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How to Compete

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I never considered myself to be a competitive person. As I’ve built out ToutApp over the past 5 years, not only have I realized that I’m an incredibly competitive person, I actually thrive on the pressure it brings. It moves me, motivates me, pushes me to my peak performance. Almost to a point where when someone says to me “Wow, this …

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Operational Ruthlessness, the key to fast growth startups

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Since 2010, I’ve been religiously blogging about the ToutApp journey, but about 24 months ago I had to go on a blogging hiatus except for one small post about personal growth. Over the past two years, ToutApp has grown from 7 people in size to 60+ people, delivered strong quarter over quarter growth, raised $3.3m and then $15m of venture …

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How to Interview an Engineer for your Startup

There has been some concerns about putting our hiring process “out in the open” while we’re still interviewing for our Lead Engineer position, don’t fret — we’ve got plenty more fun case studies like these! If you are looking for your next adventure and want to join an awesome team, shoot me an email: tk@toutapp.com. Also, there is a great discussion thread …

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3 Lessons I Learned From Hiring in 2011

I did quite a bit of hiring (resulting in both successes and failures) through 2011. As I’m gearing up for continuing to build our core team here at Tout, I thought it would be prudent to write down some lessons learned based on the things that worked well this year and the things that didn’t. This is not meant to …

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Experienced Hires at Startups: Don’t Forget The Prime Directive

  Bringing in an experienced hire into an immature organization (such as a startup) is a seriously delicate endeavor. I saw this first hand at my previous job when a company that traditionally hired smart kids from Ivy League schools started to hire seriously seasoned professionals to get us closer to “excellence.” Ignoring or perhaps conveniently forgetting what I had learned …

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Customer Service at Startups

One of the things I’ve been thinking about lately as I build Tout as a business is how we deal with Customer Service. It’s the natural progression of things, you first figure out how to build a product that people give a damn about, then you get them to actually use it, and then you come to the realization that …

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The Suboptimal Outcome

Every day, an event occurs in your business that falls short of expectations. Whether it was a missed deadline, a failed deal, a frustrated customer or even a small tiny bug in your latest release to production. As human beings, we are pre-programmed to look past these seemingly small suboptimal outcomes and forge ahead — we’re accustomed to keep doing, …

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Is it time to reorganize your startup’s ToDo list?

As a single-founder, developer, designer and general biz-dev guy, my Basecamp To-Do list has been invaluable in tracking all the moving parts of an aspiring new startup. But today, I had to stop and take the time to completely reorganize how I group my tasks in Basecamp. Here’s the story of why. How I originally used Basecamp ToDos I keep …

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3 ways to show screenshots of your product

As I’ve been working through and applying my 9 Principles behind an Effective Landing Page, I’ve been experimenting with different ways to “show” what Braintrust and Tout does. So far, I’ve found about 3 ways to effectively show people what your app does, and 1 that I’m absolutely in love with. There is the “show the app in all its …

How to efficiently follow up with new customers using Tout

Since both Tout and Braintrust are in their infant stages, I like to get in touch and personally talk to most new customers who sign up for one of the services. I wanted to share with you my process for doing this, since it has been working out reasonably well for me. I set up a template in Tout called …