Tag Archives: Lunchsparks

The facts, but not the entire facts

Market Validations are very important. Of course, you’ve probably see/heard this over a million times but if you have never truly do so, it could be hard to relate to how important it is. I came to this realization when I was speaking to VC today over Skype and when I was sharing about Lunchsparks and how we are planning to create a 3rd party recommendation plugin for event organizers. Essentially, as our platform runs on an algorithm that matches user with user, we can convert it into a recommendation plugin for event organizers and they can use the plugin to match their guests with one another, instead of letting all of them show up and network randomly with one another, which we thought was very ineffective.

I have to cut you off right there. The idea is pitched a lot of times and the market for that is too saturated.

For us, we did validate the whole idea of the plugin which is our pivot direction should the main business model dont work, and we have prospective event organizers who are keen and excited about the plugin.

Perhaps what we could do better was to ask more and more event organizers. The key takeaway point is that, market validation is never sufficient. It is a constant process. And things are always changing. And it is also essential to validate your idea in the right segment, as well as in a different segment, so that you know the entire facts in a more macro view, not just a few facts in your particular niche.

Who knows, you might just be surprised what other segment can offer.

 

 

Online to Offline

This new strange acronym is the latest emerging trend, following LBS (Location Based Service) and SOLOMO (Social, Local, Mobile).

So what is O2O? The definition may vary, but essentially it means attracting users online and directing them to physical stores in the offline realm. Some would argue, this is nothing new and many websites have been targeting people online to bring them in offline, but the element of online payment is what really makes O2O powerful. Why? Because businesses can measure the impact of online sales since a payment was actually made.

Source: Technode

According to the article too, the group buying model has been the most recent successful example of how the O2O can work. The article too identify “the next trend of O2O will focus on service and value”

I think the article points out good trends that everyone should know about, and what particularly interest me is the O2O model, because essentially the startup that I am working on is precisely this model, where we bring “Linkedin from Online to our Lunchsparks Offline”, hence adding more value to the users. Of course, this O2O model introduces new aspects to the business that has to be taken care about, such as the quality of the offline service as well as the not only the online user experience, but now, the offline/real life experience also comes into the picture. Thus if O2O goes mainstream which it is right now, value chain managers and customer service managers will have an increasing demand. Startups would not only need technical guys, but business development guys and CRM guys would also be needed.

So how legitimate is this model? Heard of Getaround, AirBnB and Groupon? They are all O2O models.

Things that matter

Now that exams are over, I can now focus on things that truly matter – Lunchsparks and e27. =)

“Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life. Don’t be trapped by dogma – which is living with the results of other people’s thinking. Don’t let the noise of other’s opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become. Everything else is secondary.” – Steve Jobs

Crowdsourcing and its growing importance

Recently I met with a few really interesting people and a few investors who shared with me a few points that i would like to share here. The growing importance of crowd sourcing.

Let me give you an analogy of the importance of crowd sourcing. If you see something new, chances are you wont try it out because you are worried for whatever reason. But something inside you tells you that its cool, and you should try it out. But at the end of the day, you still have reservation whether to check it out. But, if your friends tell you that it is cool, you will dive right in straight away. The same goes for a service, if your friend tell you that its cool and worth checking out, there is an increased chances of you checking it out.

So heres the opportunity, how do you get people to tell their friends about your product? Of course, its the combination of a good product on your side, plus good customer service and increasingly, incentives. There is a reason why Airbnb spent a lot of effort on good customer service, and Zappos dedicated zero budget to marketing and 100% on customer service, because customers’ are your best marketing. Gushcloud is building their business model around this, crowd-marketing, which I think its an brilliant idea (hopefully can cross path with them soon!)!

Wouldn’t it be great if you could get paid for “gushing” about products and brands that you already love?

Thats Gushcloud: Incentivize users to promote a product that they like to other users around their social network. If you link back to the analogy i gave just now, this word of mouth greatly increase the reach and convert rate of any marketing campaign. Really really neat.

Definitely something to think about for Lunchsparks. How do you crowd match, How do you get people to spread the words about a service, and how to you engage them in the first place.

Perhaps another point worth mentioning is the usage of gamification. Gamification is not turning things into games that we play, but  is the use of game design techniques and mechanics to solve problems and engage audiences. An example of Gamification can be seen in this Youtube video:

If you could gamify the whole process of marketing, and make it fun for your users to invite other users, it would be a huge bonus. People will talk about your product. They will spread the words. They will invite their friends. And boom, you have something. Gamification is slowly gaining more popularity, and a senior of mine is pioneering the whole Gamification movement in Singapore (Gamification Singapore) and is slowly gaining some traction in Singapore.

We are definitely slowly moving into industries that tap into the power of the crowd. An excellent example is Groupon where they leverage on the power of the consumers to demand deals. To truly tap into the power of the crowd, organizations and startups have to look into turning impressions into engagements, and turning that engagements into real impacts. And this could pay off really well.