Redeye VC

Josh Kopelman

Managing Director of First Round Capital.

espite being coastally challenged (currently living in Philadelphia), Josh has been an active entrepreneur and investor in the Internet industry since its commercialization. In 1992, while he was a student at the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania, Josh co-founded Infonautics Corporation – an Internet information company. In 1996, Infonautics went public on the NASDAQ stock exchange.

Read more or visit First Round Capital

Monthly Archives for 2010

View the older monthly archives »

Getting Unlost...

Lost I've recently begun watching the first two seasons of Lost on DVD -- and have found some striking similarities between the TV show and launching an Internet site.  The TV show tells the story of the survivors of Oceanic flight 815 -- and the bizarre island they land on.  Gradually, over a period of weeks, the survivors learn about their environment and discover some of the secrets of the island and the mysterious Dharma initiative.  This knowledge is not gathered easily -- their trial-and-error results in a lot of false conclusions and costly mistakes.

Most post-launch startups are also lost.  They don't fully understand the environment they are operating in -- or how to improve/impact it.  Things don't behave as the founders initially expected or logic might dictate.  With all of the data exhaust a website can generate, it's very hard to differentiate the signal from the noise (ie, determine which metrics matter and which don't).  Big functionality deployments can have no real impact on the numbers, yet sometimes small actions like pressing (or not pressing) a button at a specified time, have a major effect. 

Munjal Shah, the CEO of (Riya), has resumed blogging about his startup's journey.  And his current episode (Number 23) does a wonderful job of describing the lack of knowledge a company initially has about their site -- and the process they must go through to gain understanding.  It brings back many vivid memories from my days at  Trying to isolate cause and effect in an online environment is not as easy as it might sound.  It takes a lot of effort, testing and time to begin to understand the levers at your disposal -- and the impact each lever has on your key metrics.

Munjal and team have begun to build a core culture and competency around A/B testing (otherwise known as multivariate testing).    I'm impressed to see them get A/B religion so early in their development - it takes many companies much longer to
adopt this approach.  I think that this type of disciplined, statistical approach towards site improvement is a critical component in metric improvement.  Munjal's post is definitely worth the read...