Archive for the ‘new business opportunities’ tag
Back in October we introduced you to Israeli startup Bizzabo, the smartphone app designed to help professionals discover new business opportunities at conferences and event organizers to promote and engage directly with attendees. Today, Bizzabo has announced that it has secured $1.5 million in funding from leading angel investors.
New Career Opportunities Daily: The best jobs in media.
Raimo van der Klein, founder and CEO of Layar – one of the bigger mobile augmented reality startups – is stepping down and appointing Quintin Schevernels in his place. van der Klein plans to stay on as Creative Director. Schevernels was formerly the COO of VNU Media, a large Dutch publisher. As such the move makes sense since Creator is aimed squarely at print publishers.
The company recently launched both the Layar Creator product that allows publishers to easily add digital content to print pages and Stiktu aimed at consumers. Creator is is to how Layar will monetize itself in the future.
In a blog post van der Klein said:
I will continue as Creative Director, focusing more on our next generation products and new business opportunities. I will further take-up a seat in Layar’s Supervisory Board. With this move I can keep doing the things that I really love, and that is to innovate and shape new markets and products.
Layar says it has had over 20m downloads and has 3 million monthly active users. It’s has raised over $15.6 million in venture funding from investors including Intel Capital, Prime Ventures and Sunstone Capital.
Episode #310 of Six Pixels of Separation – The Twist Image Podcast is now live and ready for you to listen to.
Reid Hoffman co-founded LinkedIn – the very popular online social network for business professionals – in December 2002. With close to 140 million members in over 20 countries, LinkedIn’s IPO in May of last year made Hoffman a billionaire. Currently, he serves as Executive Chairman of LinkedIn and is a partner at Greylock Partners – a very popular venture capital firm. Hoffman’s passion is in understanding how these connected networks that we’re all creating everyday as we connect, friend, like, link and follow one another creates new business opportunities. He also believes that in these highly networked times, we have to start thinking differently about business and the work that we’re doing. Along with Ben Casnocha (an award-winning entrepreneur and author), they recently published the business book, The Start-up of You: Adapt to the Future, Invest in Yourself, and Transform Your Career. Casnocha took some time out of his busy schedule to talk about the new value systems we should all be looking at when we come to work everyday. Enjoy the conversation…
You can grab the latest episode of Six Pixels of Separation here (or feel free to subscribe via iTunes): Six Pixels of Separation – The Twist Image Podcast #310.
Every blogger, starting out, wants to get noticed—but that can be tough when you’re the new guy in a sea of established sites. What can you do to bypass the years of building traffic? Are there ways to establish yourself quickly and grow?
The answer is yes: blog in a niche.
Why Niche Blogging Works
By narrowing the focus of your blog, you make it easier to become a thought leader in a smaller space, a big fish in a small pond. This strategy can help new bloggers to gain authority quickly, create strong community and, along with those things, generate new business opportunities—here’s why.
It Establishes You As an Expert
It only makes sense: there’s going to be less competition blogging about HD decoders than there would be blogging about, say, everything, right? That’s what makes niche blogging so powerful. By focusing your writing on a particular specialization or topic, you become one of a few voices rather than one of the masses. And as you provide regular, helpful content in your niche, you communicate and reinforce to readers that you are an authority.
It Builds Community
If there’s one thing you can say for sure about niches, it’s this: they attract loyal followers. When you focus on a particular area such as safety equipment, writing about flame-resistant military uniforms and arc flash protection clothing, for example, the types of readers drawn to your content are almost guaranteed to already have an actual interest in it. This makes it easier to connect with them. As your group of likeminded followers and commenters like and return to your site, you’re building a solid community.
It Generates Business Opportunities
A focused blog will provide even more than authority and community—it will give you, both directly and indirectly, new business opportunities. For one thing, your community will often become or bring in clients, especially as you’ve established yourself as an expert to trust. Likewise, the higher search rankings brought in by higher online authority help bring interested potential clients directly to your brand.
It Improves Advertising
Should you want to generate some income from your blog, a niche focus makes that easier. Darren Rowse of ProBlogger says:
“Niche blogs also tend to work better with contextual ad networks like AdSense. AdSense is getting better at providing ads that relate strongly to what is on a specific page of content, but I have seen instances where blogs covering lots of different topics attract ads that don’t always relate to content on a particular page.”
Tips for Successful Niche Blogging
It’s true that focused blogging delivers better results, but that doesn’t mean it’s easy. Just like with any other form of blogging, there are certain strategies that can significantly boost results. Here are some tips for niche blogging success:
Choose the Right Niche
The right niche for you should be a subject area that you’re interested in and that has some demand in the marketplace. You can evaluate market demand by looking at Google trends, what people are saying about that niche in social media, local media publications, etc. Because you’re looking for a specialized niche, there doesn’t need to be huge demand, but there has to be some demand. Look for an area where there isn’t a ton of competition yet there is significant interest. Additionally, choose an area that you can keep writing about for a long time, one that will make it easy to keep content flowing.
Stick to Your Niche
There’s no value in saying your blog is focused while also writing about things outside of your area of expertise. After you’ve defined your niche, let that decision inform all your other ones, from the design of your site to the plugins you choose to all the content you write. In other words, once you’ve settled on a niche, stick with it.
Look for holes and gaps in your niche online—what could you talk about that no one else is? Likewise, how could your style set you apart? Do all the other blogs in your niche look a certain way or write in a certain tone, and, if so, could doing something different help you gain attention?
Even when you’re not up against millions of similar blogs writing about the same subject areas, you still need to provide useful content. Make your blog the kind that answers readers’ questions and provides actual help, and you’re on the path to blogging success.
What do you think? Could blogging in a niche be the key to helping you become a big fish in the blogging pond? What other strategies have you seen to be important for results?
I’m also available for blog startup, content writing and consultation services.
Visit my other blog, Highly Favored for Christian inspiration and church newsletter tips.
Become a Better Blogger
Amazon is hiring some new team members to improve and enhance the Amazon Prime membership package.
Currently, an $80-per-year membership gets you free, fast shipping and some media freebies. But if you’re not a die-hard online shopper or streaming media junkie, $80 annually can seem like a lot.
The new employees will be charged with “Prime Expansion” and dreaming up new benefits for Amazon Prime members, as well as marketing the service and pushing it into new geographical regions.
A full listing of Prime-related job listings at Amazon reveals the company is working on “awesome new business opportunities” for digital subscriptions, launching Prime services in Italy and Spain, working with major studios to improve the site’s Instant Video offerings, and creating new designs to get more members onboard.
As we read in a few of these job descriptions:
“We are going through a period of dramatic evolution, working on new benefits and pairing Prime with some of our top strategic marketing initiatives including Amazon Student and Amazon Mom…
The Prime Expansion team is aggressively driving innovations and architectural designs that will allow the program to be easily expanded to allow Prime customers to enjoy benefits on a growing list of Amazon locales and beyond. Our core team mission is to enable the right Prime programs in new places (on and off Amazon) by designing flexible software architectures that will allow for a rapid expansion of the Prime program everywhere!
The Amazon Prime Expansion team is a great place to grow your career. Our roadmap is bursting with opportunity for engineers to bring their best (and then some), solve intriguing challenges, and tangibly impact the customer experience on and off Amazon Come join our team where fun, smart, passionate engineers challenge and support one another in pursuit of goals that have a huge impact on our customers and the company.
Of course, it’s kind of a given that Amazon would want to improve its current offering of virtual products and services; that’s more or less par for the course. What’s interesting is the timing of this rapid acceleration of Prime offerings.
Prime first launched its instant video service as an incentive for new members back in February 2011. However, one year later, Amazon Prime membership was still much lower than anticipated. As Amazon continues to grow in all its other offerings — from its massive Kindle adoption to its cloud hosting services — Prime can’t be allowed to lag behind.
hat tip: All Things D
Image courtesy of Vladimir Gerasimov, Shutterstock
Filed under: VentureBeat
There’s more money from big-name investors for big data. ClearStory Data, a newly launched startup focused on bringing big data technology to the masses, has raised an undisclosed amount of seed funding from Google Ventures, Andreessen Horowitz, Khosla Ventures and a number of individual investors, which include Andy Rachleff, founder of Benchmark Capital and CEO at Wealthfront; Anand Rajaraman and Venky Harinarayan, Senior Vice Presidents at Walmart Global e-Commerce and co-founders of Junglee and Kosmix; Tim Howes, co-founder of Rockmelt and ex-CTO Netscape, and Nitin Donde, former executive at EMC, 3Par and Aster Data.
ClearStory Data wants to make it easy to gather and explore diverse, dispersed sets of data from corporate data sources, Hadoop and the Web to help business users to gain insights and discover new business opportunities. ClearStory analyzes data from a number of sources, both public and private, to uncover new trends and patterns. The result of this could be the discovery of new business opportunities and deeper consumer intelligence.
The startup’s offering, which has not been released yet, will connect to data stored in databases as well as the web and other sources, and adds a visual discovery component to make it easy for users to parse through this data and make sense of the information. The beauty of ClearStory is that it allows businesses to analyze internal and publicly available data at the same time and make this data easy for the masses to understand.
The company was co-founded by Aster Data (acquired by Teradata) alums John Cieslewicz and Vaibhav Nivargi. Fellow founder and CEO Sharmila Mulligan worked previously at Netscape, Kiva Software, Opsware (acquired by HP) and Aster Data.
She explains in a release: “ClearStory Data is ushering in the era of ‘self-driven big data exploration’ by making it easier for the masses and not just data scientists and quants to connect, explore and glean intuitive insights from data derived from multiple sources.”
There’s no doubt that big data is drawing major attention from investors and the enterprise. If ClearStory can hold true on its promise to be able to parse and make big data understandable to companies, it could have a bright future. Clearly, big-name investors seem to think so.
Ten years ago, I worked with TechCrunch co-founder Keith Teare on a real-time video conferencing startup called Santa Cruz Networks. Like all the other real-time video startups back then, Santa Cruz Networks failed because the market wasn’t ready for live online video communications. But ten years is equivalent to several centuries in web history, and today, real-time video communications is not only becoming increasingly ubiquitous, but might also be offering startup entrepreneurs tremendous new business opportunities.
One entrepreneur that Keith and I worked with back in 2001 was the longtime Silicon Valley-based entrepreneur Bernard Moon. And the impressively persistent Moon is back now with another stab at the lucrative real-time video market. His new company, Vidquik - a self-funded ($500,000), six-person startup that plans to go live sometime in Q2 – offers a web conferencing and sales solution platform for online businesses. It’s a way for people to better engage with their clients, Moon explained to me when he came into our San Francisco studio, before adding that 80% of people now prefer video to textual online interaction.
So is Moon right – are video solutions like Vidquik about to become the new norm for online customer service?
Things are going smoothly for Tesla. Their big Model X debut was a success, their cars are pre-ordered to capacity, and new business opportunities are presenting themselves. They’re still posting a net loss, of course, but that was expected and will continue for another year or so.
Here are the most salient points from their latest earnings statement, released today:
- Total Q4 revenues: $39M (up 9% YOY)
- Total 2011 revenues: $204M (up 75% vs. 2010)
- Expected revenues for 2012: $550M-$600M (mostly in late 2012)
- Operating expenses: $89M (GAAP)
- Capital expenditures: $54M (mostly building production infrastructure)
- Net Q4 losses: $81M (GAAP) or $0.78 per share on ~104M shares
- Net 2011 losses: $264M (GAAP) or $2.53 per share
- Beta Model S vehicles are being built at the nearly complete factory – 30 out of 50
- Model S betas successfully do 0-60MPH in 4.5s
- 8000 total reservations for Model S
- Model X debut caused 500 reservations, with $5000 commitment each
- Model X to ship in late 2013 at around 10,000-15,000 units per year
- New deal with Daimler to develop a new Mercedes all-electric powertrain
- There are more Tesla battery packs at Daimler and Toyota than there are Roadsters
Everything seems to be going according to plan. 2012 should see the Model S hit the streets (in July) and Tesla-developed batteries and powertrains ship in partners’ vehicles. With luck we’ll have a chance to review the car and its interesting new dash system at that time.
The full earnings report and shareholder letter can be found at Tesla’s investor relations site.
Does size matter? Get your mind out of the gutter.
As one of my main roles at Twist Image, I act as the frontline (along with a great team of people) of assessing new business opportunities. While some agencies may have their opportunity filter down to a science, I’d happily contend that our process has little bit more art sprinkled into it. With that comes a reality: we have two offices, about one hundred plus people and as one of the four owners of this business, the responsibility to keep the lights on and those families fed looms large on my mind. Does this mean that we take work for the money? Yes. This is a business and a large function of it is about making money and it is (sometimes) easy to fall into the trap of doing something because the money is good, but the money is not what the work is about.
The work is about the work.
There is no major innovation here, but I believe that people who are doing the work that they were meant to do not only get paid the money that they deserve to be paid, but that the clients (or the benefactors of the work) are happy to pay these fees because they are getting value out of it. Is it a perfect world? No. There are hiccups along the way. In most cases, the reason has to do with alignment. It could alignment around values, ideas, direction and more. We’re all sentient beings and we’re looking to work with those who are – ultimately – like-minded and committed to the brand… and the best work possible.
Are you a titan?
On the flight home from the National Retail Federation‘s Big Show (where I gave a keynote address for the Shop.org First Look Track), I was watching the CNBC Titans special on Leo Burnett (if you have not had the opportunity to see this documentary on the legendary ad man, I highly recommend it). The story of Burnett’s ascent in the advertising world is one for the books. How he managed to build his empire from a small Chicago hotel suite to a multi-billion dollar global advertising engine will take your breath away. As an agency owner, I was more attracted to the moments when the agency stumbled. Was Leo Burnett better as a smaller shop, medium-sized agency or a global entity?
There are pluses and minuses.
Growth for growth’s sake is never a good thing. Sudden growth because of a major new client acquisition can be challenging to scale as well. There are countless potholes on the road to growth and a simple pebble on the side of the road can be as distracting as the transition from a residential road on to the freeway. That being said, I think it’s going to be increasingly difficult for the very small shops to grab the bigger brands (and keep them). Now, before you go jumping all over the comments and telling me that your small boutique firm works with some of the largest brands in the world, let me be clear that I am talking about full-service (or fairly close to it). I have no doubt that some of the smaller, boutique specialty shops who work in a very specific niche can do great, global work.
The size of the boat.
It’s a two way street. Brands have to know their limitations and their expectations. When a small start-up tries to engage with a middle-to-large sized agency, it probably won’t be a great fit. Box within your weight class. Find a shop that is (somewhat) similar in size that can be both nimble and rugged. Bigger brands who engage with the smaller, boutique shops usually get great results, but as the business grows and the brand requires more attention, it can be extremely challenging for the agency to keep the client happy (both in terms of work and brining on the right people quick enough).
So, what’s the lesson?
Size matters because size is a function and part of finding the right fit. Should brands take chances on the new, smaller agencies? Of course they should (and brands did that when Leo Burnett wasn’t the Leo Burnett we all know and respect), but as the world gets more complex and more fragmented (in terms of media and marketing options), we’re going to see things change. Traditional agencies are already bulking up on their digital capabilities and the digital marketing agencies that have scaled will probably be pulling some of the more traditional folks over to their side to bulk up as well. My guess is that brands are going to be looking for both creative innovation and the scale to get the work done.
What’s your guess?
Cliff explains why businesses need to consider getting into podcasting and the opportunities podcasting offers. He tells you how to share your expertise on podcasts to bring in more business.
Be sure to check out the takeaways below after you watch the video.
Here are some of the things you’ll learn in this video:
- What podcasting is and how businesses use podcasts
- Where people listen to podcasts
- How podcasting can open new business opportunities
- How podcasting has changed and what this means for your audience
- How to start audio podcasting
- What businesses should expect to spend to start podcasting
- The basic outline and format for your podcast
- Tips to get people to listen to your podcast
Do you have a podcast? What tips do you have to share about podcasting? Please leave them below.