Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Halloween 2.0 style

I could not resist. Halloween as we know it may never be the same.

As a side note, I was having lunch with a former colleague of mine today and we were comparing notes on the actual usefulness of FB now that the novelty has faded. We have both logged in less than 3 times this month.

While the 30+ crowd are rushing to FB, I am skeptical that there will be anything to keep them there long-term. FB is interesting but yet has not eroded any of the value that I see with my LinkedIn presence, which I gain value from on an almost daily basis as a professional.

If college graduates that frequented FB as the site to "hook up" with girls on campus think they can transition their FB persona to something more grown up AND to something that provides them some social + professional value, then more power to the $15 billion valuation.

While I love watching the evolution of this and other services, I just cannot wrap my head around that number.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Back to Seattle

After leaving Jobster in March, I took on some projects for companies outside of the downtown area. I have to say that there is something about working in downtown Seattle that I truly miss. It's something to do with all of the vibrant and optimistic activity; it revitalizes me daily. I cannot say that the long quiet hallways of the corporate campus where I work today does much for me - but the top notch people I work with here help make up for it.

It will also be nice to start re-connecting with former Jobster folks, now distributed out among Seattle's best and most exciting companies.

I am fortunate to be working with a start-up client that has a tremendous product with measurable customer successes and a mountain of opportunity ahead of it. I look forward to returning to the small company environment - where I can have a daily and measurable impact on "moving the needle."

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Ad Supported Software

Over the last few weeks I have been watching the developing saga of the not-so-secret-but-possibly-fiction Google phone, the ad support office experiments going on at Microsoft in response to Google Apps, as well as other similar "adware" services.

The Google phone is actually a great example of the questions that I am asking: How viable is the ad supported software play as a business model? At a 50,000 foot level, the generally accepted ARPU (average revenue per user) in the mobile industry is $x (will post this figure as soon as I find a voice + data number). Can Google charge advertisers for niche ads that reach me in a targeted way? If so, does that potential exceed the $125 per month T-mobile milks me for? As my good friend Jason quickly tells me, I am not part of the most interesting or valuable demo anymore, so apply this simple question to 13-25 year olds. People in the know should know this answer and if not they should have asked it years ago.

Step away from phones and look at any software as a service model out there. Is an ad supported strategy viable? Have they asked the question or run the numbers?

Mark Maunder is a guy you would like to know if you are into the start-up and technology scene in Seattle. In addition to building and delivering an online service in record time, he is a serial entrepreneur who has run ad supported businesses before, so I trust he knows what he is talking about. Despite the fact he is too busy to answer my emails anymore, I enjoyed reading his thoughts on the ad supported model as it pertains to Facebook applications.

I am not yet educated enough in this area to make any substantial comments or assertions, but it is so incredibly interesting that I intend to get educated... and fast.

Monday, October 22, 2007

Intuit's Entrepreneurship Contest

For those of you who are incubating a business idea, this just might be the thing to get you to go for it.

Intuit is holding a promotion called "Just Start" in which it plans to give an entrepreneur $40,000 in cash and $10,000 in products to quit his or her job and start a new business. To apply, entrepreneurs can submit a letter or video describing their business idea to Intuit also plans to hold events promoting the contest at Westlake Center Wednesday and Thursday from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007


My mind has always been a meltingpot of business & product ideas. I always have something that I am noodling on in my spare time. The unfortunate reality is that my bandwidth rarely allows me to dive in and develop some of these ideas to a more interesting point - so they literally float around in the ether. For a person like me, this causes me a small dose of stress that I am not doing anything with it. Chain together 3-5 per quarter and they can start to weigh on me.

No more.

Productfoolery is a blog that is meant to give all of these ideas (baked or otherwise) a home. It is becoming a collection of product reviews that suppose there are real businesses behind them. I think the real interesting part of this is that some of these reviews will include actual market research I have completed, as well as conceptual screenshots and graphics. With 4 posts and nearly 15 reviews in draft form, I have found this to be a lot of fun.

I think someone once said, "If you have an idea you love, set it free..." Okay, maybe not.

Fictional Products. Real Reviews. Productfoolery.

Friday, October 05, 2007

Plaxo Sync could be the thing I need

I was super encouraged to try out Plaxo Sync recently. It seems like the Plaxo team has reconnected with their ability to solve fundamental problems that we have. They seemed to have gotten off track for a few years, wandering aimlessly through the woods barefoot, but are clearly back on track.

In 2006, I was in deep business development discussions with Plaxo as Jobster evaluated the potential to be more distributed across networks. Due to other priorities on our plate at the time, nothing really became of those discussions. In hindsight, Jobster was at that time in a unique position in the recruiting space (both from an industry traction and a PR perspective) to make a product play as the recruiting tool that orchestrated recruiting across distributed networks (social and other). As I see iLike evolving their value prop with new tools for artists to interact with their fan base on multiple networks, I am struck with the parallel.

They started with contacts, and have now moved to calendars, photos, socials networks. For me, this is more powerful and useful than what Facebook offers, because it is an aggregate activity feed across networks, which is much more valuable to me. Take a look...

Tuesday, October 02, 2007

Turning your talents into a consulting business

As Prosys continues to grow, I have found myself talking with a lot of consultants (and would-be consultants) about how they position themselves in the marketplace. I have always been a generalist with a broad range of skills that I can bring to the table, but I have learned recently that I need to settle in on a few key ones. At first this felt like pigeon-holing myself and potentially limiting my project opportunities. In fact, it has done the opposite. When your name comes up in conversations, I think people are better able to quickly define your value proposition as a consultant. If you have heard much about Prosys, you'll know that word-of-mouth is our primary growth strategy, so making sure that the message is crisp and easy to grasp is absolutely important.

All of that being said, I have not completely settled on those key things for myself yet. I am getting close though. Product prototyping for upstarts in the area is probably going to be one of them...