Startup Chat #61 – Business growth with Noah Kagan from App Sumo


This week we chat with Noah Kagan of about content marketing, startup growth and much more.

Win free undies from @noahkagan (and learn about growing your business) – CLICK TO TWEET

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iTunes | Stitcher | YouTube | RSS


Competition – Win Noah Kagan’s undies [CLOSED]


Tell us what the best city in the world is in the comments below and Noah will send you a pair of SAXX underwear.


*Update: This is closed now. The winner was Jon Myers aka Keyser Soze with this bullet:

Best city for bootstrappers.
Ho Chi Minh City (Saigon), Vietnam
Low-cost, high-value urban lifestyle. Live on $1,500 – $2,000/ month.
Your runway extended, your life optimized and focused on work, self and fun.
1. Services – housekeeping, high-quality low-cost food, laundry, doing dishes, etc..
2. Transportation – get a motorbike, get there in 5 – 10 minutes, valet it. Done.
3. Gym – nice western style gym, done.
4. Housing – get moved in – in hours, not days or weeks.

No visa run bullshit. 3 month-multiple entry visas are easy. Renewing is easy.
Educated labor pool – we have two exceptional Rails guys working with us, $20usd/ hour.
Transit hub – hop on AirAsia to Bangkok, etc.. for $50 bucks.
Cafe Culture – The city has a cafe culture that rivals Paris. Hundreds upon hundreds of cafes have fast, free wifi.
Large, vibrant expat entrepreneur scene – great active scene here with entrepreneurs working on real, ambitious businesses not bullshit lifestyle businesses chasing coconuts and hammocks.

Show notes

First stages of entrepreneurship

  • .com starting to happen in the 90s
  • Had a bike and not much money
  • Wrote a 17 page business plan!
  • “How do you take advantage of what you have available to you”
  • USP was ‘$5 to deliver anything’
  • Never launched and that’s influenced him launching quickly

2005 till today

  • Graduated from Berkeley
  • Had a job offer from Google, but took an early Gmail invite instead
  • Worked at Intel
  • His first site was Come Get Used
  •  was a Craigslist for college campuses
  • These projects helped him get the job at Facebook
  • Current projects are &

What is Sumo Me

  • Twilighter – enables people to highlight text and create a click to tweet
  • List Builder is a ‘non annoying’ way to grow your email list
  • Launching blog analytics, AB testing and ad tracking
  • Sign up for free at

Goal setting vs processes

  • If you only have goals, you’ll hit them and get depressed
  • Processes enable you to maintain your motivation
  • Uses a calendar to do things to keep his life fulfilled
  • Has a weekly Sunday email for what to accomplish during the week
  • Don’t set an end point, instead simply schedules the work required
  • Suggests a process for ‘Live a healthy life’ as opposed to a goal ‘get a 6 pack’
  • Work out a good way for you to filter things out
  • Spends money on a therapist and personal trainer

What is the common reason why people don’t start a business?

  • Excuses about not having money or co-founders
  • Waiting for some other ‘things’ to be figured out
  • Fear of yourself, fear of rejection and fear of friends
  • FailureGames mobile app
  • On pitches – If you can’t explain your idea in a sentence or two, you are overcomplicating it. Think about how you can solve the problem and explain it in a simple way.

Startup Chat exclusives!

  • AppSumo – Infinity Skills deal launches tomorrow
  • Sumome – Launching stats on email collection, ad tracking and split testing

Anton’s birthday present


Why is Sumo me a priority?

  • Wanted to build things that he used himself
  • Came out of the idea of having a ‘Death list’ which lists the biggest risks to your business. AppSumo product sales meant no guaranteed ongoing revenue
  • Taking their time and not rushing, even with the mounting pressure from peers

On customer development and ideas

  • Don’t tell people about your idea, ask them what their problems are
  • Don’t build something, tell them to pay you for it
  • Ask people what their priorities are and what they are working on
  • Ask them what they are doing today, what did they do yesterday – work out how people are spending their time
  • Two favorite question to close a sale or land a job:

‘Did I do everything to make this the best x you have ever done’


‘Is there any reason why you wouldn’t offer me x right now’.

Blog analytics app

  • Will depend on what people want
  • Idea generation could be part of it – e.g. what to write about that will provide good traction on the blog

Noah’s simple content marketing framework

  • Have 1 priority (objective)
  • What types of content helps the most towards this objective
  • In Noah’s case they were long detailed posts about Marketing
  • Where are the ‘Anomalies of success’ i.e. what content is really getting traction – do more of that
  • BuzzSumo allows you to see what blog posts in a given topic area are going viral (this is not Noah’s product)
  • Quora or Google trends – look at popular sites to work out what topics are getting traction
  • Try to fill an unmet need

How to fill an unmet need – podcasting

  • Analyze all of the top podcasts in iTunes
  • Only look at the ones with a lot of comments and activity on the blog and reviews

Look at:

  • Formats
  • Least popular posts
  • Reviews – what do people say they want improved, what do they love
  • What the popular books are on Audible
  • Most popular posts – consider the guest’s profile in looking at popularity
  • The length of the podcast episodes. Is there an optimal length or a length that no one is doing?
  • How can you use an existing service to make things easier for himself.

Found that psychology and meeting new people were high on the popular topic lists.

Mentions in the content marketing section

 Find a balance between what others want and what you want

  • At the end of the day it’s better to serve yourself, it’s easier to keep going and stay motivated
  • Noah’s post about his Tech Events company
  • What topics can you talk about that people want, as well as what you want to talk about?

3 things that have driven AppSumo’s growth

  1. Promoting great products
  2. Paid adverting
  3. Giveaways

Best business growth strategy for

Successful members

Best business growth strategy for

  1. Long form content specifically about marketing
  2. Advertising

Use quant based marketing to work out 3-5 that work the best.

What skill is the skill that’s responsible for the most revenue

  • Advertising
  • SQL to enable people to get access to customer data without interrupting developers

Sumo Jerky

Tips on cold email outreach


Dan Norris is a co-founder at WP Curve and a passionate entrepreneur with an obsession for content marketing.

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