Make Your Product Intense (Interview with CEO of Vessel.io)

Make Your Product Intense (Interview with CEO of Vessel.io)

Great Solutions are Always Worth Spending Extra Time On

We were glad to chat with Koustubha and get to know his vision on how the product should look, and what issues face young entrepreneurs. The successful and highly enthusiastic founder of Vessel.io, the developer with a product mindset who helps companies in building mobile apps which bring happiness in millions of people’s lives every day.
The perfect example would be his last child called Vessel.io, the service that makes informed decisions by running native A/B experiments on mobile apps and monitor results in real time. So, we got to talk about this successful marketing example as well as ask Koustubha about important nuances of every entrepreneur.

Facts about Koustubha Deshpande

  • He is a Founder of Vessel.io
  • Lead Mobile Developer at TuneIn, and BMC Software
  • Master in Computer Science graduated from Arizona State University
  • He is a full-stack hacker
  • Koustubha was one of the first of 50 contestants from all over the world in worldwide JAVA Card developer contest organized by SUN, Samsung.
  • He designed and developed a Digixcard in startup weekend Phoenix 2010 over 54 hours
  • He is also involved with worldwide partners to deliver smallest possible code footprint to work across multiple devices (mobile, tablets, TV, Auto)

– So, who was developing Vessel and what stands behind this idea?

– Me and the other Co-Founder we were both working on it. It took us about 20 months. We are coming from a really strong background of mobile development. Like myself – I was developing TuneIn radio app, and Devendra Laulkar (Vessel Co-Founder) was working on Pulse News app. Of course, through the development process you always face certain problems, so in order to solve one of the major problems we started working on Vessel. We had this idea of a service that would manage the marketing chaos of mobile app companies. Think about Vessel this way – if you start the mobile application development, you use Google Analytics or Mixpanel to track your statistics, right. Then your Product Managers send out the information and try to understand who are the users, who will or won’t use the application. They don’t have much flexibility. So, with Vessel, we wanted to give them that transparency, flexibility, and that understanding on how users are behaving. Saying, you need to see the users that haven’t used your application for x y z, you send them notification or do A\B testing on them. With Vessel, you may perform this A\B testing without going through coding cycles.

– Vessel divides all users by 5 different user bases, why exactly this way?

– For example, you have a blog and you got a certain number of users visiting. Google Analytics will show you that 200,000 users are visiting your blog, for example. But you have no idea, what is the true number of users that have actually performed any actions on your blog, have read it, or got interested in the information your blog provides. And what’s most important, what should you do in order to re-engage or re-invite them to visit your site again. What exactly is getting them interested in your blog? Who are the users that visited your blog? Are they from China? Maybe they can be your potential customer. So what our service does is it translating this analogy into the mobile world. Rather than tracking how many users opened your application, Vessel gets to know each and every user. You may tell that these are the users are likely to buy your application, these are the users that opened your application X number of times, these users that spent two hours on your application. These are the indexes that every app marketer should know. We are giving them an automation to manage their application.

‘We are building the product that solves all the massive problems of marketing chaos’

Koustubha Deshpande

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– When did you guys come up with the idea of Vessel service?

– When I was working on TuneIn app, I helped the company to grow from zero to around 50 million users. We had problems with the number of visitors, and in order to find the solution on how to increase this number we were working weekends, nights, and eventually we quit our jobs to start working on it full time. That’s when we came up with the idea of mobile A\B testing.
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– So at that point, how did people get to know about your service? Did you have a special recipe for it?

– We do some blog marketing, we show people guidance on what should they do with their application. By the way, one of our customers got his app in the list of 100 top best world applications, it’s called RunKeeper. We’ve been helping them with advice from the beginning. It’s been quite a journey.

– Do you have special features coming on, do you work on something now?

– Yeah, we are actually building a product to solve all the massive problems of marketing chaos – we want to build automotive systems, so people don’t have to do complex queries. Vessel should solve all these problems.

– Do you track the number of Vessel users? How many of them are active users?

– Yeah, we are processing around 1 billion events per month.

– Do you determine certain moves in marketing due to these numbers?

– Yes, for example, if you don’t show skip button in your menu, the attention of the user raises on 10-20%, or if the user logs in with Facebook, they are more likely to buy something from your application.

– Did you guys consider any startup incubators at the beginning?

– No, we’ve been funded by 500 Startups Accelerator.

– Do you consider any partnership or alliance?

– We are working with the number of partners right now, we will soon release that information.

500startups

‘Once an Entrepreneur, Always an Entrepreneur’ – Koustubha Deshpande

– Do you have special management style?

– I’m master in computer science, as well as my co-founder. And we’ve been developing apps for the industry for the last six years.

– How important is it to be an engineer to start a tech company?

– Not very. Use your advantage, you need to have an attitude, you need to hustle. Startups are hard, nothing comes easy, you need a lot of patience. Startups take all your entire life. You gotta give up your time. It’s like way more than a full-time job.

– Can you give a special suggestion to mobile web developers?

– First of all – think about your end users. Don’t just build an application, you have to win your customer every day. Because they can uninstall your application anytime, and you may lose them as customers. So, build what matters.

– Do you have an example, when you had to solve any analytical problem?

– We’ve been working on quite complex technology, and to make sure it’s pretty smooth for our end users.

– Did you have an advice from somebody from the industry that got you kick-started? Maybe the famous quote.

– That would probably be Dave McClure of 500 Startups, he once said to us – ‘Just Get Shit Done’.

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– How would you describe yourself in one word?

– An entrepreneur by choice.

– In future, if you wouldn’t have to care about anything, would you still be doing something in tech? Would something still gonna drive you, in let’s say 20 years?

– Once an entrepreneur, always an entrepreneur. You will keep doing what matters, you will keep solving issues, find better ways of resolving different issues. There will always gonna be something.

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Maybe unusual question – Tell us the last person you fired, as you can’t build a great team without occasionally deconstructing and rebuilding it.

– Yeah, it’s important to hire the right people. It’s better to remove the people that don’t fit as soon as possible. We had some people that just didn’t match to our general team idea.

– Thank you for these straight up answers, you have a great day.

– You do as well, thanks.

 

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