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

noah_kagan

This week we chat with Noah Kagan of OKdork.com 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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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.

noah_kagans_undies

*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
  • collegeup.org  was a Craigslist for college campuses
  • These projects helped him get the job at Facebook
  • Current projects are appsumo.com monthly1k.com & sumome.com

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 sumome.com

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
  • StrangerChallenge.com
  • 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

is_anton_masturbating

Why is Sumo me a priority?

  • sumome.com
  • 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 monthly1k.com

Successful members

Best business growth strategy for OkDork.com

  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

About

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

  • I haven’t seen much of the world, but London is my favorite so far.

    • Thanks Eugen

      • By the way guys, I didn’t mention how great this chat was. I totally loved it! And now I am going to have a look in your archive for other great sessions.

        • Thanks man, we’ve had a great run lately. The Sean Ellis one was really solid and covered similar types of topics.

  • Sam Parr

    This is so freaking good.

    • Thanks man glad you liked it. Noah dominated.

  • Gold Coast Australia because:

    1. We have the best surf beaches in the world
    2. We make coffee beer

  • Ray C

    that was sweet, really enjoyed it.

    loved the part about breaking down what’s already getting traction, and what people are hating on – then crafting your stuff based on that info.

    seems so obvious, but few people actually do it

    • Thanks Ray, yeah we are going to directly apply this to our own stuff. Sometimes you get too caught up in producing and don’t take a step back and work out what’s working.

    • It’s ROI focused, amirite?

  • A town in Spain called Hinojosa de Duero. Beautiful girls from Salamanca on the weekends, cheap wine, & homemade cheeses. Now where’s my Saxx.

    • That sounds amazing, thanks for the comment.

  • Sam Parr

    Nashville, TN. Best city…HANDS DOWN!

    Why?

    If you like badass rock music (black keys, white stripes, and kings of leon live there) then you’ll be in heaven.

    If you’re into cheesy country, there’s that too.

    Fan of BBQ and soul food? Got it.

    It’s a fantastic liberal city in in the south and the most underrated city I know of.

    -Sam

  • RipShitOrBust

    SAXX** not SAAX*

    • Yeah I changed that, should have paid more attention when Noah took his pants off.

  • Kyle Kirzinger

    Calgary, AB Is truly the best city.

    We have great amazing people that live here, as shown by the fact that we all gathered together and rebounded from the floods.

    We also have amazing scenery and can see the mountains almost every day!!

    -Kyle

  • Alfie John

    Melbourne, Australia – most liveable city!

    • Yeah buddy. Thanks for the comment.

    • Good beer too. I’m coming down for a beer conference thing in April, should be fun.

      • Alfie John

        Let me know when you’re down. Coffee is on me.

  • Vernon, BC. Amazing snowboarding in the winter / hot sun + beaches in the summer. http://vernonliving.tumblr.com/

    • Thanks man still never snowboarded, so keen. Hope you liked the interview.

  • Janine Nesbit

    Istanbul. Located in both Europe and Asia. One of the most significant cities in history. Constantinople in 330 AD. The capital of four empires: Roman, Byzantine, Latin and Ottoman. Please do not send me any underwear.

    • Comment of the year, right here. Ladies and gentlemen, I am proud to announce my Mother in Law 🙂

    • Haha solid.

  • Toronto. Because it’s New York City, but cleaner. And yes, I’ve lived in both.

  • Gotta be Brisbane, Australia

    • Yeah buddy. Can’t agree though cause I left haha. Too far from the beach.

  • San Francisco! I wear XXL budgie smugglers…

  • Mohamed Alborno

    San Francisco, where all the dreams come true and people helping each other.

    • Thanks Mohamed we’ve had a few votes for SF

  • 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.

    • Ummm I think Jon Myers gets the undies

  • Jerusalem. Where all of the world’s civilizations collide and start-ups are born. http://madeinjlm.org.

    • Thanks Miriam nice yacht 🙂

      • Ack, wrong link! http://madeinjlm.org – it’s .org not .com. Thank goodness for Disqus’ allowing users to edit comments. Ooops. I wonder whose yacht that really is 🙂

  • steverino3

    Pittsburgh, PA Food, Rivers, People.
    Sandwiches:
    http://www.primantibros.com/
    V Pie:
    998 Ardmore Blvd, Pittsburgh, PA 15221

  • Jason Resnick

    Totally has to be the city that never sleeps! New York City — born bred and live! Great show guys!

    • Right on @jasonresnick:disqus – I’m going to be out there for a super secret interview in a few weeks. Looove NYC!

      • Jason Resnick

        Oh awesome @claff:disqus — where abouts will you be? Directly in Manhattan?

        Super Secret huh? You doing the interview or being the interviewee?

        • Yep, in Manhattan some place. Luckily my wifey will also be there to keep me from setting up camp outside of a hotdog stand and eating myself into a coma.

          I’ll be the interviewee… jump on our list and we’ll put it out there once it’s ready!

          • Jason Resnick

            Haha — well hopefully it’ll be warmer bc right now it feels more like January than March. I’ll be sure to keep an eye out for it. I’m on the list already

          • Booya! I probably could have seen that in Infusionsoft, but I try not to use it too much (I break stuff!)

    • Thanks Jason, Noah was a boss I got sore hands typing up this show, had to listen back a few times.

  • Austin, duh 😉 I think Noah would agree.

    • Ha, I’m not sure he he gets to choose though 🙂

  • Henley Wing

    Co-founder of BuzzSumo here, thanks for the mentions 🙂

    Best city would be Honolulu, Hawaii. Next to beaches, and still close to commercial setting.

    • Hey Henley great app mate. What are your plans with it?

      • Henley Wing

        The same goals you’re trying to achieve with Informly 🙂 We’re going to launch paid plans, with multiple tiers (including free). one targeted towards SEO/content marketing agencies at $80/month or so, and another towards large publishers/brands.

        There’s still a fear inside me that people won’t pay for this, even though there are lots of positive feedback and trial users (which you experienced while building Informly) So I feel it’s important to ask people to pay as soon as possible.

        • 100% agree. Let me know if you need any beta testers for the paid plans. My email is dan@wpcurve.com. The execution on the product is great!

  • Samir Madi

    Adelaide, Australia – the best Wine Region in the world with the Barossa and it’s Shiraz and Mclaren Vale for its Cabernet Sav.
    BTW Alex and Dan I am loving your podcast – keep up the great work. As a fellow Aussie it is great hearing you guys on ITunes which is mainly dominated by the ‘other’ guys 🙂

    • Thanks Samir I spent my honeymoon there great spot!

  • Hey guys just letting you know the undies have been awarded to Jon Myers aka Keyser Soze. The city was Saigon. Keep the comments coming though!

    Jon’s comment:

    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.

  • tobyjenkins

    Great interview thanks guys! Particularly enjoyed the calendar chat. Time to go back and review my process 🙂

    • Thanks Toby glad you liked it. I live off my calendar as well. If it’s not in there it doesn’t happen. This is going to save me a lot of awkward conversations this year http://www.f1calendar.com/

      • tobyjenkins

        Haha! I’ll confess that I’ve been “inviting” my wife on calendar appointments too… Sad but true.

        • The most awkard is when I ‘invite’ Caty only to let her know that I’m not available and she thinks she’s actually invited. That becomes a problem ha.

          • tobyjenkins

            Priceless!

  • Getting caught up on the podcast + tons of value in this one. I love the fact that Noah is always trying to one-up himself on these podcasts and continues to give back (even if it is his undies)

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