Dave mcClure is good, this is his talk from FOWA London
Report - query and dump in sortable column.
Key point again - build this tracking into V1. It gives you vital information upon which to base decisions - and communicate externally what is working and not working for you.
- create content
- this creates traffic
- 3rd party sites
Q - do you punish people who are gaming the top rank table
A - no, a lot of time they do not know they are doing it, or they are over enthuastic.
Q - has Digg ever paid for "traditional marketing"
A - no
Q - digg user demographics
A - started 95% male, 18-34. Broadened to 65% male
Tuesday 29th September 2009.
The IGA and Enterprise Ireland are delighted to announce the launch of the Internet Growth Acceleration Programme. This is a new multi-module programme for Irish Internet businesses that wish to grow internationally. It runs over six months allowing participants to complete a deep and intensive review of their internet businesses, resulting in a finale at which each participant will make a pitch to some of the IGA advisors who have pledged to refund the fees for at least four of the participants! Download the pdf here.
International and local instructors will be involved as will the business advisors from the IGA giving participants the chance to network with both experienced and emerging internet entrepreneurs. Competition for places on this programme is likely to be intensive and interested candidates are advised to apply as soon as possible. Download the full details here.
dbTwang will be going for a place - will you?
Thanks to Gordon Smith (and John Collins in the background) for the nicely written article in the Irish Times today. It was triggered by our closing a follow on Angel Round in the last couple of weeks bringing our total to date to just under 200k.
The great news which accompanies that is the participation of Colm Lyon (of Realex Payments) in the round. He is also going to act as an adviser to us as we move to take advantage of the ongoing interest in dbTwang to accelerate a couple of the business strategies which are important to us. He will compliment Gerry McQuaid really nicely.
Extracts from the article:
A NEW Irish-based social network hopes to help guitar collectors find out whether their battered Strat was once gripped by Rory Gallagher, or whether Jimmy Page’s fingers ever danced across the frets of an old Gibson Les Paul.
Called dbTwang, the site aims to become a trusted place on the web where players and collectors can keep information about their guitars securely, over time building a history for their instruments, be they electric, acoustic or bass.
The site will use a “freemium” business model, where many services will cost nothing, and other exclusive features will be available only to paying subscribers. Data from the US suggest the conversion rate to paying users is between 3-8 per cent of a site’s total audience, Mr Bohanna said.
From Om Malik today comes a post on the continued emergence of freemium as a business model. His post starts like this:
Earlier this year, I asked the readers of this blog and those who follow me on Twitter what the one app was that they couldn’t live without. Among the most common names offered up were Evernote, Remember The Milk and Dropbox.
Read the rest of Om's post here.
And from Venturebeat came one on how to get focused on growth for your business. Eric Ries started with a warning:
Every startup needs to “pick a major” among three drivers of growth. It’s simply too hard to focus on more than one. This choice has to be made at the level of strategy, because the tactics between involved in each driver are quite similar.
Startups may pivot from one driver to another as they experiment. But failure to identify a clear driver of growth leads many entrepreneurs into dangerous territory.
Read the rest of Eric's post here.
The first one is particularly interesting for me as regular readers of this blog will know. dbTwang.com is being built with a freemium model in mind yet at least half of the conversations I have with other entrepreneurs about it are with them telling me it will not work.
We think it will - and as with all startup founders while we are very carefully soliciting feedback and advice which we do listen to and incorporate from time to time we are also sticking to our guns on the core of the business.
And that core (for the moment) retains a freemium element.
One of the most popular blog posts for me is one I did on GroupMail - the Sligo based software for running mail lists.
Over the last week I have been working with MailChimp - a SAAS service for running email newsletters and I am really enjoying it. Deep functionality combined with a relatively intuitive interface and rock solid stability are all indicators of a mature product.
You can send up to 600 emails a month free - which puts this in the frame for a lot of Irish SME's. As I sent out nearly 800 emails last night to beta signups for dbTwang we stepped up to the $30 a month bracket.
One interesting report for me was the geographic analysis of opens - which gives us an indication of where the people who signed up for our beta actually are (we only have an email address so difficult to tell).
This is what it reported.
It makes sense. Our market research shows the largest group of guitar owners in the US and UK with Germany probably the biggest in the rest of Europe. One country completely unrepresented here is Japan and that is something we will have to address - but that is another days work!
In May I attended a great early morning workshop held by Enterprise Ireland in conjunction with the Irish Software Association which was targeted at early stage businesses with the aim of making it clearer how Enterprise Ireland (EI) works to assess and process funding applications.
My notes from the session are linked here in a post I did on the day.
Missing were the presentations themselves. I found them yesterday and scanned them in. The first contains an overview of the division within EI which deals with funding applications. Specifically it gives a good step by step on the various elements of how an evaluation works.
The second contains details on the legal side and some great information to note for entreprenuers. Specifically the point was made on the day that the vast majority of this (ie that EI takes Cumulative Convertible Redeeemable Preference Shares) is not negotiable and so any advice to the contrary can be ignored!
Hope they are of use to you.
The following are noted in my Things as needing to be done over the coming months:
Going to give this a shot - for a number of reasons would be good to be part of the Hothouse Network. That application is due in 31st July
Have ignored this for the last 2 years as we had nothing to show. This year we will have so in it goes for a top prize of 100k for the winning business. 25th September for this.
Anything else to suggest for dbTwang.com?
Is it a sign of the times or just a sign of my times (reading and blogging less while I and stay focused and try to achieve balance of sorts in my life) that I have not seen many (any?) Irish references to the techcrunch.co.uk inaugural Europe-wide awards ceremony for technology innovation.
Caught my eye and certainly considering attending - however wondering if I am missing something when the web2 community here are being silent on it.
Help me find those missing links? It is on July 9th in London and there are 300 places.
Update - just sent in our pitch so will book a place now one way or another :-)
Thanks to Richard Hearn (currently working in Asia). He sent me the link to this great presentation from Josuha Porter in Bokardo who specialises in interface design for social web sites.
In it he explores the psychology of signup - what is potentially going on in peoples heads/minds when they arrive at a new service on the the internet and how to design your site/service to make it easier for them to make a favorable decision and commit their details to you.
Elements of it I have seen before but this brings it all together nicely. keith
Introduced by Jennifer Condon who said that it was developed in conjunction with the ISA and was aimed at giving a less formal intro to how EI work in this area.
KEY - what monies do you need know, what do you need over next 3 years, how do they get their return.
There are some blogs that are very on target for what we are doing with dbTwang (a focused social network with a freemium/recurring subscription element to it).
They are the ones I read regularly - not skimming but setting time aside to read them properly.
They offer a service for analyzing visitor data and have a blog that is very informative on the topic of metrics for e-commerce and conversion driven businesses.
Mark McLeod is a CFO for hire and he took the time a couple of months ago to have a Skype conversation with me. He is informed and experienced and generous with sharing. He also initiated a Startup CFO community on Ning.
Andrew is obsessive on the topic of freemium and has published many rich posts on this and related areas. One of which includes a spreadsheet for modeling conversions, user acquisition costs and life time values.
Dave is an entrepreneur, VC rep for very early stage investments and is also metric obsessed. He rules supreme with his "How to give a VC a Hard On" presentation! I met Dave in San Francisco recently and he took the time to listen and feedback to me.
This European site covers (as you would expect!) EU based startups.
Startup Marketing is his baby and he speaks from a background of having taken 7 VC backed businesses to market.
This is the single podcast I always listen to. Frequency is irratic and the lenght (at an hour usually) is longer than usual yet the style of conversation is great to listen to and the stuff you can learn from the entrepreneurs Greg Galant talks to is worth it.
Hope some of those are of interest.
Picked up a great post today from Eric Ries entitled "Don't Launch".
The concept of a launch usually encompasses two things:
2 different things and probably best to be at 2 different times.
What a marketing launch can do for you;
a) Drive customers into your sales pipeline. Caveat - if you are not geared up to take full advantage of this then you will waste a one-off opportunity. This is clear from many Techcrunch blips where a large flood of site visitors makes no tangible difference to a new service because it is done too early.
b) Establish credibility with potential partners
c) Help you raise money
......there is loads more in the post - follow the link here to read it in full. This is really relevant to dbTwang.com as we make decisions on how to approach our service and marketing launches - trying hard to ensure that we combine managing expectations, raising the next round of finance and keeping pace with the inevitable feedback and demand for what we will offer.
From Enterprise Ireland - and only available to their clients - comes this event on 28th April:
"The Enterprise Ireland eBusiness Unit and HPSU Department are running an eBusiness Masterclass in East Point on the morning of the 28th of April.
Primarily aimed at client companies who operate in the online space, the Masterclass, entitled "Enabling eBusiness: Best Practice and Future Trends", will feature presentations on international best practice from leading industry figures on the following topics: Web 2.0 and the law; online advertising; virtualisation/cloud computing; and online payments.
The presentations will feature in-depth analysis of the current best practice in the topic areas, as well as outlining future trends and development"
The pdf with more detail is here: Download EBusiness_Masterclass
I have a personal twitter account (@keithbohanna) and it just kinda happened. Followed a couple of people I knew, posted updates and over time it has evolved to where I follow 437 and am followed by 579 people.
I have done it differently with @dbTwang because it is more focused and has a point - to attract attention to the upcoming closed beta. That forced me to be more structured in the last week and this is what I did:
Thats it , 11 days later @dbtwang is following 388 and being followed by 106. I will keep working those steps and welcome any basic ones which I have missed?
PS - the pain of working with multiple accounts brought me to Nambu - a native Mac application which (among other things) can nicely present feeds from multiple accounts. Best news today is an update I just downloaded lists an issue with sending DM's as one of it's fixes. That is good because I thought I was just being dumb in not being able to send them!
In a classic example of unplanning I decided last Monday evening to see if I could get to Web2 Expo in San Francisco which is running this week. I had to do a couple of things first:
I did all three and then started to make contact with anyone and everyone who was over here, focusing especially on the area of freemium business models and also looking at stuff around user generated content.
Looking like most of us may hook up for the Techcrunch/WebMission event this evening and then going for a bite to eat afterwards. Also planning for lunch with Simone Boswell from EI Silicon Valley on Thursday.
I also found an unconference happening for the 1st time during the Expo and got the last slot in one of their sessions on Wednesday, looking forward to that and we have already had 15 signups to the beta since it was posted this morning. Details below from their blog, thanks to Sarah Milstein for organising.
As I've written here recently, we've got some amazing sessions scheduled for Web2Open--the free unconference hosted by Web 2.0 Expo in SF this week. One that I'm particularly excited about is a new experiment, "Practice Your Customer Pitch."
We're bringing in five startups who will get two minutes each to give their customer pitch (not their VC pitch), as if meeting a potential customer at a cocktail party (i.e., no slides but OK to drink if you want). To give them feedback, we've assembled a top-notch panel of serial entrepreneurs and marketing experts. It's not a competition, so there's no judging or ranking—just discussion among the entrepreneurs, panelists and other session attendees.
We're trying this idea for the first time, so who knows how it will go? But in the entrepreneurial spirit, we've mitigated our risks: even if the format doesn't sing, the session can only be a hit given the participants. (Thanks to Sean O'Malley for helping us connect with a lot of these folks.)
The smart startups:
*CrowdVine, social networks for conferences
*dbTwang, Dogster for guitars
*Doodle, online scheduling magic
*Maestro Market, a Web 2.0 speakers' bureau
*Magoosh, customized test-prep
In my last post on this topic I mentioned that I had split out adverts that were running to all M&F in 18 plus by gender and more defined age ranges. So each ad went from 1 variant (can you have a single variant!) to 8. That was easily done - Facebook gives you the option of Build Similar Advert and pre-populates it.
Overall stats in bold with last week in brackets
Learnings from this:
FYI some detail from the Ad Manager in Facebook below. You can see some of the ad wording here.
Commentary and feedback welcome please - going through a steep learning curve with this and all tips helping a lot :-)
UPDATE @ 8th Feb:
Working out the metrics for just the signups since the week before (as opposed to the aggregate total). This is more meaningful in terms of tracking weekly performance and the impact of changes on the cost per conversion.
I set up a google alert a week ago for this term and am getting some great results back. A conference I came across is Startonomics (link to upcoming one day'er in LA) and I have just watched the video and accompanying slideshow from a presentation by Dave McClure in October 2008.
For any of you in early startup mode with an eye on your business model and visitor conversions this is a great one to give 20 minutes to.
Welcome feedback on the LA conference - any readers with experience of their events? Would you go to it? Will you go to it? :-)
As part of the package from Enterprise Ireland dbTwang can avail of a mentor from their panel. Anyone reading this got someone they can recommend based on direct personal experience with their own HPSU startup?
No going to bother specifying what we are after - those of you with good mentors know exactly what one feels like and the opposite also holds true :-)