Writing for Intercom, a selection
or see more personal essays
The most important tasks for any early stage startup are to write code and talk to users. When we started Intercom the latter was my job.
Sometimes your customers really want to use your feature or product, but they also want something else that simply isn’t compatible with it. People really want to be slim and healthy, but they also really want soft drinks and fast food.
There are two harsh truths for startups. 1: Until you have users, you don’t have a product. 2: Until they’re paying you, you don’t have a business.
This week, one of our readers emailed us to ask: “What advice would you give someone who’s just getting started with public speaking?”
Churn is one of the most important metrics tracked by today’s startups. But also one of the most misunderstood.
At Intercom, we’ve worked with hundreds of our customers, helping them target messages to their customers and improve their messaging schedules.
A badly-written email is about as effective as a love letter addressed “To whom it may concern.” Don’t waste your time writing them.
Word of mouth is the first traffic source. You can’t put a price on its value, and it sure as hell isn’t free. You’ll only get word of mouth when the same words come out of lots of different mouths.
Every start-up from every incubator claims to be disruptive nowadays, but the claim always falls apart under any close examination. Usually it’s one of these three reasons.
Understanding the value of offline advertising is messy. Billboards, for example, are priced based on how many cars drive past them. Compared with impressions or click-throughs, that sort of metric is a joke.
To create an anxiety relievable only by a purchase… that is the job of advertising.
“Advertising on the web is easy: just calculate how much money a customer is worth, then find a way to advertise where you win customers for less than that amount. Voila! A money factory. Right?”
Explanations are explanations, promises are promises, diagrams are diagrams… but only performance is reality.
The funnel is a lousy metaphor for measuring conversion. In real life, funnels let everything pass through–a 100% conversion rate if you will.