Finding Your Next Idea with Philippe Lehoux of MissiveApp.com

Episode #033

Ever since he launched a profitable website as a teenager, Philippe Lehoux has had an uncanny ability to find something bigger and better to work on. Learn how a lifetime of experience as an entrepreneur has given him the confidence to move on from a business that brings in over $50,000/month.

  1. 4

    Great interview. Thanks for sharing Philippe. Love the idea about learning to code, and doing it for fun, so you can handle the not fun parts.

  2. 1

    My Main Takeaways:

    • Philipe worked on his games website for about 10 years.
    • Philipe said he may have done things "right" when starting out, but he only realised this in hindsight, because in the moment he was just "doing" things, he wasn't even trying to make money.
    • He eventually started experimenting with ways to make money, later on.
    • He eventually started losing interest in his games website business as he grew older, and his income from the ads was very small, and decreasing. - - - Then Google Adsense launched, and he put it onto the site, and he immediately went from making $10-15 per day, to about $300 per day.
    • When he started making lots of money, he didn't think it would last, he believed that it would eventually end.
    • Surround yourself with similar minded people and role models - He was still a kid while receiving all that money online, and he never really thought of becoming an entrepreneur because he had no role models around him who would make the path of entrepenurship seem like a legitimate career for himself.
    • Philipe was doing all this stuff back around the late 1990s and early 2000s and when Web 2.0 came out in 2004-2005, he finally began educating himself on entrepreneurship
    • When he decided to take his business seriously, he didn't see himself as a proper programmer, so decided to hire a programmer from his university, but that programmer did a bad job and caused the site to crash, which destroyed Philipe's SEO ranking. Which he never recovered from (and lost out on a lot of money for)
    • Philipe decided to learn programming for himself after his lack of technical knowledge literally cost him (see previous point).
    • Never doubt your abilities - Philipe initially didn't believe he was able to code because he never studied anything technical while at university, so he doubted himself, and avoided code for a while.
    • The first step to learning is to learn the first few simple concepts. Master them then experiment with them, and have fun with them. Don't start to code just to build a billion dollar company, first have fun with it.
    • He enjoyed programming and writing games using physics. And eventually got interested in the indie games community.
    • Soon he finished college and didnt know what exactly he wanted to do, but felt that he wanted to start a games studio, but didnt believe he was advanced enough in his programming ability to do it, so he decided to find a "co-founder" who had the technical skills. And to do this he organised a game-jam
    • Since he wanted to show people that he'd make a great "business partner", Philipe organising the game jam would demonstrate to everyone who came that he was actually an action taker, which was great for social proof.
    • Philipe organised this game jam with the help of his friend who was really good at organising events
    • They managed to get different companies to sponsor the event, raising $200k to be invested into it (only to be used to make it happen)
    • But when the event happened, it was so big, and Philipe was so busy that he was not even able to network with game developers as he intended
    • Eventually Philipe no longer wanted to run the event. But he ran it one more time after being convinced by his cofounder, and he actually managed to network with people and make friends who were developers
    • By the time he stopped running the conference, Philipe's initial games website business was no longer making money, as games were more popular on smartphones than on websites, so he had to think of a new idea to pay the bills
    • His next idea came when he identified the pain of his friends manually designing and printing out name badges for event attendees. He immediately began working on it and the pain was so big that Eventbrite said that they would promote Philipe's business because Eventbrite customers wanted something like Philipe's business, but didnt have time to make it.
    • Philipe says that he had many more other business failures during his journey that he didnt mention in this podcast.
    • Philipe says "build something great and people will come", and admits that luck plays a part too. He also says that he himself is not a good marketer, so this philosophy was ideal for him. Philipe just went above and beyond for his customers, he "nurtured the few customers [he] had", which in turn increased word-of-mouth.
    • With Philipe's new business, MissiveApp, he has worked on his marketing skills to become a better marketer and get the word out more since it's a different kind of product.
    • Philipe says that he focuses more on marketing now because he understands that even if your product is good, marketing can only help, and you need creative ways to get people to talk about your product (especially as his new product, MissiveApp relies more on marketing than on organic search or word-of-mouth).
    • Philipe was working on ConferenceBadge in a partnership. And he and his partner were creative and wanted to start something else alongside ConferenceBadge to feed their creative desires, so they started MissiveApp
    • Over time, as they worked on MissiveApp, they gradually increased the amount of time that they worked on it, and decreased the amount of time that they worked on ConferenceBadge.
    • When starting, make simple businesses that solve existing and simple problems. (Philipe did this with conference app) because here, people can more easily come find you by typing keywords online for a solution exactly like yours.
    • As you gain success and popularity you can venture into businesses that create something "new". Businesses that address problems that customers haven't yet realised they had.  (As Philipe did with MissiveApp) because here you will need to get in front of THEM via expensive marketing or a big following.
    • Leverage your existing or unique resources and advantages when startarting new businesses
    • Philipe got the idea for MissiveApp from conversations with customers.
    • Philipe doesnt have a long term plan for MassiveApp. And he doesnt usually have long term plans for anything.
    • Get good at looking at every industry you are involved in, see what is working, and what is not working, and build something bigger and better.
    • Lower your expenses - Philipe saved his money and it enabled him to experiment for 2 years after university. He never really spent money on big things.
    • Saving money takes pressure off of yourself because you have a cushion to rely on, so don't need to compromise your potentially amazing ideas by obsessing about making money in the short term.