The founder of Sonar, Brett Martin, wrote an open and to-the-point post about why his über-hyped and well-funded startup didn’t work out. Anyone trying to start a company can learn a lot from the post, especially if you’re consumer facing.
If you think about it, it’s obvious why any existing business, being Microsoft or a tiny new seedling, has things they can’t share. They have considerations to the market, customers, investors, employees, competitors which means they need to protect the perception about them.
When companies get sold it’s even worse. In the golden light of hindsight every haphazard judgement call becomes visionary foresight “we saw clearly the market was moving this way”. This is bullshit. I know many companies where the story told today is totally different to the reality back then, I was there.
That’s why post-mortem posts like this one is the best way to learn from other entrepreneurs. These are the only people inclined to share what actually happened, good and bad.
It’s my hope that founders can start being more open with other, in confidentiality. In a business like startups where the road ahead is never clear, it’s natural that we make as many mistakes as we do sound decisions. That’s a part of navigating unchartered waters. But we could learn from each other mistakes if we knew them.
But until we get this openness I reckon these posts are the best tools for founders that want to learn what really matters. This one resonated a lot with my experiences, and while I recommend you read the whole post, I can share some highlights:
1 - You don’t have the luxury of side projects in the company, pick your priorities and stick to them
2 - Events are for hiring, raising and networking. But the real work happens in the engine room. Ultimately your results speak for themselves.
3 - Startups don’t get sold, they get bought. So don’t make it a part of your strategy, and don’t spend time on it (aside from partnerships which make sense anyway)
4 - Don’t worry about what your competitors are doing. Worry about things you can change.
5 - Approaches by big brands are unlikely to come to anything. So don’t waste time, or tell anyone about it.
There’s a whole conference devoted to this FailConf, held several places in Europe and the US, good place to learn too.
Kudos to Brett Martin for the guts it took to publish this. Full post here
A pessimist sees difficulty in every opportunity; an optimist sees opportunity in every difficulty! — Winston Churchill. True wisdom!
Like most other mobile software Everplaces’ consumer app is used globally. This means we have to be aware of opportunities and threats from all angles and locations.
From this experience I’ve come to believe that we in the West (me included) are far too focussed on the social networks that we encounter in our own lives. And totally miss the boat about the bigger global picture.
Today this chart released. It makes one thing clear. China is no longer to be considered powerhouse of the future, its a powerhouse of today!
Most mobile developers, like us, focus on Facebook and Twitter integration. If products are advanced, they include LinkedIn and Instagram, and a few generic sharing options perhaps. The sentiment behind this, is that thats where our products are most likely to spread. Probably because that’s where we ourselves discover new products.
But isn’t that thinking too small?
One of the things I am often afraid we’ve under prioritized is social networks in developing countries. For example, Brazil is Everplaces’ 3rd biggest user base, but we don’t integrate to Orkut, which is the second largest network with over 34m users in Brazil.
There has been much discussion about the future of Orkut but it’s still an integrated part of many people’s lives. And it would be a chance to acquire users in a less competitive (read: expensive) place than Facebook, whose global dominance means every man and his dog are advertising there. And it would be a chance to go up against products that are less sophisticated (social media usage in South America, and social products in general, show similar usage patterns to we saw here a few years ago).
We don’t actively push into China, but if we did, I would seriously consider some of the social networks there. Yes, it’s hard to integrate to services you don’t know, and people share differently (in China for example, many more people communicate only with emoticons, because it’s so hard to write traditional chinese characters on a mobile) but perhaps it’s worth it.
And what about all the new networks and services we don’t notice before they are already massive, are western software developers missing out on the next wave of opportunities, and are we ignoring our biggest threats because we’re so busy looking inwards?
PS: Would love to hear your thoughts, what’s your company doing to integrate your product with non-Western social media? Any experiences?
How to make branded giveaways that people will actually use
Most companies, startups and big brands alike, produce t’shirts and other stuff to give away because they hope people will wear it and spread the word.
However, most of it is junk and goes straight to the bin.
But, it is possible to produce great branded stuff people will like and use. Above is a writing block of which I’ve stolen no less than three(!) when I stayed at Clarion Hotel last week. Because it’s cool so I want them at the office. They make me smile. I don’t consider Clarion a cool hotel brand, so they’ve done brilliantly getting me to inadvertent advertising for them.
What Clarion has done great is that they focussed on making something cool, with their own branding only being a tiny bit of it.
Most companies plaster their logo all over, but fail to realize that it means that everyone but super fans (and unless you’re Apple or Mozilla, you probably don’t have many super fans) won’t wear or use something that’s so blatantly advertising.
Especially with t’shirts, we send a signal that “I vouch for this brand” when we wear their branded clothes. While you’re still on the way to becoming the new super brand it’s unlikely that many people will risk their personal brand by endorsing you. I can’t count the number of startup t’shirts I’ve been given but never worn (sorry).
Here’s the tricks:
Make it cool. My boyfriend (who was one of the programmers to code the first version of Zendesk) had been wearing a really cool t-shirt with a nice print on the front for weeks before I realized it was a branded Zendesk t-shirt. The only branding was their Buddha logo on the back. So the t-shirt was being work regularly for years! Also out in town not just at the gym where you tend to use your ugly shirts. This was because it was cool in its own right.
Good quality - Our other friends at Iconfinder also make t-shirts they give away, and even sell. They feature their funky “cute machine” logo and are of extremely good quality. Martin, the CEO, purposely paid more for good quality material, so they would continue to look nice after many washes - both sending a statement of quality (realizing it does not give you great brand association to be represented by washed out, poorly fitted t-shirts), and making people more likely to wear them.
Quality is expensive, but in my mind:
It’s better to spend a thousand dollars on 50 t-shirts that get worn for years, than the same on 1000 t-shirts that go straight to the bin!
A Zendesk t’shirt (on some random guy who is not my boyfriend)
Iconfinder - you can actually buy these online
Mailchimp’s t-shirt which our designer wears all the time
More cool t-shirts and tips for making t-shirts here
Stylebark (be notified of offers on fav brands) just sent me a photo of their t-shirt, it’s really cool and now included. Have you guys produced something nice too? Let me know (pref in comments) and I will include it!
What's next in mobile for tourism -
It’s no surprise to most businesses in travel and tourism that mobile is a key new place to engage with visitors. But what’s next?
My key note presentation from Digital Travel Conference Norway, just click on the link above.
Personal hacking is all the rage
So, you’ve heard the Apple AppStore alone has paid out $10 billion to developers, but everyone you know makes peanuts from the app stores. So where does all the money go?
A few developers sit on most the revenue
The trend is that most of the revenues go to fewer and fewer developers. The numbers are startling. 50 percent of app revenues are shared between just 25 developers! This was analyzed by Canalys in December 2012 in research using US data from November 2012.
A part of the reason of this is the obvious discovery problems in the App Stores. The top 10 ranking apps gets almost all the new downloads, making success for the big developers a self-fulfilling prophesy.
It’s not angry birds. It’s fat cat
Of the top 25 grossing developers – for paid downloads and in-app purchases, all bar one are game developers! This includes Zynga, Electronic Arts, Disney, Kabam, Rovio, Glu, Gameloft and Storm8’s TeamLava. The exception is Pandora.
In general games dominate top apps. Games account for 145/300 of top paid apps on Apple App Store and 116/300 on Google Play.
Rumour has it that the top 10 grossing apps of all time are:
10. MLB.com At Bat (baseball)
9. Minecraft Pocket Edition (game)
8. The Simpsons (game)
7. The Hobbit (game)
6. Kingdoms of Camelot (game)
5. Hay Day (game)
4. Marvel War of Heroes (game)
3. Pandora Radio (music)
2. Clash of Clans (game)
1. Candy Crush Saga (game)
If you want to make money, look elsewhere
Luckily for the rest of the world’s app developers, most of the money in the app economy actually don’t come from app sales. Here’s a overview
Courtesy of mobithinking. More
Top 10 apps, more info
It’s no secret that press coverage is very helpful in growing awareness and thus getting customers to your business. But how do you do that?
Here’s some tips I can share from our experience. Everplaces has been covered in 29 countries with around 200 articles, blog posts and videos.
1. Build Relations
For some reason people treat journalists (and VCs, btw) differently than all other people. They seem often to be viewed purely for their access, and treated calculative, rather than people investing proper time trying to get to know them. But try to turn the tables around and act like a human. Don’t jump straight into a pitch, the poor guy has probably heard 100 of them today. He’d probably much prefer talking about soccer, gadgets or the wine selection.
What happens when you hang out with people is that you inadvertently build relations. Once you know each other you’ll talk about your businesses, and that’s a much better time to present your story
The added bonus of building a stronger relation is that these people tend to be really fun. Some of the best times I’ve had over the years of being an entrepreneur is with investor or journalists. Both see a lot of action and tell amazing stories. So they are well worth hanging out with, trust me.
Relations go two ways, always, so what can you do to help them in their job? Perhaps you can introduce them to other good stories or you have data or business intelligence that’s useful to them in other articles.
2. Tell good stories.
Sad but true, your startup isn’t news in itself (until you’ve made it big, and then you don’t need the free press, paradoxically). So try to see your company with the eyes of their their typical reader, what would they find interesting?
Can you pitch the difference your product is going to do for these people, is it an advance in science, an evolution in product or tie in to a larger trend. Everplaces is often mentioned in connection with the ‘travel is going mobile’ trend and that works well for us to set the scene.
Once you’ve come up with the right angle then spend some time trying to telling it like a story. Mike Butcher from TechCrunch once told me this list of which topics make good stories. It’s a good check list.
3. Know your publications and approach them one on one.
If am sure Spotify can get away with just bcc’ing 50 tech writers and they write about them, but you probably won’t be able to. Instead send personal emails to each journalist you’d like to interest with your story. Know what they focus on, and why your story is interesting for their audience.
It’s helpful to understand the dynamics between publications, they are competing and they’d all like to get the story first or by themselves. So pitching one journalists with an opening line essentially saying ‘your competitor covered this yesterday’ isn’t going to work.
If I give a story to several publications I make sure they get it at exactly the same time. It’s important that none of them feel I treated them unfairly. Typically I send them to story in advance and then put on an embargo “not to be shared before 24 Jan at 4pm CET” for example. Then those who want to cover it can have something ready.
Other times I give it solely to one journalist. The big blogs and papers have other smaller publications looking to them for news so if you can manage to get New York Times to take it, you’re likely to have many blogs take it from their site. The best we’ve had was a story that Fast Company did on us, it spread to almost 30 other sites, many in different countries all over the world such as Taiwan and Brazil.
Small blogs often take themselves surprisingly serious. So if you send a relevant story to a small time blogger they will probably ask for money to write about it or say they don’t write advertising. I spent a lot of time trying to build connections with small bloggers before I realized that seeding it to larger blogs such as TechCrunch is much more effective. Then they consider it a story, not advertising.
4. Advance warning
Tell people in advance when something is coming up so they can schedule time to talk to you and space for it. Generally write an email 2-3 days ahead of your news making sure he knows/ remembers who you are.
"Hi Pete, we meet at MMC, thanks again for the tip on skiing in Alaska. I just wanted to give you the heads up on some good news we’ll be coming out with on Wednesday. If you’re interested I can make sure you’re kept in the loop?"
The purpose is just to touch base, don’t reveal the actual news (!). If your news is in relations to a context which gives at a bigger meaning this is a good time to mention that as it will build interest.
5. Make it easy for the journalist
With the internet there is an insane pressure on journalists and bloggers to produce stories fast. So it helps to be helpful and include names, key contact info, supporting stats, quotes from relevant people and lots of good quality screen shots.
For example, when we first launched Everplaces, we tried to set the scene by including numbers that supported the opportunity. Like the size of the travel industry ($709b excluding transportation), the value of our segment ($27b), and the trends (75% use their mobile to find information and book when they travel).
I also try to link or attach credible outside reports, so it’s not just our word for it. Often these reports have juicy facts. They can cost several hundred dollars so its a nice thing to share. Your goal with this is to give the journalist confidence that they have enough facts to write a correct story.
5. Be quotable
Try to answer in short, precise sentences. And include suggested quotes in the material you send them.
6. Make it visible at a glance
Many people don’t bother opening attachments, especially if they don’t know you or your company. So just attaching a press release as a pdf is bound to fail. Instead paste the first part (third or half) of the story into the email so its instantly visible.
In the attachment (which they now might open) you should have formatted the story nicely with images. And you should include a link to where all the images can be downloaded. I use Ge.tt for this
7. Human stories are interesting
People make stronger emotional connections with the people behind a company than the corporate shell, so be personal. It’s a million times more interesting when Mark Zuckerberg says something on behalf of Facebook than when a press persons does.
So it’s a good idea to have a human face that people associate with the company. It should be the same person always since you’re building personal relations. In Everplaces case this person is always me, consistently.
It’s also a good idea to share the human side of the company, like stories or traditions that set you aside. In our case we throw big champagne parties. We don’t do it because it’s a story, we do it because we think it’s important a team has fun together, but it doubles as a nice anecdote.
The iOS/ Android duopoly rules
The Apple/Google duopoly is the safe choice, with 86% of mobile app developers using either iOS or Android - and a staggering 42% using both. (59% prefer iOS over 49% Android as primary platform) This makes sense since iOS and Android handset sales reached 92% of all smartphones in Q1 2013)
Android-iOS dominance still show no sign of weakening. Even Microsoft’s 5 billion dollars invested in Windows Phone has managed to secure a tiny 3% smartphones sales share.
As much as I love iOS there can’t be any discussion about facts. Android is outselling globally. But this is not least because of the cheap smartphones sold in the developing world. So consider whether you were going to have any business in these markets any way. (If you are, then basic feature phones might be a better choice)
While we’re at it. There are new opportunities in Tablet and TV
Tablets sales are approaching a quarter of smartphone sales in Q1 2013. And developers have started embracing tablets and developing directly for them.
I hope that made it easier to make an informed choice. Stats are based on 6000 dev study. More: http://www.visionmobile.com/product/developer-economics-q3-2013-state-of-the-developer-nation/#
Fun fact. The biggest motivator for developers isn’t gold
The majority (53%) of mobile developers are motivated by creativity or the sense of achievement, making this the most popular motivator. The fun of making an app, is a motivator for 40% of mobile developers.
Any mobile development company gets inundated with requests to support different platforms so your product will work on the different platform such as Blackberry, Windows, Apple devices and Android. Some platform providers even offer to pay you for it. So why shouldn’t you just jump into it?
In my company Everplaces we publish a mobile social travel guide, but only on iOS, the operating system for Apple devices. We’re lucky enough to get thousands of requests from users and their friends who want to use the product from their android phone. Combine that with Android’s market share of 70.4% in Europe and 52% in the US, our core markets (vs Apple’s 17.8% Europe and 41% US), it should be a no brainer. But despite this we’re still sticking to iOS.
1) It’s not the build, it’s the maintenance
So you’ve calculated how much time it will take to build, and doubled that. It looks manageable and you have the resources. But what about the maintenance costs? What surprises most people about development is that the product isn’t just built and then it works, it has to be constantly improved, tweaked and bug fixed.
The worst part of this is that a lot of these decisions are not yours to make, once you’ve started you have to keep going. The platform providers keep coming out with new updates you have to be compatible with. For example, when Apple released the iPhone 5 we suddenly had to make a whole new version with new taller design of all the pages, because iPhone5 users would have taller screens. This meant the app have to be able to detect which phone you have, and to serve you the right size, otherwise it would look ridiculous on both.
Then recently Apple came out with iOS7, the new operating system which has “flat design”. This meant that to keep looking good we had to redesign the icon and reconsider several pages, and we had to decide what to run with in the changeover period where we have users on both systems.
And this is just the platform provider, we also connect with Facebook, Twitter and a number of other services which constantly change the integration. Recently we spent a month building a deep Facebook integration which was offered to us because we have a special partnership with Facebook. Four days after we released it with big hurrah, Facebook changed it at their end and the whole thing had to be rebuilt.
For every platform you’re on, integrations and functionality has to be rebuilt all the time. Do you really have resources to do that, or will you become bogged down in maintenance so you can’t develop new features or grow your business?
2) Delivering a consistent brand experience
Last year we actually fell for the temptation when we were offered to have a free Android app built for us. But as soon as we started testing it the truth was obvious, it was sub standard. It was simply a worse experience than the iPhone app, it looks less pretty, it was slower and clunkier. Most of this was because of the compromises we’d have to make to fit so many screen sizes.
We pulled it back.
For a company with strong design DNA, and a product that’s renowned for its UX we couldn’t live with the poor user experience. It would have damaged the reputation of the brand, so we pulled the Android back despite the many requests. We lost hundreds of hours working on it which we could have spent on our core experiences.
3) The hidden platforms
Even though we’re focussed on iOS we’ve got to consider 7 platforms. Because we’ve got a web interface we actually always building and testing on iPhone, iPad and iPod, Safari, Chrome, Firefox and Internet Explorer, plus some smaller browsers and mobile versions of some of them. All of these come in many different versions, so some of them count as four or five. So that’s like 30 experience to consider. That’s a lot for as a small team who want to develop fast!
One thing we could have done better is optimizing for Internet Explorer. The problem is that we’re all geeks so we use Macs and consider PCs so-last-decade. But I learnt the hard way that lot of people still use PC when we were raising money. Lot of investors use IE so they would see the absolute worst version of the product, if it worked at all! Not the best first impression.
4) Their audiences behave differently
To a wide extent you can predict behavior based on which phones people have bought. In our case we have an app targeted urban design lovers and people who are into great restaurants. These people tend to be on iPhones because they appreciate that the user experience tends to be better on iOS devices. This is both because of the superior design on the hardware, but also because of the strict guideline Apple impose on all software distributed through iTunes.
Users on iOS also spend more money in the app store, this was an important gauge for us for the future.
What’s important to you in terms of in-app purchase, upfront app purchasing, business vs personal usage, average income of users etc?
4) Reiterate, Perfect, Expand. It worked for Instagram!
We’re only 10 people so we need to use our resources extremely wisely, as we’re up against companies with 1000 times more people than us. I’ve always believed that you have to be world-best at something. Its much better to kick ass at one smaller thing than be average at a whole range. So in our case we chose iOS as our flagship app, which means we can focus on fine tuning that, getting the metrics right, testing things. This is a larger task than it sounds, so far we’ve been building and tuning for 18 months. Once we’ve got it all right we can start expanding to other platforms.
Instagram famously stayed on iOS until they had 30mil users. Only then was it perfect enough that they were convinced it should be replicated to Android. They did, and the user base sky rocketed.
Different platforms will be good for different company, and I am not arguing that android is inferior to iOS. What I am arguing, however, is that you need to focus narrow enough that you can be the best at something. Especially if you have limited resources. The most important word in successful Product Design is “no”.
Good luck selecting the platforms that’s best for your company!
The disintegration of Android & Android dominates & Growth of Instagram
Question: Over to you now. What was right for your company and what are your best tools, tips and tricks to manage best possible on the ones you’ve chosen? I’d love your thoughts on this. You can leave a comment by in the comment field above the headline of this post.
Credibility is one of your most valuable assets no matter which sector or position you’re in. If your style of communication for some reason fail to signal absolute trustworthiness you’ll inadvertently trigger alarm bells that may take you years of relationship building to overcome. Credibility is particularly crucial if you’re in business development, internal or external relations or if you’re a leader. In these positions you simply cannot do your job without.
Let’s assume you’re a nice guy that means well. You want to come across as competent, trustworthy, talented, and shine same bright light on your company or product. How do you make sure you come across as genuine? Here’s 6 steps:
Under promise, over-deliver; this cliche is truer than taxes, the only thing that really builds trust is delivering. Whether you need to deliver results, introductions or just keep your word you can be sure it will be noticed every time you fail to honor a promise. As it revolves around promises, the easiest way to consistently deliver is to manage expectations, so when you’re setting sales targets with your boss, talking up your company at your cousin’s wedding or promising a completion date for a client always, always err on the side of caution to you’ve given yourself the best possible chance of exceeding expectations.
In sales you can be worried that you will loose the gig if you don’t promise big, but having clients out there talking about you missing deadlines or objectives is acid to future sales and much worse than loosing that one client. I know a company that sends their clients a cheque at the end of each project with the note that they didn’t require as much money as expected to reach the objectives and are returning the surplus. The physiology in receiving a cheque or a refund works brilliantly. Even though the client spend a million and you returned $1,295 they feel you’re the nicest guy in business.
2. Never overplay your hand
As in, don’t count your chickens before they’re hatched.When you’re trying to make an impression, it natural to want to include every single positive signal you’ve received so far. And if you do have commitment that’s also an strong card which you should play (“mum said it’s ok” is probably the oldest persuasion trick in history). But make sure to stick to the ones that are in fact already confirmed.
Last week I met with a guy who wanted me to support a new organization. To illustrate how cool this was going to be, he mentioned “they were going to approach Apple for sponsorship involvement”. Even though Apple is a great name, this carries no credibility, if anything, it signals that the guy is a bit of a dreamer. Because it’s just thoughts, Apple hasn’t committed, and they haven’t even spoken to them! It would be most more effective to tell me about people who were committed, even if they were lesser names. This is similar to sales talks where “we’re also in deep talks with so and so” is a common, but equally non credibile, sales phrase.
For me personally, the hardest part of this is resisting talking about new opportunities. Being an entrepreneur I am a total optimist, so I get excited very easily. When we get contacted by massive brands who want to buy something or partner, my impulse is to scream it off the rooftops. In the beginning I’d almost do this. I’d tell my colleague and (much worse) my board about many of these opportunities. What I failed to take into consideration was that most people are by nature more pessimistic (they call it “realistic”) than me, so for them it was just unlikely chatter.
And what’s worse, because many opportunities never materialize (for reason you can’t control) I’d inadvertently promised something I didn’t deliver. So without knowing it, I had upped their skepticism for the other matters i reported to them.
I still make this mistake, it’s a part of my nature to be entutiastic, but now I try to be conservative in my wording. I’ve also made a conscious effort only to include opportunities in board reports once they show high likelihood. It multiplies my promised-and-delivered rate without altering what I already do.
3. Your Kryptonite. Say what you can’t do
Some ago I was in Germany for a sales meeting together with the CTO of the company. I was giving them the full show, talking side up and side down about all the wonderful things our product could do. At one point I mentioned it was translated into 7 languages when the CTO interrupted, “Actually its only 6 languages”, he said. I looked at him incredulously, to me that wasn’t the point, since the 7th language would be rolled out by the time this client came on. And besides, why would you mention this in a sales meeting?! But something interesting happened. Suddenly the clients were listening more intently. They started looking at him when I explained very advanced features, he’d then nod, and use his new found credibility to convince them we could in fact deliver this big benefit.
I learned a lot that day, I learnt that unless you explain the limits of your proposition it comes across as all-magical, which is not credible. Trustworthiness actually comes from showing weak spots, lining out what your product can’t do. Today I make a point of mentioning seemingly relevant features we don’t have throughout sales conversations.
We have a service in my company we don’t use because of this. The product sounds amazing, but apparently they can do *everything*. Even though they are only three people. That’s not credible in my book, so we’re not trying it out.
Limits have the added benefit that they put your product in the right “box”. This anchor is required for people to share it and remember it. It’s actually better to be in a poorly matched box, than in no box at all. People hate being compared to their competitors because “they’ve created a whole new category”, but “we’re like bit.ly but with more analytics so you get deeper business intelligence” says a lot more about you than “it’s a totally disruptive linking technology” which people will also have forgotten in an instant because it hasn’t been “anchored”.
4. Never talk badly of others
This especially includes former colleagues and employers.
5. Own your failures
You might as well cut the bullshit, because people will see through it. If you were fired then people will know that “I left for personal reasons” means exactly that. It’s much better to say “I didn’t manage to reach (insert expectation) therefore i was laid off. I’ve learnt a lot from this and in my next role (this) and (that) are going to be major focus areas for me”
This also applies to products launched and incorrect strategies. The point is, that everyone fails with some things (if not, they are not innovating) and that owning up to it is honest and upfront. “We tried to take on the German market but had to accept its was too much, when we were going into Mexico at the same time and only had 12 people in the sales operation” builds credibly because it shows you learn from your mistakes.
6 Don’t talk crap. Just don’t.
I am from the startup scene which is filled with super optimists, egomaniacs and dreamers. This can’t help but create a bit of a talking-bullshit culture, but some people just don’t seem to know when to stop.
I have a friend who tells the most amazing stories. If you talk about a hot company he knows the founder of it, or has just visited the island of the investor, if you talk about an amazingly successful campaign you’ve just studied, he’s just done one that reached twice the number. While it’s very good entertainment with a glass of wine, the result is that I never believe anything is but a good story. I am sure that some of the stories are true, some are exaggerations and some are just a productive imagination, but since I don’t know which is which I just don’t trust any of them. He’s lost all the credibility he could have had.
Talking crap also applies to those people for whom everything is just always going brilliantly. If people are going to believe any of your stories you better mix in a few humble ones about things that were hard or unsuccessful. This applies in general, but in particular to situations where you’re reporting to someone, like a boss or a board. Here’s it’s smarter to mention a few challenges, rather than just going on about everything that’s going well. It’s puts the successes into perspective and makes them stand out. It also shows you are not naive about the challenge of the task.