Get in Touch
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About

I'm Campbell.  This is my blog. I founded Loosecubes, an office sharing community, and live in New York City.

I believe everyone has the power inside them to do something great.  Although not everyone aspires to greatness, I think you should.  I hope my blog will encourage you to take a couple steps forward every day. Let's do it together.

 

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Entries in startups (6)

Sunday
Feb272011

You're sales

I want to reframe my post You’re product and community. 

Product and community are the two most important parts of my business (other than technology, which I can’t actively work on). 

If the most important part of your business is selling your product or services directly to customers, don’t outsource sales.   It’s fine to outsource everything else.  If the difference between success and failure is your ability to close sales with ad agencies, spend 80% of your time understanding your customer, engaging them, and closing the deal.  Spend 20% sleeping.  Have other people do the rest (website, marketing materials, taking out the trash). 

Don’t hire a sales guy so you can make sure the trash gets taken out.  You are the best (and only) person to tell the story.  Tell it.

 

Tuesday
Feb222011

You're product and community

When I was first starting work on Loosecubes, one of my friends and trusted advisors said to me, “You’re going to need to be the product manager and the community manager for now. You can’t delegate these early on.” 

I had no idea what a product manager was and had some idea about what the community manager might be.  I’d run a nonprofit after all. 

For those of you who don’t know what a product manager is, check a great post by Colin Nederkoorn (Product Manager for Challenge Post and generally awesome person): http://bit.ly/b0nwfO 

If you’re starting a company on your own, start thinking about how you balance manager time (community) with maker time (product).  These are two very different ways of thinking.  I found doing product (wireframes, user flows, reviewing comps) at night and on the weekend and doing community during the day (emails, marketing materials, meeting with people, talking to users) the best way to balance both.

This is why it’s hard to find time to exercise when you’re starting a company.  Hang on, it does get better (I hope). 

Monday
Feb142011

Why don't we get drunk and screw

Names matter.  Especially in a world of SEO and links, trademark costs and web domain brokers.  Yikes, you better pick right.

People need to remember the name of your company.  How many awesome new products do you hear about that you can’t google for the life of you?  I want to share - or god forbid - buy your product and I can’t get the name right!  You’re dead in the water.

Functional names work in industries where figurative names dominate (like songs). Why don’t we get drunk and screw is so obvious it’s shocking. and memorable. no subtlety there. Jimmy Buffet was freaking brilliant.

On the other hand, figurative names work well in industries where functional names are the norm.  Amazon, for example, is way better than www.storethatsellseverything.com and zappos works much better than www.shoestore.com, or was it www.shoesstore.com?  double consonants are a killer. We had that with www.smythhotel.com.  I always want to leave out one “h.”

How does your company's name make your customers feel? How many times do you have to remind people what your company is called?  Try before you buy.  Test a name for a week and see what people say.  And please don't pay $10,000 for a domain name that you haven't tested.  Don't wimp out.  Get this one right.

Tuesday
Feb012011

You have no choice

I’ve talked to a lot of people about their business ideas.  “What do you think?” they ask.

These are tough conversations.  Chances are you know way more than I do about your market and what strategy you are going to use to attack it.  I can’t tell you to move forward or not.

What I can tell you is some advice a good friend gave me: 

You know when you’ve hit on the right idea because you’ll have no choice but to pursue it.

 If you have to ask, chances are it’s not the right idea.

Sunday
Jan302011

I love my "job"

When I set out to create Loosecubes, my primary goal was to create a job for myself that I loved doing.  And while I didn’t expect it to be an eighty-hour workweek, I have in fact done just that.  


So here we are.  The first step has to be: define your goal.  

Sunday
Jan302011

Is this thing on?

I’m Campbell.  Thanks for checking out my blog.  I started it so I could share my ideas with you and stop distracting my coworkers.  Hopefully you’ll find some useful tidbits, particularly if you’re starting a business or contemplating it.  

Inspired by the blogs one of my all time heros, Seth Godin, here are the rules: 

- Short (less than 200 words)

- Actionable (one thing to take away that you can apply today)

- True anecdotes (most of the time)

I like to write about chunky startups, human nature, and the ridiculous situations that come up when you live and work in NYC.  I used to be involved with construction which means sometimes I swear.  I’m working on the swearing but I can’t make any promises (sorry Mom).

Buckle your seatbelts, people. This is going to be fun.