Category Archives: Uncategorized

Privacy, mobile commerce, couponing…and my mobile will be a blood cell in future

Some interesting thoughts as a Q&A on the future of mobile from Russell Buckley…slightly angled towards m-commerce and mobile couponing (two areas which I believe in strongly) given his role as CMO at mobile commerce business Eagle Eye Solutions ;)….in future mobile will be like a blood cell – great, where do I plug the charger in?

How (if at all) do you think the mobile landscape is different in the UK/Europe versus in the US and why? How do you these differences will impact the development of each market?

Perhaps it’s best to look at the similarities to start with! In the history of advertising, it was all local markets, with really no global media of any scale. Then along came digital and now mobile, which means that campaigns can be planned and purchased on a local, regional and global scale. This is going to have an increasingly disruptive influence on how advertising is purchased, firstly as digital media grows at the expense of traditional media and then as mobile takes over from that.

That said, there are significant differences too. Europe can’t be treated as an homogeneous single market – the 500 million members consist of 27 countries, speaking 23 official languages and all with distinct cultures and mores. This makes Europe much more challenging for advertisers and planners.

Europe is also facing big legislative changes brought about by the E-Privacy Directive coming into force this year, with fines of up to £500,000 available to ensure compliance. Included in this legislation is a requirement for opt-in for cookies, which is promising to be very disruptive and the implications may also spill over into mobile.

What are three of the most important sectors you see emerging now in mobile advertising?

m-commerce is clearly taking off now, so not much more needs to be said about this.

The second big trend is mobile coupons, but not necessarily for the obvious reasons. The most important feature of coupons is that they allow an advertiser to take the consumer from a digital environment into a physical one and then measure the result. Generally, bricks-and-mortar retailers and brands who sell via them have been slow to embrace digital marketing without the ability to drive store traffic, a purchase and trackability – on average less than 2% of their spend does via digital today compared to an average of 15%+. Mobile coupons solve this problem and as they become more widely available, considerable additional CPG advertising dollars are going to flood into the mobile channel.

The other important part of mobile couponing is the data that they generate – normally in real time. As marketing moves from the dark art of yesterday into the clean, data-driven science of the future, the ability to generate and use data will be central to constructing marketing, re-marketing and CRM campaigns. Smart retailers are realising this and starting to roll out coupon redemption facilities.

Coupons are part of another larger trend. Over 90% of products are still sold via physical stores and pioneering retailers are working out how the mobile can be used to support their stores – this is different from m-commerce, which is the online channel. So, as well as coupons, we’re seeing instore product reviews, cost comparison, instore entertainment, shopping lists, store navigation and peer opinion solicitations. I expect this “s-commerce” (or store-commerce) to be huge in the coming few years.

It wouldn’t be right to ignore in major trends the demand-side platform (DSP) startups and the real-time bidding (RTB) platforms. Buying mobile advertising campaigns across networks and publishers is still a big challenge and I welcome anything that makes things markedly simpler.

What trends and practices will lead to optimizing mobile revenue and drawing spend from big brands?

As I wrote above, the major brake on spending has been the ability to drive purchase via stores and measure results. Coupons solve both problems, provided that redemption is digital and secure, so we’re starting to see this more widely adopted.

What is the importance of mobile commerce and mobile payment to the mobile industry as a whole? Who will emerge as leaders in this field and how will they take control?

I think the market is wide open in the payment sector. History does show that real innovation comes from outside the incumbents, so there’s always room for a scrappy startup. PayPal though – a halfway house between an incumbent and startup, seem well placed at this point.

One thing we can say for certain is that payments will join many other industries that mobile has already swallowed, from pagers, calculators and alarm clocks to music consumption, photography and handheld navigation.

What are your predictions for the connected, social, mobile future?

My first prediction is the end of the PC as a form factor. We’re increasingly getting better tools to use the mobile, so most of us will access the digital environment via our mobile most of the time within the next three years. We’ll also see the mobile morph into other form factors in the next 12 months, with HUD (heads-up displays) becoming available that allow us to live in a blend of augmented reality and pure digital all our waking lives – and maybe in our dreams. After that, contact lenses with the same functionality will be on the cards.

Ultimately, what are mobile devices today will be absorbed into our clothing and ultimately our bodies. If this sounds unlikely, based on technology progress in the last 25 years and projecting into the next, by 2037 our mobile will be about the size of a red blood cell and 1 billion times more powerful. With growth like that, predictions really go out of the window!

Advertisements

I’m just bloody well not p-interested…but I am…

“Money. money, money. money…oh yeah”…..indeed, how does this Pinterest thing plan to make money???

It seems like everyone’s discovered Pinterest this week! Alongside the countless posts dissecting its userbase over, sideways, and under have been a series of stories about how it’s “secretly” “monetizing” — a fact unearthed when LLSocial revealed that the startup was using a service called SkimLinks in order to drive affiliate revenue from purchases that originated on Pinterest.

Some reporters used this opportunity to imply that Pinterest had funded itself through affilate revenue for two years and then ditched the service after it received serious venture capital — provoking an interesting counterpoint article in the WSJ about “Pinterest’s Rite of Web Passage—Huge Traffic, No Revenue.”

The Atlantic’s Alexis Madrigal, admittedly not knowing the company’s financials, takes issue with the WSJ, and postulates that Pinterest could rake in $45 million in annual revenue using affiliate links with its current traffic.

Madrigal’s logic:

1) We know Pinterest is driving truly massive traffic to retail sites, by some accounts more than YouTube, LinkedIn, and Google+ combined. It is, after all, a platform that’s perfect for shopping!
2) We know Pinterest used SkimLinks to add affiliate links.
3) Affiliate links generate revenue.

Should this add up to chump change? Let’s do the math just to get an order of magnitude estimate.

Commissions on sales for affiliate links vary widely, but they average around 5 percent. After SkimLinks cut, that’d be 3.75 percent (although SkimLinks says they can sometimes negotiate deals that would keep the percentage closer to the original number).

So, Pinterest has 10 million users. Let’s say that the average across all of them is that they buy items valued at $10 in a month through affiliate links on Pinterest. That’s $100,000,000 of sales for which Pinterest would get credit. That’s $3.75 million in monthly revenue, or $45 million of annual revenue.

This runs counter to what we’ve heard about the actual amount of revenue brought in to Pinterest by SkimLinks, which was modest for an Internet company — between 10 to 20k a year according to one source. Using Madrigal’s formula, this would represent somewhere between $300,000 – $615,000 in transactions coming through the service.

The truth is that the use of SkimLinks on Pinterest was more a question of the analytics it provided than any serious effort at monetization. Word on the street is that EVERYONE in the Valley passed on Pinterest when it was raising initial capital, something that wouldn’t have happened if it had indeed already discovered a viable business model.

The story of Pinterest right now is exactly what it looks like; It really is “hot startup gets venture funding, uses it to scale” not “startup hides the fact that it’s already profitable.” And with its kind of scale (and coffer) it could be losing a million dollars a month and still be a good bet.

Source: http://techcrunch.com/2012/02/17/pinsanity/


Unplug that charger…

I love this, cos I am soooo guilty of not doing exactly what is being suggested.

Brits Waste £134m A Year By Not Unplugging Chargers

The average UK household could save £60 a year by unplugging laptops and phones.

UK households waste £134 million a year by leaving gadgets plugged despite the device being fully charged, according to a study by EON.

Nine out of ten people keep gadgets on permanent charge, despite the potential damage to the battery life, the environmental impact and the possibility of saving on average £60 a year on their energy bill.

Wise old heads

The most overcharged devices are laptops, which constitute 43 percent of the total, with mobile phones accounting for 41 percent and iPods ten percent. Other culprits include electric toothbrushes, handheld vacuum cleaners and cordless phones.

One in ten admitted that they were simply too lazy to unplug the gadgets despite the benefits, with people aged 18 and 24 four times more likely to leave them plugged in than those aged 55 or older. It also seems that no demographic is exempt, with one in five children leaving toys on charge.

“It’s crucial that we keep an eye on how much money and energy we’re wasting keeping them charging when we don’t need to,” commented EON’s Emma Thompson. “When you plug in a charger, think about how long it needs to reach full charge, rather than just leaving it on overnight.”

“Generally mobile phones only take two hours to charge but most people leave them plugged in overnight. By unplugging your gadgets once they’re charged, you’ll be helping to reduce your energy bills,” she added.

Growing problem

The problem is likely to grow as the market for gadgets grows, with increased sales of electronics resulting in warnings that the UK may miss emissions targets by 2020. In November it was revealed that almost half of people in the UK are smartphone owners, with demand for power likely to increase as more are sold over the Christmas period.

The energy wasted by idle electronics is not confined to the home as 80 percent of the UK’s desktop computers have no power management solution, which could save £25 in electricity on every PC each year. It was estimated that the cost of businesses leaving electrical equipment on standby during one Christmas period was £110m.

However these potential savings are not enough to convince businesses of the worth of power management as they fear that it could disrupt their IT operations. This has meant employees are taking the lead, with most of them turning off their computers because they are concerned about costs and the environment, not because of company policy.


Four Reasons Index Ventures Invested In Grey Area

Earlier this week Grey Area announced a whopping 1.9 million euro series A round from Index Ventures, London Venture Partners and Initial Capital. This is one of the largest single rounds into the Finnish gaming companies in the recent years for sure. What makes this all the better for the whole country and Northern Europe for that matter, is that the financing came from overseas from globally respected investors. Ben Holmes from Index Ventures outlined four reasons why they invested in Grey Area. I think this is a good read for all entrepreneurs to keep in mind if they are looking for venture capital.

The four reasons Ben outlined in the Index Ventures blog post are also shown below:

* Exploding market – The iPhone and Android ecosystems have transformed and democratised mobile gaming. I have written in the past about how fragmentation and the operator channel made the whole mobile app business a nightmare. This is no longer the case, entrepreneurs can access vast audiences by being creative around marketing rather than using the traditional brute force approaches.

* The right monetization model – We have seen with existing investments in Stardoll, Moshi Monsters and Playfish as well as other companies such as Gameforge and Zygna that free-to-play with in-game purchase is probably the most lucrative business model in gaming currently. In-game purchases were rolled out by Apple last year and now a few of the “Top Grossing” titles in the iPhone appstore charts are free-to-play games. I would predict that over the next year that the majority of mobile gaming revenues will shift to free-to-play games.

* Positive early traction. One of the challenges with finding investments in this sector is that there are literally hundreds / thousands of developers writing for iPhone and Android. Those with substantial traction and monetisation tend to be valued stratospherically. Finding something which was early but was already showing its potential was what we were looking for. Shadow Cities fitted this criteria precisely. The early beta data from Finland showed very promising metrics around both engagement and monetisation. The app fairly quickly became the Top Grossing game in Finland soon after launch. Now just the rest of the world to conquer …

* Great team – Just four people when we first met, but already achieved a lot in a short timeframe and on a shoestring budget. If you want to see how effective entrepreneurs will be once they have money, see how much they can achieve without financing – that is always the best pointer.

From: http://www.arcticstartup.com/2011/02/25/four-reasons-index-ventures-invested-in-grey-area


Can a start-up raise too much money?

Some wise words from a VC guys and a games industry guy on money, money, money….read on…

“Together with Nic Brisbourne of The Equity Kicker / DFJ Esprit, I am writing a series of 50 questions you should ask when raising venture capital. We expect the series to run for a year, after which we will collate the answers into a book. We view this as a collaboration, so please comment to help make this series even more useful.

Can there really be such a thing as a startup raising too much money?

Of course there can. The history of investment is littered with example of companies that raised too much capital, were feted by the press, government and investors and then imploded before their products had made a dent on the market.

From the games industry, the most recent example is RealTime Worlds, which raised $104 million and closed a few weeks after it launched its magnum opus, APB. During the dot com boom, there were many examples, but perhaps the most egregious was Boo.com, which raised $135 million, spent it all within 18 months and went bust without having really launched a product at all.
Why is having too much money bad?

Having too much money is bad because it stops a startup from fulfilling its primary function: to iterate its way to product/market fit.

In a previous post, I explained what product/market fit means, and why it is so important to a startup. I hope it will quickly become apparent why too much money is detrimental to the process.

Finding product/market fit is about iterating. It is about changing the product, the business model or even, in its most radical form, the entire target market, in response to feedback from customers.

I’m not for a moment suggesting that a startup CEO needs to respond to every crazy idea of every customer. He or she needs to use face-to-face conversations with customers, detailed analytics, feedback from the sales and marketing teams and every tool in the workshop to understand where the perfect confluence of product, market and team occurs.

He or she then needs to reshape the company to deliver on that confluence. That can be a very scary process.

ngMoco CEO Neil Young pivoted away from paid-for games on the AppStore because he believed that he could not achieve meaningful scale as a games business given the rapid downward trend in pricepoints. He abandoned a business model that was currently profitable for his company based on his belief (and copious evidence) that transitioning to a business model that was free with microtransactions satisfied the market need much better – and would be much more profitable. Eighteen months later, he sold ngMoco for $400 million to DeNA of Japan.

The concept of pivoting may be overused in 2011 (see this New Yorker cartoon), but it is a useful one. It is a phrase that allows startup entrepreneurs to say not “we failed” but “we tried, and learned, and are trying again.”
Change is scary, and money makes it unnecessary

Companies with lots of money don’t need to pivot. They can tell themselves that the problem is with the sales team, or with customers not understanding the product, or with usability issues.

They tinker under the hood instead of understanding the market. They spend money on a sales force to pitch, instead of forcing the CEO into the marketplace to hear from his prospects why they are not buying. They execute, execute, execute.

Against a business model that does not work.

Raising money is a great thing. Having lots of it is a wonderful comfort. But for a startup trying to find its place in the market, it can be disastrous.”


Family Fortunes – the most stupid answers ever

Now I know that Les Dennis in himself is not that funny but can be considered quite stupid. Especially if you hang around any pub in the North London suburb of Highgate, where you will usually find Les, completely pissed out of his head and having a conversation at the top of his voice with someone 2 feet away from him.

However, he and various other comedians have graced our screens presenting Family Fortunes. Again not such a funny programme in itself, but the stupid answers that people come out with are worthy of a list. Bless all those wonderful contestants, as I am sure we have all said something stupid when under pressure. Although I doubt you were stood next to Les Dennis. Read on punters…..then go hang out in Highgate and confront Les with some stupid moments from his past. He may shout at you though…

An animal you cannot fit into a Mini car: “Mouse..”

A food that has one or more holes in it: “Spaghetti..” (Anthony Costa was no doubt thinking of Spaghetti Hoops. The delightful Costa family also produced the ‘cotton wool’ answer below.)

Something made of wool: “Cotton wool..”

An animal with three letters: “Lion..”

A bad place to fall asleep: “Concrete..”

A French ferry port: “Dover..”

Something you mount: “A mountain..”

Something you lose when you get older: “Your purse..”

A sport which involves throwing something: “Tennis..”

A type of bean: “Lesbian..” (This and the one above were the product of Brian Dowling’s fertile imagination, on a celebrity edition of the show, in which the ‘purse’ answer also arose.)

Something you would play with in the bath: “A bazooka..”

Someone you wouldn’t swear in front of: “Yourself..”

A country where Arabic is spoken: “Nigeria..”

Someone or something whose existence has never been proven: “Hitler..”

A number you might have to memorise: “Seven..”

Something that makes you close your eyes: “Dark..”

Something that comes in pairs: “Rabbits..”

A way of toasting someone: “Over a fire..”

A Boy’s name beginning with the letter J: “Gerald..”

An instrument you can play while walking in the street: “A cello..”

A type of oil: “Sewing-machine oil..”

A word beginning with Z: “Xylophone..”

A slang word for a girl: “Slag..”

An animal with horns: “A bee…”

A medieval weapon: “Hand-grenade..”

Something made of wool: “A sheep..” (Interestingly when this question appeared again in a show aired in November 2009, the ‘sheep’ answer was second most popular among the public surveyed – perhaps influenced by seeing this daft answer so many times over the years.)

Something a bridegroom might wear: “A dress..”

Someone you wouldn’t expect to see in a strip club: “Animals..”

An animal with a long tail: “A rabbit..”

Something a train-spotter would have in his pocket: “A magnifying glass..”

Something you put out for the birds: “Worms..”

A way to prevent snoring: “Put a pillow over his face..”

A word used to describe a very hot day: “A very hot day..”

A song from ‘The Sound Of Music’: “Dancing Queen..”
(Also from the same family: “I wake up each morning..”, “The skies are blue..”, and “Over the hills and far away..”)

Someone who works early hours: “A burglar..”

Something made to be wheeled around: “A hammer..”

A reason for kneeling: “To be beheaded..”

A nickname for a slim person: “Slimmy..”

A measurement of liquid: “Paint..”

Something that’s nice to wear next to your skin: “Pants..”

A famous Dick: “Carrot..”

A wild animal that’s native to Britain: “A bear..”

Something that Father Christmas does when he comes to your house: “Feeds your pets..”

Something that comes in 7’s: “Fingers..”

A vocalist known by only one name: “Michael Jackson..”

A yellow fruit: “Orange..”

An animal beginning with B: “Bullfrog..”

Something associated with Liverpool: “The Yellow Brick Road..”

A boy mentioned in a nursery rhyme: “Little Red Riding Hood..”

Something associated with Queen Victoria: “Her husbands..”

Something you hide in your socks when you go swimming: “Your legs..”

A place you would keep a pen: “A zoo..”

Something you beat: “An apple..”

Something associated with rain: “Water..”

An animal that lives in the English countryside: “A lion..”

Something you make into a ball: “Eggs..”

A game that uses a black ball: “Darts..”

A popular TV soap: “Dove..”

Other than ‘carrier’, a type of bag: “Horse..”

Something you might find in a garage: “a grand piano..”

Something a Frenchman would say: “On Garde..”

A fast animal: “A hippo..”

Something you keep in the garden: “A cat..”

Something that gives you goosebumps: “Mumps..”

A character from Little Red Riding Hood: “Hansel and Gretel..”

Something that has a shell: “Batman..”

Any dance apart from the waltz: “The ball dance..”

Something a policeman might say: “Spread ’em..”

Something that frightens Dracula: “The King of the Vampires..”

A non-living object with legs: “A plant..”

A sign of the Zodiac: “April..”

An animal associated with a nursery rhyme: “Andy Pandy..”

A mode of transport that you can walk in: “Your shoes..”

An animal with big ears: “A bear..”

Something you do on water: “Wallpaper..”

A musical instrument you can play in the bath: “A drum kit..”

Something associated with Egypt: “Cigars..”

A part of your body you only have one of: “Your big toe..”

Something you pull: “A potato..”

An animal used as a form of transport: “A turtle..”

A famous Phil or Philip: “Phil Johnson..”

A habit people try to give up: “Spitting..”

A Thunderbirds character: “Doctor Spock..”

Another TV gameshow with the word ‘family’ in the title: “The Generation Game..”

A seaside resort on the south coast: ” Rio de Janeiro..”

Something you open other than a door: “Your bowels..”

Something with a red light on it: “a Dalek..”

Something that makes you scream: “A squirrel..”

A food than can easily be eaten without chewing: “Chips..”

A type of record: “A floppy disk..”

A type of large cat: “Persian..”

A job that a working dog does: “A slave..”

Something people might be allergic to: “Skiing..”

An occupation where you need a torch: “A burglar..”

A well known superstition: “Running in front of a car..”

Something you use a microchip in: “A fish-fryer..”

A dangerous race: “The Arabs..”

A game played in the dark: “Charades..”

Some famous brothers: “Bonnie and Clyde..”

A jacket potato topping: “Jam..”

A part of the body you have more than two of: “Arms..”

Something you find on a fire engine: “Coal..”

A famous royal: “Mail..”

Something you do before going to bed: “Sleep..”

An item of clothing worn by the Three Muskateers: “A horse..”

An animal you see at the zoo: “Dog..”

Something you might do in a power cut: “Read a book..”

A famous Parisian landmark: “Hawaii..”

One of Harry Enfield’s characters: “Sooty..”

A famous Irishman: “Disraeli..”

The first place detectives look for fingerprints: “The floor..”

Something you associate with the sea: “A coffin..”

A famous Arthur: “Shakespeare..”

A type of cut: “Skull..”

A weapon in the game of Cluedo: “Dice..”

Something people take to the beach: “Turkey..”

A reason someone digs a hole in the road: “Grave digger..”

An ingredient in chicken stuffing: “Chicken..”

Something a girl should know about a man before marrying him: “His name..”

A bird with a long neck: “A blackbird..”

A bird with a long neck (2): “Naomi Campbell..”

An item of clothing a woman might borrow from a man: “Underpants..”

Something taken from a hotel as a souvenir: “The lamps..”

Something you keep in a garden shed: “A gardener..”

A song with moon in the title: “Blue Suede Moon..”

A famous cowboy: “Buck Rogers..”

A famous Wild-West character: “Wild Bill Eacock..”

Something you’d associate with the three bears: “Red Riding Hood..”

Fruit used in fruit salad: “Cucumber..”

Something you wear on the beach: “A deckchair..”

A method of cooking fish: “Cod..”

Something you borrow from your partner: “Shoes..”

A part of the body beginning with N: “Knee..”

A famous Scotsman: “Vinnie Jones..”

A famous Scotsman (2): “Jock..”

Something red: “My cardigan..”

A kind of ache: “Fillet-o-fish..”

Something you open other than a door: “Your bowels..”

Something with a hole in it: “A window..”

Something you do in the bathroom: “Decorate..”

Something you put on walls: “Roofs..”

A domestic animal: “A leopard..”

Something that floats in the bath: “Water..”

Something in the garden that’s green: “The shed..”

Something a blind man might use: “A sword..”

The last thing you take off before going to bed: “Your feet..”

Something that flies without an engine: “A bicycle with wings..”


#MIDEM: The Top 10 on how to pitch your startup…obvious really?

Ted Cohen from TAG Strategic top 10 on ‘how to pitch your music related start up to the music industry’

Top 10 Things to know

1. Pitch in at the right level
2. Preparation, preparation, preparation..
3. Be clear on your objectives
4. Keep it simple – if your mum can understand your pitch then your on to a winner
5. Know your competition
6. And be respectful of your competition
7. Address their needs
8. Be unique
9. Make an impression
10. Follow up