Facebook: It’s tough love!

After a pretty successful proof of concept with MyPix version 1.0 we really had three clear goals for v2.0:

  1. Richer graphics to support our sponsors branding
  2. More social and engaging functionality for users to enjoy
  3. Integration with social networks to support viral growth

So how do I score us 4 weeks after the v2.0 launch. I think the graphical UI is so far improved – even though it can always be cleaner and simpler I think we are in a solid direction. The social and engaging functionality? Just wait to see what we have in the pipeline, we have all the platform components in place to really do some great things. For viral growth we decided early that to meet our deadlines we would focus on the >900 million user Facebook social network. So what about Facebook integration?

A picture tells a thousand words, so here it is…

We have all our messages defined for posting information on new games, weekly results, winners, congratulating winners and the all important friend invitation with Coach locked-down. All our users have given us the permissions to post messages to their Timelines – which can be disabled in the Settings menu. Then we get to mid-August and Facebook changes the interface (API)  that applications like MyPix use. Our technical approach will still work but not reliably enough to put in front of our users. If you want the detail, Facebook deprecated the Offline Access in favor of long-lived Access Tokens but it leaves a lot of scenarios where results can’t be guaranteed. It broke a lot of 3rd party applications.

This week we will introduce Invitation-Coach via Facebook but it won’t be as seamless as we would like. We’ll keep working on the long-term solution but sometimes you just have to start with something functional but less than perfect.

Facebook. Yeah it’s tough love. Did we make the right choice to bet on it, I think so and time will tell.

One thing is for sure though Facebook is tough love!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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A Bootstrapper turns 50

Am I too old to bootstrap a start-up – NEVER!

Bootstrapping, as outlined by Guy Kawasaki,is a set of techniques for launching a start-up without the luxury of deep pools of external financing – you literally “pull yourself up by your bootstraps”. A great example might be the success of Instagram which was sold 18 months after launching, at which point it had a 1bn valuation and still only 13 employees.

MyPix is a bootstrap. 18 months after the initial team met there are still just 8 of us directly involved and you would be amazed at how little we have spent. We meet virtually through the wonderful Skype service – which my daughter also uses far more than she uses Facebook or Twitter by the way.

Two days ago I find myself in Boston for some meetings. I am so used to staying in wonderful hotels on business trips, but what would a bootstrapper do? Yup for less than $20 in Target I get a body pillow and a blanket and I hunker down in the car – $200/night in savings and surprisingly comfortable. I even negotiated the car on Priceline!

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You’re never too old to bootstrap!

 

 

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A Bootstrapper turns 50

Am I too old to bootstrap a start-up – NEVER!

Bootstrapping, as outlined by Guy Kawasaki,is a set of techniques for launching a start-up without the luxury of deep pools of external financing – you literally “pull yourself up by your bootstraps”. A great example might be the success of Instagram which was sold 18 months after launching, at which point it had a 1bn valuation and still only 13 employees.

MyPix is a bootstrap. 18 months after the initial team met there are still just 8 of us directly involved and you would be amazed at how little we have spent. We meet virtually through the wonderful Skype service – which my daughter also uses far more than she uses Facebook or Twitter by the way.

Two days ago I find myself in Boston for some meetings. I am so used to staying in wonderful hotels on business trips, but what would a bootstrapper do? Yup for less than $20 in Target I get a body pillow and a blanket and I hunker down in the car – $200/night in savings and surprisingly comfortable. I even negotiated the car on Priceline!

Image

You’re never too old to bootstrap!

 

 

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Social Games 2.0

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How many people remember the train wreck and ensuing carnage from Web 1.0?  I like to think of it as an amazing education in how businesses shouldn’t be built – a very expensive education!

So now we sit back and look at Web 2.0, the Facebook IPO and the stock price of companies like GroupOn, Netflix and Zynga. Did it just happen again? What now Web 3.0?

I don’t think so. Questions of company valuations aside I think the business models of Web 2.0 are real and have longevity. Not to say they will all survive as competitors arise with similar and tweaked business models, but that’s just capitalism.

And so we decided to launch MyPix Games. We don’t compete with Zynga, in fact we don’t compete directly with anyone out there. We are just a team of fairly experienced people that decided to chase a dream and launch a new gaming concept.

Over the coming days and weeks we’ll talk about subjects such as Social Gaming, Social Influence and Social Scoring. We’ll talk about how to keep games fresh and monetization.

For now it all starts with a simple premise and an absolute focus on one thing. Providing an enhanced social experience for fans of sports and entertainment. The fan is our customer if we remember that then we’ll do just fine!

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