Blockchain could be the most important innovation since the Internet. We are reeling from the Equifax leak. There is a huge trust problem on the Internet. Blockchain solves these problems, however it will take time for each industry vertical to gain the full benefit.
These two videos provide a great crash course in understanding Blockchain and some real world use cases.
The paradox for finding the right solution (for any problem) these days is that our instinct is to seek outside resources. With all the innovation, tools, apps, shortcuts, etc. available to us we look for a quick fix externally, rather than an internal remedy.
The quintessential example is the story about writing in zero gravity. Supposedly, the U.S. spent millions on a pen that would write in space. The Russians used a pencil.
Another example I like to use is The Beatles. They recorded some of the most timeless music in history with very little technology. In fact, they trained themselves to “problem solve” using internal methods – getting more creative with existing tools, rather than looking for external shortcuts.
The result of forcing yourself to problem solve “internally” is that you improve common sense, sharpen your creativity (and save lots of money).
The time will come when you’ve exhausted internal resources and common sense and you will need to go externally to get the next level. By maintaining this practice, you will easily spot the problems that really do need external solutions.
Let’s be honest. We want a quick win. Everyone wants a quick win once in a while. We come up with a great idea and try to figure out the fastest way for that idea to generate money.
This is a huge trap. Building the next Facebook over a weekend and showing it to a few friends does not equal the next $100b company. But somehow, we believe this may happen.
The truth is; you need to work it hard. You need to fine-tune the unfair advantage, distill the massive benefit statement and get more people bought in today than yesterday. How many more? I don’t know, but more every day and then the day after that. Get one more believer than yesterday. Then two more the day after.
Make sure you crystalize your vision. How does this idea/product/service/song resonate when 1m people are looking at it or even using it?
When you perform a casual experiment or side project, you are thinking small at the start. This is normal. Will this idea work? Will anyone care? You do yourself a disservice by dabbling. Sure, go ahead and tell a few friends. Are they being nice or are they excited and want to share it? Don’t mistake this process for MVP (Minimum Viable Product).
Someone wrote about getting 10 paying customers you DON’T know. They will be very honest with you. Once someone pays even $1, they want value in return. The value exchange should be very clear and they should be happy to tell you they are satisfied. Once you have 10 paying customers you don’t know, throw gas on the fire and go full throttle. Now you are entering MVP-land. It’s the ONLY way to gain critical mass and call it a business.
So I couldn’t get down to Austin, TX this week to partake in South-by-Southwest. I was pretty bummed, but I think maybe I may have caught some of the best conversations despite being in Chicago.
Last week, I saw a post on Product Hunt for Meerkat. Meerkat is a live video streaming app, mobile-to-mobile. It uses your Twitter login and when you start a stream, a tweet is sent with a link to the live feed.
So, I happened upon a few key players streaming from SXSW like Gary Vaynerchuk, Sarah Evans and someone I’ve been looking to meet, Matt Mazzeo.
Via Meerkat, I caught Matt’s daily “lowercase office hours” in the lobby of a hotel where he does quick interviews/discussions with founders and other influencers during SXSW.
Today’s session was pretty great and he even did a quick discussion with the Schwarzenegger and Bruce Willis’ agent. Very cool impromptu conversation about a movie in the works for Mikhail Gorbachev.
Here’s a quick recap of the startups he put on his “hang”. Hopefully I’ve captured the correct elevator pitch for each of these:
Homerun – Killer stories about sports players built on their stats
Rex.is – Great stuff curated by interesting people
Class.travel – Worldwide travel rewards program
Snowshoe – Plastic ID that uses smartphone screen for recognition
Humin – Contacts stored in a more human way
Clinton Foundation – not a startup but a mention, none-the-less.
Looking forward to more great stuff from @mazzeo on @meerkat!
It’s 3:07pm CST and I’m sitting at Starbucks (or should we call it “StartBucks”) in West Dundee, IL. The staff knows me – now. I’ve been coming here every afternoon for the past week plowing through the work required to get to launch.
I’ll be the first to admit that the hill got steeper the closer I got to launch-ready. I think I need to caveat what I mean by launch. Since I was following Dan Norris’ 7-Day Launch blueprint, what has been launched is a MVP stock music service. The best part of this process has been the awesome people I’ve talked to via Dan’s FB group who have helped shape the MVP. This is the essence of what he discusses in his book.
“You don’t earn till you learn” – not sure if Dan said that, but I might use it as my own. The feedback has been valuable and interesting. It’s been interesting because the first lesson is that not all customers want the same thing. The opinions and ideas that have been discussed have been unique and “one-size-fits-all” does not apply to a stock music service. Also true for just about every business. This speaks to the exercise of finding the ideal customer profile or avatar.
I talked to 5 potential customers from different walks and they all want something different. A couple love the idea of a subscription, while others just want a la cart songs at a competitive price.
I think I’ve come up with a model that is easy to understand and provides a fair solution. It’s basically a freemium model.
One free track per month delivered to email
Monthly subscription that provides download codes
A la carte store ($14-$99 per track based on license usage)
The licensing model is one concept I’m pretty excited about since it could be a good differentiator – in addition to the awesome music 🙂
Pricing is relative to license option, audio being the least expensive. It just made sense to offer licenses based on usage type.
I’ve got some other ideas that I will be testing over the next few weeks, such as a creator community. There still is a lot of work to do on the UX and navigation so that signup and store browsing is simple and intuitive.
This is all very exciting, especially since I got my first paid subscriber just this afternoon!
A huge thanks to Dan and his community for a swift kick in the pants to get this going.
So, yes I’ve been inspired to launch yet another project. It never gets old, right??
Dan Norris, CEO of WPCurve.com and entrepreneur/author wrote a book called “The 7 Day Startup: You Don’t Learn Until You Launch”. In this best-seller, Dan talks about the many businesses he started and the lessons learned along the way. The culmination of his journey is a blueprint for starting a business in 7 days. Now, I’ve started several businesses and 7-days seems ridiculous. However, after reading through the book and understanding his approach, it makes a ton of sense. Especially, for businesses that are internet-based where you can get a ton a feedback in a short amount of time.
So, I’ve been thinking about this new project for some time and after talking to a few people in his Facebook group, I’m launching this new idea.
What’s the idea? Since that is the purpose behind “Day One” in Dan’s blueprint.
My ideas is this: stock music membership site
What is “stock music?” It’s the background music you hear in many different mediums when something is playing in the foreground. For example; TV Commercials, intro music for podcasts, music behind product videos, etc.
The producers of these works usually have a musical connection somewhere. They either have a roster of music producers who they can tap for custom music. Or, they search online marketplaces, such as audiojungle. Or they hire a musician and co-produce a customer piece of music.
Well I happen to have hundreds of recorded works that fit into this category. Some of the recordings will be used for actual songs that I will put on a future album, but those are the “special” ones. 90% of the songs ideas are snippets. So, why not offer these as stock music? Seems like a viable idea and it’s exciting to considering putting these pieces of music out there.
There are several unknowns at this point:
will I be able to generate enough traffic to the site to sell anything
how much time is required to finish these recorded works to be usable
should I offer them with Creative Commons License or standard copyright?
how should I price the membership? annual or monthly? lifetime?
should I sell tracks individually?
I will be answering these questions and many more over the next 7 days!
Here are my notes from going through the “nine elements” exercise: