i need a reality check

Circle of Moms is on Fire (and top 3 reasons why this is cool)

Posted in phase 1 by josh duncan on December 5, 2008

Great post on TechCruch today about Circle of Moms and their very impressive growth.  They have only been online for 2 months are are up to 850k active users.  So why is this interesting?

  1. If you build it, and it fits a need, they will come –> more important, it doesn’t have to be an idea that is completely new, just improved and focused
  2. Let the users run the show (to a degree) –> “Circle of Moms wsers have created over 1,000 such communities for topics like parents with toddlers, special needs children, and even recipe swapping. Many have tens of thousands of members.”.
  3. You can leverage existing sites like Facebook to build and reinforce your site.  The Circle of Mom Facebook application has 840k active users that helps connect users back to the main site and attract new users.
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No Plan, No Profits?

Posted in phase 1 by josh duncan on December 3, 2008

I just finished reading “10 critical elements to a profitable blog” and realized that I don’t have a plan at all for this blog.  Is that a bad thing?

My idea for starting this blog was to keep track of my progress trying to bootstrap a business together and hopefully pick up some advice on the way.  This does relate to point 8, “Community Involvement”, but not from the stand point of trying to build traffic for income.

So why am I not talking more about my business plan if I am seeking advice?  The best answer I have right now is that I need a bit more time to refine the idea and get a prototype up and running.  My thought is that if I have something concrete, it will be much easier for readers to see what my thoughts are and to provide feedback.

Just need to find a bit more time to dedicate to working on the business plan.

Slogan or Story?

Posted in phase 1 by josh duncan on November 30, 2008


My goal for the day today was to finish a proposal for my site logo. In the mist of this work, I stopped to read Dan & Chip Heath’s article, “Kill the Slogans Dead”, from the latest Fast Company (for some reason I can’t find it online yet). The article got me thinking about whether or not I was just creating a cute tag line or really telling a story with my message.

Now, instead of cranking out my RFQ, I am back to reading my copy of Made to Stick and reviewing my work against their guidelines:

  • Simple – I believe I have “relentlessly prioritized” but not sure if I am at profound yet.
  • Unexpected – Check. I have found gap to fill.
  • Concreteness – hmm, not sure I am pouring concrete here?
  • Credible – Check.  I am good here.
  • Emotional – Now I am in trouble. I don’t think I am at the point of getting people excited.
  • Story – Now this is the tough one?? The central part of my idea is getting people ready to act so, if they don’t believe my story, I am in trouble.

Ok, at the end of this assessment, I only have 2 – 2 1/2 check marks. Looks like I am going back to the drawing board on my messaging.

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Cool Names

Posted in phase 1 by josh duncan on November 24, 2008

Ok, still working on names here.  Relevance of your name is huge when naming a site (A defining moment for your branding strategy).

During my search, I have have come across a few new cool sites that have great names that don’t take much of a guess to tell you what the site is about:

The search is still on.

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What’s in a Name?

Posted in phase 1 by josh duncan on November 23, 2008

In summary, everything.

When we were coming up with names of our first child, one of my main criteria was that there was absolutely no possibility of the name being used to as a joke or a tease.  This rule made it easy to rule out some of the obviously bad choices (such as Pilot Inspektor and Zelda) but it still didn’t make picking a name easier.

As Guy talks about in his book, coming up with an original name for your web site makes all the difference in the world.  Coming up with something original is tough and making it work as a web site name is next to impossible.  Usually the rule is keep is simple, but tell that to the “Go Tahoe” folks at www.gotahoe.com.

There is absolutely nothing worse then coming up with the prefect name that not only fits your business plan and is really, really, really cool only to find out someone beat you there first.  Even worse, is to find out they are not doing anything with the site but are willing to sell it to you for only 10k!  No problem if you got some cash to get things started, but when you are on a shoe string budget, it really hurts.

Nevertheless, thanks to my amazing wife and several friends, we have a couple of  great ideas to chose from.  Now all we have to do is pick one.

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