10 Products Sure To Wet Your Whistle For Startup Success

What one product (of any kind) has inspired your business most and why?


1. Skinny Girl

Darrah Brustein“Bethenny Frankel’s huge success with the Skinny Girl brand of products (though they have no similarities to any of my companies) has been inspirational to me as a business owner. Watching her grow from one employee and struggling to make it work to seeing where her brand is today is a testament to the power of creative press (reality TV for her) coupled with hard work.”

Darrah Brustein, Finance Whiz Kids | Equitable Payments



2. Buddy Media

Sarah Ware“We’re seeing a lot of similarities in how brands poured money into Facebook via Buddy Media and how they’re starting to spend in content marketing today. Content marketing couldn’t be more ripe for disruption. Companies are laying out the foundation for what will be a renaissance of new PR and advertising products in the form of rich content experiences.”

Sarah Ware, Markerly



3. Yelp

Mitch Gordon“It does a better job serving its users than anyone else. At Yelp, it’s all about what its millions of users want. The company helps reward quality companies and holds underperforming companies accountable. That was very inspiring to go overseas; we’re the “Yelp of programs abroad.” We reference Yelp regularly and aspire to have the same level of dedication to our users.”

Mitch Gordon, Go Overseas



4. MailChimp

Jim Belosic.jpg“On a visit to MailChimp’s offices a while back, Ben Chestnut, the company’s founder, told me that the most important thing to do was “focus on your product.” Basically, his advice was to forget about PPC and all the other numbers I was worried about early on and put my resources into improving the platform. Three years later, my M.O. is still “make ShortStack better for our users.””

Jim Belosic, Pancakes Laboratories/ShortStack



5. Followerwonk

Brett Farmiloe“Followerwonk helps you explore and grow your social graph. The product allows you to mix and match sets of data for targeted and smart social media marketing. As a digital marketing agency, Followerwonk has inspired us to take data sets, combine them and identify new, targeted marketing opportunities on all the major online ad platforms. “

Brett Farmiloe, Digital Marketing Agency



6. Basecamp

Chad Halvorson“Jason Fried and David Heinemeier Hansson have taught me more about building products and running a business than anyone else. Gary Vaynerchuk comes in a close second, but he brings a different kind of inspiration. Although our products are arguably more complex than Basecamp’s, our commitment to simplifying usage is a direct result of what 37signals has touted since 2004: ‘useful is forever.'”

Chad Halvorson, When I Work



7. Simply Measured

Andy Karuza“The guys at Simply Measured have done a great job delivering clean and simple social media analytics. Various aspects in their strategy have also helped propel their growth, including offering free analytics reports in exchange for a tweet about them. With that particular strategy, they are getting more awareness and are effectively offering a demo for potential customers. “

Andy Karuza, brandbuddee



8. Apple’s iTunes

Derek-Capo140“Having a platform that creates sales opportunities inspired me to try to develop an ecosystem with our company’s services that would have the customer continuously purchasing over a long period of time instead of just once. People love being a part of a community, and an ecosystem satisfies that desire. The team at Apple knew that when iTunes was first launched. “

Derek Capo, Next Step China



9. LinkedIn

Scott Austin“They built their business slowly, and they respected their customers. They understood how sensitive their information was and didn’t abuse the trust that users put into the data. Rather, they put it into the system. As a result, LinkedIn has been able to amass one of the richest and most useful stores of data on the Web, and they’ve used it to create an incredible utility for their users.”

Scott Austin, Porch



10. Dropbox

“Dropbox’s Web user experience is the epitome of simple elegance. I’m inspired by its no-clutter, straightforward approach. I think it’s something that we can all learn from.”

Danny Boice, Speek


Photo Credits

The YECstuartpilbrow