Sumo Cast 006 - Josh Berry





Todays guest has mentored at 7 different accelerators and launched over 100 startups - Josh Berry.

Josh Berry is interested in helping corporate innovators think and execute at the speed of startups. His unique combination of experience in the corporate and startup worlds, combined with an uncanny knowledge of how people and organizations work, helps him effectively translate startup-driven innovation to corporate growth.

Also interested in serving as a mentor or workshop facilitator for seed-stage accelerators. Currently mentor at NMotion, gener8tor, Seed Sumo, Bizdom, Iowa Startup Accelerator, Conscious Venture Labs and more.

2:20    Josh believed that his education was to follow a set path. He met with a smart mentor right out of school who took him under his wing for ten years at a talent management and growth management company. He went through varied roles there and ultimately decided to move to his own startup doing all the things that he now tells people what not to do these days! Naturally, a few months into it, things weren’t exactly working out and he decided to fall back to a lean startup scenario.

4:30    Josh didn’t even know what a lean startup was until he was introduced to the concept of corporate rounding. He was thinking of getting into a whole new industry, and he decided to go to all the CEO’s of his firms hospital clients to try and determine what they were needing and wanting.  Previous to this he admits that all of the strategies employed were ‘baked in a room’ and brought out to his clients and when they didn’t work - the obvious thing to do was blame marketing.

5:25    To Josh ‘lean’ means getting passionate about what you’re trying to solve and then finding out the quickest and cheapest way to solve that problem.

6:56    One of the things he would never do again goes back to the early days of his career. A side project that he created with his wife was a subscription box of christian crafts and lessons for busy christian families. They sent out a sample box to 50 families, got  90% positive feedback and decided on that basis to start printing and designed a website. It turned out that out of those 50 families only 3 actually subscribed. Lesson learned.

9:20    The craze right now of using an Indiegogo plugin or the like to get currency or interest but then taking it a step further and getting people to actually act on it is something that Josh is interested in.

10:58    There are always simpler ways to test the largest assumptions that you have.

12:17    Josh is not afraid of spending money on focussed targeted ad-words or Facebook ads to build traffic. He also recommends blogging or curating content around the people you are interested in to building a community.

14:00    To tell whether you are lean or not, Josh feels that early on if you are spending more then 50% of your time on the development time as opposed to marketing and talking to people, that could be an indication that you are not lean.

15:06    What Josh has people do typically is to look at a business model canvas and list out all the assumptions that you may have, but then rate those assumptions on how assertive you are, and then rate them on impact or how important they actually are.

17:48    Josh gives some examples of two startups where the business owners concerned were spending unnecessary money on developing with external teams, when they could have validated the concepts themselves and saved money.

19:40    Discussing his current company - Econic’s vision, Josh describes how he feels that there is a lot of bridging that could happen between corporations and startups including more pro-active match making. Econic is positioning itself to be a way to bridge that gap and help corporations innovate more like start ups. It also wants to help startups find resources or clients.

22:07    Josh considers himself a constant learner. He enjoys listening to major corporations at conferences admitting that they are still looking for answers and that they don’t know it all. In a corporation, its vital to have your core values of lean and application in order, but for a startup, that landscape can be very different.  

24:25    A popular methodology appearing is to form a ‘black ops’ group in companies whereby a small group will work on new ideas and concepts before a startup does the same thing in competition.

25:50    Typically, Econic’s involvement starts with a conversation about innovation strategy, followed by context of the industry in the landscape. Next up is to devise a strategy and optimization. Econic also tries to bring a cultural aspect to the table. Josh’s podcast  ‘Inside Outside’ will be featuring stories such as this over the coming episodes.

28:44    The simplest definition of culture, according to Josh, is ‘the way we do things around here’. That incapsulates everything. He feels that culture needs to be discussed openly and noted down on paper. That is one of the key things with a startup - new employees should add to the culture.

32:21    Growth hacks that Josh likes include - a company that was focussed on delivering produce identified that its target persona was a urban female in her 20’s and decided the best way to find such a person was Tinder. They engaged in a campaign of liking everybody and when people would match with them they would engage in a conversation about buying produce.

36:30    Josh discusses how he learned to speak fluent Spanish, and how it lead to his first job.

37:45    Josh gives us his unique twist on a sponsor message!