If you have a startup, you might wonder why it even matters what you write in your “About” page, but if you look at the analytics, you’ll probably find the About and Team pages are fairly popular, often the most popular after your home page.
So what should you put there?
Inspiration and passion
Inspiration and passion. Ok, that’s kind of bombastic, but there is some reason you founded this startup. Something bothered you. Something bothered your customers. Say what it is that gets you out of bed in the morning.
In interviewing one of my customers, a security software vendor, I asked them why they founded the company. He started blathering on and on about how they were going to really change the world and telling me all about his vision for rendering malicious hackers impotent. I was thinking to myself “OMG, this guy is totally for real. He thinks app security is going to change the world.” They got a really good “About” page for their site.
I mean, you and I might not think web app security is going to change the world — but if you have a startup — even if you just think it is for making money — you think so because it is solving a real problem in the real world. Talk about that on your About page. Don’t talk about your product. You already did that. Talk about the people who will benefit from what you’re doing. Talk about you as a person. Talk about the frustrations you are eliminating. Talk about what gets you up every morning.
The Team pages, if possible, should follow. Yes, keep the experience and education in there, but also add something relevant. For the Microsoft Accelerator (Now accepting applications for Class III, BTW), I’m working with two companies, KitchenBug and WSC Sport (neither site is ready as of this posting, but keep your eyes open for better text soon). For KitchenBug, I asked them all to tell me their favorite food or food blog, and for WSC about their involvement in sport, even if it’s just as a fan. It’s relevant. I mean, you don’t work long hours for startup salary (nothing, in this case) unless you really, really care about the topic. Maybe you do, but not for long.
One final word. Use good pictures on your team page. There is absolutely no excuse today to have crappy pictures or pictures that don’t match. Someone on your team has a good camera or Apple device. Tell everyone what to wear on picture day, bring in the camera, and get good, matching pictures. It used to be a huge big deal to do a photoshoot (and I still advise it for larger companies), but today it’s nothing. If your pictures look bad, you look like wankers who don’t care about your appearance. (Even if you are said wankers, put on a show for the audience, please.)
Functionally, that’s the end of this post, but I want to tell you a little story, so you can read it if you want.
Bonus: Story about passion and inspiration
Last month, I finished up some market research for a very large company. The research concluded that there was, indeed, a real market and there was, indeed, some money to be made in this market. We felt there was reason to go to a pilot, and it was obvious that they wanted me (and Miriam) to lead a startup. Although they weren’t offering money, they were offering other benefits, like connections and infrastructure. It was a very, very good situation for doing a startup. Interesting market, great supporters, good partners.
I sat down and thought about it. I asked myself one simple question. “Is this what I want to devote my life to for the next 3 to 5 years?” If it’s successful, if it’s not, whatever. Is this what I want to be doing with my time? And the answer was no. No. That doesn’t inspire me to get out of bed. It’s a great problem to solve, but not for me. Someone else might find it inspiring (If you’re looking for a startup, call me, I can tell you about it. The opportunity is still there.)
It’s not about some trite maxim, either. Have you noticed that it’s not actually true that if you do what you love, the money will follow? That’s kind of a crock. The people who say that have made the money, and we don’t listen to the people who did what they loved but failed. I’m sure there are many of them, but we don’t listen to them because they are losers. Duh.
This is what it is about.
Do what you love, and your days shall not suck. Your chances of success, let’s face it, are middling. Even if you do everything right. But your chances of happiness are high. Do what you love to enjoy your life. If you’re doing that, you’ll always have something to say in the “about” page of your life.