I\’m encouraging every Provo Labs portfolio company to set up a shareable Google spreadsheet to keep track of daily web statistics. One of the keys to success in an online company is to look at very simple web stats every day to find opportunities and problems. For example, someone needs to look every day at the top referrers to your web site and the top search terms that are bringing you visitors. Every domain that sends you traffic becomes an important part of your company\’s ecosystem. These partners need to be watched, tended, encouraged, and rewarded.
I\’ve been doing internet marketing so long that sometimes I forget about all the pre-internet marketing possibilities that exist to help companies grow. I started a Library Science Masters Degree at BYU before dropping out to run Infobases. I used to have dozens of extremely valuable reference books in the BYU library that helped me with direct marketing, public relations, and media planning/advertising. So I\’ve been digging in my 1990s knowledge base to see what sources I can draw from now to help promote a new product.
Congratulations to Infopia for closing on an $8 million funding round from Hummer Winblad and Trident Capital. Infopia is an ecommerce platform that helps customers get their products onto sites such as eBay, Amazon, Google, Overstock, Shopzilla and others. Bjorn Espenes and his partners have made some very powerful breakthroughs in e-commerce automation. This funding round is great to see.
Blake Snow, our resident blog expert, has analyzed the pros and cons of several different multi-user blog options. We are launching a blog network for each of our Provo Labs portfolio companies. We aren\’t necessarily trying to run a profitable stand-along blog network (although that has worked and will work for others) but we are trying to bake blogging into the DNA of all our companies.
Anyway, here is Blake\’s assessment along with a link to his personal blog, Smoothharold.com.
I thought this was coming. I see no reason why Google won\’t have a web version of all the Microsoft Office apps within the next year or so. We won\’t need a desktop OS or Office Suite when Google offers all the functionality we need online. (And for free!)
I remember writing my first business plan back in 1996. I bought some software that offered templates and spreadsheet models that I could use. I also hired a consultant to help me with the writing. I still have a copy of that original plan which I kept in a 3-ring binder.
I also have a copy of the Powerpoint presentation that we used to raise our first $1.3 million at Ancestry.com. During the bubble, you really didn\’t need a complete business plan. Just a good domain name and the right VC connections. Money was really flowing.
One of the things I love about running an incubator is that knowledge is worth more to us than it is in the hands of a single startup company.
Why? Because if we learn something or discover something of value, then we can apply it multiple times, not just once. If a new tool creates value, or if a new process cuts costs, it\’s great to be able to apply it to every business where it would increase revenue or margins.
In the past when I found a new idea, I could usually only apply it once.
I continually get questions from students and startups such as: Which
email solution provider should I use? What is the best affiliate
program to launch? What about payment processing? What is the best
low-cost or free web analytics software?
These are tough questions for anyone to answer because most of us, even
internet veterans, have tried only a handful of solutions in each
category (email, affiliate, analytics, payment processing, etc.) and
often have deep experience with only one.
And today there are literally hundreds of available solutions, from
My favorite open source developer says his favorite freeware/shareward download site is Snapfiles.com. They\’ve been around since 1997 and have a good ratings system for all the software they offer. What is your favorite software download site?
I have been using categories in Microsoft Office (2002 Version) for almost a year now. I have several hundred contacts marked as investors and entrepreneurs. I really need to add all of them to a new \”Distribution List\” so that I can easily email this list when I need to. (I\’ll of course use BCC: so that everyone doesn\’t get everyone elses contact info.)
But this is where I stumble. I can use \”Advanced Find\” to find all the investors and entrepreneurs, but then I don\’t know how to add these contacts to a new permanent distribution list all at once.