by Dave McLaughlin, CEO & Co-Founder at Vsnap
It’s deadline time for MassChallenge (Wednesday, April 3rd). If you’re thinking about whether or not to apply, I want to suggest that you should stop making excuses and just do it. If you don’t, then you don’t have the sense to run a company.
I know I know. Don’t sugarcoat it, Dave. Tell us how you really feel.
I guess there are legitimate reasons for not applying. But I can’t really think of any. I just don’t see any downside to being part of a killer community of like-minded people struggling with the same challenges, all with ocean views and a chance at large chunks of non-dilutive capital.
But let me get more specific. Just off the top of my head, here are 3 benefits that we have gotten by being part of MassChallenge. There are more, but this is just a little list to help you stop whimpering and start filling out that application.
I don’t see how you couldn’t make friendships here. You’re all working so hard, which merits mutual respect. You help each other when you can, which engenders gratitude. You achieve amazing things, which inspires admiration. You share your struggles, which seeds trust. Starting a company and chasing a ginormous vision can be very, very lonely. We all need friends whose understanding can help us persevere. (Cue the music, Bill Withers…)
2) Mutual Introductions
I can think of at least ten times where other funded founders have made email introductions to connect me with their investors, or I’ve done the same for them. We also share contacts that might be customers, partners, employees, you name it. Look, the access point to pretty much every ingredient of success is a person. If you’re going to win with your company, you need to tick a lot of people boxes. The best way to do that is to build a high-quality network. The best way to do that? Join a high-quality community like MassChallenge and figure out how you can help the other people in that community. For the most part, they’ll do the same.
3) A Place to Grow
That sounds like the name of a pre-school: A Place To Grow. MassChallenge is kinda like pre-school (but with pretty good wifi and a lot of donated beer). You can even write on the walls (thanks, IdeaPaint!). Startups need nurturing. We need a certain amount of structure. We need to be challenged and guided. We need to hear stories. We are toddlers. MassChallenge understands this about us.
But you’re also not a toddler. So stop making excuses and fill out your application.
Remember you miss a hundred percent of the shots you don’t take.
Oh, and if you’re too broke, we respect that. (Actually everybody in the startup community respects it.) We have a couple of discount codes to share. All you have to do is send a vsnap to us on Twitter (@Vsnap) telling us why you need to be in MassChallenge. Which is to say, tell us how you’re going to change the world.
You can do this!
Don’t be a talker. Be a doer. There are too many talkers in this world. Not enough doers. Be a doer. Apply to MassChallenge.
By Dave McLaughlin, CEO & Co-Founder at Vsnap
People who know our Community Manager, Trish Fontanilla, were not surprised when she was recognized in this uberVU post as one of Boston’s most admired community managers. She’s amazing.
One of the many awesome things Trish does is that she sends a vsnap to each person who follows us on Twitter. (To see examples, just take a peek at our @Vsnap Twitter feed.)
Receiving a vsnap from Trish makes you feel that you matter to us. You feel valued. But don’t take my word for it. Test me. Go follow us on Twitter and see how you feel when you receive that vsnap. I guess that reading this post you’ll have lost the element of surprise. But still, I assert that you can’t help but feel that we are paying attention to you in a way that most web businesses do not.
And if you don’t feel that way, you can always unfollow us.
The other day, we were talking about all this activity we have with our community via our Twitter feed, and we got talking about the actual impact and how we measure that. So I asked Trish to go back to the last 100 vsnaps she sent via Twitter and just count up the number of people who responded in some way.
In other words, never mind whether people consumed your message. How many of them actually engaged with you as a result?
Now I just want to say, this was more a matter of curiosity than an actual need to justify the time spent on making sure that members of our community know we care about them. Because with this video messaging practice that she has pioneered, Trish is modeling the essential beliefs that drive us as a company. And, she effectively provides every person she vsnaps with a high-quality demo of how to use our product.
And part of what’s so interesting is that those people aren’t just passive observers of a demo. As recipients, they’re actually part of it. They experience that awesome little feeling-connection that a vsnap creates – that bit of warmth that is typically missing in interactions with web businesses. They feel it. And that’s what our business is all about. Giving other companies the ability to create that feeling.
Because, we believe, that feeling of human connection is what web businesses lack, and what they need. And – more importantly – what their customers need.
So what is the engagement level when you vsnap people via Twitter? Just how engaging is this tool?
The answer: out of 100 people, 55 people responded in some way – and every single one of those responses was positive in nature.
In fact 11 people responded in multiple ways (e.g. a Favorite and a tweet back).
My first reaction is that I was pretty floored by this. I had been so focused on the other benefits of Trish’s behavior that I’d never really considered what the return engagement numbers would look like. I guess I thought it might be 25% or something like that.
But more than half? That’s a pretty rich result.
Then again, I’m not really surprised. I see it as more evidence of what I already believe – that the personal layer matters enormously in business and that web businesses desperately need easy tools to create that connection and to make customers feel special.
But never mind what I think. What do you think? Have you received a video message? Does this post reflect how you felt?