April 2010 - Page 2 of 2 - Digital Tool Factory blog

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Startup Atlanta – April Edition

MIT Forum hosted at UM
Last night I attended the StartUp Atlanta April event (on the web at StartUpAtlanta.org, @StartupAtlanta on Twitter) where 40 or so members of the Startup community mixed, mingled, and listened to 6 presentations by Atlanta Startups.  Mike Shinkel and Jenny Trautman (the organizers) focused this meetup on the Real Estate industry.

I did not see that many familiar faces and fewer people attended than than attended the March Meetup, but the specialization made the people who did attend more involved.  Georgia Tech was nice enough to loan out the Georgia Tech Research Institute facility auditorium.  I enjoyed meeting everyone and Mike Schinkel and his volunteers moved things along well.  It is impossible to overstate how important it is to keep these events running on time.  Daniel from Friendly Human recorded the event for video posterity.

And now, the contestants! We listened to the presentations, and voted via twitter for our favorites, here are mine, recorded here for posterity. I judge startups by the following criteria, on a scale of 1-10 (higher is better).

  1. Problem Solving – It can be a cool product, but does it make anyone’s life easier?
  2. Actual Customers – I am defining the customer as someone with both problems and money.
  3. Simplicity of Pricing – can the fees be described to anyone, do you need more information about the prospect before you can offer a quote?
  4. Chicken and Egg Problem – does the product require a lot of Customer A before Customer B becomes interested, and vice versa? This applies a good bit to middleman/broker type companies like E-Bay.
  5. Remarkability – that is to say, can someone who heard a quick presentation about it describe it to someone the next day, and have it be understood?

Note, I do not judge the passion of the founders, quality of marketing, execution etc. That’s too hard to judge based off of a short presentation. Continue reading →

Apr 10

Written By Steve French


Another Stronico marketing idea – for phase II anyway

While reading this Seth Godin post about the iPad release I was struck by how great an idea this was

Give the tribe a badge. The cool thing about marketing the iPad is that it’s a visible symbol, a uniform. If you have one in the office on Monday, you were announcing your membership. And if it says, “sent from my iPad” on the bottom of your emails…

Since Stronico is intended to a be a tool for elite salespeople, why not give them a physical token to reinforce that eliteness, say a challenge coin of some kind.  That would dovetail nicely with upcoming secret society marketing ideas as well.

Since I’m going to the Startup Atlanta Meetup tonight, I think that will be it for the blogging today.


This post originally appeared on the Stronico blog – with the absorption of Stronico into Digital Tool Factory this post has been moved to the Digital Tool Factory blog

Apr 10

Written By Steve French


New Business Adage: The Lemansky Rule

Wooden ship on the Rupsa River (Bangladesh)In the television show about corrupt cops The Shield, Curtis Lemansky, one of the main characters, once said “Why can’t we just do our jobs, and stop?“.   That quote came back to me while reading Jason Friend’s book Rework.

Rework is A) about doing the bare minimum, B) starting now, and C) completing the work as fast as possible.  On The Shield, the characters spend most of their time trying to cover up a few early crimes, which are the corrupt cop equivalent of cool, unrequested features.

Both of those notions seem relevant to me as I’ve spent two hours trying to fix a special “feature” on a website I built several years ago.  The client did not ask for the feature in the original specification but it was easy enough build, and I thought the client would like it.  She liked it, and she was happy with that I “Under-promised and over-delivered.”  Now that feature conflicts with some new security feature(!) on the server and  I’ve spent two hours getting it to work.  Two unbillable hours gone fixing something the client never wanted enough to ask or pay for.  Now that I think about it most of my “emergency” fixes have centered around unrequested features that people liked, but didn’t need.

Continue reading →

Apr 10

Written By Steve French


Why you should never complain about anything – with anecdotal proof!

Stop complainingMy new commandment: Never complain about anything.  Ever.  If you feel the need to complain to pressure someone else to make something happen, then be honest and call it manipulation.

I realized this while at a client meeting; we were talking about problems with a botched sales program and the staff had a litany of complaints about the program (ed. note: it was created by a separate vendor years ago, and the fault lies with the now-departed project manager who designed something inappropriate.  It does a masterful job of integrating legacy systems from different vendors, languages, platforms, a mainframe and Europeans are involved somehow,  but the user interface is wanting.  But I digress…).  Then I remembered hearing the same litany of complaints a year ago.   Unlike last year,  I offered suggestions on how to make small improvements to the program. Everyone proceeded to ignore me and continued complaining.  At the end of the meeting everyone felt a lot better once they had talked about their problems.  No one made any plans to actually fix the problems. Continue reading →

Apr 10

Written By Steve French


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