KickStarter tips and tricks from Lola Akinsiku

For this interview I had the pleasure to talk to Lola Akinsiku, an aspiring entrepreneur that absolutely loves to work on her own ideas. With a full time job on her hands, she has to dedicate extra time so that her ideas can come to life. However, she told me this energizes her rather then draining more energy.

In a way Lola represents so many people out there that have this idea in there mind, a full time jobs on their hands and are not sure what is the first step or where to find enough time to work on their own venture. I think there are quite a few things we can learn from her.

Looa Utility Fabric

Her product is dedicated to those that like to read in bed, like good design and hate clutter. So far she had 2 KickStarter campaigns and even though she didn’t get the funding yet, she did learn a lo from the experience. In this interview you will find out more about those key-learning points.

With that in mind here’s the interview with Lola Akinsiku from LOOA Utility Fabric.



Inspiring advice for aspiring entrepreneurs from Nick Waller of Global {M}

Global {M} LondonFor the first Startup Maze podcast I had the great pleasure to interview Nick Waller, the founder and Director of Global {M}, a fast growing London based startup that aims to improve tech recruitment around the world. Nick and his team bring a brand new vision to global recruitment. Instead of finding the right person for the job, they will help their clients find the right team for the job.

They will put together a team of pre-vetted individuals with proven track record that can work harmoniously together and bring the best results. This approach saves valuable time and significantly reduces administrative costs. And so far it seems to work. Among their clients you will find big international names like HP,, KAYAK or BARCLAYS.

Nick is full of energy, very passionate about his company and a true entrepreneur at heart. I found it very inspiring to chat with him and I hope you will also find value from listening to the interview.

Among the key takeaways from are our discussion are:

  • If you want to start something, put the first foot on the ground. Stop postponing things.
  • Stop overthinking things. Act, make mistakes and learn along the way. It’s doesn’t matter if you don’t know how to your destination. You will find all your answer on the way.
  • Keep your clients in mind. Understand who they are, what they need and where you can find them. Have an extreme focus on your clients.
  • You will need to take risks and move out of your comfort zone.
  • You should see problems as opportunities.

You can listen to the podcast below or you can listen it via you preferred podcast app.






For more info about Nick’s vision and Global {M}, you can check out:


Also you can also find Nick on LinkedIn and you follow Global {M} on Twitter or Facebook.

2nd StartupMaze Workshop – What was it about?

EddieThis is a guest post by Eddie Gannon. He is young entrepreneur with Irish roots, currently based in Amsterdam. Eddie is passionate about tech and innovation. He is currently working as an IT consultant, and in his spare time he likes to explore how technology is changing business.


Here’s a quick rundown of the things we spoke about at the last Startupmaze event on April 26th, including the topics discussed, the projects we’re working on, the challenges we set for each other and the techniques we shared.

The theme of the meetup was to test the problem you intend to solve for your users. This follows on from the previous event about focussing in on the problem aspect of your idea instead of jumping straight to solution design. The idea for the group is that we can follow each other’s progress through the full startup cycle from ideation to testing to release.


The projects we’re working on:

Andi – Expanding the product offering of the online security company he works for into offline security products.

Mario – Creating an app that allows voters in his home country of Spain to explore which political parties most closely match their views.

Prabath – A startup that caters to the full range of administration needs of SaaS based companies.

Peter – Creating event management software that allows non-professionals to organise all aspects of an event.

Monica – A portable coffee mug that allows the coffee lovers a hassle-free way to reduce the waste they produce.

Eddie – An app that allows consumers to have more trust in the sustainability of their food.

We first discussed the pitfalls of solution-oriented thinking. If you get carried away too early with what you think is a great idea you can lose touch with the need to validate and explore the importance of the actual problem your idea is supposed to solve. This is the opposite of how to run “lean”. Part of the reason for this lies in our cognition; we are biased in favour of choices we have made in the past. A striking example of this solution oriented thinking is that of William Temple Hornaday. So Andi challenged us again to phrase our ideas using the template “I’m solving <<this problem>> for <<this group of users>> “.

We then spoke about what the core problem addressed by each of our ideas was, and how we could test if we are looking at reals need.

Andi’s plans to advance this further by driving online traffic to a landing page and testing the response and subscription rate.

Mario is currently conducting customer interviews to dig into the preferences of his target market.

Prabath’s idea is more developed as it is a related product to other successful solutions offered by his startup and he knows this space well, so he is currently testing the needs of his consumer base in this regard.

Peter has had similar success; he is further along the release cycle and actually has a beta version up and running already for his event management software.

Monica is in discussion with designers for her idea of a coffee cup that can be reused and then collapsed into a handier size for people on the go.

I am testing the interest from my target market with customer interviews and email subscription uptake to see if people are interested in an app that would give them more transparency about the provenance and production of the meat they buy.

There were some useful tools mentioned that can help founders at this stage of product innovation. Landing page builders like and In terms of driving traffic to those pages, Facebook ads were mentioned as a hassle-free and effective channel. Resources to help guide your thinking around customer development include the entrepreneur’s guide to customer development, the Lean Stack, and of course Eric Ries’ Lean Startup. We’ve added some resources to our group dropbox and there’ll be more added in future.

The next event will be soon so join us on We’re thinking about how to improve the format and structure so if you have any ideas let us know!

How to convince premium subscribers not to cancel their subscription?

Here is a great example of how Spotify deals with it.

I love how they try to change your mind until the very last moment. They don’t make it difficult for you to cancel your account but they play with your emotions.

This is the message you see when your are about to take the last step to unsubscribe from Spotify. Check out the song 😀

Spotify - increase retention tips

How cool. I think this a is great example of how you can reduce churn/ increase retention among your users. Make it personal, play with their emotions, make it funny.

Seth Godin: People don’t want email, they want ME-mail

A simple phrase that holds so much gravity.

“People don’t want email; people want ME-mail.”- Seth Godin

Most people are interested in their own needs, wants and fears. They don’t really care about what you want. Seems obvious right? Yet, some entrepreneurs forget this essential idea while building their startups.

Why? Because, at the end of the day, we’re also people, and we all have our own needs. That makes it easy to fall in love with a solution WE came up with and forget about the customer’s needs.

Even though it seems obvious it can be quite counter intuitive and this is why I think it’s worth mention over and over again.

Now take a look at your products. Do you build ME-mails or emails for your customers?

Oh, and in case you haven’t watched it already I really recommend Seth’s TED Talk below:

Churn vs Retention: “meh” vs “I love it”

My theory is that one will lead to a product that your customers don’t hate while the other to a product your customers love. Now, before I go any further I will tell you again this is just my own idea and unfortunately I don’t have hard numbers to back it up, BUT I think I’m on to something. Here’s why…

Most people would say that churn and retention are two faces of the same coin, so why the different outcomes? Well, for me the answer lies in understanding a basic idea promoted by NLP (neuro-linguistic programming): the words we use in our communication have an inherent and unconscious impact on the outcome of our conversation.

For example if I tell you: “Don’t think of a black cat“.

What’s the first picture that comes to mind? A black cat. That is because the command “think of a black cat” is in that short sentence. Of course, before you have a chance to not think of a black cat, your unconscious brain has already put a picture of a black cat up and stuck a DON’T label on it saying “this is the thing to not think about.”

This same principle helps you achieve certain goals, from buying milk to building better products. NLP specialists say that you’ll have more chances to remember the milk if you phrase it: “remember to buy milk“ instead of “don’t forget to buy milk“.

To a certain extent, I do believe that, and I do believe that words and phrases have an inherent effect attached. We might not notice because it usually happens unconsciously. Thus, IMHO it’s better to focus on what you want to achieve instead of what you want to stop/move away.

Long detour, but this is why I think churn and retention will have different outcomes.

Churn vs Retention

Inherently, stopping churn implies that you have to stop people from quitting using your product/service. In other words stop people hating your product so much that they wan to quit. Once you’ve done that you are fine.

On the other hand, increasing retention implies that you want people to use your product for as long as possible, thus you want to maximize the value they get. In other words you make people love your products, which by the way is a much better goal to have ;).

So… any thoughts on my theory? Please let me know in the comment section.

Photo by Linda Tanner, used under CC

Startup World Map

Did you ever wondered what kind of startups are created in other parts of the world? How do you stack against the competition on your home turf? What other startup is operating in your area?

Now you can check all that on StartupBlink, a website that maps startups, accelerators and coworking spaces around the world. So far the have mapped 67,000 startup, ~100 accelerators and ~ 200 co-working spaces.

You can also ad your own startup on the map.

via thenextweb