Archive for the 'Blog' Category

You have the data now help them!

Toying around with MySpace earlier today with someone else I noticed a couple of things.

1) I instantly knew which sections of the webpage contained relevant information and focused on those areas.

2) My friend did not, they read all the text.

3) They were logged into MySpace and have been using it for a long time.

A few things ticked into place.

If you have a user, and you know how they behave on your site and you wish them to invest heavily in it, why not invest in them?

Monitor users use of the site, complete A/B testing and figure out what users ‘capabilities’ are.

Then give them a slightly different experience, experienced users get the full html view, inexperienced get the easy to use editor with instructions.

We now have the data to do this, on a huge scale, why aren’t we doing it?

So my idea is to provide this as a service, conduct usability studies, suggest segments and build around them.  Migrate users over time.

This way you can give me everyone a more personalised service.

We already do it for Marketing Campaigns (based on keywords) why not the user experience?

November 30th, 2008

No Strings Attached

I was reading this brilliant article on Yoshiro Nakamatsu, Japanese Inventor.

A modern day Nikola Tesla.

This paragraph struck out to me:

“The key to successful innovation, according to Nakamatsu, is “freedom of intelligence.” By this he means working with no strings attached. Nakamatsu says he has never sought funding from any person, company or government and prefers to develop and produce his own inventions. “If you ask or borrow money from other people, you cannot keep freedom of intelligence,” he says simply.”

This freedom, opens up the potential to anything you can dream of.

Seth Godin says the same on his blog, he doesn’t work for anyone, or allow comments as that may impair him.

Really he wants to unleash the possibilities.

It was on this point I wanted to say this blog has no strings attached.

This isn’t here to push products out there.

It’s to provide an outlet to get ideas out there.

Like Seth I had no comments, but opened it up, to let you guys talk.

As honestly (if you know me well) I do what I want anyway. No strings attached.

November 27th, 2008

The Magic Button

Just need to find it and press it.

Bam! A Puff of Smoke.  Instant success.

Except its not really like that.

Want to know the real truth? Here it is for free.

The answers are already there, you just have to look for them


Put in the hard work.

So stop wasting thousands of dollars on buying the magic answer and put the work in.

November 26th, 2008

Polarise People

Recently in a podcast I listened to from Tim Ferris,

His key idea for a successful blog was to do three things:

  1. Challenge peoples beliefs
  2. Challenge their existing behaviour
  3. Challenge their belongings (ownerships to)

All of these polarise people.

By polarising you draw out emotions and passions.

It’s true, we like to talk about things that are remarkable, neat, different.

So want to get people to talk? polarise them.

November 25th, 2008

Spread a smile

Aristotle said the goal of all human activity should be happiness (including business).

Smile at someone and they smile back.

Same with yawning.

You spread the word, fast, easy and simple.

This is like joy, bring your customers joy, happiness, excitement.

The best forms of word of mouth.

If you bring someone happiness they will spread it and/or others will notice.

iPods are sold on enjoyment, videos go viral because they make you laugh or cry, business referrals come from those that are happy with your service.

Does your product genuinely make your customers happy?

If not, it should. Spread a smile 🙂

(you know you want to)

November 24th, 2008

The problem of legitimising

With a start up how do you legitimise?

What makes this concept real? how can we communicate that? how do we convince people that in all likelihood we will never meet but conduct business with?

Quotes, press releases, buzz, real physical address, photos via flickr, blogging, techcrunch mention..

All different routes.

How about a standard, a brand, voted for by the industry, like the Intel Inside brand.

A brand that reinforces legitimacy and rewards action.

Certain actions provide points, and start ups are only admitted once they have met criteria set by the community.

A brand that says we are a real business and are here for the long haul.

Now I’ll be the first to say, this isn’t for everyone, and if you are facing legimacy problems maybe there’s something bigger wrong.

However there is a real market need.

I don’t think this is quite the answer, but it’s less wrong than no answer…..

November 23rd, 2008


As I discussed in a prior post about the 80 / 20 Rule roughly speaking 20% of causes create 80% of consequences.

It was upon this (and other trends) the 12 Hour Startup idea came into fruition, the idea that in a condensed time frame you can stimulate these causes that in the long run will drive big consequences.

We all know the stories, those that stayed up all night to complete that essay that go them an A, doing a proposal last minute, no matter what happens we seem to always slide it in.

My thought is to encourage this more often, we are going to build this product by next week, I am going to finish that job by Monday as it’s been sitting around too long.

You should try it, put some pressure on yourself to complete more of the things that are important in condensed time frames.

You’ll be surprised at how often you nail it.

This is exactly how this blog came about, I spent April this year doing a road trip around the South Island of New Zealand writing blog posts, and i gave myself a 24 hour deadline to get the blog up and running with my first post.  Wham, Bam, Done. 

So what do you have in motion that you can condense and get it done?

(and then you can move onto the next mountain)

November 20th, 2008


Its a meet up of twitter users.

Not sure if thats a new phrase? or how often it’s used.

I have organised a couple and been to a few more.

It’s fun, a whole bunch of people from all walks of life, getting together to meet up.

We take our online networks from online to the real world.

Looking around the table today, it was neat, I couldn’t imagine any other circumstances upon which such unique, different characters would all end up in the same place.

There are different careers, genders, personalities, backgrounds, the common thread was twitter.

In our increasingly virtual world, communications can be via avatars, what you actually say / share with the world.

What I really like is, the bias is gone, judgements are not made on race / age / gender, it’s moreso on what you contribute, and I think thats great.

The internet truly is creating an even playing field for all.  I look forward to the next Tweetup.

November 20th, 2008

Wait, Stop!

The bus driver can’t hear you. He has already driven away.  

He couldn’t care less, you should have been on time,

You should have been there when he cared, when he had time to give you attention.


Oh well the next bus is 10 mins away?  Wrong.  It could be 5 mins away or 25 mins away.

You don’t know.

You know it is coming, but when?

The point is, in the meantime you’ve missed out.

Communications is rapidly changing and has been doing so for years, the bus has come and gone many times, each time it does, you miss out!

So when are you going to be on time jump on board, and give it a shot.  As hey one day its going to be lonely at that bus stop.

November 19th, 2008

What gets Measured gets Managed

It’s the old adage Peter Drucker came up with:

“What gets measured gets managed”

It’s very true.

The trap we all fall into is an addiction to metrics, hey this one reinforces our success better or this is neat.

The question you need to ask is:

  1. What are the objectives?
  2. What is the one metric that shows progress and success? (look at per objective)
  3. Ignore other metrics.

If this metric dictates your objective, focus on that, when you stop and review you can look at others, but do not let them distract you whilst your in the trenches.

Once you have this focus, you will notice as Drucker says “what gets measured gets managed” will drive your success.

November 17th, 2008

Hidden Inefficiencies

Google is a multi billion dollar company by wrapping up two inefficiencies, search and advertising.

They shifted the market from an inefficient state to a much more efficient one.

Others would be Youtube, Ebay, iTunes.

First step is to identify ‘hidden inefficiencies’, in that they exist, yet a solution hasn’t been made yet.

Then to build a business around solving it.

We all hear about ideas that are so simple but the opportunity was missed as we aren’t involved in that niche industry.

So my idea is for a business to simply spend all its time aggregating these inefficiencies and present them to entrepreneurs to solve, thus taking the information market for these from inefficient to efficient.

Imagine though, being able to have access to 1000 industry wide problems in 1000 totally different industries.

I wonder how much overlay there are between them, so you could solve many issues at once.  

(and think about how much it would improve each of these industries)

Now that would be awesome! Don’t you think?

November 16th, 2008

What's the business case?

I hear novel ideas all the time.

They are neat, fun, unique, likely to spread.

I love them.

Yet I often ask What is the Business Case?

What is the value?

Where is the monetisation? (direct or indirect)

Cash flow is key to survival.

Otherwise your idea’s not going to last in the long run.

(and thats not a cool idea).

November 13th, 2008


What is personality?

Google ‘definition of personality’ returns “the complex of all the attributes–behavioral, temperamental, emotional and mental–that characterize a unique individual; “their different …”

Essentially personality is what makes us different and unique.

Big businesses try to stamp out personality to keep regimented systems for franchises, to reassure customers, to get the right cogs doing what they need to.

Yet more often than not a loyalty between organisations is between people, not the brands.

It’s people behind every company and every interaction and with people comes their personality.

We shouldn’t shy away from that, we should embrace it, what are the personalities behind our business? and how can we leverage that? (and in term keep them happy).

I was thinking this as I bought a coffee from Cafe Monet, in Newmarket.  

I wandered in and 3 people were in there and they all said hey anton, morning anton, etc to (as I instantly became aware) Anton the barista.

Anton looked up and said ‘hey buddy’ to me, and carried on talking to various people, within 30 seconds you could tell he was the personality behind the cafe and the reason people kept coming back.

It was like everyone was friends, a real sense of community.

I daresay his 10% extra effort with every customer leads to 80% (or higher) return rates.  

I’ll definitely be going back to say hi to Anton and grab a coffee (plus the coffee isn’t half bad).

The question is, what personalities do we have? and how can we embrace them?

November 12th, 2008

80/20 Rule

Not many rules I follow.

However 80/20 rules is one that I pay attention to.

The argument is 20% of causes lead to 80% of consequences.

(Note: its not strictly 80/20 it can be 90/10)

Examples are:

  • 20% of streets cause 80% of traffic jams
  • 20% of your clients derive 80% of your profits
  • 20% of faults make up 80% of your replacement costs

Smart thinking.

I always throw this around every few months, see what else I’m doing wrong, or where improvements can be made.

Some examples i’ve found:

  • 20% of our Marketing Exp lead to 80% of our revenue.
  • 10% of my calls derive 90% of my mobile bill
  • 20% of my clients derive roughly 85% of my revenue (fluctuates a little bit)
  • 13% of our content drove 95% of our traffic

Once you’ve identified a link, what can you do to improve that 20%? How can you look after your clients that drive 80% of our profit? Can you modify your call behaviour to lower the 10% that make up 90% of your bill?

Give it a shot, it’s not only fun, it’s quite interesting to see the results.

Have you already done it? share your results I’m always intrigued…

November 11th, 2008

The only thing holding you back is YOU

It’s true.

Really You can do what YOU want.

But chances are it’s you holding yourself back?

Your saying no it’s not Ben, it’s this and this.  A lot will say time.  A lot will say money.

Stop making excuses.  You can make time.  Start with 5 minutes a day.  Work up to 60 minutes.

Look at how you can reduce the time for other tasks, do you really need to do so and so.

Believe me you can find enough time to start doing what you really love.

Secondly money, it can be a barrier, but its not infallible.

For under $100 you can:

  • Write a book via self publishing
  • Drive your favourite super car
  • Learn how to fly a plane 
  • Start your own online tv show

The barriers to virtually everything are getting destroyed, the chances for excuses are getting less and less.

If there is something you really want to do it, bite the bullet and jump in the deep end, do not let yourself or others talk you out of it.

November 10th, 2008

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