I’m Alessandro Marchesini, one of the co-founders of EarlyClaim.com together with Walter Franchetti. Walter’s busy coding so I’ll be your host this evening. Before I share some learnings and points-of-view from our first 11 days of operations, let me pitch…you know how it is: always be pitching!
Earlyclaim is a platform that reserves your favorite username in new startups, so you don’t get stuck with a bunch of different usernames, possibly crappy ones, just for discovering these startups late. It’s our effort towards a single, coherent online identity and brand for individuals, professionals and businesses. It is also our contribution to the entrepreneurial ecosystem, as we hope that easy access to a large pool of willing, targeted early adopters will help new startups get off the ground faster.
How it works: you tell us what your favorite username is and which categories of startups you are interested in. We than reserve your preferred username with startups that choose to connect to our APIs and that are a match to your expressed interests. We tell you through a single daily email in which startups we reserved you, and you have X days to do a login into each startup to change your username reservation into an actual registration. That’s it.
As this format by Startupbusiness is supposed to be about sharing, It’s now time we start sharing. Earlyclaim sparked overnight, got online media coverage on 4 continents, welcomed visitors from over 150 countries and within 48 hours of launch, received its first investor enquiry. Here’s our top 15 “learnings and experiences” during these crazy first 11 days of life for Earlyclaim.
1) feel the pain yourself, first and foremost: we built Earlyclaim for us, as a side project. We wanted it, we needed it. As it turned out, others did too.
2) talk and listen before you write and do: go lean! I mean…really lean! Fast doesn’t necessary mean lean.
3) you’re dealing with people first, and with users/customers second
4) define detailed user personas, and structure your message around them
5) less is more. KISS (keep it simple, stupid).
6) leverage the entrepreneurs community: 5 posts on 5 Facebook groups (4 Italians, 1 English)and some one-on-ones got us the initial feedbacks we needed to tweak our approach and message, as well as our first signups.
7) leverage the tools that the web has to offer: for us, producthunt, hackernews, betalist and startuplist were instrumental in getting the word out to targeted early adopters
8) reach out to the press, it can be instrumental to spread initial awareness at a large scale. Work your contacts…in a nice way of course
9) be really present on social medias, and engage the buzz. However sometimes letting a flame go without intervening can be the right decision and have a positive impact on your business, especially if you are still unknown.
10) be prepared to scale in a minute’s notice. We were “hit” with back to back online coverage by Fast Company (planned) and Gizmodo (unplanned) which drove massive traffic. We managed but…be psychologically prepared (this also goes for the business guys)…it’ll be a heavy, heavy day for everyone involved.
11) satisfied, excited customers/users will make everything better: they will go the extra mile to help you out. Earn their support with excellent customer service, engage your users like a person, not like an entrepreneur.
12) there is a lot of people willing to help you: just ask for help, the worse that can happen is that they say no or ignore you.
13) have a plan. If you don’t have one yet, make one. Be ready to defend it with data and rationale.
14) If you are two or more co-founders: take care of each other and enjoy the moment, whether it’s a high or low. Take it all in, together. If you are a single founder: find a co-founder.
15) Don’t forget to feed your bearded dragon (we actually have one): it will not look at you the same way as it did before. Sorry Hackathor, you know we love you!
Closing pitch: colleagues don’t let colleagues get stuck with crappy usernames. Now that you know a little bit more about EarlyClaim, feel free to share it around: we would surely appreciate it!
Alessandro & Walter from Earlyclaim.com