Tag Archive | message

Online Christmas Sales Surge – Shows The Power of Online Shopping

Christmas Tree Fireworks Lights Santa

Online Christmas Sales Surge – Shows The Power of Online Shopping

Dear Readers,

Long time, no speak! We wish all our readers and subscribers a very happy and festive holiday period.

December has been another epic sales period for retailers. Physical and online stores leveraged the ‘Black Friday’ marketing campaigns to provide an even more impressive showcase for shoppers this year.

Shoppers were treated to Black Friday (the Friday following Thanksgiving Day in the United States) as well the normal run to Christmas Day. Marketeers were rushing to name every day leading up to Christmas as ‘super’ day. We saw ‘Super Saturday’, ‘Mega Monday’, ‘Last Minute Tuesday’ …

The continuing growth in online emphasises the strength of the e-commerce environment. More traffic should equal more online leads. It proves that selling products or services online is a maturing platform, albeit with growing competition from mature businesses.

Exciting times ahead. All the best in 2015!

Regards,

Spark N Launch

.

You might also enjoy:
+ Happy New Years – Bring on 2012!
+ April Fools Day – Some of Our Favourites
+ Friday 13th – 3 interesting facts
+ It’s a numbers game – 11/11/11 @ 11:11:11

Welcome new readers! If this is your first time here, you might want to start with a new article or read through our older submissions.

Where to next? Check out a random article.

Stay in touch: Check us out via RSS Feed, Twitter, Google+ and Facebook.

Join the conversation: Leave a comment or this post.

Advertisements

Two Year Anniversary – Stop Crying

New Years 2014 Fire Works

The Spark n Launch Team celebrate with some backyard fireworks…

According to WordPress we just celebrated our two year anniversary – two years since we registered this account. Since our first blog post we have published over 100 articles and written another 100 draft posts. The site attracts traffic from around the world and continues to increase it’s readership. Thanks to all our loyal followers!

Unfortunately most of the traffic is spam bots, and the quality & frequency of our posts has diminished. Nevertheless we will try and keep up the web presence. If you’re interested in guest blogging or want some links shared, get in touch. Drop us a comment and share some love!

For those looking for some inspiration, check out some of our published posts below. Got a favourite post – tweet it!

(!)

In The Beginning:
Hello world! *
Starting a Blog – Don’t expect any Shakespeare
Working for the “Man” (Draft)

WordPress Links:
About
Social
Glossary *****
Tools
Table of Content (TOC) *****

Startups – Lists:
The Top 100 UK Startups (2010)
The Top 100 UK Startups Revealed (2012) *****
The Top 100 UK Startups Revealed (25-50) *****

Startups – People:
Fabrice Grinda – Musings of a Serial Entrepreneur
Jason Calacanis talks to Alex Tew of Calm.com
The Bootstrap Challenge – Walking the Talk

Startups – Stories:
Learning From Other Startups – 6 Real Life Stories *****
14 Year Old Girl: "Stop making excuses, make something awesome”
Startup Myths – I shall not be fooled again by gurus *****
Samsung's Pivot From Dried Fish to Smartphones
Lessons Learned – Be Your Own Boss *****

Startups – Lean:
The History of Lean Startup by Steve Blank *****
Startup Is Not The Same As A New Start Business
Building a Minimum Viable Product (MVP) in One Day
The Apprentice – Lean Startup Builds Minimum Viable Product in Two Days?
Building Your Minimum ‘Minimum Viable Product’ (MVP)

Startups – Weekends:
Startup Weekend: What to expect? How to prepare?
Startup Weekend: What to Expect?
Startup Weekend: How to prepare? (Day 0) *****
Startup Weekend: Lessons Learned in 54 Hours (Day 1) (Draft)
Startup Weekend: Lessons Learned in 54 Hours (Day 2) (Draft)
Startup Weekend: Lessons Learned in 54 Hours (Day 3) (Draft)

Entrepreneur:
The Year of The Entrepreneur – It’s YOU again

Business Ideas / Business Planning:
How to go from Idea Guy to Execution Guy? ****
Evaluate Your Business Idea – Evaluating your spark
Business Plans – "When you fail to plan, you plan to fail" (includes business plan template)
Starting Up – 9 Business Selection Criteria
Another Way To Plan – The Business Model v Business Plan *****
Step 1 – Where to Begin
How To Get Traction? Or Why Is My Startup Broken? *****
Thinking of Starting a Startup? 8 Sentiments To Think About ****

Customer Development:
Ghetto Testing the Viability of an Idea
A Smart Bear – Jason Cohen on Startups *****

People / Management:
Why Being a Deal Maker Matters To Your Team

Social Media / Blogging:
Twitter – Tweeting to your #audience
The Problem with Twitter – Social Disconnection by Stealth ****
Blogging: How Do You Promote Your Blog Posts? *****
Blogging: How To Get New Traffic To Old Blog Posts? *****
Blogging: Is Blogging Dead?

Social Media – Experiments:
Project Trout – Social Media Experiment #1
Project Trout – Social Media Experiment Update
Project Trout – Social Media Experiment Update #2
Project Trout – Social Media Experiment Update #3
Technorati – Does the verification process work?
Technorati – Does the verification process work? (Yes it does!)
Social Media Experiment – Twitter, Google+ and now Facebook
Social Media Experiment – How we made it onto the BBC!

Brand / Marketing:
Picking a name – The importance of brand
Affiliate Marketing 101
Lessons Learned From 10,000 Page Views ****
Online Advertising Experiment with Google AdWords
Happy V Day – Seasonal Opportunities
The Zoo Project – A Fantastic Marketing Opportunity
Product Functionality Often Trumps Beauty

Traffic / SEO:
How do you get on the Frontpage of Hacker News? (4 Links in 1 Day) ****
Lessons Learned From A Hacker News Traffic Spike ****

Design:
Keep It Simple Stupid (KISS) – Ugly Websites That Went Viral ****

Toolkit:
Helpful Startup Tools for Entrepreneurs – Q&As
Helpful Startup Tools for Entrepreneurs
Creating Your Very Best Startup Business Logo ****
Podcasts – Hearing and Learning From Others
Top Startup Podcasts – Learning From Listening
Weekly Digest #1 – How We Stumbled Upon Top Biz Resources
Weekly Digest #2 – More Golden Resources for Startup Entreprenuers
New Startup Lingo – More Buzzwords
The Startup Dictionary – Learning the Lingo #2
The Startup Dictionary – Learning the Lingo
The Startup Dictionary – Learning the Lingo #3
Need Startup Advice? – Just Ask Online

Funding:
Crowdsurfing: Alternatives to Kickstarter
Kickstarter: Ouya raises $1million in 8 hours and 22 minutes ***
Ouya Breaks Crowdfunding Record – Exceeds Target By Millions
Startup Funding: I’m 15 With An Amazing Product Idea
Kickstarter Crowdfunding Now Available In Europe
Raising Money (Draft)
Working Full Time and Bootstrapping Your Business Startup (Draft)

Web:
Web Stats – Who is top of the league table? ***

Rants / Musings:
Why is everything broken? (Draft)
Getting Real – It’s a project, not a startup (Draft)
Web Two is awesome – Web 2.0 changes our surfing experience
The Public Image of Business People (Footballers versus Bankers)
To Code or Not To Code

Messages:
100 Posts – Nothing Ventured, Nothing Gained
Be the First to Like Us on Facebook
Who Are We? About Us Page Updated in FAQ Format
Project Mackerel – Calling all Beta Testers
Project Mackerel – Calling all Beta Testers (Follow Up)
Blog Milestone – Lessons Learned From 50 Blog Posts
New Month, New Look – What Do You Think?
Blog Milestone – 30th Post – What it means? (Mostly nothing)
Project Mackerel – Please Sir… Complete our quick survey?
Upcoming Posts – Please Vote
Project Mackerel – Sneek Peek of Prototype

Weird / Unclassified:
It’s a numbers game – 11/11/11 @ 11:11:11
Happy New Years – Bring on 2012!
Random Generated Startup – Life gets easier (again)
Get hired with the help of your friend, Mark Zuckerberg?
The London Olympics 2012 (In Infographics)
Technology – Is a black pixel on or off? ****
Leap Year – 3 interesting facts about 29 February
April Fools Day – Some of Our Favourites
Friday 13th – 3 interesting facts
How the $16bn Facebook IPO looks like in cash (Image) **

.

You might also enjoy:
+ The Startup Dictionary – Learning the Lingo #3
+ Learning From Other Startups – 6 Real Life Stories
+ Samsung’s Pivot From Dried Fish to Smartphones
+ The Bootstrap Challenge – Walking the Talk

Welcome new readers! If this is your first time here, you might want to start with a new article or read through our older submissions.

Where to next? Check out a random article.

Stay in touch: Check us out via RSS Feed, Twitter, Google+ and Facebook.

Join the conversation: Leave a comment or this post.

100 Posts – Nothing Ventured, Nothing Gained

one_hundred_blog_posts_blogging_100

100 Posts – Nothing Ventured, Nothing Gained

This message marks our 100th post. It has taken over 12 months to publish 100 posts. It’s been a tough and interesting journey in the blogosphere…

Lessons Learned

What have we learned? Blogging is hard work!

+ Writing is hard
+ Building interest is hard
+ Gaining focus is hard
+ Avoiding distractions is hard
+ Getting traffic is hard
+ Getting meaningful traffic is even harder
+ Choosing what tools, platforms and techniques to use is difficult
+ Maintaining momentum is hard

In summary, if you want to start blogging – make sure you write about something that interests you and focus on the writing.

.

You might also enjoy:
+ Happy New Years – Bring on 2012!
+ April Fools Day – Some of Our Favourites
+ Friday 13th – 3 interesting facts
+ It’s a numbers game – 11/11/11 @ 11:11:11

Welcome new readers! If this is your first time here, you might want to start with a new article or read through our older submissions.

Where to next? Check out a random article.

Stay in touch: Check us out via RSS Feed, Twitter, Google+ and Facebook.

Join the conversation: Leave a comment or this post.

Your Holiday is Now Over

head_in_hands_disappointment_sadness

Your Holiday is Now Over

You spent the last couple of weeks frolicking in joy and laziness. You got into a habit of waking up after midday. Well sadly the holiday is officially over. For most, you are forced to resume your daily commute to your office cubicle. You can now begin the 365 day countdown to the next summer holiday break.

On the Plus Side

The good news is that you can get back to pursuing your dreams. New years is often the time for reflection and goal setting. January is time to start pursuing your new year’s resolutions. Those goals we set ourself that are often forgotten by January 31st.

Goal Setting

Let’s make 2013 different! Let’s write down some goals/resolutions and aim to fulfil them. Let’s prove those sceptics wrong and show them that new year’s resolutions can be met and even exceeded.

Step 1

According to the experts, you should try the following:

+ Decide what you want.
+ Start small, but keep walking.
+ Be positive when stating your goals.
+ Don’t underestimate yourself.
+ Write it down.
+ Affirm it.
+ Stop procrastinating.
+ Habituate yourself to liking the challenges.
+ Review your progress.

The focus is setting realistic and positive goals that you can monitor. Writing them down and sticking them on your wall can be a massive motivator. It can also prompt visitors to press you on your progress.

Our Goals

In 2013:

+ We want to write better posts by being better story tellers.
+ We want to build more things by stop making excuses for not building things.
+ We want to learn more from others by talking more to others.

What are your goals?

Drop us a line, leave is a comment. Share the love. Good luck in 2013!

.

You might also enjoy:
+ The Startup Dictionary – Learning the Lingo #3
+ Learning From Other Startups – 6 Real Life Stories
+ Startup Myths – I shall not be fooled again by gurus
+ The Bootstrap Challenge – Walking the Talk

Welcome new readers! If this is your first time here, you might want to start with a new article or read through our older submissions.

Where to next? Check out a random article.

Stay in touch: Check us out via RSS Feed, Twitter, Google+ and Facebook.

Join the conversation: Leave a comment or this post.

Happy New Years – 2012/2013

new years 2012 new years 2013 timezones gmt

Happy New Years!

Dear Readers,

Happy new year and wishing you all the best in 2013. It’s been a tremendous year and look forward to the year ahead.

Thanks to all that have visited our blog and made valuable contributions.

Regards,

Spark N Launch

New Year Facts and Trivia

+ January 1 will start first on some of the islands in the Pacific Ocean. First up is Kiritimati, Christmas Island and Kiribati.
+ Last in to celebrate is American Samoa, Niue and the United States Minor Outlying Islands.
+ 2013 (MMXIII) will be a common year starting on a Tuesday.
+ It will also be the first year to be denoted by four different digits in 26 years (since 1987).
+ Hebrew calendar 5773–5774

.

You might also enjoy:
+ Happy New Years – Bring on 2012!
+ April Fools Day – Some of Our Favourites
+ Friday 13th – 3 interesting facts
+ It’s a numbers game – 11/11/11 @ 11:11:11

Welcome new readers! If this is your first time here, you might want to start with a new article or read through our older submissions.

Where to next? Check out a random article.

Stay in touch: Check us out via RSS Feed, Twitter, Google+ and Facebook.

Join the conversation: Leave a comment or this post.

Blogging: How Do You Promote Your Blog Posts?

Blog Promotion

Recently on Quora we read the questions: How do you promote your blog posts? and What are the best ways to increase traffic to a Personal Blog? We thought we would share our own experiences and respond.

(!)

The Response

Being relatively new to the “blogosphere” we are no experts on the best methods of promotion. In fact, through our very own experimentation[2] we are still struggling with effectively executing these techniques.

Firstly, we do not believe that quantity is necessary strongly correlated to quality. We think that marketing your blog can almost take too much time away from the actual writing. So it is a personal choice on how much time you devote to writing and promotion.

Nevertheless we have read plenty of articles and hope the below can help others.

In summary you need to spend an extensive amount of time across many methods to successfully promote your blog. Often the popular blogs of today spent months/years trickling along with little to no followers; or they had luck by picking a subject matter that went viral.

(A) Tips & Tricks:

+ All of the below: You will need to put the majority or all of the below to achieve saturation point.

+ Niche: Start small and pick a small niche target market. Become the expert. It may also limit the number of competitors (noise) you need to compete with.

+ Social Media: The vast majority of experienced bloggers will say use Twitter, Facebook, Google+ etc to share your posts. However this takes time and effort to build up a significant or valuable following. It takes time to maintain your presence across these sites.

+ Blog Directories: Add your blog to directory sites.

+ Feeds: Utilise RSS feeds. RSS readers remaining a popular method of readers keeping track of news from various sources.

+ Forums/Communities: Participate in online communities relevant to your blog. Again, beware this take time.

+ Tools: Use tools like IFTTT (If This Then That) to automate your messaging. For example, whenever you post a blog on WordPress, IFTTT can spread the word through all your other social channels automatically! Read the blog platform’s user manual – WordPress has some great advice on spreading the word.

+ SEO: Use your blog content to naturally appear in search results. Avoid paying anyone for this service. This can be achieved by simply being smart about your existing content. This is free.

+ Paid Advertising: This costs money but does work (at a premium). Pay for relevant visitors to your page and not likes or spam. Google Adwords and Facebook frequently hand out free credit to experiment with their tools.

+ Analytics: Use analytics to work out where your traffic is coming from. Know your conversion rates. You are trying to make the most of those visitors who actually visit and stay on your site for more than 2 seconds.

+ Mailing lists: Good old fashioned email is still massively powerful in pulling in traffic.

+ Brand: Be sure to include your blog URL in all your messaging (email, social media, business cards).

+ Networking and Guest Blogging: Speak to other bloggers and people in your ecosystem. Share content and favours for mutually beneficial results.

+ Diversification: Capture your audio through alternative mediums. Think books, videos, podcasts…

+ Time and Perseverance: It will take time for any of these methods to grow. Not all will work, at least not in isolation.

+ Bend the Rules: Leveraged paid advertising, mass marketing (spam) and/or guerilla marketing to build early traffic.

+ Offline: Get out the building. Attend conferences, meet people face-to-face. Often people read a blog because they discovered them in the flesh.

+ Good Writing: Writing and sharing personal and real experiences is always popular.

+ Ignore Frequency: We don’t believe posting regularly is important. Many of the good blogs we find are from discovering brilliant articles published years ago.

(B) Learn From Others:

The guys at SEOmoz write a terrific blog on SEO and other web marketing techniques.

One suggested 22 Tactics to Increase Blog Traffic. They are summarised here but I recommend visiting the site and picking one or two to start implementing:

#1 – Target Your Content to an Audience Likely to Share
#2 – Participate in the Communities Where Your Audience Already Gathers
#3 – Make Your Blog’s Content SEO-Friendly
#4 – Use Twitter, Facebook and Google+ to Share Your Posts & Find New Connections
#5 – Install Analytics and Pay Attention to the Results
#6 – Add Graphics, Photos and Illustrations (with link-back licensing)
#7 – Conduct Keyword Research While Writing Your Posts
#8 – Frequently Reference Your Own Posts and Those of Others
#9 – Participate in Social Sharing Communities Like Reddit + StumbleUpon
#10 – Guest Blog (and Accept the Guest Posts of Others)
#11 – Incorporate Great Design Into Your Site
#12 – Interact on Other Blogs’ Comments
#13 – Participate in Q+A Sites
#14 – Enable Subscriptions via Feed + Email (and track them!)
#16 – Use Your Email Connections (and Signature) to Promote Your Blog
#17 – Survey Your Readers
#18 – Add Value to a Popular Conversation
#19 – Aggregate the Best of Your Niche
#20 – Connect Your Web Profiles and Content to Your Blog
#21 – Uncover the Links of Your Fellow Bloggers (and Nab ’em!)
#22 – Be Consistent and Don’t Give Up

.

You might also enjoy:
+ Our Table of Contents
+ The Startup Dictionary – Learning the Lingo #3
+ Learning From Other Startups – 6 Real Life Stories
+ Startup Myths – I shall not be fooled again by gurus
+ Startup Weekend: How to prepare? (Day 0)

Welcome new readers! If this is your first time here, you might want to start with a new article or read through our older submissions.

Where to next? Check out a random article.

Stay in touch: Check us out via RSS Feed, Twitter, Google+ and Facebook.

Join the conversation: Leave a comment or this post.

The London Olympics 2012 (In Infographics)

The 2012 Summer Olympic Games are less than a week away and excitement is building for the biggest sporting event on the planet. With 26 sports, 10,500 athletes and millions of spectators the numbers are mind boggling. Fortunately the creative folk have simplified the figures into pretty infographics. (Information graphics are visual representations of information, data or knowledge.)

Here are some of our favourites. Drop us a line on if you find any other Olympic infographcs.

1. Time Out Magazine – The Games by tickets, athletes and torch bearers…

2. Schweppes Abbey Well – The drinks company dives into the Summer Games in terms of liquids…

3. McDonald’s – The sponsorship history of one of the official sponsors…

4. Visa – A breakdown of the estimated economic impact of the Games…

5. Olympic Evolution – The initial games featured 14 nations. Now more than 200 nations compete…

6. New Zealand Herald – Breaking down the all the numbers and statistics surrounding the London 2012 Olympics…

7. Daily Infographic – Shows the evolution of Olympic coverage…

8. Complex – A Design History Of The Olympic Gold Medal…

9. Mashable – How Mobile, Social Will Win the 2012 Olympics…

10. Find Me A Gift – Olympic Events You Won’t See At London 2012…

For more infographics and data visualisations check out the Cool Infographics Blog and Google Maps Mania Blog.

Image Credit: In Graphics’ Flickr Photostream

.

You might also enjoy:
+ April Fools Day – Some of Our Favourites
+ Friday 13th – 3 interesting facts
+ Happy New Years – Bring on 2012!

Welcome new readers! If this is your first time here, you might want to start with a new article or read through our older submissions.

Where to next? Check out a random article.

Stay in touch: Check us out via RSS Feed, Twitter, Google+ and Facebook.

Join the conversation: Leave a comment or this post.

How do you get on the Frontpage of Hacker News? (4 Links in 1 Day)

How do you get on the Frontpage of Hacker News?

tl;dr This posting describes our experience of having four of our relevant Hacker News link submissions reaching the top four positions of the Hacker News frontpage. And then us later being hellbanned. How do you get on the frontpage? 1) Luck and good timing, 2) Gain karma points quickly, 3) Smart title, 4) Relevant submission, 5) Avoid downvotes.

Introduction

For a few minutes in late June, four of our news submissions sat on top of the Hacker News frontpage rankings. For many the response will be “so what” or “did you read the guidelines”. This posting is simply a record of observation that may or may not help anyone understand the news sites ranking algorithm.

The System

The community often questions the unknown Hacker News ranking algorithm and voting protocol. The Hacker News Slap – the phenomenon of quickly making the frontpage, only to be removed just as fast – is a mystery to many (all).

The system is not perfect however is probably the best one can achieve given the large volume of submissions to the site. The site gets more than 20k of page views a month to the main domain. Once you start adding in other aggregation and referral sites you get a much larger number.

Duplication of popular stories often occur (eg Steve Jobs’ death, The Facebook IPO…) but typically fresh and unique submissions stay in the top 30.

The Problem

Two significant stories occurred in the week that did not rank (highly) on the site:

1) The extradition of a UK student to US for alleged copyright infringement.

2) China’s technological achievement in space and under the ocean.

The Submission

They felt totally relevant and therefore we submitted links on both stories. We submitted multiple links to try and have one stick on the Hacker News frontpage. If your link doesn’t stay on the frontpage it has zero chance of drumming up any discussion.

1. Wikipedia founder steps in to help UK hacker (huffingtonpost.co.uk)
(HN Comments)

2. Petition to stop extradition of UK hacker (change.org)
(HN Comments)

3. China trumps SpaceX and James Cameron in same week (cnn.com)
(HN Comments)

4. China triumphs in space and sea (bbc.co.uk)
(HN Comments)

The Result

The first two remained in top spot for several hours. The second two were quickly moderated and disappeared into the ether, even though scoring points due to obvious interest. (See screenshot above.)

We quickly discovered we were hellbanned, most likely by a human moderator perceiving our behaviour as a breach of written/unwritten rules. We currently remain banned but hope this posting can be useful to those wanting to share and discuss relevant content with the Hacker News community.

Summary

So, how do you get on the frontpage? It seems to be a mixture of the following:

1. Luck and good timing – Weekends, mornings, evenings. Timing varies however weekends seem to have less noise and therefore a successful frontpage story is likely to remain on the frontpage for longer. However it is likely to experience less traffic than midweek.

2. Gain karma points quickly – Points are crucial in you getting top spot. You could collude with friends and colleagues however if detected faces downvoting.

3. Smart title – The title should be attractive enough to gain attention, but not too suggestive that it breaches guidelines and gets you downvoted or banned.

4. Relevant submission – Remember your audience. Anything off topic or irrelevant is unlikely to get any traction.

5. Avoid downvotes – Once your submission gets voted downwards, your time is up. Typically downvoting kills a submission.

If you wish to share your own experiences drop us a line or leave a comment or join the Hacker News discussion.

.

You might also enjoy:
+ Lessons Learned From A Hacker News Traffic Spike
+ Learning From Other Startups – 6 Real Life Stories
+ The Startup Dictionary – Learning the Lingo #3
+ Startup Myths – I shall not be fooled again by gurus
+ Samsung’s Pivot From Dried Fish to Smartphones

Welcome new readers! If this is your first time here, you might want to start with a new article or read through our older submissions.

Where to next? Check out a random article.

Stay in touch: Check us out via RSS Feed, Twitter, Google+ and Facebook.

Join the conversation: Leave a comment or this post.

Samsung’s Pivot From Dried Fish to Smartphones

The original office building of Samsung Sanghoe in Daegu

In April Samsung overtook Apple and Nokia in the first three months of the year to become the world’s largest smartphone vendor. This ended Nokia’s amazing 14-year run as the largest maker of all phone handsets by volume.

This is all very impressive for the former South Korean dried fish and noodle business started in 1938. It was only in the late 1960s they entered into the electronics industry. So how exactly does a small Korean food company evolve into one of the world’s largest electronics companies?

Reading through the company’s history on Wikipedia and their own corporate website, the following points stand out:

+ Established by son of a wealthy landowning family, Byung-Chull Lee
+ Dropped out of University
+ Used inheritance to open a unsuccessful rice mill
+ Established a trucking business
+ Business grew into food wholesaling and noodle manufacturer
+ Prospered post World War 2 (end of Japanese Rule)
+ Forced to relocate/pivot due to Korean War – stared a sugar refinery business
+ Diversified into insurance, securities, and retail
+ Founder strong believer in industrialization and domestic economies
+ A joint investment in the group of companies ended due to differences in management style
+ Samsung enter the electronics industry, producing black-and-white television sets
+ During the 70’s they enter the telecommunication hard industry

By the 90’s they had extensive investment in a variety of businesses becoming the leading manufacturer in many fields, including chip sets, display panels and even engines. Not a bad history of events for a company that is only 74 years old!

Reading through articles on the company, the breadth of products and services is outstanding. It is questionable whether such diversity and pivoting would still work today? Whatever the case, Samsung has the experience to compete with the best in the world – smartphones or dried fish…

Links:
Hacker News Discussion
More Startup Posts

Image Credit: London Korea Links – Will Samsung Electronics innovate again?

.

You might also enjoy:
+ The Startup Dictionary – Learning the Lingo #3
+ Learning From Other Startups – 6 Real Life Stories
+ Startup Myths – I shall not be fooled again by gurus
+ The Bootstrap Challenge – Walking the Talk

Welcome new readers! If this is your first time here, you might want to start with a new article or read through our older submissions.

Where to next? Check out a random article.

Stay in touch: Check us out via RSS Feed, Twitter, Google+ and Facebook.

Join the conversation: Leave a comment or this post.

Be the First to Like Us on Facebook

We recently announced our foray onto Facebook. It is difficult to ignore Facebook with 900 million active users. Unfortunately we are yet to get much of a following. Therefore this is a shout out for support.

Simply log onto Facebook and visit our page. Invite your friends and share your views on entrepreneurship, startups and technology.

And don’t forget, we are also on all the other mainstream social media site – please get invovled:

twitter.com/SparknLaunch

plus.google.com/SparkNLaunch

facebook.com/SparkNLaunch

sparknlaunch.wordpress.com/feed/ (RSS)

stumbleupon.com/stumbler/sparknlaunch

technorati.com/SparkNLaunch/

sprouter.com/sparknlaunch/

.

You might also enjoy:
+ The Startup Dictionary – Learning the Lingo #3
+ Learning From Other Startups – 6 Real Life Stories
+ Startup Myths – I shall not be fooled again by gurus
+ The Bootstrap Challenge – Walking the Talk

Welcome new readers! If this is your first time here, you might want to start with a new article or read through our older submissions.

Where to next? Check out a random article.

Stay in touch: Check us out via RSS Feed, Twitter, Google+ and Facebook.

Join the conversation: Leave a comment or this post.

Ghetto Testing the Viability of an Idea

Idea validation – the writings on the wall…

Back in 2009 Mark Pincus (CEO and Founder of gaming company Zynga) spoke to Stanford University students about the concept of “ghetto testing”.

What is ghetto testing?

Ghetto Testing or Dry Testing is a way to “estimate your sales opportunities in your target market before actually investing to build the product. The key idea is to find out how it will sell by pretending to a relatively small group of your target audience that it is already available.” Pincus explains “before spending tremendous resources to build out an idea, the company first tests the viability of an idea.”

Simply you create a method to test your product idea, without actually building the product. This reflects the lean startup roots of customer development and the path towards a minimum viable product.

How do I implement it?

In the Stanford Podcast Pincus describes the steps, summarised below.

+ Someone in the organisation tells him about a new idea for a game.
+ No code is written.
+ They tell the marketing or product manager that the product is built. Describe it in five words.
+ The five words are posted to the website, made live for five minutes.
For example they put up a link – “Hey, do you ever fantasize about running your own x?”
+ Based on results of the immediate testing, they spend a week constructing a basic product (“ghetto build“).
+ They A/B test it and flow test it. They put it out to 1%, 10% of our users.
+ They build a data warehouse with the testing platform.
+ Based on results they either roll out the improved version, make changes or stop development.

Fortunately Zynga have the luxury of a massive user base and traffic flow. Therefore for new businesses it may be more challenging to get instant feedback within 5 minutes. However this example provides a simple illustration of evaluating your idea without writing a line of code.

The test doesn’t need to be online. It may be a poster on a bulletin board asking interested people to call, text or email you. It may be a small advert in the local newspaper. It could be cold calling prospective customers and asking if they would be interested in your product. Early feedback may help you proceed, pivot or bin your idea.

Why is it important?

Determining if your business or product idea is viable is an early challenge for an entrepreneur. Mocking up a quick test to execute provides quick feedback giving you the direction to stop or continue.

Did this post help? Drop us a line with your testing experiences.

——

A/B Testing:

A/B testing, split testing or bucket testing is a method of marketing testing by which a baseline control sample is compared to a variety of single-variable test samples in order to improve response or conversion rates. A classic direct mail tactic, this method has been recently adopted within the interactive space to test tactics such as banner ads, emails, landing pages or even entire websites. For instance, on an e-commerce website the purchase funnel is typically a good candidate for A/B testing, as even marginal improvements in drop-off rates can represent a lot of additional sales. (Source: Wikipedia)

Image Credit:
Drawgraffitiart

.

You might also enjoy:
+ The Startup Dictionary – Learning the Lingo #3
+ Learning From Other Startups – 6 Real Life Stories
+ Startup Myths – I shall not be fooled again by gurus
+ The Bootstrap Challenge – Walking the Talk

Welcome new readers! If this is your first time here, you might want to start with a new article or read through our older submissions.

Where to next? Check out a random article.

Stay in touch: Check us out via RSS Feed, Twitter, Google+ and Facebook.

Join the conversation: Leave a comment or this post.

Blog Milestone – Lessons Learned From 50 Blog Posts

One way to celebrate your 50th blog post... (Dangerous Goods Transport)

()

It’s been a long time since we celebrated our 30th blog post and even longer since our first post when we proudly blogged “Hello World”.

Today we publish our 50th post! We are often surprised how many bloggers suffer the dreaded writers block. We suffer the opposite and have a pipeline of 100+ draft posts awaiting publication.

We have learned a massive amount on startups since beginning this blog. Mostly thanks to the excellent resources available online and meeting some smart people around the place. Nevertheless there is still much more to learn in this dynamic environment.

So, what have we learned? Was it worth it? Should we keep going? Where are we? And where are we going?

On startups:
+ Startups are hard work
+ Startups are uncertain
+ Startups are different to traditional businesses
+ Your startup will probably fail

On people:
+ Your team matters
+ You don’t need to be technical (but it helps)
+ You need enthusiasm and passion
+ Be surrounded by people smarter than you
+ Don’t work in isolation, engage with others

On ideas:
+ Every good or bad idea is being done
+ Having an idea is just the beginning
+ Evaluating your idea is tough but crucial
+ You need to identify the problem
+ Getting surveys filled out is hard
+ Personal evaluation is step 1

On planning:
+ Planning is important
+ The Business Plan has been replaced by The Business Model

On customers:
+ Customer discovery starts by getting out the building and speak to people
+ You need to speak to potential customers
+ You need to know their pain points
+ You want the right customers, not the wrong ones

On development:
+ You need an MVP
+ Build it and they will come is fiction
+ Keep It Simple

On learning:
+ Entrepreneurs are willing to share their stories
+ The Internet has many great resources
+ Knowing the language helps
+ Reflection counts
+ You can never stop learning

On motivation:
+ Stop making excuses
+ Set small tasks and complete them

On blogging:
+ Getting engagement is hard
+ Upcoming posts
+ No one reads this blog, but it doesn’t matter
+ Twitter doesn’t work
+ Good writing counts
+ Looks don’t matter

On next steps:
+ Keep blogging, but write better more meaningful and honest posts
+ Start (and finish) something real
+ Interact more

Thanks to all our readers and those who have sent us feedback. We look forward to sharing another 50 posts with all of you!

.

You might also enjoy:
+ Lessons Learned From A Hacker News Traffic Spike
+ Startup Weekend: What to expect? How to prepare?
+ Samsung’s Pivot From Dried Fish to Smartphones
+ April Fools Day – Some of Our Favourites

Welcome new readers! If this is your first time here, you might want to start with a new article or read through our older submissions.

Where to next? Check out a random article.

Stay in touch: Check us out via RSS Feed, Twitter, Google+ and Facebook.

Join the conversation: Leave a comment or this post.

Social Media Experiment – How we made it onto the BBC!

image

The Spark ‘n’ Launch blog are very proud to have been mentioned on the BBC website. While we didn’t make frontpage news, we did feature on The Apprentice TV series sub-site.

Our story – The Apprentice – Lean Startup Builds Minimum Viable Product in Two Days? – crept onto the programme’s page.

The Apprentice blog post is our second highest ranking submission. Mostly due to the referral traffic from the BBC.

The BBC network have employed BBC Buzz, a “tool that finds where on blogs, Twitter and other online communities people are discussing BBC programmes, and presents links to them on the relevant programme page.”

Links are collected via “a service which automatically trawls over 125 million blogs every few hours, and filters out any spam or inappropriate content.”

The BBC Buzz is currently our fourth biggest referral and is a pretty powerful example of how companies are using trawlers to bring relevant social media content to their sites. While the visitors may not all be interested in all the content, it has proven our most effective tool in directing visitors to our blog.

As always, we will continue to share the progress of our experimentation with social media. Stay tuned!

Our Social Media Experiment (titled “Project Trout”) measures the effectiveness of various online promotion methods. You can read more in previous postings:
Update #1
Update #2
Update #2

.

You might also enjoy:
+ Social Media Experiment – Twitter, Google+ and now Facebook
+ The Startup Dictionary – Learning the Lingo #3
+ Social Media Experiment – Twitter, Google+ and now Facebook
+ Project Trout – Social Media Experiment Update #3

Welcome new readers! If this is your first time here, you might want to start with a new article or read through our older submissions.

Where to next? Check out a random article.

Stay in touch: Check us out via RSS Feed, Twitter, Google+ and Facebook.

Join the conversation: Leave a comment or this post.

Project Trout – Social Media Experiment Update #3

Project Trout continues measuring the effectiveness of various online promotion methods as mentioned in earlier posts (See: #1 and #2).

While we are not fixated on gaining readers we are curious to know what works and what doesn’t, and how hard it really is to establish any form of following. If you are a blogger and have some tips/suggestions then please drop us a line.

Recap:

Last month we shared our disappointment in Twitter and it’s failure to convert followers to blog visitors. We had some limited success with Stumble Upon but not enough to celebrate.

StumbleUpon: Big spike in traffic over two days from SU however traffic falls back down to normal levels.
Technorati: Registered account and application approved.
Blog: 25 posts available. About page updated. Traffic still remains low.
Twitter: 82 Tweets, 440 Following, 162 Followers

Week 11-14:

The past four weeks proved as disappointing as last month. We persevered with existing tools and signed up to some new methods.

StumbleUpon: Limited traffic being directed.
Technorati: Some traffic being directed.
Blog: 38 posts now available. About page updated. Glossary page added. Three posts hoping to attract interest:
Startup Glossary of Terms,
The Apprentice
Teaser of Upcoming Posts
Twitter: 245 Tweets, 550 Following, 200 Followers.
Difficulty in increasing followers (as new joiners offset by leavers)
Google+: Remarkably we now have one person following our page! Not liking Plus platform at all.
Google Adwords: We were the lucky recipient of a AdWords voucher. We will share the outcome of this work in a later post.
Sprouter: Signed up but have not made any activity.
Reddit: Signed up and shared some links. No traffic or interaction this month.
Digg: Signed up and shared (“dugg”) one link.
Other: Submitted two stories to Hacker News. Big one day spike in traffic but nothing afterwards. Visitors only visited linked post and nothing else.

What worked?

+ Google Adwords shows some promise but costs money.
+ Targeting niche sites works to drive short term traffic but has potential if visitors stay.
+ Traffic is low, but has increased from previous period suggesting signs of some activity.

What didn’t work?

– Twitter followers are fickle. As soon as one joins, others leave. Few/none click on links.
– Visitors to one post don’t mean they stay and/or re-vist.
– Google Plus is difficult to use.

Current Links:

WordPress: sparkNlaunch.wordpress.com/
Twitter: twitter.com/sparkNlaunch
Google+: plus.google.com/sparkNlaunch/
RSS: sparkNlaunch.wordpress.com/feed/
StumbleUpon: stumbleupon.com/stumbler/sparknlaunch
Sprouter: http://sprouter.com/sparknlaunch
Digg: digg.com/sparknlaunch

.

You might also enjoy:
+ Lessons Learned From A Hacker News Traffic Spike
+ Startup Weekend: What to expect? How to prepare?
+ Social Media Experiment – Twitter, Google+ and now Facebook
+ Project Trout – Social Media Experiment Update #3

Welcome new readers! If this is your first time here, you might want to start with a new article or read through our older submissions.

Where to next? Check out a random article.

Stay in touch: Check us out via RSS Feed, Twitter, Google+ and Facebook.

Join the conversation: Leave a comment or this post.

Friday 13th – 3 interesting facts

We wish you a productive and safe Friday the thirteenth! Here are some three quick facts about the date:

1. According to folklorists, there is no written evidence for a “Friday the 13th” superstition before the 19th century.
(Source: Wikipedia)

2. Friday the 13th occurs 3 times in 2012: January 13, April 13, July 13.
(Source: Time and Date)

3. Both Friday and the number 13 were once closely associated with capital punishment. In British tradition, Friday was the conventional day for public hangings, and there were supposedly 13 steps leading up to the noose.
(Source: HowStuffWorks)

If you like dates and numbers you can always check our these two earlier posts:

April Fools Day – Some of Our Favourites
Leap Year – 3 interesting facts about 29 February
It’s a numbers game – 11/11/11 @ 11:11:11

.

You might also enjoy:
+ April Fools Day – Some of Our Favourites
+ Friday 13th – 3 interesting facts
+ Happy New Years – Bring on 2012!
+ It’s a numbers game – 11/11/11 @ 11:11:11

Welcome new readers! If this is your first time here, you might want to start with a new article or read through our older submissions.

Where to next? Check out a random article.

Stay in touch: Check us out via RSS Feed, Twitter, Google+ and Facebook.

Join the conversation: Leave a comment or this post.

%d bloggers like this: