Wow, only one week left. But that doesn’t mean the workload has lessened!
My final project for TextDigger is to compile a comprehensive list of all the SEO/SEM firms in the world. No easy feat, since I am estimating the number to be around 4000. But this last task is especially important as one of TextDigger’s main products, a software package that leverages our state-of-the-art Natural Language Processor, is designed specifically for SEO/SEM consultants. This software package, which analyzes web pages and makes semantic suggestions for improving web page rankings in search results, is fairly difficult to manueveur and too complicated for most end-users. However, it is perfect for the SEO/SEM audience, who can utilize the program to take out much of the guesswork in their daily work.
When I first began to familiarize myself with the product a few weeks ago, I remember wondering why TextDigger didn’t directly market this product to website owners. Sure, the program wasn’t intuitive, but my guess was that most people who owned a website would be able to use the product effectively.
“Bob,” I asked, during one of our impromptu conversations, “Why don’t we just spend more time making the UI more intuitive, and sell directly to website owners? Then we can cut out the middlemen (SEO consultants).”
Bob’s answer made a lot of sense – that there are essentially no effective channels for marketing such a product to website owners – and reminded me that sometimes it is most effective to focus on what you do best. A lot of times, I find myself brainstorming about all the ways that a business can expand vertically as well as horizontally in order to garner as much market share as possible. However, in the case of TextDigger, their ROI is much greater producing 2/3 of the solution and selling to the SEO consultants, who provide the last third of the solution. Furthermore, if we expanded our target client base, we would be directly competing with SEO consulting firms instead of partnering with them to achieve, more or less, the same result.
This past Thursday, the TEC interns heard from Tim Young of SocialCast. Tim interwined his story of how he bootstrapped SocialCast with continual reflections about his personal life. His presentation, which contained some great photos of his childhood and even recent family vacations, underlined the importance of balancing one’s professional goals with a meaningful private life. Many of Tim’s values and beliefs seemed to contrast those of other entrepreneurs we had heard from in the previous weeks. For one, Tim thought multi-tasking was B.S. I’m neither here nor there on multi-tasking, but I can easily imagine that the super dynamic, super broad, we’re making the “killer app” type approach that many entrepreneurs seem to praise, can easily cause more harm than help. It is great to be able to see success on both ends of the spectrum.
We also heard from Paul Walborsky of GigaOm and Puneet Agarwal, the executive-in-residence at True Ventures. Paul’s presentation was also incredibly engaging as he talked about the economics behind modern-day business plans. He explained how to take advantage of the demand curve for your services by creating strong relationships with your users, and then leveraging that relationship to upsell products and services related to your market niche. His models were accompanied with real statistics of GigaOm’s revenue, which were indeed very compelling. The ties that he drew between economics and business were inspiring to me, an entrepreneur that is majoring in economics at UCLA, as they really validated the usefulness of much of what I am studying. Puneet’s discussion on the future of cloud computing was similarly interesting. Hearing him reason through all of the different developments in various areas of cloud computing answered a lot of questions that I had formerly found myself contemplating in my head, usually ending up more confused than when I started.
Can’t believe this thing is almost over,