FA Cup Supporter Showdown

It’s the FA Cup final today, the world’s oldest football competition. And this time it’s another one of our hometown teams, Manchester United, playing against Crystal Palace!

If you’re a football nut, you’ll probably be reading about the potential strategies and tactics Crystal Palace can use to exploit United’s vulnerabilities. But we’re not here to talk about all that. This article will give you an exclusive scoop about the real-world interests of supporters from both sides. Continue reading FA Cup Supporter Showdown

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Introducing TopicDNA

So, we’ve gone and done it again. We’ve changed what you know about us and added a shiny new veneer. The reason why we’re plugging TopicDNA now isn’t because what we created before didn’t work. On the contrary, the technology we were building that determines your personality based on your music listening behaviours is still here. In fact, we’ve proven that it’s about 70 – 80% accurate on over 30,000 people around the world (who’ve taken the test via our demo app).

Continue reading Introducing TopicDNA

Coolest SMEs in Manchester

 

We were recently picked as one of the coolest SMEs in Manchester! Read the full article here.

Linking Music to Personality

 

You are what you listen to.

Continue reading Linking Music to Personality

Dr. CEO

Continue reading Dr. CEO

Traits of an Entrepreneur

Entrepreneur Traits

Yes, it’s true. Entrepreneurs are not sane.

No sane human being would subject themselves to such a torturous ordeal of extreme highs (and lows) without much immediate rewards to show for it. And that’s why I am absolutely convinced that entrepreneurs are born, and not bred. It is the innate ability of an entrepreneur to absorb risks that set us apart.

Some people might think that coming up with good ideas should be the most important trait that defines an entrepreneur, but I beg to differ. Anyone can come up with a great idea, but it’s the ability to inspire others with this idea, to get them to buy into your vision, that is key. And not everyone can turn that inspiration into a business, let alone a sustainable one.

I’ve outlined three other traits (besides having a good idea, because you still need one) that I think are absolutely vital to starting your own business, and I believe that being a successful entrepreneur happens at the intersection of these traits.

entrepreneur_traits

Risk tolerance

It goes without saying that an entrepreneur needs to be able to stomach risk. There’s a lot of things that go wrong when starting your own business (and not much that goes right). So the ability to weather this storm, both physically and mentally, is a huge necessity for the individual. Some people have it, most people don’t and that’s okay. But don’t trick yourself into thinking that you can do it if you can’t. It will only hurt you in the long run.

Persistence

This one is key, but is often overlooked. The reason being that out of the four traits I’ve described, this is probably the one you have the most control over. Sometimes an idea comes to you as an epiphany, you’re usually born with a specific limit of risk tolerance, and luck is something you can’t control and just happens. But persistence (or determination) is something that you have 100% control over. There will be many ups and downs with starting a business, but it’s an entrepreneur’s ability to power through these times, focus on the end goal and keep the faith that is of the utmost importance to the eventual success of your business.

Luck

Yes, luck does play a role in the success of an entrepreneur…unfortunately. But my view is this; luck is out there, buzzing around our paths, just waiting for us to be in a position to receive it. And that’s where persistence comes in. When you are persistent in what you’re doing, inevitably, you will put yourself in a position to receive some sort of luck that will help your business.

Let me give you an example. As an entrepreneur, the best places to meet future clients/partners/investors are at social networking events (not the online one, but the face-to-face kind). Most of the events are in London, but since we’re based in Manchester its sometimes a real pain to go down just for these events. A lot of times, I think to myself “not another one…I’ve already gone down there twice this week. Maybe I’ll just skip this one. What’s the harm? Plus, I didn’t have any luck at the other past events I’ve gone to and this one doesn’t seem all that interesting anyways”. However, after thinking this I’ll usually kick myself into gear and end up going, but I always wonder if it will actually be worth it.

But the ones I don’t usually want to go to and I least expect anything to happen from always turn out to be the best ones!

A lot of the time, I would meet someone that I otherwise would never have gotten a chance to talk to. I usually end the event thinking “wow, I’m really glad I went. That was awesome!”. So overcoming adversity, being persistent and staying the course ultimately yields rewards at the end, even though it might not be apparent from the outset.

Of course, there are other external factors to take into consideration when running a business (ie. who you work with, the environment you’re in, your support network, etc.). But from my own experience so far, I think the four traits that I’ve outlined are the most important to get your business from that initial conceptual idea to a sustainable, and eventually successful, business.

Metrics Matter

Metrics_of_successOne of the biggest things that we’ve learned on this startup journey is that metrics matter. I know it’s pretty obvious but I think it’s more about when you should start measuring metrics as opposed to doing it for the sake of measuring something because the lean startup methodology told you to. I’ll give you an example.

My eldest son (he’s in Year 3) has to write a journal every day to practice his writing skills. To be honest, he doesn’t really like it as he likes math better so he gets careless sometimes. We always tell him to check his work before letting us check it but it seems to go in one ear and out the other. To try and get it into his head, we preach the standard parent line “when you practice every day you’ll get better…just you wait and see”. However, this whole concept of “getting better” without a means to verify it didn’t really help our cause and he was still making careless mistakes.

So I decided to implement a “mistake counter” for him. What this means is that he has to add up all the grammar, spelling and miscellaneous mistakes after every journal, and try to make less mistakes the next time he writes. This way, he has a concrete number to aim for and can see improvements himself, rather than us telling him to just “get better”. I didn’t really know how he’d receive it but I decided to give it a go.

Turns out, it’s working!

He’s actively making sure he minimizes his careless mistakes before we check it. Of course, he still makes mistakes (we all do) but at least it’s measurable and he’s really happy that he’s improving. So it’s making me a happy parent and he’s a happy kid, a win-win!

After seeing how important metrics are in this simple example, it has only reinforced to me how much more important metrics are in the live-or-die world of startups. So, if you haven’t implemented metrics in your startup yet….DO IT! But make sure you’re using it correctly.

Of course, it’s easier said than done so if you’re having trouble a good book to read would be Lean Analytics by Alistar Croll & Benjamin Yoskovitz (http://leananalyticsbook.com). I’m still in the process of reading it but I’ve found so far that it can apply to both B2C and B2B companies. Good luck and happy measuring!