Archive for the ‘launch’ Category

Joost Invitations

Wednesday, March 7th, 2007

Joost logoOver the past week, Joost has provided me with 4 BETA invitations to send out. As I already had a list of people, they were quickly dispatched. However, I expect to receive more in the very near future. So, if you are interested in trying out this innovative, new Internet TV tool, please e-mail me or drop your e-mail in the comments (in some form of counter-SPAM method, i.e. aidanhenry-(AT)-hotmail-(DOT)-com for example).

For those unfamiliar with Joost, it is the new project of Niklas Zennstrom and Janus Friis. These are the geniuses who brought us KaZaa, followed by Skype. Their new venture promises to change the way we view video on the net and revolutionize TV forever.

For more info, view my previous posts on the company:

Open Vs. Closed Communities

Saturday, February 24th, 2007

Most agree that the more users you have, the better. Interestingly enough, this is not always the case. Another misconception arises around pricing. Most would like to offer their services free of charge at all cost (no pun intended). Once again, this is not always the best option. Often times, a smaller, closed, paid community may offer more advantages than a larger open community.

Nowadays, it’s almost unheard of to charge for a service. Google AdSense is a staple. Advertising is considered the main revenue stream for most start-ups. This eliminates the commitment and barriers to entry for new users. By alienating potential users with a fee, the company may be bypassing a high percentage of their target market.

However, there is a quasi-hybrid version. Free trial periods eliminate the financial burden and provide a glimpse into the service. Forcing the ‘blind jump’ upon new visitors is not only dangerous, but unacceptable in this day and age.

Many services offer a free, ad-supported version or a premium, ad-free subscription with additional features. For the most part, users are satisfied with with the former option. But power users and those annoyed by ads may pay the usually small premium. But what do paid, closed networks offer that is often overlooked?


By limiting a network to paying customers, the service is able to elude (for the most part) spammers and illegitimate users, as well as uneducated and inactive users. If a credit card is being billed monthly, you’ll quickly find out who your power users are.

Implementing a paid system should in theory lead to a higher quality network, which in turn should lead to a more respected, credible name. This branding strategy further solidifies the outward facing image in terms of quality.

I’m not saying that all networks should be closed, or multi-level, or even free for that matter. Each individual site or community must determine which path is most appropriate. If a paid option is considered, there must be a significant value proposition for the user. The service must provide differentiation and a strong bond with the user, otherwise they are prone to switch to a competitor or simply drop the service altogether. If a user can’t live without your service or depends upon it very highly, you’re on the right track. It’s quite possible that the user is willing to pay.

New companies must decide which revenue model to adopt. Obviously, a case-by-case analysis must be performed. But the important thing for new companies to understand is that it is okay to charge if you feel the service merits the fee. Not all companies can and should be monetized by Google.

Too Many Features

Tuesday, January 30th, 2007

Way too often do I see a company trying to do too many things for too many people. A company will launch the ultimate portal experience with e-mail functionality, search, weather, horoscopes, VOIP, calendar, and an AJAX interface.

What I’m trying to say is that many companies confuse their offering by trying to do too many things. By focusing on 1-3 features in particular and creating a spectacular experience, your potential for success is much greater. This is what YouTube did… and did very well might I add.

How often do you read a features set that is over a page long and you’re left wondering… “WTF does this thing actually do for me?” It’s a daunting reality. Now, isn’t it refreshing when you browse a feature set that is minimal (only in terms of size). You can paint a clear picture in your head as to what the system/site/software can accomplish for you.

Think of it like ordering food in a restaurant. Sure, a huge menu is good as there are a lot of choices. But in many cases, the size and breadth clouds your minds and thought-process. A smaller menu is easier to choose from as the information at hand easier to quantify.

Numerous small companies can attribute their success to a given feature of a larger unsuccessful company.

As the old saying goes, “A jack of all trades, master of none.” Companies need to conceptualize a clear vision and stay true that original mindset. It may not sound logical but by focusing on a smaller number of features, a start-up has a greater likelihood of succeeding (in many cases).

Craigslist and Wikipedia are great examples of simple start-ups that set out to do one thing well. Never along the way did they stray from that original vision and look where they stand today - among the greats.

I can’t wait to see more examples of this mentality and thought-process moving forward. These are the apps and designs of the new web. They are the success stories and sites I will use. This is web 2.0.

Call Me Now… with Jaxtr

Thursday, January 25th, 2007

Jaxtr logoExpect to see Jaxtr coming to a social network or blog near you… 

Jaxtr is now officially in BETA testing mode. Upon receiving the e-mail last night, I set-up an account and customized my settings. Having said that, I would really like to test the system. So give me a shout. Seriously.

Readers can call me by visiting my Jaxtr page or the embedded Jaxtr widget page I set up.

So what’s so great about the service? Here is the company pitch:

“With the free jaxtr service, you link your phone with your online network to get calls and messages from callers worldwide. You keep your existing phone numbers private and enjoy enhanced control over when and on which phone you receive calls. Plus, you get to call other jaxtr users in 29 countries from your phone without paying international toll charges.”

Jaxtr also proclaims that there is no need for a:

  • Download.
  • Headset.
  • High-speed Internet connection.

I’ve already profiled the company twice: Jaxtr - Beware the Dark Side and Jaxtr May Be BETA Than You Think.

For more information on this embeddable VOIP wonder, visit the Jaxtr FAQ page.

Do You Digg Canada?

Wednesday, January 24th, 2007 logoIf so, then is the site for you. This Canadian version of its Southern cousin is all about user-contributed news. As the site says, “News 2.0 is all about Canadian user powered news. All the news are submitted and voted by users. Share, discover and promote the news that is important to you!”. Although very similar to Digg, the site takes on a very Canadian feel.

Current front page stories include articles regarding Vancouver and Ontario. Mark Evans referred to the site as the “Great White North Version of Digg”.

Although Digg itself would be impossible to compete against directly, niche news sites and verticals like are changing the game. By taking on a regional subset of Digg’s traffic, is able to not only survive and co-exist, but also develop a more targeted, tight-knit community around Canadian news.

Once again, this is evidence that user-contribution is here to stay. As more and more niche portals, verticals, and communities spur up around this concept, the stronger and more powerful the foundation becomes. is powered by a CMS called Pligg. This Digg-like back-end system is becoming more and more popular around the net. It is being used to power countless verticals and Digg-like sites that not only publish news, but also photos and videos.

Though the web portal is still in its early stages of life, already it is gaining some traction and exposure. For more on the development of the site, visit their blog.

It’s good to see yet another local, Canadian web 2.0 company making waves in the sea that is the new web landscape. Good luck guys.

NOTE: agreed to feature my site if I featured their’s.