McGill Dobson Chronicles

Subscribe to McGill Dobson Chronicles feed McGill Dobson Chronicles
Inspiring Entrepreneurs in the McGill Community
Updated: 1 day 7 hours ago

McGill Lean Startup applications now open!

Mon, 08/20/2018 - 15:04

Apply here: https://dobson.blitzen.com/form/Fall-2018-Lean-Startup-Application

Tabulit (MTL-based Art Collective) launches Kickstarter for 2nd Anthology

Mon, 07/30/2018 - 12:45

Editor’s Note: If you want to learn more about Tabulit, check out this article where our contributor Kymberly Reid interviewed Tabulit’s founder Alex Park – just click here. 

To skip to Tabulit’s new kickstarter for its 2nd anthology, click here.

Tabulit, the Montreal based digital publisher and art collective, has launched its second print anthology project.

November last year, Tabulit launched its first print anthology project based on the theme of “cats”. Over 20 artists came together on this special book, including the graphic novel sensation, Tillie Walden. The project was successfully crowdfunded on Kickstarter, and was released in print April 2018.

Last week, on July 22nd, Tabulit launched its second anthology, Afar. Unlike the more lighter toned theme of its former project, Furr, which was about cats, Tabulit’s artists will be exploring the theme of ‘Distance’ in the new anthology.

“Distance is something that is all around us, especially now that we live in such a mobile world brought together by technology,” said Alex Park, founder of Tabulit. “But how does that physical sense of distance shape the nature of relationships, whether it’s romance, friendship, or family? We tend to believe that we can cover that distance with all sorts of gadgets and apps, but how much do we really think about how being apart from each other affects us? This book intends to explore that in all aspects.”

The anthology also marks Tabulit’s new beginning as an art collective. Until April, Tabulit had branded itself as a digital publishing startup focusing on comics. However, when Alex’s cofounder Ed had left the company, Alex decided for a radical change.

“What do the artists actually want? Forget making money. Why should Tabulit exist and what does it stand for? After much conversation I realized that Tabulit’s value was offering new artists an avenue to jumpstart their careers and curating exciting new art from around the world. So here we are, starting all over again with that in mind.”

Tabulit’s focus as a collective is now to publish anthology volumes that will involve new and incumbent member artists of the collective, with various themes.

Afar’s funding goal is $6500 CAD, same as its first book, Furr. Afar is currently going through its crowdfunding phase on Kickstarter. For more information, visit Afar’s Kickstarter page.

 

Just evil enough to scale: How to capture attention

Tue, 07/17/2018 - 13:02

Editor’s Note: Startupfest 2018 had plenty of world-class content, but this talk was my favorite. Alistair is the co-author of Lean Analytics, along with Ben Yoskovitz who we interviewed here.

This article is a teaser of Alistair’s “Just Evil Enough” talk. To get the full experience, hire him to speak at your next event: click here.

A common mistake among entrepreneurs is that building a good product is good enough. They think that if you build it, customers will come knocking at their door. Even perfect product-market fit isn’t enough. The truth is, sometimes it’s more about making people care about your product than how good it is. You can have the most sophisticated product in the world that meets people’s exact needs, but if you don’t have their attention, you don’t have a customer. And this is doubly true in our attention economy.

To get people’s attention in 2018, most people pull from the Growth Hacking bible of disjointed tactics found all over the internet. The problem with using “tried and tested hacks” is that by the time they’re published, they don’t work anymore. There is a negative feedback loop. When a tactic works well, other people find out about it and use it. Eventually, the tactic stops working. Either because the channel (e.g. facebook) updated its algorithm so as not to be vulnerable to the tactic. Or because people have adapted to it and it doesn’t grab their attention anymore. (e.g. clickbaity headlines like “You won’t believe how well these 9 shocking clickbaits work! (number 8 is a killer!)”)

This is very similar to how the natural resource discovery cycle works. You discover a new deposit of oil, you exploit it until it’s all gone, and then you have to look for another deposit or find a substitute for oil. Rinse, repeat.

If you want growth, your job is to systematically discover new deposits of oil.

Alistair Croll proposes that every platform intends you to use it a certain way. Every social media channel benefits when you use it the way it intends you to.

But if you want to capture disproportionate amounts of people’s attention, you need to subvert the channel. Hack the market. Seek and exploit weaknesses in the system that afford you borderline unreasonable amounts of attention.

 

Guiding principle: Look for zero-day growth exploits

Alistair calls these kinks in the system zero-day growth exploits. It is the fundamental principle that guides the following tactic. (Editor’s Note: Alistair shared many more tactics including: creating a product that aligns with your sales funnel, making your product mandatory, and making the future happen sooner. But you’ll have to get him in-person for that: click here to make that happen)

 

Tactic: Position right

Many use an orthogonal chart to show people how their startup is different. Your job is to ensure that the dimension on which you’re different from your competitors actually matters to your customers. If no one cares, you’ll go extinct. A great side-effect of positioning yourself correctly is that it re-positions your competitors.

It’s also important that you take firm control of your positioning from the start. If your startup seems vaguely positioned, the market will do it for you and that rarely ends well. If you don’t like what they’re saying, change the conversation.

One of the reasons for Tesla’s success is that it didn’t focus its efforts on positioning itself as an environmentally friendly car. The customers that Elon Musk wanted as first adopters were not the types that resonate with the messaging that a Prius has. So he zagged where others zigged. He positioned Tesla as a PERFORMANCE car company. It turns out that the people that can afford a Model S prefer that. Because that positioning is aligned with the story that they tell themselves about who they are.

Imagine an alternate universe where the Model S was positioned as a family-friendly, earth-friendly car for tree-huggers.

How far would Tesla have gotten? How many people that could afford a Model S would get one?


And yet in this universe, they sold like hotcakes. Same product, different story. And what is a story?

It’s a shared illusion that subverts human rationality, influencing people much more powerfully than a set of facts and logic.

Is that evil?

Maybe.

But you can slide around on the spectrum of the moral means-to-ends ratio without having to sell your whole soul.

Alistair proposes the questions:

Do you care too much about what others think?

Is that getting in the way of your startup’s success?

Have you considered becoming a little more evil in order to grow?

For more evil tactics, hire Alistair Croll to speak at your next event – just click here.