BEAM 3 Jun, 2019
Launching products can be tough.
It can be a daunting feeling when the product you spent months working on doesn't gain the initial traction you expect upon launch.
Today's interview spotlight is on Zoe Chew from Hoveo Prototype Accelerator on the topic of marketing and launching products.
One of Zoe's apps was also featured as the #1 product of the day on Product Hunt, a popular product discovery platform.
Below is the interview:
1) Tell us what do you do and how did you get started on this whole thing?
I started a prototype accelerator that helps aspiring founders to build + launch startup prototypes in 24 hours. I believe in validating startup ideas fast without risking any capital.
On the side, I'm a product builder who creates products using tech and design. My goal is to launch products until startup product-market-fit is found.
I started the prototype accelerator because I used to struggle with building working prototypes. I have always wanted to get into tech startups but I wasn't going anywhere (at all) just by having an idea in mind.
Out of personal frustration, I figured I needed to find a way. I started to get involved in the Product Hunt community. They inspired with the speed of launching startup MVP, built in matter of days not months. I tried it myself and built few prototype in less than 24 hours.
2) What're some of the struggles you currently face in your journey?
As someone who came from marketing background, a decision to transition my career into the tech industry was challenging at first. I'm new to the tech world (3 months) and have a lot of unknowns to gauge.
Currently, my biggest challenge is to pick a specific area to work on for both my prototype/consulting business and finding valuable problems to solve for my product/market fit mission.
I'll have to keep my day-to-day lean and easy to execute. That requires a bit of strategy in terms of matching the input vs. expected output. This is to make sure I can stay focused.
3) What have been some of the most positive moments you recall in this journey?
I recently launched an app "I Lazy To Read" (a tool to auto-summarize any online article) and it got featured by popular media outlets such as Lifehacker.com and Webrazzi.com . My favorite moment was also getting the “#1 Product of The Day” by Product Hunt.
That was my first taste of “building something people would want to use”. Not only I solved a real problem facing many busy online readers, I was able to prototype a product that catered to that problem.
Other than that, the Internet is a beautiful place. It's full of great people who are willing to help you and support you if you do good work and have a positive personality. Just keep in mind to stay humble, do your work and back up your words with action.
4) You were recently featured on PH. Can other entrepreneurs achieve the same thing? How can they do it?
In terms of getting featured on Product Hunt, I would say it relies on 2 variables: your product and the market.
We can't force the market to adopt our product if they don't find it useful. The same thing happens on Product Hunt. If users don't want to use your product, they won't upvote it or spread the words for your brand. It's also important to make sure you don’t game the PH ranking or buy upvotes.
Back to your question: Yes, as long as you build useful product and early adopters love it, then you'll have better chance of getting featured.
The PH feature is great for product awareness, validation and traction. In the long-term, the post-launch matters more than your initial launch on Product Hunt. So don’t feel disappointed if you don’t get featured. Focus on the ongoing marketing & sales effort.
5) What're some tips you have for building cross-border businesses?
Let's say you have a product/service in Malaysia and you want to grow your brand awareness beyond local.
What works for me recently is that: to build a cross-border business, you need to build a cross-border reputation. That helps with your "global reach logistic". For me, it starts with the most fundamental thing, which is your personal brand and human relationships.
What are some of your "spoken values" that people can easily recognize before they reach out to you to connect or work together on projects?
I solved this barrier by building a personal site. For example, I created a profile whizzoe.carrd.co where I pitch my personal values, share past results that I've done, how I think, what mission I'm going to achieve, what I'm obsessed with, and why it matters.
The second thing I do is to invest in human relationships. I love to discover interesting people and the products they work on. I reach out to offer help during my spare time and build the 1-on-1 connection where my help can be applied.
6) What's next for you? Do you have anything you'd like to offer to entrepreneurs?
Sure. My upcoming plan is to explore working with tech accelerator, incubator, VC firm and entrepreneurs in terms of consulting services.
I like think of it within the area of rapid prototyping, product design (testing, feedback, review), community development and personal brand building.
These are the areas within my plan to work on for the next few months. I may have something more specific in the future. For now, I'm testing and experimenting.
On the side, I will continue to work on building products until I discover a solid product-market-fit. Back to my mantra: Keep building, keep launching!
Connect with Zoe: