I got two comments on my previous post about some creative ways to get some elements of my startup done (some quick and dirty ways to get a logo) that I'd like to address.
First, Nate's comments...
"Don't settle on a logo early and don't let someone outside the company
do it. Yes, you need a better one -- and fairly soon ;-) but don't lock
yourself in and don't lock your eventual full-time designer out of the
I like this angle. It makes sense to me that a designer, especially one that we'd like to hire full time, might not want to get handed a logo that may or may not square with their vision for the look and feel. That's an excellent point.
Now, Rachel's comments. I don't know who Rachel is, but she seems to be (or believe herself to be, given her tone) an expert in something...
"Corporate identity (logo design/graphic look and feel) is brand
expression, which is the derivative of brand essence, which you haven't
done any strategic work on..."
Personally, I don't believe that seed stage startups should do "strategic work" on corporate identity. They should build a useful product, period. So many times, web services do fancy redesigns to make things look good when they flat out fail on improving the usability of the product. "Brand essence" = good product. You think people use Apple because they like the logo? No, it's because their products are functional and easy to use. All the brand positioning in the world won't save a product if it doesn't just flat out provide utility. Do you think Craigslist does strategic work on its brand essence? Having met Craig, I'd say I highly doubt it. I mean, hell, they don't even have a logo.
Actually, they do. Here it is:
Snarky? Yeah, because I'm just snarking back to her comment about my presentation:
"It's a mess from a sheer presentation standpoint. Clean it up, format
it, get those headlines right, just get some look of discipline in
there and the VCs might overlook your age and inexperience"
It may be a graphical mess... I don't pertain to be any kind of expert, but it is also on Google Docs, so things got bumped around a little. In fact, that's the very "essence" of the company... open, out there, direct... but figuring as we're having little trouble attracting interested folks, perhaps other VC/angel pitches aren't messy enough.
But the real kicker is this: "get some look of discipline in
there and the VCs might overlook your age and inexperience".
Rachel, how old do you think the average internet entrepreneur is that gets funded by VCs these days? Certainly not a lot older than 28.
And my inexperience?
So tell me, how many people are out there who have been a product manager during the launch of a new product, evaluated early stage startups for a top tier VC firm, taught both undergraduates and graduates in classes that they developed from scratch, ran a mentoring program for both a professional society and a school's alumni organization and also created a professional organization that currently has over 1,000 members?
Perhaps I haven't run an enterprise software product and taken revenues from zero to fifty million, or led three startups in completely unrelated spaces, but I dunno, from my vantage point, I couldn't imagine being any more fortunate that I have been to get the exact kind of insight and experience needed to make Path 101 a success--plus not to mention the absolutely fantastic network of people I've built up to help me.
So, instead of trying to "grab the conversation by the emotional cojones" which is, trust me, what a lot of entrepreneurs try to do ("We're going to change the world, you'll see!") I'm more interested in solving a real problem with a useful product. A lot of marketing "experts" think that it's all about "sexing up" the pitch. I've been on the other side of the table (have you?) and trust me... sex doesn't sell in a good VC firm, nor does it sell a sophisticated angel investor. A good idea backed by the appropriate passionate entrepreneur in a market ripe for disruption is what we're selling here and I'm quite confident we'll do just fine.