B-2-B ads resulted from our Class Assignment

So I shop quite a bit on Nordstrom online. Often I put my stuff into my online shopping cart so I can better see what I am interested in buying over time. However, more recently I noticed Nordstrom is growingly aggressive in sending me “There’s Still Stuff in My Cart” emails. They also occasionally post those items I like or I viewed as part of my FB feeds.

Over the weekend, due to the need to find content for this assignment, I saw something which made me tick. I noticed an advertisement featuring, GUESS WHAT?, that’s trying to sell me TINYhr.

I know you probably don’t know what TINYhr is but this was the company that I wrote for one of my other blog assignments. I couldn’t believe it. The cookies/computer think I am a business company -it is trying to sell a business/enterprise software to me without realizing I am actually a person.

That said, I am getting a bit wary of these tracking “cookies”. In retrospect, as I began to understand the issue of privacy on the internet more and more, I am deeply thinking question the purpose of such data collection. If unprotected and unregulated, such data could turn the benefits of technology into a threat to personal security and personal welfare. I wish there’s a community I’d join and learn more about how these ad issues can be addressed at the point of web designing.


Startup Weekend UW 1/25/13

We’ll talk about Startup Weekends in class, but here’s an event you should consider signing up for – or at least stopping by to check out.


About Startup Weekend: Startup Weekends are 54-hour events designed to provide superior experiential education for technical and non-technical entrepreneurs.  Beginning with Friday night pitches and continuing through brainstorming, business plan development, and basic prototype creation, Startup Weekends culminate in Sunday night demos and presentations.  Participants create working startups during the event and are able to collaborate with like-minded individuals outside of their daily networks. All teams hear talks by industry leaders and receive valuable feedback from local entrepreneurials. The weekend is centered around action, innovation, and education.  Whether you are looking for feedback on a idea, a co-founder, specific skill sets, or a team to help you execute, Startup Weekends are the perfect environment in which to test your idea and take the first steps towards launching your own startup.

Welcome to Winter Quarter, Marketing 555

More updates will be added in the coming weeks, but here are some good quotes my business partner drew from a great article.  Read the whole post from Paul Graham if any of these bullets spark your interest.

Thanks to Sam Altman, Mike Arrington, Paul Buchheit, John Collison, Patrick Collison, Garry Tan, and Harj Taggar for reading drafts of this, and Marc Andreessen, Joe Gebbia, Reid Hoffman, Shel Kaphan, Mike Moritz and Kevin Systrom for answering my questions about startup history.”

  • When you have an idea for a startup, ask yourself: who wants this right now? Who wants this so much that they’ll use it even when it’s a crappy version one made by a two-person startup they’ve never heard of? If you can’t answer that, the idea is probably bad.
  • Live in the future, then build what’s missing.
  • The verb you want to be using with respect to startup ideas is not “think up” but “notice.” At YC we call ideas that grow naturally out of the founders’ own experiences “organic” startup ideas. The most successful startups almost all begin this way. it is a recipe of a sort, just one that in the worst case takes a year rather than a weekend. when these problems get solved, they will probably seem flamingly obvious in retrospect.
  • Working on things that could be dismissed as “toys” often produces good ones. When something is described as a toy, that means it has everything an idea needs except being important. It’s cool; users love it; it just doesn’t matter. But if you’re living in the future and you build something cool that users love, it may matter more than outsiders think At YC we’re excited when we meet startups working on things that we could imagine know-it-alls on forums dismissing as toys. To us that’s positive evidence an idea is good.
  • Live in the future and build what seems interesting. Strange as it sounds, that’s the real recipe.
  • Worrying that you’re late is one of the signs of a good idea.
  • It’s exceptionally rare for startups to be killed by competitors—so rare that you can almost discount the possibility
  • Whether you succeed depends far more on you than on your competitors.
  • The place to start looking for ideas is things you need. There mustbe things you need.
  • It can be a good trick to look for those that are dying, or deserve to, and try to imagine what kind of company would profit from their demise. For example, journalism is in free fall at the moment. But there may still be money to be made from something like journalism. What sort of company might cause people in the future to say “this replaced journalism” on some axis?
  • When startups consume incumbents, they usually start by serving some small but important market that the big players ignore. It’s particularly good if there’s an admixture of disdain in the big players’ attitude, because that often misleads them.
  • More precisely, the users’ need has to give them sufficient activation energy to start using whatever you make, which can vary a lot. For example, the activation energy for enterprise software sold through traditional channels is very high, so you’d have to be a lot better to get users to switch.
  • This is an instance of a more general rule: focus on users, not competitors. The most important information about competitors is what you learn via users anyway
  • Paul Buchheit points out that trying to sell something bad can be a source of better ideas: “The best technique I’ve found for dealing with YC companies that have bad ideas is to tell them to go sell the product ASAP (before wasting time building it). Not only do they learn that nobody wants what they are building, they very often come back with a real idea that they discovered in the process of trying to sell the bad idea.”