3 Keys to a successful startup: Engage-Build-Sell

Choosing what to focus on after getting started can be rather confusing for the startup founders. In most cases founders lose out on crucial time, right after starting, by focusing on wrong  things like fund-raising, team building, deep market research, building a fully functional product as their first release to go public!

When a startup gets started, it should have 4 things:

1.       A founding team (or a founder ) committed to making things work against all odds

2.       An important problem that impacts a significant set of customers, and hypothesis for the potential solution(s) that needs to be proven right or wrong

3.       Have skills to hand-create solution to the problem, combined with the initial subject matter expertise in the domain they are working on

4.       Some basic money to survive and work on the problem / solution

The above ingredients are usually a resultant of:

·         An ‘ah-ha’ moment of finding the right idea / problem to solve

·         A natural coming together of a team which has one main goal – solving the same pain-point

Once the problem to solve is identified, the team should spend time in figuring out the best way to executing it. So where does one start, anyway?

What to focus on?

When a team gets started, there are far too many things to take care of. Focusing on things that do not matter may happen unconsciously or unintentionally. The one guideline that perhaps will help in choosing one task over the other maybe in asking the question “How big is the impact of the task I’ll do to the lives of my potential/existing customers”. This is true not just for teams that are starting out, but all startups across (even helpful for executives in large companies in prioritizing their tasks).

Simply put, a startup should not spend anytime in things that do not impact its end customers / audience, as getting their attention and making an impact early is important.

Broadly classified, early stage startups should focus on only 3 things and keep the customer in mind at all times:

 

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·         Engage: It is important to engage with potential customers to convert strangers to friends. First, think of who these potential customers are going to be. Every section of potential customers will have an early adopter category. These are people who are quick to use a product that seems useful, quick to give feedback, are largely forgiving and have a sense of what else is there in the market in the same domain. These are also influencers who will bring other users to your product. Look for such influencers in the potential customer segment you are going after. Reaching out to them, engaging in a dialogue will help in building a community that is listening to you or giving you attention, even before the initial product is launched.

How do you reach out and start a dialogue with them? Today, there are various cost-efficient or no-cost avenues of reaching out to strangers and making friends. Startup teams can simply start with their own blogs & establish their authority over the problem they are trying to solve. Social networks, micro-blogging sites and relevant online / offline forums are good start points to engaging the potential customer initially. Let the communication be focused to reach out to a few, strong followers. Do not spread thin. It’s not about spamming a list of email ids; but reaching out with your thoughts so that people who are interested will organically engage with you.

A startup building efficient ways of securing servers for businesses can engage with their potential customers by organizing seminars or events that teaches people how to secure their servers by themselves or how to pick the best tools for that job.  These events should be designed to give the potential customer a lot of value. This will lead to building of confidence, trust and respect about the product/brand/startup in the minds of the potential customers. But, at not point should these avenues be used to sell directly. The idea is to influence and hog larger mindshare, so that they pick you when they have to make a buying decision.  Like how McDonald’s is for burgers!

·         Build: The first version of the product/solution that a startup will build must be something that aims to solve an important / acute problem for a specific set of small potential customers. It can be incomplete or imperfect. What is built can be a small part of the large problem the startup is trying to solve. But, it must be something that can be executed quickly and with the resources available within the startup team. It’s important to build and push out to early adopters.

The scope of the initial product must be narrowed down to a very myopic level. This minimum useful product must have one compelling reason for customers to use it. If it’s scrappy and looks alpha-like its fine (in fact the early adopters prefer it that – so that they can help you polish it). 

Remember using the initial versions of the internet? Connecting the modem to a telephone line, waiting for dial-tone, dialing in multiple times before it gets connected! As early internet users, we had all the patience of dialing a hundred times and endlessly waiting for pages to load – only because that was the only way to connect to the internet!

·         Sell:  Once you have a quick and dirty version of your product ready, reach out to the customers you’ve engaged with and sell it to them. Here sell does not necessarily mean in exchange for money; it also means getting end customers to use your product. It is important to get as many customers to use your product to get constructive, relevant feedback to build on the next version. 

It is important to start selling early. To reach out to potential customers, pitch them the value proposition, sign them up to use the product / solution. The earlier a startup does this, the better, as they have real audience to validate their product and give feedback.  

Though there was multiple email applications, most of us flocked to get beta invites of gmail. This was because google had engaged with us and had enticed us enough for us to get wishful about the ‘invite only’ gmail.  Or do you remember signing up as a test user for any of the products in the market today? I am sure you’ll be able to relate to the value that test users like you could provide to a product that’s being built.

The above 3 things are always iterative and can work in parallel. Engage while you Build, Sell & Engage.

In all building a great product is a slow, iterative and painful process. It’s important to believe completely in what you are doing, when you get started, but be agile and keep an open mind to change as you go along. Focus, Engage, Build Quick, Interact, Sell, Get users, Engage, Build again, Sell again, and Repeat all. 

Note: This post was written for Silicon India, sometime in July 2011. You can find the published link here.

 

 

Speaking @ Chandigarh’s 1st Online Media (offline) Conf.

Chandigarh is bustling with activities of all sorts – art, theater, startup… and this one is Chandigarh’s FIRST Online Media (Offline) Conference!

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Emagzin (an online magazine that focuses on things of importance, lifestyle and some mundane topics of interest) has decided to take things into charge and bring ‘city beautiful’ its first Online Media Conference.

Chandigarh, in the recent past, has been evolving into a great place to setup technology companies & initiate your start-up (more on this in a separate post). For a growing community, its most important that there are right forums for knowledge exchange. Though it would be good if all organisations individually working to make things happen in Chandigarh, would join hands to make a collective impact (a foolish/wishful thought, as everyone have their own agenda – but what the hell, no ones agenda will stop my thoughts!)

I am hoping this conference will be a great interaction for those who Online Media is relevant in Chandigarh & nearby regions of Punjab, Haryana & Himachal.

More on the conference here.

You can be a part of it too. Register.

More details:

It’s FREE!!!

Date: 7 August, 2010

Venue: Phd Chambers, Sector 31, Chandigarh

Starts @ 10am

Why would you attend?

  1. They’ve got free lunch with the event! 🙂
  2. You can network with more like-minded people
  3. Listen to my gyaan on Online Media & Marketing

Seeya this weekend!

Naming a name!

Juliet:

‘Tis but thy name that is my enemy;
Thou art myself…
What’s in a name? that which we call a rose
By any other name would smell as sweet;
So Romeo would, were he not Romeo call’d,
Retain that dear perfection which he owes
Without that title. Romeo, doff thy name,
And for that name which is no part of thee
Take all myself.

Romeo:

I take thee at thy word:
Call me but love, and I’ll be new baptized;
Henceforth I never will be Romeo.

Shakespeare in his classic love tragedy Romeo & Juliet gives out a message that names of things do not really matter, but what things are is what matters. In the context of the play and in many other contexts of life it makes complete sense.

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But, when it comes to naming your venture or your product it needs prudence, relevance & wit!

Why a good name?

From the brand perspective, a good name is vital for a venture. It’s like that sexily clad, most attractive hooker by the window that invites customers into that particular brothel. It’s the one thing your customers will identify you and your venture with for time immemorial. It is that name which reflects you and your company’s attitude & what you stand for.

Think – Pepsi, Coke, Google, Adidas, Amazon, Apple – all these names not just remind you of the company & its products, but the also evoke a particular emotion which we relate with each of these brands. That emotion is what makes us recall / remember these brands. And that is the importance of a “name”.

Why this post?

Recently, I’ve been in half a dozen discussions where we have been brainstorming a good name for a venture or a product being rolled by a startup. That inspired me to writing this post. This has a direction in which we thought while thinking up a name, a few personal experiences – my philosophy to deriving names – if you please 🙂

Empty Names?

Look around and think of popular brands that you can recall – all of them usually will have “empty” names that will relate to something the product stands for or the brand means. There are far few names which mean “literal things”. For example, Pepsi – in reality means nothing, except that it may be a derivative from “pepsin” the digestive enzyme used in that drink. But we associate it with “a refreshing fizzy drink” now, coz that’s our association.

Safe? Boring? Interesting? Innovative?

When thinking up names, you can either choose to be safe and boring. In other words, think up literal names for your venture or product. If you are selling books, you can call yourselves “The Book Sellers”; if your product is a pill that helps you maintain your weight and diet, it can be called “The Diet Pill”. Thanks to the bombardment during IPL, I remember Max mobile & fo a long time thought that Micro Max and Max were but the same, till I was proven wrong by a friend. This is the danger of a bad name – you will never make an identity for your brand / product / venture. Frankly, in today’s world where there is a million messages bombarded to the users; recall & recognition are huge challenges. These names don’t stand a chance.

So, you have no choice but to be a bit brave. Go all out and get innovative!

Pepsi, Coke, Google, Adidas – these are famous names now, but how easy was it to remember when they started out? They had a zing to it and the entire brand experience made the name stick for a long time! Pepsi was sold as “Brad’s Drink” first – imagine!!!

When you think up a name it’s a brand you are building based on the name. You do not want it restricting your growth after a while when you diversify and realize that your brand name doesn’t relate to what you do.

When I think up names I consider these, in no particular order though:

  1. Who is the initial audience I will cater to?
  2. Does my name sound “exciting” enough for them to try me out
  3. Does the name invoke interest for people to “know more” – frankly, does a name like “GoCarry” invoke interest in wanting to know more for an online shopping protal? For me, NO! It sounds like something I have heard of before, something stale.
  4. Does the name tease your audience? Google / Cisco – these names have a zing to it. It sounds unique and has freshness to it till date. Some company names I like which does bring a kind of newness on reading their names are – Lifemojo / Redbus / Xobni / Reditt / DeskAway / Twitter
  5. Will my name stand relevant 2 years from now and beyond?
  6. Does my name have an unique association that people can recall easily (of course, this also has to do with brand association, but some parts can be achieved in the name)
    1. For Example: Madhouse – we chose madhouse as we had read about this house of great fervor -where a lot of innovation, etc happen in One Hundred Years of Solitude by Grabiel Gracia Marquez and when were looking for a name – it came naturally to us. Also we thought the name is disruptive and will be remembered by people for its uniqueness as it’s a uncommon name.
    2. For Morpheus – we went to the top level of “What we were going to do” and somehow it was aligning ourselves with entrepreneurs’ dreams to achieve and make it a successful business. And so, we said okay we are dealing with dreams here. And since Madhouse was M and we did quite well as a business, we said lets look up names in M. Then we got an idea and said lets look up Greek God Names and we found Morpheus.

Look at something you can relate to. Something the entire team believes in. There is this now popular, then – a college rock band, I know of called – “Thermal and a Quarter” its called so coz 3 of them were pure Malayali’s and one was a quarter malayali. So Three Malayali’s and a Quarter Malayali – Thermal & a Quarter 🙂

You can also consider something that’s common among the founders, something that is near and dear to the founding team. Something that the team can associate with or are passionate about!

You may want to be a little conscious about “What is it that you are naming”. You do not want to call a doctor management system “Cookie”. But you also do not want to call it “EasyDr.”

Don’t be safe in choosing a name, experiment. If it does not work – you can always change it in the initial days of your company. But then, if you have a safe / neutral name – okay, its safe, but you will miss out on the excitement of experimenting. And most importantly, miss out on “Customer Recall and Recognition”. I mean, how many of us consume “Bhag Bakri Chai” – Really?! It may be the best chai in this world, but!

Where all to look:

Experiment with words, look for palindromes, seek “sounds-like” words, look up mythology, history of various cultures and countries. Look into science, math – google, red quanta are a couple of examples. Look at founder names – adidas, konika. Look at nature, wildlife, etc. The options are plenty, it only needs some innovative thought & a good sense of humor to arrive at a good name!

These are some of my personal experiences and tried tested methodology of arriving at a good name. Somehow, many a times its super instinctive too. So do not suppress your instinct. Happy Naming!

Interesting link to company names and how they originated here. So, what’s the story behind your company / product name?

Taglines: Dead & Redundant Or Relevant?

Taglines traditionally are defined as a part of the brand building exercise that sums up the mission, intent and image of the business. When I studied brand, logo elements and the importance of the “tagline” in theory, as a student, I was fascinated about the fact that if the tagline copy was written intelligently – it can work wonders. I admired “Just do It” and still do! I did use some of the do’s and don’ts while designing logos and creating brand identity documents in my career.

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When I was creating the logo element for  Madhouse, my first startup, I religiously spent sometime figuring out what the tagline should be. I dint even think of my logo without a tagline. The belief was that, we should be able to use the tagline without the company /brand name eventually to create the same recall and recognition in users minds. Inspired by the Nike Swoosh!

As time went by, I noticed that most new generation internet companies were emerging without the tagline! What mattered the most was the brand name or the name of the business and not so much the tagline. I remember the likes of ebay, amazon, yahoo, google, apple, rediff, indiatimes, etc. not having a tagline. And as we move on, many more established companies are dropping their taglines.

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I guess, the way things have changed in branding, building companies, communicating the value of the business – brand recall is a great challenge and consuming, now imagine adding a tagline to it and trying to push the whole branding. Its too much to ask!

The reality for today is that Taglines are redundant! They are nothing but noise in the business scheme of things. Having said that, I think for statrups / new companies having a tagline is a personal choice. Thought, its important to get that darn tagline right – if not it’s a disaster of sorts before your company has started!

To quote relevant examples from my real-life experience: While working

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with LifeMojo as part of the MVP business acceleration program in 2008, we discussed at length to have a tag-line and when we launched the site we did have a tag-line too. But soon we realized that the tagline was not adding too much value, if anything, the logo was looking clunky and bad trying to

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accommodate the tag-line. And so, we just knocked it out! On the contrary,  the tagline Deskaway is Simplify Teamwork and this for me is the perfect summation of what Deskaway stands for as a business.

And so… Contemplate real hard if you’d like to have a tagline for your company or not. And if you’d still like to have a tagline for your business / startup here’s some insight that I’ve garnered through some years of experience:

  • Taglines can be of two major kinds:
    • Ones that have a direct reference to the business – company, service or the product, Deskaway’s tagline for example or Kingfisher Airlines’ Fly the Good Times or United’s Fly the friendly skies
    • Ones that reflect the philosophy of the company – Nike, Just Do it! Or Nokia, Connecting People.
  • So when you are contemplating having a tagline for your business. There are few things you may want to think about:
    • What’s the purpose the tagline is going to actually serve? “I’m lovin’ it” has become synonyms with the golden arch and McD’s burgers now. But to achieve this they’ve been at it for years now.
    • The tagline should actually add value to your brand, the business offering and enhance the perceived value of your business.
    • What do you want to say as part of the tagline? Do you want it to reflect your mission? Connecting People; Your business philosophy Always low prices, always or talk about the product offering directly? Utterly Butterly Delicious!
    • A tagline must reflect the feeling / emotions of the customer and not what the people behind the business want customers to perceive.
    • Ensure that the tagline is short enough to fit with your logo unit and to be reprinted anywhere – from a visiting card to a huge sky-drop size hoarding
    • The tagline must be well written to gel with your business ideology and should convey something.
    • The tagline should be simple in language, no buzz or jargon usage
    • A tagline should serve its purpose at least for a few years for the business.
    • A tagline has to be direct to appeal to the larger customer base, so that they can identify it and recall it when required.
    • Intellectual taglines are recipe for disaster
    • A tagline that has no recall is a tagline worth removing
    • A bad tagline is as good as a ruined brand. Better not to have a tagline, than have a bad one

In all, I frankly don’t remember many taglines of companies that are doing well. I remember an one off “Just Do it!” or “I’m lovin’ it!” coz these are the rare gems that have risen out of a lot of crappy taglines by established companies.

So, as a last tip – if you’re not sure what you want the tagline to be, if it hasn’t come naturally to you – then don’t waste your time on thinking up one – its not worth the time spent. Not at all for a startup!

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Influencing the influencers

The following writeup was written for I.T. magazine. Here is the published link – Finding and Influencing the Influencers

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In today’s world, with over thousands of advertising messages reaching out to us and with attention spans decreasing rapidly; with the lines between PR and Marketing blur; with the entire Social Media buzz and Social Marketing coming into play. It has become very challenging for startups and new products to reach out to the initial users and influence them to create a brand recall and recognition in their minds.

For a startup, company or brand (for ease of read I will use the word startup to mean all these three entities) it is an on-going, ever evolving process to build its identity, increase recall and recognition. With increased clutter in the world around, it is very important for startups to clearly identify who they are reaching out to, what the message is and the impact of the communication.

How does one reach out?

In the current market scenario, for any business, it makes sense to look for channels that have high viral effect, has low customer acquisition cost, has the potential to build high degrees of trust and awareness.

1.       Founders as Brand Ambassadors:
It is important for founders to channelize their efforts towards constantly building an identity for their startup and themselves as ambassadors. Constant interaction and discussion about the startup and business offering, candid sharing of opinions and thoughts on varied topics, communicating the USP and key messages about the startup – all these come a long way in helping the early adopters identify with you as the founders and the brand at large. This also helps in building awareness and trust towards the startup.

Vijay Mallaya of the UB, Kingfisher group and Richard Branson of Virgin are great examples of founders as Brand Ambassadors. These two have worked their way up in building and expanding their business empire, constantly promoting their products and offerings. Appearing almost naked for a key business announcement at the New York Times Square, flying gas balloons that are Virgin branded, personally sending out messages to all their travelers on Kingfisher and living a lifestyle that reflects the brand – these guys have done it all and constantly re-invent themselves to reach out to and make an impact in the users minds.

2.       Reaching out to the initial users to build trust about the startup:

For startups, it is important to engage in constant dialogue with the early users. The initial users, called the “early adopters” are creatures that associate with your offering for varied reasons. It could be because:

a.       they try everything that is new

b.      they are curious about the offering as it’s a related domain they are working on

c.       the startup is their neighbor

d.      they love to give their opinion on various things

Just about any reason. But, interestingly the “early adopters” are those that take on to a new offering easily, are candid about their feedback, have more patience than the normal user to try & test the product or service, help fine-tune, and most of all these are the ones who talk and propagate the startup.  Therefore, it is important to reach out to these people fast, create a feedback channel, interact with them regularly and improve on the offering based on their inputs.

3.       Influencing the Influencers:

While interacting with the early adopters or the influencers, it is important to constantly communicate with them and ensure that they see constant evolution in the business offering. Keep the influencers interested and influence them by way of fine-tuning the offering, making it sticky for them to talk and promote the offering further. These early adopters have a very wide circle of influence in the society. There are a section of people who are constantly observing the early adopters to try and test something, give their verdict for them to start using the products.

While at madhouse (Madhouse Media, one of the first organized movie rental services which was acquired by Seventymm in 2007), the one important task I had at hand was to continually seek out avenues and opportunities to reach out to, and establish a feedback loop with the end users, by way of direct interactions or through other mediums of communication.  Sameer (co-founder of Madhouse Media) and I did this to establish trust among the users about the founders – the people who are executing the idea. We did this to spread the word about our business. We did this to ensure that people saw us as authority in movies, recommendations and movie rental business. As founders who knew what their business was about. As a business that ‘cared’ and did everything to make it easy for the users.

Where & how does one find these influencers?

1.       Media: This has been a vehicle for over ages to reach out to a large audience, no doubt. But what this channel does is to interact with the early adopters first, who have influenced the rest of the society! The messages sent out via these channels have successfully created brands, heroes, patrons and most of all trust in the world.  This channel includes print media, radio, online media – blogs, news sites, social media tools like Twitter, Facebook,LinkedIn, etc.

Many people recognize Basecamp of 37Signals, because of their blog signalvsnoise. The founders wrote about things that mattered to them on their blog and started sharing their experiences with a set of readers, who would later become the early adopters of their business offering. Their blog and their presence in the online world helped in creating a strong recall factor among the minds of people who were in the online world, the early adopters for Basecamp.

2.       Public Interactions: This tool is one of the oldest and is deemed successful since Aristotle’s time. Public representation of the brand and its ambassador has a long lasting impression on the end users, increasing the chances of recall, recognition and loyalty. The channel includes Demos, Presentations, Talks, Mixers, Meets, Tweet-ups, Other face to face communication

The more you interact with people face-2-face, the better it is for you to make a lasting impression.  Interact with the early adopters, the opinion leaders, the influencers. Engage with them intellectually, challenge their notions, allow your views to be challenged. Many successful personalities are people with good interpersonal skills, presentation skills, with the talent to reach out to and convince people of their thoughts – Hitler, Gandhi, Steve Jobs, Obama, to name a few…

So, how exactly does one influence the influencers?

1.       Timeliness: Repeated updates that reach out to the early adopters, via:

a.       Announcement of important progress in the business offering or startup

b.      Reiteration of what the startup stands for and what the founders, promoters vision is

c.       Constant updates on relevant business related topics

As part of madhouse, Sameer and I continuously kept in touch with many people – people in the media, people who are early adopters, people who are bloggers, people who are influencers in the society. We made it a point to interact with everyone – big and small, as we believed that there is learning from everyone. Specially, with the early adopters – we kept in constant touch, informing them of our progress. Involving them in discussions specific to madhouse and otherwise. Connecting them to others. We entered into long-term relationship – not inferior or superior, but as equals. This worked well in creating a long term relationship. And our keeping in constant touch was – informal regular mail interactions, commenting on the writers articles, blogs, placing that friendly call once in a while – with an update, question, connection or just simply “Happy New year”, meeting them up when we were visiting that part of town or city or for that Friday evening beer. Bumping into them and spending quality time during mixers, conferences, bar camps, etc.

2.       Quality: Communication that has value, creates trust and exhibits the brands and the ambassadors authority over specific areas of expertise

a.       Authoritative write-ups about the field of expertise

b.      Analysis, projections, predictions in the area of expertise

c.       Taking a ‘stance’, which the startup and the founders  will stand for and project

I love Jason Calacanis, Seth Godin, Paul Graham…. Why? Coz all these guys have a view point, are articulate about it and provide useful insights, challenge my intellect and give me more to carry away each time I read their blog,  writeup or an article about them. This is what we tried to do as part of Madhouse. Sameer particularly, as he was the external face of madhouse – practiced and still practices “Quality”. We had our view points and made sure we express them on various forums. Madhouse stood for “legal rentals” “stood for doing things the right way” “stood for organizing the rental business in India” “stood for quality home video experience” – we made sure we expressed our view point and what we stood for in our words and actions. We also wanted to share our experiences as entrepreneurs and so we did, each time we met an entrepreneur, a blogger or in our personal blogs, etc.

3.       Dialogue: Create a channel of dialogue exchange with the early adopters. Listen to them, question them, find out how things are every now and then, make sure you dig deep into what their impression is about the business offering, how they use it, what they think needs to be changed, show them your concern, show them you care!

At madhouse our goal was to never miss a movie delivery or deliver the wrong movie. We constantly kept in touch with our initial users to get feedback from them. If we missed a movie or slipped on our service for what ever reasons, we would send a small little cake with a sorry note. This came a long way for us, as these early adopters who saw us sweat it out and pay attention to detail, spread the word and helped us grow our customer base later.

4.       Innovative Methods: Find the most economical and innovative methods of reaching out, use smart techniques, but not overtly obvious ones.  Especially, these days with the social media channels, reaching out and creating a buzz is rather inexpensive, if done well. Be on the look out for venues to reach out, it could be the blogger you meet in a mixer, a journalist who is a friend’s friend or just you who’s active on the social media channels. Best marketing is the one done with no spend!

Who’s got to do it?

Of course YOU – as the founder, promoter, CEO, stakeholder – you have got to do this. It’s an ongoing task, it helps immensely and the returns are immeasurable. No outsourced firm, No internee, No management hire can do it for you. It is very important for a startup to have the main stake holders put in the efforts of spreading the word for their startup and build a social image for them. As an entrepreneur, among the many things you do, you do this too. If it does not come naturally, you lean to doing it. It is of utmost importance that the stakeholders interact with the influencers and early adopters. This established a connect with them, makes them build trust, helps you share the vision of the company with them and for all you know, you can find your potential investor, partner or employee in them!

When we started madhouse, Sameer & I did all the work ourselves, from taking orders on the phone, buying movies, packing them to delivering them to the users doorsteps, and this came a long way for us as a company. We knew exactly what it took to doing these tasks helping us build good processes and training the employees. It helped us establish a relationship with the early users; get first hand feedback from them. We were the ones who stood there in the mall and sold those initial memberships, interacted with people who did not take the membership and understood their concerns, fine tuned the sales pitch and re-sold to the apprehensive ones! We were the ones who were there in conferences, barcamps, mixers representing madhouse, talking about the concept and getting feedback. All this helped us establish madhouse as a brand among the influencers, who in turn became spokespersons for the brand!

However, above all this, it is important that as founders and stakeholders while doing all the work, we are:

1.       Humble, as humility disarms

2.       Honest, as it helps us win people over, build trust and create deep relationships

3.       Fair, as this is the best way to run a business

4.       Quick to accept mistakes, as this is another good trait that makes people like you. Everyone makes mistakes; the one who accepts it and changes is a winner!

In any society, the early adopters or influencers are the ones who have their antennas activated to receive and accept new things. As founders we must take care in building solutions that solve a problem or address a need, then it sure will get noticed by these early adopters who will give you the advantage of candid feedback and help you improve on your business. So, keeping your ears closer to the ground will help you improve and spread the word through these sneezers!

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Fast140 – their “Text” can be their revenues

I dabbled with Fast140 this morning. It’s a Twitter speed-typing game. It’s one of those games which makes you indulge and do better the next time around – an easy indulgence game for all ages and types.

Fast 140 is a typical “old time typing exam” format, where I look at the content in the box above and type the same in the box below. Simple!

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As I started playing this game a few thoughts crossed my mind, about the potential this game can have for marketeers and anyone who wants to send messages out to users.

For a game that requires you to pay attention to what’s written and replicate it, you are performing the task carefully, but not paying “overt” attention to the meaning / content of what’s written. But at a sub-conscious level there is a huge impact it can make on the minds and retention of concepts.

After having played it for 30 mins, I remember the following terms out of the game: Nokia, Easter, Blackberry, Harry Kallas and the loss to NFL, Phil Spector and his murder case….

Also, its known that repetition helps retention of concepts / things in the mind better!

So, Fast140 text box can be used by news channels to give out timely news, large brands can do their brand building exercises here by sending out relevant messages, governments can send out signals of their desire to users using this platform, plain simple – any brand can use this text box to send out messages about their brands, businesses via this text box.

It can also be used as a teaching tool for kids, where schools can have their own version of Fast140, where kids can type text that pertains to their syllabus 🙂

For Fast140, it’s a way to monetize their application! Would be interesting to note what the Fast140 team does. Will update here as and when I find out their moves….

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Lessons to bear the recession: Instablogs

Ankit the founder and CEO of Instablogs has shared on his blog how he and

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his rockstar team at Instablogs did the right things to take the recession head on, emerging winners so far!

The agility and presence of mind the Instablogs team has displyed can be a great learning for all startups. Get ready to make those back of envelope notes for your business too.

Here’s the original blog post: Counter-intuitiveness: Instablogs Recession Mantra

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Workplace Humor: Literally Productive

DeskAway has created this short video: Literally Productive. It’s funny and subtly drives the point of how its important for leadership positions to stay updated on developments in their field of business!

Do take a look and let me know what you think!

http://admiralavtomaty.com/novomatic-besplatno/attila/