I'm a huge fan of Quantcast. I've blogged before that it may be the best free tool for online marketers. And now it's even better. Two weeks someone showed me that whenever you are looking at a web site, to see how much traffic it has, that there are two arrows that PREVIOUS and NEXT, so if you are looking at the 100th most popular web site, you can click on NEXT and see the 101st most popular.
Every Friday an energetic group of internet entrepreneurs and marketers meets at the Provo Labs Academy at 12:30 for a 60-90 minute run down of the hottest online business news of the week. Some weeks we are blown away by the exciting announcements and new launches of venture-backed startup companies or the mind-blowing techtonic plate-shifting announcements that come from the major players in the industry, including Google, Microsoft, Yahoo, eBay, Amazon, AOL and IAC.
Yesterday I met with about a dozen entrepreneurs who came to the Provo Labs Academy to learn about the 12-Week Crash Course in Internet Marketing that starts next Thursday, March 15th at 5 pm. An email will be going out to about 1,000 Utah entrepreneurs early next week, as well as a few additional marketing efforts. We have room for at least 10 more people to sign up for the class, but space is limited, so sign up today at www.provolabs.com/academy/
World Vital Records recently added new hardware to triple our searching capacity and almost 10 times our storage capacity for images. This allows us to collect family trees and historical photos as well as post newspaper images much faster. Our images server now has over 7 terabytes of storage. All of our searching is done using 64 bit operating systems on quad processor boxes with 8 gig of ram.
In December a panel of internet entrepreneurs shared their stories and their keys to success with my BYU marketing and Provo Labs Academy students. One young woman told how she had teamed up a few years ago with her brother to start an ecommerce site, selling a very unusual niche product. They did almost $1 million in revenue last year. One student asked her how long it took for her sales to take off initially. Her answer surprised me: she worked for an entire week before she had her first sale.
Some people are born with great names and others have great names thrust upon them. In the 1960s when I was given the name "Paul Allen" it was an ordinary name. But thanks to the dynamic duo of Microsoft's Bill Gates and Paul Allen, the name is now famous. But what do you do if you want to be found online, but you can't possibly stand out like the rich and famous person with the same name? Or what do you do if you have a name like "John Smith" that is so common that it can't possibly stand out?
Our top priority at World Vital Records is understanding our customers needs. A VC friend told me recently that if you choose a market and understand your customers' needs better than anyone else, and meet those needs, that you will be successful.
FundingUniverse.com now has about 1,000 angel investors in virtually every state. The company, which I helped found in early 2005, is holding its 5th speedpitching event today in Sandy, Utah. It has held events in 6 or more states and has plans to continue to expand. I've attended several of these events representing the small fund we have at Provo Labs, as a potential investor. The coaching and practice sessions have been extremely helpful. Imagine trying to get your entire business plan onto a 1-page summary that will be distributed. And then imagine being forced to tell your story in 4 minutes. That's what all the entrepreneurs learn how to do. After the 4 minute pitch, the investors get 3 minutes for Q&A. Then you go to the next table and give your pitch again. You do this 5 times before lunch, and then 5 times after lunch.
My friend Spencer Rogers came to the Provo Labs Academy last Wednesday and gave the finest presentation I have ever seen on how to outline your website using Word and then build a user flow version of it (without any look and feel elements) in Powerpoint before spending a dollar on designing and developing the site.