Sean Ellis on “Milestones to Startup Success”

December 2, 2009 · 1 min read

Sean Ellis is blogging again. I like his blog and his approach, "based more on observing universal truths than inventing some type of methodology."

His latest post summarizes a lot of what he (and Steve Blank and Eric Ries) have been saying lately. The whole thing is worth reading, but since it's long (over 1500 words), here are some highlights.

Ellis recommends finding your "core gratifying experience" early on:

Your objective should be to remove complexity from the initial user experience and messaging in order to highlight this core user perceived value. Often this means burying or even completely eliminating features that don’t relate to this gratifying experience. [Emphasis added.]

On metrics:

Metrics don’t matter until you achieve product/market fit – then they are critical to your success. ... Most of the tools out there provide way too many irrelevant metrics and miss the essential few.

On "extreme customer support":

Now that you have a business model in place, your first marketing expense should be to expand the customer support team. Anyone that cares enough about your solution to contact customer support is a great source of insight about your target market.

On building a great customer experience:

While startups often realize the importance of brand experience, they focus on it too early, fine tuning things that customers don’t care about. Instead, wait until you understand why certain customers love your product; then obsess over every element of this customer experience.

Go read the whole thing.

These days I do most of my writing at The Roots of Progress. If you liked this essay, check out my other work there.


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