Investment is dead. Social Media thins. Now What?

ADAPT

Now, we are luckier than most start-ups.  Due to the success of Room Full of People, SF Beta, and SNAP Summit we have enough in the bank to get by all right for about 3-6 months, depending on how close we cut our bills.  We’ve cut office space, gym memberships, corporate drinks, our skype account, and are reducing our pay checks and cell phone bills to help it last longer.  (Any other trimming suggestions are appreciated.)  But we will need to get money from somewhere to grow.

But all the investment has dried up; the angels have flown home, and the VCs have the “No” on their Vacancy signs lit.  The only place I should even waste any time looking are a few of the earlystage VCs and angel forums, and only then with incredibly low hopes.

ADAPT

Alright.  So, we need to secure users, traction, and reliable growth right at the start.  We need to see ad revenue, interest in private Troggs for companies, and discussion ownership – IOW, money.  But a lot of bloggers and analysts suggest that the trend of 2009 will be to defriend; to scale back your social network engagement and chose quality over quantity, to really prioritize who you want to get feeds from.  Uh-oh.  Will adding yet another social media site to the mix truly help?

ADAPT

Well first things first; we need to reassess our own views of Trogger.  It may mean drastic changes and redesigns, or it may just mean a tweak in our perceptions; I certainly hope for the latter.  The strongest trait a start-up has over its corporate competition is quick adaptability.  And if you don’t have that, you’re f-d.

I have begun encouraging my business partners to view Trogger not as another wad of gum stuck under the pubescent-teen-that-is-social-media’s desk, but as a pod on the bean sprout of information organization (which could wither and die, be eaten and passed, or fall and grow into another).

My own new perception is:  We have Wikipedia for user-generated “facts”; but where do you go when you want a collection of people’s opinions on a the Israel/Gaza conflict, on the growing trend for corporate iPhone Apps, on the economic situation, or the shut-down of Circuit City?  You go to CNN for one, a few blogs for another, a forum here and a message board there for the third and fourth.  We need a wikipedia for opinions, I say.  And that is what I, personally, want to see this become. (I write this without my biz partners’ agreements, yet, but I’ll be sure to include our summaries of our discussions about this idea here.)

The most important thing I foresee us learning through this process if the overwhelming power of adaptability.  A start-up that has an idea and sticks to it, determined to see it to its first envisioned and planned completion, is doomed.  You alone do not have the idea for the next Google or Microsoft or Facebook.  It comes from iterations, from user testing, from failure.  In my last post I discussed the two opposing traits founders must have (dreamer vs. pracical); here is another, darker trait that is important to keep balanced.  Christian sees and works for success.  I plan for and work against failure. This is our first social med…er…information start-up.  9 out of 10 folks, without even listening to the idea, will bet against our success.

So here we go.  A new year and a new vision for me, a new thought to keep me striving and studying for another day, and loving that a person can’t lay-off themselves. 🙂

2 responses to “Investment is dead. Social Media thins. Now What?

  1. OK, I would be willing to give you 30 seconds per day. But I need to see something interesting within five seconds. Can you do that? I have one idea to offer up to you: Create a map of the opinions. In other words, I want to understand, in one picture, what is new on your site today. Some people only understand information when it is presented in the form of a picture. I’m not one of them, but if the map shows something interesting, I’ll read the detail over the next minute or more. It doesn’t necessarily have to be a complicated process. Just take what you are gathering and show something graphical that tries to summarize it. Your business model can be to do customized runs for paying customers who will pay you for customized runs on their company or product. Good luck.

  2. 6.4 seconds specifically to show me something interesting.

    Larry Leifer @ Stanford Design School measured human attention span regarding design interation. Hollywood uses this attention span rule on the TV. The camera scenes adjust about each 7 seconds. http://www.stanford.edu/group/dschool/

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