aHead in the CLOUD – cloudhackz.com
Category Archives: Social Media
When I first walked into the event, I felt unqualified to answer such an important question. Surely, the experts presenting that day were better equipped to answer that question than I. With experts from some of the most interesting, successful, insightful, and innovative social media organizations in the U.S., what could I possibly add to this question that they haven’t already noted? I was both in awe of and amazed by the genius of Matt Thompson of NPR, Lisa Stone of BlogHer, Charlene Li of Altimeter Group, Mónica Guzmán Preston of Intersect (you MUST check out Intersect!), Vadim Lavrusik of Mashable, and several others!
Tampa’s Kevin Hale, one of the founders of Infinity Box, Inc. and one of the creators of wufoo.com, shares his secrets for success in the internet start-up business. Take thirty minutes from your lunch break to watch Kevin’s enthusiastic ‘Internet start up boot camp’ video.
OK, so what is Kevin’s secret?
Fanatical Customer Service
WuFoo‘s philosophy for customer service is interesting. WuFoo takes a psychological approach to customer service. Kevin explains the approach as dating new customers and marrying regular customers. Translation: Work hard to make great first impressions, and personalize service to exiting customers.
Dating = New Customer Interaction
- Developers are part of the customer support process. Because developers support the products they develop, they are best equipped to fix issues and learn to build better apps as a result: ‘Build products like you have to support them’ philosophy
- WuFoo pays careful attention to the pages that new customers are most likely to see first, such as login, home, launch, account, and first support pages. Pages are friendly, fun, and well thought-out (This last one kind of reminds me of Apple’s philosophy about their gadgets)
Marriage = Managing existing customers
- WuFoo has its developers write hand-written thank-you notes to regular customers every week.
- Fun and rewarding contest: WuFoo gave away a battle-ax as part of an API contest! The winners received cash and the ax, but WuFoo gained several new product features as a result! Great example of crowdsourcing!
- WuFoo leverages many free and open source tools to manage its internal communications, and then builds support and documentation right into the development process.
- New products aren’t launched unless documentation, tool tips, and support features are complete. Nice!
The key take away from WuFoo’s approach to its startup success is that it humanizes its product from start to finish. Users don’t just sign-up for a Wufoo account, they ‘marry’ it!
Calling all web designers, code junkies, social media marketing gurus, and translators. Quit obsessing on FaceBook and take some time to help out a worthy non-profit or two. Don’t worry, you don’t even need to leave your desk or your smartphone (Yes, there’s an iPhone app. for it). Thanks to the Extraordinaries, you can provide small (but much-needed) advice, information, graphics, translations, or research to participating non-profit organizations. An hour or so per week could really help some of the very cool participating non-profit organizations. Plus, you’ll feel good about doing good.
Here’s how The Extraordinaries Process Works
1. Create a free account, tagging your areas of expertise
3. Find a ‘Challenge’ by area of expertise
4. Submit your effort to the Extraordinaries website
5. Feel great
What to do if you want to publish a book, but can’t get a publisher to take on your work? Or, say, you do find a publisher, but the publisher’s strengths aren’t in social media marketing or e-book publishing. With the proliferation of devices such as the iPad, do you even need (or want) a publisher? Now, authors can imagine beyond the book as they work with app. developers to ‘publish’ works not limited by paper or text.
I read an interesting article on TechCrunch ‘Dear Authors, Your Next Book Should be an App, not an iBook‘ by Cody Brown. Cody makes a very good point about authors who simply see the iPad as a place to publish a book, the author is completely missing the point. Cody clearly sees the iPad from the reader (or user) perspective and asks :
why not make it like a game so that in order to get to the next ‘chapter’ you need to pass a test? Does the content of the book even need to be created entirely by me? Can I leave some parts of it open to edit by those who buy it and read it? Do I need to charge $9.99, or can I charge $99.99?
So, If you publish your book as an app., and the app. adds interactivity features unlike traditional books, is it even still a book or is it something else? Actually, it can’t even really be called an e-book. To truly portray what the new, interactive, crowd-sourced, game-enriched literary creation can do, we really need to think outside the book completely. It’s easy to see how this new way of interacting with literary content through sound, motion, video, internet connectivity, sound recording, etc. can capture those who wouldn’t pick up a traditional book or even an e-book. With the continued growth of touch screen internet-connected tablets, educational and children’s materials that were traditionally published as books may find a cheaper and fantastically more interesting home as an app. Yes, for now print and e-books are very much in vogue. I predict a strong trend toward interactive literature that will eventually carve into the already waning print book market, and even supplant the e-book market, especially if prices remain competitive.