Having a growth mindset

Contrary
Contrary
Jun 13, 2018 · 2 min read
Andrew Chen sharing his perspective with Contrary founders

Last week, we were fortunate to have Andrew Chen, Elizabeth Yin, and Eric Bahn (check out their new fund) come in and join our founders to share their thoughts on growth tactics for startups from their earliest phases.

While most of the conversation was strictly off-the-record, we were able to extract a handful of core insights from the discussion that we wanted to share:

  1. Paying for a platform like Facebook to generate a “lookalike” audience to early adopters can create a virtuous feedback loop for sales, with customer targeting improving as the number of users scales.
  2. By offering limited-time discounts, and increasing the value of the discount as the release date comes closer, a company can create FOMO while it concurrently price segments pre-sales. A strong pre-sales strategy reduces the need for initial capital, as revenue can cover production costs.
  3. Thanks to some interesting psychology and economics, bidding wars are an attractive sales method for ad platforms who can only sell a limited amount of space.
  4. An ideal cold email is three sentences. Make a connection with the receiver, explain how you can solve one of their problems, and finish with a specific ask that won’t take more than fifteen minutes of their time.
  5. The Bay Area continues to remain one of the strongest environments for entrepreneurship thanks primarily to network effects (read: the density of incredible people). That makes everything easier, whether it’s an abundance of capital or making a critical hire quickly.

We’ll be publishing these from time to time, with the continued goal of making the early days easier for university entrepreneurs everywhere.

— Colin Parsons & The Contrary Team

Want to learn more about our Summer Program? Working on an interesting company on a university campus? Curious about Contrary? Shoot us a message at info@contrarycap.com

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