Showing posts from May, 2011

The Value of a Twitter Follower

by Puja Ramani and Sampada Telang

What we learned from applying the life time value analysis as well as engagement funnel analysis techniques for Twitter.

(Note: if the graphics below are difficult to read, you can download a PDF version of this post here).

Our goal was to estimate the value of a Twitter follower for various publishers on Twitter. ‘Publisher’ refers to any entity with a business objective on Twitter (examples: Amazon, TechCrunch, celebrities or even local businesses). Given that Twitter primarily earns its revenues by charging publishers (via promoted tweets) as opposed to individual profile owners, we will refer to Twitter’s publishers as its ‘customers’.

Our focus was applying the tool not to Twitter’s customers (i.e., publishers) directly, but to Twitter’s customers’ customers (i.e., publishers' followers) in an attempt to quantify how much value Twitter was creating for publishers. We studied a very small set of publishers, so these findings shouldn’t be taken a…

Prototyping: Just Get It Out There

by Stirling Cox

The idea of a product that would enable commuters in a given city to access information on the location of their buses, has been occupying my thoughts since the summer of last year. With a background in Banking and Consulting, what had been bashed into my head through various training programs and countless deals and projects is that you need to be 100% sure of your facts before opening your mouth. As such I was convinced that it was only through significant primary research and presentation that I would ever be able to prove the viability of my idea and start a business.

I spent much time during the end of the summer and fall term of EC year researching number of commuters, their habits, Smartphone proliferation, looking at different markets that product could be applied to, producing possible revenue models in Excel, preparing financial statements and fancy PowerPoint slides explaining the business. Years of “bad” entrepreneurial practice had me convinced that I neede…

Beware of the Word "Interesting"

by Evan Shore (republished from his personal blog) Towards the end of our conversation, Jeff Immelt patted me on the back and said, “Interesting.” After I probed further, he continued, “It’s a good idea, and I think I can see the benefit. I just need to think more about it.” I wondered, as I did during the past several conversations with potential customers, how I could advance from hearing “interesting” to “interested.” CONTEXT: CUSTOMER DISCOVERY INTERVIEWS Several months ago, I set out on a quest to understand the specific pain-points that corporations face when it comes to Innovation. I interviewed the CEOs and C-Suite executives of over 40 companies. Most executives identified the same problem: “The single greatest challenge for us is identifying and executing innovations outside the boundaries of our business models.” I had a vision for a new type of open innovation intermediary that stemmed from my exposure to IDEOInnocentiveGen3 Partners, contests like GE’s Ecomagination Chall…

Bridging Two Classes

by Douglas Romanoff

My final semester at HBS was a unique experience studying the business models of technology‐based  ventures from two different perspectives. From late March to May, Competing Through Business Models (CTBM) class with Professor Hanna Halaburda equipped me with frameworks for how firms create and sustain competitive advantage through their business model designs. From January to early March, Launching Tech Ventures (LTV) class with Professor Tom Eisenmann exposed me to the approaches entrepreneurs use to erect attractive and scalable business models from scratch. 

Despite the clear interrelatedness of the two topics, the content of the courses could not have been more different. CTBM defines a business model as the logic of a firm, the way it operates to create and capture value for its stakeholders. Expressed as a set of policy, asset, and governance choices (and the consequences derived from those choices), business models are most effective when they support virtuo…

Inbound Marketing Lessons Learned

by Chris Tam & Kathy Wang

Our blog was by far our most effective tool of inbound marketing and during the initial phase of growth was the top landing page for our site, versus the actual website itself.

What was great about blogging as an inbound marketing tool:

Blog posts are easily shared. All we needed was a few “influencers” on the web to find our content interesting, pass it along, and we got huge spikes in traffic. Though our traffic figures eventually stabilized after these “spikes,” each time our content was shared, some of the new readers to our site stayed, explored, and checked out our main landing page.

You can also use blogs to help “exchange” traffic. It was difficult for us to convince a successful blogger or content producer to plug heroiQ or include a link to us on their site - after all, our main landing page isn’t going to be a muddled list of a bunch of links. But a blog is perfect for that - we would link our blog posts to other blogs we liked, and some of them i…

Five Tips to Boost User Conversion Through Valuable Content

by Douglas Melchior

What kind of content will drive clicks and convert visitors into users or customers?  I posed this question to marketing directors at five different consumer Internet companies, including Brett Below at Rent the Runway, Andrew Sinkov of Evernote, Liz Wald of Etsy, and Shawna Strayhorn of Refinery29.  I overlaid these practical findings with research from Brian Halligan at Hubspot.

Content can be anywhere on the website, and is viewed by search engines and humans alike.  Content on the homepage gets the most views, but it has to be useful to people and peak interest immediately.  Here are 5 strategic tips to maximize the value of content on your site and outbound communication:
1) Write Content for All Sides of the Platform.  At Etsy, the marketplace for handmade goods, the marketing team creates content for both buyers and sellers.  Use these two types of content to engage a small but active buyer community, and to attract sellers with the benefits and best practices …

The Science of Business and the Business of Science

by Douglas Romanoff

Eric Ries champions the Lean Start Up Methodology as a means for entrepreneurs to more efficiently manage financial and human resources while increasing their odds of success. At the root of his approach is the idea that entrepreneurs should measure progress in units of validated learning, rapidly iterating through build‐measure‐learn cycles designed to test hypotheses and refine business model elements. By avoiding excessive subjectivity, and instead gathering empirical and measurable evidence, the entrepreneur operates with less risk and more cost effectiveness.

Although Toyota’s management philosophy is credited as the inspiration for lean concepts, the true origins of the approach lie in a discipline outside the realm of business. The Scientific Method has served as the gold standard of systematic inquiry for chemists, biologists, and physicists over many centuries. According to its tenets, researchers should gradually refine elements of a scientific model throu…

Creating Culture Through Prototype Development

by Aunim Hossain
Baller.  You’ve spent months running around, talking to everyone you know (or don’t know), attending conferences, scouring the online job resources…all with the goal of building your dream team that will take this from a great idea to a company that will change the world.  And you rocked it.  You have the team you need: one product manager (you), three developers with front-end and back-end skills, and one artist/UI guru. 

You feel like you’ve arrived.  You say to yourself, “now, it’s all about getting it done, but that should be pretty simple with the team of ninjas I assembled, right?”  But this is where many promising founders stumble.  Even with the right team in place, success is not guaranteed.  While there are many variables that determine success, one of the most important variables that founders can control (and often don’t) is building the right culture. 

Culture is created through the processes that founders and the team members put in place to complete tasks.…