Welcome to the Tech for Non-Techies podcast

How I built Make Love Not Porn - with Cindy Gallop

Would you leave a high flying career in advertising to set up an adult content site? Most people wouldn't, but Cindy Gallop is not most people.

After leading one of the world's top advertising agencies, BBH in the United States. Cindy decided to try her hand at tech entrepreneurship. Her venture, Make Love Not Porn, is in the new category of "social sex" and aims to revolutionise how people talk, share and watch sex. 

As a non-technical founder of an adult content business, Cindy had to learn how to work with developers, get users despite being banned by advertisers and create a troll free online environment.

Learning notes from this episode:

  • "You don't have to be a tech person to build something absolutely phenomenal in tech," says Cindy. Instead, you need a strong vision, the right team and the determination to keep going. 
  • "You do not need a technical co-founder from the beginning." In fact, delegating your vision to the tech person simply because they...
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Learning effects: why getting more users isn't the only key to success

You've probably heard about network effects, but they aren't the only thing you need. Learning effects build the ultimate moat against your competition.

Learning notes from this episode:

  • You get better at speaking a language the more you practice and correct your mistakes. It is the same with algorithms: they get better with time and training.
  • The more time and data you have to train an algorithm the more accurate the algorithm’s output will be, and also, the more complex the problems it can solve.
  • “Learning effects can either capture or add value to existing network effects or generate value in their own right.” – Competing in the Age of AI, by Marco Iansiti and Karim Lakhani
  • Companies that have been training machine learning algorithms for longer are at a competitive advantage. Strong learning effects make it impossible for competitors to catch up.

Resources mentioned in this episode:

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How to get people to be nice to each other on your platform

On Airbnb, people stay at strangers' homes. On Twitter, people get trolled. Both are global tech platforms, but why do people treat strangers well on one, and badly on the other?

The answer lies in platform governance: the rules you make to encourage good interactions and punish the bad stuff. Learn how to set up platforms where people are nice to strangers with this week's podcast episode.

Learning notes from this episode.

  • Platform governance touches product development, engineering and marketing. It isn't just a corporate mission statement nobody reads.
  • The logic we apply to creating good offline environments also apply to platforms, but just on a bigger scale. Ask yourself: how do I want people to feel when they get here? What do I want them to do?
  • The Art of Gathering: How We Meet and Why It Matters by Priya Parker is an excellent book on how to create offline environments. You can apply these lessons to the online world you are creating. 
  • Community leaders and opinion...
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How to launch a platform when you've got no users

platforms Mar 23, 2022

How do you launch a dating app, if you have no men and no women on it? Or, how do you launch a market place with niether buyers nor sellers?

This is the chicken and egg problem that all platforms have to solve to succeed.

In this week's episode, you'll learn 6 methods for how to launch a platform when you have no users. Some are sneaky, some are fun and all are very clever.

Sophia's favourite book on how to build & grow platforms is Platform Revolution: How Networked Markets Are Transforming the Economy - And How to Make Them Work for You.

1. Pipeline to Platform conversion, e.g. Amazon to Amazon marketplace

2. Using a company that has the user base you want, e.g. Airbnb & Craigslist 

3. Seeding content, e.g. dating apps & Quora

4. Bringing influencers to your platform for an incentive, e.g. Joe Rogan

5. Producer Evangelism: e.g. Kickstarter, Indigogo, Partyslate

Listen to Sophia's interview with Partyslate CEO & Co-Founder Julie...

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What makes platform businesses SO successful

Facebook disrupted the media market forever. The Apple App Store created the app economy, valued at $6.3 trillion today. What makes platforms like these SO successful?

In this episode, you will learn the core concepts behind platform businesses, so you can identify platforms in the making or build them yourself.

This is the beginning of a mini-series on platform fundamentals at Tech for Non-Techies.

Learning notes from this episode:

  • Platform businesses have been around for millennia. A market square is a platform business. Technology just allowed these businesses to reach more scale and make more money than ever before.
  • Most traditional businesses are pipeline businesses. A pipeline business employs a step-by-step arrangement for creating and transferring value with producers at one end and consumers on the other. For example, Ford makes cars and sells them to consumers.
  • Pipeline businesses grow and prosper if they have Supply Economies of Scale. If Ford makes lots of...
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How I built a party platform

Put on your party pants! In this episode, you'll hear from Julie Novack, the CEO & non-technical co-founder of PartySlate. PartySlate is a platform that connects event professionals to people planning events.

During the pandemic, PartySlate had to quickly reinvent its offering, but managed to end 2020 with no revenue loss. This is a great story in about resilience, leadership and giving users what they want.

Learning notes from this episode:

  • Julie spent a year researching Houzz, a platform for interior designers, to get inspiration for PartySlate. If a company is doing something similar to you, but for different users, study them.
  • PartySlate's content drives users to discover the platform and get inspired. This means that PartySlate will be front of mind when the user is ready to book an event. This is a great example of content marketing.
  • PartySlate makes money by charging event professionals for premium listings. For this, they need to understand those...
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How I Built A Global Social Network with Robyn Exton

Robyn is the CEO & Founder of HER, the world’s largest brand for LGBTQ women & queer people. Their app is home to 5 million people across the world, with dating and community connections, and their events run in 15 cities, hosting 50,000 people per year.

She is also an alumna of Y Combinator, the prestigious Silicon Valley accelerator, and has raised $2.5 million from investors.

Despite Robyn's Silicon Valley successes, she is not a technical founder. Her background is in branding.

Listen to hear how Robyn:

  • built a global technology company without a tech background
  • made her first technical hires & hear her advice for non
  • technical founders and non-techies working in tech 

 

 

Listen here on Apple Podcasts

Listen here on Spotify.

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Do you have a brilliant app idea and no tech knowledge to build it? Get your FREE guide here.

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There are 2 ways to apply this work to your unique challenges:

For companies:

  • If your...
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