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Showing posts from July, 2014

U in UX stands for You: The Evolution of Consumer Engagement

Ah, the world is changing so damned fast, and the plethora of technology and startups is sometimes overwhelming. So what gives? How does one really bring in consumers and cultivate the relationship in such a way that they don’t leave? My answer: user engagement/ experience.
If you’ve been reading my blog for every so often, chances are you’d have read me go on about how technology is, in many ways, fragmented. APIs, large platforms, access and ease to program, etc. has lowered the barriers to entry (acquire) and exit (churn). Refer to “Who’s poised to profit in this fragmented, online dating world of startups?” The key for success for today’s entrepreneurs and is almost becoming the minimum/ common denominator is beautiful design and an engaging, easy user experience.
In fact, I actually once wrote how design was a key lever in success in “Winning Combination = Speed + Design + ???”. In retrospect, I should have chosen my words more wisely and had substituted “Design” with “User Expe…

The Win or Lose Game of the App Stores... Mostly Lose

I’ve been reading a lot of articles and talking to a few entrepreneurs lately, and the themes are very similar – today’s tech businesses are rarely successful… only the platforms win in the long-run. That is, platforms like Salesforce, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, SAP, etc. This isn’t contrary to what “Who’s poised to profit in this fragmented, online dating world of startups?” back from March.
TechCrunch posted yesterday “The Majority Of Today’s App Businesses Are Not Sustainable”. In it, the article talks about: 50% of iOS developers operate at $500 per month (per app). That’s 64% for Android developers1.6% of developers make more than $500K per month
There’s obviously a lot more in the article. It’s interesting, though, because you have to wonder how many of these apps they deem as “Have Nothings” or otherwise are not revenues from the app store itself (vis-à-vis selling the app), but instead, on a subscription model or otherwise on the backend not necessarily privy to TechCrunch’s…

Finding Success in Dating and Co-Founders – The Layered Opportunity

Finding the right co-founders and team members for a startup is critical. Not everyone out there is going to be a great fit even with the right technical or soft skills. The driving force of a startup is sometimes set both more implicitly and explicitly through its culture. Culture can be subtly enacted through actions, but also purposefully written in the company’s mission and values.
In my eyes and experience, building a successful team can mean augmenting yourself with others who may not see straight eye-to-eye, but that’s a good thing. If you have only agreements and “yes men”, then you may not ever venture out of your comfort zone for something more innovative.
However, finding the right team is tough. I was talking to an Atlanta entrepreneur who dives in and out of startups based largely on the capacity and tolerance for stress. After a startup, he’d jump off and go straight into development and consulting for firms like ad agencies. Then, he’ll grow weary of the rat race, and…

Exercising Your Creative Muscle by Brainstorming: Lock Yourself In A Padded Room

Yes, when I want to get in a good “innovating” and brainstorming mood/ session, I need to isolate myself from the rest of the world. I like to disconnect, in a sense, and lock myself in an environment where I can let it all out.
Okay, so the reference to a padded room is actually more or less the sound-absorbing padding of room 201 at my former business school. I continue to go there even on the weekends to get away from my house where I’d otherwise develop cabin fever and the local Starbucks where standing up, pacing, and toting a giant whiteboard would be cumbersome.
Brainstorming to me is one of the most fun processes that helps me not only keep my thoughts at bay (to help me sleep at night), but a way for me to continue to brainstorm and innovate ways to improve life. People have all sorts of ways to brainstorm, but this is my blog, so I’ll share how I typically work. And it’s through these sessions where some of my greatest work is done, and where I hope I find my next nugget o…

In Startups, Business Development Means Salespeople Are All Mini-Marketers

The worlds of sales and marketing are changing so much and so fast. With the explosion of technology over the last several years and the lower barriers to entry into starting businesses and the like, customers “have the power” – borrowing from the famous “Porter’s 5 Forces” (thank you, MBA!).
When I think about what I do, I don’t niche myself to sales or marketing or the other “business” aspects. I say I’m in Business Development. Breaking it down that’s “business” and “development”; as in, I develop business...  directly contributing to the growth of the business. So for me, sales and marketing, in particular, are just facets of what I do. Especially in my area of interest of technology and SaaS, lines blur but my general tactical and strategic tasks fall in business development.
Jon Birdsong, CEO of local Atlanta-based Rivalry, recently made the comment over dinner, “salespeople are mini-marketers”. He and I are in alignment that these days, salespeople are really becoming their own…