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LivingSocial CTO Aaron Batalion tells entrepreneurs to "just shit it out"
If you’re an entrepreneur then you’re probably familiar with a few terms and phrases in the startup lingo dictionary, such as “minimum viable product” and “fail fast.” They both translate to “peddle your shit fast so you can figure out what works.” But have you heard of LivingSocial co-founder and CTO Aaron Batalion’s product strategy JSIO?
“JSIO stands for Just Shit It Out,” said Batalion.
Intrigued? I’ll bet you are.
“It means fundamentally, you need to focus on what matters,” Batalion explained. “You need to take the core idea of what you’re building, get it on the Internet fast, iterate quickly, and learn what you think your hypothesis is as quickly as possible. I struggle when I see companies spend a year working on something, launch it, and for some reason, it doesn’t work.”
That segued into the story of how LivingSocial expanded. While hoards of daily deal startups flooded the market in 2010 like a swarm of locusts, they typically followed a similar pattern: they put down roots in one city, built up a following there, and then expanded to a handful of other cities. But LivingSocial seemed to spread across a broad array of U.S. cities very quickly.
“We saw there were a lot of businesses trying to grow in our space and we could’ve just gone to LA, creating a sales team in LA, doing these deals in LA, generating revenue, waiting three months, and then doing the same thing in New York, we decided it was important to just generate an audience,” said Batalion. “So we built an app on Facebook, took that technology and started building these audiences in dozens of cities.”
He added: “Lots of companies can build a commerce page with a buy button. That’s not the hard part. The hard part is getting the users. You have to sell them a story, sell them a pitch.”
A member of the audience later asked about the meaningless phrase “fail fast” and when it’s not okay to fail.
“I don’t think it’s a meaningless phrase,” said Batalion. “We did one thing, quit that, did something else, quit that, built social commerce and quit that. Welcome to founderhood of asking yourself ‘when should I stop doing something?’ That’s the challenge. We’ve definitely started doing things and then stopped, but that’s okay. You have to get rid of the noise to focus. The focus matters more.”
See the full interview here.
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Joined Vator onAaron is a father, husband, hacker and entrepreneur. As co-founder/CTO of LivingSocial, he is responsible for building products that meet the changing demands of it’s members and merchants.