Tuesday, September 29, 2009

offlinr.com – status update

1. The design team we had partnered with delivered the stylesheet and HTML this morning. The HTML will be merged with server side code later this week.

2. We are 80% feature complete for the first release. Few features like moderation capability, email alerts, admin features etc. and being added.

Monday, September 28, 2009

What is Brandjacking?

Brandjacking is the process of creating or aggregating content around a brand and then charging the brand for ceding control.

I did not coin the phrase. I first heard it on Lisa Barone’s article titled “Seth Godin Tries Out Brandjacking”. It all went down when Seth Godin launched his project, Brands in Public. Under this project he aimed to aggregate content about a brand on it own page. Think of it as an automated wikipedia like page which contains articles, tweets, blog posts etc. about the brand. Sounds like a good idea, isn’t it? The only problem here is that the brands don’t opt-in and they have to pay $400 a month to get complete control over the page.

Is this a wrong thing to do? According to Seth Godin, these conversations are happening all over the internet anyway. All he is trying to do is aggregate it and put it on one page. Further he believes that he is doing a service to the brand by giving them insight into what the internet is discussing about their brand. But according to Lisa Barone and other high profile bloggers, the intent behind this is not as noble as Seth Godin would like you to believe. First, the brands did not ask for this. And second they are being held to ransom.

Techcrunch’s Nik Cubrilovic put it best: “We were going to reach out to Godin yesterday, but instead figured we could write this story by aggregating what everybody in the world thinks of Squidoo, and then asking him to pay us $400 to remove the parts he may not agree with.”

Seth Godin has since reversed his position on Brands in Public and made the system opt-it. I give him points for listening to his critics and taking action quickly.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Your Entrepreneur Handbook: Spirit - Southwest Airlines

Last night I was on a short flight from San Francisco to Los Angles. If you know me, you already that I'm a big fan of Southwest. In this day and age of extra charges for rescheduling, checked baggage, leg space etc., all these are free with SW. As the plane took off I picked up the in-flight magazine (which I rarely do) and started browsing. It turns out the main story inside is about entrepreneurs and small business. After I finished reading I whipped out my iPhone and took some notes for you guys.

Your Entrepreneur Handbook: Southwest Airlines Spirit September 2009

Fun facts

Percentage of entrepreneurs who say they launched first venture as a child – 42%

Avg hours a week small business owners work – 52 hours

Avg revenue of small biz with a website – 5 million

Percentage of employers that small business represent – 99.7%

Estimated new ventures a year – 7 million

Percentage of entrepreneurs who will still run their business in 6 yrs – 33.3%

Number of small businesses – 25.8 million

Small business who say losing Internet would make them go bust – 18%

46% of small businesses are financed with personal credit card

Avg years a small biz survives – 11.2 years

Percentage of total new jobs small biz create annually – 60% to 80%

Percentage of business that receive venture capital – Less than 1%

Avg revenue of a small business – $3.6 million

Part of the population starting new business – 7%


The Long Tail - Chris Anderson
Good to great - Jim Collins
The Tipping Point - Malcolm Gladwell

Twitter feeds

After constantly being reminded of the fact that few startups survive, the above points were really encouraging. Hope this article inspires you as well. If you would like to read the whole article jump on a southwest flight.

Update: After a quick google search, turns out that I need not have typed everything up everything on the iPhone to share later. Here is the online link and here is the pdf version.

Friday, September 18, 2009

The Self-Employed Are the Happiest

According to Gallup-Healthways Well-Being Index poll data collected from January to August, business owners are the happiest.

However, this does not mean that owning your business is easy. When you own it, there is no “off” switch. You are constantly working. You don’t have vacation days, sick days, holidays etc. Also you will be taking care of your health insurance which is not cheap. But from the poll it is evident that despite all the hardship, the satisfaction of working for yourself adds to your wellbeing.

Read what redditers have to say.

About the Gallup-Healthways Well-Being Index™
The Gallup-Healthways Well-Being Index is the first and largest survey of its kind, with 1,000 calls a day, seven days a week. It is the official statistic for Well-Being in America, giving a daily measure of people's well-being at the close of every day based on the World Health Organization (WHO) definition of health as not only the absence of infirmity and disease but also a state of physical, mental and social well-being.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

TechCrunch 50

If you were following techcrunch 50 you already know that redbeacon won the grand prize of $50,000. But what they took home is much more than the money. They got the kind of exposure that will catapult their startup to the next level. Not to mention the opportunity to get funded that will follow.

If you watch the presentations at the conference you will realize that none of the ideas are what you would call “world changing”. Almost of all of them are simple ideas with great execution. And these are the top 50 of the many ideas submitted. The point I’m getting at is, don’t wait for that world changing idea to start on your project. Pick a problem to solve and go after it with all you got.

More about redbeacon

Update: Here is a post by Sarah Lacy where she says that we didn't see any world changing idea at TC50.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

The Idea

Few days back, after reviewing and researching over a dozen ideas we finally narrowed in on the one that we want to pursue. It follows all the principles from our post earlier titled “Foundation for a startup idea”. We are not yet at a point where we can go into much detail. But we hope to have an alpha version up and running in about three weeks. We are already hard at work trying to put the site together.

Here is the idea: We will connect you with others in your city

We also got hold of a cool domain name. Well, we think its cool, but we might be a bit biased. We would like to know what you think.