Well Made #73 Testing Things with Jenny Gyllander, founder of Thingtesting.
|David Senra||Mar 22, 2019|
Thingtesting is an instagram based, review compendium, of direct to consumer brands - with pictures and a review from Jenny’s perspective.
The reviews are written from two perspectives: 1) A personal one based on how the user experience was. 2) A VC perspective that describes the company, industry landscape, and market.
I never thought I’d work in VC. I thought I’d work in fashion. I dropped out of college to learn visual merchandise. One of my teachers said. “Retail is dying. We need to teach you photoshop and design.” That came in handy when I started Thingtesting.
How Jenny found out about startups: There was a startup event called Slush. I noticed they didn’t have any social channels. I cold-called them and offered to be their official Instagrammer. That led to a job running their brand and marketing. I did that for 3 1/2 years.
A VC called me and said they needed help with marketing. I thought this opportunity was interesting. I got a job at Backed VC.
Not everyone following Thingtesting is interested in startups. A lot of people follow it to discover new products.
I definitely never expected Thingtesting to grow into what it is today. I just had a list of products I wanted to try. I wanted a channel to learn about products. I wanted a way to share my perspective as a user and a VC. It was that simple.
Thingtesting has grown into a website and an email newsletter. It grew so much that I couldn’t just do it at night and on weekends. I am on sabbatical right now so I can work on Thingstesting full time.
We use the term direct to the consumer because it’s a new thing. I think in a few years we will just call them brands. They just started out in a different way than brands previously did.
Don’t be afraid to be different: A lot of brands use the same fonts, colors - they even use the same law firms. I think there are a lot of interesting things to be explored by broadening. . .to just look different.
I’d love to expand the reviews to include other people’s opinions. To be less about me.
I think people like scrappy. Thingstesting is quite scrappy. It’s just me and some foam boards. It’s not a huge production. It makes it relatable and authentic. Brands lose scrappiness as they grow.
Companies over think a lot. They think they need something with high production value. But the real thing that makes it engaging is creativity. Thingtesting posts contain a lot of text, filled with typos. It is authentic. People can tell it is written by a real human being.