Startup Institute Students Join the Tribe at Tribe for a Sales and Marketing Hack

This article first appeared on As I sit here, I realize that without the Startup Institute, I wouldn’t be employed. No, I am not one of the graduates of a program-turned-success story. Rather, I am the byproduct of the Startup Institute ecosystem. Let me explain…

Tribe’s co-founders, Henry Vasquez and Sam Harris, were both successful entrepreneurs in the Chicago tech ecosystem. Sam was running a 1,900 person tutoring company on the South Side of Chicago. Henry was running his own Mobile dev shop, creating apps for clients like UChicago and Mercedes. One way or another, they both ended up as teachers at the Startup Institute running sessions on coding and sales, respectively.

One night, they met after teaching their lessons and started to have some great talks. After class had let out, they found themselves looking for each other afterwards to continue their conversations. Quickly they realized that they were becoming great friends but the only way they knew they could spend more time together was if they founded their own company together. And so, they launched Tribe. Skip ahead a few months, and enter me. I got my job as a sales and marketing associate at Tribe by going through an interesting interview process, concocted by Henry. That’s how I have Startup Institute to thank for the job.[bctt tweet="#ChicagoTech's @tribe_do was founded when two @StartupInst instructors joined coding + sales forces" via="no"]

So, with the Startup Institute playing such a prominent role in our creation, we feel a certain responsibility to give back when we can. That’s why we were eager to see what we could do to help the spring 2016 class.

The first thing we did was offer the entire 2016 spring class annual subscriptions to Tribe Pro for free ($3,000 value). We thought, what better time to begin organizing efforts than the beginning of an intensive program. Lot’s of new tasks, projects and work to juggle.

The second thing we did was sponsor a project to give the sales and marketing students a taste of working directly on a startup company’s project. I worked with Carlin Thomas to setup what we thought would be a fun Sales/Marketing Hack.[bctt tweet=".@StartupInst Students Join the Tribe @tribe_do for a Sales + Marketing Hack—@OliverStahliver"]

Here are the details of the hack:

  1. The sales students could sell Tribe to whoever they wanted for a week. Tribe is a horizontal product; can be used by anyone with an email address. They were told to take good notes, and have lots of conversations.
  2. After the first week, the sales students would report back with notes and feedback about what they’ve learned and give the marketing team a good baseline to work from.
  3. The marketing students took the sales feedback and constructed an ideal customer, or target market, for the sales team to target in the next week of sales.
  4. The sales students could only sell Tribe into the target market, chosen by the marketing students.
  5. Finally, the sales students reported back after a week of selling what happened when they tried to sell Tribe into what they thought was the ideal target market.

Here’s what came out of it:

  1. We were given a new perspective to work from. I couldn’t replicate the experiences had by the sales/marketing students, and what came out of it were new exciting ideas that I could have never come up with on my own.
  2. The sales students found out about other products out there that Tribe ends up competing with. The big ones were other project management tools, excel sheets, and our dreaded immortal enemy—the paper list.
  3. While everyone has some sort of system they use to get things done, its more important to target someone when they are looking for a solution, rather than find people who are already using similar solutions; their minds are usually made up and they have what they need.

[bctt tweet="Target ppl actively looking for solutions, not ppl whose minds you need to change—@OliverStahliver"]

We’re excited to create more marketing & sales hacks, just like this one, for future Startup Institute students. The only thing that may happen is in the future they may have heard of us and/or possibly already use Tribe. Okay, now I’m getting ahead of myself.

We want to thank the Startup Institute, especially Carlin and Lisa, for letting us setup this hack here in the Chicago program. I want to thank the Startup Institute for inadvertently giving me employment.

Finally, I want to recognize the students involved in this project. They were nothing but a pleasure to work with and I have no doubt they will immediately contribute wherever they earn positions after they graduate from the Chicago program. Here are links to some insanely talented people:

Sales and account management students

Technical marketing students