startups

Pushbutton businesses

by Jason on December 19, 2011 · 0 comments

pushbutton

Things I did on a Sunday afternoon: ordered and provisioned a few domain names, a VOIP 1-800 number, and shot 15 videos.  If I’d hustled a little more, or spent the whole day on it, I could have had a mostly viable business up and running in a day, and it’s worth noting that it was a day that not that long ago was traditionally a day of rest where nothing was open.

Now, I didn’t open a bank account, since I didn’t have the need for a new one, and if I’d gotten to the merchant account application it would have taken two weeks or so with my chosen provider to get that set up, so accepting money would still have been a challenge (or maybe not: I can’t remember if PayPal is instant setup and it’s just the first withdrawal that takes a week or so to validate.)  Also, if this was a full business I’d need to register a few things with the government, but all those things are possible, instantly, online; it just has to be during business hours.

The thing is, I have fallback accounts for most of those, so after you set up a pushbutton business or two, the obstacles just become todo items for later in the week.  And that’s pretty amazing.  None of what I did on that Sunday required much technical knowhow (I’ll do a few neat things to the videos in post-production, and probably I’ll have a custom website put together instead of a template, but those are optional items.)

So what’s your excuse?

Oh, and if you’re curious, these updates were extensions to my existing business, but throughout the process my mind kept drifting to making a “pushbutton business in a box” checklist, to use as a serial entrepreneurship experiment and/or an info product for sale.  I may go ahead with that depending on how much baggage I can clear before year end; email me for details.

The technology marketing gap

by Jason on August 18, 2011 · 0 comments

I really enjoyed This Week In Startups episode 177 with Arnie Gullov-Singh from Ad.ly, who had lots of good insights as someone generating revenues from social media through celebrity endorsements.  Here’s my pull quote from the episode, in regards to Klout, which is a semi-competitor with Ad.ly, but relevant just the same:

 

It’s very common in our business, digital marketing, for technology to get ahead of what marketers actually want. Marketers are literally just coming to terms with the fact that social media exists and that Twitter exists and… I think we always make this mistake, we’ve been doing it for the last 12 years where the technology gets 2 or 3 years ahead of what marketers want. I think it’s useful to be able to go into the long tail occasionally, the challenge is always the scale that you get. What you end up with is a good story… most marketers in digital look at it as something to impress their boss that they did something cool in digital so saying I found, you know, some people that are influential about cabbage, I think is a nice story to say that you did that, but how much scale you really got…

The scale thing also came up last week at a Google Engage event, where the idea came up that pay per click is awesome but sometimes there simply aren’t enough people searching for the keywords you’re buying (which lead to interesting ideas about teaching your market to search for your stuff…)

Key insights: for marketers, be aware of the outcome you want.  If you want to play with the latest shiny object, be aware that you’re going for a cool story, not necessarily massive success.  For technology providers, be aware of where you are on the curve.  If it’s early days, pitch the story to get business now and plan for down the road to where the scale catches up and you’re now uniquely positioned to be able to deliver.