Archive for the ‘Start ups’ Category

A Brilliant and Stealthy Business Model

The folks over at Yammer have come up with a brilliant way to bring a collaboration web app into the corporation, and at the same time, make some money from it.

Yammer is essentially Twitter for business – with some pretty nifty features.  To sign up for the service you need to provide a corporate email address.  Then, you get your co-workers, staff and maybe your boss to sign up – all free at this point.  What happens next is the local IT department jumps in and figures out it wants a piece of the action (you know – control, control, control).  The “corporation” then “claims the network“.  That means they get administrator privileges – manage content and members, set the password policy, restrict access to the company’s network, use a corporate logo – for just $1 per user per month.

I could easily see this as a stealthy SaaS model that will become very popular:  1. Get the corporate users on board; 2. Give IT the control when realize they can’t do anything to stop it; 3. Make money.

Absolutely brilliant!

Managing a Web Business in a Downturn Economy

Some good advice from 37Signals about operating a web-based business to survive a downturn in the economy:

  • staying small,
  • being frugal,
  • focusing on just a few core things at a time,
  • quick wins,
  • eliminating abstractions that lead to miscommunication and complexity,
  • only doing what you need to do instead of everything you could possibly do,
  • charging your customer for your service (instead of an advertising model)
  • marketing without spending

Like most of us, I’ve worked for companies that grew to fast and then had to cut back – it’s an awful and painful experience, no matter whether you’re the one being cut or you’re the one doing the cutting.

The key here is that if you manage your growth by staying focused, avoiding debt, staying profitable and staying away from revenue models that suffer in a downturn, you should do pretty well.

DemoCamp Ottawa

I’ve decided to take the plunge and demo one of the Rails applications I developed at DemoCamp Ottawa on Sept 29th. Why am I doing this? I’m probably going to ask myself that question for the next 14 days! But what I really want to do is get more involved with the start up community in Ottawa. I’m also looking for people to assist with this project and any other projects people have thought up but really don’t have the resources to do by themselves – think of it as a kind of like a “start up co-op”.

The point of this exercise is really to have some fun cutting our teeth launching a startup – then we’ll see where it goes from there. My application (in its current state at least) is nothing to write home about but then again it actually works – my family uses it all the time. It needs a registration system, some good design work and some marketing. Oh yeah, some advice from someone who has actually launched a successful start up would be nice too! If anyone can help in these areas come to DemoCampOttawa10 and let’s talk!

I’m told by Ian Graham at The Code Factory that DemoCamp is fun, friendly and very informal and a great venue for exactly what I’m trying to do. Let’s hope he’s right!