6 reasons why reBlogger will not be like Kiko

This post is our company reply to my own post: Bubble 2.0 begins to deflate – 9 lessons

Here are some reasons why reBlogger will not deflate with Bubble 2.0, but instead we will increase and grow:

  1. We have more income than expenditure – we’re cash flow positive, without any investors (low risk approach)
  2. Metcalfe’s Law is still valid and this alone tells me that reBlogger is the right product, at the right time: Metcalfe’s original insight was that the value of a communications network grows (exponentially, as it turns out) as the number of users grow because as the network grows, as participation grows (via RSS) the need for management inside companies grows too… and we’re the only product that offers to resolve this problem for large companies
  3. The pricing is crucial – and our pricing is right. We have a free version, hobby, corporate and very large corporate versions.
  4. We have great features but we’re not afraid to remove many of them. Some say that a movie is not finished being edited until the “favorite/protected/darling” scenes have been cut. Just today we agreed to remove central features from the default install, to make it an easier learning curve for initial users.
  5. We have big dreams and a great vision, but we’re still focussing half our time on making what we have work better than before.
  6. We have made a strategic decision to align with Microsoft and they reach the cashed-up corporate market where companies still have money to spend long after the Bubble 2.0 has gone under

I think that we must simply ignore the carnage that is about to happen and keep our minds focussed on creating the best product to monitor corporate blogs. The best place to watch internal blogs, track competitor’s blogs and keep up with the industry news – right there in your cubicle using reBlogger.

17 Pithy Insights For Startup Founders

17 Pithy Insights For Startup Founders. Well worth reading… along with the other similar posts I’ve collected in this blog.

Bubble 2.0 – how to stay focussed

We know this is a bubble (Bubble 2.0) and there will be a shakeout. There always is. 95% of the 2.0 websites and companies will blow $millions and never even break even. Some won't even earn advertising revenues. The ones left standing will survive.

Because of this reality, we have to maintain discipline. We have:

  • a clear business model
  • clear revenue source(s)
  • a clear date at which we will look at how we're going – in terms of achieving revenue goals. If it's not happening we have to ask "why not?!" Are there too many free players in the market?

Ajax, 2.0, Mashups, APIs… it's exciting to think about all these cool technologies but it's also dangerous. We can get distracted from what really matters: our product called reBlogger.

Here's what matters:

  • We're not trying to be all things to all people. We fetch web feeds, merge and extract useful information for the user and display it back to the user.
  • We use Ajax (Microsoft Atlas) but we know it only adds to our actual product offering, ajax is not the product. Let me repeat, no matter how cool a PPT presentation was and how excited it made you feel, it was not the product… you still had to build a product.
  • We're not just an online RSS reader, we do a lot more than that. No one else does what we do. Not even close.
  • We might include some API/mashup items (like flikr) but it's an extra, it's not core to our product – and we know the difference

We need to stay focussed on the product and on earning revenue, not on the bubble nor on the UI tricks. Writely gained thousands of users by word of mouth. That is the most sincere form of flattery – that someone tells someone else about your product.

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New reBlogger.com layout – what do you think?

rb_thumb.gifI've posted a LOT of items previously about good looks and feels and I've researched how everyone else does it. Now it's our turn to face the music and put our money where our (my?) mouth is.

We've got the product, got a good feature set, a great vision, great team… we even already made some sales! Now all that is missing is… the actual branded website. But no more!

We're about to launch our reBlogger.com website and we're playing with the look, feel and functionality. If you read this blog (and I know you do!) then post me a comment and let me know what you think of the new reBlogger.com new front page layout (360kb file size). Be sure to zoom in on the picture if it shows up as a thumbnail. It's all Ajaxian (Microsoft Altas) goodness.

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Tips to watch out for while building a 2.0 software company

Some thoughts to remember while building the kickest-butt social/meme/news site:

  • Before requiring users insert their details, give them something when they first visit the site
  • After inserting their feeds, but before requiring they insert their keywords, show them their feeds (news reader style)
  • You're tempted to lay on the cool Ajax-goodies, but do you have the useful features and information they want?
  • There must be almost no learning curve to get started, any complexity must be hidden for the really adventurous users (only a small % of users)
  • Make sure you know where your sustainable revenue is coming from. Software sales? AdSense?
  • Make sure you prepare for the worst… success! How will you avoid needing a server farm before you have the revenue to pay for it?
  • Scalability. When the site doesn't scale, everyone loses. Consider using the Google limitation-invitation trick to avoid maxing out the system.
  • Make lists of things to do and tick them off as you do them. Have a clear goal beforehand of where you are going.
  • Design to support multiple languages
  • Email subscriptions
  • Have a stop-loss date by which you exit if your revenue hasn't begun coming in. Stick to it.

Do you have anything to add?

I’m baaaaaack!

Miss me? I thought I'd kick off with yet another 2.0 list (created by a venture capital firm) and follow that up with a blog post containing some of my thoughts on the different kinds of social/meme sites.

On leave…

This blog will be a bit quiet for until next week. I'm at the beach, contemplating how to go forward in our business (and also enjoying the seaside). I'll write more next week.