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Ryan Carson Archive
Yesterday we reported on the auction of the HeyAmigo email service. The auction just closed with no buyer and no bids. Ryan Carson of Carsonified, makers of HeyAmigo, noted on Twitter, "38 people watching the auction and email questions are starting to come through. Will it kick off in the end? Nervous."
The starting bid was set at $25,000. I think this was a reasonable price for a pre-made, ready-to-launch email service. It will be interesting to see what becomes of the service now… start the auction at a lower price or sell privately to those who asked questions about the auction.
If you are planning to make a bid for HeyAmigo, you have less than 24 hours left. The service is described as, "a service that matches advertisers with email newsletters, and vice versa". The auction is worth checking out as founder Ryan Carson has provided a lot of details on how the service works and the revenue model. The Carsonified team blogged the development process for HeyAmigo on their BareNakedApp blog.
From the auction regarding why they are selling, "We are a small team and we don’t have the man-power to have someone work full time as the product manager. Initially, we hoped we could run the app and maintain our current workload but we just got too busy and Amigo fell by the wayside. We still think it’s an amazing idea that, in the right hands, will make someone a lot of money. The idea of pay-per-click advertising in email still hasn’t been done yet and Amigo is a great start in that direction."
As of the time of this post, there have been no bidders so far. The current minimum price is $25,000 on the eBay auction. They are throwing in free shipping!
Also check out Carson’s "14 things I wish I knew before I built a web app" presentation from late 2006 — the tips still apply today.
Here are my notes from the presentation by Ryan Carson of Carson Systems at the Future of Online Advertising conference.
Ryan was a fill-in for one of the presenters who cancelled at the last minute. Ryan decided to provide some insight into the marketing plans that Carson Systems used for the Future of Online Advertising conference. While I disagreed with Ryan's decision to show his ledgers for DropSend earlier this year, I think this made for a great discussion.
I don't have many notes from his discussion but here is the chart that he used for the basis for his discussion (click it for the larger version).
Basically Ryan ran two types of deals:
Barter included sites like TechCrunch where he offered a commission for signups. He also bought some ads. In the image, green are the barters.
I thought he did a great job of explaining how he decided on which types of ads to run. I think Ryan is awesome and hope one day I get a chance to sit down with him (and the team) to really learn more.
He then opened the discussion up to the audience. Several people provided tips for the future (get it ha ha) including myself:
- Offering "10% off" can make it appear like the conference isn't popular and might actually keep people away
- In addition, most of the attendees are coming from employers who won't care much about saving $80. Perhaps offer a book bundle instead.
- The ad they ran in the magazine had no wording about it being a conference and might have appeared as just a normal advert.
Do you have any suggestions for Ryan? Were you thinking of attending and decided not to? Would you attend in the future? Drop your thoughts in the comments!
This mornings panel is about what it takes from a financial perspective to build and maintain a large web app. I give this one a 8.5/10. What I really liked about these panelists is that they didn't make the discussion about "I" but rather about "you" and what needs to be considered. Of course as a former accountant, I look at these numbers with a bit of a different eye. Giving equity did not mean it was free for example :)
Here are my notes:
Carson starts by talking about barenakedapp.com and how it worked with his wife, Gillian.
Ann Crady – Mayasmom.com
Mark Hedlund – Wesabe.com
Michael McDerment – FreshBooks.com
Beatrice Tarka – Mobissimo.com
Cost to build – to get it live:
DropSend – $48k
FreshBooks – $20k
Mayasmom – $70k
Wesabe – $200k
FreshBooks – didn't spend anything on design and development – Mike did the design, his partner did the development – $140k went to marketing
Ann – build it as cheaply as possible and get it out as quick as possible.
Mobissmo – used polish and italian designers
Carson – cheap to build an app – expensive to grow and maintain it
Mark – has concerns about working with lawyers for equity
DropSend – $3k does no marketing
FreshBooks – $46k
Maya – $30k
Mobissimo – $150k
Wesabe – $3k
Ann – must think about how the business scales and you must decide what you doing the site for – biz or fun
Ryan – there are 3 scenarios – fail, barely make it, succeed – must determine what to do
Beatrice – we got some great press including a note in Time magazine which helped to establish a rep for the company, pr people connect but then its your job to connect the company
The panel seems to agree that if you have very strict requiremements, outsourcing to offshore might work, but building a fluid app should be build locally. Ryan hired 2 people in Moscow.. he notes that it isn't outsourcing, they have to believe in the product.
Tonight in Austin, the 10th annual SXSW Interactive Awards had their winner reveal. Just a quick note that I entered CN into the competition but was not selected as a finalist.
Most of the winners I had never heard of, but Carson Systems won for Vitamin. Hats off (literally) to Ryan, Lisa, Gillian and Mel! Super awesome job. yourminis was a finalist but didn't make it. It's still a great app.
Here are some photos from the event. Ze Frank did a good job in handling the ceremonies. The ninja was
1938media I am sure from askaninja. I sat 3 seats from Amanda Congdon but I am not a celeb so she had no idea who I am :)
Here are some photos – you can also check the set on Flickr for all my pics.
Ryan Carson, owner of Amigo and DropSend and also Summit organizer presented, “14 things I wish I’d known before building a web app”. I found his discussion to be clear and well presented. I am certain he could have spoke for 90-120 minutes about the items he listed. Here are the 14 items he presented:
- Work with people in the same timezone (otherwise you will always be on the phone all day/night)
- One user database (otherwise you will be in user hell)
- One ecommerce system (same as #2)
- Don’t have your coder do the xhtml/css (then he/she can’t focus on the programming)
- Obsess about your website copy (whats impt to visitors )
- Work with a top notch hardware partner
- Don’t cut corners
- Measure and measure more
- You are not done when you launch
- Tea-spoons (what he was saying is that after you focus on all the big items, there will still be lots of loose ends)
- Four tips merged into one - provide logos and details for the press, use a monthly csv for invoices, add an about us page, make contact easy
- add tons of stuff to your faq and support pages
- Be nice to your nasty customers
- Tips from the pros – here Ryan provided some quotes from other speakers at the conference
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