STARTUPS

Sam Altman’s CS183B – Lecture 4 – Adora Cheung

Lecture 4 was on Building Product, Talking to Users, and Growing by Adora Cheung. Adora is the CEO of HomeJoy, a online platform which connects customers with house cleaners. Adora Cheung did the first few cleaning jobs herself(Talk about dogfooding), and until late 2013 continued to work at least one cleaning job per month. HomeJoy, After Series B, led by Google Ventures, in early December 2013,  has raised about $38 million totally so far.

Salient points from the talk.

  1. Build a startup when you have a big block of available free time!
  2. Build a startup that solves a problem you have. Adora and her brother Aaron started a company called PathJoy(online platform to connect users to life coaches), but didn’t continue after a years effort, since they realized it wasnt the problem they wanted to solve.
  3. Start by learning A LOT about the target segment, become experts,story board ideal user experience. Build an MVP and put it out, smallest feature set to solve the problem, with simple product positioning.
  4. Have lots of avenues for customer feedback. Go out, talk to users. But setup support@company , surveys, qualitative,quantitative feedback, beware of the honesty curve, graph everything. Stealth is stupid.
  5. There are three types of growth. Sticky, viral, and paid growth.

Sticky growth is trying to get your existing users to come back and pay you more or use you more. Viral growth is when people talk about you. So you use a product, you really like it and you tell ten other friends, and they like it. That’s viral growth. And the third is paid growth. If you happen to have money in the bank you’re going to be able to use part of that money to buy growth.

Key to growth = Sustainability

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