Announcing: StartupQ8 Event for August

The next StartupQ8 Event is on Monday August 11. This month we wanted to focus on bringing you lessons that benefit you, and think we found something good. 

The first segment will feature Dan Clarke, Director of Search at Caliber, who will share his insight into developing effective organic digital marketing strategies. He will discuss creating effective SEO campaigns and content.

Also, we’re pleased to welcome frequent contributor and founding partner of SmallQ8, Hashim Behbehani. He will talk about the three lessons you need to learn to get to your startup’s goal. As always,Global Investment House has graciously agreed to host the talk.

See you guys Monday August 11 at 7:30 pm!


7:30 – 8:10 Organic Digital Marketing feat. Dan Clarke
8:10 – 8:20 Mini-break
8:20 – 9:00 A Startup’s Goal feat. Hashim Behbehani
9:00 – 9:30 Networking feat. pizza

As always, the event will be in English and it is open to everyone. Register on our page and we will remind you about it.

See you there..

This Might Be the Solution for Crashed Planes!

With many planes crashing all around the world, I was wondering if there is a better way to save people lives onboard. So I thought to myself “when a military jet get hit, the pilot can jump from the plane using the ejecting seat with the parachute.”


Can we use a similar technique for civilian planes?

Screen Shot 2014-08-06 at 3.57.27 AM

What do you think?

Snapchat Vs Facebook (Part 1): One Lesson You Should Never Forget

2.5 minute read


22 year old Evan Spiegel, Snapchat’s co-founder and CEO, walked into a privately arranged apartment in his hometown of Los Angeles at the invitation of Mark Zuckerberg. Zuckerberg had invited Spiegel to sit with him after Snapchat, the disappearing photo-messaging app, had gained noticeable and significant traction since its launch in early 2011.

For the most part of the meeting, Mark tried to get Evan to talk about the vision and long term future of Snapchat. He wanted to listen, not talk. He wanted to feel out his potential competitor, perhaps to measure how hard the punch he was about to deliver had to be. Evan talked, but was cautious, revealing very few details and keeping his cards close to his chest. When the meeting seemed over, Mark told Evan about a new app Facebook was launching: Facebook Poke, a clone and direct competitor of Snapchat. It was an intimidation strategy meant to pressure Evan into accepting an early offer from Mark before the Facebook CEO had even made it. But Evan didn’t fold; he refused to engage in any buyout talks, and left the meeting.*

18 months later, Facebook Poke was dead. Facebook offered to buy Snapchat for $3 billion (cash), and Snapchat subsequently rejected.

So how did Snapchat win the war? And what made Evan Spiegel so confident in his product that he was willing to turn down Facebook, twice?

Here’s the answer:

Up until its last major update in May, Snapchat had a singular, narrow, and focused core feature: send disappearing images to select friends. When I asked Snapchat users what the app did, their answer was consistent and to the point: “you send an image to a friend and it disappears in a few seconds”. There was no “and you can do this” or “and you can do that”. Focusing on a single feature that drives a value proposition is a great way to grab and grow a loyal customer base. In business terms, it is an effective strategy for securing significant market share.

Snapchat’s technology is not proprietary. It is easily clone-able and can even be done better. In fact, Facebook Poke had superior real time engagement speed and smoother UX. But once a product has attracted a loyal user base around a single core feature, any clone, no matter how technologically superior, will find it hard to grab market share.

It must have been tempting for Snapchat’s founders in the beginning to think “That’s it? That’s all our app does? Why not add a chat feature? Or video? Or a feed?” And those features did eventually come, but only after the app had dominated the space of ephemeral messaging. A well-built core feature acts as a foundation on which to build other innovative features at a later stage.

Evan Spiegel understood that he had a cohesive product with loyal users increasing in number by the second. So when he walked into that apartment to meet Zuckerberg, Evan knew he had already won the war with Facebook before it had even started.

Slice of Advice

Most startups get obsessed with the idea of building an app that “does it all”. They end up building a bundle of “adequate” features instead of a coherent and cohesive product that does one or two things extremely well. A focused feature set is a magnet for a loyal customer base, and that customer base will become your biggest defense barrier against clones and new comers.


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