Monday, January 25, 2010

Karmback Evolves: Facebook Fan-share-tool

Karmaback has evolved. The company is growing and finding more and more opportunities to deliver huge value to our partners while keeping it 'real' and fun for our members. The latest tool in our arsenal is called the Fan-share-tool (currently supporting Facebook and soon Twitter). This tool allows our partners to post interesting stories, images, videos and more to their fan-page, while enabling several unique features on the post: a "Reshare, Get Rewards" button which gives their readers Karmaback points for resharing the post with their friends, and complete analytics on every level of share from top to bottom... letting us measure the Viral Coefficient (how many levels of sharing) occurs for any given post.

So, why the new feature? What happened to our Minimum Viable Product (MVP)?

Actually, our MVP was a huge success. We learned most importantly, that people were not willing to pay a lot for "just feedback" on their website. We learned that our customers were really interested in getting beyond their fans to new customers. So, we defined a new MVP, and set about building that. Meanwhile, we've opened up our "feedback" tool for anyone to put on their website, completely 'free'. Check it out here:

A Minimum Viable Product (MVP) is one which is the smallest thing you can build that someone would be willing to pay (or show willingness to pay). I've blogged about this before, but I've been following this practice now for almost a year, and find the term to be useful in so many situations. What is surprising to me was how important the feedback we have gotten back was! The real question is though, what do you do when the feedback says... people aren't willing to pay for your MVP? Answer, construct a new MVP, build that (and only the minimum of that) and sell it! The whole point is getting feedback from real customers ASAP.

To that light, we've built out our new tool and are announcing its general availability today. The message:

Get beyond your fans to your fans friends and beyond. The Fan-share-tool from Karmaback rewards sharing of your fan posts. Say something cool AND reward people for sharing it, and see how far your viral coefficient can extend!

For details contact me at:

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Brand Loyalty doesn't cross product genres.

Imagine a Kleenex brand PC. Imagine a Toshiba bed. Imagine an Apple iCar. Does your loyalty inspire you to 'try' these unusual combinations? Are you more apt to love that new PC from Kleenex, because you like their tissues? This one is simple, and engineer-types like simple: Brand Loyalty doesn't cross product genres... Apple would have to spend a ton of money, time, and tests to get anyone to buy their new car.

The better question is, does Brand Loyalty matter at all? Is it the brand or is it the product experience that keeps you coming back for more? And if a user has a bad experience with a new product from a brand they trusted... what happens? They disdain that product... but not necessarily the one(s) the knew and loved.

Put it this way.... would an Apple iCar failure hurt iPhone sales? Would a Kleenex PC that frustrates and annoys cause a drop in Kleenex sales?

I don't think so.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Raising Money is Easy... provided you throw out Logic and Reason

Raising Money is easy. It's just like playing the stock market. Valuation is based on non-math that is impossible to understand or accurately model. Terms are based on past fears and future unrealities. As long as you are willing to ignore science, math, history, and logic, you can raise money with ease! Here are the Top 8 ways to raise money for your new venture:

  • 0. Build incredible Buzz and Hype. (this can have a big effect on Valuation)
  • 1. Build gigantic hockey-stick financial models (or you won't even get a meeting).
  • 2. Use Harlan's un-patented, "laser-beam" shotgun approach... e.g. reach out to every investor you can find that "might" do an investment in your company. (e.g. has a history of investing of companies like yours).
  • 3. Spend lots of money and time on your presentation... make it 10 slides they will never forget.
  • 4. Have something built... even if it barely works.
  • 5. Have at least 1 customer... the more the better.
  • 6. Ignore the rules of Math and Logic... and accept the valuation proposed! (it's probably higher than you deserve)
  • 7. Ignore Logic and Reason... and accept the terms proposed. (even if they make the valuation irrelevant)

If you can stomach 6 & 7, you will raise money!

If you are like me, and engineer, you will fight and fight, and end up with slightly lower "valuation" (probably valuation based more on reason), and slightly better terms (based on trust and logic)... but it will take longer and be much harder to raise money. Do the easier thing, give up on your principles! /sarcasm/

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Why some engineers, should stay engineers.

You should stay an engineer, and not get into "business" if:
  1. You are a recluse.
  2. You don't like cold-calls.
  3. Money doesn't motivate you.
  4. Solving challenging Technical problems makes you happy.
  5. "Closing" a big deal happen doesn't get you high.
  6. You prefer a low stress environment.
  7. You don't like taking risks.
  8. You hate traveling.
  9. You enjoy dressing like that guy.
The ironic part is, I ignore this, and do it anyway... some days (like today) I miss being an engineer.
#2, #3, #4, #6, #8, and #9 all appeal to me... yet I've been "doing business" now for 6 years.

Who am I kidding?

I do love #5 though!

photo credits

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Doing trade shows.

Most of the engineers I know love to go to trade shows. It means a chance to slack off, drink beers and generally have fun. Once you move from engineering to business however, the game changes. Bigrtime business deals take place here, and here are a few tips for dealing with the transition... How to DO trade shows once you are in business.

1) don't drink AT all
2) don't gamble (in Vegas). I struggle with this one.
3) set up meetings beforehand!
4) prepare hard for the meetings and bring demos
5) go to as many parties as you can, but see 1 above

that's it, follow my microblog for live updates from CES 2010!

Monday, January 4, 2010

Headed to CES 2010 in Las Vegas!!!

As I write this I am making final preparations to attend CES 2010 Jan 6-10! If I've not already scheduled a meeting with you, shoot me an email: I have lots to talk about including Karmaback (my new social networking rewards company), Psyko Audio Labs (whom I'm helping to build a solid sales channel and many parterships), and Axelo (whom I'm also helping with their sales channel development).

Here is the top 8 things I love about CES in Las Vegas:
0.) It is in Las Vegas (need I say more?)
1.) Everyone who is anyone is there (at least for 1 day).
2.) Gear, gadgets, and stuff you only dream about.
3.) The Keynotes, are usually spectacular and spectacularly well done!
4.) It overlaps another major convention (not saying which!)
5.) The PARTIES!!! GO TigerDirect build a PC charity party!
6.) The Business! This is usually my most productive week of business. Lots of hard work and planning pay off for a chance to meet F2F!
7.) The Friends! I love catching up with old friends and making new ones.

If you are wondering where is #8, you are probably not an engineer-type. :)

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