Startups – Process Street

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How to Analyze an Article: Don’t get Fooled by Terrible Advice


how to analyze and article don't get fooled by terrible advice headerThere’s a lot of advice on the internet. Some of it is good, some of it is terrible, and some sits in the gray area between.

Within the fields of tech and startups, a lot of what people do day to day is influenced by what they’ve learned online; I doubt many people reading this article learned in school how to effectively market a product over Instagram!

Sorting the good from the bad is a challenge we all face, and one we have to become better at as individuals and as a society.

Improving our ability to analyze information doesn’t just mean identifying fake news, though we will look briefly at it. It also means being able to take a second look at informative journalism and the reporting of research; the kind of information which you might use to inform big business decisions. We’ll look at:

  • The importance of recognizing the gray area in complex issues and reviewing the source text.
  • How media reporting of studies can often obscure the real points
  • Why certain models of investigation can have inherent flaws, and why you should be wary of that.

At the end I’ll follow up with the 10 step process you can use to improve your analysis. This process is pulled from the recommendations of Carl Sagan, Richard Feynman, and Michael Shermer, and repurposed for your professional needs.

But first, let me tell you a little story…

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User Feedback: 3 Methods We Tested to Better Understand Our Users

I’ve written before about how we collect feedback on our marketing material and how that helps us write useful posts for our subscribers, but the other reason we gather user feedback focuses on expanding and improving the Process Street app.

With user feedback data, we can:

  • Choose which features to build based on the frequency they’re requested
  • Get data on bug reports which helps our engineering team build fixes
  • See the most common industries and use cases for our product, which guides our marketing in the right direction

Whether you’re in software or not, you still need to be gathering and processing feedback from everybody possible: leads, prospects, free users, and paying customers.

In this post, I’m going to outline the three methods you can use to gather feedback for your company. These are three methods we’ve used ourselves in the past as our business has evolved, so the complexity and usefulness of each method is higher than the last. Which method is right for you?

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How 4 Top Startups are Reinventing Organizational Structure

organizational structure headerWhen a city doubles in size, the productivity per person increases by 15%. When a company doubles in size, the opposite happens.

Companies like Zappos see this as a fundamental problem to solve. For them, the root lies in organizational structure.

With the opportunity to be dispersed remotely and to build complex products without factories and production lines, the tech industry is particularly able to pursue innovative approaches to structure, management, and organization.

Increased self-management, remote working, and task forces instead of departments, are all emerging trends which lend themselves to growing businesses.

Elon Musk talks about his businesses innovating the production process as much as the product. Mark Zuckerberg describes Facebook’s structures and organization as its biggest asset.

Ethan Bernstein, Assistant Professor of Leadership in Organizational Behavior at Harvard Business School, adds:

…[O]rganizations who are increasingly thinking about structure as an advantage and a form of making their employees more productive, will continue to evolve and innovate in this direction. And that’s something I think we’ll see across all organizations, regardless of whether they are trying to deliver “wow” to customers, or trying to do something very different.

So what are the competing philosophies which are driving these trends within the industry? Which companies have implemented the most extreme reorganizations and how have they dealt with the changes?

In this article we’ll look at:

  • Zappos: How they implemented Holacracy, with a why and how explanation.
  • Buffer: The steps they took to prioritize the individual within the company over management structures, with the challenges they faced and the lessons they learned.
  • Zapier: How they reflect these general shifts and why they chose not to dive in to extreme organizational innovation.
  • Basecamp: The marriage of many competing philosophies documented through their company handbook.
  • Process Street: The tool which helps you build the machine which builds the machine.

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How We Built and Launched a Successful Microsite on Product Hunt

On August 25th, we launched a library of 1000+ real sales and emails from the top 280 SaaS companies.

The library was hosted on a microsite, Inside SaaS Sales, which allows users to browse the full sales cadences, organized in the order the message or voicemail was sent.

The launch landed us almost 800 votes on Product Hunt, 10,000+ site visits, a mention in Hiten Shah‘s SaaS Weekly, and publicity from the SaaS and VC community.

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How to Build an MVP App Without Writing Code

mvp app how to build an mvp app without writing codeWhen you have a great idea for a startup or a service the first thing you desire to do is create it, talk about it, and see what people think.

In creating a minimum viable product, entrepreneurs choose between experiments that can validate or invalidate their assumptions about a business model. – N. Taylor Thompson

These experiments could be anything from interviews with potential customers, trying to build a client base on the promise of a future product, or building a basic version of your idea and testing it in the market.

That last one is what we’re going to focus on. How can you create software to make a product a reality?

For some people, this means sitting down and writing code. Line after line slowly pieces together the idea and shapes details until a version which works exists.

This is how we make software. It’s how we’ve always made software.

However, you wouldn’t think you needed years of coding experience to create a blog. You could just start a Medium account or a Tumblr, or whichever platform is trendy right now.

Because you’re not the only person who wanted to build a blog, other people with greater technical skill developed tools to help you build blogs without needing to code.

This makes it easier and faster for everyone. But it’s not just blogs which you can build without coding.

In this article, we’ll look at a number of different tools you can use to build a whole range of products by pointing and clicking and dragging and dropping.

If you want to make your product a reality, rapidly building a first working iteration is a very useful option to get started!

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11 Best Home Page Tips From Analyzing 100 Startups

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Home pages are typically the most viewed location on a website and your main opportunity to connect with the audience as a brand. Get it wrong, and all of those views will go from potential customers to part of your bounce rate.

Your homepage is probably the most visited page on your website — in fact, for the majority of websites, it typically receives more than 50% of all visitor traffic. In light of that… you may want to start thinking of your homepage more like a landing page” – John Paul Mains, Your Homepage Is THE Landing Page

Knowing this, I decided to do something similar to our SaaS pricing pages study by analyzing 100 leading startup home pages to see what they have in common, and how you can apply these lessons to your own website.

In this post I’ll go through 11 core data-backed takeaways to give a better outline of how to make your home page, and highlight the differences you’ll need to know if you’re targeting a niche audience.

From word count and jargon usage to social proof and CTAs, keep reading to see how the top 100 startups use their home page.

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The Art of SaaS Review: What SaaS Is and How to Do It Right

Art of SaaS review - header

The Art of SaaS shows that even industry veterans are sick of unnecessary jargon and bloated descriptions.

Rather than spending thousands of words (or multiple books) trying to explain every variation of the SaaS model, it draws from the experiences of Dr. Ahmed Bouzid and Dave Rennyson in order to cover all of the basics of a quality SaaS business in less than 60 pages.

art of saas review - book cover

Being so short, an Art of SaaS review might seem redundant at first. Why not just read the book in about an hour and learn what the authors believe to be:

  • What SaaS is
  • The bargain between vendor and user
  • The importance of uptime (and how to maintain it)
  • The three priorities all teams should share
  • The three practices which achieve those priorities
  • The structure of every team, and how they should be managed

Well, in this post I’m going to cover both the core takeaways of The Art of SaaS and the context surrounding the book itself by drawing from other figures in the field.

I’ll show you why this odd little volume is worth reading and what pitfalls to avoid when taking it at face value.

Let’s get started.

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How to Start a Media Company and Actually Make Money

how to start a media company and actually make moneyThe Guardian is a 195 year old British newspaper which expects to burn through £90m in 2017 after incurring damage of £200m the year before.

The Economist once described The Guardian as:

“[T]he most stylish paper in the hyper-competitive British quality pack, the wittiest and best-designed, the strongest for features, the one most likely to reflect modern life.”

At it’s peak it sold half a million papers per day. In June 2016, at peak Brexit-vote tension, The Guardian online claimed to have over 165m unique monthly browsers.

Yet, despite this history, reputation, and traffic, there are serious warnings that the money will run dry in as little as six or seven years.

If they can’t make it work, how can anyone? What future is there for journalism and traditional media?

In this article, we’ll explore a number of business models in use today on both a large and small scale, and begin to analyze their strengths and weaknesses.

We’ll break that down into 10 key recommendations for anyone looking to hop onboard the media startup bandwagon.

Then, for a bit of fun, we’ll delve into what could lie ahead for the future of print media.

Extra, extra! Read all about it!

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What is Crowdfunding? The Complete Guide to Getting Started

what is crowdfunding the complete guide to getting started header image rev 3

Are you a wannabe investor, or an aspiring entrepreneur?

There are now more ways than ever to get those valuable connections to make you and others money. The online crowdfunding world is a network of forward thinking companies and people who want to help them succeed.

In the second installment of our Future Finance series, focused on modern investment and millennial-friendly financing, we’re looking at the particular niche of equity crowdfunding.

In 2012, the total global crowdfunding industry estimated fundraising volume was $2.7 billion. In 2015, this had grown to $34 billion. The industry is booming and growing each year, so it’s about time we picked it apart for you.

In this article, we’re going to look at two key areas:

  1. How you can become an investor through crowdfunding opportunities including platforms available to help you along your journey.
  2. How you can raise investment for your startup through crowdfunding platforms, with expert advice from FlashFunders’s Evan Markiles.

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7 Insightful Company Policy Tips from Basecamp’s Employee Handbook

company policy

While we were writing our guide to writing an employee handbook, it was striking how few public employee handbooks there were out there to read. Obviously, most companies don’t want to expose their internal workings, and that’s sometimes for a good reason. However, you can usually trust startups (excluding Uber and Zenefits) to be transparent about their operations.

And, when it comes to transparency, Basecamp’s handbook is an amazing example. It’s both a useful resource for companies looking to write their own policies from scratch, and a genuinely interesting read. In fact, it might be the first interesting company document I’ve ever read.

The handbook got a good amount of buzz and even persuaded 1Password to build an added security feature based on how Basecamp uses the tool abroad. And so, since Process Street is passionate about keeping companies running smoothly (and yes, that does include documented policies and procedures), I thought I’d share with you a few things you can learn from Basecamp’s handbook.

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