HATCHEDit.com: The Adventure

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One Analytics Tool To Rule Them All!


Stephanie Azzarone (@ChildsPlayComm) wrote an interesting post 2013: The End Of The Mommy Blogger?  (Hat tip to intrepid tech reporter Esther Surden over at NJTechWeekly for drawing my attention to that article – we had JUST been speaking about it!)  After I read it I posted a comment on Twitter.   That conversation (thanks to Embedle!) engaged @packfutur who asked me a question that has inspired me to write this post.  


I love social media (how else could three of us engage in a conversation about a topic that interests us all without ever having met before that moment!).  Okay – so those shout outs out of the way – here are my thoughts on the question:


Think we’ll ever get one—“influence tracking tool,” I mean? Right now it’s a shifting landscape as people try out everything.”


First of all – I think that its something that any entrepreneur worth their salt should be working on figuring out.  Heck, even if you just figured out how to gauge the influence of specifically mom bloggers – you are talking about a  $5 trillion reach!


KLOUT has started tracking social media influence.  BIT.ly also shows people the influence that they have on the links they share on social media.  But for me – as both a business owner and a blogger, neither one helps me figure out my reach.  After all, KLOUT tracks my social media outreach, but cannot tell me about the influence of my FORBES blog posts.  It doesn’t analyze the comments section of my blog.  And it doesn’t track the comments I make on other blogs or other sites.  The comments section of blogs (especially of mommy blogs – where some easily rack up to a hundred or more comments per post) are really important on analyzying the influence of certain people online. 


New tool Embedle offers people a way to bring those comments into the social world, and maybe as they take off in popularity KLOUT will also include them in their influence analysis algorithm.


The solution?  I don’t know.  But there are ways that hopefully these analytic tools are discussing implementing.


Wouldn’t it be great if KLOUT offered me a toolbar button that allowed me to leave a trackable “signature” every time I offered a comment or posted somewhere that they didn’t track.  I could leave a comment on DIGG and leave my KLOUT signature on the comment and that would track all the comments that respond to mine! Of course, we’d also need it to work when we post from our phones, but one step at a time J


The interesting idea would be giving everyone a single online identity by which they could track and analyze the reach of their personal brand. 


This is really what Facebook had in mind – by creating the Facebook Citizen – whereby we all have one real online identity.  It’s why Google suddenly realized they needed to get into that game and created Google+ - which I believe has been built from conception to someday achieve this sort of analytics. 


It’s a really cool thing to think about.  And whoever can create the tool that allows brands (big and individual) to track their influence, will not only do the web a great service, but all of us who work so hard to create original content, engage our users and the people we interact with online and need a way to show that value to the people who want to pay for that influence!


Thanks @packfutur (The Twitter handle for Future of Packaging)  

Filed under tolkien social network influence mom bloggers bloggers analytics branding twitter facebook embedle bit.ly social media forbes

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Ad Age Survey Does NOT Bode Well For Online Advertising

Ad Age Survey: Marketers Love Facebook, But Many Have No Idea If Their Ads Work

The main point of this article in AdAge is:  

"The results were a mixed bag for Facebook that illuminated some of the challenges it will have in scaling ad revenue, but it also indicated that some of Facebook’s perceived challenges with marketers — such as not providing enough transparency and data — are overblown.

The results also revealed confusion on how to calculate return on investment on Facebook and how to compare that to spending in other social and traditional media channels.

Remarkably, Ad Age readers surveyed speak in virtual unison on two questions. Nearly 86% of those surveyed say they currently use Facebook as a marketing tactic. Only 55%, however, say they currently advertise on Facebook, and nearly 88% said they would implement Facebook content without advertising at all.”

As a business that tried to get the word out about our own site via Facebook - and had MISERABLE results.  The thing is - I don’t know if that is advertising in general - or just the limits of Facebook advertising.  Because you cannot have a slick agency design your Facebook ads - because they don’t have regular advertising options (which may be the factor that wins the social media war for Google+ in the long run - if they can exploit that. 

But I find this all interesting - because only six months ago - people said to us - don’t worry about how you are going to make your money - just get users.  And now, suddenly everyone looks at us skeptically and says - so - your revenue model is advertising - right?

Golly Gee Whiz it makes me so happy to be able to tell them NO.  I feel like some days we are too smart for our own good.  :)

Filed under social media entrepreneurship fundraising vc startup tech facebook facebook ads social networking

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What Will I.P.O. Mean For Facebook’s Next Act?


(Very proud of this - my first post as a Contributing Writer for Forbes.com) 

An Initial Public Offering (IPO) can mean many different things for the future of a business. The (rumored-to-be-imminent) IPO for Facebook - the company that harnessed the collective conscious - is one that will be watched more closely than any other.  And that interest will come not only by those with the means to participate in the IPO, but also the almost one billion people who have made the social network a part of their every day existence. 

As a tech entrepreneur who was directly inspired by the Facebook story (the idea for our site was literally “hatched” while reading “The Facebook Effect” by David Kirkpatrick) every twist and turn of the firm’s journey has – so far – seemed to be part of a master plan.  That is a pretty impressive feat.  Especially for Mark Zuckerberg, the young CEO who has said himself, "I have made so many mistakes - any mistake you can think of, I’ve made it. But if you’re building a product that people love, you can [afford to] make a lot of mistakes." (The Telegraph)

However, these days, great success is always in danger of being overshadowed by backlash from the unpredictable beast of public opinion.  It is something even Facebook has proven cannot be controlled.  And, that is what makes this continuing saga so compelling. 

The drama Aaron Sorkin amped up to Academy Award levels to tell the beginning of the Facebook tale in “The Social Network” now seems like mere child’s play.   The high stakes that currently weigh on the shoulders of twenty seven year old Zuckerberg (who has turned in the most flawed “flawless” performance in recent business history), are spellbinding.  They have the power to turn mere entertainment into myth. 

The screenwriter in me cannot help but wonder what the initials IPO serve to foreshadow for the future. 


IPO - Immense Pay Out

With expectations of a $75 billion to $100 billion valuation one thing is for certain, the winners of a Facebook IPO will be many.  Besides Zuckerberg and the firm’s early partners, angels and employees, venture capital firms like Greylock Partners, Accel Partners, Meritech Capital Partners will have boasting rights to arguably the most prescient investments in history. 


IPO - Inflated Price Obligations

In the midst of an ongoing global financial crisis (economists may differ with that assessment, but the average “Facebook Citizen” will not), the tech industry has been a prop for politicians and portfolio managers alike in assuring investors that there is a light at the end of the tunnel. 

Recent tech IPOs have faltered under this pressure.  Zynga finally clawed its way back above its IPO price last week, buoyed more than 5% by the Facebook IPO rumors (evidence by how much of the tech industry’s future is riding on a successful Facebook IPO).  And Groupon’s stock chart resembles the tracks of the Kingda Ka, steeply falling off after it’s initial public offering, but also climbing slightly above its debut price again last Friday. 

Where Facebook pegs its worth will likely matter very little in the initial days and weeks following the IPO – portfolio managers frothing at the mouth all but guarantee the upward trajectory of a space shuttle.  But, as any asset manager can tell you, money flooding into a product at a tsunami-like pace is hardly ever a good thing long-term. 


IPO - Imminent Privacy Obstacles

The notoriously secretive company guided by a CEO who has maintained controlling power against all odds, will soon be required to be more transparent than ever before.

Facebook’s greatest successes have been driven by the vision of the man who said in a 2009 interview “The level of transparency the world has now won’t support having two identities for a person.” (“The Facebook Effect” by David Kirkpatrick).  Likewise, the level of transparency the firm will soon be subject to will also not allow for two identities, and corporate culture is about as easy to turn as the Titanic was. 


IPO - Innovation Played Out

Mistakes concerning public reactions to privacy changes and user interface upheavals have been the cost of innovation. Zuckerberg has embraced this fact, and as he himself has said, it is necessary to be fearless in the face of possible mistakes to build a product that people love.  This approach has proved both his genius and his humanity. 

But continued innovation will no longer require only the fearlessness of a small group of investors.  $10 billion may represent only a fraction of the company’s value, but blue chip stocks do not often roll the dice on the whims of innovation.    


IPO - Inspiring Path (Obviously)

Apple Computer went public in December 1980, only four and a half years after Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak founded it.  In the decades since, both the firm and Jobs blazed a trail through tech that saw more twists and turns than even Aaron Sorkin could dream up.

Zuckerberg’s idea for an operating platform for the web was as groundbreaking in 2004 as the idea of an operating platform for computers was in the late seventies. Vision on that level is sometimes unstoppable even by the market forces that conspire against it.  But for entrepreneurs in the trenches across every industry, the Facebook IPO – no matter what its outcome – validates the mantra we repeat every day,  “Go big or go home”. 

Filed under entrepreneurship social media social networking tech facebook

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What’s your Facebook strategy? Are you a barnacle? Plankton? Or remora?


As a tech startup we often discuss our Facebook strategy.

There is no way around it. Facebook has grown to be such a WHALE in the business world (its 165m US based users average 8 hours a month on the site!) that it is necessary for every company – tech and otherwise - to have a Facebook strategy. However, it seems like most firms believe the only way to build web-based tools is to build them on top of Facebook.

Our question is: Is the “barnacle strategy” the only solid, business approach?

When it comes to whales, barnacles are along for the ride. Although they do no harm to a whale, as they grow in number they slow the whale’s speed through the ocean. But here’s the thing, it’s not bad to be a barnacle.

In fact, several people have suggested to us that instead of building our own site, we simply build a Facebook app. The typical wording that most startups use is “we’re leveraging the social graph”. But the social graph is not something that exists on its own. Its not a government sponsored vehicle that is free to everyone. It’s not NPR, its not the US Census information. The social graph is the vast data that is owned lock stock and smoking barrel mainly by Facebook.

And, in all honesty, I could not imagine building my business solely on the back of another business. That entails relinquishing a lot of control to another party. And I don’t know if I would want to add another layer of worry onto those that come with being an entrepreneur.

What layer of worry is that?


What happens when Facebook decides to change the rules of the game?

Or charge for access to the social graph?

Or get into the same game you’re in?

Then your role goes from barnacle to plankton in the blink of an eye.

Of course, the new danger in this world is always “What if Facebook decides to do what I do?” It can happen to app developers who go the barnacle strategy route. And it can happen to firms that decide to swim on their own. For example, Foursquare has had to contend with Facebook introduced Places. And Groupon has to know that at any moment Facebook might decide to flex its data power with the mass coupon game (although frankly, I don’t know why it would want to).

So I’ve thought about this long and hard, and I think that from our perspective we’re going to go with a strategy I have seen few firms use: The remora strategy.

Remoras are agile, adaptive fish. They can attach themselves to whales, sharks, even boats. But they also swim well on their own, and often dart away to gather their own food. Because the actions of the remora benefit their hosts (whales, sharks, etc) they are not preyed upon.

One tech firm that successfully uses the remora strategy is Zynga.

They have their own site, outside of Facebook, but they have made their Facebook partnership work in such a way that both firms succeed together. However, Zynga’s focus on staying independent and maintaining its ability to dart away to feed when necessary will continue to help the firm grow as more and more platforms take shape.

So next week when we go into meet with our development team regarding the way we want to develop Facebook apps I will be keeping a keen eye on leveraging the platform and the access it gives to a firehose of potential data. However, I will also remember that our goal is also to be able to dart away when necessary and still take care of ourselves.

Filed under Zynga Facebook strategy remora apps entrepreneur startup