Get $20 for talking with us!

by Elizabeth

Tis the season for usability tests.  Jennifer and I are working on building a set of tools to help web entrepreneurs with their startups.  We’re looking to speak with people over the next few days (before the holidays) by phone/Skype/or in person.  We’ll ask participants questions about how they are going about building their web companies and ask for feedback on our prototype.  Each study will be 25 minutes, and as a small token of our thanks, we’ll offer $20 cash (for in-person studies) or via Paypal afterwards.

If you’re interested in signing up, please fill out this quick survey.  Based on the survey responses, we’ll be selecting people to participate.… Read the rest


Presenting at Web 2.0 Expo

by Elizabeth

Jennifer and I are super psyched to be presenting at Web 2.0 Expo in March 2011 in San Francisco! We’ll be doing a workshop in a similar vein to the iLaunch presentation we’ve previously done in partnership with Women 2.0. In fact, the title of the Web 2.0 Expo talk is the same: Get Going: How to Build and Test Your Idea Without Programming

But, that’s where the similarities end. We’ve got a number of cool things planned for this talk that I’m not ready to talk about just yet, but stay tuned as the date gets closer.Read the rest


Designing search usability for DressMob



By Jennifer

When Elizabeth and I launched Shiny Orb, a comparison shopping site for wedding apparel, we had thousands of dresses. So, it was a no-brainer we needed search to help people hone in on the perfect dress.  We created an attribute search that allowed people to search by length, neckline, and strap styles as well as price and later by color.

This past summer, we started DressMob, a social shopping site for dresses. The selection on DressMob would be even bigger, so we wanted to create a better search. We decided to draw from usability on Shiny Orb as an initial starting point for building this search on DressMob, so we had a number of considerations:  


How big should the search box be? 


On Shiny Orb, we have a drop down menu allowing people to show 20, 40, 65, 100 results.Read the rest


Announcing LaunchBit Classroom: Build and Test your web idea without coding

Hope everyone had a great Thanksgiving holiday!  We took a little vacation and have been offline for a bit.  But, we’re excited to be back!

I’m very excited to announce LaunchBit Classroom, which will start January 24, 2011.  We’re heard from many aspiring entrepreneurs who heard our iLaunch presentation that they would like to do a deeper dive into each of the topics we covered at a high level.  The course is catered to new non-programmer entrepreneurs.

Some key pieces of info about the classroom:

  • 10 week online course with tutorials and homework
  • Perfect for busy people — we’ll release a lecture each week that you can watch at your convenience that week
  • Provides a step-by-step guidance to building and testing your web idea without coding

We chose this format, because we wanted to make this accessible to aspiring web entrepreneurs located anywhere in the world.… Read the rest


iLaunch Palo Alto Wrap Up with Slides


Thanks so much for coming to iLaunch!  (BIG props to our sponsors Pillsbury Law and Women 2.0) If you couldn’t make it, we’ve included the slides from tonight’s talk here.

If you haven’t already, we would love to hear your thoughts and feedback on the event and hear how we can make this better.  Please feel free to drop us a line at or write us a comment.

Lastly, we mentioned at iLaunch that we are starting a new toolkit for non-programmers to add dynamic functionality to their websites in an easy way.  We hope this will help folks build their minimum viable products, their first prototypes of their web ideas.… Read the rest


Secrets to Building an Online Forum Community: Going from 0 to Millions of unique visitors

By Elizabeth

Recently, a new entrepreneur asked me for strategy advice on growing an online forum community.  How do you get initial users to post?  How much do you seed the forum yourself/with friends?  How frequently do posts need to happen for the community to take off?  And how long should you continue working on building your forum community before you change directions?

Honestly, I was not qualified to talk about any of this, but I shared with him some thoughts that others have shared with me.  Today, I’ll share two stories from two different friends on how they grew their respective online forum communities.… Read the rest


Crowdsourcing with Amazon’s Mechanical Turk

By Elizabeth

Someone recently asked me to discuss companies like Amazon’s Mechanical Turk.  If you’re just starting your company, it can be a great way to get some of the more tedious tasks done in a quick way.

Quick background:

Mechanical Turk is an on-demand platform for work, where you can submit jobs, and workers on these platforms will do your job for an extremely low cost.  In many cases, we’re talking on the order of pennies.  This labor-on-demand concept is a bit vague, but basically, you can submit any job that can be done on the web.  Examples include: categorizing retail items to be “red” or “green” or asking people to do some quick web research and write down the results.  Most gigs are mini, taking seconds or minutes to do.  Workers who do these gigs come from all over the world, so your gig can be done while you’re asleep.… Read the rest


Introducing LaunchBit Toolkit


By Elizabeth

LaunchBit Toolkit.  Say that 10x fast.  Last week we had a great time meeting with aspiring entrepreneurs both at iLaunch and outside of that event.  We met a ton of people with an abundance of fascinating internet business ideas.  We shared our thoughts on building landing pages and creating minimum viable products without coding.  From our own experiences, we know there is a lot to learn and test without doing any coding — the challenge is in figuring out how to structure these tests.

So, today, Jennifer and I are starting to take the functionality that’s on our own websites and make this functionality available for non-technical folks to add to their sites in an easy way.  We think this can help non-technical entrepreneurs build their minimum viable products, their first prototypes for their web businesses.  I know this sounds super abstract, but here’s one example: a login system.… Read the rest


iLaunch slides & thanks!

We had a great turnout tonight — thanks so much for coming!  (And a BIG thanks to our sponsors Sandbox Suites and Women 2.0) If you couldn’t make it, we’ve included the slides from tonight’s talk here.  A fair bit of the dialogue that we held is not covered in these slides, but these slides are a pretty good overview of what we discussed.

We were surprised by the incredible turnout and know there were a number of people who were not able to sign up before we sold out.  We know there are also many more outside the Bay Area who were not able to make it.  We hope to do this event again in the near future and would love your thoughts on where to hold it.  Please feel free to drop us a line at or write us a comment.… Read the rest


Presenting iLaunch

Jennifer and I are throwing a Women 2.0 Partner Event called: Learn How to Build & Test Your Startup Idea Without Coding.  This event is for people who have been throwing around some internet ideas for a while but don’t know how to program.  It will be on Oct 20, 2010 6:30-9:00 at Sandbox Suites in San Francisco.


Here’s the link to RSVP:

And, the details copied from the Eventbrite:


“iLaunch: How to build & test your idea without coding” is a workshop for women entrepreneurs on Wednesday, October 20, 2010 from 6:30pm to 9pm at Sandbox Suites coworking space in San Francisco, CA.Read the rest