The reason Startuptravels are doing things that don’t scale

Few months ago a friend of mine sent me an essay by Paul Graham and told me to read it.

Having read the essay twice I started to think about how we do things that don’t scale in Startuptravels. In this post I’ll tell you how we have done it and why.


Paul Graham Startuptravels“You should take extraordinary measures not just to acquire users, but also to make them happy. Your first users should feel that signing up with you was one of the best choices they ever made”


Personalized message to new users

When we launched Startuptravels in October we made a promise in the team regarding how we wanted to onboard our users.

Each and everyone of the entrepreneurs joining the platform would get a personal message from either Henrik, Rasmus or me (.. talk about things that don’t scale!).

We have (.. literally) spent hundreds of hours on messaging all the people signing up so that they would feel comfortable about using the platform. Look at it this way: If you invited someone into your home you would want them to feel welcome as well.

Your startup is not your home – but it is damn close!

Welcome message blog

What happened after this? In the past months we have talked to thousands of interesting entrepreneurs from all around the world, and we have made valuable connections, business partners and new friends.

Besides that, which is amazing in itself, we have received a significant amount of valuable feedback.

We have experienced people initial reactions of the platform, and had the opportunity to respond and have a very valuable conversation about the platform.

Imagine all the quality feedback you get from interacting with each and everyone. You cannot buy an expensive consulting report that would top the results we get from interacting personally with our users.

We have used this feedback to guide our product development.

Also, people really appreciated it and felt welcome.

Feedback from customers
Is it worth it? Yes! Would we do it all over again? Yes! .. and we will continue to do it for as long as it is possible!

Question in the launch email

Before we launched the platform we managed to sign up almost 10.000 entrepreneurs from 130 countries. The day we launched we sent out an email to the list to announce the launch.

Inspired by Alex from Groove we decided to include a question in the launch email, which would give us some valuable insights.

Once again we experimented with an initiative that don’t scale. Below you can see the email.

Launch email
In the email we asked people why they had signed up for the platform. This feedback was extremely important for us in order to understand what people was looking for in our concept.

We experienced the same feedback as Alex did for Groove. Tons of emails flooded our inbox with great insights about why people chose to sign up.

We had to work late nights in order to reply to everyone, but eventually we made it.

We compiled a document of all the feedback and ended up with hundreds of explanations. You can see some of the feedback below.

Feedback on launch email

Reading through this (massive) amount of feedback gave us a great indication of peoples intentions and validated the concept we have just started building.

Learnings and takeaways

Being a startup with limited (.. zero) resources it can be demanding to devote that much time to activities that does not appear to increase the value in the short term.

What we have learned so far is that doing things that don’t scale can result in significant value – also in the short term. I have listed 3 reasons why you should start doing things that don’t scale:

1) You will get the chance to interact with thousands of people, which will give you a better understanding of the typical user. You will get a crystal clear persona, which can guide you in your daily operations.

2) You will receive an incredible amount of honest feedback concerning your service. Most people are willing, and your willingness to listen is your greatest asset as a startup founder.

3) You will stand out from the crowd! When was the last time you were greeted personally by a founder? Probably a while ago. We have received a lot of positive feedback on our initiative – also in Dutch.

(Subscribing to a platform and being personally greeted by the founder. That’s cool)

Jan feedback

You have a startup. Go the extra mile. Think of out the box and make your users feel special.

It is not about trying to come up with some trick to capitalize on – it is about being genuinely interested in what other people are doing and a wish and desire to make people feel welcome – as in real life.

If you ever drop by Copenhagen – make sure to stop by the office.

Until next time,


  1. Lean Startup in Startuptravels - […] clear interest from the users. After seeing this result we decided to start building. You can read how we …
  2. Early Marketing Strategy in Startuptravels - […] This approach did contribute to a significant amount of sign-ups but, seen in retrospect, this approach was way too …

Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>

Pin It on Pinterest

Share This

Share This

Share this post with your friends!

Warning: Parameter 1 to W3_Plugin_TotalCache::ob_callback() expected to be a reference, value given in /var/www/ on line 3327