From Jooicer to Tractionboard

A year ago we were happy to start working on Jooicer. We built a MVP in just a couple of months and launched it, validating our idea with lot of users. Our initial idea was wrong, nobody was going to spend time building recipes in an unknown platform, but lot of them were happy to use recipes that were already done and would be ready to start paying if we increase certain limits. Even if our initial approach was wrong, the launch was a success. You will read hundreds of times about launching and validating faster, but until you don’t experience it by yourself, you really don’t understand how important it is.

lean

After our beta phase we decided to redo it from scratch, taking in consideration what the users said, and specially what those who were ready to pay said. In this second development, we realized we were taking a big risk, because we were depending 100% on only one entity (Twitter). We already took this risk some years ago (with Google) and it went really bad. So we started to feel really uncomfortable with this situation, also we were facing technical problems.

In the meantime, the team started to grow which allowed us to focus on what we really were good at. We developed an internal panel that we were going to use to measure our different customers acquisition channels, and we showed it to some entrepreneur friends. Our intention wasn’t to sell it, we showed it to them because these men were crazy for the metrics and we knew they were going to like it. However the response we got from them…

I want to sell this.

This is the Holy Grail of the Marketers.

…made us think about our situation.

We never got any feedback like this with Jooicer, quite the opposite, it was something like “Nice, another Twitter tool“. We had to spent lots of energy trying to make the other people see why we were different and why it wasn’t another Twitter tool. And to be honest, we aren’t experts in Twitter. On the other hand, we have been building internal panels to measure our marketing efforts in all our projects, because we have always been doing bootstrapping and couldn’t afford market solutions.

We started to show the panel to other people, to prove the idea. We started to research about competitors to see if there could be a place for another one and the results were positives. However we had Jooicer and we didn’t want to lose our focus, so we had to make an important decision: either continue with Jooicer, an advanced product with some potentials customers waiting for it, or to make a 100% pivot with a new product, which had a good feedback, where we can consider ourselves expert on it and market wasn’t so competitive as social media tools. You can think the decision was easy. It wasn’t, but finally we decided to pivot and focus 100% on Tractionboard.

Before start to build the product, we focus 100% in customers’ development and the team. We were surprised that the panel that we built for ourselves, covered almost all important metrics any other SaaS business needs. The final conclusion after this customer development phase was “If it does what you say it does, we want it”.

In April, we started to develop it and two months later we are going to launch a private beta. We are very excited about it and can’t wait to see what will come.

Tractionboard

I would love to know what you use to measure your marketing efforts, specifically your different customers acquisition campaigns.

After 3 months using DuckDuckGo

Past October I read Traction by Gabriel Weinberg and Justin Mares , an amazing book about how to get customers (and more, you should read it). Once of the things I discovered in the book was DuckDuckGo, a search engine, which differentiation with the others is that it doesn’t track you. So you can be surfing along their results and don’t have to worry about your privacy (from the search engine side).

ddg1

I like the idea, I love privacy. I didn’t start using social networks until some months ago, but I thought most of people don’t care about this or they are conscious about all you iterations are been tracked for ones or another, so I don’t know if the people who use DuckDuckGo, do it because their key differentiation.

The Interface

I think the interface is what engaged me. I used Google and I don’t miss any of their features, almost are replicated. DuckDuckGo’s really minimalist but it has lot of useful details who make your experience more comfortable.

Checks when you click in a result.

When you click in a search result, the result is marked with a check, so you can know if  you already visited it. I found this really useful recently when I was looking for LinkedIn profiles with their advanced search syntax. I had to look at several results and when I changed the search keywords, some results were recurrent.

ddg2

Twitter-style triggered infinite scroll

This is amazing, once you get used to this and you have to come back to Google and navigate between result pages you will know what I’m talking about.

This is useful when you have to look at several results. Because I wanted to see lot of LinkedIn profiles I noticed how useful this can be.

Advertisement

I never see more than one ads per search, I don’t know if this can be considered a featured or it is just they don’t have many advertiser still. I don’t mind if they put more ads, they have to monetize their product. Maybe because it is an infinite scroll they should put the ads in a sidebar which go along with you when you make scroll. Right now their ads are really well differentiated from the results as you can see in the previous screenshot.

I think currently in DuckDuckGo you have a defined segment of “early adopters who care about their privacy”. So if your product is related to it, I’m sure you can promote there without worry about keywords and reach lot of potential customers.

And more…

There are many more details that contribute to make a user experience while you are using their search engine like the about / images / video / news widget that you get, some times you don’t have to leave their web to get what you was looking for. Or the favicon of the site in the results, or tags like official in the official search result for certain brand…

Also they have a great community, but I din’t participate there, so I can’t tell, but it looks very active. I got answer directly from their founders in a question I had about advanced search.

It will be great to know more things about their startup. I know, they want to reach 1% of the total users of internet using their search engine. I would love to know how close they are. Also if the users who are using DuckDuckGo do because the key differentiation that the are offering (privacy). For me is a plus, but the real reason I’m using them in all my devices is because I’m very comfortable with their interface (well, also because I think Google has too much power over us :) ).

Are you using DuckDuckGo, what are your impressions about it? If not, you should give it a try!

Bootstrapping your Startup

puzzleFor most of us (entrepreneurs), bootstrapping is not an option, is the only way to launch our startup.
Keep in mind, even if you are bootstrapping, you will have some expenses beyond your maintenance (you will be without salary several months and you have to live in the meantime).

These are my experiences bootstrapping projects and more specifically Jooicer.

Remote Working

If your project doesn’t require physical components, I’ll recommend you 100%, to be a distributed team, not only because you will save up on office and infrastructure, but you won’t be limited to your location when looking for talents, you don’t have to set schedule… There is lot of info out there about the advantage of remote working, and a great book called Remote.

Communication

Communication is one of the most important challenges you will face with a distributed team. There is lot of tools that help you to communicate, but each one in the team will have his preferences. You have to be sure to choose one with which everybody is comfortable. Once you have established a communication channel, try don’t use different ones to deal with matters that should be of general knowledge in your team, because people who are not in that others channels will feel displaced.

In Jooicer we prefer to use text chat. It is very useful because you can keep a log of your conversations for future reference, also, in a distributed team not everyone have the same timezone or the same schedule, so you can be updated just reading the log. I like it too because is not intrusive so when your are doing something that require concentration, you can forget about the chat and dive yourself in the task.

The Team

communicationProbably, this will the most important thing in your startup, you can’t do it everything by yourself. Even if you can code and design the entire project, you still have to give support, customer development, improve it, fix it, accounting…

I think to have at least one more co-founder is important. The process is going to be long and hard, so you will need support when your motivation is low (you will face this a couple of time). If you don’t have this support, you could quit early.

When you look for members of your team, look for people who share some other interests with you (sports, hobbies…). You are going to spend lot of time with them it can’t be all work.

Where To Find Them.

I found builditwith.me, a really interesting idea to find people or join other people’s ideas, however we didn’t have luck there.

What we do is to look for experts in Linkedin, Duckduckgo (or Google), Twitter… wherever they could be and ask them to talk. These will be your first pitchs, if you can’t convince them to join you, how are you going to convince customers to buy your product or investors to give you their money?

Identify your lacks and look for experts who can cover them. Don’t be afraid to ask the betters, you will be surprised. In Jooicer, we ask two experts in the same field to join us, we didn’t think they would, surprisingly both say they were interested and we had the problem to have to choose between them (it was a leadership role, if not I would have keep both of them).

Availability

Try that your team members have the same availability and same commitment, if not, you will have timing problems. If you have some people committed full time with the project and other part time (because they have their own jobs), you will find that the full time people need to launch while the part time people only want to, and that is a problem.

Be Patient

Don’t leave people think they are doing you a favor and they can laze or not work like if they were being paid. Your team is elite and people have to proud to be part of it.

Be ready to face that some people will leave the project or you will have to fire them, you will find yourself looking for new members often until you have your definite team.

Equity

People can work for free for a while, but they want to know what they will have once the project become successful. We have launched many bootstrap projects and at the beginning we saw this perfectly normal, so we shared equity based in what will do each one, even worst, because they were working for free, we always thought in shame equity for everyone. You will find, like we did, that not everybody work the same, not everyone have the same commitment and not everyone will have same responsibilities. For Jooicer we are testing a different approach. We explain people who join us our bad experiences assigning equity without know each other, or without know our commitment. We explain that our intention is not to keep the big piece of the pie, once is done, but to create a pie sufficiently large so every piece of it will be big. Also, we tell them that we don’t want to take advantage of their work, so if the relation doesn’t work, we will pay for their services, even we pay more than their usual rates, but they will have to wait until the project have funds.

Once we have some traction we will value each one commitment until that moment, consider what will be expected from him and the role they will assume. Based in these factors we will assign the equity.

We didn’t know if people were going to join us with this approach, but everyone have understood it and nobody said no because they wanted to know their equity/salary from the beginning.

Outsourcing

There would be times when you need some task done and anybody in your team can make it or you need a person in your team but you can’t find anyone. In Jooicer we tried 3 different guys for a position and after 3 months we didn’t have that work done, so it became a bottleneck for us. Although we need one in the team, we had to stop looking for and hire a freelance. In this case you have to ask for budgets and find the money to pay for it.

To avoid to have to look for too much money and finally hire something too cheapest, you can try to agree some payment facilities with the freelance so you can afford it in your early stage (maybe you can give them free access to your product once is done, so you can reduce their price).

If you are good attracting people to your project, you could be tempted to save money attracting them for each task of your project however small it is. I won’t recommend that, once your project is online and working, you will have people in your project that don’t do nothing.

Tools

Even if you are not a distributed team, you will need some tool to manage your project. There are lot of good tools there that will cover your needs and I think you can find a free tool or with freemium plan that is enough for you. Remember, you are doing bootstrapping, there will be things you will have to pay for sure, so don’t spend your money where you have alternatives. Once you are monetizing you can search your perfect tool.

This is some of the tools that we use in Jooicer:

  • Basecamp: It has a freemium membership. It only allows one project, but that is good for us. However each time we use it less and more Drive.
  • Drive: For documentation, knowlegment base or to share files.
  • Skype: We have different groups chat “product”, “general”, “traction”… Currently we are the same people in the same groups but we use them to be organized.
  • Whatsapp: We don’t use it pretty much, but we have a group there.
  • Bitbucket: So different developer can work in the same code with version control.
  • Mail: To be in contact with our users.

We have to improve how we use them and try others (we need something to put tasks and allow people to auto assign them, some kind of SCRUM management), but we are in an early stage and we still have to find our best methodology. I’m not worry about this because each team/project have its own and it will emerge with the time.

Traction

Once you have launched and you start to sell your product, surely it can’t cover all your company’s expenses from the first day and you can’t do bootstrapping all your life, your team deserve a salary, you too and you will need money to scale and compete against the big ones. This is the point when we want to go for funds in Jooicer.

Traction is the proof that your project is working. Is not only that you already have customers but you have a working team and product. However if you already have customers, surely you will have a working product and a working team too.

Investors will use your current traction to measure your startup and decide if it’s worth to invest in. Try to have as much traction as possible before approach them, so you have more possibilities to attract them and you won’t have to grant too much equity.

These are my experience bootstrapping projects, I would love to know what do you think about them and your own experiences. Any recommendation ?

How to change the URL of a WordPress site?

Sometimes you need to change your WordPress site url, or just you want to clone it. There is a lot of ways to make this change, but the most easier and effective that I have found is this:

From the new site url:

Add this line at the top of wp-config.php:

<?php
define(‘RELOCATE’,true);

Now visit your site login page: http://yourNewURL.com/wp-login.php

Login there and the change will be done. It is possible that you want to go Settings -> General and check there that WordPress Address (URL) and Site Address (URL) are correct.

After that, you can remove the RELOcATE line from the wp-config.php file.

My Mistakes As An Entrepreneur: City Coupon Deals

From the beginning City Coupon Deals was a side project for us, at the same time we were working on WWT, but it was the boom of the coupons sites and we didn’t want to waste the opportunity to launch something related.

ccd

Our idea was to create a coupons aggregation. There wasn’t so many then, so it was a good idea. Also it was simple, you only had to scrap or use the API from coupons websites and show all of them from your, sorted by city, category… etc.

At first we were going to show from all sites, but our idea, once we get users, was to show only those who pay commission for leads or sales.

We contacted with two guys who were going to help us with the project. A really good developer, who will develop the entire website and a designer with social media knowledge who was going to act like CEO once the website will be finished.

We did the same mistakes we did in WWT project plus new ones. It is not we did the same mistakes twice, but we were doing the two project at the same time so we didn’t realize we were doing mistakes until it was too later.

Lucky for us, this project development was much more easier than WWT, so code, design were done quickly.

Clarify the roles from the beginning

The two guys worked really good. We found a talent in the developer (we still are in contact). The designer was really good to, but the problem was that he was supposed to lead the project once finished. He didn’t know about it and he didn’t want to. So we found with a project finished and nobody to lead it.

This project didn’t take too much to build it, but I learn a great lesson from it. Clarify the roles of each member of the team the first. The roles could change along the life of the project, but be sure that you have your important roles cover before starting nothing.

Currently City Coupon Deals is working alone, without attendance, and it give some bucks by Adsense. So at least it pays itself the server and domain cost.

ccd-a

Jooicer: 5 months later

Hello there!
It has been a long time from my last post, but these months have been crazy.

After our customer development phase, we started to develop the tool. We focused entirely in the features and forgot about the user experience, we thought if the tool can do what we want it to do, users will want to learn how to use it… Wrong! The tool works, but it is so difficult to use that nobody knows how to do it. So after some minutes, the people logout and never come back.

Additionally to these problems, we found another with the database, Twitter manages a lot of data, so our database became huge with only the beta testers.

Improve the tool, get users, analyze feedback, fix bugs… for only two people have been crazy, we have neglected some aspects of the project because the team was too small.

After see these mistakes, we have stopped build new features, or get more users and we have analyzed the current problems and found solutions for them. It has started by extending the team. We have found talent people who wanted to join us at Jooicer, so now we are starting again with a full team compose by the original two guys (David and me) and the followings:

  • An UX guy, who will help with design too.
  • A Business Intelligence guy, lot of experience in analysis and with knowledge about Twitter, big data and databases.
  • A developer, with strongs in security.

With this new team, we have analyzed the mistakes and started to work in a new interface more user friendly with valuable data and features. Based in that interface we will code the tool, and for the database problem, currently analyzing it, I think we will use individual tables per user.

Takeaways

  • Invest in User Experience: No matter how good is your product if nobody know how to use it.
  • Look for a complete and talent team: If not you will neglect key areas.

Also I have moved to Coral Gables, Miami, so if you are around here and want to talk sometime, just let me know.

This is The One: Jooicer

I published an article just a month ago talking about a new side project we was working on, Confianza Internet. The project was an experiment to try some lean startup principles and make something while we start our main project. For Confianza Internet it was possible to reach potential clients through Twitter, so we started to work in our Twitter strategy. Soon we realized that we needed several tools if we wanted to automatice some recurring actions and implement our own strategy (only for Twitter). Instead of use all this tools we started to work in our own tool.

While we were developing this tool we had our ah-ha moment,

And if we make this tool, sufficiently customizable for anyone to implement their own strategies in Twitter?

We started to contact with experts in social media talking them about the idea. Eveybody agreed that there is a tool for almost everything in Twitter but, first, still there are some uncover needs and second, It’s a nuisance to have to use several tools. One of the most motivating feedback come from Phil Glutting:

I really like the idea behind it and have been asking the question “why do I have to have 4 different tools, when will someone combine them all” for the last couple months.

So, we had to make a big decision: Do we really want to focus in this project. The project looks very interesting, not only because it looks like there is people looking for it but it’s a challenge for us to be capable to make a tool like this. The answer was YES, we know there is lot of competitors, it’s a red ocean niche but still the answer was YES, we wanted to do it. But say yes to this project means say no to others. I think the really difficult thing about focus, is to be able to say NO. We are realizing that you can’t focus 90% in your main project and 10% in others. You need to be focus 1000% in your uniq project. All your thoughts have to be focusing in The One.

So no more new projects. Our next step in the “No Process” is to close open projects. We are working on it.

Le me introduce you Jooicer, a tool to implement custom strategies in Twitter:

Jooicer

By the way, we talked with several social media experts, one of them Ruben Colomer recommended to David a book called The Tipping Point. I think this is one of the best recommendations we have ever received (I have almost finish it). With this book I have had my second ah-ha moment in this project. I will share it with you in next posts beside the launch strategy we are working on (based in many factors from The Tipping Point).

I would like to hear about you. Have you got difficulties keeping focus ? How about your ah-ha moments ?

Confianza Internet With Lean Startup Methodology

Recently I have read Lean Startup by Eric Ries and I wanted to test some of its principles. Many tips are common sense, but you don’t see them until somebody tell you or until you make the mistake. So now, I wanted to try a new project with Lean Startup in mind.

This year we wanted to keep focus in few projects and we already had picked out them, but we have lost a very important client this month (March) and we can’t be working in long term projects without monetizing them (and the projects we picked out can’t be monetized in short-term). So we have decided to launch a side project with Lean Startup methodology and see what happenes.

The Idea

Confianza Internet Widget

Confianza Internet is a SaaS for e-commerce. When customers make a purchase in the e-commerce, we send them a review request. In that review the customer can value the purchase in that e-commerce and rating it. New customers could see these reviews and scores, making the site more reliable for them (Confianza Internet means Internet Reliable in Spanish). E-commerce will only get reviews from their real customers. If a customer has some problem with one of our e-commerce we will arbitrate in the dispute.

This idea is not original, there is strong competitors like eKomi, Yotpo or Confianza Online but only Confianza Online is Spanish and they only put you a seal, they don’t get feedback from customers and they don’t arbitrate in disputes between e-commerce and customer.

 

Our Assumptions

  • E-commerce will use our product because we will have a very competitive price and a powerful brand in Spanish.
  • Distributors and affiliates will promote Confianza Internet for commission.
  • E-commerce’s customers will provide feedback after purchasing.
  • Marketers will use our product.
  • Ecommerce will use our product.
  • Customers will prefer to buy in ecommerces with Confianza Internet’s seal becuase it is more reliable.

Roadmap and Measurement

MVP

After 2 weeks we already have one. With paypal and prestashop integration. We will need more integrations with magente, clickbank and other ecommerces’s CMS but this is MVP.

We read how SendWithUs validated and we loved it! So David wanted to try some of their tips in our MVP, so we have some buttons without content in the MVP.

Get Testers

We are working in this phase currently. But we need testers with working ecommerce and sales. We are getting some from PrestaShop Spanish forum and David is trying from twitter too. The process is going slow and we are thinking in incorporate another person in the team, somebody with social media, branding and ecommerce skills.

Get feedback from testers

We have found very nice people between our testers and they are helping us a lot providing feedback and reporting some bugs. Thanks guys!

Improve MVP according to the feedback

Already doing too and we will be doing this even when beta phase is done.

Launch payment version

Not official date still but we hope launch next month.

Improve the conversion to paying customer.

After the launch payment version we will have to work in this task.

Improve response’s ratio from e-commerce’s customers

When a sale is done, the service usually wait about 5-10 days (configured by e-commerce owner) to send the feedback request to the customer, so we can be sure the product already arrived. So we are working now to send the first requests and see what is our response ratio. From there we will have to work in improve it.

Confianza Internet Reviews

Affiliate Section MVP

For now it is a button without content, we will work in this when find people interesting in promote our service.

Get Affiliates

Track buttons are working in this and we will speak with some companies related to e-commerce services. For now, we haven’t found any.

Confianza Internet Pricing

This is our first project with some lean startup principles. We need to define very well the measures and work to improve them, and like I said, we need to complete our team, do you know somebody ?

Have you already tried lean startup methodology ? Let me know about your experience. Tips from you are welcome too!

My Mistakes As An Entrepreneur: Wine World Trade

I’d like to publish some articles, relating my experiences as an entrepreneur. Along the way, I have made all kind of mistakes so I’d like to publish them as a reminder to myself (hoping to avoid them in the future) and for anyone who want to know another experiences.

“We learn little from victory, much from defeat” Japanese Proverb

I think I have material for almost 4 or 5 articles with different projects I have tried, some of them have died before launch, others are working like zombies, others are working and are profitable and others have been sold. In all of them I have made mistakes that I could have avoided if I had read books like the ones I’m reading now or heard other entrepreneurs experiences.

Wine World Trade

Wine World Trade

Wine World Trade (WWT) started around 2010, my partner David met a guy, Victor, in Ibiza who had worked for one of the few online business which traded with wine and other spirit drinks. Victor didn’t end very well with this company and he wanted to do something similar but improved.

We talked about it and we conclude we wanted to build a SaaS with social network functions. Distributors and importers could publish a call for tenders and producers, wineries, export managers could offer their stocks. The social network part will be something similar to LinkedIn but focus in wine industry.

Build a bottom-up forecast.

“Don’t say that there are three billion people in China and if we get 1% of them to spend $50 then we will be a $1.5 Billion dollar company. This is not realistic because getting 1% is really hard…” Guy Kawasaki in The Art of Start.

In our research we found a db with more than 40,000 related contacts (wineries, distributors, importers, export managers…). We thought,  if only 1% of them become our users we could make about 400*99$ = 39,600$/month (99$/month was the cheaper membership). Only 1% and only counting the basic membership, this was a realistic scenary, isn’t it? Some years later I read “The Art of Start” by Guy Kawasaki and it was funny to find this same theory like one you never should make.

Obviously we didn’t reach the 400 clients, we didn’t reach even one.

Barriers to entry.

The business looked very profitable and there was only two big competitors. We knew we can do it better with lot of new features and a nice interface for the users. It will be easy to reach clients and defeat the competitors.

If the business looks very profitable and there are only two competitors, why is this ? We should had asked this question to ourselves before continue and then we could have learned that this two big competitors were supported by big players (A country and a big consortium). This players publish their call for tenders there and they were not going to publish in anywhere else.

MVP.

“if you are not ashamed of your product when you launch it, you launched too late.” Reid Hoffman of LinkedIn

So, it looked very interesting and we didn’t spent many time in form a team and start to work in our MVP. The true is we didn’t even know what was a MVP, we thought we need a perfect product to launch and we worked very hard in it.

WWT DB Model

We picked a great domain, wineworldtrade.com (now free) for our brand, and some others that we wanted to use like landing pages like winedistributors.biz (working) and similar.

The design was outsourced to speed up the launch. Fernando, a great developer and knowledgeable about the wine industry, joined us and we spent more than one year developing our perfect site. The database model image has 61 tables, so imagine the code :)

We developed lot of cool features but we didn’t ask any client if they need them until the last moment. When we were almost ready, we built a landing page and tested our 40,000 database contacts asking them feedback about WWT.  The results weren’t good, some wineries answered and they were interested in the product (only the part where they could sell their stock), export managers too, but distributors and importers were missing.  They had so many offers in their desks that the last thing they were going to do was join a community where wineries and export managers were going to be able to send them more offers. No distributors or importer = no business.

Focus.

“People think focus means saying yes to the thing you’ve got to focus on. But that’s not what it means at all. It means saying no to the hundred other good ideas that there are. You have to pick carefully. I’m actually as proud of the things we haven’t done as the things I have done. Innovation is saying no to 1,000 things.” Steve Jobs

David and I were supporting the project economically and it become difficult. We heard about some others ideas which could provide us fast money. With the current team there will be a couple of days only. So sometimes we parked WWT and tried another “fast money project”. They weren’t two days projects and anyone of them provide us fast money (or other kind of money), only delayed WWT.

Give up.

In the meantime we had gone losing members. Too much stress, misunderstandings, loss of motivation… Finally only David and I remained in the team but we didn’t give up. We knew there was a great opportunity with wine through internet, we only had to find how could we combine them. So we started from scratch. David came to Madrid and we drove around Spain visiting wineries and personalities in the wine’s industry asking about their needs and how could we help them (At last we did it !).

The experience was great and we found lot of kind people who spent time with us answering our questions and giving us valuable feedback. But there came a moment when we realized that what users wanted, it needed a huge investment in money and an experience in the wine’s industry, which, neither David nor I had (we not even drank wine then). It wasn’t a startup. It wasn’t our business. We realized we continued with the idea by inertia, because we already had invested 2 years. So we stop and thought about it with the conclusion that it wasn’t what we really wanted.

So finally we gave up with WWT. I’m not pretty sure if our mistake was to give up or not having gave up before. Maybe if we had searched for external funds we could have redirected to our territory and make something great… who know?

Mistakes.

These are the mistakes I can extract from the experience:

  • We didn’t research why there was only 2 competitors.
  • We wanted to have a perfect version before launch.
  • We didn’t make Customer Development before start coding.
  • We should have search external investment but we didn’t want to share.
  • We lost focus sometimes.
  • Give up?

Let me know if you have any thoughts or questions about our mistakes on entrepreneurship. I’d love to hear about yours too!

How To Win Friends And Influence People – Dale Carnegie

I heard about this book when I was looking for business culture experiences. There is a start up, Buffer, which is a role model for me. Reading about its business culture a discovered Joel and Leo (Founders of Buffer) read and reread this book several times. As they say  “A lot of the Buffer values are derived from his deeply impactful words”.

So I read this book looking for values I want to implant in my start up and I wasn’t disappointed. Dale Carnegie give us several advice in his book, many of them are common sense but you need someone tell you to be aware.

At the end of each chapter you will find a summary with the principles shown, here you are my own summary with these principles and other interesting advice I found:

Make a lively game out of your learning by offering some friend a dime or a dollar every time he or she catches you violating one of these principles.

Check up each week on the progress you are making. Ask yourself what mistakes you have made, what improvement, what lessons you have learned for the future.

‘Don’t complain about the snow on your neighbour’s roof,’ said Confucious, ‘when your own doorstep is unclean.’

Any fool can criticise, condemn and complain – and most fools do. But it takes character and self-control to be understanding and forgiving.

‘A great man shows his greatness,’ said Carlyle, ‘by the way he treats little men.’

PRINCIPLE 1: Don’t criticise, condemn or complain.
THERE IS ONLY one way under high heaven to get anybody to do anything. Did you ever stop to think of that? Yes, just one way. And that is by making the other person want to do it.

General Obregon’s philosophy: ‘Don’t be afraid of enemies who attack you. Be afraid of the friends who flatter you.’

PRINCIPLE 2: Give honest and sincere appreciation.
the only way on earth to influence other people is to talk about what they want and show them how to get it.

First, arouse in the other person an eager want. He who can do this has the whole world with him. He who cannot walks a lonely way.’

Tomorrow you may want to persuade somebody to do something. Before you speak, pause and ask yourself: ‘How can I make this person want to do it?’

If there is any one secret of success, it lies in the ability to get the other person’s point of view and see things from that person’s angle as well as from your own

When we have a brilliant idea, instead of making others think it is ours, why not let them cook and stir the idea themselves. They will then regard it as their own; they will like it and maybe eat a couple of helpings of it.

PRINCIPLE 3: Arouse in the other person an eager want.

You can make more friends in two months by becoming interested in other people than you can in two years by trying to get other people interested in you.

It is the individual who is not interested in his fellow men who has the greatest difficulties in life and provides the greatest injury to others. It is from among such individuals that all human failures spring.

Publilius Syrus, remarked: ‘We are interested in others when they are interested in us.

PRINCIPLE 1: Become genuinely interested in other people.

It isn’t what you have or who you are or where you are or what you are doing that makes you happy or unhappy. It is what you think about it.

‘There is nothing either good or bad,’ said Shakespeare, ‘but thinking makes it so.’

PRINCIPLE 2: Smile.

Jim Farley discovered early in life that the average person is more interested in his or her own name than in all the other names on earth put together.

Franklin D. Roosevelt knew that one of the simplest, most obvious and most important ways of gaining good will was by remembering names and making people feel important – yet how many of us do it?

PRINCIPLE 3: Remember that a person’s name is to that person the sweetest and most important sound in any language.

Harvard president Charles W. Eliot, ‘There is no mystery about successful business intercourse . . . Exclusive attention to the person who is speaking to you is very important. Nothing else is so flattering as that.’

PRINCIPLE 4: Be a good listener. Encourage others to talk about themselves.

Whenever Roosevelt expected a visitor, he sat up late the night before, reading up on the subject in which he knew his guest was particularly interested.

PRINCIPLE 5: Talk in terms of the other person’s interests.

Always make the other person feel important.

Emerson said: ‘Every man I meet is my superior in some way. In that, I learn of him.’

Disraeli, one of the shrewdest men who ever ruled the British Empire. ‘Talk to people about themselves and they will listen for hours.’

PRINCIPLE 6: Make the other person feel important – and do it sincerely.

PRINCIPLE 1: The only way to get the best of an argument is to avoid it.

PRINCIPLE 2: Show respect for the other person’s opinions. Never say, ‘You’re wrong.’

If we know we are going to be rebuked anyhow, isn’t it far better to beat the other person to it and do it ourselves? Isn’t it much easier to listen to self-criticism than to bear condemnation from alien lips?

Any fool can try to defend his or her mistakes – and most fools do – but it raises one above the herd and gives one a feeling of nobility and exultation to admit one’s mistakes.

By fighting you never get enough, but by yielding you get more than you expected.

PRINCIPLE 3: If you are wrong, admit it quickly and emphatically.

Lincoln said: ‘A drop of honey catches more flies than a gallon of gall.’

PRINCIPLE 4: Begin in a friendly way.

PRINCIPLE 5: Get the other person saying ‘yes, yes’ immediately.

La Rochefoucauld, the French philosopher, said: ‘If you want enemies, excel your friends; but if you want friends, let your friends excel you.’

PRINCIPLE 6: Let the other person do a great deal of the talking.

PRINCIPLE 7: Let the other person feel that the idea is his or hers.

try to think the whole thing through from another person’s point of view.? Ask yourself: ‘Why should he or she want to do it?’

I would rather walk the sidewalk in front of a person’s office for two hours before an interview than step into that office without a perfectly clear idea of what I was going to say and what that person – from my knowledge of his or her interests and motives – was likely to answer.

PRINCIPLE 8: Try honestly to see things from the other person’s point of view.

PRINCIPLE 9: Be sympathetic with the other person’s ideas and desires.

PRINCIPLE 10: Appeal to the nobler motives.

PRINCIPLE 11: Dramatise your ideas.

Let Charles Schwab say it in his own words: ‘The way to get things done,’ says Schwab, ‘is to stimulate competition. I do not mean in a sordid money-getting way, but in the desire to excel.’

PRINCIPLE 12: Throw down a challenge.

PRINCIPLE 1: Begin with praise and honest appreciation.

PRINCIPLE 2: Call attention to people’s mistakes indirectly.

PRINCIPLE 3: Talk about your own mistakes before criticising the other person.

PRINCIPLE 4: Ask questions instead of giving direct orders.

PRINCIPLE 5: Let the other person save face.

PRINCIPLE 6: Praise the slightest improvement and praise every improvement. Be ‘hearty in your approbation and lavish in your praise.’

Give a dog a bad name and you may as well hang him.’ But give him a good name – and see what happens!

PRINCIPLE 7: Give the other person a fine reputation to live up to.

PRINCIPLE 8: Use encouragement. Make the fault seem easy to correct.

The effective leader should keep the following guidelines in mind when it is necessary to change attitudes or behaviour:
1 Be sincere. Do not promise anything that you cannot deliver. Forget about the benefits to yourself and concentrate on the benefits to the other person.
2 Know exactly what it is you want the other person to do.
3. Be empathetic. Ask yourself what is it the other person really wants.
4 Consider the benefits that person will receive from doing what you suggest.
5 Match those benefits to the other person’s wants.
6. When you make your request, put it in a form that will convey to the other person the idea that he personally will benefit.

PRINCIPLE 9: Make the other person happy about doing the thing you suggest.