Curt Woodward at Xconomy writes about the first few weeks of Zaarly‘s existence and its super human push to launch at SXSW. I guess the one thing that struck me the most is how very different the west coast start up scene is from Atlanta and the south. The primary difference being there is one.
From the post: “As a practical matter, (Eric) Koester says, all of that background meant that he knew talent was the first priority. And recruiting in such a small pool of people is pretty straightforward: He just went up to the organizers and asked them to point out the best developer in the room. That’s how third co-founder Ian Hunter joined the team.
Koester says they’d settled on the basic idea in probably the first six hours of the 54-hour cram session. In a way, it’s an attempt at inverting the group-buying concept behind the now-ubiquitous daily deal services. “The buyer’s the one who always wants something they can’t get, and it’s the buyer who is really willing to pay for it. That’s where we flipped it on its head,” Koester says.
Even in the sometimes overheated world of tech startups, this is a pretty quick growth curve. And there’s a big difference between fun deals at a tech conference and building a citywide network that’s big enough to sustain itself. Craigslist, an obvious model of comparison, didn’t stick around because of the novelty. It killed off old-school newspaper classifieds because it solved their problem in a much better way. So the question will be: Is your inability to get concert tickets right now, or my late-night lust for a cheeseburger, or someone else’s willingness to deliver a keg of beer really a sustainable market?”
The dead simple product positioning is something that is both a huge selling point and what keeps these kind of deals from happening in the South. I can’t think of anyone like Ashton Kutcher, attending quick pitch start up meetings and then asking to invest 10 minutes after the presentation. It just doesn’t happen.