Who’s behind this?

My name is Greg Kogan (email). I’m an engineer-turned-marketer who now helps B2B software startups connect their products with the needs of their audience.

Without an outsider’s perspective, software companies over-index on the needs of the early few customers, develop blind spots, or fail to express the value of their product to a new audience because they lost the beginner’s mindset.

For some of my consulting projects, I started conducting one-on-one calls with the people who could be using the product some day, then using that information to recommending a course of action for the startup.

For example, for FoundationDB I spoke with over a dozen engineers and learned that the use case for FoundationDB wasn’t at all clear, so we overhauled the public-facing website to include more clear and concrete descriptions and visualizations.

The study participants often told me they enjoy helping startups, and offered to help again in the future. Hundreds of engineers and data scientists told me this. That’s why I decided to create an independent group of people that I can invite to future studies to share their opinion and help software companies.

Questions you might have…

Do participants get paid?

Participants get some form of compensation after each completed call, such as a gift card or PayPal transfer. The amounts vary based on the topic and number of people qualified to participate. Most people, however, say that the reason they participate is to share their expert knowledge, and to help startups whose products could someday be useful to them. Do not rely on SBC for an income stream.

Will I start getting marketing emails or sales calls from companies?

Your contact information will not be shared with anyone, so you will not get any emails or calls from companies as a result of participating. The requesting company will get a document with general takeaways and findings, without any personal information.

I’d like to help but I’m very busy. How much of a commitment is this?

Participation is completely voluntary, both in the council and for each call. Even after you join, you’ll get an occasional invitation to participate in a chat about something relevant to your work. You can accept, reject, or ignore that invitation as you see fit. Even when you accept, you can choose the time and date of the call. Finally, when we have the call, it will be just 30 minutes.

Why should I trust you?

I’ve been helping startups since 2013, many of which you would recognize. They trust me with some of their biggest decisions around growth, as do their investors, colleagues, and peers. This project is meant to solve an apparent need with a solution that’s long-term, ethical, and transparent.