Keep it Simple, Stupid: Skype with Crowdbooster
It has been a little while since our last post so apologies for the length of this one. It’s been a while simply because we’ve had so much on. I guess it’s one of the challenges we’re facing with Twocial being both bootstrapped and a part time endeavour. When I say part time, what I mean is that we both have day jobs. For those who don’t know us; Martin is a coding ninja who is seriously well respected in the coding community, and I’m an ex-coder ex-banker product guy (classically trained - long story). Twocial is being developed in our spare time which is our evenings and weekends.
But don’t get me wrong though, Twocial is pretty much all we talk and think about.
Skype with Ricky
So as per our previous post, we’ve been making some friends in the US. Our next Skype was with Ricky cofounder of Crowdbooster. Me and Martin met up at North Tea Power and used their WiFi sat on the veranda. Crowdbooster, based in Palo Alto, CA is a social media dashboard which helps businesses manage their social presence. Most interesting about Crowdbooster is that they analyse your twitter audience and they provide you with stats around what time is best to tweet to maximise your impact.
Ricky already had a handle on what we’re about from our emails, but he was very interested in hearing about what makes us stand out from the 500 other social media analytics out there.
Keep it Simple
Our differentiator is the sentiment, we are able to identify which conversation about your business is worth listening to. Not only the sentiment of what is being said, it’s how you engage with people and the quality of the engagements. That’s our secret sauce. We talked about the standard social metrics that users have grown to expect and that naturally we’d provide them too. Ricky, without hesitation made it clear that this would be the wrong thing to do. His advise is to keep it simple - do what you do best and focus on that - and be awesome at it. Forget the rest of the features that people already use HootSuite for - the cost of converting a customer from using HootSuite to Twocial would be too much. So why bother? Build something simple and you’ll stand out.
Ricky with Crowdbooster have been through the awesome Y Combinator startup incubator. If you’re not aware of Y Combinator, stop reading this and come back when you have. Ricky could not speak more highly of Paul Graham and the influence he had on his idea. Me and Martin have both discussed applying for YC in the past but Ricky said just do it - although we’ve missed the deadline for the current intake - we’re dead set on applying for the next.
The call lasted about 45 minutes and we got some amazing advice on how to focus our efforts. We’ve officially dropped the idea of providing standard metrics that everybody else does - we’re all about user sentiment and user engagement. But most of all it’s not about numbers, stats and charts - it’s all about people.
Awesome Anusha, Davai and CrowdBooster
Ok, so a few weeks ago I blogged about an event I went to at Techcelerate: The Northern Tech Funding Landscape. There I met some pretty interesting people, and I ended up making a new friend in the shape of the awesome Anusha Su. Not only is Anusha a really genuinely energetic and pleasant person, she is also an uber connected person and has some seriously intimidating tech credentials. Before moving to the UK, Anusha was an exec in a VC firm in Silicon Valley and is on first name terms with major players in the scene out there. Naturally I spoke about Twocial, we got along really well and so we stayed in touch. A few weeks later Anusha was in Manchester so we met for coffee. We were talking about the tech scene in the UK and eventually Twocial. She was really interested and promised to put us in touch with two friends of hers who have cofounded startups broadly in the same space - and that I should really connect with them.
The first was with Maria who is a cofounder at Davai. Davai are Seattle based and are focused on the social and mobile experience in the retail sector. Davai offers web and mobile apps to retailers to best target customers and provide them with branded and targeted content. Broadly summarised, the call was focused on our user base and our strategy around quality of data. Davai use a sophisticated algorithm that crawls all of the social networks and platforms and aggregates this for the retail sector. The call was great for me to tell Maria where we’re at, and it was encouraging to hear that Maria had the same thought processes as we did when they were at early stage.
My key take aways from the call were:
- Twitter has a very poor signal to noise ratio (at least in the US it does) and unfiltered can be pretty much regarded as trash
- A way of counteracting that is to create a captive audience (Fans of Facebook profiles, Twitter followers etc) and mine them for good data
- What is your differentiator?
- Do some more detailed competitor research
- Focus on what makes you the natural choice for your killer feature
Maria has so much experience and her product development journey was so similar to ours - so it was great to hear the drivers behind their decision to focus on the retail sector. Maria ended the call with words of encouragement by saying we had an interesting spin and that we should check in with her once we had an Alpha release.
So, lessons learnt and food for thought. I’ll be sure to blog once we’ve had the Skype with Crowdbooster. Until then why not follow us on Twitter @TwocialApp to keep up to date with what we’re upto and when we next meet.