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Advice from a VC

This is from the journalism resource Poynter's online media blog. It is posted by their online media guy, Steve Outing. He notes that while the original document, "10 Steps to a Hugely Successful Web 2.0 Company," is aimed at Internet start-ups, but as Outing notes, it seems that they are more widely applicable -- including to e-government or agency applications.

Good Advice From a VC

In case you haven't seen it already, venture capitalist Charlie O'Donnell of Union Square Ventures has written a wonderful help document, "10 Steps to a Hugely Successful Web 2.0 Company." While it's aimed at Internet start-ups, much of the advice also can be applied as well at larger media companies that are developing new Web 2.0-oriented applications and services.

Some of O'Donnell's advice might be hard to swallow for large-media folks, but it's important to think outside the old-media box. For instance: "Don't wait until its perfect to put it out in the open. No more closed invite-only betas. Your idea of perfect may not jive with your users' ideas of perfect. Put whatever you can out there and get people using it as soon as possible. Feed them daily with new features to keep them interested and coming back."

And: "Distribute. Distribute. Distribute. Don't force your users to play on your site in a walled garden. Let them take the service and use it wherever they want. (See Flickr badges, Google Ads, Amazon affiliates, Indeed jobrolls, del.icio.us linkrolls, moblogging, RSS, e-mail alerts, etc., etc. ...)"

And: "Don't waste any money on marketing. Word of mouth has never ever been easier or less expensive in the history of human communication. Things go viral in a hurry ... when they're good."

Think like a start-up -- even if you're not one.


One of the items listed seems difficult for government agencies:
Launch. Now. Tomorrow. Every day. Don't wait until its perfect to put it out in the open. No more closed invite-only betas. Your idea of perfect may not jive with your users' ideas of perfect. Put whatever you can out there and get people using it as soon as possible. Feed them daily with new features to keep them interested and coming back. No one likes waiting six years for new releases.

Google, of course, always launches beta everything. I'm not sure if this would work for federal agencies.

Posted by Christopher Dorobek on Oct 26, 2005 at 12:15 PM


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