Biggie Smalls is keeping us motivated

I’m just, tryin to stay above water y’know
Just stay busy, stay workin
Puff told me like, the key to this joint
The key to staying, on top of things
is treat everything like it’s your first project, knah what I’m sayin?
Like it’s your first day like back when you was an intern
Like, that’s how you try to treat things like, just stay hungry

– Notorious B.I.G (My 1st Song)

When we were working at GE, there was a persistent feeling of progress because plans were set, the team had week-by-week goals and everyone was trying to exceed expectations for the next milestone.  The key to success was keeping your team motivated, helping everyone overcome roadblocks and managing your executive clients so your team could focus on the work.

That world couldn’t be farther from being a bootstrapping entrepreneur.  We now do everything that our teams use to do, plus all the administrative stuff we couldn’t even have imagined.  Most of the time we’re doing things for the first time, so we’re largely just guessing on how to to get it done.  Heck, we’ll be really lucky if we’re even heading in the right direction.  This week we dealt with everything from changes to the facebook API, to branding and reviewing trademark law.

It’s an emotional roller-coaster and we’ve started to do things to replace the pat’s on the back we used to get and the milestones we use to be given.  First we’ve been bouncing our ideas and questions off some great mentors.  They’re excitement for the project makes us feel great, but we always end up doubling our to-do lists and getting that sinking feeling about the long road ahead.  Secondly we’ve re-instituted the GE style “Friday Update” where we set-out all the week’s accomplishments, roadblocks we’re facing and plan for the next week.  Every Friday morning will start out with a huddle to tackle roadblocks, set goals and agree on milestones.  Having to update all out mentors on our progress each Friday will get us structuring our time better and prioritize the things that really need to get done.

We think this is a good start, but clearly we’re still learning the ropes and expect to think a lot more on this topic in the future.  Thanks for your support and keep a look-out for our weekly blog posts on Fridays.

Biggie Smalls is keeping us motivated

Naming & branding your new project

This past week we learned from a few masters of branding about how they come up with names and brand images for their new ventures.  We went through the process a month ago, so it was fun to see that we actually did a good job and reflect on what we did.  The basic process for picking a brand is to first research your competitors and pick themes and images that differentiate you from them.  Boil the image you want your new business to have to 3 adjectives, or just write a single sentence that describes the brand.  Now the hard part is to brainstorm all the words and thoughts you have on the image, we used something similar to a mind-graph to help us organize our thoughts.

Take all these great words and start to come up with potential names.  You’ll need to get creative, our trick was listening to awesome music on random shuffle while downing some excellent local brews each afternoon as the sun was setting on our porch.  It definitely helps to leave the brainstorming after a little while and come back to it another time.  Once you have some names down, use a tool like Fusename to check what .coms are available and narrow your list.  Be sure to check out Domainr to look at possible alternative extension combinations.  We decided a long time ago that we wouldn’t use a non .com name, it’s just not as strong for a consumer product that needs mass appeal.  If you are developing a tool for computer geeks, or are trying for the exclusive/mysterious image then one of the new website extensions can definitely enhance the brand.  The “.co” extension is now available and there are a ton of cool ones available.

Now that you have a couple good names, it’s time to get some outside opinions.  We asked 20 people we knew and a handful of stoned college kids hanging around Boulder during 4/20 for their thoughts.  We found that one one of our top names, “Pokems” had associations with Pokemon and with the Facebook poke feature which could skew our brand creation process.  Overwhelmingly, people liked Nudgems and we have have grown attached to it as well.  As with any name, register and redirect all the possible misspellings that you find (Nudgumz anyone?).

That’s it, if you do it right you should be pretty happy with your new name.  Now it’s time to make a website that enhances and defines your new brand!  Luckily, you guys are already following us, so you’ll be able to check out all our progress on our Nudgems and SplitOurTab projects.

Naming & branding your new project