Guest Writer

Advice On Applying To An Accelerator

ED: Guest post by Mick Liubinskas & Rachel Bui from muru-D

ONLY 36HRS TO GO – Applications close 12PM on October 31st.  http://muru-d.com/apply.

Introduction

An application with a great founding team, technology, traction and vision to go global could be overlooked if founders can’t articulate their ideas to investors. As always, we want to help you improve your odds. Here are some tips to clarify your thinking when applying to an accelerator (or approaching other investors).

Research and understand the accelerator (or investor)

Before you start typing your application, it is important to understand the investor you are pitching to, whether it be an angel or an accelerator. Do your due diligence on us, just as we do on you. Again, every accelerator and investor need to differentiate themselves from each other so targeting your message is very important.

Desktop research can only get you so far and I would be surprised if founders don’t read every single page and resources on the website (they are there for a reason). Founders should demonstrate they have hustle and done proper ‘DD’ by reaching out to the people in the accelerator’s network or find opportunities to meet the management team. If you can make yourself known and make your name sticky, you’re likely to be remembered, thereby increasing your chances of making the shortlist.

Explain the root of the problem

Many founders superficially discuss the problem that they’re trying to solve but do not understand the core drivers of those problems. Most problems are reverse- engineered from the initial solution that the founders have in mind. These applicants tend to be following trends or adopt a X for Z (e.g. Uber for pets) rather than solving a real itch. Fortunately, most people do this so it’s not hard to stand out.

Have a very succinct definition of the problem you are going to solve. The ‘problem’ is usually the itch, the inspiration that causes you to start. Keep it simple and don’t forget to explain the context.

Focus on your strengths

Everyone is obsessed with the word ‘differentiate’ these days. While founders may not realise that there are other dormant clones of their ideas, investors do. Always focus on your strengths and ask, ‘What makes us better at solving this problem than other people?’

If it’s the team, HIGHLIGHT them (see the point below). Are they skilled and come from Google or Tencent? Does your team consist of domain experts with many years of experience?

Demonstrate your creativity, great work ethic and resilience through past experiences and traction. Show us your hacks and the outcomes (not output) you’ve achieved.

Technology is also important. If you are developing something interesting, have an expert in a relevant area endorse it. Can you get an evangelist on board as an advisor?

Passion is in abundance in the startup world but in reality, it’s perseverance and discipline that count. Don’t forget to emphasise your strengths.

Highlight your team

Startups are high risk investments so many investors base their investment decision on the ‘founding team’. What’s constantly going through their minds are questions such as, ‘Is this team backable?’ and ‘Are they the right team to solve this problem?’.

There are some qualities that investors look out for including: educational background, work experience, previous track-record, character, vision, leadership, and a git hub portfolio.

When it’s time to review your application, ask yourself, is this application strong enough to convince reviewers that we are the right team with an awesome product to solve this problem (and take over the world)? If not, make sure you continue to hustle and search for the right people to jump on board.

Determine if you’re prepared to go global from day 1

Cash-strapped founders need to focus on their local markets so that they can validate product-market-fit but the global market is becoming so competitive that the ‘competitor radar’ needs to be on auto.

In today’s world, being ‘local’ or ‘domestic’ reduces your chance of receiving investment, particularly in Australia since the market is small. It would be difficult to provide 10x returns for investors. Also, international competitors can swiftly move in with significant funding and aggressively capture market share.

Being prepared means the ability to quickly hop on a plane if an opportunity arises to do further market research into international markets. Observe your competitors, explore potential business opportunities and do enough due diligence so that if an accelerator or an investor ever poses the question if you plan to expand to the US/China or stay domestic, you can back up your decision with logical reasoning.

Know your competitors and be specific

This is one of the most important part of the application yet founders don’t pay enough attention to it.

An obvious way to show you’re inexperienced is by not knowing who your competitors are. This is usually because the founders did not put in the effort to research by identifying:
a) global competitors as well as local competitors; and/or
b) specific competitors or clones in the same addressable market.

A quick search through Crunchbase or Angellist shows plenty of competitors so don’t forget to monitor the competitor landscape.

Show your traction and think of the unit economics

Founders also get excited once they have some small traction and think they will be the next unicorn. Unfortunately, even some unicorns don’t survive e.g. if it costs you $150 to get a paying customer and their lifetime value or revenue is only $50.

Traction is great but what accelerators and investors are looking for is whether you understand the drivers accelerating your traction and the unit economics underpinning your business model. A company with early positive traction is still not a great potential investment if it doesn’t have the ability to scale or find repeatable channels. A business is still a business and getting to profitability is important.

Show your character in you pitch videos

Lastly, the most overlooked part of an application form is the pitch video. Accelerators want to see your charm, persuasion, interpersonal skills as we’ll be working with you full time for 3–6 months!

There is no need to get fancy with the video but your pitch to us does need to be coherent, convincing and aligned as a team to get to the next stage. Get that first 15 seconds right and the last 15 seconds too. Don’t forget to focus on your strengths.

One bonus tip, use bullet points if necessary (you should still put it in sentence form though). There is no reason to waffle on and write paragraphs after paragraphs. So there you have it, plenty of tips for you to master your accelerator application.

If you are interested in muru-D #SYD3 Program, don’t forget to apply:

http://muru-d.com/apply. Applications close 12PM on October 31st.

I look forward to reading your application! If you have any questions, please send me a tweet at: @buirachel.

Startups Your Help Needed – Australian Startup Ecosystem Report 2015

Nicola FarrellGuest Blog from Nicola Farrell, Acceleration Program Manager at Pollenizer, developing partnership opportunities for startups past incubation stage, creating growth and scale for their business.

 

In 2012, the Startup Genome Project made a massive contribution to how the world viewed startups.

Three years on, with the fast paced nature of startups, it’s no surprise the data is out of date and requires a major upgrade.

Today, we are launching the survey for 2015, across Australia and New Zealand, and hope to serve every pocket of this region ensuring local startups are represented.

Why is this survey different?

Of late, there have been a number of surveys that have done an incredible job of measuring the level of output we are seeing from homegrown startups.

StartupCompass however, looks across the whole world’s leading startup hubs, enabling the benchmark to be set for ongoing growth.

Why should Australian & New Zealand startups submit their details?

This is an opportunity for Australian and NZ startups to be represented on a global scale. Australian & New Zealand’s input is crucial, for our performance to be recognised against neighbouring regions like Asia and the US. Participating startup founders strengthen the ecosystem’s visibility, demonstrating a picture of growth that definitely exists in this market.

The data will allow us to understand the health and growth of local startups, benchmarking it against other participating countries.

Crunchbase (the Startup & funding database of Techcrunch) which arguably has one of the largest Global Startup databases is contributing their support and data and the survey is being conducted by local Startup ecosystem supporters Deloitte.

What will the data be used for?

The survey results will be compiled to measure and evaluate the ecosystem’s performance, amongst other critical factors affecting the startup landscape. Information will outline where there are strengths and weaknesses, building consensus, so we as stakeholders can work together to improve it. The findings will provide global visibility to each ecosystem to help attract new investors and talent.

Deloitte and Pollenizer will work in partnership to develop the information, providing a report, for the benefit of the startup community, investors and government.

When will the result be available?

The Startup Ecosystem Report will distribute their findings in May 2015.

Where do startups add their details? 

The Startup Ecosystem Report for 2015 is now open and will stay open until the end of March.

 

Why Going Corporate Doesn’t Mean Going Rogue: The Rise of Intrapreneurship

SakshamToday’s Guest post is from Saksham Kapoor, the UNSW founder of Recommuso a new music platform which launches soon, signup here to get an invite for the beta program.

If you have a passion for startups and a story or lesson to share, google.

Happy new year to everyone! I hope you enjoyed your break, and are now energised for the year ahead.

In my last post on Startup Passion, I discussed the importance of passion for anyone considering working in the startup sector.

It was my first ever written piece, and I was blown away by the response – it’s great to see that the community understands what’s needed to succeed in the hard life we’ve chosen. Now on to the second order of business.

I’ve already talked about how entrepreneurship is fast becoming the next frontier – startups are becoming the norm, and people are seeking to disrupt seemingly unmovable business models. Not everyone can follow that drive though – commitments come in the way, funding becomes an issue, and people have a mortgage to pay.

That’s where intrapreneurship comes in. Compared to Entrepreneurship, which focusses on developing new technologies or products to disrupt industries, Intrapreneurship is the practice of seeking to disrupt and innovate the internal processes of one’s workplace – through the development of new solutions, streamlining existing processes, or simply challenging the status quo.

Fixing these deficiencies helps the company become more efficient, and ultimately, more profitable.

For a large number of people, coming up with ideas isn’t a problem in itself. Everyone has noticed issues with the way they’re working, ways they’re being inefficient, or plainly, one of the ‘dumbest things’ they’re doing within their firm, and intrapreneurship is an excellent way to work together to solve these issues. It’s the ability to act upon these shortcomings, and develop new and innovative ways of fixing them that set the visionaries apart from the rest of the team.

Lots of companies nowadays deploy some form of an Intrapreneurship program – the most famous example most people would be familiar with would be Google’s 20% time.

Googleplex-Patio-Aug-2014

Allowing employees to explore their own creativity resulted in the creation of Gmail, AdSense and Google News, which went on to become huge money-spinners for Google.

They were so successful, in fact, that other companies now offer similar programs (Apple’s Blue Sky and LinkedIn’s inCubator come to mind), and they’ve become a key component of tech culture.

Hackathons have also become a viable way for companies to essentially crowdsource innovation ideas (Facebook Hackathons, Deloitte’s HackTheDot), along with dedicated innovation zones (Microsoft’s The Garage, Ericsson’s IdeaBoxes).

With all these opportunities abound, people with great ideas have a fertile ground where they can thrive and explore their creativity. If you have proven experience in a given industry, it’s very likely that larger companies will jump at the opportunity to hire you – employees who are passionate about the company, and skilled enough to implement their passion, are an invaluable asset, and will be far more useful to a company than those who simply show up to work to complete the bare minimum of what’s required of them.

To those who have a burning passion to help make the world a better place, along with the perks of a stable career, intrapreneurship is definitely the way to move forward. Not only will you make kick-ass solutions which could help millions of people all over the world, but you’ll get rewarded internally for it, too!

Leave your comments below on how viable you think Intrapreneurship is and whether it counts as “selling out” compared to the “true entrepreneurs”, and feel free to reach out to me at saksham@redolencetech.com for queries about anything I’ve raised in this post.

Please sign up to Recommuso so we can notify you when we launch.

Welfare is the Y Combinator for the masses

Ed: This week we will be featuring a number of guest posts from undergraduate students from University of New South Wales who are building real businesses while still studying.

Today’s post is from Luke Marshall, the UNSW founder of Sunapse a Solar Energy Optimisation Software and an active member of the UNSW entrepreneur community.

Luke Marshall winning the Pearcy Awards Student Pitch

Luke Marshall winning the Pearcy Awards Student Pitch

Introduction

These days accelerators are a dime a dozen, but it all started with Y Combinator.

You know the story – take a large number of sketchy startups with huge dreams, invest just enough money to keep the founders fed and housed for a few months, and take a small percentage of equity.

Most will fail but one or two will hit it big, and your small percentage of equity will be worth potentially billions. It’s great for everyone – founders get a reasonable deal when equity is expensive and cash is scarce, while investors get the chance to diversify their interests in the startup community and have a small slice of every pie in town.

But what do you do when there are more quality startups than accelerator places? What do you do if your city simply doesn’t have any accelerators, or you are working on a project that doesn’t really fit with what the big players are looking for?

For many, the simple, secretive and slightly embarrassing answer is social welfare.

Let’s get a few things straight first. Legally, you should not be working on a startup if you are on social welfare – in fact, in many parts of the world you can’t even get social benefits if you are the director of a company, no matter how small that company is.

But that doesn’t really stop anyone. I personally have known many startup founders who wouldn’t be where they are today if it wasn’t for government assistance in the early days of their companies.

You may be balking at this. Is an ostensibly pro-business commentator from the startup scene really going to lecture us on the greatness of social welfare?

Yes, he is.

Social welfare is the Y Combinator of the masses.

Think about it this way. Y Combinator, the world’s most famous and successful startup accelerator, works by taking hundreds of entrepreneurs and giving them just enough money to eat and live while they develop their idea. Most of them fail, but a tiny few will go on to do amazing things. This is exactly the role that social welfare plays in the life of many startups – thousands of people following their own risky dreams across the country. 

Many in the startup scene glorify the earn-or-starve scenario, arguing that the threat of financial ruin is a brilliant motivator. I don’t doubt it. But the threat of starvation is also a huge disincentive to anyone with a good idea and half a brain.

I would argue that the number of people who miss out on pursuing their ideas out of starvation-avoidance greatly outweighs the small boost a tiny proportion of companies get from the desperate need to prosper immediately or perish. In this sense, we don’t necessarily need welfare to be awarded to founders while they are pursuing their dreams, but just the option in case everything goes pear-shaped. Everyone needs an exit strategy, even those who are dreaming big. 

But welfare also plays a critical practical role in the lives of many startups by supporting founders while they find their feet. I would argue that this is a critical factor in boosting serious innovation among entrepreneurs. If you have a situation where startups need to be financially successful in the very short-term or cease immediately, how can any company that requires solid R & D survive, especially in an investment-starved context?

Such an environment incentivises gimmicky startups that do very little innovation, slightly tweaking existing business models to earn a guaranteed buck in the short-term. Good things take time. Cheesy get-rich-quick schemes are not ground-breaking innovation.

In this way welfare can also act as a balancing force in times of economic downturn. If startup funding dries up in a given city, entrepreneurs would be left high and dry without the ability to survive for a short amount of time on welfare. I’m not saying welfare should be comfortable, but I am saying it should be available to everyone, preferably with few strings attached. 

When we look at the benefits of welfare for the business startup scene, we see that in many Western countries, our approach to the social safety net is seriously skewed towards traditional careers and employee-employer relationships. Whatever your views on welfare, we have decided as a society to help people who are trying to get a job or an education by providing financial support.

Yet entrepreneurs stand alone in the face of extreme challenges, despite the fact that their actions create jobs and deliver exponentially larger economic benefits. It makes no sense at all.

If what I am arguing is true, it’s reasonable to ask why the US seems to be the spiritual home of entrepreneurship and not, say, Sweden, Denmark, or Norway, the archetypal trio of Scandinavian welfare states? The numbers are in and they don’t look great for small government.

In a NationMaster (http://www.nationmaster.com/country-info/stats/Economy/New-businesses-registered/Number/Per-capita) ranking of countries in terms of the number of new businesses started, these high-taxing, big-government welfare states ranked significantly higher than the US when adjusted for population.

Without a welfare system that can back entrepreneurs, the startup scene will be an inherently bourgeois pursuit, a flippant game of excitement and gimmickry in the lives of the reasonably wealthy on their way to gaining further wealth. That’s not disruptive, that’s not society-changing – that’s a generation of innovators who will be looked over because they simply don’t have the means to begin following their dreams. To me, that’s not right.

It makes sense that if starting a business is less risky, more people will do it. And that means economic and social benefits for everyone. Yes, the welfare system does support people who simply take the money and put it up their nose or down the slot machines.

But that’s not the point. No VC expects all their investments to bear fruit. Y Combinator takes in hundreds of startups every year, with only a few really big success stories. But it’s still worth their while. Without taking a chance, seeding hundreds of people with hundreds of dreams, we wouldn’t have the Apples, the Microsoft’s, the Google’s, the AirBnB’s or the Uber’s of this world. We’d all be worse off.

Let society invest in people who want to make a difference – not every investment pays off, but the odd brilliant success will make it all worthwhile…

You can connect with Luke via his Linkedin Profile

 

Ed: I believe in a social welfare net for those that lose their jobs or or are generally unable to provide for themselves, however it always struck me how screwed up it was that a millions of our citizens could get various social welfare allowances when they couldn’t find work or while they completed courses at University or TAFE but if you wanted to start a new business you were absolutely on your own. 

Its my opinion that there should be an Entrepreneurs allowance equal to either the dole or the AusStudy allowance for 1-2 years to enable entrepreneurs to get a foothold and work out how to build a business. Simply give them enough to pay for a roof over their head and noodles. 

In my opinion it would go a lot further than any of the current commercialisation programs in encouraging entrepreneurship across a broad spectrum of the economy and yes it would have failure and yes there would be people who rort the system, but I would argue that those likely to rort the program already know how to do this and they are doing it on existing programs.

It seems to me that neither side of politics is committed to helping people become entrepreneurs, entrepreneurship is missing from our schools despite the continuing trend of decreased full time permanent jobs and increase in part time or casual contract work among western economies.

 

 

Photo by Sebastiaan ter Burg

Want to start a Startup? Why Passion counts.

Ed: This week we will be featuring a number of guest posts from undergraduate students from University of New South Wales who are building real businesses while still studying.

Today’s post is from Saksham Kapoor, the UNSW founder of Recommuso

Saksham

 

Introduction

You probably know one of them. They could be your brother, your sister, your best friend, your neighbour. Who am I talking about? People who think ‘gosh, I should really start a startup!’ of course.

Having a startup seems to be the ‘in’ thing these days – and with recent exits like WhatsApp ($19bn), Twitch ($1.1bn) and Instagram ($1bn), along with sky-high valuations like Uber ($18bn), Dropbox ($10bn) and Spotify ($4bn), it’s not hard to see why.

To all those people, I say: slow down.

Slow Down

Having a startup isn’t an easy decision. Having worked with two, and having had my own for over a year (Recommuso), I have learnt what sets the true entrepreneurs apart from the ‘wantrepreneurs’.

Coming up with a problem statement, i.e. the pain point you’re trying to solve, is not an easy task, and requires passion for the field/sector you’re targeting. In order to develop the drive for the product, you’ll have to feel strongly about the problem customers are facing, and have a strong desire to solve it.

You want to do as much research as you can (again, you’ll want to be really interested in the sector, otherwise you’ll burn out), looking for anyone else who’s addressing the issue you’re trying to solve. The only two times you should be following through with the idea is if

  • No one else is in the space you’re in, or
  • There are people in the space you want to play in, but you believe you can do better than them

Next up comes the research and validation. This is one of the hardest parts of the process, requiring you to poke holes in your own hypothesis and solution. Through self-correction and validation, along with the feedback you get from people, you’ll arrive at a conclusion about whether you should be continuing with the project or not.

As you talk to people, you’ll inevitably find that parts you felt were awesome, really aren’t what your customers are looking for.

On the flip side, it may be that something you were intending to drop is exactly what the market wants – keep an open mind. The most important part at this stage is to talk to as many people as you can, and get a good overview of what the market is after.

Most importantly, validate that what you’re trying to solve is a problem in the first place (or, hey, don’t – the iPad single-handedly started the tablet revolution).

And finally, when you’ve got an awesome game plan of what your startup is going to do, comes crunch time: implementation.

Implementation

Implementation is when you get to test whether all your research, networking and hunch are actually what people want, and whether they are willing to pay for it. One of the oldest adages within the sector: the first dollar is the hardest. People will tell you it’s great, it’s revolutionary etc., but until they’re willing to invest in you, it’s not complete validation.

When you’ve got that initial bit of funding, you’ll know you’re on to something. It’s at this stage that you’ll find out whether your passion works out or not, and whether your vision translates into reality.

If the above sounds too difficult, maybe the startup life isn’t for you.

There are lots of online courses (the latest being the excellent How to Start a Startup course by YCombinator) that try to teach you what to expect.

While they may give you the basic knowhow, they can’t instil the one differentiating factor, which sets the successes from the failures: passion.

Passion

That’s got to come from your own drive, and willingness to go above and beyond what is required for success. For people who are unable to commit to the difficulties associated with founding, or being part of a startup, a corporate career may be just as, and possibly more fulfilling.

Taking a startup all the way will require many sacrifices, with the first being quitting your day job in order to free up your own resources for the project. You’ll fail often along the way, and have to be prepared to face the disappointment that what you wanted to create just isn’t working.

For the vast majority of people, that is simply not an option. In my next post, I’ll discuss how those with awesome ideas can use them within a corporate environment, and the pros and cons of doing so.

To clarify: I’m definitely not dissuading anyone reading this from starting their own startup. With my personal experience in the sector, I can say it is one of the most rewarding things you can do.

All I implore is that those who are considering it, to weigh up the pros and cons of going down this path, and ensure that they are willing to commit 100% to their goal. If you feel you’re able to do that, then your passion will help you take your idea to the next stage.

To those of you reading this: feel free to reach out to me at saksham@redolencetech.com for queries about anything I’ve raised in this post and signup to Recommuso so we can notify you when we launch.

Photo by Robert Scoble

4 tips for Marketing to Millennials

Brian-Lam

Ed: This week we will be featuring a number of guest posts from undergraduate students from University of New South Wales who are building real businesses while still studying.

Today’s post is from Brian Lam, one of the founders of new startup Bakebox.com.au and Business Analyst Intern at Artesian Capital Management 

Bakebox

Introduction

Millennials eat, breathe and sleep technology. Sometimes literally! Research by a Nielson, a global data analytics company, shows that an astounding 83% of Millennials say that they sleep with their smartphones. Social media dominates a large proportion of our technology use, as it provides us with 24/7 access to information about friends, brands we love and other news that we follow.

As Millennials increasingly become one of the most powerful customer groups, many companies, large and small, have turned social media marketing from a “nice to have” to a “must have” by now. Yet, many still lack a deeper understanding of how we perceive and react to businesses.

As a Millennial running my own startup, I have seen both the customer and business perspective of things. I want to provide you guys with tips on how to effectively make us fall in love with your brand and stand out from all your competitors!

Do more than engage: ACKNOWLEDGE your customers.

Most brands know that engaging your customers is a vital part of their social media strategy.

Many brands are great at providing engaging content for their followers to read/ watch, or communicate directly with them through their social media pages. This is can be enough to turn these followers into paying customers.

In fact, a lot of the customers would Tweet, Instagram or create a Facebook post about your product to show the world without you having to do anything. But why stop there?

Millennials EXPECT acknowledgement that they have purchased a product from the company. A marketer would “like” or “favourite” the customer’s post about the purchase of their product, but a smart marketer would put in the extra effort to reply with a simple thank you or even ask for permission to “re-post” the content on the company’s social media pages.

By doing this, you can make every customer feel like a VIP, ensuring that they will come back for more.

Boost Juice’s “regram” / acknowledgement / providing user-generated content to its Instagram followers.

boost

Share, but don’t overshare

Social-media oversharing has become a problem. By oversharing, I’m not talking about posting too many times in one day on a social media page. I’m talking about the fact that companies feel inclined to be on every social media platform to maintain their presence.

You should maintain a strong presence by just focusing on one or two platforms.

Every social media platform has their own benefits over the others. None can be one-size-fits-all (at least not right now). So which should you use?

From a Millennial’s perspective, our four most USED social media platforms would be Facebook, YouTube, Instagram, Twitter. However, most used doesn’t necessarily mean that they are the best for your business. For example, Facebook is most popular than any other social network with over 1.3 billion users as of June 2014. However, a lot of businesses are reporting that Instagram provides a much higher level of brand interaction from their customers.

Forrester, an independent tech and market research company studied over three million user interactions across seven social networks. Six of the seven had engagement rates of less than .1%, whereas Instagram topped them at 4.21%. However, this doesn’t mean you should discount using other platforms to reach your audiences.

Overall, this is a general perspective on how to/ if you should use each the four most popular platforms among Millennials.

Facebook

This is practically a necessity for all brands that are invested in social, mainly due to the fact that nearly EVERYONE uses it.

Instagram

Pictures speak a thousand words. Millennials see Instagram as their go- to place for anything related to awesome photos of food, fashion, travel, favourite celebrities and friends.

We digital-window shop here. A lot.

Even non-lifestyle related businesses such as Intel, Taco Bell, American Express and General Electric use the platform often.

Instagram

YouTube

Millennials LOVE YouTube. According to YouTube’s Q2 2014 insights, they reach almost 50% of people aged between 18- 34. We are using YouTube for everything, particularly to make informed purchase decisions with “review videos” and “how-to” videos.

YouTube can be effective for most type of businesses if you know how to correctly make great video content for your audiences (for some, YouTube IS their business). The only downside is that it can be very time consuming and sometimes costly to make a great video, especially for smaller businesses with a low budget. But that’s not always the case.

Witness Dollar Shave Club’s viral video which generated 17 million hits, with a tiny $4,500 budget.

Twitter

Twitter is another much-loved platform by Millennials. Twitter is a place where we feel like we have more freedom to tell our own life stories and to share random thoughts, without being criticised or judged as much. There are thousands of major brands that use the platform, particularly to offer deals, customer service and even live “company celebrity” Q&A’s with figures such as Richard Branson to Victoria’s Secret models. However, Twitter must be handled very carefully if you decide to use it, as there have been countless incidents of brands causing viral PR disasters.

As a business, you only have so many hours in the day to dedicate your time to social media. So pick your platform of choice and start to practice smart sharing.

Videos speak louder than pictures

Many businesses recognise the effectiveness of video in engaging their audiences. Yet, they have put it at the very end of their marketing to-do’s and decide to stick to what they know. But I can’t blame them. After all, taking a photo of your product is a lot easier than producing a decently filmed and edited clip of it.

Video-focused, social media platforms are becoming increasingly popular with Millennials. A 2014 YouTube study showed that an astounding 98% of 18-34 year-olds use their smartphones on a daily basis to consume video content. As mentioned before, YouTube alone reaches almost 50% of people within this age bracket. Other than YouTube, these are two services that you should take notice of:

Vine

Vine is a short-video sharing service. It almost EXACTLY like Twitter, except it is a video version of it. Users are limited to creating a 6 second video rather than Twitter’s character limit. You may think, what? How can a six second video create any impact or value to attract customers?

Check out Dunkin Donut’s six-seconds of awesomeness.

It has been played at ESPN football matches, shared and re-shared on multiple social media sites. According to them, their “Vine delivers as many impressions as a comparable TV spot” at a fraction of the cost.

Snapchat

Most people have probably heard about Snapchat. It is another “experimental” social media video platform for marketers right now. For those who don’t know, it is a mobile messaging app, where you can send photos or videos to your friends that will only last ten seconds max, after which they will be deleted forever.

Recently, Snapchat launched its “My Story” feature, in which a collection of photos or videos may be shared for 24 hours before being deleted. Businesses have begun to catch on to this feature, creating amazing ads for their followers. In a Millennial’s perspective, a business that uses Snapchat is COOL.

One great example is Electric Daisy Carnival, a popular music festival, and their demonstration of Snapchat’s My Story feature. You can see it in the video below:

The video-marketing area is great for out-of-the-box ideas, however its not easy to create a viral video, even if it is only a short six seconds. But you should at least inform yourself of what popular video mediums there are right now and how you could effectively use them.

Businesses don’t really buy from businesses. People do

This is a great piece of advice that I read about in a Forbe’s article, written by contributor Micah Solomon. It comes from a conversation that he had with David Edelman, McKinsey’s leader of their Digital Marketing Strategy group.

It is a short tip for readers who are involved in the B2B space. When people talk about Millennials, most think of the B2C space but ignore the fact that Millennials can sometimes be the ones that hold the purchasing power for a business that they own or one that they work for. In our digitalised world, we bring on some expectations of technology with us to our new workplace. Solomon states that, if a “vendor’s website is clunky, has bad search is kind of a half-baked version of a catalog pasted onto an online environment, they’re going to go running to a different vendor.” And I completely agree. When we are doing the buying for the businesses we work for, our expectations come from the best of what is available and we WON’T settle for less.

If you want talk more about Millennials or digital marketing strategy in general, feel free to contact me via LinkedIn Profile.

How to Rebuild the World – Be 1000% Better

James Altucher

James Altucher

James Altucher is an entrepreneur and bestselling author who has founded over 20 companies, failed with most of them but managed some big wins including founding and selling StockPickr and Reset, each selling for approximately $10 million.

James is an Angel investor and was one of the first seed investors in Buddy Media which sold to Salesforce for $745 million and managed to get angel investments in Bit.ly, Ticketfly, CTera, Acebucks, Cancer Genetics and Optimal.

He has published 11 books includingChoose Yourself40 Alternatives to College, How to Be The Luckiest Person Alive and is a frequent contributor to publications including The Financial TimesTheStreet.comTechCrunch and The Huffington Post.

James blogs at The Altucher Confidential, we recommend you sign up for his Insiders List here 

 

 

When AD broke up with me and cheated on me I thought I would die. I couldn’t breathe. I couldn’t have ideas. I cut loose my friendships. The vault in my chest sealed shut.

Which, of course, brings me to the earthquake of 1906. 10,000 buildings collapsed and fires started to spread all over San Francisco, killing the entire city.

Sfearthquake2-Union-Square

 

AP Giannini

AP Giannini

Amadeo Giannini walked 17 miles from his home in San Mateo to the center of San Francisco. Everyone else was fleeing the other way, trying to outrun the fires and buildings collapsing.

Why would he do that?

He had to reach his business, The Bank of Italy. The first bank dedicated to serving poor immigrants rather than just the needs of the wealthy.

Giannini reached his business, got all the cash and gold and silver and ledgers, put them on his cart, and walked 17 miles to his home.

Then he hid it all and covered it with garbage so nobody could rob him.

He then announced that The Bank of Italy was open for business, the same day as the earthquake. Everyone who was panicking went to him for help. They deposited money.

BankofItaly-Branch

He then lent out money to anyone who was devoted to rebuilding San Francisco.

What about all the other banks? They thought they did the smart thing. As soon as the earthquake hit they put everything in their vaults.

The vaults then heated up because of the fires. Problem: once you open the doors the hot oxygen would rush inside and set everything on fire: cash, bank ledgers, everything.

So those banks remained closed for at least three weeks.

The only bank open was the Bank of Italy because it’s owner was willing to walk 17 miles back and forth, hide the gold, and take chances on everyone willing to rebuild.

 

Later, the Bank of Italy was the first bank to risk funding a young man named Walt Disney when he had the idea of a full length animated film, Snow White.

But before that, Amadeo Giannini decided to rename the bank for what it really was – Bank of America, which it’s still called to this day.

 

Peter Thiel said something that I won’t forget in my interview with him:

You can’t be 10 or 20% better than your competition. You have to be 1000% better.

“If you’re just 20% better, nobody can really tell. They can only tell when you are ten times better. Else nobody will notice you.”

Amadeo Gianinni was 1000% better than everyone else in the aftermath of an earthquake.

When my heart is broken, or I fail at a business, I get afraid to open that vault and let in all of the oxygen, I might go on fire and die!

This is why writing ten ideas a day down is so important. That is why only being with people you love is important. And people who love you.

So you’ll know exactly the moment you need to walk 17 miles when the earthquake hits. So you know not to lock everything in the vault. So you know to be the first to help people. So you know how to help the most people. This is a superhero.

This is how abundance is created.

I want to be the guy who walks the other way when the whole world is falling apart and lighting on fire.

The past doesn’t matter in those moments. It’s been utterly destroyed, desolate and forgotten. Like it is every morning when you wake up. And the future has yet to be rebuilt out of the ashes.

Rebuilt by you.

And, if you let me…by you and me.

James blogs at The Altucher Confidential, we recommend you sign up for his Insiders List here