Time to sing?

28 March 2008

On her way to Snagstaville?

It’s been a good week here at Snagstaville. The sun may have not shined much in Southwest London but we’re smiling again. The guys in Bangkok and Hong Kong are putting the final touches to Snagsta and we fully expect to roll out a private alpha version of the site next week.

Although we still can’t hear the fat lady sing she just might have finished nibbling on her last cake before she takes the stage.

We’ve also been playing with our Facebook app and had a lot of fun reading the lists we’ve received. They are as eclectic and as colourful as all the wonderful people who wrote them – thanks again to all of you who have made the time to help us out.

A great list landed on our digital doorstep on Wednesday courtesy of Loic Le Meur – the founder of a very interesting site named Seesmic.

I wanted to share this list on our blog because we found it particularly inspiring. Although setting up Snagsta has been great fun it’s had it moments of extreme stress. That said, taking a dream and turning it into reality is an incredibly uplifting experience. If you’re thinking about setting up your own company then this list is definitely worth snagging!

10 rules to launch a startup today

1. Do not wait for a revolutionary idea, the idea of your life will never happen, just focus on a simple exciting empty space you see and execute as fast as possible

2. Share your idea as much as possible, the more you share, the more you get advice and the more you learn. Meet and talk to your competitors.

3. Build a community around you through blogging and social software.

4. Listen to your community, answer questions and build your product with their feedback, involve bloggers as early as possible and get their feedback, if negative, adapt your product permanently.

5. Gather a great team with a very different skill set than yours, look for people who are better than you without being afraid of it.

6. Be the first to recognize a problem or a mistake you have made. Never hide it under the carpet. Address the issue in public, learn and correct it.

7. Do not spend time on market research, but launch as early as possible in alpha or beta versions. Keep improving the product in the open.

8. Do not focus on a large spreadsheet business plan, you are so sure it is not going to happen anyway.

9. Do not plan huge marketing, growing with your community loving the product is much more powerful.

10. Do not focus on getting rich or selling your company, focus on your users, money is a consequence of success, can’t be a goal

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Cosby Sweaters!

22 March 2008


You may have read Alex M’s list in his post last week – you probably wouldn’t remember it though, even I nodded off while reading it. But that’s not necessarily a bad thing. In fact, it’s exactly why we’re hoping Snagsta will do well. One man’s delight is another man’s anathma.

So where am I going with this? Sure we’re a site that’s full of lists. And people love lists. Especially Americans according to videoblogger Kirby Ferguson (check out this amusing clip: Americans love lists). In truth though, we’re more of a ‘find’ engine. And here’s why:

1. You’ll be able to dip straight into lists created by your friends. People who you trust and whose passions you understand.

2. More interestingly, by comparing people’s lists and tastes we’ll be able to indentify like-minded people and send them suggestions from each other’s lists.

3. And we won’t send you lists from people you have nothing in common with.

4. It’s going to be interesting to see how good at this we are.

5. Alex M is the last person I’d want as the DJ at my party or advising me on men’s fashion but if I needed advice on buying a mountain bike or how to prepare for a trip to the North Pole then he’s the man I’d want behind me. Well, perhaps just to the side…

6. But if the Snagsta engine suggests a selection of Kylie Minogue tracks or a variety of Bill Cosby sweaters from Alex M’s lists then I know we’re in big trouble.

7. Then it’s time to roll up our sleeves again. Not like the old days when all I’d roll was my eyes… along with a non-committal “Sorry. This is not my thing, I work in the Marketing Department”.

8. But if our theory works, if you’re still reading this list you’re probably my mom.

Happy Easter!

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White water rafting

14 March 2008

Alex G made us laugh during one of our frequent Skype conference calls earlier today. We were catching up on the progress of our technical build and G who is acting at the build’s project manager was reflecting on the joys of his role. He told us that trying to lead the technical team through to launch was akin to trying to steer a raft down an enormous set of white water rapids.

As we now enter calmer waters and edge ever closer to our alpha launch we thought it might be a good time to share some of our key learnings of the project so far – in the form of a list (of course):

1. Work with people you have worked with before and like

2. Play to their strengths – people perform much better when they focus on the tasks they like doing

3. For key requirements hire full-time contractors

4. Reward your team on a deliverables basis

5. Factor in a contingency for production times. Then triple it

6. Let the team set specific, measurable, achievable, realistic and time bound objectives

7. If you run in to problems, focus on solutions as a team – finger pointing and shouting achieves very little

8. Manage expectations – yes, it’s an old cliché but it’s also so important

9. Get the right balance of realism and optimism – this is never easy to do as an entrepreneur but vitally important

10. Exercise regularly – even if you’re busy and working hard to meet a deadline – there is no better way to get rid of stress

11. Lastly, take time out to laugh, even when things seem really, really bad

Not sure this is anything like a definitive list but it is perhaps a start of one I will later publish on Snagsta. If you’d like me to add anything I would appreciate suggestions – while you’re at it, a couple of tips for Mr. G on white water rafting would be welcome too!

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Clearing the clutter from your desktop

7 March 2008

I’ve seen a couple of interesting posts recently on the move towards storing your data online and thus minimizing the need to be tied down to one computer.

Matt Cutts has a dying laptop, so he’s happy that he is using a bunch of tools to keep all his important stuff online – of course they are mostly Google tools, but hey, what do you expect?

Robert Scoble (who incidentally has just agreed to let us store one of his lists in Snagsta – hooray!) posted on the subject too and as usual when I read his posts, I realize that I am nowhere near as close to the cutting edge as I think I am.

Of course, I can only hope that both of these bloggers are right in their thinking and that we do see more and more people start to move their data online.

I am, as always, very biased in my views, because we hope that Snagsta becomes one of the tools that people use in this movement!

To close, here is a short list of tools that may be useful if you do decide you want to keep more things off your desktop (and remember, I am not anywhere near as online as you can be, so there are plenty more out there):

1. del.icio.us
Such a simple concept, but a great way to store your favourite sites online.

2. MediaFire
File storage and more.

3. flickr
Never keep a picture on your computer again.

4. Zoho Writer
Online word processor – a good alternative to Google Docs.

5. Meebo
The IM aggregator, although I also use Skype.

6. Gmail
Move email off your computer and let Google keep them for you.

7. PasswordSafe
Have been recommended this, although I haven’t started using it myself yet.