Archive for the 'Start-up' Category

The Death of Commoditization. The Birth of the Small Business

October 20, 2009

by joseph.young.2009

Image Source: Wired.com

Image Source: Wired.com

In today’s society, there is the belief that “free is good.” I have this belief as well, but I do think there are times when the saying isn’t always true. A situation that stands out for me is new products in the marketplace. When you see or hear about a product from a friend, in the news, or by any other means, what you’re hearing a someone’s invention. It is something they (the company) created by trying to understand their customer (often themselves) and making a product that serves their customer. That is the essence of new product development. You find a need in the market, and then you try to fill it with a product that you think the consumer would enjoy and purchase. And you, as the creator would be rewarded. In today’s society, that reward is financial, social, or some other high value asset.

Source: stock.xchang

Source: stock.xchng

So back to the inventor. This inventor has created something that they think you will like. And by buying their product, you say, “I like your product and I will support you.” What makes you decide to buy it? Maybe you tried it. Maybe a trusted friend recommended it to you. By some marketing initiative, you became aware of the product and decided that you wanted it enough to be willing to pay for it.

Source: Stock.xchng

Source: Stock.xchng

The problem with commoditization is that it drives down the quality of the product as the price drives towards zero. One example of this direct relationship between quality and price can be seen in toilet paper. Toilet paper is, in essence, free. If you wanted to, you could get toilet paper free for the rest of your life and never have to pay for it. Now I don’t know where to get reliably source of free toilet paper from, but a quick search would answer that question. The bigger point is that even in a market with free products, people pay. And people will pay a fair amount for high quality toilet paper. The point is that a commoditized product is often of poor quality, so the majority of consumers will pay for a higher quality product. You can pay with money, as in toilet paper, or with information, as in Google.

Source: stock.xchng

Source: stock.xchng

My proposal to you, the consumer, is to consider, “Why would somebody create something in a commoditized market?” Are they trying to make a quick buck? Or are they making something they believe in and think will improve your life. If you believe the reason they made the product is to make your life better, then I ask you to buy it. By buying that product, you are supporting the inventor’s dream. You are an early adopter. You buy into their dream product. The current iteration of the product may not be your dream product, but by supporting them, you give them another chance to make something better. You keep their company in the race. By selecting a commoditized version of the product, you don’t give them the chance to even try again. Aren’t we supposed to support smart risk taking? Without such, society wouldn’t grown and flourish.

Stumbled Upon Sites

December 16, 2008

by joseph.young.2009

I ran into a bunch of new and exciting website links. I thought I’d share them with everyone who doesn’t already have their day filled with next generation business news. Here goes…

startup.partnerup.com

Source: startup.partnerup.com

http://startup.partnerup.com/

All about startups, entrepreneurs, and small business. All the time.

truemors.com

Source: truemors.com

http://truemors.nowpublic.com/

A rumor spreading website.

http://www.tilzy.tv/rex-sorgatzs-im-just-sayin-aims-to-be-diggnation-for-girls.htm

Online webisodes blog. I never knew there was so much dang web content. And of good quality!

vimeo.com

Source: vimeo.com

http://vimeo.com/imjustsayin

Conversations amongst friends. Unscripted. On tape.

I don’t have nearly the amount of time to read all this content. Anyone want to follow it and share their google reader shared items with me? Otherwise, I’m going to miss stuff on it.

Play Conference and New Business

November 15, 2008

by joseph.young.2009

playconference.org

Source: playconference.org

Attending the Play Conference at UC Berkeley brought about a key insight about business school that ties in to the new way of thinking. Intelligence is moving away from knowledge and moving towards algorithms.

Growing up in a Google world, people learn about information via tools rather than concrete facts. A growing population thinks about intelligence as how quickly you can access data. If we can pull it from memory, retrieval time is in milliseconds. If we can’t think of an answer in memory, the growing Google thought process is to use an algorithm (proper question) to get the information we want. This pushes out our knowledge beyond what’s stored in our brain to what we can find very quickly on the internet.

The same is true for business. Instead of pure skill set that you can bring to a company, it is also about surrounding yourself and the ability to find people to complete your team. Sites such as LinkedIn allow people to have a Rolodex in their head, or computer, or phone, or on the Internet. What makes it great is that it allows you to find people beyond your knowledge base via networks. Again, we use algorithms to find the right person for the job.

Business school (especially a full time program) allows people to build their network and learn tools for enrichment. Rady has afforded me the ability to meet a top class of talent who I will tap in my future business endeavors. Beyond that, they provide me with their network so that I can hire trusted employees who will help my businesses succeed.

TechCrunch50 – Differentiation in the DemoPit

September 13, 2008
Natalie Terashima o.b.o. FiveSprockets)

TC50 DemoPit (photo credit: Natalie Terashima o.b.o. FiveSprockets)

They billed it as the Sundance of tech conferences and they didn’t disappoint.  At least twice during TechCrunch50, I thought to myself, “Wow.  I just witnessed history being made.” (That distinction goes toSwype and tonchidot which, I swear, was straight out of Minority Report.)

But for those tech companies that weren’t showcased on stage like the chosen 50 and instead had to pay to exhibit, it was a much bigger challenge getting their voices heard.  Read the rest of this entry »

What’s in a Name?

August 21, 2008

Recently, I was helping a friend try to figure out a name for a mobile software start—up. The field’s so crowded with ventures now that it’s not easy to pick a name that hasn’t already been taken. And it’s even harder to avoid names that are too techy, too cutesy, too clunky or just too, well, plain. The only thing we were certain of was not taking a regular word and starting it with the letter “i.”

After umpteen passes with random imagination we decided to take a different approach. Rather than just brainstorm names, we would first identify the qualities we thought would constitute a good name so we had something against which to judge our ideas. Here’s what we came up with:

FLEXIBLE — A word with multiple meanings and interpretations. Better yet — a word that can be used as a verb or a noun. Not only does this open up more possibilities for your marketing communications, it gives your design team a lot more options. At one point we had gone down the road of fly—fishing imagery (tangential, yes, but we still think it’s cool) and words like “fly,” “lure,” and “catch” all fit this bill.

EVOCATIVE — You want a name that conjures up interesting imagery. Imagery that will be powerful in telling your story and conveying your brand image. Words attached to common metaphors (like “window,” “door,” “sky”) are also more apt to translate internationally. But beware: you also want to conjure up the right imagery. One name that we came up with was quickly squashed by the graphic designer because the first thing it made her think of was the creature in Alien. Not so friendly. Google got this one right with the name of their new mobile platform, Android, even if it is a bit scary. Flickr got it right too. And Richard Branson really got it right with Virgin.

WE LIKE TO SAY IT — Maybe it’s hard to quantify this, but we all know it when we hear it. There are onomatopoeic words like “sizzle.” Words with hard sounds like “hatch” and “jot.” And just plain goofy words that are fun to say like “Google,” “Zoho” and “Twitter.”

AVAILABLE DOMAIN & DEFENSIBLE — a minor detail (heh)

We never did come up with a name. I think the lawyers are duking it out over a bunch of second string ideas. Turned out the one we liked most were too polarizing. But, we still think these are useful guidelines for those of you undertaking the Sisyphean task of naming your start—up. Good luck.

Now Rocking My Phone

August 12, 2008

by atremble

Last month Pandora launched an iPhone application that has revolutionized a corner of my world. The service is already the 4th most popular application on the phone (first in music) and it drove a record 3.3 million songs streamed in one weekend to iPhone listeners alone. Yet it has no ads. Given that Pandora’s revenue model depends on clever advertising with high CPMs, how can Pandora afford the royalties and bandwidth? One explanation is to view the launch as a massive—and massively successful—marketing expense until the user base can be monetized.

It’s not yet clear how Pandora and Apple plan to do this. Read the rest of this entry »

Product Marketing Management

July 9, 2008

Many people would argue that titles don’t really matter. Perhaps. But, if they do matter, what do they mean? Transitioning into my new career as a “Marketing Professional,” I needed to first decode the numerous marketing titles I came across on various job websites to clearly understand the job function, before applying to a particular job. When I began to understand the role of a Product Marketing Manager, I knew I had found my calling for the time being.

Being a PMM in a small company is like being an entrepreneur with funding already secured. It’s akin to the next step in the “Lab-to-Market” course which occurs after you’ve pitched your idea to investors and secured funding — the phase where you get to move your idea from the concept phase into the development phase and then launch it into the marketplace. The only difference is that it’s not your idea that you get to develop and take to market. But, if you’re looking to take your own idea to market one day, experience as a Product Marketing Manager in a start-up company is probably the best preparation for future success.

Read the rest of this entry »

Revenue Models for Online Entities – Strategy vs. Exit

July 9, 2008

by radymarketingon

A critical issue for Internet startups is how to turn the cool idea into revenue. Acknowledging that in the past this was less of a concerns, here is an entrepreneur who discusses this issue in an interesting way as they pertain to his venture ( blog post ).

The bottom line, whether you plan an early exit or not, the revenue model should be an integral part of the strategy!

How is the making of an American Idol like the marketing of a new venture?

May 27, 2008

Allow me to make the bold claim that the two are more alike than you think, and that making the comparison may be useful in fleshing out the principles of good marketing, that is, marketing that works.

Read the rest of this entry »

Microsoft Embraces Micro Segmentation, Acquires Yadata and Leaps Ahead In Behavioral Targeting

May 19, 2008

Market Strategy

During Q4 2007, a couple of fellow students and I had the opportunity to put a market strategy together for a small Israeli market data technology start-up. We took a look at micro segmentation, behavioral targeting and cross-platform advertising campaigns.

YaData

YaData develops unique algorithms and rankings systems to help the market research neophytes, and time-starved VPs, uncover customer potential. The YaData software carefully sifts through vast quantities of data, culling groups that would otherwise fall prey to poorly targeted ad campaigns, or misaligned products that fail to satisfy needs. With more identifiable segments, everyone wins. Consumers receive more tailored campaigns for goods that are a better match to their needs, and goods are refined to meet more granular needs.

Micro Segments

The secret sauce in the YaData development lies in the ability to accurately identify smaller (micro) market segments within vast customer data sets. These are often difficult to identify, overlooked, and more difficult to reach. However, the pursuit has merit. As Malcolm Gladwell, author of Tipping Point and Blink, recently lectured: “In marketing, its the move from the search for universals to the understanding of variability”. Through embrace of this philosophy to recognize consumer delight as unique, we realize the need for micro segmentation.

Read the rest of this entry »

Movin’ On Up—From Labs To Offices

May 16, 2008

Welcome to my little corner of the Rady Marketing Blog. There are hundreds if not thousands of blogs out in cyberspace on marketing. So, how will my posts be any different and of interest to you?

Well, prior to becoming what I now call myself — a “marketing professional,” I was a scientist at the bench in a laboratory of a pharmaceutical company. I knew very little about marketing. My perception of marketing was that it was a ‘fluff’ job. After my first course in marketing — Introductory Marketing for MBA’s — I was sold on the topic and decided to focus on marketing as a future career goal. Nearing graduation and in search of a job in a marketing capacity, I searched the web to better understand my options and how my current skill set would best fit in within a particular marketing role, especially at a start-up. I was not able to find any particular blog with such a focus.

Read the rest of this entry »