Introducing Groupies

Last month I reminded myself that I am a musician. I told you I’m making a comeback next Spring.

What I didn’t share was how I’m combining music with my tech “talents” to boost my reach.

Today, I’m proud to share my first music-tech project, Groupies.

Groupies text your fans

Groupies is an SMS marketing platform for musicians and indie artists.

You can read more about it here, or text me (646.362.1256) to automatically subscribe to my new tunes.

Haters Gonna Rate

Uber is the world’s largest private company, worth $68 billion. Here’s their iPhone App Store listing:

uber-app-store-rating

Xcode, the required IDE for building iOS / Mac apps, is responsible for $23 billion per year in sales.

xcode-app-store-rating

And then there’s Google, creators of the best email client on the planet:

gmail-app-store-rating

Do you think these companies dedicate teams to their app store ratings? I don’t.

Let the haters keep down-voting. Votes don’t matter.

Ask your customer’s customer

when i worked at red bull, one of the restaurant sales strategies was to seed fake demand.

here’s how it worked. you’d ask students and colleagues to patronize the restaurant and ask “can i add a red bull to that?” the cashier says “no,” because they don’t carry red bull.

a week later, low and behold, a red bull rep walks into the restaurant. “have you guys considered selling red bull?” “actually yes, we’ve been getting asked about it all week.”

we can’t control our customers, but we have a pretty good idea of what controls them — their customers.

so take a page from red bull, and build a way for your customer’s customer to sell for you.

Churn as a growth metric

As marketers we’re taught to avoid churn. The more enlightened ones among us understand that reducing churn = growth.

Now try this one on for size: use your churn rate to set your growth goals.

Suppose you have 1,000 subscribers paying $20 per month for your SaaS platform. Your top-line is $20,000 MRR, but you have 12% churn.

This means if you acquire zero new users for a full month, you would only have 880 subscribers next month, and your MRR would drop to $17,600.

OK, now check this out.

If churn is 12%, you could merely double it and set that as your baseline growth goal.

Suddenly, you have 3 cases by which to measure the health of your business:

  1. Worst case — zero new customers, 12% churn, $20k –> $17.6k MRR
  2. Base case — 12% churn + 12% growth, $20k –> $20k
  3. Growth case — 12% churn + 24% growth, $20k –> $22.4k

In the growth case, you’ve grown 12% in a single month. Maintain this focus on 2x churn for a year, and you’ll grow to at least $87,000 MRR. Huge.

Of course, this does not account for the natural reform that occurs when churn is as high as 12%.

Businesses with empathy are likely to uncover new features, support gaps, pricing, or customer persona issues that enable them to reduce churn from 12%, while still maintaining a growth of 2x their worst case.

Next time VCs or peers claim you need to be growing by an arbitrary metric, consider this strategy instead. Plans rooted in reality are good plans indeed.

Peak Scrape

2014

“Where can I find Travis Kalanick’s email address?”

2015

“What’s the best price for 10,000 leads?”

2016

“How do I compel prospects to respond to me?”

Data is no longer the problem; Information is free. I’ve personally scraped half a million contacts for $0.

As sales people get better at finding prospects, prospects get better at ignoring them.

My friends at Nova.ai are trying to fix this. I’ve tried to fix this.

Because when Aunt Jemima understands “mail merge,” everything changes.

It’s almost like we have to…

* Build human relationships
* Rethink scale
* Create a monopoly

If you spend most of the day deleting bounced emails, you’re doing it wrong.