Monthly Archives: December 2011

Afraid of what lies under the link – Spam or virus?

Are you missing out on some awesome websites?  Are there other startup ideas you might be missing out on too?

There are many.  Chances are you’re focusing on startup ideas that appeal to “modern hipster”.

Usually, white, middle-class, male, nerdy, tech savvy, 20-35, easily whipped into a frenzy.

The founders of these startups, being of the same demographic, have a high visual appeal to their prospective customer base.  They’re photogenic and in some ways, aspirational.  Hence, they make popular blog posts possible.  Giving them high marketability and value to news organisations who are also targeting this demographic.

For example, notice on kickstarter, who gets the most funding?

PROTIP if you’re looking for kickstarter funding – wear black rimmed glasses, be white, have a clean, neutral tone video with guitar music in the background.  You’ll be doing the Duck Tales Money Swan Dive in no time.

On the other hand, other profitable startup ideas that do not appeal to the demographic of the blogs and websites you visit are missed.  When’s the last time you visited a traditional forum of any kind?  or any site other than your top 10 bookmarks and links you got from them?

Sometimes I go to Google and keyboard mash just to see what comes up.  See the adverts, see the links, visit a few.

Use a live CD if you’re afraid of Virii.

Don’t be afraid, because that’s what is keeping you from exploring alternatives websites right this second isn’t it.  It can take days to remove a virus, and sometimes you just can’t be sure it’s ever gone.  How do I know this?  Because I did some focus groups with just this demographic last month.  When offered a new website link, they were reluctant to visit for 2 reasons:

  1. I might get a virus.
  2. It’s probably spam.

For spam, they meant anything with ads.  Yes, ANYTHING with ads.  No matter how useful the content, if it appeared to have be a money maker, they balked.

For virus, this was a truly crippling fear they had.  They wouldn’t click.  Unless they knew or had heard of the site beforehand.

Both of these factors meant that no matter what the value proposition, well saying it had hot pics got them clicking, but nothing else, they would not check out the contents of the site.

Maybe they’re actually afraid of finding something valuable?

As someone who tends to focus on websites that are genuinely useful.  Something which is an easy sell in the real world, especially in B2B.  But with internet, tech savvy “consumers”, not a chance.

They wouldn’t even give it a try.

What do you think?  Leave a comment

How I code PHP MYSQL- Not MVC!

I hate MVC.

I mean, don’t get me wrong, it works great for game programming and large scale deployments, but for something like a website, it’s bloated and overkill.

Here’s my coding style when using PHP/MYSQL as my programming language:

  1. Inputs and input variable sanitization – GET, POST, SESSION and COOKIE variables are sanitized and assigned to PHP variables.
  2. Variables – Any standard and constant variables I’ll be using througout the code are assigned here.
  3. Output preparation – Setting of OUTPUT variables here to blanks with names like outheader and outfooter etc.  This helps later recall.
  4. Main processing – The work horse part of your code goes here.  Do the things you do best with what you have.  Assign output to the appropriate output variables you set earlier.
  5. Output in one large echo, surrounded by double quotes, with your output variables contained inside.

I call this INPUT, PROCESSING, OUTPUT.  IPO is better than MVC for web and PHP programming.

It works, it’s efficient and it makes super clean, easy to read code.

My PHP code has about 1 line of comments per 200 lines of code.  That’s because the variable names, structure and obvious steps when using IPO make comments unnecessary.

Last tip – Variable names – Don’t use caps within variable names.  Keep variable names relevant and if you pull things from a MYSQL table, name the variable after the column.

What do you think?

New start-ups of the week Oink Tubecatchup and Memrise

New sites I’ve seen this week, in order of appearance: – The latest output from Kevin Rose’s latest venture

Review:  Amazingly good concept, I love it.  Rate the things inside, not just the places.  It basically increases the granularity of the business reviews model.  It’s like Trip Advisor 2.0, but there is a problem.

That name. is probably the worst start-up domain name I’ve seen this side of color and we should all know better by now.  Meaningless, passionless, and floppy.  It lacks impact, it lacks emphasis.  And it’s central to the entire brand.  I’d change it immediately before this becomes the next

Looking at the historical record, it does seem like Kevin Rose has a history of choosing bad domain names (pownce?), but he can quickly make up for that here with a quick flip on that brand to something better.

Let me say it again in case you missed it, I think the core concept and code is amazing.  Really disruptive and shows massive potential, but that domain name needs to go.  And if not go, then stick a pig character with it to give it something resembling impact.  And change the color of the logo too while you’re in the zone.

It’s a fun product, the logo color scheme should show that, big bold colors, and a piggy character and it might stand a chance.  I’d hate to see this one fail too because Kevin and his team at Milk have some real talent to play with.  Copy Hipmunk for branding advice. – An awesome new YouTube subscription/feed aggregator using Twitter Bootstrap just showed up on a Show HN post over on ycombinators old hacker news site.  Looks great, good domain name – tubecatchup, but low impact concept, niche market and no monetization strategy I can think of.  Good luck to the guy although the domain does sound like Tube Ketchup!  I guess that makes it more memorable. – Learning Chinese and mandarin characters taken to a whole new level using mnemonics curated by a ex-UK Oxford University professor and world memory champion.  I picked up close to 573 Chinese characters in a 12 hour period with about 60% recall (that’s pretty good given the speed of processing I was going at).  Try memrise, and totally free too.

Post in the comments if you’d like your start-up dissected.

What do you have to lose?