Short Term and Long Term Validation

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Lean startup thinking, accelerators, angel investment, seed funding, incubators and venture capital. Which path is best for you? With any choice, the goal is to be validated in some form, either with proof that you finished something, a monetary result, a sense of accomplishment, or a plethora of other personal outcomes.

But why is validation as a business loop function the go-to option for gaining traction, isn’t this just short term thinking? In a sense yes, but the only way that you will know that “you are onto something,” is if people outside your immediate family and friends are able to benefit directly from your startup. This can happen in many forms.

And opposed to like it is often touted, this does not have to just revolve around a product or service, there are other pains that need fixing, like conveying knowledge to people for free, as a non-profit blogger.

In my opinion, as you progress past the 5 year mark, and you are still in business, validation as a growth indicator is invalidated, and becomes less and less of a benchmark for improving your creation. Sure it’s important to feel like you are doing something receptive, however the wisdom of the crowd may or may not have your best interests in mind. Whatever it is that you are healing, the important thing is not to stop working on your project, if the whole immediate, positive validation thing doesn’t work out.

Joel Gascoigne:

Sometimes through iteration you uncover learning which invalidates your idea or some key assumptions. At the same time, this means that further iteration can also lead to the exact opposite: uncovering an idea or features which people want and will gain traction.

Getting Started in 3D Printing

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With all this web talk, it’s almost time to take this construction offline. But where to start? Shapeways is a marketplace for people that build 3D objects and for those that want to buy them. When you’re ready to start selling, for about $2,375, you can get your hands on the B9Creator, a high res 3D printer and open up shop.

Who Knows the Customer?

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At the front of every business, is the customer. But can an entity really know what the business wants, even if they talk to them? Seems like only on certain occasions does a company strike it correctly with what is demanded and what is being created. Currently, this is what has become the norm- how long before the customer decides that they don’t know what they want, until the day that they can afford that purchase?

How to “Get” a Maker

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In previous post, I said that for a semantic web to thrive, so would a maker movement. It seems that there is significant gains being made in Silicon hardware revitalization, but how to get end-users and enterprise interested in a product? Made to Measure, has recently opened up a call for applications to do just that. Event runs from November 23-25.

What is Measurable?

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Ultimately every thing will be measured within the Internet of Things. When does the human limit start to make more sense then that which is constrained by optimization? With robotics on the horizon, questions like these will become more relevant. To know when to stop and when to go about understanding what is effective, is a conflict that I think the purposed individual will have to deal with.

This is Epic – Gamification

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Gamification is a fairly new methodology that you can directly apply to your product or service. In this post I’ll provide a solid basis to help you understand the demand for gamification and some of its components.

According to the Gamification Wiki, gamification typically involves:

-Applying game design thinking to non-game applications
-To make them more fun and engaging
-Can potentially be applied to any industry and almost anything
-The goal is to create fun and engaging experiences
-Converting users into players is the beginning of the gamification process

It’s interesting to know that:

-Over 50% of gamers are now female
-30% of the gamer population now being over 45
-There are 40 million active social gamers in the US (they play at least 1hr/week)
-And there are, unsurprisingly, over 200 million gamers on Facebook

Is ‘gamification’ as a catch phrase played out?

Yes, but that means it is going mainstream. Are your customers looking for coupons to unlock redeemable facebook credits because of a high score? If they’re not, they probably just don’t know that they want to…yet.

Before  getting into some of its intricacies, there are practical examples by BusinessWeek of how you can seamlessly increase page views and sales on your website:

-With a progress bar of your completed tasks
-A countdown to expiring offers
-Leaderboard that shows you viewed and shared the most
-Badges and trophies for reaching a certain level of achievement
-Appointments that reward users to return at a certain period of time

Now we can get into how to rationalize the consequences of using gamification on your website. Having recently attended an Enterprise Gamification Workshop taught by Mario Herger, it was amazing to hear about all of the different scales of businesses that are measuring success based on the performance of recently converted gamified units. While you can certainly apply ‘traditional’ metric values to new gamification components, there are some unique attributes that are worth mentioning.

It’s possible to measure gamification:

-In whether or not your application is a competitive or social game
-The average hours played on it
-Active or registered users
-The player base’s retention
-Frequency of engagement
-Response time

Keep in mind that, if you’re creating a gamified component it’s important to note their skill level and personal and professional role so that you can create a certain level of collaborative autonomy that promotes user into failure- and eventually, that epic win.

If you have the potential to integrate game designer Jane McGonigal’s four basic aspects of what makes a game into your website- a goal, clear rules, a feedback system, and voluntary participation, you are on your way to enhanced motivational pulls like collaborative and engaging success.

The intersection of publishing, mobile and health are topping out the potential of innovation with new game-based elements.

We all know that the news industry has been going through some serious changes in the past few years, so it’s interesting to see initiatives to gamify a news experience with “rooms” and tasks by aligning that with the goals of the news organization. Gamification by gamification. Now, that is meta.

It only seems natural that publishers reign in on the attention model that dominates their business appeal. The history of success of book clubs serves as a nice base to understand how publishing has always been intertwined with being transported to another reality by connecting with the emotions of readers.

Perficient says that gamification can be used to solve real-world health problems (especially on mobile devices) that involve a routine and helps patients overcome any obstacles that might deter them from being victorious.

Education aside, advances in mobile health care applications that use gamification to help people live a better life has to be the most exciting aspect of gamified innovations. Consider Jawbone’s UP, a wristband that integrates the sedentary and fast-moving lifestyles; this is really just the beginning of how the real world and gamified health mobile are becoming intermeshed.

2011 seemed to be the year of gamification. Areas like mobile, health and publishing all became outlets that saw major innovation taking place because of a harmonization of the rules of gamifying an online business.

So this means we should all drop our schedules and start to play? Nope. There is still a rather large gap with the people that gamify and the real world application knowledgeable crowd. Shakespeare also said: “If all the year were playing holidays, to sport would be as tedious as to work.” While this is important to keep in mind,  games are entrenched within societal norms and the results when combined with the efforts of  interdisciplinary designers to achieve a common goal are encouraging.

There’s no telling that whether or not people can agree on its definition or effectiveness, gamification will be a part of the online business mechanics. Gartner released that come 2015, 50 % of “innovative” companies will use gamification to foster innovation.

History shows us that gamification has always been a part of marketing, it’s only now that there is a term that people can relate to their online business. First came loyalty programs, then status-based opportunities, and now we are approaching a gamified loyalty paradigm.

And what we’re learning about gamification is that its gains in effectiveness lean much more towards taking a behavioral psychological approach, opposed to focusing strictly on technology- a notion that any marketer can get behind.

If we are living in an attention based economy, what better way to package the user’s experience then with something that rewards them for their time? There are limits to play and we are still in the beginning of understanding where the sweet spot is for engaging players and converting them back into paying customers.

When will there be a ‘a ha!’ moment for new gamers, game designers, and online business, where they have finally figured out what people are willing to participate in on the web, and what elements should be reserved for consoles and computer gaming platforms? This I think is going to be an interesting race that is going to be molded by the competative edge that makes internet business such an exciting space.

Patrick Salyer, CEO of gamification platform Gigya, thinks there are two main predictors of gaming to success:

“One is making sure that all gamified elements are inherently social, that is, don’t restrict engagement to the internal site community. Award points for activities that reach users’ social [networks] to bring in referral traffic.”

What do you think? How do you use gamification in your website?

Ideation, Loops and New Business

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Another post this month, something awry must really be happening. How do ideas become reality and what form do they become? Seems like everyone has an answer to the best way for this process, well, here’s another take. Ideation is at the core of any adaptation, evolution, construction, and reinvention. Understanding the best loop for your business is a hard thing to tackle, without knowing what works and what doesn’t, little progress can be made. So what is a good way to approach implementation? This is the fun part, I’ll be writing about some of the most interesting ways and offering some of my own methods as they happen.

The Book Has Been Changed :)

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What was once Telling Time: Strategy for Humanists is now Leading with the Intangible, In Business and Practice. My, ahem, publisher, thought it would a good move knowing where my strengths are. The crowds of people that have waiting for the former will now have to make do with the new and improved format. As I get farther into the writing process, I will share a sample PDF so that you can get a look into the outline of this work. Looking to connect with great minds, drop me a line if you are interested in what I am doing.

After a Hiccup, the Blog is Back

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After a minor hosting hiccup, iantyner.com is back! I’ve since switched hosts, which should be better moving forward. Still working on the book, and would love to hear some feedback from you, the reader.

Open Sourcing?

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With much progression made in 2011 with my company, it’s a good time to start working on the book. This will probably take up less time than I think – I’ve never written a book, much harder then I ever thought! Slated with a 2013 release, Telling Time will have to be a a major focus though. Thinking about open sourcing some chapters, what do you think?

Semantic Web

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Sorry for the lack of posting readers! I have been busy trying to learn about the semantic web and doing some consulting work. No, I really think that there are major problems with the how the web is being developed and if there is ever to be a web 3.0 in a new world wide web, things like maker-faire need to catch on.

I am still working on Telling Time : Strategy for Humanists and would be eager to hear your input on this topic, as I am not convinced that eBooks are really the best way to publish, but I am open to suggestion.

A Stoic Business Life?

“The secret of all victory lies in the organization of the non-obvious.” – Marcus Aurelius

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Having started a company and writing a book, I’d like to think that represents living a Stoic business life. This might seem contradictory as material gains are not part of that religionosophy, but in this unethical world that we live in, it just seemed like the appropriate mantra to live by during the continual entrepreneurial process.

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