Monday, 11 June 2007


We spent a couple of hours today reviewing the launch plan and preparing for tomorrow's board meeting. One thing that investors want to see is KPIs. We need to show that lots of people are using our service, that they're not all signing up once never to return again but are actually using it, and that their numbers are stacking up by the bucketload. Doesn’t that sound familiar? Reminds me of bubble1.0 where the volume of visitors to your website was considered the holy grail. This time round, the red herring is the number of active members of your online community. There are now hundreds of me-too start-ups without a business plan or a business model hoping to wave as many adverts at as many people as possible whilst they whistle through their ‘community’ from registration to emergency exit stopping only to look at a few pretty boys’ and girls’ profile pics along the way. Their visitors are all frequenters of their competitors’ communities too. If their offering is not something unique that their customers would happily pay for if it didn't just so happen to be free then they're facing an uphill struggle all the way.

A recent article on Two Point Oh on how to create a thriving web2.0 business listed 10 tactics for success:
#1. Create a sense of community
#2. Have a simple proposition
#3. Ensure viral growth
#4. Do continuous R&D
#5. Build a platform for advertisers
#6. Let the outside in and the inside out
#7. Own the audience
#8. Don’t forget to be profitable
#9. Get your content mix right
#10. Sell something

In my opinion the last point is the most important of all: Sell something. If you can't figure out what you’re selling to your customers you don't have a business - you have an expensive hobby.

So another KPI for us will be: how many of our customers are buying our premium service and how many are just clicking on adverts on their way out the door?

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