Archive for the 'Blog' Category

Remember the Big Red Button?

You click it. What does it do?

Who knows? wow

The intrigue, the curiousity, the excitement

Then it did nothing

But it could do something right?

Maybe next time

Yet we would still spread the story, hey have you searched for the big red button? have you pressed it? You should to see what it does.

I remember being 14 or so and searching yahoo / lycos for the big red button.

What was interesting is, this spread before social bookmarking, digg, networking, just with plain old emails or moreso (actual) word of mouth, person to person.

Simple idea online, spread virally. Just to reminisce with the rest of us.

Wonder if we will see it come back as a Facebook app?

For those of you who missed out, revisit what was (not really) cool in 1999 introducing the big red button.

Ten Years on it still spreads!

September 11th, 2008

Small IS the new Big

I keep hearing it more and more.

“We launched with 50% of what we wanted, we could have launched with 10%”

“Scale down, smaller is better”

“Going to the absolute smallest market we can find, now dominate globally”

Just some of the errings.

They’re all right.

As Seth Godin discusses, Small is the new Big.  Big ideas start off small and are being run by small teams.

Go small, focus, be big.

How can we deliver with less? less features, less resources, less employees…. less everything.

Guy Kawasaki’s aim was to just have a couple of guys and make a cool $1m/year (trumeours)

Now magnify his concept by 1000, 1000 micro businesses run by a couple of guys dominating their tiny niche globally.

Small is the new big.

September 10th, 2008

Time Distortion

Time Distortion is part of the model I discussed in Challenges faced by Live Search in creating a compelling experience.

So what is Time Distortion?

Time distortion is where users feel unaware of how much time has passed.

How often have you discovered half an hour has disappeared on you whilst watching youtube? or playing around on facebook? or wikipedia?

This is time distortion.

So why would you bother investigating the factors that influence time distortion?  

Think about the benefits:

  • Enjoyable experience around your brand
  • Higher customer engagement
  • Increase repeat visits
  • Increased User satisfaction
Now check those against your site objectives.  It’s in your interest to create a compelling experience.
September 9th, 2008

Firms that need me

Firms that need me know me.

This should be your objective.

In your niche do the firms that need you know you? if not why?

If they do. Gold.

September 8th, 2008

You are wrong. Offline and Online all the same.

Every Monday I like to throw some ideas out there and see what happens.

They return to me in the form of ‘I’ve tried that and heres why it didn’t work’ or ‘that’s already been done’ or ‘feedback’.

This one I have been throwing around for ages and talked to a lot of people so I thought now was time to unleash it.

Think about the mass of learnings we make online, monetisation models, usability

Now let’s apply them to an offline situation.


Fundamentally we are all humans interacting with your website or service.  We all have the same basic needs and wants.  We engage with your product sometimes with an end goal in mind othertimes we get sold on that end goal.  

Imagine I have taken over the local cafe.


Hmmmm ok, immediately I think of two things.

  1. Offer coffee for free or very low cost to boost volume. (adsense model)
  2. Offer coffee for free but charge for the experience (freemium)
  3. Offer unlimited coffee at a monthly charge.  Different plans better coffee (saas)
  4. Offer a special coffee that comes nicely packaged with chocolates on the side. (price discimination)


I like this one

  1. Remove barriers to your end goal.  Buying a coffee.  Have a sliding door, efficient ordering system. 
  2. Rather than volume (above) make it usable, friendly help user have a compelling experience (create flow), they are likely to spend more. (something online world hasn’t tapped yet).
  3. How quickly can i read your menu? how does the language affect my selection? do you have a top 10 list or ‘most popular’ items.  

I’d better stop you get the idea using usability you can keep going for a while.


This one is already applied somewhat

  1. Create a community of coffee lovers, run a coffee course, teach them how to make coffee.
  2. Setup a monthly newsletter for your loyal fans
  3. Give your loyal fans cards valid for a free coffee for there friends (help them spread your idea)
  4. Offer free wifi and organise tweetups / meet ups (via

You get the idea.

Other filters you can view your cafe through: 

  • Conversion Rates: Optimise your entry points and languages for certain products.  
  • Authenticity: Have nice personable people greeting you, I’m more likely to open my wallet if I’m feeling good about my experience
  • Colours: Colours affect my perception of the store.
  • Analytics: Do you know what type of customers come when? how long they stay? what they buy? Most effective source?
  • Leaking links: Do you advertise / have signs that are building others brands not your own?

Conclusion: Ben should buy a cafe!

You can see that we have this great platform of learning online, we should all be looking at how we can apply these learnings into new contexts.

September 7th, 2008

The No Strategy Marketing Strategy

I meet a company every now and again that say we have no marketing strategy [and therefore we don’t do marketing].

Your wrong.

You do.

You have the No Strategy Marketing Strategy.

In every transaction your organisation engages in you are marketing. Why? you are communicating.

Each of these interactions results in a story being told.  This is a story about you.

Is this bad? Not necessarily.  

However if you are already doing something (without realising it) – surely you can deliver more value by providing a focused strategy.

Sun Tzu’s famous strategy quote:

“All men can see these tactics whereby I conquer, but what none can see is the strategy out of which victory is evolved.”

Everyone can replicate the tactics of your No Strategy Marketing Strategy…..

So flag your No Strategy Marketing Strategy and get to it (you have all weekend!).

September 4th, 2008

The Analysis Zig Zag

See my post re: Zig Zag.

Everyone zig zags between over analysing and glossing over making decisions on little information.

Sometimes you need to.

It’s called attention to detail. Paying attention to the details can be perfect.  Customers notice and you feel great.

(it’s almost instinctive, they can tell immediately that its polished and perfect)

So how can you tell when you’ve gone too far? or your not going into enough detail.

Questions I would ask myself:

  • How to these details relate to my objective?
  • What level of effort will i have to exhert to nail those details.  Now double it.  Is the payoff still worth it?
  • Will the customer notice these? or notice the lack thereof?

Things to think about…… (maybe a little, maybe a lot haha)

September 3rd, 2008

Creating Value (Easily) through Scarcity

How can my friend who is a one man band charge $175/hour excl gst one year and only $50/hr two years ago.

Simple he created scarcity.

He is in a unique position where he is the guy to get.

Resources in scarcity cost more and clients are happy to pay it as they realise how scarce he is…

So think about it, how can i become scarce in my industry?


– Be the best at it or at a unique mix ie social media in the public sector

– Build your personal brand

– Limit availability…i only work 20/hours a week and only have 5 clients

– Be different

– Do something no one else will ever do ie transparency in a walled garden industry

Sure you can come up with a few of your own.

(remember it’s all about the story your telling by being scarce)

September 2nd, 2008

Telling a Story

Everyone likes a good story

That’s why we tell them / share them / grow them

Now look at all your actions, what story does this create? How can i make it a better story…

When giving a gift, what story can they (the recipients) tell themselves and others?

When dealing with customers, ie red bull gives me wings…….

Go on tell a remarkable story you know you want to

September 1st, 2008

What are you doing all the way down here? You could:
- View my about page
- Or for first timers the New Here? page
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