Know thy story. Believe thy story

Writing about a first customer win is easy when the term “customer” is easily defined.  But as Liron Shapira, CTO of Quixey, pointed out, can we really define who Google’s first customer was?  I realized Quixey’s story is not typical and let Liron answer the question in the best way he saw fit. We focused on the big picture, the vision, and the attitude that sucked people onto the Quixey bandwagon.

Quixey is the search engine for apps.  The app market is saturated with apps that fit every need but at the moment when you have a specific need to fill, it’s hard to know where to start looking.  Quixey’s search engine helps a user search by the functionality of the application.

The First Player Problem

Liron noted that Quixey’s early challenges involved being a first entrant in a market that didn’t exist.  To their advantage, the barriers to entry were fewer because they did not have to fend off competitors, but it brought up a harder problem to solve –  convincing people there was indeed a need that Quixey could fill.  Liron attributed a lot of their success with the end customer, be it the distribution channels, partners, investors or developers, to a vision that was much more far-reaching and ambitious than solving an immediate problem.  His reason was simple and evoked the most innate human need – everyone wants to be a part of something bigger than . That’s how Quixey positioned itself as a great company everyone wanted to be a part of.

Be remarkable everywhere you go

Liron talked me through how this vision was embedded in everything they did to gain that early success. He also pointed out that even their marketing efforts reached towards a larger vision regardless of their size.  Last year, when Quixey had a chance to attend Techcrunch’s Disrupt, Quixey didn’t go there as just one of the presenters; they were the biggest booth there with the most people milling around.  “The way we [Quixey] think about our marketing is being remarkable everywhere we go.”

Quixey’s story is to make an impact that is far-reaching, even by Start-Up standards. The vision created a passion within the company, rendering the team numb to hard work and sensitive to the brand.  The passion and determination, brought on by a powerful vision, is the force that helped Quixey persevere early on. So take a step back today and remind yourself of the story, the vision that started it all. The passion it brews is contagious.

About Liron

LironShapira is the co-founder and CTO of Quixey, The Search Engine for Apps. Before founding Quixey in 2009, Liron helped create the successful SuperPoke! Pets product as an engineer at Slide. He holds a BA in Computer Science with high honors from UC Berkeley.

To everyone taking the unpaved road…


Over these years, I have been involved in multiple startups and being a part of the Band of Angels and Founders Institute, I also have been fortunate to have watched hundreds of other startups from the sidelines.

My theory is that in most cases ONE reason is sufficient to bring down a startup. On the other hand, MANY things have to come together in a nearly perfect fashion for a startup to survive and then thrive. It will be almost impossible to say what all those things are (like a prescription.) To start with, there are external conditions and internal conditions and the interplay between decreasing the odds for success every step of the way. A series of magical moments have to happen to bring this all to life. One such magical moment is landing your first customer (or customers if you are consumer business)

Landing first customer(s) provides a lot of things. To start with:

  • It brings a new found confidence to the startup team
  • It enhances self-esteem for the entire team
  • It brings the validation that is much needed
  • It provides a new ray of hope that they CAN make it
  • It brings a new level of clarity on the problem and solution for which the customer is willing to pay
  • It provides the courage to keep going
  • It brings in a new level of support from family and close friends
  • It brings real attention from potential investors, partners and advisors
  • It brings a new level of respect for the team and the product or service
  • It eliminates expressed and unexpressed skepticism
  • It provides social proof for the offering

So, this blog will therefore focus on two main things

  • How to win your first customer(s)
  • How to keep your first customer(s)

I am no expert on everything but we will have a number of experts who have been there done that to come and tell us their real stories of how they won their first customers. Their journeys might provide you the much needed inspiration and insight to go and find your own first customers.  And, for those of you who already have their first customers in your bag, I am sure the insights are useful anyway  🙂

Once again, welcome. I am glad you are here!

Photo Courtesy: Daralee’s Web World Photos on Flickr