Author: EricBBigham , Last Modified, 2017-10-08 Myrkur the dark folk
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God bless technology.
Over the past two years I have written over 180 articles, most of which were just tests for a blogging application or content management system (CMS) I'm developing.
The CMS supports and is integrated within OnMyBubble.com a "Social Network" website that I started developing in April 2017. It has steadily grown and we are now being received in over 50 countries and 150 cities globally, according to Google Analytics.
Of course like any start up OnMyBubble.com is still in the "Discovery" phase, that is essentially a phase all start ups must inherently pass through if they are to survive and thrive. It is a stage where the "business" really isn't one at all! Rather the real job of a start up of course isn't to do business, it is to search for and discover who exactly its customers are or hopefully will be.
Reviewing my progress, or lack of it perhaps, yesterday I reflected on my early (Year 2000) dot com experiences. I was a fresh faced newly qualified accountant back then, and had recently been put in charge of building and leading a medium sized finance team of 15 or so for PCCWs UK Internet Services Division, PCC UK. Pacific Century Cyberworks was then the Hong Kong comparable to BT in the UK.
The Internet Services Division or PCCW UK had just launched what the PR Gurus had then dubbed the "NOW TV" the Worlds First Internet and Television Converged Service. This was a super startup and Joint venture between Mark McCormacks IMG Trans-world International and PCCW. The Founder was Richard Li, a man I met in the proverbial elevator no less!
A politely spoken man, Mr Li inquired as to my role within the organisation, and I explained that I ran the Finance Department for the Internet Services Division. I returned the question, having never being introduced, and he replied "I'm Richard". I looked at him somewhat puzzled at first, as if to say Richard who?, and then it clicked. Of course being completely unaware that I was literally sharing the "proverbial elevator" with Richard Li, the son of Hong Kong's Richest Man Li Ka-shing.
I smiled as I did in fact recognise him from the Newspapers, he had been profiled in that weeks edition of the Financial Times on the previous Wednesday, a full page article I believe. We both laughed as it was kind of funny and embarrassing at the same time, but I was taken by his adroitness.
Back then the focus of the finance team was the cash burn rate. Burn rate is a metric that measures the rate of cash outflow, as startups don't typically have cash inflow, there is a finite period of time before financing is required and or bankruptcy ensues...
Contrast that with today, modern technology let's the entrepreneur rapidly prototype and build scale-able solutions in a fraction of the time and cost of those early internet pioneers. Make no mistake, pioneers they were and the relative ease we enjoy today in launching our businesses is truly built by standing on the shoulders of those giants. They took big risks many and many paid terrible and in some cases the ultimate price for their dreams.
It was a time of dreams, a new millennium was dawning, markets deregulation, financial and technological innovation created the perfect storm for a new Bubble and boy was it a big one. Prior to PCCW I had spent some time working with technology venture capitalists, the frenzy was not unlike the narrative found in an early Micheal Lewis book. Fierce competition and even fiercer characters battled for domination in the cur throat world of VCs. Anyone back then with a website could command a one Million plus valuation. We had one guy who worked al day filtering Business Plans. He was an accountant seconded in from Deloitte the Accountants, and with the skill of a butcher he cleaved about 80% into the big grey trash basket marked NO.
Next to him sat the former Finance Director of a Notorious investment bank, the man was tall, intellectually gifted and if you were on the other end of his phone call, you were in no doubt about his power, he spoke and it was done. Seeing the business from both the perspective of financier and operator was illuminating. I learned so much from these people that later stood me in good stead. To read more about the early days of Venture Capital read my article The Knights in Shining Armani Suits
As I recall the business closed like many of that era with the loss of over 400 jobs in London and Hong Kong and all the cost was subsumed into an expensive group tax structure, in fact we helped the group save substantial amounts of tax legitimately of course. But the business ultimately had to be sold back to the developers, TWI in a complex reverse management buy out to free itself from the bear trap of 10 year leasehold and service network agreements.
OnMyBubble.com on the other hand has the luxury of doing what we Management Consultants call Pivoting. And it is fair to say that we have in fact "PIVOTED" a couple of times in just seven months. We began as a pure "social network" then moved on to "Gaming" and now we are exploring the value we could add as a "Performance Marketing" solution.
I have learned some useful things though that's for sure, firstly, gaming is great, I got to spend a lot of time with my 10 year old daughter learning how to play and understand the world of gaming.
Games have two huge advantages over ordinary blogging or pure content marketing I think. Firstly Google analytics lets us compare bounce rates, and games have a stickability factor that outweighs non gaming content, this makes a lot of sense, Gamers stick around longer, secondly the CPMs are massive, yes, advertisers recognise the stickability factor and are willing to pay so much more per click to place their ads on game pages.
I describe the site as the blend of Facebook WordPress and Shopify, no offence meant to those awesome apps of course, but it helps to describe the "three course" serving we currently offer.
Essentially OnMyBubble.com incorporates all three of these functions into a Performance Management Marketplace which serves (or hopefully will serve) Social Media Marketers, Online Merchants and of Course Groups or Individuals looking for connection and social gratification.
Unlike many major social media platforms however, OnMyBuble.com aims to provide Social Marketers with Income Generating pages. For a small fee of under £1 per day, marketers can build content that pays them a revenue share.
The revenue share model is based around commission from promoting OnMyBubble.com built in store sales, (Merchant Listings), dynamically served relevant ads from ad-networks and native lead generating advertiser pages. I do not know if this will be popular, but it is at least very exciting. But unlike the failed forebears of dot com stock boom and busted promises! this app, to "plug" Ron-seal, does exactly what it says on the tin!
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