Boswell

I once wrote something interesting.... Not here though
Jan 4 '13

Times they are a changing

When I was 24 I decided to start my own company… I basically didn’t have a job and I didn’t have any real qualifications or skills, I did have a drive to succeed but I wasn’t really motivated by money or power or anything like that… Don’t get me wrong I like money and power I’m just not that bothered if I have them or not… it sounds cheesy but I’d rather just be happy.

When I started my company I had no knowledge of how to run a business; I’m not stupid I know you have to make a profit but I had no idea of the basics; managing your accounts, marketing budgets , maintaining supplier relationships, hiring staff, scaling your business, dealing with banks and so much more. What I did have was a grasp of the industry I wanted to work in, good strong contacts and a desire to work long days with little reward. 

Yesterday I heard a report on the radio about how the government was extending its program to help 18-30 years old’s start their own business by providing a loan. From what I gathered (and I was only half listening) you could get around £4k for your start up…. £4k!! I don’t know about you but that doesn’t sound like a lot of money to start a business with, of course it depends on what your business model is…

It got me thinking about the amount of money I started my business with, I did some quick sums, checked old accounts and I worked it out to be 2.5k!

£500 of this cash was mine…. the other £2k was may Dad’s. How the bloody hell did I manage that?

Well I relied on a lot of people doing stuff for nothing or really, really cheap…really cheap! 

I think my point is that you never know if you can be successful at anything you do but you have to give it a go, failure may seem extremely daunting but like Thomas Wayne says to a young Batman “why do we fall, so we can learn to pick ourselves up” or something like that… 

If I were young again and was so minded, I’d be knocking on the government’s door for this grant…. do it, and if you do it cos you’ve read this… then you owe me cash, dollar bills.

View comments Tags: Times they are a changing start up business loan waffling

Sep 25 '12

Companies and websites I’m digging at the moment

Companies and websites I’m digging at the moment - Some of them you may not have heard of many you will. Its more about companies that have sparked my imagine or engaged me recently.

Fab.com

A social design site, that pivoted from a gay social site to become a design sale site. Its beautiful to look at, has some great products and is run by a really strong team. 


Foursquare

I tried this out a few years ago and never really got in to it, then a couple of months ago I accidently while looking at it again, followed everyone on my twitter feed… oooops! With this faux par also came the reward of actually seeing thats foursquare is quite cool…

Foundation.kr

I like Kevin Rose, he comes across as a decent, intelligent guy and I really like his foundation series (is it called a series?). For anyone who doesn’t know foundation see’s Kevin interview CEO’s and Entrepreneurs but in a very relaxed style. Think it really helps that Kevin has been their done that.

Instagram

Yeah I know everybody is using it blah blah blah…. but I just bloody love this app. I don’t care that they’ve joined the darkside (facebook), the app is simple and awesome (apologies for using awesome).

Airbnb

At the moment the travel industry is full of companies claiming to be the Airbnb of (insert a category)… Airbnb allows normal people like you, to hire out your spare room like you would a hotel… great design again and some cracking innovation.

Flipboard

Mentioned before in another post but I really like this app/company, has changed the way I read information forever.

Oh and one site I’m actually looking forward to seeing is the new My Space redesign, and I never thought I’d say that!

2 notes View comments Tags: flipboard airbnb fab.com foundation.kr foursquare

Mar 17 '12
Think you can hack it? Here’s one of the problems from last year’s Facebook Hacker Cup
Drew Olanoff, thenextweb.com
I’m at this year’s Face­book Hack­er Cup com­pe­ti­tion which fea­tures some of the bright­est minds in the world. The actu­al prob­lems that the com­peti­tors are work­ing on right now is some­thing that I can’t dis­close yet, but thanks to…

Think you can hack it? Here’s one of the problems from last year’s Facebook Hacker Cup
Drew Olanoff, thenextweb.com

I’m at this year’s Face­book Hack­er Cup com­pe­ti­tion which fea­tures some of the bright­est minds in the world. The actu­al prob­lems that the com­peti­tors are work­ing on right now is some­thing that I can’t dis­close yet, but thanks to…

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Feb 2 '12

Why The Travel Industry Should Use Pinterest.com

You can be forgiven for not having heard of the new social website on the block, as its still in invite only however pinterest.com for me is going to be huge for the travel industry and here’s why…

As described on their website

Pinterest is a Virtual Pinboard. Pinterest lets you organize and share all the beautiful things you find on the web. People use pinboards to plan their weddings, decorate their homes, and organize their favorite recipes.

Traffic

In the last 6 months visits to Pinterest have risen 4000%, according to TNW in one week in December they received over 11 million unique visitors. Remember they have achieved all this despite being invitation only.

Some companies are reporting greater referral traffic from Pinterest than facebook.

SEO

Search Engine Land also points out that Pinterest is a great way to improve your search engine optimisation as it allows you to back link to your own site.

Viral

The buzz word of marketeers everywhere, viral marketing refers to marketing techniques that use pre-existing social networks to produce increased brand awareness or to achieve other marketing objectives. A good example of Viral marketing was the Cadbury’s Chocolate’s, Gorilla advert, which was popular on facebook and youtube.

Pinterest’s users are loyal but more importantly, active which increases the chance for your campaign going viral their recent additional of pinning to facebooks timeline also adds to the viral opportunities.


Engagement

Companies should take every opportunity they can to engage with their customers, Pinterest offers a unique and simple way to interact. We interacted with more customers in the first week on Pinterest than we did compared to the first week on twitter or facebook.

Pinterest also allows users to re-pin or even comment on the information  you provide.

Shop

Remember when there were tons of independent travel agents on the high street, windows full of holiday offers. Well Pinterest can be that shop window, pin a picture of your holiday, your tour or your car hire offer and add a price to it.

but most importantly…  

Visual

Selling travel is a very visual experience, hence the use of brochures and companies investing heavily on image based websites for example; four season’s recently spent $18 million on their new website.

Pinterest allows companies to create a board based on inspiring images, these images should promote your destination, tour or even car hire.

Do customers react more to an image or to text?

Can an image say more that words?

For me, facebook, google plus and twitter are the go to sites for companies committed to social media, however I think Pinterest is best suited to travel, I for one wont be surprised when a whole host of companies get on board.

You can visit the usrentacar Pinterest board here, for those of you who aren’t on Pinterest yet, but are interested, we still have some invitations left, see our previous post.

View comments Tags: pinterest Why The Travel Industry Should Use Pinterest.com

Jan 17 '12

The problem with where I live!

I live in Aldershot, home of the British army, a small town packed full of history. I don’t hate the place by any means and every time I’ve left I always had a sneaky suspicion I’d return…and I did.

However it’s not exactly the hub of the universe….

It’s this minor detail that creates my problem, I like app’s and at the moment I like social apps recently I’ve downloaded and tried oink, uberlife and zeebox all three have great write ups and a bit of a buzz about them.

Now I can connect to these apps by logging in via facebook or twitter and here’s where my problem lies.

Facebook

The majority of my Facebook friends are actually my friends!! I know weird huh! Which means the majority are born and bred in aldershot, they aren’t interested in the latest company to get investor cash or what app has launch allowing you to share stuff in a new way.

They aren’t idiots by any means, they just aren’t as bother as me, most will generally find out about an app via word of mouth.

Problem 

For the app’s mentioned above the real user experience takes place when you can interact with your friends.

I’m not really that bothered how Joe Blogs ranks a bottle of HP sauce (oink), or what he will do next (uberlife) or what TV show he is watching or what he think’s of Simon Cowell’s new teeth (zeebox).

However if it was one of my friends I probably would be interested or at least read it.

Twitter

The majority of people who follow me on twitter I have never met, I probably never will, to be honest I don’t even “speak” to most of them on Twitter.

My twitter account is full of brands I cover, people who share interesting stuff and Aston Villa players (don’t judge me). 

Problem

These people are strangers, they are the Joe Blogs mentioned above and using social apps with a bunch of Joe Blogses feels weird and slightly intrusive. 

Conclusion

Most of the app’s mentioned above are great if you live in San Francisco but for me I live in a town that is the tech equivalent of being Amish….

So it basically comes down to the fact I was born and live in a place where social apps will never catch on immediately I will literally have to wait for them to become popular before I can use them and by that time something new will be out…

I could move… however uprooting my family so I can use the latest app to its full potential would receive short thrift from the Mrs…might even warrant a slap…

So it appears I’m stuck in the app world equivalent of a lap dance… I can look but I cannot touch…

Damn you Aldershot….  

11 notes View comments Tags: aldershot social apps oink zeebox uberlife

Jan 14 '12

google plus calls in the big guns!!!

I seem to remember when the iPod first came out that I discovered the MP3 player not from blogs or directly from apple themselves but via a photo of David Beckham running in Spain with the distinctive white earphones in full view…. and now it appears google are going to attempt to harness the power of David Beckham to promote its young social website.

YouTube’s blog states

International soccer phenom +David Beckham is taking off his boots and heading to Google for an exclusive live interview. Have a question you’ve been dying to personally ask Becks? Post it on Google+ with hashtag #GoogleBeckham, and maybe he’ll answer it live!

Watch the interview on Thursday, January 19 at 9am PT on youtube.com/atgoogletalks. And as an added bonus, hangout with him directly afterward on his Google+ profile at 10:30am PT. Add him to your circles now for all the latest updates.


Now we know how successful the iPod has been and continues to be, obviously this is not down to Mr Beckham but the media interest in this I imagine will be strong.

The power of Beckham could well help google not only promote google plus but also showcase its other features especially google hangout.

It will be interesting to see the amount of interest generated from a celebrity plus’er (is that what they are called?) and if google try to entice us with other celebrities…

1 note View comments Tags: beckham david beckham google plus google + youtube

Jan 12 '12

Yahoo should buy instagram

I read an interesting piece on travel tech website tnooz stating the case for why yahoo should try and buy trip advisor the node raises some good points and the comments as always are an insight full read.

For me though Yahoo could do a lot worse than buy Instagram. As you’ll note from my other posts I’m a big fan of the social photography company and I’m sure there are a few large companies sniffing around them but here are a few of my reasons why I believe they would be a great fit for Yahoo.

Social

Firstly social sites are here to stay and the impending facebook IPO show’s there’s money to be made, Google launched its google + social site on the 20th September 2011 as they recognised the need to compete and is now boasting 100 million accounts (actual users not verified). Instagram based solely on its iPhone app (android version launching soon) has 15 million users uploading 60 photo’s per second, they have a very healthy active community, an example, the most “liked” photo has over 51,000 unique likes. A great basis to work from and continue to increase membership.

Flickr

Also Yahoo has its fingers in a lot of pies, one of those pies is flickr.com the photo sharing website which they purchased in 2005. For me this site has been treading water for a bit and the introduction of Instagram could give this site a well need boost.

Image

Instagram is cool, Yahoo is not… however by proxy, if Yahoo bought Instagram they would become cool. Image is everything, if you can get that buzz going about your products and company it can open doors to further product advancement.

Team

On top of getting a great social presence, a boost for Flickr and some street cred, yahoo could also inherit a small, highly creative team something they would be stupid not to take advantage of. 

15 notes View comments Tags: tnooz instagram yahoo buyout

Jan 9 '12

Why facebook should get on the right Path

facebook does a lot of things right hence why it’s the number one social and sharing company in the world and why its heading towards an ipo of 100 billion!

However as I’ve mentioned before I don’t think it’s mobile offering lives up to the rest of its portfolio. Don’t get me wrong it’s not a disaster by any means but simply moving the online site to an app not only lacks imagination it doesn’t really make sense, for me facebook’s mobile offering is sized incorrectly (or perhaps is just my fat thumbs) and a bit too busy.

With the introduction of facebook’s timeline, the brains in silicon valley could do a lost worse than spending a bit of that IPO cash on San Francisco neighbours; Path.

If your not familiar with Path, let me briefly explain, the original Path started as a photo sharing app, which didn’t really spark people’s imagination , the premiss was photo sharing but too closed groups. Path 2.0 released in November 2011 is completely unrecognisable from its earlier incarnation reinventing itself as a smart journal.

We’ve built a host of new features that make it easier to share even more on Path — your thoughts, the music you’re listening to, where you are, who you’re with, when you wake and when you sleep, and as always, your photos and videos.

The layout and design is beautiful and the status navigation is unforgettable. Creating your “path” is reminiscent of facebook’s own timeline but with a much enhanced user experience. 

Path have nailed the mobile user experience however the problem they have is user numbers…. Out of my 400 odd facebook friends I am the only one who has downloaded their app, granted they probably aren’t too bothered at the moment about UK downloads but for all social start ups making a dent in Facebook, twitter and to some extent google +’s dominance is bloody hard.

For facebook, Path is the timeline builder their own app should be.

View comments Tags: path facebook app. mobile

Jan 6 '12

If I had a ton of cash these are the companies I would invest in

Title pretty much says it all!

I love reading about start up’s, I’m interested about what they hope to achieve and what motivates them and how they plan to achieve it. In an ideal world I’d be stinking rich and spend my days investing in start ups, but it’s not an ideal world so I’ll stick to my day job and write about who i’d invest in if only life was fair…

Spotify (music)

Music is cool, disrupting the status quo is cool so therefore spotify is cool. You know what else is cool, 2.5 million subscribers which spotify has just announced. It has taken full advantage of facebook’s open graph and despite criticism has increased it market share.

Reason: This company is exciting. 

Instagram (photography)

No shock here, regular readers will know of my love for this photo sharing app. It currently has 15 million users based solely on the iPhone, it has plans to launch an android version this year which will obviously just increase its presence. It’s not only the amount of users it has that makes it attractive, it’s the fact the users are what i call quality users, dedicated to Instagram, helping to fuel it’s social aspects.

Kevin Systrom (CEO) has slowly put together a small but exciting team of talented individuals, as I write this it consists of just 8. The trickiest move going forward will be working out how it will make money without losing its special quality.

Reason: A company I love, that at some point will get bought for big money.

Tnooz (media)

Pronounced “t” “nooz” (Tnooz), this travel tech media company has become the must read site for the industry. Not only does it produce quality content but also in my opinion, is ahead if it’s rivals when it comes to using social media to promote itself.

It also provides some interesting lunch time reading with its tlabs feature which showcases start ups and unlike others, revisits them to see how they have progressed. They have inspired me to start learning to code after I read and watched their thack feature. Some have called it the tech crunch of travel but I don’t think that does them justice.

Reason: Top of their game and only getting better, good group of intelligent people.

Tumblr (blogging)

The site that hosts my little blog is quickly becoming the fastest growing micro-blogging site in the world 1299.5% in 2011 and although it can’t possibly continue at this rate it shows no real signs of slowing.

What I would do first at tumblr though is fix their iPhone app, it’s pretty bad… I’ve tried to write this post 4 times now but it keeps crashing!!!

Reason: Fascinating concept, getting bigger everyday.

View comments Tags: tumblr tnooz instagram spotify

Jan 5 '12

What will facebook do next?

2012, and probably in the first quarter will see facebook IPO at an estimated value of 100 Billion, it is reported they will be looking to offer up 10 Billion worth of share options. Raising the social site from game changer to full time player. It will also create a ton of millionaires…. Clever millionaires as well… Maybe even future competitors depending on how they spend their cash.

2011 was a massive year for facebook, it has managed to snare more than 800 million users worldwide and kept them coming back for more. It introduced timeline, the new design for your profile page which has heavy emphasis on images, it added new brand pages for companies and launched its subscribe feature, but what does 2012 hold other than big wads of cash…

2012 

2012 should see it hit 1 billion users! A massive statement and a truly unbelievable milestone, surely Mr Zuckerberg in his wildest dreams couldn’t have pictured this in his dorm room!?

However in my opinion facebook doesn’t do everything well… It’s mobile offering is average, it’s not terrible but twitters new design is better, as is path’s (which is my new fav). So what to do?

Buffy (The Vampire Slayer?)

I look at Facebook vs google like rocky vs Apollo Creed, I like both of them and don’t really care who wins. When google purchased Motorola towards the end of 2011 it must have surely worried Facebook a little. Especially when Erick Tseng (facebook mobile chief) says they see facebook’s future as that of a mobile company.

Now talk of a facebook phone have been around for ages but I’ve never seen anything concrete, until leaks about project buffy came to light, apparently working with HTC it will be an android powered phone with deep facebook integration aimed at teenagers, but why stop there? You’ve got a ton of cash, you’ve got nearly 1 billion users, why not roll out a high spec phone, aimed at everyone?

Surely it’s a win win?

1 note View comments Tags: facebook 2012 facebook phone