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I had an email exchange earlier today with a non-technical founder who is annoyed with the platform (a modular content management system) he has built his business on.
Apparently his CMS has crashed a few times, but it also seems to him that it’s harder for him to get support for the platform basics (templates, timely updates, readily available freelance support, creative extensions) and that, perhaps, the code is meaner and leaner on another platform.
I replied that, in fact, perhaps the issue was person related. His site is growing quite rapidly – his page views are up 86% from his previous year, his pages per visit are up over 100% from last year, and his bounce rate on the site has plummeted to just 6% – obviously his visitors are sticking around longer and using more resources from the platform while they’re there. Meanwhile, he’s got the same contract support (a couple of hours per month) and hosting (dedicated box with service) that he’s had for the past year.
In other words, the demand on his platform has changed while his technical support personnel have not. My suggestion to him is to audit the responsibilities currently performed under the existing retainer, then consider what additional responsibilities would improve platform performance. Prioritize those in order of income generation, then ensure his existing talent can rise to the occasion.
Once that is assessed, the platform can then honestly be assessed based on its actual (versus intended) use.
Often its easiest to assume stronger, faster technology is the right solution for every problem. Sometimes, though, the issue is people, not the platform.
Would an assessment checklist be helpful to you? If so, leave me a note in the comments. I have several platform assessment checklists I’d be willing to share if there is interest.
Lots of interestingfolk I read and respect are doing an interesting thing for New Year goal setting. They’re choosing 3 words that speak to their goals for the year ahead.
Generally, I’m not a fan of resolutions, but I’m very fond of goals and the number 3, so I thought I’d share my words for 2011 with you.
Execute: I plan to ship differently in 2011 than I did in 2010. Obviously I’m beholden to what my client needs are, but I’m also thinking about our digital compost as I’m laying out the calendar – there is some rich potential in our pile right now.
Experiment: I have a number of public experiments laid out for 2011, including an array of marketing and donor acquisition campaigns both online and off. I am still looking for two entrepreneurs in the Richmond, VA vicinity for two self employment experiments I have ready to launch – if you’re interested or know someone who might be, please let me know.
Engage: I’m looking forward to sharing more this year. I’ve got reams of data on 2010 campaigns (Facebook, Direct Mail, Email) and some observations on political and end of year donor campaigns that significantly outperformed expectations. This includes my aspiration to document more of our processes so that our experiments can be replicated elsewhere.
Today’s edition of links is all about women and entrepreneurship, one of my favorite topics:
XX Combinator: Tereza Nemessanyi takes to the comments of A VC and suggests an XX Combinator program for women. Given that women presently represent less than 5% of seed/incubation programs, it’s a good suggestion, but Fred’s post teases out some of the finer points and offers a rallying point for interested entrepreneurs to jump in.
Incubating Women Entrepreneurs: Audrey Watters from Read, Write Web moves the story a bit further and provides the helpful statistic that just 3% of Y Combinator participants have been women. She spotlights Women 2.0 Labs, which provides incubation services to both men and women, as well as a helpful Kauffman Institute study on the importance of mentoring in supporting female entrepreneurs.