Exhausted

The previous post mentioned another submission to Y Combinator; this time for Winter session 2016.

Even though I started early enough that Tuesday should have been a breeze – only should require enough effort to apply finishing touches – it turned out to be anything but. All of Monday was consumed making a Zejoop demo video, required because there’s been none previously and that probably reduced chances of success. Then Tuesday morning in its entirety was creation of the founder intro video. Both required many takes, but all told, they turned out great!

Then at maybe 2 PM Tuesday afternoon, a mere 6 hours before the deadline, I attempted to open my draft application on the YC ‘apply’ site. But then, BAM, it was empty – I had to redo all the previously invested work. Frustrating.

Anyway – finished it – was happy with the result. This feels like my strongest attempt so far. I’m very proud of how far I’ve come – Zejoop presents well, and I’m happy about that. The YC outcome is out of my hands now. May the hard work pay its reward.

Once Again, a Y Combinator Application

After two days of marathon video production, and enduring the shock of hearing “the draft application you thought you saved, and which only needed some minor cleanup was lost and is irrecoverable” I’ve once again submitted to a Y Combinator session, this time Winter 2016.

Here’s the proof:

every shot you don't take is a miss!

Video production you ask? Well, simply put the application requires [1] a short ‘founder-intro-video’ and [2] I created a ‘demo’ video to give an overview of Zejoop features and give a walk-through of a typical event planning example.

Stay tuned; notices for interviews in November will go out on the 28th of this month – exciting!

Wanna see what all the fuss is about? Check out the new landing page, create an account, and start planning! It’s fun and easy!

Visit Zejoop Now, and Start Planning!

Please help get the word out, and share on social media using the widgets!

The Y Combinator Fellowship! – Zejoop Applies!

Visit Zejoop Now, and Start Planning!

Zejoop has applied for a Y Combinator Fellowship – $12k grant, no surrender of equity, and 2 months of coaching, counseling and networking up north in the Bay Area!

Zejoop_LaRue_screenshot_2015-07-28-09-15-58

Screenshot showing that Zejoop’s application has been accepted for consideration

 

Clearly, that’s a great opportunity. We’ll see what happens…

The deadline was yesterday, but if you are interested, here is the Y Combinator Fellowship program description

As long as you are here, do you want to try Zejoop? Click the button…

Visit Zejoop Now, and Start Planning!

PS… please share on social media using the widgets below – sharing helps! Thank you!

Learning about Product Marketing from the Google Ventures Library

                   

Stumbled upon a great video on the topic of startup marketing that was posted in the Google Ventures library – delivered by Adam Gross who is Co-Founder and CEO at cloudconnect.com, and has been involved throughout his career at personify, salesforce.com, and Dropbox.

This is timely information for Zejoop, at this critical point in its tech startup evolution.

(Google Ventures is a seed round, or early investor for new startups – looks like a great program, with quite a few free resources – definitely worth looking into. However their  model seems to be “don’t call us, we’ll call you”, as in, you don’t apply, but you somehow otherwise “get yourself noticed.” That seems a little mysterious, and somewhat “fraught” (with peril?) but it is also interesting, and adds to the allure!)

screenshot from the presentation given by Adam Gross

Good information on Marketing – food for thought regarding the positioning of Zejoop

All of this is of critical importance to Zejoop as it tries to find its way though and past its development and beta test phases.

The entire video will be worth revisiting again later, but a few points stood out for immediate application.

The first of which were his comments on product positioning on the x-y axes of “strategic” (increasing horizontally from left to right) and “emotive” (increases vertically from bottom to top). Clearly a company like Apple is high on both scales but the the question has to be addressed early, even for a startup like Zejoop; how does it get from wherever it starts – “low” on both counts – to “high” on both? Unless the importance of this trajectory is comprehended, and that it demands a plan which is well formulated and then followed, what is the likelihood of success? Without a goal, how will you ever know you’ve arrived?

Another key idea was that of creating a industry transitional narrative – where is Zejoop going and how will it make a difference in the landscape?

The third idea which made an impression was how he described “differentiation.” To me that means asking and answering “what makes Zejoop different?” Of course this is pretty basic, but the way he articulated the point was very helpful. He told an anecdote of a friend who was at TiVo and he asked, regarding the product itself, why is it that the “pause” button is the biggest of all the buttons? – answer “that is what makes TiVo different than just TV” – the ability to pause and resume playback off a live stream. Timely story to hear as this is just the type of thing I need to tackle for Zejoop. After all there are any number of options for people to do their casual event planning. What makes Zejoop different and how can I emphasize that within the product? The good news is that a couple of good ideas have occurred to me as I’ve thought this over – but that my friends, will be a separate post!

Finally the video highlighted the importance of thinking about strategic partnerships. Clearly there are big players who have already fielded many aspects of event planning. Rather that thinking about how to take them on, head-on, why not discover the minimum viable enhancement that Zejoop can provide rather than duplicate an entire infrastructure that already exists? Oh, and by the way, an entire infrastructure developed by an army of highly skilled develops employed by big-tech? Sounds like folly, right? Better late than never, and this part of the presentation gave me a few good ideas to do just that.

That’s all for now, but I wanted to capture these thoughts while they were fresh in mind, at the risk of losing them by not doing so immediately. More to follow as I turn ideas into actions.

Zejoop: from the “to do” list

As the daylight hours shorten it is time to think about what is next for Zejoop. It is not enough to declare that the application is in Beta test; must lean to the future and turn this thing into a business. There are many options for the startup – solicit family and friends, get angel seed funding, bootstrap forever, go straight to series A funding with venture capital, or incubate! The only one of these that has a deadline (that I know of) happens to be the incubate option. So, let the egg drop; hopefully there is some soft straw to soften the fall, and, luck prevailing there’ll be a heat lamp to help this thing hatch!

zejoop.com and the drive to incubation

On second thought maybe this should have been a bed of straw, an egg, and a heat lamp… oh well

I will be applying to other incubators, but this post is about starting this process by submitting to Y-combinator, which is arguably the top of the heap, volume, and success-ratio-wise. I found this great article on Venture Beat, how to write a winning application to Y-combinator. In the meantime, if you are in my network and you know any YC Alums, please let me know – Y-combinator promotes a culture of “pay-it-forward” so an introduction might be helpful. You know anyone?

Deadline for the Y-combinator application is October 21; I’ll keep you posted! UPDATE: I’ve met the deadline and submitted one week early – one of the more interesting question was “what non-computer system have you hacked to your advantage?” – I answered it this way –> King Rat Hat Hack