From time to time I’ll be discussing startup companies who’s business ideas strike me as interesting.
The latest to peak my interest is syncPEOPLE. You can read an announcement about their launch and a background of their idea here at SocialTwister.com.
Basically, they have a tool that builds a web-based community based on an event. That event could be a trade show, organizational meeting, or a meeting of a local club. The purpose of the community is to support the event, and provide a place for the networking before and after the actual event to occur.
As many of us who have gone to tradeshows know, often more value is achieved from networking and social events than from the actual tradeshow.
Thanks to Pete at Whizspark for the pointer.
Evan Williams of Odeo gives out his Ten Rules for Web Startups.
It’s a very wise list, and it seems like a lot of startups I’m seeing right now are doing a pretty good job of following the list. Imagine, people might actually be smarter after dot-com bubble experiences! I think #1, #8, and #9 on his list are the most important in my eyes.
Williams is a good guy to listen to, he was one of the founders of Pyra which made Blogger and was acquired by Google. Now he has a good thing going with Odeo.
TechCrunch analyzes Root.net in a recent post.
Root.net is a very interesting idea. For a year or so now I’ve been thinking about how lead generation on the web is not efficient enough. Working on Yield Manager for Right Media has shown me what kind of benefits can be had when a marketplace has an efficient platform.
Currently, a lot of advertisers pay publishers on a CPL (cost per lead) basis. As a publisher though, are you getting the maximum payment possible for that lead? As an advertiser, are you paying too much for that lead? Could you get cheaper leads elsewhere?
Basically the market has a lot of direct relationships which are inefficient.
Throw a marketplace in the middle, and the true monetary values of those leads will become apparent. Advertisers will have to compete for leads I assume, meaning it could benefit publishers. Yet, it also benefits advertisers to have a place to find more leads from multiple publishers.
I wish Root.net luck, as I think it is a concept that will take some work, but there are some very talented people involved in the company, so they probably have a great chance at succeeding.
This is funny.
This speaks to a broader issue though. When tongue-in-cheek lists such as this are created, it’s a sign that something is becoming cliche’, overdone, or is no longer original.
There are a ton of startups using “Web 2.0 technogies” to make sites that generally are aimed at the same sophisticated web audience.
To be fair, some of them are using these technologies and ideas and targeting different audiences, but if you’re a startup at this point, it’s no longer enough to just be using AJAX, tags, and RSS feeds.
What does it take now for a startup to stand out? To build an audience? There is a glut of “cool” sites to use now to manage your online life with tags and feeds, so what does a site need to keep our attention and become a success?
Thanks to Scobelizer for the link.
There’s been buzz about Newsvine, a startup news site being started by four former Disney/ESPN employees.
CEO Mike Davidson unveils what Newsvine is all about.
It sounds like a very promising concept. It takes the bookmarking/tagging of del.icio.us for news articles, then allows people to add comments to the news stories like on a blog, while also allowing people to chat on the page. Very cool.
Oh, but it doesn’t stop there, when you tag articles and add content to Newsvine, it adds it to your own page where you can also basically blog and write your own column. You also share ad revenue on this page with Newsvine, making it a co-op along the lines of recent Seth Godin startup Squidoo.
I signed up for the private beta list and I’m anxious to try it out.
Union Square Ventures, a VC firm in New York, educates the public about business in this era opposed to just making money from it. Here’s a great post with a little tongue in cheek humor about 10 Steps for Web 2.0 startups.
With all the stuff I’m reading lately and all the businesses it’s starting to feel like a bubble. But yet it’s still so early, and there are so many possibilities.
I think the difference this time is that people are smarter and everything is cheap. These startups aren’t spending money, and it’s so much easier to develop web sites and platforms than it used to be. It will be fun to watch the things which emerge.
Fred Wilson’s recent post A VC: Evolution vs. Intelligent Design discusses the difference between a startup that is planned, versus a startup that evolves. He hints but doesn’t directly say that a lot of the new startups are succeeding due to the fact that they are evolving instead of planning some huge business from the start.
But why? Here are my reasons:
1. Evolution means they’re starting small and not spending a ton of money.
2. The space moves too fast for plans made in advance to work out.
3. The more “cooks in the kitchen” the more problems and less coherent a business can become.
4. The users determine where the business should go. del.icio.us users help determine what should be developed. The service didn’t launch with 1000 features, they just add what’s being requested, which keeps it simple but increases it’s utility with features people ACTUALLY want.
5. “Intelligent Design” planning just often isn’t as intelligent as we’d like to believe.