Iris Shoor is a serial entrepreneur with rich experience in the startup scene. In our podcast, she talks about making analytics simple, explains how you can stand out with your product by creating a memorable design, and questions the effectiveness of company blogs in 2019.
Iris Shoor is a serial startup entrepreneur and the founder and CEO of Oribi, an AI-based web analytics tool that is dedicated to making analytics easy for everyone, without the help from analysts and developers.
Iris is passionate about simple products, creative marketing, great UX, building a unique culture and most of all — people.
In her free time, Iris shares some fresh perspectives on company culture and startups on her personal blog.
How to Deal With Boring Product ? Go Crazy With the Design
Before Oribi, Iris had a startup called Takipi. At the beginning, she struggled to create a memorable brand for a company selling a product for developers, but she managed to come up with an amazing solution using monster characters representing bugs. From then on, Takipi was recognized as ‘the company with the monsters’. Iris told us how she tackled this challenge:
“Well, when I just started working on the brand and the website and the product, I just realized that we’re like yet another developers tool. And of course that we had like different technology and the product was much better, but from a marketing perspective it was very boring and very gray, and they decided that I really need to do something that will stand out, and something that people will remember. And since something that is very important about marketing is that if people need to see your brand a few times before they relate to it or before they sign up, then you have to make them remember it. And if you’re going to have a very accurate logo with the right font and the right color it’s not enough, people are not going to remember it.
So I decided to go all in and then go a bit crazy, have funny illustrations and the developers jokes, and it even got to places like this serious of greeting cards to developers. Like ‘we hope that this Christmas the servers will not go down’ and the actual cards with that illustration that they could share with other developers… So it was mainly about standing out and doing something different.”
You Dont Need to Reinvent the Wheel
When asked how she came up with the idea to her recent startup, Oribi, Iris says:
“So I have to say that, ideas that I find almost most influencing and most intriguing to build are not like reinventing the wheel and doing something completely new out of scratch, but it’s taking something that people hate today, and it’s very complex and no one wants to deal with it, and making it something that people really love. And then for me also, when I look at the large companies, I see that most of them, even companies like Google for example, they didn’t invent something completely new. It was all about taking something that people need that doesn’t work well today and simplifying it. And basically you need to have all the technology behind. But it’s mainly about the product experience. So it was very clear to me that what I want to do is bring your company, and then I decided to go after analytics and data because I think that today that’s something that people really hate.
So there are lots of amazing companies, but they’re all targeting the enterprise companies as they’re all based on the company having like a BI team, a lot of resources and some developers that will do all these integrations and a lot of budgets. And I feel like today it’s more in medium businesses, but you can also see it within enterprise companies that, many of them are underserved or proud of their organizations. They don’t have any way to ask the most trivial questions like what’s the people to sign up? And then why do I have so much traffic but so little conversions? And then how do I convert more users?
So this are like very, very basic questions that everybody asks, but to build this analytics tool to then, to get an answer it’s something very, very complex. And I also feel that the entire approach of delivering more and more daytime report and more dashboards, it’s something that people don’t know what to do with. So all the tools today are focused about more and more data, more reports and the fancy dashboards. And I feel that people don’t want to, they’re not interested in the data, they just want to have the bottom line, and to know what to do and what’s working and what doesn’t work. And the shorter and simpler it’s going to get, the better.”
Scaling Down in Order to Scale Up
Iris tells us her work at Oribi is very different from her previous startup experiences, thanks to the experience and connections she gained:
“With my other two companies, because back then I had less experience and less connections, I had to struggle much more for getting the first funding and build the initial team. And with Oribi I raised money from day one, from really great funds like Sequoia and the TLV partners, unlike the other companies where I’ve had like a small team of co-founders and other tools for employees and it blew up.
With Oribi it was more about like ‘okay so I have lots of money and now it’s time to build the team from scratch’. And I think that was one of my biggest mistakes. I also felt pressured that because I have enough money and we need to move fast, then I need to build a big team from scratch immediately. And we grew up from just me and a developer to 15 people in about two or three months. I was always very involved with the product and I was managing the product and the marketing, but they also had people that worked with me. And something about this constellation didn’t go wrong, I feel that it was mostly because it wasn’t organic, we didn’t have the very co-founders and first employees who knew the product inside out.
And at some point I decided to go back to a smaller team and then to stop managing, and to come back to doing awesome marketing and product myself. So right now we’re going back to hiring more people after we saw really great results after we came back to sense a small team stage, and now we do need to scale up and we do need to grow up but we’re doing it much more carefully. And that for the last year I’ve been knowing all the product myself and there is someone great who is working with me in marketing, but I’m the one leading the strategy in doing many of the materials myself.
Now I feel that even if the DNA that I brought was strong, it was probably like one person within a team of 15, is not enough. So I can’t say exactly what was the problem, but something didn’t work fast enough and it really felt that after we came back to a small team of like eight people, then it since started to fly the pace but also the business results.”
Reconsider Your Blog Activity
Iris believes that company blogs are almost irrelevant in today’s saturated and competitive environment:
“In my previous company, content was like everything as the company blog was the thing that drove us mostly and it was the heart of the company. But today I feel that since like almost all companies write a blog, they’re running content, it’s saturate ocean today and it’s really, really hard to compete. So let’s say that I’m going to write, today is best post ever about how to optimize your website, and that’s a topic that people are interested in and they want to read about. But still, there are going to be like probably another 1,000 amazing posts that are already there and are already ranked high on Google, and it’s super hard to compete.
So I see maybe if you’re doing something that is some kind of a niche product or within a market that there is not much content around, then you should work on a company blog but they feel today for most industries it’s almost impossible to compete. I do feel that there is room for content but it should be more like Ebooks or different guides or video guides or even small applications and other stuff, but to write like yet another blog post of like 1,000 words about this topic, it’s super hard to compete with them, with all the content that your gather.”
Understand What Your Primary Conversion Is
Before wrapping things up, we asked Iris to share with us the key guidelines she would use in terms of channels:
“So I would say that the first thing, it probably sounds very basic, but it’s something that we receive out of our customers that they don’t understand well enough, is that you have to understand what is your primary conversion on your website. So you don’t want people just to visit your website, you want them to do something, and you need to pick this one thing. I also see lots of website, whether they have sign up or register to our newsletter and download the Ebook and read our new guide, and then people don’t do anything. This is something that I really find amazing is that people do have lots of traffic, even if you take a small website for example with 2000 visitors a month, that’s still a lot. I always tell people: ‘try to imagine 2000 people standing in front of you, like a huge crowd, and how come you were able to convert like only 10 or 20 out of them?’
So stop thinking of percentages or thinking ‘so we have about 2% conversion rate and it’s okay’, and think about all the people that are interested in your product and they do enter your website with some intent. I really feel like you should be able to convert like 20 or 30% out of them. And at the same write that what they do. And that’s also the same about channels. So it’s not about getting traffic and it’s about getting them to do something like reading your blog, it’s about getting business results. And I feel that today there’s a bigger disconnection between how people bring traffic and how they measure it. So like let’s say there’s lots of website work on SEO, and they have lots of traffic and they’re very happy about it but nobody converts because it brings wrong people for the wrong keywords.
I think that the main thing for me was marketing, like all we measure is signups and installations, and we measure all of the channels based on it. So let’s say, for example, that Instagram works really well for us in terms of traffic and engagement, but hardly anyone converts from there. And then we decided to understand better how to change the messaging and change the flow and change the funnel. So it’s really understanding the entire funnel and optimizing all the different efforts from like where to advertise, how much to work on SEO, where to bring traffic from, how to write content based on it.”