A month or so ago I held a difficult meeting with all the employees at Provo Labs. I started the meeting by admitting that I had made some mistakes in the past six months. Specifically, our burn rate got too high as we hired too many people, particularly developers. Our sales and marketing investments weren't sufficient enough to cover our overhead. And more importantly, we weren't creating dedicated teams for each new company idea, and giving the team members equity and letting them take risks along with the investor (Provo Labs), risks such as lower-than market salary. Instead, we were paying full salaries, and not giving options out, and shifting people from project to project. We should always be in bootstrap mode and we should not try to do so many things at once.
TOPIC 1. Marty Fahncke, an outstanding direct-response marketer, finally convinced me to join with him as he launches www.learnfrompaulallen.com. I guess he really couldn't have done it without me. Our first conference call, where I will answer questions from listeners about internet marketing and other entrepreneurial topics, will be held on Thursday, September 7th at 1 pm MST. This is a free conference call, so register now for one of the limited spaces.
While I was on vacation last week, I caught a USA Today article (I love USA Today) entitled "Using Blogs for Buzz" by Kim Hart. You can find her original article about getting bloggers to write about your product on the Washington Post web site.
When Nokia Corp. released its camera smartphone last fall, the marketing campaign cut back on news releases and flashy ads. Instead, the company sent sample products to 50 tech-savvy amateur bloggers with a passion for mobile phones.
One of the fastest ways to build a high-traffic revenue-generating content-based web site is to get permission from hundreds of bloggers to syndicate their blog. Most bloggers write for the love of it, more than for money. So companies that syndicate have a great opportunity to pick up a lot of traffic at no cost to them. I've been syndicated recently by a blog network called The Money Blogs, and they've asked me to link to them, so I am.
About a month ago I was reminded that many famous people in history are overlooked these days in our public discourse. The best ideas from the past are often ignored. Our modern culture doesn't integrate them into our media, and even some history textbooks devote more space to celebrities like Madonna than to important leaders like George Washington. Sex sells. History doesn't. So I decided that maybe hundreds or thousands of historic figures should become bloggers, or that someone should start blogging on their behalf, using their own words.
On Saturday I got a big spike in traffic to my blog (which I didn't post to all last week because I was on vacation), because I got two mentions in the Daily Blog Watch at TheStreet.com. He linked to my post about Provo Labs 11 investments and how we are using Craigslist, and he also linked to my post about Yahoo Finance containing errors.
A couple days ago I blogged about Omniture's (OMTR) market cap being half that of Web Side Story (WSSI). I based my blog post on Yahoo Finance. They put Omniture's market cap at $102.7 million today. Fortunately, two of my readers have commented that Yahoo Finance was wrong. The number of outstanding shares is not 14 million, but 40-50 million.
This past week I've listened to an excellent businessjive.com podcast featuring famous blogger Robert Scoble, who just left Microsoft to join podtech.net. Judd Bagley did a great interview. You learn how Robert's background in journalism has positioned him to be a major player in the blogging and podcasting movements and how his father's relocating to Silicon Valley gave him phenomenal opportunities, even while he was in junior high or high school.
Carolynn Duncan used an ingenious approach to convince me and Phil that she was the right person for our latest position at Provo Labs. After finding out about the opening from her friend Adam (who works at our online video company 10Speed Media), she started a blog called "Why Provo Labs Wants to Hire Carolyn Duncan" at blogspot.
The New York Times reports that Senator Clinton's campaign has hired an experienced political blogger. The 2008 Presidential Election is going to heat up the blogosphere in the next two years. But I'm really afraid most of the candidates won't actually do it right. I'm afraid they'll try to use the web as a top-down communication tool, and not a giant listening device and organizing device that actually empowers citizens to be involved in government.