Awesome People List - Ep 26

3 tips from me and Uber layoff list :)

Hi founders and fellow VC Friends!

Curveball…. this week’s awesome person made a last-minute request that I hold his feature. Stay tuned for our regularly scheduled programming next week!

I couldn’t leave you hanging, so here’s what we got:

  1. 3 of my go-to pro-tips below ❤️

  2. Uber layoff list 😍

  3. P.S. for moonlighters and consultants 🤓

Have a tough problem? Unblock yourself in 5 days with Design Sprints.

Five years ago, Design Sprint's were all the rage. They dipped in popularity after Jake Knapp, the inventor of the Design Sprint, left Google Ventures. But they're still a super useful tool. Instead of waiting to launch an MVP, or spending months debating features, you can get a good signal from a prototype in 5 days 📈.

When I launched video visits at One Medical, Design Sprints enabled our team of designers, engineers, providers, and ops people, to come together to quickly brainstorm and test ideas. Here’s the scoop:

  • Monday: Pick and map out a problem. For example, how might we optimize our conversion funnel, increase app usage frequency, or increase time to value?

  • Tuesday: Each individual on the team sketches solutions. They don’t have to be pretty.

    It's important that everyone does this independently. This leverages everyone’s insights, not just the loudest voices. FWIW, distributed brainstorming is one of my favorite tools for this reason.

  • Wednesday: Discuss and decide which are the strongest ideas. I highly recommend independent silent voting to reduce bias.

  • Thursday: Build a realistic prototype. These can be paper prototypes. No code or fancy design necessary!

  • Friday: Test with 5 target customers, review the learnings and make a decision.

Learn how to run your own Design Sprint here and here.

Think you have a brand problem? You probably have a positioning and personas problem.

When founders ask for branding help, my first question is always the same:

Who is your ideal customer?

Your customer determines everything: your value props, language, aesthetic, product features, and marketing channels.

You must be specific about your customer and your answer can't be everyone. When I ran growth at Rise, a nutrition coaching startup bought by One Medical, we had too many personas. The result 🤔? A lukewarm brand and a low converting website. Marketing to "Data Danny," a man who's optimizing his athletic performance and wants to track everything is VERY different from marketing to "Mom Molly," a woman who aspires to fit into her college jeans and values emotional support. When we clarified our personas, our average conversion rate doubled 💪.

Check out Arielle Jackson's First Round Review post on the importance of personas and positioning. If you're B2B, check out Hubspot's nice personas template here.

You need to understand your customers to nail your use case and win.

Your customers buy your product to solve a problem or accomplish a task. You need to be their best solution. I highly recommend listing to Mike Maples (Floodgate) and Kevin Systrom (Instagram) talk about this here.

I can't say this enough, please, PLEASE know and nail your use case. Imagine you’re a founder about to launch a product for remote teams. Why will customers buy your tool? For all hands? For happy hours? Feedback? Async collaboration? Quick side convos? The ideal product is different for each use case. If you build for too many use cases on day 1, you’ll be no one’s favorite product and your product won’t gain traction. This is exactly what we’re seeing in the market today.

FT Gems

For better or worse, Uber’s loss is your gain 🙏. Here’s their layoff list. It’s built with Coda, a hot no-code tools product.

There’s officially no shortage of talented people on the market. Side note: if you need to hire an interim recruiter to source through all of these lists, let me know and I’ll try to hook you up.

That’s a wrap! ✨! I hope you’re all well, or as well as one can be on month two of quarantine. I’m cheering for you from afar ❤️.

Stay tuned for next week! Lastly, if you’re an aspiring consultant or moonlighter, check out the PS section.

Stay awesome, 

Julia Lipton

Founder of Awesome People List

Founder of Awesome People Ventures

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P.S. How do you break into consulting?

Many of you have asked: “How do I become a consultant 🤷🏻‍♀️?” Good news! My friend Vik is an epic startup sales consultant (shout out to Jason for the intro!). I recently learned that Vik occasionally hosts a Creating an Independent Consultancy workshop. He has a 2-day workshop in June. If you want more info, email me, and I’ll send you deets.

I was impressed (and pleasantly surprised) to learn that most people who take his workshop create six-figure consulting businesses. He happily shared some testimonials 👏.

“This workshop hands down allowed me to go from large swings in income where I’d make at most $15,000 a month to a consistent $50,000 a month.” - Prakash Chandran, (former UX designer, Google)

“I’m now getting so many emails and LinkedIn requests. I’m glad I took the workshop in April and learned how to use the RESULTS selling framework. I can cut through the noise that other consultants can’t.” - Young Han (former market leader, Philz Coffee)”

Lmk if you want the deets!