate and consider options. These could include eliminating certain non-critical features or hiring additional developers to assist.

While the project is underway I can help manage the project if you would like by having status check-ins with your developer ensuring that the project is progressing according to plan and making alternations as necessary.

I love managing projects and would love to help you. Here is my Clarity VIP link for a free call where we can chat further. https://clarity.fm/lipmanb/vip/t


I think I get where you are going with this. Your company buys products/merchandise from people looking to sell that merchandise.

Example: Amy has a printer and she is looking to sell her printer. She does not know where to sell her printer so she Google's, "Where can I sell a printer" and you want your landing page to surface specifically for that product.

This is an excellent growth tactic and one that can be extremely effective. First, I would start by creating a general template for this set of pages including everything except that which would be specific to a specific category.

Then I would go down a level and think about how you could speak specifically to each category. Example: Instead of saying something general like, "XYZMarketplace has bought 100,000 products this year" I would be targeted on exactly what they originally searched for. So this could be along the lines of, "XYZMarketplace has bought over 1,000 printers this month" or "Sell Your Printer in 5 Minutes". This talks directly to what they are searching for.

Often times companies stop there and after a user clicks your CTA (call to action) the user is pushed into the standard onboarding flow. This often leads to a higher drop-off rates during onboarding. I would suggest that you customize your onboarding flow for that specific category. Example: The user that was searching for, "Where can I sell a printer" and landed on your printer landing page liked what you were offering and clicked the CTA of "Sell My Printer Today". Now you may have an onboarding workflow that says, "We are thrilled that you decided to sell your printer on XYZ. What type of printer do you have?" Then use icons and images, to take them through the decision tree. This does take more work than having just one generalized onboarding process, but it will greatly increase your conversions.

The tools I would use to do this is a combination between Unbounce and Optimizely. They both are going to be hugely beneficial. If you are looking for a free alternative, I would suggest Google's little-known option called Google Experiments. This will get you started, however, based on what you are looking for it may not be powerful enough to effectively manage the number of A/B tests and landing pages you would be doing.

In regards to spam, it is highly unlikely your pages will be marked as spam as long as your pages contents are considerably different. If you duplicate the product specific landing pages and only replace the instance of the product then you are running a significant risk. If you actually speak to the differences beyond the product name you will not have this problem.

I would love to chat with you further about this. Here is my Clarity.fm VIP link for a free call. https://clarity.fm/lipmanb/vip/t


I have several virtual assistants I use that would fit what you are looking for. Some are based in Canada. I know you suggest that you are looking for US-based virtual assistants. However, I would consider that some overseas virtual assistants are quite skilled. The virtual assistant that I have used the longest and is by far the best is based in Pakistan. He is a vital part of my team and cares deeply about the success of my projects. He learns quickly and values the relationship which he shows through honesty and quickly letting me know if something is above his skill level.

If you are willing to go through the ropes posting a job, interviewing, and vetting someone, I would suggest Upwork (formerly oDesk). This is where I have been discovering most of the people I work with. However, it is extremely challenging to vet and decipher between quality candidates.

I hope this helps. I may have some virtual assistants that I have used with extra time. I would love to chat further, here is my Clarity VIP link for a free call. https://clarity.fm/lipmanb/vip/t


After looking at your site, I definitely belive that you have something that is extremely valuable and can definitely be popular in tech communities. Yes, your copy needs to be more focused. What is it? I would have a landing page (or a cover page) that makes it really simple for a visitor to understand what it is and why this will help them. Include an email field and offer a free eBook. I would highly suggest that you use Optimizely or Unbounce to A/B test your copy and call to actions. (Side Note: Keep in mind how much traffic you have when calculating test significance)

Since you are focusing on a developers/engineers, I would reach out to 10 of your most passionate fans that have contributed or have shared your GitHub repo. Ask them if they would be willing to contribute to the site sharing their thoughts. The more influential these people are the better.

Instead of assuming they have a login ask them to create an account right on that page. Also, include Twitter login.

One point I would make regarding SEO: Include the name of the articles in the URL of the comment pages. This helps with sharing and rankings on SEO.

Use Twitter as a growth engine and tweet out all the latest posts that you are curating to your sites Twitter account. Then if you have an active twitter following start engaging fellow engineers asking them questions about these posts. This heightens engagement and starts getting your audience engaged (some of which will convert). To take this one step further find the author of the posts you are sharing and mention them in the post saying that their article has been curated on your site (better yet you could say their article is being discussed on your site). The author will be inclined to retweet and share their post with their following. Have some variability in using this tactic, variability makes it more valuable.

Use SumoMe as a really simple way to add email capture popups on the site.

In regards to strategy, you may find it more sustainable to use the closed/invite only model for commenting like Product Hunt used. This creates a higher perceived value for those that access to commenting which in turn increases engagement. This strategy would go nicely with the initial outreach I mentioned above.

I hope this helps. I would love to chat further here is my Clarity VIP link for a free call. https://clarity.fm/lipmanb/vip/t


First off, congratulations on taking the leap to founderhood. In the early stages of a startup, roles are often complicated. You may bring the idea and vision but your other co-founder should also be able to contribute and shape the vision. The product often gets put in the middle of power struggles between founders. Work with your co-founder and share the vision you have. Allow him todo the same and bring both of your visions together. It is important that you do this with an open mind. Your vision needs to be flexible. If not these type of conversations will not be productive and tensions with your co-founder will become more announced.

Your job as CEO is not to veto ideas from co-founders but to bring clarity to the vision. Mark Suster uses the analogy of the CEO being the Chief Psychologist (Check out his post on this, "My Life as a CEO (and VC): Chief Psychologist").

Also remember that the decision maker will ultimately be your customers. When pre-traction we often look to ourselves as founders for the answers. As you gain customers their interest and lack of interest should be a big factor that ways into decisions.

To help with product decisions sit down with your co-founder and develop a product roadmap. This will help bring the high level vision down to execution and tactics.

A book I emphatically love and recommend for first time founders "The Founder's Dilemmas: Anticipating and Avoiding the Pitfalls That Can Sink a Startup".

I hope this helps. I would love to have a call with you to discuss this in more detail. Best of luck to you and your startup.


Contact on Clarity

$ 1.67 /min

4.83Rating
Schedule a Call

Send Message

Stats

7

Answers
Calls


Access Startup Experts

Connect with over 20,000 Startup Experts to answer your questions.

Learn More

Copyright © 2019 Startups.com LLC. All rights reserved.