November 6, 2013

Learn how to sell and market your company with the help of Kevin Rose

Kevin Rose (@kevinrose - 1.4 million followers) is currently working as an investor at Google Ventures, but he's probably most famous for being the founder of the social news website Digg, or for throwing away a raccoon that had attacked his dog Toaster (video). Since he left Digg, the site has declined as describe in our earlier article called The rise and fall of Digg, and what we can learn from it. In this old talk, he explains how he Digg got 1 million users.

Lessons learned:
  1. Ego. You should ask yourself if you have a feature that increases the users self-worth or stokes their ego? Will the user get a reward if the user is contributing to the system? For example, Twitter has "number of followers" and Hacker News has the karma reward system that gives a user more advantages. Your users want to win this artificial competition - they want more followers. You can also use a leaderboard - you can find out who has most followers on Twitter.
  2. Simplicity. Stop adding more and more features. 2-3 is enough! Always ask yourself if you can simplify.
  3. Build & Release. Analyze what your users are doing - not what you think they are doing. Build more and talk less. Build - release - itereate - build - release - ...    
  4. Hack the press. In the beginning, invite only a limited number of blogger to your website. Your users have to sign in to watch all the different parts of your website. Talk to small bloggers - not the top bloggers since they will ignore you.
  5. Connect with your community. Digg started a popular online tv show called Diggnation where they each week covered the best content from Digg. Also talk with people on sites like Twitter.
  6. Advisors. Learn from the best.  
  7. Leverage your userbase to spread the word. Find out how you can sit in a bar while your users sell and market your website. Dropbox give you more space if you spread the word about Dropbox to your friends. 
  8. Does your product provide value for 3rd party sites? Facebook has the like button and Twitter has the tweet button. 3rd party sites want you to click on those buttons.
  9. Analyze your traffic. Use Google Analytics.
  10. The entire picture. Find the growth-loop: Users -> Quality -> Traffic -> Buttons -> Users -> ...  
  • He recommended the book Crush It by Gary Vaynerchuk. 

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