First-time entrepreneur Joe Cohen talks about what to do when Launch Day inevitably doesn't go according to plan.
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00:07 Joe Cohen: And the biggest problem was that the website wasn't live yet, the website that we were launching.
In 2011, Joe Cohen co-founded Lore, a web-based learning tool that helps students and teachers share educational content.
The website was scheduled to go live in November of 2011.
00:28 Cohen: We've been working for six months to finally launch our product. We had built it, we have tested it in different schools around the country and basically, we were preparing for our spring semester launch, this was our grand launch. And to do that, we had hired 100 student representatives at 50 different schools, universities, IVY League schools, Stanford, the whole country, West Coast, East Coast, to basically plaster their campuses with materials from our company. We were getting all our ducks in a row, getting everything ready, and we had press lined up to get the word out. And so, we got an exclusive with TechCrunch for a 10 AM launch on Tuesday, November 29th.
Joe planned on addressing the student representatives at midnight to prepare them for the launch.
01:27 Cohen: Just as I'm about to get on to speak with them via live broadcast, I looked on Twitter and I see one of our investors re-tweeted an article about us launching, but it wasn't from TechCrunch. It was from another publication. And I'm like, "What is going on?" 'Cause this was a B row publication. So, I check out the article and it was a really lousy article. It was really bad. And now, I'm freaking out because we had this big release exclusively with TechCrunch in the morning. So, I get on the phone with reporter and I try to get in touch with her. Twenty times I call her, does not answer the phone. I'm freaking out. I'm going crazy. Then I get a call from one of our investors who is the guy who connected us to the reporter at TechCrunch and he's freaking out 'cause he's like, "Joe, I spent my work here and you're not publishing it with TechCrunch. You broke the exclusive." And so I'm going crazy.
Joe addressed the students--then continued trying to get the article taken down.
At 1:30am, the article was still up--and Joe knew he couldn't get it down.
02:33 Cohen: At that point, I was like, "Well, let's just go for it. Screw it. We're not getting this article down. Let's embrace it and just kill it." So, we got everything up, we got everything ready to go, and we put the website live at night, so our grand launch was not gonna happen at 10 AM, it was gonna happen at 2 AM. And all these people, tens of thousands of people are getting to our website, but I realized at that point that there was nothing for them to do on the website because our site is designed for teachers. And so, if they're not teachers, they can't use it. So I was like, "We need a demo, we need to show off the product without requiring someone to create an account." And within an hour, my co-founder, a brilliant genius, it's Jim, got a demo fully functionally working. People were absolutely loving it and going crazy about what we were doing, and we ended up getting way more traffic through social media and our pushing than we would have just through TechCrunch. And it was a massive success, people absolutely loved it. That's what you work for. It all comes down to what happens at launch, right? Until you launch a product, you're working behind closed doors and it's a secret to the rest of the world.
Lore has had students and professors at more than 600 colleges use its product.
The company has raised $6 million in funding, led by the Social+Capital Partnership.
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