Jim Moran: Yipit

SUMMARY:

Jim proves nice guys do finish first, but only when they’re twice as smart as everyone else and just a bit more humble.

LESSONS LEARNED:

  • Build domain expertise as resource to partners: Yipit helped identify what makes a “good” offer “great”?

  • Differentiate: daily deals may have been crowded, but a tool to help users navigate this crowd became Yipit’s valuable niche.

  • Get to know your users: Yipit invites power users into the office every Friday afternoon to share feedback.

  • UX Challenge: how do you get users to provide preferences during registration before receiving value from your site? Provide incentives to encourage ideal user behavior.

  • Targeting algorithms: more complex doesn’t mean better. Location and broad category were meaningful enough to create loyal users early on.

  • Key metric to assess word-of-mouth marketing: how much traffic arrives directly at URL or via keyword search for your startup’s name?

  • Timing a fundraise: wait until positive press and traffic draw investors to you instead of wasting time chasing investors.

  • Recruiting: Very hard to hire the 6th+ employee when you’re not trying to build the next Google. Must craft compelling story about the work and team.

  • Recruiting: talent dilution is real. World-class talent either works for world-class companies or starts their own company. Convincing them to join you instead is the hardest thing you’ll ever do.

  • Standard recruiting channels don’t work: It ain’t about the highest salary. Google will always have deeper pockets. Incredible people like to work with friends on interesting projects.

  • Built community around blog and leveraged it to source key hires.

About Jim:

Jim founded UnHub and 140it with Vin and previously worked at The Blackstone Group. He graduated from Harvard College in 2005 with a degree in Economics. As a senior in college, he won the 2005 Harvard Business Plan Competition.

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