There are many great articles online but it’s easy to miss them in the daily flurry of digital information. Even with RSS readers and read-later services, it’s easy to overlook some great blog posts throughout the week.
So we’ve rounded up some of our favourite blog posts that we read this week. If we’ve missed your favourite post, blog or author, or you simply have a suggestion for us, please let us know in the comments below! We love to discover new and wonderful writers!
1) Maintaining Momentum
Building a business from scratch means dealing with uncertainty, competition, and stress. How do you make sure you can compete with newer products, or keep the updates regular enough?
Nathan Kontny's post 'Lost Momentum' discuss the power of having a 'train schedule', a schedule that you stick to as strictly as possible to keep momentum going.
The schedule helps me deal with the inevitable bumps. Of course there’s a new well funded competitor. Of course someone else is getting all the press this week. Of course revenue one week doesn’t look so hot. It doesn’t matter. Because I keep showing up anyways to get a few new ideas out there every 2-3 weeks. Eventually I get through the rough spots and people notice. Draft, unlike Worthio, keeps growing in popularity and recurring revenue.
Read on to see how this 'train schedule' has helped him build up and keep focus on his newest start-up.
2) Experimentation and the Lean Startup Method
The Lean Startup movement is famous for taking the scientific method and applying it to the art of building a startup. It's a great way to learn about how to build your business from idea to reality while making sure you maximise your chances of success. The emphasis is placed party on the importance of experimentation and gathering data before your build your product.
Ryan Hoover's post 'There's No Right Way to Start Up' hits on one of the occasional downsides to this method, especially when it comes to products that have no direct comparison in the market. You can't always receive helpful feedback about something that is completely new or doesn't necessarily serve a purpose. Ryan mentions the example of Twitter, writing that:
In Twitter’s case, no interview or experiment would have predicted its success, in fact it may have even deterred the founders from building it in the first place. Sometimes actual product usage is required for meaningful learning. This is often true of consumer products like Twitter, Snapchat, or Foursquare that introduce significant shifts in user behavior.
We like to think we act rationally, but we don’t, particularly when it comes to products driven by emotional needs.
This is far from meaning that it's always a good idea to go off and create a full product, spending a large amount of money straight off the bat but it's a sure sign that customers don't always know what they want.
Read on to find out more about the subtleties involved in building a startup.
3) Can You Slow Time Down?
Have you ever had one of those days where you just get into the groove of things, are able to focus properly and then find that time has passed in the blink of an eye. David Allen calls this having a 'mind like water', inspired by the concept in martial arts. But what if you want to make sure that your time passes more slowly but still enjoyably?
The iDoneThis blog has a post by Janet Choi all about how you can take advantage of some of the weirder things about time to make it more flexible and bend it to your will, no superpowers necessary.
One of the suggestions is to break out of your routines once in a while:
To combat the effect of automatic routines, fill your time up with new experiences and knowledge to form accessible memory anchors. Turn your brain resources on with new challenges or projects and learning new skills. Ask questions and exercise your curiosity muscles. Take a trip or change up your environment more often. Embrace your inner child and go exploring, even if it’s just to stretch yourself a little.
While you can't stop time in its tracks or even make it move very much slower, you can read the rest of the post for ideas about how to make it stretch a little bit more that it already is.
4) SEO and Keyword Targeting
The world of SEO is one that can be confusing at the best of times. With rapid changes in search engine algorithms and an ever-growing number of websites vying for a place on the first results page, it can be a challenge to made sense of improving your website's SEO.
On Moz's blog today, there's a great 'Whiteboard Friday' video where Rand Fishkin, Wizard of Moz, goes through some of the changes to SEO and how to make a real difference to your site.
In the video, he explains that 'Google's engine has really evolved to be more sophisticated with how they identify and process keyword use than they have historically.'
He goes on to bust some of the myths surrounding SEO and explains the changes that you should know about to keep your keyword targeting under control.
So first off, as opposed to early keyword targeting world of SEO, today I really don't stress repetition. I think repetition is something we can almost avoid. So I don't worry about, "Hey, I only have four instances of the term 'Seattle's Best Espresso' on the page. That's not enough. I really need six or I need seven or I need five or I need three." I don't worry about the number. I do, generally speaking, like to make sure that at least somewhere on the page, at one point or another, the phrase is mentioned once or twice is generally good enough, and sometimes if it makes sense to have it in the copy anyway, for user experience reasons, for readability reasons, for content reasons, great, fine. That's okay.
So if you don't know your Keyword Targeting and Density from your Cannibalization, then watch this great video or read the transcript to learn more.
5) Dynamic Pricing at Uber
Pricing is something that is both difficult and very important to get right in a start-up. Recently, Uber has been drawing criticism for its dynamic pricing model, upping the cost of rides at peak times to two or three times the normal feed. The reasons behind this price model was extensively explored in a blog post by Bill Gurley on Tuesday.
Gurley acknowledges that he’s an Uber board member and investor so you can take this post with a pinch of salt but it's very interesting to see how many problems can face a company when deciding on pricing. It's not simply a case of deciding on something and sticking with it indefinitely.
Gurley begins his post by writing:
Over the course of the past year, many writers have offered their perspectives on Uber’s dynamic pricing strategy. Perhaps the only consistency is that people have deeply passionate views on this topic. However, there are still many misperceptions about how the model works, and the purpose of this post is to clarify some of those misperceptions.
I am an Uber investor and board member, and therefore expect that many will dismiss these thoughts as naked bias. But consider that as a result of my role I have access to more information that might enable a deeper perspective. I also have quite a bit on the line, and as a result have spent a great deal of time contemplating the policy as well as the potential alternatives.
He goes on to explain in detail the different elements of Uber's business plan and their reasons behind the price hikes. Love Uber or hate them, this is an interesting look at pricing and the intricacies of finding the right business model. Take a look at Gurley's blog to read the whole post.