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Continued: Raising Micro-Capital with Social Proof of Geekiness

Diaspora is now a certifiable Black Swan.

As of this post, they have raised $176,165 from 4,860 backers and still have 15 days to go.  I maintain that aside from tapping into the current anti-Facebook zeitgeist among the tech elite, their success is partially fueled by a pricing/bundling strategy that cleverly (or accidentally) includes t-shirts that signal hard-to-fake social proof of geekiness at a good price.

I have updated my two quick-and-dirty graphs on how pricing/bundling these sorts of social signals/proof (read: t-shirts, in this case) may help with raising micro-capital below.


Data table below:

Number of Backers: 1,012 805 1,986 316 195 60 5 4
Pledge Amount: $5 $10 $25 $50 $100 $350 $1,000 $2,000
Sub-Total: $5,060 $8,050 $49,650 $15,800 $19,500 $21,000 $5,000 $8,000
Percentage of Total: 4% 6% 38% 12% 15% 16% 4% 6%
*Grand Total: $132,060
*Number of Backers: 4,383
*Will not match totals on as pledge amounts are "$X or more"



pledged of $10,000 goal

days to g

Treat Your Customers Like Children (or your Children like Customers)

One of the more intriguing dynamics in startups and business in general, is customer communication. Customer Development is, of course, all about talking with customers to test fundamental business hypotheses, match product solution to customer problem, and in general, learn as much about them as possible in order more efficiently and effectively market and sell to them.

The tension comes from learning when to ignore your customers and when to take heed. Custdevguy reminds us that customers have their own agenda, which might not coincide with your own. Steve Blank reminds us that Customer Development is not just collecting web metrics and it's not about focus groups. I've written before that Customers own the pain, Founders own the vision, meaning that as an entrepreneur, you must tailor your vision to solve the customer's pain. That is the objective of speaking with your customers.

Sean Ellis perhaps says it best, describing the process as "honing in" on the "signal" that is the core value proposition of your product to your customer. What's valuable about this description to me, is that rather than looking at what you need to ask each customer, it provides a high-level perspective on what your objective should be and how to get there.  It's talking to enough customer and asking whatever questions necessary to hone in on the core value of the product.

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China Online

Note: Originally published at SANDIOS.

What first comes to mind when you think of China: Communism? Cheap products? Knock-offs? Piracy?

I recently had the great fortune of accompanying a group of investors, bloggers, and entrepreneurs on a whirl-wind tour of East Asia to meet our Japanese and Chinese counterparts, and learn what's shaping their high tech industries. "Geeks on a Plane" traveled to Tokyo, Beijing and Shanghai over a 10 day period, meeting with the locals and ex-pats building the Internet, Mobile & Gaming markets.

To say the least, it was an eye-opening experience.

The first day on the ground in Beijing challenged my preconceptions. Not that cheap products and knock-offs don't exist. They do. (One session we used plastic badges on which the left tab kept breaking off. By day's end, the floor was littered with them.) The point is that this is neither a complete picture nor an accurate summary of China's economy. China is teeming with entrepreneurship, innovation and believe me, only quality product can sustain the stunning architecture of Shanghai.

1 view of Shanghai's 360 degree skyline
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