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Ted Rheingold Archive
Dick Costolo, CEO and co-founder of Feedburner, has been giving me a lot of free advice lately. I got to see him and Steve Olechowski at the Future of Web Apps and hear a little bit about being acquired and working for Google. Then he gave a must-watch presentation on their entrepreneurial experience and has been writing some great blog entries on similar topics. Dick’s got four start-ups under his belt and I took notes constantly.
I first met Dick in June 2004 when Kevin Werbach took pity on me and gave me a pass to attend Supernova. Not only had Dick just decided that txting ruld, but that making it easier to share and consume RSS feeds was very important. He was right on both. What they did with Feedburner was stunning. They made structured XML mark up extremely sexy and business-friendly.
My notes from his talk:
- When hiring, looks for talented-at-anything people, not just position-perfect people. Plans will change and if people can’t move, it’s a major loss.
- Launch late and launch often. (By this he’s suggesting to not launch until you have a lot of features ready or almost ready. Launch with a solid core set, but then keep releasing new features quickly, some of which may have been ready at launch, but held to keep excitement up.)
- Don’t write pre-launch long-term business plans. They’ll be void within months of deployment.
- Keep your org chart as flat as possible for as long as possible. Reporting chains hinder fast, flexible development.
- Speed of execution is a competitive advantage. When you fear “Why won’t Google just copy your product once it’s live?” The answer is becasue we are fast and nimble and they are slow and hamstrung.
- Develop your service and business models the way an optometrist tests your eyes. They try 40 different combo’s of A vs B. to methodically find the best combination.
- Make it as easy as possible for the Markets to determine what your most valuable offering is. Allow them to tell you what your business is. Open, accessible businesses get scrubbed and reviewed by the business people of the world. The wisdom of those markets can often finds your true value offering much faster than you can in your board rooms. Secret, private companies do not get such benefits.
- Open APIs and the like make this happen ever faster. Dick thinks open APIs are a great business advantage as the Markets can even faster scrub your offerings. Even if it means your competition can benefit from it too, you will always be 2 steps ahead of them because you’ll be leading and they’ll be copying.
- You ALWAYS spend more money than you plan. Be brutal with your revenue forecasts and slash them to as small as they could be if nothing new happened other than what you’ve proven. [Ted note: trust me, only count on revenue you’ve already proven. Plan for growth, but do not require your company to achieve it.]
- Compete on your merits, not the short comings of your competitors. Your outward case for your company should be what you do better than anyone else, not that others do it worse than you.
This article was contributed by Ted Rheingold who is a passionate thirty-something accidental entrepreneur and founder of Dogster and Catster. He writes about the biz and passion-centric online communities at the Dogster, Inc. company blog and his personal blog, Spidey Senses.
Ted Rheingold from Dogster/Catster discussed passion-centric communities. I thought his presentation really hit on the key points to create success with a PCC. Here are some of the notes from his presentation.
What is a passion-centric community?
- Dedicated to a single particular interest
- Usually includes human profile sharing
- Nothing new
- They amplify passion thru enriched community experience
Core Components of Passion Centric Communities
- Design must amplify
- Safety policies
- Wngage how they prefer
Sincerity Cannot be Faked
- Offering features that can be leveraged
- Passions do not fit into buckets
- Monetizing the long tail not for us
- Don’t ignore your community
Looking at Monetization
- Advertising and sponsorships
- Subscription programs
- Selling member-made or site-specific items
Making Advertising Work
- Keep your ad sales inside
- Adveritisers need to have a direct connection to the communities passion
- CPM is almost dead
- Require advertisers to offer something real to the community
Future of Passion Communities
- For every passion there will be a site and could be more than one
- There will be tens of thousands
- Apis and badges bring the communities to where the member is
- Public and open id systgem will be used
- Web is just a launching point – cell phones, etc. — communities will meet where their members are
Sites Ted Likes for Passion-Centric