Archive for May, 2010

Who wants to be evil?

May 19th, 2010


One of the great perks of having kids is that you have an excuse to watch cartoons again. I was watching a recent episode of Phineas and Ferb in which Dr. Doofenshmirtz was relaxing listening to a book on tape—The Adventures of Tom Sawyer-translated into evil.

This particular character every episode invents some scheme which is thwarted by a secret agent platypus. These schemes usually involve some creative, extravagant, and impractical solution to something that has been annoying him since childhood. Unfortunately, he was focused on solving his problems and not on the effect it would have on others.

Yesterday, I sent an email to Seth Godin after reading his blog post thanking him and asking for his perspective on Tshirts4Hire hoping for some guidance or a referral. This morning I was surprised to find a reply. It was a short few lines politely declining to comment and wishing me luck. Then I went to check out his blog for the day that left me wondering if it wasn’t some indirect feedback.

My original email expressed my concern about the polarizing effect of our idea and the view that this was creating “friendly” spam. The last thing we want is to appear to manipulate people or create more spam. So how do you ensure that? The only way I know is to be as transparent as possible and let people decide for themselves. Any other suggestions or things you think we can do to do no evil?


May 17th, 2010

The title brings to mind some sort of Hallmark card for a major life transition (graduation, marriage, etc.). So I hope that is the case for me as well. Early this morning The Foundry had its first of many Monday morning meetings. The meeting is comprised of a representative from each of the participating companies and is present to both ask and offer resources from the group.

Any time a new group meets it is always interesting to watch the group dynamics begin to form. I think many were expecting the director to take the lead but he refrained from doing so. Quite a few sat silent for most of the meeting while a handful of others spoke up sharing their needs. I don’t know if it was the morning factor or the uncertainty of expectations but the format definitely favors the aggressive.

Major themes included legal, website development, and people. The people issue was something that was continually brought up like an echo that kept bouncing of a canyon wall. So it was proposed that over the next few weeks if anyone came across people interested in working for a start-up they were to refer them to the Gangplank meeting on Wednesday night around 6pm to meet the different teams and find out what they needed. So if you’re interested come on down!

In a previous post I listed out the different teams that were a part of the Boom Startup program (which also started today-with the pairing of the teams with their mentors and expectation setting) so to be fair and to begin to be bias here is a list (names and sites may change in the future-I’ll try to keep it updated) of the different Foundry teams with a brief and probably inaccurate summary of what they’re all about. (hokie pokie everyone!) My apologies for anything or one left out.

  1. Meta Restaurant-Nutritionally balanced fast food
  2. ColdSpoon-Spoon used for cooling food and measuring temp.
  3. Early Stage Legal-Documentation creation for entrepreneurs
  4. EngineerInc-GIS Planning System
  5. Patriotic Reflections-Internet retailer of high quality flag displays
  6. Artesian Systems-Fashionable and easily maintainable water storage systems
  7. RedFlower-Authentic Auga Frescas
  8. Dash & Cooper-Custom suit experience at a non-traditional price
  9. iPadGame Controller-Universal controller
  10. A Priori-Specialty foods wholesaler (by the way he has some great deals on fancy chocolate)
  11. Novobi-IT consulting and creation services w/team in Vietnam
  12. CupAd-Putting the brand in their hand (fun tagline) Ads on coffee cups provide free to coffee shops
  13. Seam Machine-Machine that replaces a 3-man roof restoration team
  14. Salt Lake Mobile Detail-Mobile auto detailing
  15. for social media marketing
  16. Btree Media– Media Design and Marketing Company
  17. Reminiscent Pictures-Creating digital memories
  18. Life Sciences- Commercializing life sciences innovations

How to become a Trust Agent

May 15th, 2010

As promised, the rest of the story…

Chris Brogan, for those that have had a chance to meet him, is very personable and comfortable being who he is. Many times he would go on a tangent rant or say less than political correct and then make fun of himself for doing so. He spoke with the audience with what felt like inside jokes make allusions to different movies or events. Very entertaining and the content was great too.

He began by echoing Julien’s call (“Touch the Burner”) to do and try things referring to what he called a baby mind. Seeing things for the wonder of it and exploring why things are they way they are; then sharing that story with others. Blogging is letting people inside your head. When they get to know you and your story they begin to trust you. Creating a community is about valuing the relation more than the transaction. It’s a human business. Digitally it is a database that needs love, seen and heard.

Does all that translate into business results? It definitely makes it more effective even in challenging methodologies. Chris’ email marketing open rate is around 75%; the average internet open rate is about 20%, according to Mail Chimp.

Attention is a form of currency without which most businesses, especially those with any sort of advertising business model. It requires promoting only those things that you think are valuable to your community. He referred to this as a conference model which consists of 3 pieces. Content, Attendees, and Sponsors. Visually they sit on the corner of a triangle each dependent on each other.

 Mr. Brogan threw out another interesting stat, that I didn’t have time to note the source, but presents a challenge for marketing on the web. He used the example of an age group, 13-18 year olds I believe, and said that 67% of the content they interact with on the web is created by other 13-18 year olds. We go where our friends are or where we can find friends. I especially liked this because I comforted my psyche telling myself  I wasn’t crazy and that consumer-created content was the way to go (i.e. Tshirts4Hire).

I’ll finish this post with a rule of thumb that Chris shared-which I kind of just broke in the paragraph above. Talk about others at a 12 : 1 ratio. Meaning promote 12 other services, sites or products that are valuable to your community before promoting your own 1 time. It helps keep you in check remembering that you need to care for others and give them something that makes their lives better. That’s how you become a Trust Agent.

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