Follow Along

  • (Cary Betagole writes in to tell us more about early lessons learned building a startup with partner Jonathan Kriner)

    I would compare our decision to build a product before thoroughly defining its scope to an attempt at walking through your own living room with the lights off.

    The shag carpet between your toes means you’re in the right room. You won’t run into the sofa or the armchair—they’re always in the same place. But the ottoman usually hovers near the middle of the room. It just floats there for anyone on the sofa to move and prop their feet. Today it’s abnormally close to the edge of the carpet, and you just stubbed your toe on the way by. Or worse yet, your teammate moved in two more ottomans overnight and you just tripped and knocked over the lava lamp. That’s going to be a hell of a cleanup.

    To nail all proverbial ottomans to the ground, we’re mapping out process flow charts, informed by a pattern library and business rules. If multiple members of your team are calling the same feature by a different name—nail down that ottoman. If you’re using a freemium business model, and multiple mock-ups display conflicting user limitations—nail down a decision. Set your scope in stone. Consistency is key, especially if – like us – you’re contracting out a demo.

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  • (Cary Betagole wrote in to tell us about early lessons learned building a startup with partner Jonathan Kriner)

    My business partner Jonathan Kriner and I are newly minted startup entrepreneurs. We first embarked on our startup journey with a polished business plan in hand and fantasies of angel investments during the idea stage. Unsurprisingly, this way of thinking has been deemed unrealistic by established entrepreneurs, intellectual property lawyers, chief technology officers and accountants. So in the past few months, we’ve leaned down our approach, taken incremental steps toward making our idea a physical reality, and in the meantime, discovered ways to begin learning about our user’s needs right away.

    First off, the notion that we would receive funding in the idea stage was not only unfeasible, but not in our best interest. Investors are more interested in putting their money behind a team they believe in than an ‘idea.’ The life of a startup presents endless chances to ‘pivot or persevere’, so while the idea is ever changing, the founding team is one of the few constants.

    The question has become: how can we conjure up some sort of demo or physical representation of the idea, begin testing it on a user community, and demonstrate to investors that there’s value?

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  • 123Linkit logoThe blogger’s best tool for affiliate marketing, 123Linkit, has just announced its acquisition by Netline, a B2B content syndication network. 123Linkit will be integrated into Netline’s suite of offerings.  Yasmine, 123Linkit’s founder, will help with the integration and join the team at Netline full-time.  123Linkit is providing additional revenue to tens of thousands of blogs and is the realization of Yasmine’s own desire to make affiliate marketing simpler and more scalable for bloggers of all types and sizes. This has definitely been a story of hard work and dedication to a vision that we are pleased to see come to fruition.

    Yasmine at 123Linkit writes:

    We have been working hard to help bloggers make money from what they are already doing since early 2010. We believe by seamlessly transforming product and brand keywords into money-making opportunities, we enable bloggers to effortlessly build passive income from their published content.

    After integrating our software with tens of thousands of blogs, we believe now is the best time to expand our efforts with another team that shares our vision of enhancing the online advertising process. We’re excited to announce that we have been acquired by Netline and will be joining their RevResponse team to continue creating an enriching and unobtrusive advertising experience on the web.

    What does this mean for you? Continue using our product as you normally would. Stay tuned for more improvements to your blogging monetization experience. For feedback or suggestions on how we can progress, do not hesitate to reach out to us at any time using our GetSatisfaction page. You can also email us your questions atyasmine[at]123linkit[dot]com.

    About RevResponse: RevResponse is a B2B ad network that enables publishers to generate revenue with free business resources such as trade magazine subscriptions, whitepapers, eBooks and software trials.

    Happy blogging,

    Yasmine Mustafa
    Founder & CEO

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  • (Recently Philly native Evan Britton wrote in to tell us what he’s been up to with his newest venture.)

    ResourceWebs is a Santa Monica based internet company. It boasts a network of 17 targeted educational resources for users to enjoy. The traffic hitting the company’s network of websites has risen to an impressive level of 3 million unique visitors per month.

    ResourceWebs was founded by Philly native, Evan Britton. Evan grew up in the Lafayette Hill area and he attended Plymouth Whitemarsh high school. Evan has been working within the web since the late 90′s and he founded ResourceWebs to grant internet users access to free and simple educational resources.

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  • In a startup, everyone has to sell something or the company dies! How do you sell if you are not a sales person? The answer, for the non-sales folks is as simple as selling their expertise to drive improvements, cost savings and efficiencies. Everyone has an opinion and they share that opinion however, are they doing that constructively or are they wasting their time? Here’s how to encourage and foster an environment where everyone sells. If you are interested in shifting the norm and turning your non-sales folks into sales junkies, who look for every opportunity to tell you how to make improvements, save money and thrive, then read on…

    It’s your responsibility as a leader to hire the staff, set the standards and grow the business however; it’s easy to let people fall into their roles and out of the sell-to-survive mentality. This will help you reset the paradigm and turn everyone into entrepreneurs selling their ideas to you – everyone wins because they will find things you missed! Remember, you don’t know everything and the best leaders find innovative ways to get their teams to enthusiastically embrace improvement!

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  • (This guest post was written by Jennifer A. Klear, Esq., media and technology law attorney)

    Great article in the WSJ today about problems start-ups face in selecting names. It discusses the potential for trademark infringement and how some companies have already lost thousands of dollars in disputes over the company name. Here’s a link…

    While the article discusses potential risks in choosing a company name it does not discuss how to avoid them. One easy way to avoid possible trademark infringement is by doing a search on the Internet for the name you propose using. If there is already a well-established company with that name, chances are it’s not worth using. On the other hand, if the company is not in your same geographic territory and provides a service or product far different from yours, it is worth exploring further. At this juncture, you may want to perform a trademark search on the US Patent and Trademark Office’s website and/or consider contacting a lawyer. A lawyer can help perform a deeper search of the potential trademark and assist you with trademark registration should you encounter any opposition, which may likely occur.

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  • Nimblelight builds dynamic web presences for businesses, non-profits, and artists. Their work includes web design and development, web consulting, web application development, paid search and search engine optimization, site analytics and user response optimization, social networking and relationship marketing, and online reputation management.

    Nimblelight was founded in 2007 and has already established successful web presences for clients as distinguished as CarSense, Postgreen Homes, Auto Lenders, the City of Philadelphia, The Delaware Children’s Museum, and the seaside vacation town of Mystic, Connecticut.

    Start Philly caught up with Nimblelight’s Brian Melton (Partner), who graciously answered our probing questions so that you, our treasured readers, would be thoroughly enlightened and informed about Philly’s companies on the rise.

    Read on to get the inside scoop on the joys and pains of starting up, how failure can be valuable, and Brian Melton’s secret code name…

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