SSE Labs' Blog

Stanford's Student Startup Accelerator

7/15 Dinner with Adam Rodnitzky, Justin Kan

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For Thursday night’s double feature, Adam presented first on Marketing Strategy. A few highlights from his presentation include:

  • Focus on developing something based on what your customers tell you they want, not what you think they want; you can use simple tools (surveys and false features in your product UI) to measure response to potential features before prioritizing them on your product roadmap.
  • The cost of user acquisition is generally higher than the cost of user retention, so focus on keeping your users happy, and don’t be afraid to spend to retain them if they show evidence of being valuable.
  • Search engine marketing is a good, low cost market research tool; search activity reveals purchase intent, which is as about as close to the money as you can get when making a product decision.

Afterward, Justin shared his entrepreneurship story with Emmett and stepped through the experiences that taught him and his team good practices and principles to follow when developing a product or building a company. A few tips he gave us were:

  • There’s no secret to getting good PR coverage, but you can focus on doing something interesting that people naturally will talk about
  • Don’t build a company as something you want to sell; things don’t always go the way you plan, so make sure your business is sustainable
  • You need to focus as much as possible on your core product, which translates to: leverage existing tools. If a solution is supported and developed by entire companies, your chances of hacking together a better solution is slim to none.

Thanks to Adam and Justin both for visiting us at 401 Ellis St, and giving our startups great advice and feedback.

Adam Rodnitzky currently serves as Chief Marketing Officer for ReTel Technologies, a video analytics company he co-founded in 2007. Prior to co-founding ReTel, Adam co-founded two successful start-up companies, (acquiried in 2000 by CarParts Technologies) and TacitLogic. Adam also has extensive experience in senior marketing and creative strategy roles, having worked with national retailers such as Safeway Stores, Wal-Mart,, Hallmark and eBay.

Justin Kan is a founder and President of, the web’s leading live video site which lets anyone broadcast and watch live video with chat for free. He currently serves as’s Chief Product Officer, managing the product and technical teams, recruiting talent for the company, and evangelizing’s website and API.

Written by ahzietsman

July 19, 2010 at 4:57 pm

One Response

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