Abhishek Anand

@abyshake

The story of Walt — What all happened on Day 1

What did we do and how, and where am I stumped (maybe you could help?)

Part of the series — Building a new business (henceforth, we will refer to it as Walt — Day x)

So. Yesterday, we decided to launch a new business. Read the story here — Building a new business — Day 0. It was exciting. Starting something new always is.

But then the reality hits. There are a ton of things to do. Here is all that we did, and things that we didn’t do.

NAMING THE BUSINESS

There are a few things that are of importance here:

#1. I don’t believe in the headache and pain of finding the perfect name for your business

Too often, I have drawn the correlations of relations between cofounders = relations between romantic partners/spouses, and startup = your baby. But no matter how many times I do that, there is one important difference. You can make mistakes more freely when it comes to running your business — specially in the early stages.

Doesn’t mean you should look forward to making those mistakes; it just means it is relatively easier to fix.

Take the example of the names. If you are living in India, Hardik is a good name for your baby boy. If he lives among a relatively global set of peers though, you would be scarring him for life. Imagine being associated with viagra all your live. Even if you change his name, he would always continue to be hard-di*k. There is no undoing that.

In 7th grade, my friends started calling me Andu (pronounced ‘undo’). Its been close to 2 decades, and that name is still with me. Thankfully, the worst that name can be translated to is Ctrl+Z.

Anyway. Naming a business is simpler. No matter what, the chances of your business not taking off or failing because you didn’t choose the perfect name is next to nothing. So not much time was wasted on conceiving the perfect name for the business. We are just starting up.

#2. Even if you end up choosing a bad name, you can always change it later. No one cares

My first startup was named WebMurga. The name was intended. Murga is the Hindi word for rooster. The initial product was about sending timed alerts to users notifying them that their fav. TV program was about to start getting aired. Rooster = Oldest alarm system known to mankind. So it made sense. But it was more than that. I was a 20yr old kid who wanted a cool name + a name that was easy to recall. That’s how the name came into being.

The startup was not much of a success. It did give a decent result, but definitely not what I was hoping it would become. As a part of the autopsy, some friends suggested that had I kept the name better and more professional*, things may have turned out differently. Of all the advices I had received on that business, this was the only one I dismissed in entirety.

Sure, name matters; I won’t deny its importance. But you won’t win or lose because of an epic or a disastrous name. Your name doesn’t define you, you — by your actions and results — come around to defining your name.

*WebMurga was a juvenile name; I’ll give them that

You can always change the name, logo and entire brand identity of your business. Nobody remembers it some time down the line. It is exceedingly easier for a startup that is just getting off the ground. Even if you have been catering to a few thousand users and you change the name at that stage, the consumers who are satisfied with your services won’t leave you because of that change. And the next 100,000 who come onboard may never know that you used to have a different name.

  • Zomato used to be called Foodiebay — hardly anyone knows/remembers that (Deepinder Goyal may be able to testify to that)
  • InMobi used to be mkhoj
  • When Uber changed its logo, it faced a lot of backlash. Twitter was full of fun memes. It had no effect on the business. And most of the consumers who would start using Uber in Myanmar (where they went operational recently), they would never know what Uber used to look like

#3. I do believe in keeping things simple

It matters very less to me whether my name can represent what the business does. But whether or not it would be easy enough for the consumers to remember it, that does matter to me. A lot.

So we gave it a simple name — WALT.

SETTING UP THE SOCIAL MEDIA PAGES

As I had talked about in the last post, facebook is going to be the primary focus for us. We did set up the twitter account as well, though I am not really sure at this stage whether we would be using it or not. Similarly, we haven’t taken a final call on Instagram. We may do a quick A/B test between Instagram and Twitter to see which works better — if we want to have a presence in addition to Facebook — but we will definitely not stretch ourselves thin by trying to cover more than 2.

Facebook requires us to have at least 5 characters in the name of the page, hence HiWalt came into existence.

Facebook page — https://facebook.com/HiWalt

Twitter — https://twitter.com/_HiWalt

In addition to these, we have also created a Medium publication which will serve as a blog + detailed informational guide on everything that we would be doing, various services etc.

Medium Publication — https://medium.com/the-pragmatic-investors

Articles will start going live on the publication starting tomorrow — June 3, 2017.

WEBSITE

At this stage, we do not have a website, and we aren’t sure when we would be coming up with the website. Right now, it is nowhere on the priority list.

Sure, it would make sense to have a landing page to collect emails etc for the product launch and lead generation, but we are thinking of doing those differently.

THE MARKETING MATERIAL

Okay. So we are targeting the youth primarily. We are trying to propagate the notion of a better way of investing, and at the same time, promote focused investments — goal oriented.

Also, our main focus for the next 2–3 weeks is going to be pure content marketing.

The problem is:

Talking about financial investments is boring, and it is complicated. Does not have enough juice in it to create an aura around it.

The best we could do was talk about our services, how we help anyone maximise wealth. But as I said, Boooorrriiiinnnngggg!!!

So we started thinking slightly differently. An experiment within the experiment, so to speak.

We were talking about propagating goal-oriented investments; so what could be those goals? What do people love? The next iphone? A cool gaming rig? A dungeon?

How about travel??

After Myntra, I took a long vacation — almost 16 months. Traveled around. Quite extensively. Later, whenever that vacation came up in any discussion, I could see how much people wished they could do the same. For whatever reason they weren’t/aren’t doing so themselves, the fact remains that people love to travel. And yet, not many Indians do. It is not ingrained in our culture the same way it is in many of my friends’ from around the world. I noticed that it was an experiential thing for them. Here, we consider it a vacation.

Keeping semantics aside, the fact remains that travel is fascinating, people are mesmerised by it. And it can act as a perfect micro goal — towards which people can invest. I had just found the “context” or correlation leveraging which I could use travel in my marketing material.

Once that was settled, we created two quick videos — just to test out the concept.

The videos aren’t of the best quality —either in terms of the content, or the idea we are trying to propagate, or even how it all adds up back to Walt. We were just testing things out, and there are a lot of details to be ironed out. But we decided to push them out anyway. Accountability.

So now the intent is to create //Travel Diaries with Walt a property in itself. Hopefully the coming videos will show a drastic improvement in quality.

The second property being created right now is centered around stuff you want to buy and how Walt fits in there. Still in the works, will share later.

WHERE AM I STUMPED?

Quite a few places actually.

  • The best short description for the product. What is Walt? — This one is literally killing me.
Screengrab from the Google doc.
  • How to avoid using financial lingo altogether. For example, I really don’t want to use terms as ‘financial instruments
  • What should the ideal conversational flow with a interested user be like? — Actually this one I am still working on, and am hopeful of coming up with a reasonable solution in the next few days.

That’s it for today. See you tomorrow!

Interested in watching this story unfold? I’ll be sending weekly updates on the journey. Subscribe to get them every Sunday — right in your inbox (Oh, and you can respond to any of those mails to talk directly to me).

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