This is more for me than for my readers; I just love the quantity of data packed into Meeker’s state of the internet presentations. 29% of adults in the US now have tablet. 17% of global cell phone market is cell phones. These stats are great.
My friend has just launched a new venture that sounds really fun called LocalCoaster. LocalCoaster is a startup social venture that produces beverage coasters to help stimulate local commerce and at the same time support local charities. We are working on a new advertising model that engages the community and gives back. Basically, LocalCoaster provides coasters to local bars and restaurants that have cool local messages on them; messages that support local charities or local retailers. As the company says, “Coasters are an unexploited medium for delivering messages in a unique, engaging, social way. LocalCoaster brings an advertising message to beverage consumers within the community while donating a significant portion of proceeds to a local charity.” They are launching today in Portsmouth, NH, and are also on Twitter here.
I’m enjoying reading more and more of the technology press who are starting to recognize that the enterprise is the next major area of software/internet/mobile innovation. The latest read on this topic was on TechCrunch. I am curious to see how cloud based, outside the firewall, type solutions will eventually stack up against more “controlled” opensource solutions. Only time will tell!
However, one thing I do see happening that isn’t being talked about enough is that small businesses are starting to lead technology adoption – in particular mobile adoption. I think we’ll see more and more of small business mobile solutions creep into the enterprise as end users within enterprises start bringing technology in with their BYO devices. Since it’s easy for a individual within a big company to sign up for a small mobile or SaaS app, they will likely choose products that have effective marketing directed towards entrepreneurs/small business owners. I’ve blogged before about how small businesses are embracing mobile technologies, and from one of those previous posts:
“2/3 small businesses have seem increased efficiency from mobile technologies and 60% believe that mobile technologies are completing functions that other technologies can not accomplish. This is pretty exciting, as it proves that mobile will create new, exciting markets that have never before been contemplated! Wahoo mobile developers!
I believe that the marketing techniques that worked on small businesses will start to work for large enterprises – getting end users to try out new products that they download from an app store, getting them to engage with the product, and potentially start paying without real corporate oversight. Next step would likely be to bring in an enterprise sales force to call into the CTO/CIO and bring the control back to the home organization.
A friend of mine, William Sulinski, has recently started a cool new project called From Holden. The concept is pretty basic – Will like to wear quality clothes (he’s way more fashionable than me!) but he, like me, is on a startup person’s budget. So he’s decided to start a verticalized men’s clothing company focusing on high quality shirts. It’s a cool concept, and I like the style of the shirts that he’s working on.
From Holden V Neck T Shirt
Will is on the cusp of a new trend in internet retailing, which combines manufacturing/sourcing with internet distribution in the goal of driving down the cost to the end consumer. I like the concept and will be asking for a few shirts for my birthday…
He talks more about what he’s trying to accomplish in a video on his Kickstarter campaign.
Please check out the From Holden Kickstarter campaign and, if you like the shirts, help Will out!
I’m quoted in a PC World piece about how apps will change the nature of desktop software. I had a long conversation with the author, Jared Newman, about how OfficeDrop’s apps, both our smartphone scanner apps and our mac desktop scanner app, ScanDrop, are dramatically changing how we distribute our SaaS product.
The article’s thesis is spot on:
Not surprisingly, many developers are enthusiastic about the easy distribution and streamlined billing that app stores provide, yet these stores also introduce challenges–some that are unique to desktops, and others that have plagued smartphones since the dawn of the iPhone App Store.
I spoke with Jared for a while about how we were wrong about how customers wanted to use our service. They actually want to download and install apps, not use the web. We were off by 100%.
The soon to be famous Healy Jones quote is:
Healy Jones, vice president of marketing for OfficeDrop, noticed this shift away from the Web immediately after his company released mobile and desktop apps for its document-scanning service.
OfficeDrop, which provides searchable cloud storage, says that it sees seven times more user engagement through its apps than it does through the Web browser, Jones notes. Since releasing its first apps in 2011, OfficeDrop’s user base has grown from 7000 users to 140,000 users.
“We had a thesis that people did not want to install software; that the cloud meant that people could use a browser to interact with software and would never have to install anything. We were completely wrong,” Jones says. “People love installing software.”
Obviously I’m really bullish on apps. That’s also why I’m very bullish on tablets (and part of the reason OfficeDrop recently released an Android tablet version of our app.) Apps are how people want to interact with software. I’m happy people like HTML 5, but if it isn’t installed it’s not gonna grow as well as an app.
Recently Prasad Thammineni, Healy Jones (me), & one of our investors, David Mars, recent participated on a panel at Wharton reunion talking about how we worked together to grow OfficeDrop. Tyler Wry, Wharton professor, lead the discussion and recently posted an article on the panel for Wharton Magazine.
Tyler’s post, entitled “Teaching Lean Entrepreneurs,” dives into how a business school education can be an asset when running a lean startup. Tyler defines the lean startup, then goes into how OfficeDrop combined some of the theories we learned about at Wharton with the practices of running a lean startup.
Often times business school/MBAs are made fun of by startuppers; this is a somewhat fair stereotype – A lot of times MBAs think that they will join a startup and the the “strategy” person or run a bunch of analysis in Excel. Of course, we all know that startups need doers! But the MBA can be helpful as it provides frameworks that can be used to quickly make sense of a rapidly changing competitive environment that startups face. Also, things like pricing, positioning, etc are all classes taught at business school, and a good school will at least help you be prepared to know what you don’t know so you can launch.
Tyler had an interesting conclusion to his piece, and one that I agree with. He said, “For me, this drove home the point that entrepreneurship isn’t really that different than any other area of business—training matters. Anyone can start a company, and many scientists and entrepreneurs who don’t know the first thing about business become successful entrepreneurs. On average, though, the startups that are most likely to succeed have some serious business chops behind them.”