May 23, 2012
I assume that most of you who read my blog or subscribe to my newsletter are those who have something to say or sell, whether it’s your own or someone else’s. We’re all trying to be seen or heard and that’s increasingly complicated in a noisy world.
Wouldn’t you agree?
The problem is that to be successful in the market today, you must possess two strategic assets: a compelling product and a meaningful platform.
Platform is key.
Most of us know it and it’s why we spend time networking, developing social media, writing emails and blogs, speaking, trying to connect with potential customers, etc.
But here’s the issue, simply being on Facebook or Twitter, simply writing a book or newsletter, simply opening the doors of your business… doesn’t matter (unless others know about you and follow).
That’s why I am excited about a new book from my good friend Michael Hyatt, one of the top bloggers in the world and Chairman of Thomas Nelson Publishers. It’s called Platform: Get Noticed in a Noisy World. It’s a step-by-step guide to help you navigate the waters so that you can do what works in order to be seen and heard.
Special: To celebrate the launch of the book this week, Michael is giving away $375.98 worth of free Platform bonus content for those who purchase the book between May 21 and May 25. Complete details are available at http://michaelhyatt.com/platform
As I was chatting with Mike he mentioned something that really stood out to me about building a platform. He said…
“Accept Personal Responsibility - If you’re thinking of hiring a babysitter for your platform, think again. It is critical that you be 100% committed and the driving force behind its creation and growth. Think about it. Does anyone know your mission, product or service better than you do? Is anyone more passionate about it than you are? Does anyone have as much skin in the game as you do? Expertise, passion, and, frankly, the fate of your career will drive you to create something greater than anything a hired-out marketing team could imagine.”
Basically he’s saying don’t phone it in and try to pass it off to someone else. If you want to be heard, you have to speak up and be the driver.
In my years of being an author and speaker I have found that to be very true. Yes, you need to hire a great team and utilize great resources but don’t expect someone else to do all of the work that you too must be active in doing.
If it’s important, you’ll find a way. If it’s not, you’ll find an excuse.
I have two three copies of the book to give away - all you have to do is hit the retweet button and make a comment to this post.
May 10, 2012
Last week, I attended the startup conference in Mountain View, CA.
It was the center of the startup universe. There was even Startup Village, a trade show meets speed dating center, where CEOs or techies pitched their ideas and prototypes. At the end of the row was the Draper Fisher Jurvetson booth, with Tim Draper taking pitches. Seriously.
During the general session, Draper talked for 20 minutes about his experiences as a venture capitalst and angel investor. The burning question for him was this: "What does it take for DFJ to green light an investment in my startup? Revenue? Uniqueness? User engagement?" He pointed out that winning startups worth investing in must possess three qualities:
1. It Is Revolutionary - Your idea will change an industry, and kick a dent in the universe. He liked Skype for how it transformed telco and loved Facebook early on because of how it would redefine neighborhood. So, if you have an "improve" value proposition, that will not get his socks rolling up and down.
2. It Solves A Big Problem - He points out that the greatest products are solutions to problems the founder(s) personally experienced. Your startup must address a big problem, because it's the problem and not the existing players that define a potential market. (Now stop and think about that for a while...). Tesla, he pointed out, raised a boatload of money because they went after one of the biggest problems in the world, energy shortages.
HINT: If you want to go shopping for big problems, he pointed out, tune into the burning political issues. They are usually the problems we care about, especially during an election year.
3. There Are Healthy Zeros On The Balance Sheet - He talked about one of his most famous investments: Hotmail. They have a healthy zero on their marketing column, because they used their product as marketing. Remember, the hotmail email footer viral marketing phenom, where all the early users advertised "Get your free email at hotmail"? He also liked how Amazon, early on, had zero dollars in inventory logistics costs...because their customers and partners carried all the freight.
All of these cost-avoiding business model features are indicative of something truly revolutionary, he said in conclusion...bringing us full circle to his original point. Big ideas kick a dent in an industry.
Does yours? You can email him at [email protected] (PS - don't tell him I sent you, unless you are going to make him a great deal of money.)
As an encore, he agreed to sing a song acapella for us: The Risk Master. I shot this jerky video, just to share here with you!
May 07, 2012
The company is called Net Minds, and we are a networking service that partners authors with all the talents they need to produce great books that are effectively promoted. We believe the future of publishing is in groups, think joint ventures.
Currently, if you have an idea for a book, you either go the traditional route (sell the book to a corporate publisher) or self-publishing. The former is harder than ever to achieve and the latter is ... the wild wild west. We are in the middle: offering quality partners for quality ideas.
Right now, to use Lean Startup speak, we are in "Minimum Viable Product" mode, producing books the net minds way using concierge services. We've signed a handful of authors and built teams around them, mostly by dividing up the book's equity/royalties. Such books include Nerve Breakers by uber-musician Mark Schulman and Finding The Next Steve Jobs by Atari founder Nolan Bushnell.
Between now and our public launch, we are focused on acquiring high-platform projects like the above and stocking our database with editors, designers, marketers and publicists that would like to work on Net Minds projects. If you know of any, please send them to our Partner Signup Page or share this blog post via Twitter or Facebook (below).
It's the first startup I've believed in enough to be a founder of, and I am very excited about the quality of our team and the dent we are going to kick in the publishing business. Over the next few months, you'll see more blog posts about the Net Minds journey, covering new topics like Publishing or Startups.