Tag Archives for Entrepreneurs
Imagine if you could conduct a global search for anyone commenting on anything in any comment field on any blog or web site with a content engine built into it. Imagine if you are not looking to have an argument about baseball or truffles, but you are actually looking to start a business, or figure out a line of code?
Can you do that by trawling through the billions of comments on the web? Maybe you will soon.
Type in your search query in a search box, and then suddenly you see all of the people who have commented on, say, “education.” You not only see who said what, or where they said it, but you also see the commenting context around it.
It’s coming. William Mougayar has created the beta test for this in engag.io. And it’s remarkably prescient design, as it focuses on what I believe will be the central task of web engagement in the next few years — finding experts you know you want to know, but whom you don’t know you know.
I interviewed him today to figure out what is going on with engag.io. In short, they are soon to move from beta to something more global, though specifics are scant. What I can say is that he’s the inspiration for my thoughts here. I include some writing about what we talked about, and at the end I tack on a Q&A I sent him.
It seems that most of the mainstream press is befuddled about him and exactly what business Yahoo! is trying to be. Is it a media company? Is it a bulletin boards company? Advertising? Mobile? Marketing? No, not search.
It is a company that has a rapidly scalable identity and a huge community of users that it can rapid test ideas on, as it builds off what it used to be and turns into the next big thing.
This makes Yahoo! just like a start-up, and Thompson just like a budding entrepreneur, except he has skillz. Let me boldly proclaim that Thompson’s role as CEO at Yahoo! will move the company in the direction of social, community-centric e-commerce solutions. Watch out, Jack Ma, Yahoo! is coming for you!
Yahoo! is going to become the first huge scale media content company that is actually an e-commerce company. Think of it as a giant tupperware party where content and e-commerce are mashed together to form a new type of selling content, or a live advertising model where product, seller, consumer, and community are all mashed up into one.
Wal-Mart, but with a huge media engine.
How did Instagram do it? They are not the only image-sharing app. People with MBA backgrounds are stuck in the dark ages.
Yes, I said it. The MBA, as far as I can tell, is a lot like paper wealth. It looks good when it’s all printed out, and stacked in rows, but the secret to success in business is actually something emotional and more to do with people.
If you want to run a good startup, it’s important to think like a social worker. I don’t mean enforce the laws of a state or a city. I mean, think with empathy. Decide by feeling.
I come to this conclusion after reading about a talk at Le Web led by the founder of Instagram, Kevin Systrom.
“In the last 2 months we’ve doubled staff, and will be about 10 people in a month. Even though Odeo didn’t go anywhere, it was clear that Twitter cam about because we learned ‘Team’ was so important.”
He also recalled how another failed project Bourbon failed not because they had a moment of revelation that it wasn’t going to work, but that they didn’t have that moment. “There wasn’t a dark moment with Bourbon. It’s the lack of that dark moment that kills most startups.”
Tsotsis pointed out that photo apps and filters existed before Instagram, so how did they get big? Instagram just made it easier to produce beautiful photos, as well as share, said Systrom.
But what if Apple of Facebook did an app with filters?
Instagram is not about filters, said Systrom. “The defensible asset is the community, nowhere else would you find such passionate users.”
TechCrunch writer Alexia Tsotsis gets stuck on just the marketing angle, or the product description, of Instagram. Product descriptions and marketing are just shorthand, they don’t mean anything. That’s why we have to have these founders up on stage explaining themselvse and the product now and again, over and over.
The last time Tsotsis thought that a photo-sharing app was just another photo-sharing app, I had to correct her. This was the case with Hipster. It’s not like there should only be one photo-sharing app, and that one does it better than all the rest. In the apps world, and in social media, startups can’t compete on performance.
Why? Because it always comes down to the consumer. It’s about WHO is using the product, and HOW, not what the product is. I know this is hard to swallow, but it’s the truth. It’s the world we live in.
If you want to run a really great company, spend all of your time, or at least 90% of your time, making relationships work. Be a good person, find the people you share values with, and do not succumb to the thinking that you have to run a tight ship to really run a successful enterprise.
I learned this from traveling. Your best laid plans and expectations can have other plans and expectations for you.
What we really need when buying or hiring a special service or good is a sense that we belong to the same base of people who buy it with us. We want shared values, because our media and our news, for example, don’t provide us such faith anymore.
Shortcut: Getting Through to People Who Slow You Down is a new book published by Brian Tolle, a partner at the Re-Wired Group who focuses on leadership personalities in organizations striving for innovation.
Tolle is a partner at The Re-Wired Group, a business development consultancy that uses Demand-Side Innovation to drive the creation and commercialization of new products, services, brands and businesses. His work focuses on designing strategies to secure employee buy-in to organizational change as well as influencing consumer behavior through Re-Wired’s Jobs-to-be Done framework. He has an undergraduate degree in psychology from The Catholic University of America and a graduate degree in organization development from Loyola University Chicago.
We asked him to tell us why he wrote the book and what it does for the people who read it:
Brian Tolle: In my coaching work with high driver leader types, it is painfully obvious the frustration they experience when they can’t get through to the people who they depend on for business execution. They speak of being in meetings, being as direct and specific as possible in laying out the strategy and game plan, only to see their managers with blank or confused looks on their faces. These leaders will joke that they must be speaking a secret, foreign language that no one else recognizes, so extreme is the miscommunication.
When I hear these stories, it is obvious to me that much of the issue lies in the clash of different styles, unbeknownst to either party. It’s the same frustration we feel when we travel to a foreign country and we don’t speak the local language – hand gestures only go so far, and sometimes those are completely at odds, culturally. We will only truly get through to the other person once I or they learn the other’s language. The same goes for the high driver leader types. But until I can break down the communication breakdown for them in these terms, they have no frame of reference to understand what is going on and what they can do to improve the situation.
So I wrote “Shortcut” with a high driver leader type expressly in mind – a short, to the point, and practical handbook they can read on a short flight and start applying immediately.
We encourage you to obtain a copy of the book, and to join the Shorcut Facebook page for timely discussions about leadership personality and personality management in organizations.