Top 5 things we learned launching Huckle at the LAUNCH Festival

My name is Jordan Stone and I am the co-founder and CEO of Huckle, an app for iPhone that allows you to find and chat with fun people nearby.

We were one of the fortunate 7 companies selected for Jason Calacanis’s LAUNCH incubator program. In the 12 weeks leading up to the LAUNCH Festival in San Francisco, we were coached by Jason and his team on our product, marketing, pitch, and all things entrepreneurship. It was a great experience, and here’s our top 5 things we learned launching a product at the festival:

5. Have your friends and family seed content.

Huckle is an app with public chat rooms at every location on earth. College campuses, bars, restaurants, etc. So for us, it was important to have festival’s chat room feel more important than it was at the time.

We had our friends and family seed content into the feed, and reply to other Huckle users over the duration of the festival.

This helped boost engagement and show the power of Huckle to new users.

If we didn’t do this, we’d be stuck with an empty room and no starting point for new users to join the conversation.

Fake it ‘til you make it!

4. Always be selling.

You never know who you’re going to meet. Not only at conferences, but life in general. Most people aren’t what they seem. Young, old, male, female, Old Navy to Prada — never judge a book by its cover.

We met hundreds of people at the festival over 3 days. When people walked up to our booth, we couldn’t differentiate between potential investors, advisors, employees, and the general public.

We approached each person as if they were Chris Sacca or Mark Cuban.

But more importantly, if you own an iPhone, you’re a potential Huckle user. Everyone gets VIP treatment.

3. Branding is your first impression.

Great branding establishes trust. Before people have downloaded your app or read your marketing copy, they’ve looked at your logo and determined your worth in a matter of seconds.

Humans are visual creatures. We spent $800 plus a few hours writing a design brief for the commission of our logo, and it’s worth 100x more than that to the company at this point.

Don’t slack on brand — your brand should emit a visceral reaction from everyone who sees it. Be proud of your logo. Put it on everything.

2. Listen to Lil Wayne before pitching in front of 4,000+ people.

Preferably with noise-canceling headphones. And turn it up to 11.

Everything we do at Huckle involves music. The next time you have to speak in public, put on your headphones, press play on some Lil Wayne, and block out everything else. Future Hall of Famer and New York Yankee Mariano Rivera is one of the greatest pitchers in the history of baseball — he walked the length of the field to the pitching mound every game to Metallica’s “Enter Sandman.” Find your theme music.

1. Your product is your pitch.

When someone asks you, “What is (your company)?” Have a one line answer then show them the product.

Here’s what it is for Huckle:

“What is Huckle?”

“Find and chat with fun people nearby … let me show you how it works.”

Let your product do the talking. This is in every situation — formal pitches to investors, potential employees, advisors, your grandma, etc.

Huckle is available for download in the App Store now: http://huckle.me/download

Pass along Huckle to any friends and family you have in college.

Thanks for reading!