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How to Make Your Startup Go Viral The Pinterest Way

How to Make Your Startup Go Viral The Pinterest Way
On Thanksgiving, Pinterest’s co-founder Ben Silbermann sent an email to his entire user base saying thanks. It was fitting, as Pinterest was born two years ago on Thanksgiving day 2009. Ben had been working on a website with a few friends, and his girlfriend came up with the name while they were watching TV. Pinterest officially launched to the world 4 months later. Some startups go crazy with hype and users right after launch. Take a look at Pinterest’s one-year traffic on Compete from Oct 2010 to Oct 2011, which is the picture in this post, and shows Pinterest rising from 40,000 to 3.2 million monthly unique visitors. Backing out of Compete’s numbers, we see Pinterest grew about 50% month over month from a base of zero since its inception (on average, smoothing the curve). Note these numbers are approximations and also do not count the significant traffic the service sees from mobile (Pinterest’s app currently takes the #6 social spot in the iTunes store). Related:  Growing

The Power of Lists and Collected Resources for Social Media Marketing inShare38 To avoid being ignored, follow these tips on what you can do to tap into the social media power of lists and collections. If you've ever been included on a popular list of credible resources online, it feels pretty good, doesn't it? Imagine finding a list of resources for a topic in which you absolutely dominate and yet neither you nor your company is to be found. Lists by nature exclude, so rather than complaining about why you should have been included, either focus on continuing to dominate the category or make an even better list. Plenty of business websites and blogs are making lists this time of year, reflecting on the past 12 months as well as predicting what 2012 has in store. Like them or not, credible, sorted lists and collections of resources are powerful content and social media marketing tools. Resource Collections Think of much needed resources in your industry. What exists in your industry that's highly valued but not easy to find in one place? People Lists

Growth - Brian K Balfour · Traction vs Growth Traction The traction phrase is where more startups are. GoalThe one and only goal should be to find product-market fit among some audience segment. Part of this is understanding how large that audience segment is to make sure you can build a compelling business. MetricPlain and simple your eye should be on retention. VolumeThe primary goal is to just turn on the faucet and get a steady/consistent stream of users coming in the front door. In addition, your CPA will likely be greater than LTV. ChannelsTry a few to find that steady stream, but once you find one that provides that stream focus in. OptimizationFocus on large macro optimizations. TeamYou should have one person leading growth (probably a founder) who is thinking about it 80%+ of their time. Transition The transition phase is like the awkward teenage years. GoalThe primary goal in the traction phase is to identify, define, and understand the growth levers for your business. VolumeNow is the time to start turning up the faucet.

Groupon Vs. Zynga: Which Company Will Be More Valuable Post-IPO? ‘Tis the season of the IPO. So far, 2011 has seen companies like LinkedIn, Pandora, Yandex, Zillow, and RenRen come to market. As you’ve heard, Groupon and Zynga are next up in the IPO pipeline, with both companies arriving on public markets within weeks of each other. Groupon, barring some catastrophic event, will begin trading publicly on NASDAQ November 4th, with shares set at $20 a pop at a valuation of $12.7 billion. Zynga, too, is expected to trade on NASDAQ beginning the week before Thanksgiving, and according to its revised S-1 filing with the SEC, a “third party” has valued the company at approximately $14 billion. In the same ballpark as Groupon. So, the question becomes this: Notwithstanding their potential overvaluations at the time they go public, which of the two companies stands to be the most successful and the most valuable in the long run, post-IPO? The Big Picture (i.e. Of course, everything sounds picture perfect if you put a full stop there. Who Has The Tech?

30 Social Media Predictions for 2012 From the Pros How will social media impact businesses in 2012? We sought expert opinions from a wide range of pros you’re likely familiar with. We are grateful for the dozens of social media professionals who have written over 600 articles for us since we started Social Media Examiner in October 2009. To give you a glimpse of what we can expect in the next 12 months, we decided to tap their knowledge and expertise. Here are their predictions of where social media is headed in the next 12 months. #1: Businesses consolidate social media activities Michael Stelzner @mike_stelzner As the social media landscape becomes more crowded in 2012, businesses will pick their battles and dig in. The old mantra of “be everywhere” will quickly be replaced with “be where it matters to our business.” The major four players have all gone through massive changes in preparation for the battle for users. Have you picked your battle? Michael Stelzner, founder and CEO of Social Media Examiner. Jay Baer @JayBaer Now is the time.

There's only a few ways to scale user growth, and here's the list Scaling growth is hard – there’s only a few ways to do itWhen you study the most successful mobile/web products, you start to see a pattern on how they grow. Turns out, there’s not too many ways to reach 100s of millions of users or revenue. Instead, products mostly have one or two major growth channels, which they optimize into perfection. These methods are commonplace and predictable. Here are the major channels that successful products use to drive traction – think of them as the moonshots. Paid acquisition. These channels work and scale, because of two reasons: They’re feedback loops. It might seem like it’s best to crack one of these channels right away, and then ride then into glory. New products often only have months, or a year, to live, so these strategies are often not a real option. High-risk, high-reward Attacking one of these scalable channels is high risk but also high reward. This essay by Paul Graham gives us a clue, as he writes about Startups = Growth: Good luck. PS.

How to Write an Elevator Pitch If you're like most entrepreneurs, you think an "elevator pitch" is a one- to three-minute sales pitch that you could presumably give during a very long elevator ride. If that's what you think, I'm sorry: You've been completely misled. Let's start with the basic fact: Nobody listens to sales pitches. (Do you listen to them? I don't. To make matters worse, when most entrepreneurs give their "elevator pitch," they talk really, really fast so as to cram as much as information as possible into a short a time as possible. In professional sales, this is known as the "spray and pray" method. That being said, you're crazy if you don't have an elevator pitch, providing you realize that it's not a sales pitch, but a way to turn a casual conversation into a sales opportunity. What It Should Really Be The original idea behind the elevator pitch was to have something that you'd say to a potential customer whom you happen to meet by chance. 1. 2. 3. No need to get fancy. 4. It's that simple.

5 Best Practices for Digital Marketers in 2012 Jonathan Gardner is director of communications at ad company Vibrant Media. He has spent nearly two decades as an innovator at the nexus of media and technology, having worked in communications leadership roles and as a journalist around the world. The egg nog’s been drunk, the bells are done jingling, and the mistletoe has been taken down. It’s time to ring in the new year with resolutions that’ll make 2012 one to remember — online and off. All signs point to an exciting year, with the arrival of new (and inevitably covetable) Apple devices. Plus, eMarketer projects a 14.4% increase in U.S. online ad spending, and Google says that video ads improve offline campaign results. Even so, let’s resolve to keep our heads on straight and stick close to the best practices that have been winners in the past – they’ll be the ones to see us through a stellar 2012. 1. These days, we’re talking “word ownership” for online branding. 2. Relevance reigns in 2012. 3. 4. 5. Happy New Year!

What’s the Second Job of a Startup CEO?: CEO, Culture, Growth Stage Successful startups go through three broad phases as they scale, and a startup CEO’s job changes dramatically in each phase. A CEO’s first job is to build a product users love; the second job is to build a company to maximize the opportunity that the product has surfaced; and the third is to harvest the profits of the core business to invest in transformative new product ideas. This blog post describes how to become a great Phase 2 CEO by focusing on the highest leverage tasks that only the CEO can accomplish. Your First Creation is a Product, Your Second Creation is a Company A CEO’s first job is to build a great product and find a small group of people who love it and use it enthusiastically. Most startups fail because they are not able to create a product that users love enough to abandon existing alternatives. As a Phase 2 CEO, you need to transition from “Doer-in-Chief” to “Company-Builder-in-Chief.” Three Tasks That CEOs Can’t Delegate 1. 2. 3. Pixar provides a helpful example.

How a few simple push notifications helped data shrinking app Onavo go viral One of the great things about Onavo, the hot mobile app that compresses your iPhone’s data, is that most of its magic happens in the background. But while that makes Onavo a breeze to use, it also makes it easy for users to forget that they’re receiving the benefits of the app. The company’s solution: simple push notifications, powered by the mobile services company Urban Airship, that keep Onavo users in the loop with the app’s data saving progress. After implementing the push notifications, Onavo reported a 75 percent increase in awareness and 50 percent increase in overall satisfaction from its users, according to a case study released by Urban Airship today. “Being a utility app that runs seamlessly in the background can be a doubleedged sword: users can easily forget about your service,” said Onavo director of marketing Dvir Reznik in a statement. Onavo is based in Tel Aviv, Israel, and has raised a total of $13 million from Horizon Ventures and Motorola Mobility Ventures.

How Social Media is Affecting the Way We Speak and Write — Online Collaboration Do you speak “social?” There is a lot of writing out there about the effects of social media on business, marketing, branding and customer services. But what about how social media communications is impacting our written communications, or even our oral communications? Anyone remember when email was going to destroy letter writing, and even the art of writing altogether? Well, it did destroy letter writing, but did it really destroy the art of writing, or just change it? The Impact of “Social Speak” on the Written Word I’d argue that email, SMS and social media communications tools have made irreversible impacts on the way we write, but that is not to say we should write in that “social” manner. The social web has changed the written word in a couple of key ways: 1. 2. “Social” Spoken Here “Social” as “Anti-Social” In social settings or face-to-face interactions, there is a distressing attention deficit problem. How do you feel social media is affecting our oral and written communications?

The 7 Best Times to Start a Company Now that you know my belief that starting a company is your best hope of living the life you want, here's the next logical question: When should you get started? 1. You're young The best time to start a company is when you are young. Blogger Michael Arrington recalled a conversation with a venture capitalist last year that "entrepreneurs are like pro basketball players. I don't agree with the blanket statement, but I do agree that it's easier to pour your life into a company when you're young, creative, fresh, and fired up. When I graduated from Northwestern in 1996, my primary asset was time and passion. Starting a business killed two birds with one stone. I've never met an entrepreneur who said, "Wow, I wish I hadn't started so young." 2. Life is too short to sit behind a desk and be miserable. I've always believed that misery loves company for a reason. 3. There's nothing like a good ol' fashion layoff to turn you from a worker into an owner. 4. 5. 6. 7.

Infographic: When do people share on social media? By Kristin Piombino | Posted: October 21, 2011 Who shares your link after you post it to Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn or Tumblr? How long is its shelf life? When will people—both inside your network and out—click on it? AddThis, a social bookmarking service, answered these tough questions and more in an infographic using data it accumulated over the past five years. Here are some of the highlights. The peak sharing time is 9:30 a.m. Get the rest of your answers about online sharing: Kristin Piombino is an editorial assistant for, where this story first appeared. 7 Undeniable Truths of Employee Pay Your employees are your business, so ignore the following truths at your peril: 1. Policy, schmolicy: Employees talk. Many companies actively discourage staff from talking to each other about their salaries. I even know companies that require employees to sign agreements stipulating they won’t disclose pay, benefits, etc. to other employees. Doesn’t matter. Never assume raises, bonuses, starting salaries, perks—basically anything related to compensation—will stay confidential. 2. Employees think about pay all the time. Each week spend a little time thinking about ways you can improve employee pay and benefits. 3. Then the employment honeymoon wears off and the employee feels you took advantage. Never take advantage of a naïve or desperate employee. Plus it’s just wrong. 4. Pay scales—and pay practices—are important to you, but they’re largely irrelevant to an employee who, often with good reason, views them as arbitrary rules you came up with one day. 5. 6. We all want more. 7.