September’s Reading Start Up Grind at Grow@GreenPark featured Sarah Giblin of Riut. Although now living in Berlin, Sarah started off in Reading, and that is Riut’s base. I have to say that it is rare to meet some one who is as engaging, passionate, and humble as Sarah. She tells her story clearly, concisely and well, and had everyone captivated. I’ll add the video here, once it makes it online, but in the meantime, some specific things that stuck with me from the evening in this post.


Last year I had the privilege of speaking at the inaugural Reading StartupGrind. StartUpGrind provides a great way to meet startup folk, and to learn from the successes (and sometimes failures) of others. It isn’t often that you get to have a frank Q & A session with a business founder, so if you are working in a startup, find an event near you, and if you are in the UK and can get to Reading, come along to Grow.

When you meet Sarah, you are going to hear about the RiutBag, that’s a given! There is still time to back it on crowd funding site KickStarter, where the latest campaign has already blown through its target by almost 300%.

The process of going from a business concept, to shipping a product to a global customer base is a daunting prospect. Sarah credit’s Guy Kawasaki’s “Art of the Start” (now in its second edition) as the inspiration for getting going: breaking things down into small steps and setting milestones on the way to generating a profit. That future-backwards approach reflects itself in Riut’s products, and even in the company name (Riut = Revolution In User Thinking) – once you’ve seen the video you’ll get it.

The other thing that was music to my ears was hearing how Sarah used surveys in her user research. I’m a great believer in the value of surveys as a way of moving people away from assumptions and individual subjective opinion (that’s why SocialOptic built SurveyOptic). Surveys, done well, are a fantastic way to test assumptions and understand your market and your customers. Sarah’s well designed questions enabled her to eliminate her own biases in the design process, and to hone in on exactly what would make her product stand out.

You can read more of Sarah’s story in the (very nicely designed) infographic on the Kickstarter page. Like many entrepreneurs, she has very a eclectic background, crossing multiple disciplines and career paths. For many entrepreneurs, those bumpy rides often end up as a strong foundational base, creating the ability to see and understand the diverse perspectives you have to address in running a business.

Do check out Riut, I think it is a business that will go far!