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Mikael Cho

Founder of ooomf

Launch This Year : Week one recap.

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Launch This Year was put live mid-day on January 1st, 2013 as a single page website with email collection. About a week later, here’s where things were at:

17,486 total number of members

3,145 members from referrals

Press coverage from Lifehacker, VentureBeat, Digital Trends, and Tech Vibes

1 member referred 36 people

We started Launch This Year with the goal of helping you decipher exactly what needs to be done as you’re releasing an app.

The premise is simple. We tell you what action items you should be doing step-by-step, with all the tips and tools you need along the way.

There’s a lot of hurdles when it comes to the App Store so our hope is to break this apart into smaller, actionable steps. The first week track is pretty basic: we take you through the initial steps of defining your project’s problem/solution, basic app details, and setting up a landing page.

Eventually, we’ll dive into more intensive steps like designing an icon, getting press, and App Store Optimization.

If you’re already an experienced app maker, great. Launch This Year exists for you, so you can focus on building your app while we help take care of everything else.

I’d love to hear your thoughts on what we could improve on. If it sounds interesting to you, check it out. It’s free to signup.

Launch This Year starts in 3 days but use “friend” (without the quotes) as the invite code to get instant access today. 

Getting TechCrunched: Results

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I recently read a post by Vin Vacanti about the depressing day after you get TechCrunched. When we launched ooomf in September 2012, we were written up by TechCrunch as well as about 20 other tech publications. I wrote about how we got that coverage but I’d like to share some of our data from our ‘launch day.’

Once we received confirmation from TechCrunch that they’d be writing a piece about us, we didn’t know what would happen in terms of traffic. We heard that is was possible to get up to 300,000 visits from a TechCrunch writeup but there wasn’t really any accurate data to support this. Hopefully, our results will be somewhat useful (although it is just based on our single experience) in learning what to expect from press coverage.

But first, here’s a short back story.

We participated in the FounderFuel accelerator program in Montreal, and our demo day was in May 2012. We raised our 500k seed round of financing over the summer and planned on publicly announcing our ‘launch’ and fundraising on September 5, 2012.

'Launch day' shenanigans

The night before launch, we happened to completely lose internet connection in our office. But things got worse. The Bell technician that came to fix our internet connection, decided it would be a good idea to put our router up on our 20’ ceilings. He put it up there, took his ladder and left. I bet you can guess what happened next… Yup, our internet didn’t’ work and we had no way of accessing the router.

Router on the ceiling:

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So, we packed up pretty much our whole office and headed down to the Notman House co-working space to finish the preparation for the launch. 

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We finished everything and put the site up at midnight.

The next day, Chris Arsenault and David Nault at iNovia Capital graciously allowed us to setup shop in one of their conference rooms since the internet at our office was still down.

All our press coverage was set to be published between 8-9am. We were ready and we had all hands on deck to help with any issues, customer support, and bug fixes.

Results

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Total pageviews on Sept. 5, 2012: 18,884

# of unique pageviews on Sept. 5, 2012: 3,785

# of new customer signups: 816

Interestingly, we noticed that TechCrunch was not the number one referring media site on our ‘launch day’:

Top % unique views from media sources:

Twitter/Organic = 58%

cultofmac.com = 24%

techcrunch.com = 6%

hackernews = 4.5%

venturebeat = 2%

pulse.me = 1.5%

iguides.com = 1.5%

digitaltrends.com = 1.1%

facebook = 1.1%

Cult of Mac produced 4 times the signup conversion rate compared to the other media sites that covered our launch. This high conversion rate may be because we are a mobile app discovery product and we were specifically geared towards iPhones when we launched.

The most retweeted article was TechCrunch (339 tweets) so this was most likely the source of the majority of the Twitter/Organic traffic.

We weren’t quite sure what results to expect from media coverage. We had no idea how much traffic and what sort of conversion rates we would see so hopefully, this data will help manage your expectations for press coverage should you pursue it.

Here I am on Twitter.

Startup founders: How to stay healthy

A few weeks ago, I had a conversation with a few of my friends about being healthy and how to accomplish it when you have a loony schedule. We spoke about everything like how-to books, health magazines, and all the different training programs that supposedly ‘work’ from P90X to yoga to cross-fit.

Do what’s sustainable

The point that I brought up during our discussion was to do what’s sustainable.

For example, I think it’s much better to work out 3 times a week consistently, week in and week out, than trying to work out 5 days this week if you know you can’t sustain that sort of schedule long-term due to constraints you know you’ll have.

And I’ve found that failing to reach my workout goals, makes me feel bad, and makes it that much harder to get the drive to work out in the future.

As a founder of a web company, ooomf, there’s a tremendous amount of priority I put on my work because I love it. But, working out and being healthy has always been a major priority for me as well so I’ve continuously experimented with a sustainable health repertoire that I can wrap around my startup schedule. After about a year, here’s where I’m at with my formula for achieving health balance while working in a startup.

Simplicity boils down to two steps: Identify the essential. Eliminate the rest.
- Leo Babauta, Creator of Zen Habits Click to Tweet

Working out: Be efficient and do what make you feel the best

In High School and University, I used to be able to workout pretty much every day. I played soccer and went to the gym regularly, partly because the gym was right down the street and my schedule was much less intense than it is now.

I’ve realized that in order to keep working out as a regular part of my schedule, I needed to optimize my workouts for 3 things:

1. efficiency

2. long-term health benefits

3. how good I feel after

I’ve identified cross-fit training and yoga as the two types of workouts that fit all three of my criteria.

I live about a 20-minute drive from any gym so it’s not optimal for me to make it to a cross-fit gym or yoga studio every day. So instead of getting a membership, I subscribe to the daily deal aggregator Yipit, and watch for yoga or cross-fit deals from gyms nearby or that are on my route to the office.

There’s usually 1 deal a week from a gym or studio that offers cross-fit or yoga and you can usually get a 1 month membership or a certain number of classes for under $30 a month, less than the rate of a YMCA membership.

Another reason I choose yoga and cross-fit is because you can practice both in your own home or outside and without equipment. Most cross-fit and yoga workouts range from 30 minutes to 1 hour so you don’t need to take 2 hours out of your schedule for a commute to a gym and a long workout that is not optimized for efficiency.

Cave Crossfit’s Twitter posts daily cross-fit workouts you can do at home.

Eating right: Prepare food for a week in less than an hour

Figuring out how to eat right while in a startup is one of the toughest challenges for me. Our office is downtown, so the temptation to eat out is always there, and my house is about a 40-minute commute so I can’t run home quick and make something healthy.

It’s also extremely tough to find time to prepare, eat, and clean up after a meal. I often don’t have an hour in the middle of the day to eat a good meal so I looked for ways I could optimize this process.

What I’ve been doing for the last week, is preparing all my meals for the week in bulk on Sundays. The problem with preparing meals in bulk is typically the prep time. Thus, my goal was to prepare 5 meals in less than an hour. I decided that chicken breast, steamed vegetables, and salad would be the best way to eat a healthy, repeatable meal, that wouldn’t take too long to prepare.

It’s only been a week but it’s a relieving feeling to know that when I get home, I don’t need to prepare any food for the day ahead. I end up coming into the office not feeling rushed and ready to start my day off with a clear mind.

I’m sure there are more techniques that I will inevitably come across and improve my current startup health routine. I’m constantly trying to improve because it allows me to enjoy more free time, focus, and clarity in my life.

I’d love to hear what techniques you use to balance your health while running a startup or working a full-time job. Please share in the comments or shoot me an email mikael(at)ooomf.com.

photo cred: jonclegg

You should follow me on Twitter

Great build this week on the ooomf app. (Taken with Instagram)

Great build this week on the ooomf app. (Taken with Instagram)

How To Kick Ass At Startup Weekend: 5 Tools To Build A Winning Product

ooomf:

image: bayerberg

Startup Weekend Montreal was one of the best events I have ever attended. The focus required to build a product within the constraint of a weekend is a unique opportunity to hunker down, create, and work alongside talented people.

As a member of the winning team…

(Source: ooomf)

2 years ago - 2 -

We don’t build services to make money; we make money to build better services.

Letter From Mark Zuckerberg

An awesome talk on Marketing Tactics For Startups by Rand Fishkin (Founder/CEO of SEOmoz).

OINK iPhone App Launches

OINK is the first project from Milk Inc. I’m excited to see the UI. Daniel Burka was the lead designer on this and I love his work.

Develop Mobile First. Develop Lean.

(image courtesy of Apple.com)

It’s Day 1 of the Web 2.0 Expo in New York, and after attending 8 hours of speaker events, there are a couple of running themes that resonate throughout the event.

1. Consider Developing For Mobile First

Luke Wroblewski, Author of Mobile First, shared many interesting factoids about the growth of the Mobile industry but I’ll point to just a couple that really stuck with me:

Smartphone sales will pass PC sales in 2012

AT&T mobile data traffic increased 50x in 3 years (2007-2009)

Luke went on to mention that you should really think about designing and developing for mobile first and then work your way back to the web.

Designing for a mobile device gives you 80% less screen space; thus, you don’t have the real estate to include froth and waste, you only have the space to include what matters most to your customers and your business.

As a big fan of Steve Krug’s web usability book Don’t Make Me Think, I connected with Luke’s ideas for cutting out waste in design. Mobile screen size contraints cause you to do that.

Another interesting point made in Luke’s presentation was a suggestion for usability testing, “watch a toddler use an iPad and see what they expect to happen. Those are the gestures that we need to explore.”

Luke’s “Mobile First” presentation slides

2. The Lean Method Is The Way To Build A Company

(image courtesy of DTelepathy.com)

What do Time Magazine and Ask.com have in common? They both used principles of Lean Startup development to accomplish building a software product.

Whether it’s getting feedback from customers as early as possible in the process or pivoting your product in a different direction, the lean methodology is making it’s way not only into startups but larger corporations that are looking to innovate their internal processes.

As Scott Smith, Senior IT Director at Time Inc. said, “limit the features to prevent scope creep, shrink time to market, and avoid confusion.”

Scott’s “8 Lessons For Developing Tablet Apps” Presentation Slides

There’s no doubt the Lean Movement is already mainstream. Just check out the New York Times Best Sellers List and look for the book entitled The Lean Startup by Eric Reis.

So there’s obviously more I could have covered from Day 1 but I thought that this would help bring you up to speed on some key takeaways of the event so far. More to come soon…

Top Tweet From Web 2.0 Day 1:

globalmoxie: Eliminating 80% of your web content for mobile is a good thing. “Because 80% of what I see on the web is crap.” @lukew #w2e

(42 retweets)