Landon Howell | A blog about startup marketing

“Get rich slow”
Jun 20 2020  •  0 comments

I would *pay* to hear the conversations inside Wealthsimple when the tagline “Get rich slow” was proposed. It’s brilliant for a couple of reasons:

1. The tagline is funny. Fintech brands aren’t, and rarely have the opportunity to be, funny. It’s a surprise to the reader and a key differentiator for Wealthsimple.

2. The tagline also creates a point of positive friction. Users who want to invest a few hundred dollars in the hope of a quick return will definitely think twice about signing up for Wealthsimple. By “encouraging the wrong users *not* to sign up” — my words, not theirs — Wealthsimple increases retention (even in the face of lower acquisition) while lightening future customer service burden. The “wrong customers” are always service-needy and rarely pay for themselves in the time they require from customer service.

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The daily work of leading
Jun 9 2020  •  0 comments

Just started Frances Frei and Anne Morriss’s new book Unleashed and it’s off to a great start.

…we discovered that the daily work of leading is much quieter and less dramatic than the leadership stories that had captivated us as children.


The practice of leadership almost always asks you to risk something, but it only sometimes requires a midnight ride or a clutch, buzzer-beating jump shot. And there’s rarely a crowd that goes wild when you get it right.

Frances lead the culture turnaround at Uber in 2017 and she’s a professor at Harvard Business School. I highly recommend listening to this 2017 interview and this June 2020 interview with Kara Swisher.

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Super Nice!
Jun 9 2020  •  0 comments

Love this portion of the Blendle onboarding…

  • Gently informs the user that the service costs money, doing so by way of free $ credit
  • Instead of a “free trail” for a certain amount of time or a certain number of articles, the $ credit added to my a user account teaches the user what the true product experience feels like as the credit amount counts down as I read articles
  • The CTA is “Super Nice”… which is the first time I’ve ever seen such a phrase in a button, but is also a fun way to get the user to say ‘thank you’ without being overly self-congratulatory of Blendle

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    Jun 3 2020  •  0 comments

    TikTok reached 1 billion users faster than any other social network.

    I continue to be fascinated by TikTok due to its incredible consistency in delivering entertainment customized to each individual user in a manner that requires very little from each user.

    TikTok’s artificial intelligence enables it to rapidly learn what you like without explicit input.

    Zhang, ByteDance’s founder and CEO, has stated his primary strategy is to eliminate the need for search – how Google and Amazon serve their very profitable advertising products – and immediately serve users exactly what they want.

    Josh Constine has some thoughts and an interesting story here on ‘Why influencers are replacing fans with cults’.

    The fast feedback loops of micro-entertainment apps like TikTok let leaders quickly turn community input into fresh content that makes their cults feel seen. And by fostering a sense of fellowship through peer-to-peer communities, influencers can keep their cults satiated even when they’re not churning out videos.

    I also recommend this wonderful, long piece by Turner Novak: The Rise of TikTok and Understanding Its Parent Company, ByteDance

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    Amazon fulfillment
    Jun 2 2020  •  0 comments

    Amazon is now the 4th-largest delivery network in the United States.

  • Amazon now operates nearly 500 logistics facilities in the U.S. covering 173 million square feet and another 1,100 globally that cover 262 million square feet
  • Amazon delivered 2.3 billion of the 4.5 billion parcels (58%) it shipped to U.S. consumers in 2019
  • Amazon’s 2.3 billion parcels delivered to U.S. customers represents 22% of the 10.6 million U.S. online retailer parcel deliveries in 2019
  • Free next-day delivery cost Amazon $1.5 billion in 2019
  • Internationally, Amazon handled 48% of its own deliveries—1.2 billion of the 2.5 billion packages it shipped outside of the U.S. in 2019
  • Amazon has invested $60 billion since 2014 in building out fulfillment warehouses, leasing airplanes and buying delivery vans
  • 97% of Amazon’s fulfillment and data center space in 2019 was leased
  • 42% of Prime members said Amazon orders have arrived more quickly over the past year compared with only 19% of Amazon customers who are not members of Prime

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    Feature requests
    May 29 2020  •  0 comments

    Love this product advice from Ryan Singer at Basecamp

    Next time somebody comes to you with a feature request, try this: ‘Can you tell me a story about a time that you wanted to do that and what you had to do instead?’ The first part of the question gives you proper context. The second lets you evaluate the loss.

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    The original Zoom call
    May 24 2020  •  0 comments


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    Remote working is the new normal
    May 22 2020  •  0 comments

    I love (love) working in an office, but I’ve also had the luxury of working remotely for two years with the option to go into an office whenever, however I please.

    Offices are necessary for some, preferred for many, required for most.

    From Matt Mullenweg:

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    Sales during a pandemic
    May 21 2020  •  0 comments

    The salespeople who will win during lockdown/quarantine are those with the most empathy.

    Your prospective customers are stuck at home, working from home (most for the first time), many with children (who need quality time and attention), and all concerned with simply trying to stay caught-up in their responsibilities.

    They are attempting to balance personal and professional responsibilities and stress during a pandemic and record unemployment.

    “Circling back” to “see if you received my last email” isn’t empathy. Take an other-centered approach and throw out most of your old playbook and process.

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    SMBs and Covid-19 Impact
    May 19 2020  •  0 comments

    Facebook surveyed 86,000 people who own or work at SMBs on the effect of Covid-19 on their operations.

    31% of SMBs have stopped operating in the last three months

    52% of personal businesses have shut down

    36% of SMBs reported conducting all of their business online (which is something Shopify and others have seen)

    74% of surveyed employees said they did not have paid sick leave, but that number jumps to 93% for hotel, cafe, and restaurant industries

    45% of owners/managers at small businesses said they’ll rehire the same staff when they reopen (yikes)

    11% of operating businesses predict they’ll fail in the next three months given current conditions (this seems unreasonably optimistic)

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