Microsoft Socl, nice try, but not quite right.

SOCL

I still have a soft spot for the Bellevue Behemoth, I enjoy a Windows Phone 7 after all! Yet I can’t hide my disappointment with their new G+/Pinterest competitor So.cl having logged in for the first time today.

There was a time only a few years back when a Consumer Preview or Beta could be rough-as-guts bad – and early adopters would still evangelise the intent even though they had to cut the execution some slack!

However I think the world has moved on. Looking at innovation through a Lean Startup lens it feels appropriate to cut features in favour of capability when time to market is important. Yet what Microsoft have done with So.cl is enabled 100% of the product features at the expense of capability, in fact, I get errors at pretty much every turn!

In such a competitive market, when trial, adoption and subsequent user engagement/feedback is so critical, I think Microsoft are about the blow the advocacy available from that first wave of geek-adopters as a result of their surprisingly poor execution, a potentially fatal blow for a Network-effects dependent platform.

As an innovator the formula to success seems straightforward, annoy fewer customers than you delight and your advocacy will grow.

Sadly, Microsoft are engaging on a very dangerous battlefield with So.cl, I imagine their their enemies are moving in for the kill already. Another Wave anyone?

Why bother with Pinterest?

Maxymiser have done a great job breaking down Pinterest into key uses and benefits. Makes for a good read if you are thinking of leveraging Pinterest fo ryour business.

pinterest-infographic-FINAL-WEB-800

The simple rules of getting business referrals

image

Dan Sullivan’s 2005 book, How the Best get Better, contained some simple tips around improving your referability – I thought it would be useful to repeat here.

Four simple rules:

  1. Turn up on time
  2. Do what you say you will do
  3. Finish what you start
  4. Always say please and thank you.

What struck me most about this framework is the absolution simplicity of its guidelines, and the no-brainer nature of the points.

So if the rules of the game are this simple, why publish them here? Tragically these behaviours are atypical – especially rules 1 and 4!

Why 57 Signals?

imageEvery business, offline or on, generously receives up to 57 Signals from a prospective client at the point they touch your business, those signals are there to be read and understood allowing your offering to be optimised in real time – maximising the likelihood of purchase.

Find and adjust to just 5 Signals for short term gain, build a strategy to address all 57 to change your business altogether.

Finding and exploiting these signals has contributed greatly to our success at Cudo, and over the coming months I will be talking to retailers across multiple industries about finding this kind of value from their existing data.

More to follow.

Cudo hits $1M in Revenue in 48 hours with Outrigger Resort offer

Cudo set another new benchmark for the competitive group buying category today when exactly six months after launching it announced achieving $1 Million revenue in just 48 hours with an accommodation offer for the Outrigger Koh Samui Resort in Thailand.

The Outrigger deal went on to make $1.5M in sales overall, making it the highest grossing group buying deal in Australia to date. The high value deal offered consumers five nights at the new Outrigger Koh Samui Resort for $792, 74% less than the regular price of $3,000.

The Outrigger resort opened its doors on 1st February 2010 and ran the Cudo deal as a way to build recognition and demand quickly –through its above the line advertising across the Channel Nine network, ninemsn and its extensive member base. Cudo’s unique marketing offering has proven a huge success for the resort, with more than 10,000 room nights sold in less than four days – with no cash marketing outlay required.

Commenting on the success of their partnership with Cudo, Pieter van der Hoeven, Director of Sales & Marketing – Asia Pacific for Outrigger Hotels & Resorts said: “Cudo.com.au has delivered spectacular results for the Outrigger Koh Samui Resort and Spa, which only opened on February 1. The results from the short-term Cudo campaign have
dramatically exceeded Outrigger’s expectations.”

“The benefits to the property will be long-term, especially when our Australian guests return home and tell their family and friends about the services and facilities at the resort and the many attractions of Koh Samui.”

This is a record single-deal revenue for Cudo, Australia’s number one group buying site, which attracted more than 900,000 unique visitors in January. However, Cudo CEO Billy Tucker says this is a mark of things to come as the category’s value and breadth continues to increase.

Billy Tucker said, “While group buying deals have traditionally sat at a lower price point, the success of this offer confirms that if there’s a good saving to made, regardless of cost, the Cudo audience will buy it”

“This offer demonstrates that our members are very savvy indeed and more than willing to spend in the $1,000 range on an amazing offer. This was re-enforced when we sold almost 700 Silky Oaks Lodge offers at $969. Cudo brought accommodation to the Group Buying category and has continued to excel with great offers on these high end escapes. Previous outstanding Cudo deals include Voyages, Kingfisher Bay and O’Reilly’s Rainforest Retreat. Cudo offers a huge opportunity for premium businesses wanting to attract new clientele.”

“Cudo attracts the very best partner businesses and as a result we have the best members. It’s a winning formula that enables us to provide a wide variety of offers which in turn keeps our member-base interested and growing. Aussies have come to expect more from Cudo and we continue to deliver it.”

Running cudo.com.au – a Group-Buying startup

After almost four months of building, launching and now growing Cudo I feel that I have sufficient headspace to return to my blog.

Of course the irony of my last post is not lost on me, albeit I knew at the time of writing it that I was about to begin developing “yet another” Group Buying competitor.

I wrote, “Chances are a number of poorly funded Group Buying pretenders will come and go over the coming months, it will no doubt be fascinating to watch!”, and since then I have joined the fray with Cudo.com.au, a rather well funded effort jointly supported by my new masters PBLm and Microsoft. And it has been fascinating to watch!

11 or so months in, and none of the Australian Group Buying companies appear to have failed just yet. And like any fragmented marketplace the aggregators are in the mix too, capitalising on the lack of loyalty or differentiation. I expect they will start to lose interest at some point too having failed to build a decent living out of their thin affiliation! But for now, there still seems to be some room in the market as the shoppers keep shopping, and the Merchants keep signing up to their new found one-day wonder-spruik.

Even with all this new competition there’s no obvious downside to Cudo either as enthusiastic new entrants pour oodles more money into Google in an effort to harvest a precious click or two, while educating Consumers and Merchants alike for the greater good.

I still expect to we’ll see some consolidation soon, but for now, it’s 1pm on a Saturday, back to work I guess… Start-up life!