An initiative for startup owners, group growth and proposed projects

Hey guys,

I was lurking this forum for a while but didn’t have the chance to dive in. I love to see that many of the guys here were also on Business Of Software forum, that was the community that helped me launch my first product(at 17) and gave me great feedback on others…it was the time when you made a post about your product, you would get 30 quality feedback responses in a few hours…many years passed since.

Anyway, I had this idea bouncing up and down in my head for quite a while and I want to share it with you, we may make it happen.

Group growth or group growth hacking

We all have a specific audience that we reach everyday, by website, social, email list, etc, that are interested on our product, blog posts or newsletter. Obviously, there are other products that share the same audience, that target the same market segment as we do and ARE NOT direct competitors. Since our potential clients have the same profiles, why not group with the other products and share(i don’t know if it’s the right word) exposure with each other, by providing value to the entire group audience.

For example:

Let’s take the startup owners segment. We all need a good user feedback app for our startup. But we may also need a/b split testing app, a tracking app or one that boosts conversions(like an exit popup app). As you can see, all products share almost the same audience. Let’s see how can we leverage that.

I’m going to propose a few projects to understand better what i’m talking about. All the projects will start with a group of 2-7 startups with relatively same reach, which share the same audience but are not direct competitors. All participants should unanimously agree the terms of the project(and who participates). The project will have 3 stages:set up stage, active stage and feedback/review stage.

1. Blog review chain project

The members commit to make a review of another member product and post it on their blog. Every participant needs to pick a product to review and get picked by someone else to review his product. The project will run for 1 month. During that time everyone should review and get reviewed. I won’t detail the benefits, you already know.

2. The free day project

This will work for early stage startups, with around 100 paying customers. If you know there is a product that your customers would love, you can invite the owner to participate on the project. This consists on giving you product away for free during 24 hours to the customers of another product. In exchange you’ll be able to give your customers the other product for free, during the same 24 hours period.

There are 2 major benefits:

  1. you’ll make your existing customers extremely happy
  2. you’ll get new customers, even for free, but word of mouth from them will pay off

3. Newsletter mention project

Some may not be comfortable with it but it can be a good exposure booster. The members will commit to mention at the end of their weekly/monthly newsletter, another product they think their subscribers will find useful. This will be limited to 3 mentions, not necessary consecutive. The benefit is that you’ll also be mentioned on 3 others newsletters. The mention will consist in a very short description and eventually a notice why you included the new content on the newsletter. To make everything more appealing, everyone should give away something, free subscriptions, discounts, ebooks, free features, etc…

These are just a few projects that I had in mind. To make this thing work, we need a strong community where owners trust each other and the transparency is high. That’s why a private, admission based community will be required, everyone will be more comfortable this way. Of course, things can go wrong, some will not respect his part of the deal, so that’s another reason for a private community with ratings and feedback after each project ends. I also think that an invite only filter may also work very well in the future.

Inside the community will be a section called Growth Projects Lab, where members can suggest different projects, contribute with ideas and vote for the best ones to be implemented. After a project gets enough votes on the Growth Projects Lab it will get a special forum/section when members can set it up, find participants and launch it.

It’s a long post, but I think you get the idea. This is just a draft to see how many of you guys are really interested, more than just “sounds good” since I need a few early adopters who are excited about it and help me grow the community.

It will start with a normal forum(I love this forum platform) which I want to transform into a platform with rating, matchmaking for startups, internal crowdfunding for bigger projects and so on.

If you are interested, I made a quick kickoflabs landing page, i also bought 2 domains appownersclub and appfoundersclub for the private community, but I haven’t assigned them yet. So go here and add your email. Shortly, I will make an application form. If you are more than interested and you have ideas, want to support me, post here or PM me for more private chat.

Thanks guys


Promoting other bootstrapped products is something I try and do informally anyway. Essentially if I spot a good product here or somewhere else I frequent I’ll try and mention it places where I know it might be useful.

So if I’m writing for a magazine I’ll use these products as examples perhaps, mention them in my email or just pass on information about them on Twitter. I know how important those mentions by people are for my own product so I try and help out other people where I can as well. Obviously the proviso is that the product is something good that I can happily recommend :slight_smile:

I figure it is hard enough for folk who are bootstrapping to get word out, so if I can help other people a bit I’m happy to.

I guess the issue would be if there is a commitment to promote other people’s stuff I’d then be tied into doing that - even if I didn’t think the product is all that great which would make all other mentions I made of products seem less trustworthy. It would be like those business networking organizations where you have to refer to other people in the group.

Thanks for the input.

I’m in the same page as you about promoting products that I don’t like. Of course, some people mention other startups if they like them, but most won’t, even if they knew that some users will find useful. I found that this is some kind subjective, you may really like the product and you’ll mention it…but it doesn’t mean that your audience will be more grateful than for a product that you prefer less. Most of the time it’s the personal taste of the one that shares, which is very influential. Of course, if a product is bad nobody will share it anyway. That’s why the growth groups should unanimously agree its participants.

Personally, to share another product without any incentive it has to be outstanding, but it doesn’t mean that my audience won’t find very useful another good, established product that just happens to not be outstanding in my eyes.

The idea here is to not promote products that you don’t like, the foundation is of an extended partnership that is focused on growth and follows some principles and some defined steps(as group growth projects).

Even if it happens to have a better preference inside the group, the member should also now that they will get something in return > exposure, but the whole idea here is to keep things balanced. Some blog readers may not like that you review a product, some may not care, some may like it…however, the concern may be the ones that don’t…but which counts more, 5% that don’t like the blog post, or the 100 new signups, 2k visits and engagement?

I don’t think this would be something for me - I share things because I see them being useful for someone, and because I want to support other bootstrappers. No other reason.

I think people often don’t share the products they like because it never occurs to them to do so. It didn’t occur to me until I realised how happy seeing a positive review of our product made me, and also how beneficial support from someone high profile was. I’m not hugely high profile but I have a bunch of Twitter followers and so on, so I try and pay it forward as much as possible.

Let me give you an example:

Do you have 3 products in mind that you know your users will love?
As you like those 3 products, don’t you want to connect with the owners, discuss growth ideas and how everyone can benefit?

You all have 4 quality products, you all have a nice audience and you all know that it won’t be a problem to share exposure to each other because you are not just getting exposure back, the products will also be loved by your customers.There is no disadvantage here.

However, how’s better for you and your business, to just share the 3 products and hoping that 1 of them will share or review it back? Most of the times you’ll get thanks and that’s all :slight_smile: been there . There are lots of reasons people won’t share/review your product back even if you reviewed/shared/mentioned theirs like they don’t have a relationship with you, they don’t know you well enough, they don’t have a real reason, they don’t have any incentive to do so or they simply don’t care…even if they know your product will be a great fit for their audience.

Once you make a connection, build trust, in an organized environment it will be 10x more likely to get the favor back.

Why won’t make everything easy, why won’t help each other grow by sharing exposure, but in an organized way so we can all benefit.

This is the thing, I don’t hope that people will share or review my product “back”. I share stuff that:

a) I think is great - really as a thank you to the person making it
b) the people who follow me will find useful - as a pointer to them

At no point do I ever think, “if I say nice stuff about them they will reciprocate”. Plenty of people say unsolicited nice things about my products, I say unsolicited nice things about other products. What goes around comes around, I find.

Well, people don’t really expect to be shared back, but everyone knows that it will be awesome if that happen.

As a bootstraping business I need to be more pragmatic, I put money, time and work a lot and if there is a possibility to share great stuff with my userbase and also get the favor back, it will help me 10x more.

I think most of the guys with boostrapped business do not afford(and is not practical) to think that " i’m not giving incentives to my users to share my product with their friends because it won’t be natural" … this is the same position with growth groups.

Everyone needs exposure since we are not backed by 1mil $ VC funds to kick off the marketing, we need to find ways to grow, it’s a struggle. If I make a review of a product I like and there is the possibility for the other one to review me back…hell yea, i need that extra exposure…just waiting for other to find and review me is not practical, it’s preferred but not practical.

Anyway, I appreciate your view, thanks for the chat :slight_smile:

Is this the 2014 version of the web ring?

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lol…this is the first time I heard of webring and it’s the same as my idea of something called webtrain when I was 15.

Anyway, it has some similarities, like sharing exposure…webring alike concepts would fit on the growth lab projects section.