An attempt to demystify the process of raising capital, democratize information and help entrepreneurs improve their businesses by avoiding the mistakes that I've already made... and occasionally include a personal post because Rich told me to.
Friday, August 27, 2010
Friday, May 28, 2010
Double Your Money w/Google? ...I doubt it
Google recently claimed to have generated $54B in economic activity last year in the United States. In coming up with this figure, one of their assumptions was that for every $1 spent on AdWords advertisers generated $2 in sales. I just don't buy that. There are way too many crappy ad campaigns out there, often without even an action on the landing page. The prospective customer is going to have to be pretty proactive if they don't have a clear action to take. Most advertising just seems sloppy and I suspect has a negative ROI on average.
Wednesday, May 19, 2010
Maybe its Pitching from the Stretch?
In a post earlier this month, I wondered Why does batting average go down by number of outs in an inning? Since the average plate appearances must go up with each out, the likelihood of having runners on base must go up as well. If pitchers are more effective pitching from the stretch, which they do with runners on base, that would explain the decline in batting average. I'll have to poke around the web and see I can get ERA, WHIP and opponents batting stats for pitcher in the stretch vs. the full wind up.
If they are better, I wonder if we'll ever pitchers pitching from the stretch exclusively. I know Lincecum recently pitched from the stretch w/o runners on base, but that had more to do with him finding his mechanics in a game where he felt out of rhythm.
Tuesday, May 18, 2010
Home Microcell Towers... No Thanks
Over the past several months I've gotten a number of promotions from AT&T touting their microcell devices, which are designed to improve cell phone reception in a small areas such as a home or office. AT&T service on my iPhone is terrible in my house, which is an annoying problem that I'd like to solve. However, these microcell offers are kind of irritating.
Ultimately, health is my biggest concern with the microcell. If standard cell towers have been linked to cancer, why would I want a miniature one in my home? I don't know much about the health issues, but they do linger in the back of my mind regarding microcells.
As a frustrated customer, I feel like poor coverage is AT&T's problem and the microcell solution is an effort to position network holes as my responsibility to fix. I'm generally a results oriented person (or at least try to be) so the blame game wouldn't normally be that important to me, but these feelings are exacerbated by AT&T seemingly attempting to make money off my patching of their network.
AT&T will sell me the microcell device for $150. If I'm not mistaken the device works by broadcasting a cell signal that is converted into VOIP. This means that the microcell is using my networks' bandwidth. While I certainly don't use all of my bandwidth all the time, VOIP is bandwidth intensive and call quality quickly degrades when it gets tight, so in addition to the cost of the device, I may need to buy more bandwidth.
If the microcell is offloading traffic from AT&T cell towers near my home to my home network, shouldn't my calls be free? Well, only if you pay $20/mo for unlimited microcell calling. I guess I don't mind using minutes from existing plan, but, for me, an extra $20/mo would never work out as a good value considering that most of my calls at home are nights and weekends anyway.
Maybe I'm being a little harsh on AT&T with this last point, but $20/mo really feels like they are trying to profit from their network problem. If I'm going to be forced to buy the device for $150, go through the hassle of setting it up in my home, risk getting cancer from it and provide bandwidth I want the unlimited microcell minutes to clearly be an outstanding value. Free would of course be ideal, but I could probably be satisfied with $5/mo. If MagicJack can provide unlimited VOIP calling for $20/year, I definitely don't think AT&T should be charging $20/mo.
Admittedly, I don't know what AT&T's costs are on providing microcells, but it feels more like a profit-center than a loss-leader to me. Customers that need microcells are probably unhappy with their AT&T service. Microcells could be great customer retention tool, but getting bombarded with marketing materials asking me to spend money to fix their problem is just building more frustration on my end.
Monday, May 03, 2010
Interesting Baseball Question
Why does batting average go down by number of outs in an inning? In 2009, MLB batting average by out was:
.271 - No Outs
.267 - 1 Out
.248 - 2 Outs
I thought maybe it was a fluke, but in 2008 the splits were:
.275 - No Outs
.267 - 1 out
.249 - 2 Outs
.276 - No Outs
.273 - 1 out
.254 - 2 Outs
I really have no idea why hitters do so much worse with two outs. Concentration comes to mind, but wouldn't that play equally to pitcher and hitters?
Thursday, April 29, 2010
Are You Our Sea Otter Winner?
A few weeks ago I attended the Sea Otter Classic biking festival. As a marketing guy, I'm always keeping my eye out for creative ways to get folks attention so I was pleased to get an email yesterday titled "Are You Our Sea Otter Winner?" At the festival, I had signed up for a raffle with Cog Wild, an Oregon mountain biking tour company, and having run expo booths at IT conferences, I know the challenge of turning contacts collected into qualified leads. The conference attendees get carpet-bombed with marketing email by conference vendors after the event ends so its tough to make your company stand out. I was pretty sure that I wasn't the winner of Cog Wild's raffle, but with a teaser like "Are You Our Sea Otter Winner?" how could I not open the email to see?
I've always felt that the subject line of a marketing email message is the most important part because its a go or no-go point for the recipient... if they don't open the message it doesn't matter how compelling the content is. I also liked that Cog Wild referenced Sea Otter in the subject line rather than themselves. To be honest, I probably wouldn't have remembered Cog Wild by name, but I did remember entering several raffles at the Sea Otter Classic so it was a smart and humble decision on their part that got me to their next step. Don't get me wrong, the subject line is just the first step -- the content and actions in the message body matter -- and the actual "Are You Our Sea Otter Winner?" copy could be refined, but I love the concept and will probably use it the next time I run a raffle at an expo booth.