O'Reilly logo

Managing Startups: Best Blog Posts by Thomas Eisenmann

Stay ahead with the world's most comprehensive technology and business learning platform.

With Safari, you learn the way you learn best. Get unlimited access to videos, live online training, learning paths, books, tutorials, and more.

Start Free Trial

No credit card required

Chapter 68. The Only Two Questions Founders Need to Answer

Every day a couple of dozen folks email me asking me to tell them what I think of their products.

When I have the time, or interest, to respond, I generally ask myself a battery of questions:

  1. Is the logo iconic?

  2. Could you tell me the domain name over the phone once and have me type it in correctly?

  3. Is it clear within 10 seconds what the purpose of this product or service is? Does it matter if it is clear?

  4. Is the design world-class?

Those are tactical questions that let me know the person has skills. Everyone can pass those tests with a couple of months of hard work.

My two brutal questions, which you can’t simply pass with a couple of months of hard work, are how recommendable and unforgettable your product is.

Here is how I ask them:

  1. Would I recommend this product?

  2. Will I remember this product next month and next year?

If you run an amazing product like Yammer, Zappos, Airbnb, or Dropbox through the tactical questions, it quickly becomes clear that these firms have people with skillz:

  1. Iconic logos? Yes, yes, yes, and yes.

  2. Domain name spelling test? Pass, pass, pass, and pass.

  3. Is the product offering clear? Yes: collaborating with your coworkers, big photos of shoes, and finding a place to stay are all super clear. Dropbox takes a little risk by not stating clearly “share files with your coworkers and family.” The video is awesome, but that’s a slightly risky choice for a home page.

  4. Is the design world-class? Yes, yes, yes, ...

With Safari, you learn the way you learn best. Get unlimited access to videos, live online training, learning paths, books, interactive tutorials, and more.

Start Free Trial

No credit card required