Tag Archive | twitter

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!

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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) **

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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.

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Twitter Introduces Vine – Post 6 Second Videos Online

twitter_vine_6_six_second_video_tweet

In 6 seconds…

Twitter introduces 6-second video tweets. Will audiences tune in or out? What scandals will it create? And will it generate revenue? Read more below…

Tweets

In 2006 Twitter introduced the world to an online social networking service that enabled its users to send and read text-based messages of up to 140 characters. They introduced a web based platform for broadcasting short messages. It came at a time when mobile phones were becoming smart and people were already hooked on text messaging and instant chat. Now Twitter have 500 million registered users, generating over 340 million tweets daily and handling over 1.6 billion search queries per day.

Veets?

This month they introduced Vine, available via iTunes in app format. Vine allows users to tweet 6-second video.

According to iTunes:
“Vine is the best way to see and share life in motion. Create short, beautiful, looping videos in a simple and fun way for your friends and family to see.”

Will users be attracted to such short video? Will users be able to cope with streams of video tweets? Will this be information overload?

Danger

To the creative this may be another avenue to showcase their talents. However as we have seen with Twitter, being able to broadcast a message or photo to millions in an instance is a recipe for disaster.

Revenue

Since inception pundits have been trying to determine how Twitter can monetise it’s data. Will video shorts open the gateway for paid video advertising?

It feels as if Twitter is looking to extends it’s capability from plain text and photos into video. Facebook and YouTube have shown the benefit in these mediums. Smartphones already offer the technology. However will users buy into such short film? Only time will tell.

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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.

The Problem with Twitter – Social Disconnection by Stealth

tl;dr Twenty new Twitter followers in a week but a fall in our net position. Should social media sites allow users to end connections by stealth? Is Twitter the new watering hole for scammers and opportunists?

Introduction

Before we begin, we need to make it clear we like Twitter. It has created a simple tool to connect millions of people. It has built a diverse network that has changed the way many of us communicate and opened up new possibilities for others. Various recent uprisings around the world have demonstrated the strength of mass electronic communication.

However one of our biggest gripes with Twitter is the following functionality, or more so the unfollowing functionality. We frequently receive follow email notifications telling us we have gained new followers. This is great however in the past few months we have lost our trust in these notifications.

This week we received approximately 20 new follower notifications. Awesome, new followers to interact with. In reality our net position fell. Many of these followers are no longer following us. Twitter is not alone here.

Why? What is going on here? Is being unable to break a social media connection by stealth a good thing?

Reasons for Breaking Up (Intentional or Unintentional)

Not all break ups may be intentional. However it feels like too many are trying to lure us in for a unbalanced relationship.

+ Spammers: Social media sites have been plagued by spam and dummy accounts looking to leverage large networks of followers. Twitter appears to be more aggressively pursuing such accounts and deactivating accounts as they appear. Therefore many new followers are likely very soon to become dormant.

+ Tools: With the increase of social media options, various tools have been made available to manage your accounts. Algorithms help you follow and unfollow other users, tailoring your network to your interests. The problem is that a button click may radically modify your network. In one click you start following 100 people, then in the next click you have mistakenly unfollowed the same 100 users.

+ Ratio: The desire may be for users looking to achieve the perfect ratio of “followers to followings”. They use a false connection request to lure in new followers, while unscrupulously maintaining a low following figure. This may have financial value for those looking to sell such accounts.

+ Mistake: Twitter makes it remarkably easy to follow/unfollow users (in error). It is not always clear that a single click on the “follow” button results in a follow.

+ Bugs: Users have reported problems with Twitter removing followers with their authorisation. Legitimate connections are being mysteriously broken.

+ Dislike: Obviously there will be cases where a user genuinely ends the relationship by intentionally unfollowing a user.

The combination of the above may be enough to explain the current high churn of new followers. Spammers have always remained in front of the curve. E-mail has got smarter and applications like Twitter are the next watering hole for ‘fake viagra peddlers’ and ‘Nigerian money scammers’.

Unfollowing in Stealth

The majority of social media sites alert you to when someone wants to make a new connection. However very few (if any) send you a notification of when that connection ends. This seems in contrast to the “making of a new connection” where there is complete transparency.

The current process:

1. Mike logs into account
2. Mike identifies Peter to connect with
3. Mike send a new connection request
3a. Sometimes Peter may need to authorise connection request
3b. Peter authorises connection
4. Mike notified of new connection
5. Mike breaks connection
6. No notification sent to Peter
7. Peter doesn’t know connection broken

Benefits of Stealth

It seems odd that the making of a connection are so open, however the closing of a connection are almost secret. What is the benefit to the network?

The clearest benefit seems to avoid social awkwardness for users. Generalising, the majority of humans wish to avoid conflict and by allowing discreet disconnection all parties can continue participating without the awkwardness. At least, until disconnected party realises they have been dumped.

From one angle it seems unreasonable to expect parties to authorise the break of the relationship. This may inadvertently increase the psychological barrier for creating new connections and reducing the effectiveness of the network. In contrast, many people are quick to rush into things even when implications are high (e.g. financial contracts with penalties for exiting). Attaching penalties on exit may not discourage users forming new connections.

Would building a social network based on full transparency mean a better community? Would penalising breaking connections be effective?

No Conclusions

There are various third party applications online to track your followers and unfollowers. It remains unknown if Twitter and others will enable this functionality within their own environments. For now we just need to accept that it is a better user experience to know about new connections…

Image Credit: Pluggio

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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/

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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.

Social Media Experiment – Twitter, Google+ and now Facebook

Like it or hate it?

Through Project Trout we have been sharing our social media experiences. We have spoken about the effectiveness of tools in attracting visitors and building meaningful relationships in earlier posts.

We are already using Twitter and Google Plus. We have not had the best levels of engagement however we are hoping over time these will be useful platforms to have a presence on.

We have now signed up to Facebook. We had reluctance in signing up to yet another social media site however it may be an interesting study to determine if FB is any better at drawing in visitors than Twitter and Google Plus. So far we have not had the greatest success with any other tools. Let’s wait and see what happens.

Stay tuned and check us out on Facebook!

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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)

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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!

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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.

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

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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.

Upcoming Posts – Please Vote

Over the past few months we have been busy hammering away on our typewriters. Some articles we have published. Others have sat idle on our desks waiting for our head editor to review. To help us – please vote for articles you would like to see published.

Reply via WordPress, tweet us (@SparkNLaunch), text us or even let us know via smoke signal. Just include the post number in your message. Have we missed something? Then send us your suggestions.

Here is a list of our planned future posts….

Upcoming posts:

1. Would you buy it? – Examining the most powerful test for any new idea or product by asking the simple question of “Would you buy it?”.

2. The Lean Startup – A summary of the lean movement and our impressions on its effectiveness in the current entrepreneur climate.

3. Minimum Viable Product (MVP) – Describing the shift from product to customer development models and the importance of getting something out to the market sooner, rather than later/never. You may have nothing to lose by exposing your product today.

4. The Five Whys? (Why 5x) – Testing the ‘five whys’ approach to root cause analysis. A Taiichi Ohno (Toyota) approach to lean manufacturing now being advocated by Lean Startup author Eric Ries.

5. Project Trout meets Adwords – Our ongoing investigation into social media and the success (or rather failure) in driving traffic continues. This time we share our unsurprising results on using Google AdWords.

6. Margin Call – We try and apply lessons from the film Margin Call to the startup industry.

7. Million Dollar Viral – Research into the power of viral marketing and whether such techniques can be repeated. Can these methods be used by a small startup or are they reserved for the big boys?

8. Front Page News (Media Coverage) – We explore the steps required to make it onto the front page of Tech Crunch or Hacker News, and what this really means to the longevity of your company.

9. Market Research Monkey – Some musings on the challenges in conducting market research.

10. Using Buzzwords Badly – A closer look at the use of buzzwords and jargon, and if the misuse of words even matters.

11. Why your online presence is meaningless! – A rambling entry on why your online presence is not enough to progress your business.

12. Why Google+ Sux? – Sharing the frustration and joy of Google. We put forward an argument that Google has too many engineers building products that the average consumer cannot use.

13. Everything has been done – Success may take years and why all your ideas are already being delivered and rejected by the market.

14. Why being a deal maker matters! – A look at the important players that can make a successful startup.

15. Five Dollar Millionaire – Why $5 is suddenly a popular price point for your startup product. A couple examples on how psychological price points are being exploited by entrepreneurs.

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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 – 30th Post – What it means? (Mostly nothing)

+ Thirty Posts

We recently posted our 30th entry to this web blog. Our article on ‘The Public Image of Business People (Footballers versus Bankers)’ grabbed little attention however continued to be an outlet for sharing our random ramblings. We have learned a lot since our first post.

+ Super Resources

We have found and shared super resources from leading university lecturers to humble serial entreprenuers, from established online brands to early startup bloggers. It is surprising how many brilliant bits of information exist. It means that it is difficult to make excuses for not building something ‘special’.

+ Traffic Remains Low

Thirty posts in we are finding it a lot harder than expected to attract traffic and start having some meaningful discussions.

Our ‘Project Trout – Social Media Experiment Updates’ (last update) summarised our surprise at the ineffectiveness of Twitter and other Social Media tools in directing traffic to the blog. It is apparent that converting tweets and blog posts to something takes dedication and probably ‘offline’ promotion (eg TV, radio).

+ What’s next?

We will continue sharing our findings on biz startups, social media and new technology. With time we hope to build a more interactive blog and forge some new relationships with our readers. We also hope to release the first protype of our bootstrap startup idea for testing (Project Mackerel.

+ Still Here?

If you’re still reading this, then please drop us a line via the various social media devices. We love feedback and appreciate your comments.

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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
+ The Startup Dictionary – Learning the Lingo #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.

Technorati – Does the verification process work?

Technorati Code: SP3Q79DVZB7M

This post is not entirely inline with the ‘genre’ of the blog however we have been slowly registering the blog on various social media sites. We are working through the Technorati verification process that requires you to publish a blog post that contains your unique Technorati code (as above).

You need to prove that you are the owner of the blog. The process makes sense however an earlier attempt didn’t seem to work. Fingers crossed this time it works!

What is Technorati we hear you ask?

According to Wikipedia:

Technorati is an Internet search engine for searching blogs. By June 2008, Technorati was indexing 112.8 million blogs and over 250 million pieces of tagged social media. The name Technorati is a blend of the words technology and literati, which invokes the notion of technological intelligence or intellectualism.”

We will post back at a later date to share our Technorati experiences. In the interim you can refer to our earlier post that outlined our recent findings on Twitter and StumbleUpon (in summary we are not impressed by the results):

Project Trout – Social Media Experiment Update #2

Peace out!

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

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 #2

Project Trout continues measuring the effectiveness of various online promotion methods as mentioned in earlier posts (Social Media Experiment #1).

The results from the last few weeks are disappointing. Especially the ineffectiveness of Twitter in driving traffic.

Updated findings:

+ Online interactions don’t always equate to anything of value.

The experts advise you to interact with other blogs and online mediums. This may constitute following another blog or leaving a friendly comment. The few interactions that gather a response back typically result in limited or no value (eg link back to your blog).

+ Efforts for attention still result in zero effect.

Promoting yourself on social media sites means competing against millions of others, even in your chosen niche. Breaking out and getting noticed is tough. Getting noticed by the right audience is even tougher.

+ Activity on Twitter doesn’t necessary drive traffic to your blog.

In an effort to interact and thank our faithful Twitter followers we sent direct messages to new joiners (including a link to our blog). We even tweeted our thanks publicly (mentioning new joiners). In the first week drove 1% of followers to our blog. This conversion rate feels awfully low, especially for those who have made the effort to ‘click’ follow.

+ Traffic doesn’t necessary equal value.

The ‘Leap Year – 3 interesting facts about 29 February‘ post gained significant interest from StumbleUpon. The problem with StumbleUpon is that users ‘stumble’ through website and therefore do not stay long on your site and do not visit other parts. This makes their visit meaningless in terms of value. (Example).

We have summarised the activities below. We hope our planned activities and patience will pay off.

Week 7:
Current focus is Twitter and WordPress blog. Google Plus has been neglected for now as difficult to gain a large following as a ‘page’ rather than a ‘user’.
Twitter: 42 Tweets, 300 Following, 92 Followers
Blog: 20 posts now available. Traffic still remains low.

Week 8:
Twitter: 56 Tweets, 300 Following, 100 Followers
StumbleUpon: Registered account and added recent posts to profile. Automatic pingback generated false spike in traffic.
Blog: 22 posts now available. Traffic still remains low.

Week 9:
Twitter: 70 Tweets, 450 Following, 125 Followers
StumbleUpon: Big spike in traffic over two days from SU however traffic falls back down to normal levels.
Technorati: Registered account. Awaiting application to be approved.
Blog: 25 posts now available. About page updated. Traffic still remains low.

Week 10:
Twitter: 82 Tweets, 440 Following, 162 Followers

Planned Activities:
Continue with Twitter activity and better blog content.

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

.

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

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.

Twitter – Tweeting to your #audience

Facebook, WordPress, Wikipedia, Pinterest (etc etc) are taking up more and more of our time. Twitter has become part of my daily digest of news and information. Twitter is useful in keeping track of popular trends and your favourite celebrities. However you can quickly be overwhelmed by the massive volume of tweets, even if you are only following a handful of Tweeters.

Regardless, Twitter among many are vital tools in getting people interested in your product/service/launch. When picking a business name, you now need to consider if the Twitter and Google handles are available in addition to reserving your domain name.

There are endless articles on the marketing power of Twitter but be wary of how you use this tool. A slip of the keyboard after a few drinks may cause embarrassment to your brand.

The basics:
+ Think before you tweet – Ensure message is appropriate and adds value.
+ Watch your grammar – Use your spell checker.

Make your message count by considering:
+ Using appropriate hashtags – Adding a ‘#category’ to your tweet can attract more readers but importantly those interested in your topic/category.
+ Leaving room for re-tweeting – Allow space for others to re-send your message. They can add a ‘RT’ to the start of your message to spread the word.
+ Including a web link and making sure this link works – Web links draw in your followers and allow you to day more than 140 characters.
+ Quote others – Some say that adding a ‘@person’ to your tweet can gain more attention. It also humanize your messages.

Growing your audience:
+ Interact – Target other Twitter users by directing messages to others (including ‘@person’ in your message).
+ Follow – Follow others. Try and target those with similar interests to your own. Beware of spammers.
+ Include Links – Add your Twitter handle to your website and email signature.
+ Ask – Ask others to follow you.

We are not experts here but try varying combinations of the above and see what happens. Do some combinations work better than others? Let us know.

In the interim, check out our tweets here:
http://twitter.com/SparkNLaunch

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

.

You might also enjoy:
+ Startup Myths – I shall not be fooled again by gurus
+ The Bootstrap Challenge – Walking the Talk
+ 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

Late last year we kicked off Project Trout (Social Media Experiment #1), aimed to share our own experiences with using social media to gain traffic and interest.

Our findings so far are not so surprising:
+ It is hard to get noticed, even in your own niche/field.
+ It takes time for responses.
+ Some efforts have resulted in zero attention.
+ Interest in a tweet doesn’t necessary result in a visitor to your blog.

We have summarized the activities below.

Week 1:
Go live – Blog goes from private to public. 8 initial postings available.
Enabled Google Webmaster Tools.
Enabled Social Media buttons on each post.
Improved header information and text.

Week 2:
Twitter and Google Plus accounts activated. An additional 4 postings made available.
RSS feeds added to Feedage.com.
Twitter: 6 Tweets, 2 Following, 11 Followers
Blog: Some traffic and comments to blog.

Week 3:
Monitored Twitter activity via Twitter Counter.
Added links to FeedShark, a free tool to promote your website.

Week 4:
Experimented with Pluggio and HootSuite to schedule and manage Twitter account.

Week 5:
Twitter: Increased the amount of Twitter users we were following from c. 15 to 350. Had a dramatic impact on followers (peaking around 110). Then a sudden fall over the following days down to nearly 80 followers. Many followers were spam accounts later deleted by Twitter.

Week 6:
No new activity.

Week 7:
Current focus is Twitter and WordPress blog. Google Plus has been neglected for now as difficult to gain a large following as a ‘page’ rather than a ‘user’.
Twitter: 42 Tweets, 300 Following, 92 Followers
Blog: 20 posts now available. Traffic still remains low.

Planned Activities:
More interaction within WordPress community.
Continue Twitter tweets.
Create more high quality content.

Current Links:
Wordpress: sparkNlaunch.wordpress.com/
Twitter: twitter.com/sparkNlaunch
Google+: plus.google.com/sparkNlaunch/
RSS: sparkNlaunch.wordpress.com/feed/

.

You might also enjoy:
+ Learning From Other Startups – 6 Real Life Stories
+ Startup Myths – I shall not be fooled again by gurus
+ 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 #1

Over the next few months we will be experimenting with methods of bringing more readers to this blog.

We have already made efforts to make it easier for interested readers to find this blog by adding meaningful and relevant tags and titles to each post.

However the biggest challenge will be measuring the effectiveness of individual social media tools (eg Twitter, Google+ and Facebook). Also, old school methods like Really Simple Syndication (RSS).

Fortunately plenty of free statistics tools are available so we hope that this bit will not be so difficult. The majority tell you how a visitor came to your website, what they read and what links they clicked on.

For example:
WordPress provides it’s own statistics dashboard.
Google Webmaster Tools offers the same.
Twitter Counter shows you metrics based on tweets, followers, followings. It forecasts these metrics based on previous performance.
Feedage lets you add your WordPress RSS feed to their directory and track previews and views.

As we go along we will update this post to include our new links. Currently we offer links to the site via:

WordPress: sparkNlaunch.wordpress.com/
Twitter: twitter.com/sparkNlaunch
Google+: plus.google.com/sparkNlaunch/
RSS: sparkNlaunch.wordpress.com/feed/

Last Update: 05/02/2012

.

You might also enjoy:
+ Project Trout – Social Media Experiment Update #2
+ Project Trout – Social Media Experiment Update #3
+ The Startup Dictionary – Learning the Lingo #3
+ Startup Myths – I shall not be fooled again by gurus

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.

Web Stats – Who is top of the league table?

We spent some time trawling the web trying to work out what the most popular websites were by traffic and why?

It didn’t take long to find Alexa and the endless tables of web rankings.

“Alexa is the leading provider of free, global web metrics. Search Alexa to discover the most successful sites on the web by keyword, category, or country.”

We have published a small table of the top 30 (plus 1 to include Apple) websites in the world at this point in time (see below). There are no real surprises.

Search (google, yahoo), e-mail portals (google, microsoft, yahoo), blogging sites (blogspot, wordpress) and social networking (facebook, linkedin, twitter) feature highly. No surprises to see plenty of Chinese, Japanese and Indian appearing there as well.

One surprising aspect is that adult entertainment sites only start appearing around position 50 (no pun intended). Maybe the social networking sites have taken over?

The research is more interesting when you start looking into categories. It is a quick and handy way to see what your future competitors are up to.

The answer to the why these sites pull in so much traffic seems simple. The harder bit to answer is how you can get your website up the league tables?

We will write about POF another time, but yields an interesting story of web traffic and turning this into revenue.

Rank Name URL
1 Google google.com
2 Facebook facebook.com
3 YouTube youtube.com
4 Yahoo! yahoo.com
5 Baidu.com baidu.com
6 Wikipedia wikipedia.org
7 Windows Live live.com
8 Blogspot.com blogspot.com
9 Twitter twitter.com
10 Amazon.com amazon.com
11 QQ.COM qq.com
12 Taobao.com taobao.com
13 Google India google.co.in
14 LinkedIn linkedin.com
15 MSN msn.com
16 Yahoo! Japan yahoo.co.jp
17 新浪新闻中心 sina.com.cn
18 WordPress.com wordpress.com
19 Google google.de
20 eBay ebay.com
21 Google谷歌 google.com.hk
22 Яндекс yandex.ru
23 Google 日本 google.co.jp
24 Google UK google.co.uk
25 Google France google.fr
26 Bing bing.com
27 新浪微博-随时随地分享身边的新鲜事儿 weibo.com
28 t.co t.co
29 Microsoft Corporation microsoft.com
30 网易 163.com
31 Apple Inc. apple.com

Let’s see if this list changes much in the next few months.

.

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.

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