Nick Soman created an app that lets you find potential relationship partners through your friends’ networks on Facebook. LikeBright taps into your network and your friend’s networks, to find out who among that long list of good looking people is single, available and looking. And then it connects you, if the person you wish to connect to also anonymously wants to connect to you.
According to an email last night, Soman says the chief scientist from eHarmony is going to invest. That’s a sign of good things to come. We interviewed Nick about his app, and also about his life as a founder. Here’s this morning’s Founder Interview.
BizSpark: How do you know when you are failing in product development and how do you make a correction – do you make the decision on your own, or do you consult your team?
Nick: The worst failure in product development is failure to prioritize. We have ideas for product improvements every day, and it’s tempting to invest development hours and celebrate small upticks in our numbers when we haven’t materially improved our chances of success. Most startups fail, so this is a version of rearranging deck chairs on the Titanic. Instead, I work with my team to identify the big hairy problems that could bring our business down – these tend to be the issues smart investors ask about and the ones that keep us up at night, and the more we want to avoid thinking about them, the more important they are to address. At our best we ignore everything else and tackle those problems.
BizSpark: What signals from your consumers do you look for to signify that you are winning?
Nick: Clear expectations about what they’re supposed to do and why. If our users know what they’re supposed to do they can tell us whether they’ll do it, and then we can tweak the ask and the value proposition until they say yes. Also, smiles when we explain what we do.
BizSpark: Who is your mentor, and what was the last great thing he or she told you and your team?
Nick: One of my favorites is Tom Laramee at Zulily. He recently told me “Progress means staying the dumbest guy in the room.” I didn’t get it at first, but now I’m convinced he’s right. My most important job as a startup founder is to surround myself with colleagues, advisors and investors I can learn from. From that perspective I’ve been making progress.
BizSpark: What has overjoyed you in the past month?
Nick: The founding scientist of eHarmony came on board to advise LikeBright. Right before our second phone call I found out he’s also the lead singer in a great glam/punk band in L.A. We didn’t even talk about LikeBright for the first half hour and just geeked out on music. The best advisors and investors will become your friends, and that’s a truly joyful process.