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Angel Invest Boston

Through the Angel Invest Boston Podcast we seek to learn more about the creation of world-changing startups. Boston’s unique concentration of academic talent and entrepreneurial culture offer bountiful opportunities for conversations with people who have funded and built innovative companies. By recounting engaging stories, angels and founders convey lessons they have learned. These narratives illustrate the rewards of helping founders commercialize transformative technologies. We hope you too will find our dialogues entertaining and instructive. I’m Sal Daher, host of the Angel Invest Boston Podcast. After immigrating to Boston as a child and attending Belmont High School, I studied engineering at MIT and Stanford. Decades of work in international finance followed. During that time, I invested in a handful of ventures founded by friends and acquaintances. Now, I’m a member of Walnut Ventures and MIT Angels and spend most of my time as an angel investor taking stakes in about a dozen startups per year.
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Mar 1, 2017

Whenever I speak with Kathryn Roy I learn something. I learned a lot when I spent an hour talking to this remarkably incisive thinker. Kathryn has advised some of the most dynamic technology companies of our time including Lotus, Kronos, Phase Forward, IBM, Computer Associates, Avid and Constant Contact. The qualities that make her ideas prized in so many executive suites were in full display during this delightful interview.

Here are some quotes from our conversation.

  • “The hardest thing about marketing and messaging is figuring out what you're not going to say.”
  • Speaking about what she calls The Curse of Knowledge she says: “When you're steeped in a technical domain, you start talking to other people as if they have the exact same context in their heads.”
  • Speaking about what companies should put on their websites she says: “What's really important is to let the visitor see, at a glance, what could you do for me? What problem could you solve, and do you solve it for other companies like me?”
  • “I always tell the companies I work with: never brag about yourself. You can get a customer quote, and they can talk about you, but when you brag about yourself, it is totally discounted by prospects.”
  • “I think that's a challenge I see in a lot of companies, because you get marketing people and they want to work on fun things. They want to work on beautiful graphics. They want to have great events. The real benefit or the most important thing that you can do is understand the customer's needs, no matter how boring they are.”

 

Here are the topics covered during our interview:

 

  • Kathryn Roy Bio
  • From Math Major to Harvard MBA
  • Early Incarnation of Artificial Intelligence – Kathryn Roy’s First Experience in a Startup – Product in Search of Market – Classic Problem Described by Geoffrey Moore
  • Kathryn Roy Goes to a Dungeons & Dragons Company Next – Finds Her True Calling – Marketing & Behavioral Economics
  • Not Being Cut Out for Coding Did Not Discourage Kathryn Roy – She Knew Where She Could Better Use Her Acute Powers of Reasoning
  • Kathryn Roy Finds That There Is a Market for Her Kind of Thinking
  • Peace Corps & BBN Planet by Accident
  • By Teaching I Learn – Docendo Discimus – Kathryn Roy Decides to Learn More About Marketing by Teaching Marketing But Ends Up at BBN Planet Instead
  • Phase Forward – More Open Communication with Clients Bought Time to Succeed
  • One of Kathryn Roy’s Marketing Tricks: Give Away Something of Value to Customers Which Is Relatively Easy for You to Create – It Gets You Mindshare – Two Excellent Examples Given
  • Marketing People Want to Work on Fun Stuff – Graphics, Events, etc. – Should Focus Instead on Boring Things that Address Customer Needs
  • Kathryn Roy Finds a Natural Fit between Her Approach to Marketing & Consulting
  • Angel Invest Boston Brings You Outstanding Guests like Kathryn Roy, with Professional Sound Quality, at No Cost to You and with No Commercials – Give Back by Reviewing Us in iTunes & Spreading the Word
  • Kathryn Roy’s Three Bits of Advice for Founders
  • One – Make Sure You Have Critical Skill Within the Founding Team – Hard to Get Otherwise
  • Two – Narrow Your Focus to a Group of Buyers That Have Common Needs & Consider Each Other References
  • Three – Don’t Be Seduced by Fads
  • Founders Frequently Get Into Trouble by Not Recognizing the Differences between B2B and B2C Marketing – Taglines: Less Is More
  • “The hardest thing about marketing and messaging is figuring out what you're not going to say.”
  • How Kathryn Roy Became an Angel Investor
  • What Does Kathryn Roy Look for in a Founding Team?
  • Kathryn Roy’s Advice to Founders Hiring Marketing Teams
  • The Curse of Knowledge
  • Investors, Beware of Giving Advice in Areas beyond Your Expertise
  • Messaging Mistakes
  • If You Are a Company Under $100 Million in Value You Can’t Afford to Have People Remember More Than One Name for You
  • Kathryn Roy Talks about Pixability’s Pivots
  • Poly6 Narrow Its Focus
  • 3D Data
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