On selling your product for free

“Guys, we are on fire! I’m selling our product like hot cakes fresh out of the oven.” I exclaimed as I walked into our office/home.

Yu-kai and Stephen turned to me from their laptops with a bright smile. Our company, RewardMe, was off to a terrific start. In only 2 weeks of walking door-to-door, I had signed up 30 restaurants and retailers in Downtown Mountain View.

However, our positive attitudes quickly faded when we realized clients wouldn’t pay for our product. Yup, I was walking door-to-door, selling our product for free. We fell into a startup trap: we thought businesses loved our product, when in reality, businesses love free stuff.

We had to pivot our business model quickly or else we would run out of cash in no time.

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On work and life

Kim loves two things in life: Disneyland and snuggling. So when it came time to have fun at the magical kingdom or spend a weekend afternoon spooning, Kim didn’t understand why I just couldn’t stand it.

“It was as if I was torturing him. All he kept saying was how big a waste of time it was to stand in line at Disneyland and how he could instead be working on his startup right now.” Kim remembers.

At one point I made Kim cry at Disneyland, the happiest place on earth. We haven’t been back since.

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How to get to the top 4 on Product Hunt with a B2B product

What would you do to get on the front page of Product Hunt? What value would it even bring to your company? My team at Bunny Inc. just went through a rigorous 6 months of building and launching our latest product: ArticleBunny. As part of our launch efforts, I decided to make Product Hunt a big initiative. It paid off: in a span of 2 days, we drove over 5,000 highly targeted site visitors and over 100 projects posted. This post is about how we did it.

top 4 on Product Hunt

What you will learn in this post: this post is about ideation to launch. We conceptualized the idea of ArticleBunny in the Winter of 2014 and launched the product in June 2015. You will learn how we chose to build and launch ArticleBunny (out of the many options that we had) and how we hit the top 4 on Product Hunt on Wednesday, June 17th.

Who will benefit from this post: entrepreneurs, product managers and growth hackers.

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Premature scaling killed us

$1,000,000 in the bank. Shorty what you drank.

We were funded, had a working product, clients, and revenue. On the surface, it seemed like we were growing fast and moving toward the right trajectory.

Within 2 years, we had grown tremendously, but that growth ultimately killed us.

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Retention is more important than acquisition

There are a few experiences that I cherish in life that other people take for granted. For example, I absolutely love going to my dentist. There is no better feeling than beautifully polished clean teeth.

Another example is getting an oil change. Most people go for the cheapest oil-changing option and get a mundane experience, but me, I pay extra for the Oil Can Henry’s experience. For a decade I’ve been going to Oil Can Henry’s for an oil change because they go above and beyond to make the experience wonderful.

I’ve recommended many friends and family to Oil Can Henry’s, but after my experience yesterday, I may never recommend a friend to them again.

This got me thinking: if a decade of amazing experiences can be shattered by one, inconsistent bad experience, then what can companies do to ensure and maintain consistency across all of their stores and employees?

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How I knew she was the one

I met Kim on Thursday, April 12, 2007.

It was the very first event of Bruin Consulting, the kickoff event that would determine if my first entrepreneurial endeavor would prove to be a success. I had my business suit on, a hand-me-down from my dad that was 2 sizes too big for me, and was nervously preparing for my welcome presentation.

To my surprise, hundreds of students showed up. And then I saw her. She was wearing a business casual suit and glasses. She had this vibrant hair that stood out among all others. And her face, her heart-shaped face sealed the deal for me.

I’ll never forget the first moment I saw Kim, the moment that I fell in love.

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How to create powerful recruitment videos

I joined Bunny Inc. when we were less than 12 full time team members. We now have over 60.

Our biggest challenge thus far is recruiting world-class talent, both here in San Francisco and in Bogotá, Colombia. When I took the reigns of the company recruitment effort, my goal was to build a scalable, repeatable recruitment process that helps us recruit top talent for rotational (and the occasional transformational) tours of duty.

We’ve started several initiatives ranging from Mentorship Partnerships with Google, to Hackathons with the top tech companies in Bogotá. All of these initiatives help position us as a top-tier technology company in Bogotá, helping us recruit the top engineering talent in Latin America.

But to really scale and position ourselves as the Google of Latin America, I felt it was critically important to showcase our beautiful company culture, which is why Carolina and I created our recruitment videos.

These are the steps I took to create our powerful recruitment videos.

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The Best Email I’ve Ever Written

My father always told me “dime con quién andas y te diré quién eres”, which means “tell me who you hang out with and I’ll tell you who you are.” I’ve followed my father’s advice closely throughout my life, which is a big part of the reason why I teamed up with Alex and Bunny Inc.

However, when I analyze my previous ventures, I see a common thread that determines if a venture I start will become successful or if it will fail. I’m only as strong as my weak ties:

  • We succeeded with Bruin Consulting because my acquaintances connected me to Deloitte, which eventually became the sponsor of the first Undergraduate Case Competition
  • We succeeded in raising an Angel round with RewardMe because my blog readers were investors
  • I succeeded in building a lifestyle business because friends connected me to manufacturers and distributors

For several months I brainstormed about how to scale weak ties, until finally Santiago introduced me to the obvious, simple, yet delicate solution.

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