E602: Roger Dickey scores $10m Series A from Andreessen Horowitz for his on-demand software dev platform, Gigster; bonus LAUNCH Scale growth lessons from Sue Khim, Brilliant.org





about this episode

Today’s guest is Roger Dickey, Founder of Gigster, an on-demand software development platform that just raised $10m in Series A funding led by Andreessen Horowitz. Roger showcases to Jason how Gigster works, using a sample “Uber for Pizza” project to illustrate how quickly a quote is offered and why it’s so important to qualify the customer. We learn about “the central brain of Gigster” (the AI that puts together the quote so quickly), what it will take to make Gigster a billion-dollar business, the fastest path from an idea to a finished product, why startups should outsource their development and why technical teams can get too attached to their prototypes. Roger also reflects on his time at Zynga (where he founded Mafia Wars and served as a GM), why the company isn’t doing as well as it used to (hint: a tough mobile shift…), and the differences between dominating social gaming on Facebook and dominating in on mobile. ALSO! A bonus segment from LAUNCH Scale, featuring Sue Khim, Founder of Brilliant.org, sharing her growth tactics: specifically, how focusing on triggers, not users, got Brilliant into the “2 comma club.”

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Roger Dickey

0:00 – 3:47: “Roger Dickey is a fantastic guest!”

3:48 – 4:33: “We raised $10m from… Andreesen, Y-Combinator… for our Series A”

4:34 – 9:25: “An entrepreneurial thing today is to look at what people spend a lot of money on, and then say, ‘how do I Uber it’?”

9:26 – 11:46: “When you take the best knowledge workers in the world… they’re always doing side projects.”

11:47 – 13:49: “We don’t go for long proposals. We like to detail the broad strokes.”

13:50 – 15:00: “Not only are we planting a flag, but we’re ready to do business with you as a customer.”

17:10 – 19:46: “When those two are coupled, it slows the process to a halt and it’s awful for engineers.”

19:47 – 21:06: “Gigster semantically understands, at a machine level, what you’re trying to build.”

21:07 – 23:23 “The true test is, ‘click pay,’ do the project with us. It won’t cost anymore than we say it will.”

23:24 – 26:04: “If you’re an individual designer, there’s a client you wouldn’t have won because they needed development work as well.”

28:08 – 32:39 “We’ve seen some developers balk at the idea without giving much thought to it.”

32:40 – 33:26: “Developers are the winners, especially great developers… they’re going to have a lot more freedom.”

33:27 – 34:29 “We threaten agencies that price gouge customers.”

34:30 – 35:22 “Most startups should outsource their development.”

35:23 – 36:25: “One of the biggest problems with technical teams when they’re prototyping is that they get emotionally tied to a certain idea.”

36:26 – 39:13 “That’s how annoying last mile is, and we do it.”

39:14 – 40:01: “That conversation, if you could imagine expressing that in UI or UX, that’s what we’d like Gigster to be.”

40:02 – 42:19: “Every single part of the project process leaves a digital footprint.”

42:20 – 43:46 “To become dominant on Facebook, at the same time, Zynga had to become dependent on Facebook.”

43:47 – 46:18: “I think every platform that’s designed going forward are going to be the way Apple designed theirs.”

46:19 – 48:50: “If we don’t mess up, then we’ll be the largest company founded this decade.”

48:51 – 51:34: “If you get turned down by an investor, often the reason is that person wasn’t a fit for you.”

51:35 – 54:02 “As a startup, your priorities should be growth and customer satisfaction.”

54:03 – 56:09: “This is going to be a billion dollar company. I’m going to say it right now.”

56:10 – 58:37: “By default, we own the code and we grant the customer irrevocable, permanent license to the code.”

58:38 – 1:04:22: “The brokers I don’t trust. They just want to close the deal.”

Sue Khim

1:04:30 – 1:07:46: “This presentation is about how we got our first million users.”

1:07:47 – 1:09:39: “Product/market fit is how often people choose your product when they have that trigger.”

1:09:40 – 1:10:28: “The people look completely different, but the trigger has identical characteristics.”

1:10:29 – 1:11:37: “Both of these columns are totally irrelevant to the main factor that should be driving the decision, which is product strategy.”

1:11:38 – 1:13:17: “The reality is that there are a lot of reasons why people aren’t using your product.”

1:13:18 – 1:20:06: “When we decided that we were going to work on this other company… we did not feel apologetic about it.”

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