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Friday, 18 July 2014

Shared fate - are you ready for the collaborative economy?

This week, I was fortunate enough to listen to a presentation by Jeremiah Owyang and his shocking predictions for the Collaborative Economy. Jeremiah's vision takes us from today's world where ownership is everything, to a future where sharing drives the economy.

You can read Jeremiah's full report, see his slides and have your mind blown here.

The premise is a simple one.  The crowd, i.e. you and me and all our friends, use social media to engage with one another, share ideas, critique goods and services, compare prices and basically do all that we can, to meet our wants and needs without ever consulting the corporations who used to dictate our aspirations.

This, always on, globally linked approach, is possible because in todays world, more people now have mobile phones than toilets (I know, I couldn't believe it either). Mobile phones, ipads, tablets and all those other internet connected devices, have made it easier than ever to access what we want, as we want it, so the crowd ultimately decides what's made, delivered and consumed.

If this sounds like futurology, consider how the crowd could currently be contributing to your business.

Need a presentation produced, questions for your focus group, an SEO action plan for your website?  Look no further than  This is collaboration in action.  Those with the skills offer their services for a small fee, usually $5, and hey presto that irksome little task that's been loitering on your to-do list since the start of the year, has been delegated to a safe pair of hands to complete.

Need a freelance copywriter, project manager or other short term team member then could be the answer and there are any number of similar services worldwide.

If you're lucky enough to be a New York dweller, your office needs by the hour/day/week, could be met by, without any of the search, overhead or relocation delays.  

It may seem a bit of a hippie throwback, but with an ever increasing global population, scarce resources and short attention spans, it's the obvious way ahead.

No doubt the lawyers are already worrying about what this means for intellectual property, copyright etc but for the rest of us, a brave new world of possibility awaits.

Bring it on.

Friday, 11 July 2014

3 lessons in the art of selling from Kickstarter

I have a confession.

I think I'm hooked on funding Kickstarter projects .

It started innocently enough, backing Seth Godin (a noted giant of the marketing world).  I love his work, there was no risk, it was a win win. Then came Duncan Shotton and his glorious rainbow pencils and that was the start of the slippery slope.  I joined the mailing list and now have my credit card on standby, as the ‘Projects We Love’ email drops into my inbox.

How did this happen?  Why do these serial entrepreneurs wield such power?

Searching through those who make and often exceed their targets, the commonalities are clear.

1. They have personality (in spades)

People buy from people - it's the age old mantra.  That's why kickstarters have to present their ideas via video.  According to a new Cisco report, by 2018 over 75% of all traffic will be video based, proving that people really do have to see to believe.

Whether you've heard of the product or not, those who succeed, use their screen debut to ooze personality.  They help us decide to take the risk and make that pledge, by telling a story, from how the idea began, to their vision for the future.  They know that having the viewer trust that they can deliver on their promises, is the only way to get them to press the big green button. As an aside, what a great idea to make the backing button green - green for go, green for good and fresh and new, you get the idea.

2. They make us part of the process

Selling ideas is really about finding or even building a community who want to buy them. That's why marketing departments spend large portions of their budget on generating content to attract and retain relevant audiences. Kickstarter takes this to extremes, adding the emotional factor, that without your funding, this fabulous, new, ‘must have’ will never reach the market.  Feel the pressure?

Here, at the click of a button, a community is born.  Every funder feels like a hero for getting the project out of its starting blocks.  We see that a number of other backers have endorsed what is now, our idea, of a great project. We feel part of something - a secret group of early adopters with a vested monetary interest in success and that makes us care, share and talk about each venture, as though it were our own. Brilliant.

3. They test ideas and listen for feedback

For the price of a two minute video, entrepreneurs can test their audience, to see if there is enough interest to make their idea a viable business.  If it bombs and/or there are no pledges, it's back to the drawing board, without having spent their life savings on marketing and advertising.  TeamYoga is a great example of this.  Maybe there isn't a market for poseable toys just yet, but could that be because not enough children are doing yoga? What could they do to encourage this market?  Their kickstarter investment may have saved them from financial disaster or even inspired them afresh to take a new approach.  Either way, it was worth the broadcast.

So, if you find yourself hovering over that big green button, please get in touch.  We can form a support group.