Archive for the ‘Business Models’ Category

5 Steps to Successful Remote Management

admin 20th of April 2009 by admin

At RevaHealth.com, we depend on teams at remote locations to gather a lot of our information for us. The challenges presented by both the time differences and the geographical distance have led us to put together a fool-proof, 5 point plan to help us successfully manage our remote workers.

Before remote workers can start doing their job, it’s up to us to have everything well prepared for them. We have to create, gather and distribute all the initial data that they will need, and make sure whatever software they’re going to be using works. Processes need to be documented and explained so that we can communicate clearly and quickly with our remote workers.

We have to provide very explicit training based on our documentation; including screen shots of a step-by-step process helps a lot. The workers will often print out and read the instructions while we explain the task over the phone or via email, making notes as they go along. Providing every bit of detail, down to the smallest part of the task, is essential. We have to remember that something that is obvious to us may be completely foreign to someone else. So, by explaining each part of the task step-by-step in a logical order, we are more likely to get positive results.

It is vital to give remote workers the chance to ask questions. Communication is the key factor when it comes to managing remote teams. Take all questions seriously and answer them as quickly as possible. Providing feedback every day lets workers know that their job is important to us and that we appreciate their efforts, and, of course, this encourages them to work harder.

Scheduling is very important, both in terms of what times we can communicate with each other and also in terms of setting deadlines and goals. It may be necessary to have the person responsible for remote worker management come in earlier or later than other members of staff, so that communication lines are open for longer. We also have to set up realistic and deliverable goals and deadlines for the individual tasks that we set. Repeatedly asking your team to do the impossible will most likely result in not a lot getting done!

Technical problems will invariably arise, forcing us to change what our remote workers are doing. That’s another reason why communication is essential in every situation. Always have some back-up work ready to go so that if the project you’re focusing on has to suddenly stop, you’re not left paying for workers to sit idle. If we provide enough information about what is happening on our side, our remote workers understand and can move on to the next task.

The challenges & recommendations for app developers

admin 6th of March 2008 by admin

Application development on social networking platforms was the hot topic this week at the Graphing Social Patterns conference in San Diego. Ironically it’s like the wild wild west of a few hundred years ago – lots of prospectors in an undefined territory where the opportunity is massive.

Here are the key challenges and recommendations I collected from the speakers and conversations I had at the conference:

Challenges:

  • Applications and widgets are hard to monetize. Traditionally brand advertising is related to the web CONTENT (e.g. target “Grey’s Anatomy” watchers because they appear to fit with the brand). Essentially the new world of social network advertising is trying to monetize NEW types of experiences and context-free environments. Since users can create any type of group, profile, page etc. there is some fear over what the ads will be placed next to.
  • There are low barriers to entry. Anyone and their dog (who knows a bit about PHP) can create an application on Facebook rather quickly at very low cost. This has lead to low quality, low utility, disposable, spammy apps but the good news is that the trend is quickly moving towards high value, engaging, quality apps.
  • The metrics for measuring and analysing applications are minimal. This is an evolving area in itself.
  • There are multiple APIs. OpenSocial vs. Facebook/Bebo platform – different audiences, channels, usage patterns etc.

Recommendations:

  • Develop apps that have utility and meaning. Facebook is changing the rules of the platform to protect its users and provide an experience that increases communication and improves user engagement.
  • Ensure your app is: 1. Clear in its proposition and easy to use, 2. Measurable – track growth, engagement, advertising etc., and 3. Flexible – many crappy trials beats deep thinking/planning (Note: I believe this was the case for the low quality apps but the future apps require significant planning to make them of value. The main point of this is to get it out there early to see how users react – “perpetual beta”)
  • Apps have three distinct stages of development: 1. Marketing – use appropriate channels to spread your “call to action”; 2. Growth – tune and track virality; What are the other apps in your category doing?; 3. Engagement – increase page views and time spent on site
  • The level of trust must be improved between the users, applications, networks, and marketers.
  • Plan for a portable ID. The industry trend points towards a future that allows for an ID that’s shared between applications/networks but will be controlled by the users (e.g. permissions)
  • For social games the “social” aspect is more important than the “game” – it’s better when your friends are contacting you to “play”. You still must implement typical aspects of gaming – level/goal progression, turns, leader-boards, incentives/rewards: gifts, unlocking features etc.

Facebook is on Fire

conor 21st of August 2007 by conor

I did a post on the sexy work Nooked is doing in Facebook over at blognation (picked up by SiliconRepublic) but given Ben’s recent question regarding FB developers in Ireland, I thought it was worthwhile to point out what a lucrative area it is to be in.

The big story last week was on TripAdvisor and the will they/won’t they buy Where I’ve Been for $3m. Even if they aren’t, no-one is blinking an eye at the valuation. Those who are managing to get lots of users of their FB apps are highly attractive right now.

The clincher for me is that Facebook’s own venture backers are investing in FB application developers. They see the Facebook Platform as something which benefits both FB and the apps guys rather than just being a land-grab by FB. Social Media in the US which develops FB and MySpace apps just received $1m in funding. When Jeff Clavier is involved in an investment, it is always worth watching.

Looking forward a few months, it seems clear that MySpace are going to come out with their own platform. Bebo will be roadkill if they don’t too. Those who are active in the FB application space will be ideally placed to exploit these other platforms. I’m convinced that Irish companies with expertise and a track record in building successful FB applications must be on the radar of European investors.

Enterprise Ireland hosts SaaS Summit 2007

admin 11th of June 2007 by admin

Enterprise Ireland will host a full-day summit on how to design, develop, deploy, scale, as well as market and sell on-demand software. The day will focus real-life case studies and learnings from Irish companies interspersed with keynotes from US representatives, analysts and journalists. More information on http://www.saasie.org. Hope to see you there.

Business Model School: The Penny Gap

fergus 12th of March 2007 by fergus

Josh Kopelman of First Round Capital [one of the most active early stage investors in "web2.0" space] has an excellent article on business models

Quote:

“The truth is, scaling from $5 to $50 million is not the toughest part of a new venture – it’s getting your users to pay you anything at all. The biggest gap in any venture is that between a service that is free and one that costs a penny.”

Check out the blog postRedeye VC: The Penny Gap and subscribe …..

http://www.typepad.com/t/trackback/16750240