Observe a startup.
March 29, 2000 4:56 PM   Subscribe

Observe a startup. Some startups use a combination of openness and secrecy and while they're getting their act together. REMO (a quirky independent retailer who used to run a popular shop font in my hometown of Sydney) is letting the whole world see everything while they make the transformation to a web-only up-market general store for the whole world.
posted by grestall (5 comments total)
At deepleap we've been looking at ways to make the process more open. We've been thinking about how to share the knowledge and experience we're gaining every day but still maintain enough secrecy that we don't lose our advantage.

So far, we've decided to post a large portion of the development documents after launch. Stuff like notepad sketches, photoshop mockups, discarded code fragments, spec sheets, and the like will all be posted to a "making of" site once we have time to cool down.


As a part of the emerging web application market we're tackling a lot of problems which haven't been dealt with before, at least publicly, so what better to do than share?

Individuals have been telling their stories on the internet for years, so as a company I think it makes great sense for us to do the same thing collectively. Lane, Ben, and I have all been keeping journals of the experience; this is part of that story telling process.

We've just started a company weblog to discuss internal issues. How much of this should be shared? Is there any value, save pure voyeurism, to making these conversations public? These are the sort of questions we're asking ourselves and, I believe, other companies will be asking more and more. Jump on the cluetrain.
posted by bryanboyer at 5:30 PM on March 29, 2000

This is great to hear, Brian. I think openness is good. Not for everything, of course (I don't think you want all of your competitors to see your financial figures) but for plenty of things it's great. If I as a customer like you, I'll like your stuff. The more I know you, the more likely I am to like you, and the more likely I am to understand your decisions, and I'm more likely to be confident and trusting in your ability to deliver. The Pyra people are a good example. The combination of their own weblogs and the web-based discussion boards supporting Blogger have developed a massive (unpaying, as yet) customer base which they can develop and nurture.

That said, there are companies for which the more I understand, the less I like, but that might be another issue.
posted by grestall at 5:52 PM on March 29, 2000

Darn it. I meant to say Bryan, not Brian. Humble apologies.
posted by grestall at 5:53 PM on March 29, 2000

I very much agree with Bryan. At lifeset.com,
we're very much banking on the tenet that if you are open to your audience, not
just customers, everyone will benefit from it. We've been exploring different
ways of revealing information about our company, while not losing our advantage.
I think how much should be shared should be taken on a case-by-case basis, also
depending on what position the company is in at the time.

For a few weeks now, we've been implementing an advanced version of Blogger
on our site as a collective journal, 'blog, and newsletter. This way we can begin
to reveal what we're doing.

For each post, we have comments very similar to MetaFilter where anyone can reply
to our posts, ask questions, etc. In the post-Cluetrain spirit of "Open Source
Marketing," we know we're in the relationship business, and if "markets are conversations"
- then we'll stick our neck out to have a direct dialogue with the market. So
far, the comments have been few, but we expected that for the beginning. However,
we've noticed a sharp increase in hits to our 'blog section of the site, as well
as a ton of people signing up for the newsletter.

We also have a plan that we're implementing that will reveal everything going
on right now and in the future, and it will launch when we launch.

I saw today that Dale Dougherty
and Tim O'Reilly of O'Reilly
& Associates have started their own weblogs with comments as well. I hope more
companies, not just startups, will begin to do this...although it is a nice advantage
as long as they don't.
posted by bluechief at 11:36 PM on March 29, 2000

what happened to that formatting?
posted by bluechief at 11:37 PM on March 29, 2000

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