Everything Matters

October 30, 2008

Everything counts. Everything adds up, or takes away. The details are everything. The world is filled with excuse makers. The top 10% are action oriented. This doesn’t mean that you’re not afraid. The only question is do you act in spite of the fear? Or do you act anyway?

Losers always say “I wonder whether it will work”

Winners always say “How”?

How can I get from where I am – to where I want to go. How will lead to creativity, stimulation, and action.

Today take a moment to learn from others. Seek out an expert in their field, and ask questions. The future belongs to the risk takers. You can’t make an adjustment until your in flight. Take some risk today. I know I am.


October 29, 2008

Generation WE: The Movement Begins… from Generation We on Vimeo.


October 29, 2008

1 Mio EUR Contest Finalists: MindMeister
Posted by swa in Web Services Contest, October 29th, 2008
We want to introduce the finalists of the 1 Million Euro zanox Web Services Contest 2008 to the public. They made it out of ca. 150 to be invited to present their business model at the Finale of the 1 Mio EUR zanox Web Services Contest 2008.

MindMeister – Online Collaborative Mind Mapping

MindMeister (http://www.mindmeister.com) is the market-leading collaborative online mind mapping and ideation tool. Launched in May 2007, the site
had attracted more than 140,000 subscribed users since going live and won several prestigious awards.
MindMeister is at the forefront of Office 2.0, a trend of moving productivity tools online, which was initiated by Google with its well-established “Docs” suite. Such applications take advantage of the
possibilities of the Internet to allow for real-time collaboration of globally distributed users, just through a standard web browser.

MindMeister achieves this for the world of mind mapping, a fast-growing structural thinking and brainstorming technique even better fitted for collaborative use. MindMeisters benefits comprise
easy of use, online and offline availability, real-time-collaboration, and sharing. It innovates the way you take notes, brainstorm, or plan your projects. MindMeister – a solely browser-based software service – takes out the hassle of maintaining software installs for usage in organizations like schools or enterprises.

With its latest v3 release MindMeister introduces the concept of WikiMaps (a super-easy collaboration mode), an animated History View, much improved Task-Management, and its own file format.

Get to know everyone

October 29, 2008

When I was in college I remember sitting with my advisor/mentor Dr. LoPresto. He sat with me as we chatted about my career options. At the time I was graduating in a few months with a degree in Psychology. I had spent my Junior year studying in Leuven, Belgium, and I had the “business bug”. While was in Belgium I took core business courses next to University of Chicago business students: and I was getting straight A’s. Now what?

I remember vividly Dr, LoPresto asking me what I wanted to do: and I said “I don’t know”.

Not the best answer to give to the man that had helped to make my Senior year at Loyola College so special. He pushed back and asked me

“where were you for the first two years at Loyola?”
“Who did you spend time with?”
“Who did you learn from”?

I had no answer. At this moment it dawned on me. Did I make an effort to get to know everyone that could assist with my career decisions? Had I consulted with students that were studying Psychology? Had I exhausted all resources in the Psychology Department – or had I waited until the last minute for the reality of graduation to set in.

What had happened here?

I hadn’t set Goals
I didn’t get to know EVERYONE
I didn’t listen

How can these lessons translate in business?

Dr. LoPreso helped me with many things that day. He helped to point out a few things I did wrong, but he also let me know what I did right. I was on the right path to business – but I had to cultivate that path. I couldn’t just aimlessly wander into a business interview with an answer like “I don’t know”….

Set Goals – know what you want, and go get it. I eventually realized I needed to further my business education before I could succeed after graduation. I applied to NYU, and went on to earn a MS in Direct Marketing
Get to know EVERYONE – I put myself out there, and didn’t hide. I tried to get to know everyone I could, and I picked their brains. what did they do on a day to day basis? How did they get there? Did they love it? Since then I’ve cultivated a network of colleagues I can say are friends as well. Life’s to short to use people as stepping stones. Who am I to say I’m better than anyone?
Listen – I shut my cocky mouth and started to listen. I realized I had so much to learn – and I still do. So I shut up and listen, and it will pay dividends.

RIP Good Times

October 25, 2008
Sequoia Capital on startups and the economic downturn 

From: eldon, 2 weeks ago


Sequoia Capital recently made a presentation to its portfolio companies about how to try to survive an economic downturn. Here’s the presentation

SlideShare Link

5 Secrets to Improve Your Relationship with your Network

October 24, 2008

Working with a performance based ad network can make you a superstar, or can get you in the hot seat quicker than you can say Vonage.

Here are a few tips that will help you as the advertiser get back into the control seat. Networks have a tendency to promise the moon, and deliver a hunk of cheese. Don’t let this happen to you. Work closely with the right partner and you’ll reap the rewards. Give up that control, and they will send you a bag full of useless leads that will kill your entire marketing budget. Be smart – understand your allowable acquisition and get in front of a few different networks. Ask lots of questions and insist on the following – and you’ll be fine.

1. Demand full disclosure and transparency – If your brand is large enough they will offer it. If not, find a partner that will. You need the control of knowing where your ads are running.
2. Request certain hand selected publishers receive a higher payout (at the networks expense – reduced margin) to drive more volume.
A. Make sure payouts are listed privately – so you don’t anger other publishers running the offer
3. Insist that the appropriate checks and balances are in place
A. List the number of leads you’re willing to pay for in a set time frame – ie, if a publisher generates 2000 leads over the weekend, but you’ve capped the offer at 1000 leads – you’re not held responsible – PUT THIS IN WRITING IN THE CONTRACT
4. Set weekly conference calls – If you think there’s nothing to discuss, think again – something ALWAYS comes up
5. Don’t be bullied into unfavorable payment terms – Networks are HIGHLY competitive, and they need your business.

Go get em!

Live Well

October 24, 2008

Randy Pauch talked during his last public speaking appearance not about beating the “reaper” by living longer – but beating the reaper by living “better”… He advised the audience to find your PASSION.

I want to hear from others what you think your passion is?

I think I’ve found that passion in my family. My love for my daughter is indescribable. My love and respect for my wife – unsurpassable. I strive to be thought well of. I seek my passion, and I hope that you all do as well. I believe that passion is grounded in PEOPLE – and what they will think of you when your gone. Make a connection today. Talk to you cube mate about their family. Seek out that kind of passion, seek out that kind of love.

it’s not the things we do in life that we regret – it’s the things we do NOT.

Live well today.

Hard work doesn’t kill you – boredom and disease do

October 23, 2008

I love to work hard.

I love it when there’s a project that I’m so excited about that I pop out of bed with a spring in my step. It seems to be less and less common to hear people talking about how they love to work hard. I’m not talking about working 20 hours work days (read: working for face time and being completely inefficient). I’m talking about making a contribution – building something, giving back.

Remember when you first started to work and everything was a new and exciting experience? Remember how you were terrified to ask questions, but you were so humbled by the sheer volume of new information, you kept your mouth shut, listened, worked hard – an you LOVED EVERY MINUTE OF IT?

I think it’s time we all started to work hard again.

Today – ask lots of questions – really listen to you colleagues – I mean really – REALLY listen, try to learn something, and WORK HARD.


4 Secrets to Success for Continuity Programs

October 23, 2008

Recently I’ve had conversations where I’ve touted the power of a good continuity program. From Ringtones, to Dating offers, continuity is the name of the game. After a small initial sign up fee the user is then obligated to pay on a (usually) monthly basis to the advertiser.

4 Secrets to success of a continuity program

1. Charge for the first months membership after the first 7 to 14 days as a member
2. Allow for incentivized traffic on these offers
3. Analyze – Measure and quantify your allowable acquisition rate


October 16, 2008

Ask any sales person at a network what year they were founded, and chances are the answer will be in or around 2000. Back then it was like the wild west for networks. Affiliates were making fast money, and most networks were not regulated. This was a fun time for sure. What most fail to tell you is the offers that made them the most money back then, are most likely causing them, or have at some time caused them the biggest headaches today.

Top Revenue Generating offers that cause the biggest headaches for Networks

1. Ringtones = WHY? FTC crack down
Some networks got themselves into trouble when (after seeing the massive revenue generating power of ringtones, formed white label solutions with the providers) – BIG MISTAKE. When the FTC investigated the call to action ie, “sign up for a FREE ringtone” the networks were being held accountable for the misleading communication in conjunction with the ringtone provider. Yikes.

2. Incentive Offers = WHY? Quality issues
Incentivized offers themselves are fine, and generate some phenomenal leads for the right advertiser (continuity programs with credit cards – like Blockbuster) is a great example, but when a rookie sales person tells you to allow affiliates to incentivize your offer and there’s no credit card transaction involved you’ll have 10,000 leads in one day that will be totally useless. Would you pay for them? I didn’t think so.

3. Email Offers = WHY? SPAM
Email converts very well for many advertisers. Back in 2000 with limited regulation publishers would spam consumers and collect handsomely from the networks. Many networks have since implemented solid stop- gaps, but man those SPAMMERS kill ya! Ask the network if you can provide an unsub lisk, or if they have a master unsub list. Also, have a from line, subject line, text and html version. To ensure some control – make sure you (the advertiser) can dictate when the publishers can drop the emails.

Each of these types of offers still generate an immense amount of revenue on networks, but take up a lot of time and effort to regulate. When investigating a partner for your next campaign, don’t be afraid to ask the network how they address each of these issues. It will save you the headaches in the long run.