Monday, June 16, 2008

A New Business Model - Are We in a Bubble in the Valley?

I've been noticing a common theme in the Valley the past few weeks and it got me to thinking. We finally have some proof that things are changing here in the Valley. In fact, we may be at the end of our nice little bubble. Sure, lots of people don't think we're in a bubble, but I do, and I have for quite a while. At least now I have some proof.

So what's been happening lately that makes me think this? It's all of the startups who are "changing their business model". Company after company has been singing this tune of late. Why? Well, for one, just having tons of users isn't going to bring in the cash like they thought it would. Monetizing these users has been a challenge. See my post on Facebook - and you'll see why. If there weren't underlying problems with the current spate of web 2.0 companies, there wouldn't be this massive push to change business models. It sounds like investors are finally pushing for some returns or at least prospects for a return. This is the same issue lots of companies deal with in the face of tough times and increased competition. I have a feeling we're going to be seeing a lot of these web companies fall by the wayside. After all, while it may not take a lot of money to create a website these days, it takes a lot of money to keep a popular one running (server space, bandwidth, employees, time, etc)

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Made to Stick - A Summary Lesson

This is from the Easy Reference Guide in Made to Stick to give you a bit more of an idea of what the book covers. And how to make messages stick in the minds of your audience.

What Sticks?

What is sticky anyway? Understandable, memorable, and effective in changing behavior.

The Six Principles to a successful sticky message: SUCCESs - Simple, unexpected, concrete, credible, emotional stories.

What's the biggest villain in terms of complicating the creation and delivery of your message? The Curse of Knowledge. Knowing too much about what you're talking about will undoubtedly hamper your effectiveness at creating a lasting, simple, unexpected, concrete, credible, and emotional message.

Here are the 6 tenets of a sticky message broken down:

1. Simple
Find the Core, Share the Core

2. Unexpected
Get Attention: Surprise
Hold Attention: Interest

3 Concrete
Help people understand AND remember

Help people coordinate (make it tangible)

4. Credible
Help people believe
Offer external or internal credibility
Use convincing details, make statistics accessible and understandable

5. Emotional
Make people care
Use the power of Association
Appeal to self interest
Appeal to identity

6. Stories
Get people to act
Use stories as simulation (tell people how to act)

Some of the messages that the authors have broken down to understand why they have persevered: Nice guys finish last, Elementary, my dear Watson, It's the economy, stupid...

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Made to Stick - Book of the Year

Ok, so now that Amazon decided to bring itself back up, I can finally give you the review of the latest business book I made myself read. Made to Stick - Why Some Ideas Survive and Others Die, by Chip and Dan Heath, was recommended as a must read by my good friend, Tuyen Truong of TeamWorkLive. As usual, when I hear must read and business book in the same sentence, I cringe, because I know it's most likely some BS. He even told me he'd buy me the book if I didn't like it, so I figured I had nothing to lose.

I picked up the book in Barnes and Noble while I was there doing some work. I leafed through the first few pages because I wasn't about to waste my money on another crappy book. Low and behold, I was sold the first page in. I'm not sure if it was awesome and catchy story that I was introduced to in that first page or whether it was the fact that this book covered a problem I was currently having - getting our idea to resonate with people. Whatever the case, I practically read the whole thing that day, and have been raving about it ever since.

The book was incredibly insightful about what makes stories endure - why some stories can be recounted by those that hear them and others are forgotten the minute they're told. As they step you through stories that stick and those that don't, they dissect why this is the case, with astounding simplicity. It's short, to the point, and an easy read. I won't lie... I didn't finish the Epilogue in those two days. I put that off for a week or so. But the rest of it I could barely put down.

The end of the book also has a great wrap-up of everything that was taught in the book, which makes it an easy reference. So go buy it. And use the link above. You'll be supporting me.

Friday, June 6, 2008


Sorry that I've been MIA. A little time off never hurt anybody.

I wanted to review a book for you guys today. And you'll be surprised. I thought it was an excellent business book. Unfortunately, when I went to look up the book on Amazon so I could pilfer some comments, I was greeted with this: Http/1.1 Service Unavailable

I'm not even getting an error's like their servers just disappeared from the planet.

Update: Amazon was, in fact, down for several hours (here)