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FAIL FAST

Mobile University Part 2

John Jonelis

MobiUHere’s more of the best on MobiU, put on by Heartland Mobile Council with speakers ranging from ESPN to Best Buy, all here to tell us how they do Mobile.

And all these big shots stick around THE WHOLE DAY to take in the conference. That’s something that never happens anywhere. Usually, a speaker does his talk then heads for the airport. Not here. This crowd needs to find out what the others are doing. Nobody really knows what works or why.

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MULTIPLE DEVICES - Heartland Mobile Council

MULTIPLE DEVICES – Heartland Mobile Council

I get tagged as a volunteer and can’t cover the event, so I ask my old friend Donatis Ludditis for help. I’m hoping for a man-on-the-street slant on the conference. Can he do it? It’s a long shot. This guy avoids technology like rotten fish.

Ludditis catches me off-guard when he draws two Smartphones from his pockets like pistols. He’s jumping into Mobile with both feet! As he explains in his peculiar blend of Balkan and Chicago dialects: “Is wonderful—no office—no desk. I hate desk. Can talk to grandchildren. No need computer—keep everything on cloud.”

I’m amazed. Here’s this relic from the Lithuanian neighborhood in Chicago, where the Old Language was the Main Language. And he owns two of the slickest new smartphones while I still cling to my antique Palm Pilot. Even at his age he’s full of energy and I don’t think he’ll lose his wild head of Einstein hair if he lives past a hundred. This guy still cracks walnuts with his biceps.

I feed him potato pancakes and sit through a late showing at the theater he wants to see and now it’s the wee hours.  We’re walking a dark street in a part of town where I don’t belong. I’m wanting to call it a day.

“You no like it here, Yon?” Ludditis says, clucking his tongue.

I show him my wristwatch. “It’s three in the morning! Even the muggers are tucked under the sheets.”

Ludditis glances at my phony Rolex. “People still wear such things?”

Photo by Heartland Mobile Council

Photo by Heartland Mobile Council

“I know just what you need.” He nods knowingly. “I fix you up good. He stops walking and peers at one of his smartphones. “There is place open just two blocks away.” He pockets the phone and takes off at a march and as I tag along he says, “No sleep much at my age. No miss much either!”

The place turns out to be a coffee shop. We’re the only customers and grab a booth. Ludditis orders two cups—black coffee—then shoves them both across at me. “You drink, Yonulis—and listen good. I tell about conference just like you ask me to do. First, this Bieber person.”

That wakes me up quicker than the coffee. Ludditis stays current with pop culture at his age? I switch on my MP3 recorder and swallow the black java.

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Ludditis Reports

“One speaker is Corey Bieber from Blue Cross Blue Shield. Maybe cousin to Justin Bieber. Maybe big joke. I not know. She do project on expectant mothers. Good place to use Mobile App. High-risk group. Lotsa monitoring. Repeat condition. Finite time. Emotional audience. Is perfect. Naturally, their study works out good. App saves the company so much money in claims, they wanna give it away free. That way, even more mothers will use it and company saves even more money. But there is internal obstacle. No real data. With no hard proof, is hard sell to upper management. They still trying.”

Somehow that seems ironic to me.  Ludditis goes on:

“Here is what I think happens. Big shot tycoons—they yusta looking at pretty color graphs. Big numbers game. Millions they spend to tell me what I must buy. No more! All big guessing game now. But they know they must play game to win. So corporations sweat bullets to find out how to get people to pay attention to them. Then they want we should tell our friends on Faceboooke, Tweetter, Leenkedin—whatever. How you predict such things in people? Where you place your million dollar bets? Ha!  Nobody know!” He heaves a sigh and smiles. “It make me feel human again—not number—not no more. Dis I like a lot.

“Then lawyer, David Almeida his name–he show us big legal mess. Old laws like square pegs. Courts shoehorn them into Mobile world. Like Cinderella’s slipper! Lawyers gonna make lotsa money like always.”

I write that one down.

Heartland Mobile

Heartland Mobile

“Two guys from Best Buy–they do case study on young males.  Customer want to know if gizmo in store is a good deal. So customer use Mobile Internet to compare price. This turn whole shopping world upside down.”

“You mean people always shop for the best price.”

Ludditis peers at me from under his heavy eyebrows like I’m some kinda idiot. “Convenience, Yonulis. Is number one today. Yusta go straight to store—see if you like product, then go to other store to check price—take all day. No more! Now people check Internet. Reviews. Ratings. Then go to store—feel product—see it. Check price with Smartphone right there. Nobody will come to store unless you make that all possible. Is new kinda service. Then special sale pops up on Mobile. Maybe even show map of store.  Maybe clerk in store show App to help customer.”

Ludditis waves the waitress down and orders a piece of pie. “You like pecan, Yon?”

I nod and sip more coffee.

“Two–with ice cream,” he tells the waitress, then turns back to me. “Here is message: Mobile Apps—two kinds work best: Time savers I tell you about already. But time wasters work good also.”

Photo by Heartland Mobile

Photo by Heartland Mobile

Time Savers and Time Wasters

He’s lost me completely.  “Give me an example of a time waster.”

“Is games. Kids, they crazy for games. Games drive people to store.”

I see what he means. Two completely divergent strategies. But there must be a common denominator. “So Don, what’s the secret sauce?”

He bursts out in a big smile. “Is easy. How do people use Mobile? You take the time to find out! Then you make good customer experience. Not rocket science.”

I recall hearing the same message in the hall. “Listen Don. Today I ran into to Andrea Leiter. She says Mobile Apps are influencing kids.  She can tell because they’re mentioning brands all the time.”

Ludditis stops in the act of forking in a mouthful of pie. “Smart, that gal—she know what she talk about. I see two young guys from Deloitte show big study. Surprising results. Half of customers use Mobile. A hundred and sixty billion dollars of sales—give or take a couple billion—all connected to Mobile. But these not online sales—these in-store!” He digs out a glob of ice cream and closes his eyes while it melts in his mouth.

“What else do you have?”

Ludditis doesn’t answer right away and I have to admit, pecan pie goes good with vanilla ice cream. I’m just grateful Ludditis didn’t order sour cream like he does with most foods.

He starts up again: “Guy from Apartments Dot Com. Everybody think people use Mobile after work only. Wrong! His study show peak time stretch is from 10am to 10pm. Everybody think GPS biggest thing in Mobile. Wrong! Most important thing is functional App.

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New Nielsen Ratings

“Then I see Michael Bayle from ESPN. This is television station I watch. Football.  They can send out instant replay on Mobile—seven seconds is all it takes! This I like, too.”

Michael Bayle - ESPN

MICHAEL BAYLE – ESPN – by Ludditis

Ludditis sits back and stretches. “Then Bayle shows Nielsen ratings—numbers never seen by public before. Sports fanatics use Mobile Web more than Mobile Apps. Check scores. Watch replay. But spend time on Apps more than Web. You follow?”

I cock my head and look at him a moment before responding. “You mean they use Mobi more often but when they use an App they stick with it longer. What does he make of that?”

“I let Mr. Bayle scratch his head over that. Then they find out this: Sports nut spend forty percent more time on Internet than regular person does. But on Social Media, not sports. Could be they text with friends while watch game. Give same feel as being in crowd. This I not like.”

Too Much Jargon

Ludditis forks in the last of his pie. “Watch out for one thing, Yon. These people like big words. Not much data yet, but lotsa fancy words. Everybody wanna be scientist.”

I sip at my coffee. “It strikes me that way too. Listen, today I meet this guy named Tim Crawford and he says the jargon level is really high with nothing to back it up. At this point, the research is just in its infancy.”

Ludditis snorts.  “He is right.  Just alotta big talk.”

Tim Crawford

TIM CRAWFORD

“But Crawford has a deeper insight. It’s great to be here while it’s all developing. It’s fascinating to see the evolution take place.”

I sip the dregs of the caffeine. “You have to be in the Mobile space, he says—that’s a given. But lacking adequate data, you need a deep personal understanding. Otherwise you spend a lot of money and fail big. He advocates spending just a little money and failing fast. Be nimble and get on the right track. It’s extremely important to fail fast.”  Ω

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GO TO – THE TYRANNY OF THE TELEPHONE

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Contacts

Heartland Mobile CouncilHeartland Mobile Council Logo

Online: http://heartlandMobilecouncil.org/

Twitter: #mobiu2012

Facebook: HeartlandMobileCouncil

Photographs and comments used by permission of Hugh Jedwill and Heartland Mobile Council.

Find Chicago Venture Magazine at www.ChicagoVentureMagazine.com Comments and re-posts are welcomed and encouraged. This is not investment advice – do your own due diligence. I cannot guarantee accuracy but I give you my best.
Copyright © 2012 John Jonelis – All Rights Reserved

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Filed under App, Characters, Chicago Venture Magazine, Heartland Mobile Council, Internet, Internet Marketing, Marketing, Mobile, Mobile App, Mobile Marketing, MobiM, mobiU, Social Media

THE AMAZING MobiU

Mobile University Part 1

John Jonelis

MobiUHow do Social Networks, the Mobile Internet, and Mobile Apps get put to profitable use by Big Corporate Marketing?   I’m at MobiU to find out.  And the big companies are here to tell us about it – Anheuser-Busch, ESPN, United Airlines, Encyclopaedia Brittanica, Walgreens, Blue Cross Blue Shield, Pepsico, Best Buy, Deloitte Consulting, Kimberly-Clark, and many others.  This is the annual Mobile University Conference with speakers on multiple stages at the same time.  Heartland Mobile Council puts on this event at the Microsoft Innovation Center in Chicago.

The Tektite Group’s Jean Pickering runs the volunteers here and she puts the arm on me.  So, how am I gonna cover thisTektite Group event?  I already scheduled the article in Chicago Venture Magazine. 

Then something happens that seems like providence.  I run into Donatis Ludditis.  Good old Don!  Always ready to lend a guy a helping hand!  And a good head on his shoulders, too.  Robust–that’s what I’d call him.  White hair—kinda like Einstein.  Age doesn’t seem to phase him. 

“Don!” I shout, “Don, I need your help!”

He scowls, suddenly guarded. “What you want I should do?” he asks in his mix of Baltic and Chicago dialects.  “I too old for that no more.  I legit. Lawyer say I legit.”

“Just gimme your personal impressions on the talks.  And take some photos—here’s my camera.  Meet me at the old place afterwards.  I’m buyin’.”

“No break nobody’s legs?”  He grins.  “Okay!”  He says it with enthusiasm and grins some more.  “You buy I talk!”  But he hands back my camera.  “I no work dis kinda contraption.”

Smartphones - Photo by Gilly Berlin

SMARTPHONES – Photo by Gilly Berlin

I shrug and pocket my camera.  We shake hands and go our separate ways.  I should’ve known he’d refuse to use a digital camera.  Explaining technology to Ludditis is like talking to a caveman.  This is the guy that labeled the VCR the work of the devil.  I happen to know he never owned a computer in his life.  So what’s he doing here?  But here he is—here in this world of Social Networks and Mobile Internet Marketing—some of the most confounding stuff happening outside of particle physics.  Now, while Jean keeps me busy, I’m counting on Ludditis to give me the man-on-the-street slant on mobile tech.   And I’m worried.  Can he do it?

The Lithuanian Cathedral

The Lithuanian Cathedral

Ludditis is one of the few left from the old days when Lithuanian was the primary language in Chicago’s Marquette Park neighborhood.  He knew my relatives Father Stanley, Father Johnny, Sister Clarita.  He actually attended the old Lithuanian Cathedral.  He’s up there in years but you’re not gonna mess with this guy.  He’s stocky with huge biceps that he uses to crack walnuts.  And even at his age, he still looks plenty dangerous.

At the Diner

The day goes by in a blur and it’s 10pm when I walk into Ludditis’ favorite diner in the old neighborhood.  I find him at table, slowly pouring beer in a glass intended for milk or juice.  That’s the only kind of glass you get in this place. 

The Lithuanian Plaza - Chicago

The Lithuanian Plaza – Chicago

Three empty bottles already stand on the table—labels I can’t read but recognize as Lithuanian.  “I want potato pancakes,” I say as I take a chair.”

“Already order.  You buy dem, we eat dem.” 

I wonder what Donatis Ludditis can possibly know about Big Corporate Mobile Marketing.  I want to understand how they do it and what it means to Startups.  Thirty years back, when Don gave up the noble profession of bouncer (some say enforcer) he bought a tavern of his own, under the ‘L’ tracks.  Paid cash.  Calls it ‘Luddites Shots ‘n Beer.’  Why didn’t we meet there?

The waitress materializes from nowhere lugging two heavy plates.  Ludditis says something to her in Lugan and she comes back with a beer for each of us.  In his robust way he offers cheers.  “Sveikas!” he says as a toast and we clink bottles.  He still talks like an immigrant and he’s not gonna change, even if he makes it past a hundred. 

The beer goes down good.  The thing I like about potato pancakes at this place is they crunch when you chew and now I remember with all my senses why this little diner is the place to be.  “So Don,” I say. “How’d you get mixed up in a Mobile Internet conference?  I’d expect you to curse it as some kinda sin.”

MOBILE DEVICES – Heartland Mobile Council

The Convert

“No, no, is wonderful—so small—carry in trousers.”  He produces a huge Samsung Galaxy in one hand and an iPhone in the other. 

I drop my jaw.  Then, as Ludditis goes on, I take the opportunity to shovel in more potato pancakes and sour cream

“Fit in pocket, see.”  And he slips them away like a gunslinger holstering two six shooters. “They say it soon be part of clothes.”  He talks between bites of food.  “Maybe even put in body—in bloodstream!  No lug around heavy bag.  Is beautiful thing!” 

“It’s technology, Don.”

He shrugs.  “Friends all use it.”

“But you hate technology.”

“Is progress.  Cannot fight such things.  Besides—” He turns over a hand. “Is so easy to talk to a person.  And not stuck at desk.  I hate desk.”

Without warning, he pulls out the iPhone and goes silent.  He bows over the thing and then utters a healthy laugh.  “Is Mary—you know Mary, my great granddaughter,” he says after typing something with his big thumbs.  “She finally get that bum to marry her.  She want I tell her best place for wedding.  Monastero’s is place to go.  Best food.  Best service.  Best price.  So I text her.” 

He texts too?  I shake my head.  “Don, that’s a Sicilian place.”

“So what?”  All kind of people make up city.  Even old neighborhood not same no more.  Not so many speak the language.  New generations take place of old.  People move around.  He points the huge Galaxy phone at me and I see an image of a beautiful ballroom dominated with huge candelabra that look like bouquets of flowers.  “Nice place, you agree?”

In nod and he smiles.  Then he empties the remaining beer from his juice glass in one gulp.  “Look.”  He runs through a series of pictures taken at the MobiU event that day. Nice photography–I have to admit it.  Did he really take those with a phone? 

“What your email address?” he says.  “I send pictures to you.”

I stutter and then tell it to him.

Engaging Your Audience

ENGAGE YOUR AUDIENCE – Heartland Mobile Council

Now he gets out the other phone.  “Manager give two beer if we Like dis place.  You like dis place, Yon?  If you do, I press dis icon.  I no say–you say only.” 

“Yeah, I like it.  Plenty.  Call me John.”

He touches the screen and then thumbs the virtual keyboard and more beers arrive almost immediately.    

“Don, let’s get down to business.  What can you tell me about the conference?  Start from the beginning.”

HUGH JEDWILL – by Ludditis

“Well, that gonna be Hugh Jedwill.  He good boy.  Heartland Mobile Council – it his outfit.  No profit – not never.”

“Non-profit?”

“That what I just say.   Hey, you take notes Yanulis!  I say these things one time only!”  

I pull out an MP3 recorder and switch it on while he forks another glob of potato pancakes. “Their mission, Hugh call it—Change industry.  Do things the right way—not like dot com bomb.”

Not the Dot Com Bomb

“’Scuse me a sec, Don, but whadaya know about big business?”

Ludditis seems genuinely hurt.  “What—you think I no buy stocks?  No do research?  Am I crazy old man and let money rot in bank?”  He strokes the Galaxy and shows me the charts of a couple big tech companies. 

“Sorry.”

“Is okay.”  He brightens and I know the anger is instantly gone.  “Chicago—” Ludditis thumps the table with a meaty Heartland Mobile Council Logoforefinger.  “Chicago is best place to put on dis—dis MobiU.  People come from all over country.  It hub for airlines.  Railroad all pass through here.  Interstate squeeze through.  Dat mean trucks.  Is commodity capital of world.  Chokepoint for Internet.  Lotsa huge consumer brands in town.” 

“Okay, I get it.  Just like the ancient camel route that built Petra in the wilderness.”

He ignores that and goes on. 

No Force Feeding

“After Hugh, I hear Steve Surman from Anheuser-Busch.  He tell us, Do not be needle in haystack.  Dis is big company make Budweiser and he say that.  Old ideas, they no work, he say.  Used to be, ‘Buy me, I’mwhatever’—you fill in blank.  Everything brand-focused.  Nothing for people to say or do.  That is old way.  No good.”

I stare at him, amazed.  There’s really something here—something powerful enough to bring Donatis Ludditis out of a lifelong anti-technology shell.  And I marvel at his sturdy intellect.  I start taking notes like he told me to do. 

“Mobile,” he goes on, “It is big change in way people use tecnostuff.  Everybody want a say.  A say in what they buy.  Brands yusta ram message down your throat.  No more.”  Don squeezes his eyes closed.  “I memorize quote for you:  Surman say, ‘Intense expectation of engagement.’  That is it—exact words.  World not dis way—not for many, many years—such long time you do not even remember!”  He sits back and beams.  “So today, Mobile Contraptions bring back past.  Now we have job for brand and also job for buyer—just like old days when we haggle at market.  Dis I like.” 

I’m in awe.  Ludditis is telling me the same thing Google’s brain trust predicted.  They call it
The Zero Moment of Truth.

Now Ludditis is fooling around with one of his phones again.  “Good movie tonight.  You like movies, Yon?”

“Sure, what’s playing?”

He works his thumbs and then pockets the phone.  “Hugo.  I get bargain.” 

That raises a laugh from me.  “So that’s how you finally fall in love with technology?  The cheapskate in you is overcoming the barriers?”

Ludditis flashes a stern look.  “Smart guy.”  He holds his stare and I shut my trap.  “Is completely different, this Mobile Internet.  No need office.  No need computer.  No file cabinets.  No paper.  Store it all on cloud.  No lug briefcase like some bean counter.  Do anything anywhere.  No lose track of family.  It make me happy.” 

No Sex

“Yon, I think you not see how this make huge change–change in way companies do business,” he says. “This force new kinda advertising on Madison Avenue sharks.  Surman say old crutches no work on Mobile.  Yusta be sex, sex, sex!  Sex sell soap.  Sex sell beer.  Now people with these gizmos say sex get in way.”

“You mean to say sex is a distraction for Mobile users?”

“You no listen?  Here.  The app—she must be practical.  She must function.  And direct—easy to use.  Not just sex.”  He straightens in his chair.  “Dis I like also.”

So the old crutches don’t work in Mobile advertising?  I ponder whether that’s really true but Ludditis moves on and doesn’t give me time to consider it. 

Gatorade and Pandora

GATORADE and PANDORA – by Ludditis

Let me give you the short version of what Don tells me:  He sees Kim Luegers from Gatorade together with Sarah Bild from Pandora Radio.  Pandora’s got a teenage audience.  80% of these kids own smartphones and use the mobile Internet.  75% of their radio gets heard on mobile devices.  These kids pay attention to Mobile Ads.  80% tell friends about what they buy on social media.  They crave it.  And pretty soon they’re gonna be adults. 

We clink bottles again in a toast and I decide to test Ludditis.  “Can you define social media?”

The table immediately sags in the middle from the impact of his fist.  “Shuttup ‘n’ listen, Yonulis.  You think I make this stuff up?”

I show him both palms.  He continues more calmly.  “Turns out,” he says, “Gatorade choose special types to match music on Pandora.  They got active audience.  Kids like brand.  Gatorade does not tell them what to do—no, they listen to customer and talk to them.

They listen.  Of course—that’s the key to it all.  It’s no longer a one-way feed. 

Microsoft Innovation Center

I push away my plate and stretch my legs.  My gut is full and I’m feeling a little sloppy from all the beer.  I wave for the bill.  On the way out the door, Ludditis says, “Yon, you still want see movie?”  He sounds kinda eager, so what the heck.

“Yeah sure,” I say as we walk the dark empty street. 

Ludditis grins.  “I give you rest of the story after de show.”

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GO TO – FAIL FAST
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Contacts

Heartland Mobile Council:

Online: http://heartlandmobilecouncil.org/

Twitter: #mobiu2012

Facebook: HeartlandMobileCouncil

The Tektite Grouphttp://tektitegroup.wordpress.com/

Photographs and comments used by permission of Hugh Jedwill and Heartland Mobile Council.

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Find Chicago Venture Magazine at www.ChicagoVentureMagazine.com Comments and re-posts are welcomed and encouraged. This is not investment advice – do your own due diligence. I cannot guarantee accuracy but I give you my best.
Copyright © 2012 John Jonelis – All Rights Reserved

16 Comments

Filed under Chicago Venture Magazine, Conflict, Heartland Mobile Council, Innovation, Innovation and Culture, Invention, Mobile, Mobile App, Mobile Marketing, MobiM, mobiU, Social Media, Tektite

MAKE TIME FOR LOVE

Lovendar Logo

Your calendar reminds you this is the anniversary of the day you first met. That’s a great heads-up because if you’re like me, you sometimes don’t remember the things that are truly important in a love relationship. How many years has it been? How can you create a surprise? Do you have a clue what to buy, where to go?

How much of your day do you spend poking around stores and websites for ideas? Or is Ellona Fersonit already 5pm on your anniversary—too late to get those theater tickets and you don’t know how to bust loose from the office?

What if love knowledge opened up to you and freed you to spend quality time building your relationship? Wouldn’t that be better?

Enter Lovendar.

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No Action, No Marriage

Lovendar is a free calendar-driven mobile app—an intimate Pinterest.  It’s a relationship tool that turns wishes into actions.

It prompts you with new ideas, day to day. It reminds you of the important days. Where will you go? What will you buy? What special meal will you prepare? You and your spouse already entered personal wishes on the site. Lovendar is telling each of you exactly what the other wants at just the right time and how to find it using a seamless connection through online vendors.

Lasting relationship and lasting intimacy is built around small things—the day-to-day thoughtful surprises—the frequent expressions of love—the celebration of the special days.

Have you ever been faced with the question, “What have you done for me lately?” Well, Lovendar keeps a record of it all, so you’ll never find yourself tongue-tied.

Ellona Ferson - Lovendar CEO

Ellona Ferson – Lovendar CEO – jaj

 Ellona Ferson is the perfect spokewoman for this company. Her striking appearance and personal magnetism lead the listener to long for a perfect relationship. Her strong, articulate presentation skills, her knowledge and professionalism project acute business acumen and will lend confidence to any investor. In person, she is warm and real. You can’t help but like this gal.

Contacts

Contact Ellona Ferson at http://Lovendar.com

Find BNC Venture Capital at

http://www.bnchicago.com/Groups.php?group=8

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Go to – BNC TUESDAY NIGHT SMACKDOWN

Back to –  FUNDED TONIGHT!

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Find Chicago Venture Magazine at www.ChicagoVentureMagazine.com Comments and re-posts are welcomed and encouraged. This is not investment advice – do your own due diligence. I cannot guarantee accuracy but I give you my best.

Copyright © 2012 John Jonelis – All Rights Reserved

2 Comments

Filed under BNC Venture Capital, Chicago Ventures, CORE Insight Story, Entrepreneur, Entrepreneurship, Innovation, Internet, Mobile

NO MORE PAIN

Bill Blaire dictated this urgent tip.  I transcribe here it verbatim:

ToothpainRx Logo“Whadaya do when you wake up on a weekend with a horrendous toothache?  Yer gonna do almost anything, right?  But yer dentist, if you got one, ain’t around.  You gonna drag him outa bed?  You gonna pull him off the golf course?  Fat chance. 

No, you go to the emergency room, right?  Well, guess what.  If you do, you wait and wait ‘cause a toothache is low priority at the ER.  Besides, there ain’t no dentist there, so you’s building up a big bill for nothin’.  By now, the pain’s gettin’ real bad.  Whattaya gonna do?

Mobile Rescue

Dr. J Rosen - ToothpainRx

Dr. J Rosen – ToothpainRx

“In the future you’re gonna call ToothpainRx – the first virual dental ER.  Just dial up with your smartphone or computer.  An actual dentist looks at your problem usin’ yer webcam or a digital snapshot.  Unlike an MD, a dentist can legally prescribe pain meds and antibiotics without really bein’ there.  You get a prescription wired to yer local drug store and a follow-up appointment with a local dentist.

Is It Real?

“I think dis one’s gonna happen bigtime.  Hey, 13.8 M folks ain’t even got no regular dentist.  You know how long it takes to get one o’ them appointments?  Nobody’s serving this market.  This is a tech-enabled brick and mortar operation that most of us is gonna use at one time or another.  Simple.  Practical.  And it ain’t so easy to copy.  It took 2 years to develop this thing.  I asked if a big company can copy it fast and got this great quote:  “Nine women can’t make a baby in one month.”

Les Multack - ToothpainRx

Les Multack – ToothpainRx

How Do These Guys Make Money?

“They’re lookin’ at three revenue streams here.  They get paid by the patient.  They get paid for referring the dentists.  And they get paid to take nighttime and weekend calls.  It’s win/win/win. 

Will it work?  Hey, they only need 196 patients a day to break even.  If they only capture 4% of the target market, in three years we’re lookin’ at a company worth maybe $126 million bucks. 

How Does The Investor Make Money?

“They’re asking $2M for 48% of company with no dilution—one round and done.  We’re talkin’ 300% IRR for better than a 30x investor return.  When was the last time you seen a 30x return?

BNC Audience

BNC Audience

Wanna Know More?

“You can see the video of a real low-key pitch at http://vimeo.com/49016977.   I saw a bigger presentation in private a couple weeks earlier and that one really got me revved up.  To contact Les Multack or Dr J Rosen, go to www.toothpainrx.com 

Yeah, I think it’s for real.”

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Thanks Bill.  That’s all of it – verbatim.  You can find BNC Venture Capital at:  http://www.bnchicago.com/Groups.php?group=8

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Go to – RECOGNIZING OPPORTUNITY

Back to – BIG SHOT TALKS BIG STUFF

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Find Chicago Venture Magazine at www.ChicagoVentureMagazine.com Comments and re-posts are welcomed and encouraged. This is not investment advice – do your own due diligence. I cannot guarantee accuracy but I give you my best.

Copyright © 2012 John Jonelis – All Rights Reserved

2 Comments

Filed under BNC Venture Capital, Characters, Chicago Venture Magazine, Chicago Ventures, Entrepreneurship, Innovation, Internet, Mobile

3 KEYS TO GAMIFICATION

AppFactoryInc

John Jonelis

So I ask, What’s the hottest marketing tool today?”  And the answer comes right back: “Gamification.” I glance left and right.  “What’s that?” 

Now the answers come at me fast.  Mike Rhodes, serial entrepreneur from AppFactoryInc and Central Street Games hits it outa the park at this session of The Tektite Group.  His marketing arm uses Gamification as their primary tool. 

Bottom line, people love to play games.  Games are the #1 activity on smartphones.  80% on tablets.  50% of Facebook logins.  Any time you offer a reward – that’s gamification.  Think about the way McDonald’s Monopoly game draws people to the store.   But it doesn’t have to be a big expensive campaign.  Turns out, the value of winning is bigger than the prize itself.  Sometimes a $10 gift card is more effective than an iPad. 

Mike Rhodes plays a guest's game

Mike Rhodes plays a guest’s game

3 Key Elements

So the question looms: ‘How do I use gamification in MY marketing plan?’  Three key elements make any interchange a game:

  1. Achievement
  2. Recognition
  3. Rewards

Mike ranks the three elements in that order, and the first two are a lot more important than the last.  Kinda counterintuitive, ain’t it?

The sweepstakes approach—awarding points incrementally—is the most economical way to host a game.  The game doesn’t need to have anything to do with the product you’re selling.  Come up with your own simple word game or trivia game and use a rented platform. 

Just keep the goal clear.  It’s amazing what people will do to win a game but no growth takes place till you bring the consumer to a call to action.  So make sure players register.  And make sure you give them questions that tell you what you want to know. 

Mike Rhode's AppFactoryInc

More Game Tips

Gamification is all about meeting the market where it’s at—and in an engaging way.  At a time when email clickthrough is below 8%, gamified campaigns are getting 30-50% because people are engaged. 

Think about giving points for activities with a weekly winner.  A player may not win this time, but points continue to accumulate.  Then you give free points just for answering 10 questions.  People are willing to do it because they actually want the points.

Think about rewards for liking a page on Facebook.  Give points for comments and comments on comments.  “I liked your tortilla.”  By the way, Gene just scored 15 points on our win a gas card game, and you can earn 10 points by just sharing with a friend.  It doesn’t need to be complicated.  Take what you do now.  Gamify it.  Put a sweepstakes element in your branding. 

Put this in your calculations:  Nobody ever stops after being involved in a 90 day game.  Keep the game going after the first winner.  Retention rates are huge. 

Want proof?   The field is new.  No banks of statistics.  Mike quotes Andy McKenna, who advises: “Invest a little, learn a lot.”

Types of Games

  • Trivia games
  • Word games
  • Action games
  • Casual games
  • Puzzles
  • Strategy games

Of all the different games, simple word games and trivia games are the easiest and least expensive to implement.

Who’s Here?

Jean Pickering of The Tektite Group

Jean Pickering of The Tektite Group

Find the speaker, Mike Rhodes at www.appfactoryinc.com.  I met Michael McConachie, from LoopDigital, www.loopdigitalus.com so the big players are here.  Kristin Tews of WIND Radio is covering the event  www.personalbestshow.com.  An investor who bought into one of my favorite startups introduces himself to me.  That company is Youtopia www.youtopia.com  and they’re integrating gamification into their platform as we speak. 

Tektite is always a small, limited crowd and I feel privileged to be here.  Sign up early if you want a spot.  You can find Tektite and Jean Pickering at www.Facebook.com/TheTektiteGroup and http://Twitter.com/TektiteGroup

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GO TO – UNWIRED

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Find Chicago Venture Magazine at www.ChicagoVentureMagazine.comComments and re-posts are welcomed and encouraged. This is not investment advice – do your own due diligence. I cannot guarantee accuracy but I give you my best.

Copyright © 2012 John Jonelis – All Rights Reserved

4 Comments

Filed under Chicago Ventures, Events, Internet, Mobile, Tektite

FUNDED TONIGHT!

I’m at BNC Venture Capital. I came to see two exciting companies that have already crossed my radar screen. One easily won the recent FFF event and the other was in the top three.

BNC Venture Capital

BNC Venture Capital – jaj

I like Business Network Chicago events because they’re ALL BUSINESS. Most other events are all hype, but here, each company gets grilled with five standard questions:

1.) Exactly what is the product or service?
2.) Why should the customer buy it?
3.) Is the management team the best in the business?
4.) How does the company make money?
5.) How does the investor make money?

That’s tough and hard-nosed and that’s why I like it. Not every startup is ready to subject itself to this kind of rigor, but Len Bland manages to find three each month. The fact that he and Ray Markman are starting the Midwest Renaissance Fund probably creates a big draw to qualified companies.

After the presentation and grilling, the audience votes on a 1-10 scale. A score of “1” is considered “entre-manure” while a score of “10” means, “Where’s Grandma’s pension fund?” I’ll give you a quick peak into what two of these companies are doing:

Youtopia

Editor’s Note – YOUTOPIA picked up three angel investors at this meeting and achieved their stage-one funding goals.

The e-Harmony of Altruism

• Today, school districts across the nation require 40 hours of community service for graduation. Kids get stuck doing meaningless tasks that don’t match their interest. With Youtopia, the engagement starts with “What do you like?” The answer might be, “I like cats.” So maybe the system hooks-up the kid with an animal shelter.

• Under the present system, tracking is almost non-existent. With Youtopia, a web and mobile application enables schools to track and generate an organized social report card complete with recommendations for college admission offices.

• The business connection is huge as well. Corporations dearly want to advertise this kind of altruism.

Simeon Schnapper & Brett Singer of Youtopia

Simeon Schnapper & Brett Singer of Youtopia

Become a Youtopian

They already launched two weeks ago with three customers while they continue to develop their model. I like that aggressive approach.

This company was the subject of my previous article, DOT – A FILM

Some Backstory – I was already familiar with Youtopia.  I saw them present at the recent Funding Feeding Frenzy.  It happened at the end of a long day—after the judges got plenty hot and cranky. One of them turned on the presenter.  The others followed like lemmings.  As far as I could see, they’d just blown their chance to invest in a really exceptional company.

Disgusted, I visited YouTopia at their downtown offices. These guys are highly creative and very coachable. I gave them a transcript of their FFF presentation, complete with Q&A.  They took all my suggestions, even improved upon them.  Then they accepted coaching from Len Bland and crew and delivered a sparkling performance at BNC.  And they picked up three angel investors tonight.  That completes their stage one round.

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PaletteApp

Jerry Freeman of PaletteApp

Jerry Freeman of PaletteApp – jaj

PaletteApp is a digital design tool that helps manufacturers, designers, architects, and contractors, accelerate the design and sample ordering process. With a vast library of products, designers can put together a package in mere minutes.

This company recently walked away with the Funding Feeding Frenzy grand prize—and well deserved. Tonight, at BNC, they make a big stir. PaletteApp proposes to change the 150-year-old way architectural design is done. In the process, they’ll transform a job that takes many man-hours into a joyful process that takes just a few minutes.  What used to take 5 hours now can be done in 15 minutes.

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Contacts

These two tied for first place in the voting. At present time, PaletteApp is further along while Youtopia holds the promise of going viral and becoming over-the-top profitable.

Youtopia – Simeon Schnapper and Brett Singer – https://youtopia.com

PaletteApp –Jerry Freeman – www.paletteapp.com

BNC Venture Capital – Len Bland – http://bnchicago.org/Groups.php?group=8

Funding Feeding Frenzy – David Culver – www.fundingfeedingfrenzy.com

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Go to – MAKE TIME FOR LOVE

Back to – TECH MEETS BRICK & MORTAR

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Find Chicago Venture Magazine at www.ChicagoVentureMagazine.com Comments and re-posts are welcomed and encouraged. This is not investment advice – do your own due diligence. I cannot guarantee accuracy but I give you my best.

Copyright © 2012 John Jonelis – All Rights Reserved

6 Comments

Filed under BNC Venture Capital, Chicago Venture Magazine, Chicago Ventures, CORE Insight Story, Entrepreneurship, FFF, Innovation, Invention, Midwest Renaissance Fund, Software

THE TYRANNY OF THE TELEPHONE

SmartphoneVERBATIM – Transcribed from a recording by Loop Lonagan

Everywhere I go, people bow their heads over their smartphones or hug ’em to their face like they’s worshiping pagan idols. And maybe that’s not far from the truth. It looks dumb. It rude. And a guy could walk into a truck. Nowadays you can’t have a decent conversation without getting interrupted five times by a phone call or text.

One time, long ago, an exec answered a call in the middle of our meeting. After I waited three days to see this guy in person, some yahoo calls up and takes front stage. That’s The Tyranny of the Telephone. That little incident happened before cell phones. Now it’s worse—we carry the little tyrants around in our pockets 24/7. Pretty soon these things is gonna be waterproof so we can carry ‘em in the shower—even take ‘em to the beach. I can picture some new venture raising money to make special smartphone holders for soap racks. With the screens growing in size, I wanna see ‘em try and develop a pocket to fit a string bikini.

Yeah, I know it—I’m no different from anybody else. I’ll remember to confess that to the Padre this week along with a buncha stuff I can’t talk about here. See, I’m what’s called an early adopter. Already on my third smartphone. Anyhow, I gotta get off this train of thought and focus on this speaker I came to hear.

HUGH JEDWILL on the FUTURE OF MOBILE

Hugh Jedwill, CEO of Mobile AnthemI’m listenen’ to a really smart guy talk about mobile tech. This ain’t no Madison Avenue sharpie. Guys got a shaggy pony tail. Roudy jeans. Nice sport jacket, though—just enough to show you he’s here on business. Looks like California big venture money–those guys dress like street bums but with sport jackets.  We’re all used to it by now. I think it’s an image thing and it seems to work. People go for it. Anyhow, he knows his stuff, which is what counts with me. He’s soft spoken with a good sense of humor and it’s easy to like the guy.

Mobile Anthem

Hugh’s big-time. Used to work marketing for Fortune 500 outfits. Now they seek him out. He’s CEO of Mobile Anthem—a marketing agency that helps these companies build a bridge between traditional marketing and mobile technology. There’s a big-demand for that. They need his help and need it bad.

Tektite GroupThe event’s put on by the Tektite Group. Jean Pickering moderates and she calls Hugh “her hero,” which is kinda weird, but I’m sure she’s got her reasons.

THREE KEYS to a SUCCESSFUL VENTURE

Hugh says with these, you got a good business.

Awareness
Trial of product
Repeatability

Smartphone

THREE STAGES in MOBILE TECHNOLOGY

He talks about what’s going on now and what’s to come:

Stage 1—We’re using the mobile internet NOW—not 15, 20 years from now. That’s way faster than the elite predicted. And mobile is ubiquitous. (I like that word.) Who ever leaves home without the keys, the wallet, and the phone?

Stage 2—Pretty soon, mobile isn’t just about phones. It’s ID wristbands in hospitals. ID devices at amusement parks—systems that pull down your Facebook profile and help you find your lost kid. It’s Clairol using an app to time your hair coloring perfectly. It’s Nike shoes reporting your running stats for you—and sending them to your accountability group.

Stage 3—In the future, it’s not even a phone. Hugh says it this way: “The idea of what is mobile will change dramatically.” Maybe it’s in your clothes—and you get to change the color of the fabric. Maybe it checks if your windows are closed. Maybe it monitors your meds. He quotes some futurist who expects it in nanotechnology. He’s talking really small, like IN YOUR BLOODSTREAM. Now just stop a minute and think about the positive and negatives of that.

Hugh says that not all these possibilities are so pretty. The opportunity for abuse by unscrupulous individuals, greedy companies, and repressive governments is huge. That gets my attention. And I’m wondering how it will all shake out.

He talks about innovations that don’t get used effectively. Here’s an example: The QR code was big for a few months then it fizzled. Reason? Poor use. People posted lots of QR codes that didn’t lead anywhere. So people ignore ‘em now. Cry wolf.

smartphone with keyboardTHREE LIMITERS

He talks about three limiting factors in mobile technology. (Hey, this guy thinks in threes):

Limiter #1—First is battery life. These things suck battery and everybody’s looking for a wall outlet wherever they go. The industry needs to get that solved. (FYI: Just happens I know a startup company’s got a way to make batteries last ten times longer, so the fix is coming—people just don’t know about it yet.)

Limiter #2—Next is privacy. There ain’t no safeguards now. Everything’s self-regulated and there’s some real bad actors out there—people who know your location and take advantage of that. Companies can pull down your personal profile. Think they’re not using that stuff? Think again. You walk down the street and WHAP—a lousy come-on from the bar you just walked past. Hey—it’s in the terms and conditions you never read when you downloaded that app, so it’s legit. Then there’s the illegal text spam—the kind you didn’t ask for at all. It’s already with us. Then there’s the fact that smart phones are computers. Won’t be long before the hackers and cheese-doodle-eating virus kids get busy. That kinda behavior slows down the industry. I wonder how fast it would be movin’ without these creeps.

Hugh predicts two major events in the very near future.

A major privacy incident

A major location-based incident

A mobile app is like a credit card transaction over the Internet—theft happens. The credit card company gives you some protection but nobody’s protecting the cell phone users. He predicts that both of these events will get a lota media attention and plenty of righteous indignation. It’s gonna be bad enough that the industry is gonna face a contraction, so watch your telecom investments.

That also means regulation is coming. Plenty of it. But Hugh sees it as the only way. Says this particular industry CAN’T regulate itself. He’s hoping for the kind of regs that worked real good for the food industry. Rules that make it easy to find out what’s in your food. But the government might come down with a heavy hand, like the way Sarbanes Oxley is screwing with our capital markets. Me, I’m betting the government will do something dumb. That’s their trend. But all I can do is wait and see how it shakes out.

Limiter #3—In the future, our location privacy and personal privacy is gonna be pretty much gone. That’ll be another limiter on mobile technology. Maybe somebody’ll solve it or maybe we just get used to it.

Pockets full of Smartphones

Now his time is shot and he takes Q&A. I think it’s a good presentation. I learned somethin’ and had a good time. Before we break into groups, I meet him one-on-one. Guys got FIVE—count ‘em—5 smartphones on his person. Pockets full of ’em.  What’s with that? So I ask him what gives. “It’s my business,” he says. Simple answer. Direct. Honest. One thing I learn dealing with this new crop of technical business people—they’re intense. And they get the job done.

Your editor invited me down here ‘cause he don’t own no smart phone and he wants I should meet with these people. Yeah, you heard right—no smartphone. Hard to believe but it’s true. Says his Palm Pilot ain’t broke yet. Palm pilot? That thing belongs in the Field Museum with the dinosaurs. The guy carries that piece o’—that piece of hardware around everywhere. Calls it a classic. I call it dumb. Weber GrillHe coulda been here, eatin’ this great food at the Weber Grill. www.webergrillrestaurant.com.  So, John, I raise one to you. Cheers!

CONTACTS

Find Hugh Jedwill, CEO of Mobile Anthem, at http://mobileanthem.com, an agency that bridges marketing with mobile technology. See him on YouTube at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=A2oY4vrZFDc

Find the Tektite Group on Facebook at www.facebook.com/TheTektiteGroup  and their blog at http://tektitegroup.wordpress.com.  These events are organized by Jean Pickering www.facebook.com/jean.pickering who for years has run most o’ the best stuff in this town. Was always behind the scenes till now. I might just mosey on down next time. Had a blast. This ain’t no waste-of-time networking group. I took in a terrific presentation and made three solid business connections.

And check out the great food at the Weber Grill.  http://www.webergrillrestaurant.com/

All my best regards,
Loop Lonagan

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GO TO – 3 KEYS TO GAMIFICATION

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Find Chicago Venture Magazine at www.ChicagoVentureMagazine.com Comments and re-posts are welcomed and encouraged. This is not investment advice – do your own due diligence. I cannot guarantee accuracy but I give you my best.

Copyright © 2012 John Jonelis – All Rights Reserved

3 Comments

Filed under Chicago Ventures, Tektite