Hello world!

Ok.. every blog or app starts with the classic line hello world. I think the first lines of html I learned where exactly that. Anyways.. I decided to start up yet another blog and consolidate my life or at least a slice of that life onto one location.

I am the CEO of a startup company called ChipIn.com. We started with a very simple concept… helping organizers collect money (the smarter way). We built a great application and launched in May 2006. What we quickly realized was that we had over engineered our product and eventually decided to redesign it in Aug. After an abrupted (and expensive) hiccup moving platforms, we made another turn with the realization that there was a much bigger market than just collecting money. We are launching next week a product geared towards bloggers raising money.. something we call blograising.

As we prepare to launch this new product, we should ask ourselves the following questions:

  • What are the hardest problems in our current business approach – the market issues that we keep struggling with over and over?
  • What’s (surprisingly) easy about our business – the things that are working better than expected?
  • Where’s the parade? What major trends are we trying to get in front of with our business?
  • What would our business look like If we:

      Stopped trying to do what’s hard,
      Did more of the things that are easy, and
      Made sure we were in front of the biggest parade we can find?

    I think this is an excellent list of questions that management teams should ask themselves about their business every six months or so.

    Or as a colleague Evan Williams put’s it “10 Rules for Web Startups

    I am a big proponent of rule #9

    #9: Be Agile
    You know that old saw about a plane flying from California to Hawaii being off course 99% of the time—but constantly correcting? The same is true of successful startups—except they may start out heading toward Alaska. Many dot-com bubble companies that died could have eventually been successful had they been able to adjust and change their plans instead of running as fast as they could until they burned out, based on their initial assumptions. Pyra was started to build a project-management app, not Blogger. Flickr’s company was building a game. Ebay was going to sell auction software. Initial assumptions are almost always wrong.

    And to top it off

    social software trends

    I got this from the summary of the Future of Web Apps Conference

    User generated content and social software trends

    This is a bit of a catchall, but I’d like to list what has been working and not working in the user generated content space.

    Not working:
    Requiring participation from square 1. Not all users need to participate to generate social value.
    Buying communities.
    Social networks for the sake of social networks.
    Wikipedia consensus model (many people contribute to one idea for the greater good) is not a good model in general and probably cannot be duplicated outside Wikipedia.

    Working:
    Giving users control, being open to different uses you did not anticipate.
    Dunbar principle – segments of under 150 people.
    The individual should get value and the organization should derive aggregated value from all the individuals.
    Social sites have and need different types of users and each should be motivated/rewarded equally.
    Many voices generate emergent order: you can get much value out of all that data.

    And to top it all off on the first blog posting (yes rambling).. one of my fav things in the world.