Categories
Strategy

The European Communication Monitor 2014 in out and confirms that Digital is king in Europe

ecm2014Like we needed confirmation for that.

2777 professionals in the 42 countries made this study possible. It contains key results from the largest survey on strategic communication, corporate communications, communication management and public relations worldwide.

I went through all of the material and selected the best stuff.

They made this cool video about the results (see below). The only thing that’s missing from it are some numbers to take away after viewing or to facilitate the no-sound play that you might experience in an open-space office or a noisy environment. Simple UX tweaking.

But back to the important stuff:

  • We’re stressed – 73% of communication professionals feel pressure is mounting on them
  • 67.6% feel the obligation to be online 24/7 and available
  • more than 80% of communications professionals do overtime, with men working more than women
  • just 36.3% think that their work life balance is alright, that’s more than 5% lower than in 2010
  • 22.5% earn less than 30,000 EUR per year, with consultancies and agencies leading the crappy salary list
  • no surprise that 78% rely on networking, 71% on education and another 71% on employer shifting to get better jobs
  • the preferred media for networking is E-mail, with 38.1% share, followed by Social Media and Face to face, with 27% and 23%
  • 45% agree that the biggest challenge is to link communications activities with business strategies
  • 86% consider digital channels to be the most relevant for strategic communications, followed closely by face-to-face
  • but 40% do not plan to use mobile for strategic communication
  • Print media still has a 76.3% relevance in the instrument list, which is higher than TV and radio!
  • Social media gets only 63.2% relevance score and 6th place in the list, with mobile just in the 8th spot
  • companies that have an excellent communications function have a VP or Head of member of the board or reporting directly to the CEO

Social media communications suggestions for the stakeholders:

  • Information on events or crises that affect customers, so monitoring is key (70%)
  • CSR efforts (66%)
  • Current product and service information – so stop the non-commercial nonsense about social media posts. Of course people want to hear about your products.

Fun facts

  • Aged 60+ professionals prefer e-mail over social media (62% vs just 10%) for networking activities
  • LinkedIn is the undisputed leader in networking all-round (except in Russia, where it was beaten by Facebook!), with Twitter up next in Western Europe and Facebook in Eastern and Southern Europe
  • Organizational leadership is also viewed differently across the continent, with Western Europe valuing trust over innovation and quality and Eastern Europe valuing quality above all else.
  • But trust is the most relevant key issue in Eastern Europe, while the West focuses on linking business and communication strategic initiatives
  • Romania has the lowest satisfaction rating of all European countries, while Norway has the lowest ratings for people who consider internships relevant.

If you want to go trough the whole study, here’s the embedded slide deck.

Credits go to the team behind this huge research material:

European Public Relations Education and Research Association (EUPRERA), the European Association of Communication Directors (EACD) and Communication Director Magazine, supported by Ketchum. Privacy is fully respected.

Research Team
Ansgar Zerfass, Prof. Dr., University of Leipzig (GE) & BI Norwegian Business School (NO)- Lead Researcher
Ralph Tench, Prof. Ph.D., Leeds Metropolitan University (UK)
Piet Verhoeven, Dr., University of Amsterdam (NL)
Dejan Vercic, Prof. Ph.D., University of Ljubljana (SI)
Angeles Moreno, Prof. Ph.D., University Rey Juan Carlos, Madrid (ES)

Advisory Board
Emanuele Invernizzi, Prof. Dr., IULM University, Milan (IT)
Valerie Carayol, Prof. Dr., University of Bordeaux 3 (FR)
Jesper Falkheimer, Prof. Dr., Lund University (SE)
Finn Frandsen, Prof., Aarhus University (DK)
Oyvind Ihlen, Prof. Dr., University of Oslo (NO)
Waldemar Rydzak, Ass. Prof. Dr., Poznan University of Economics (PL)

Categories
Digital Events Startups

Digital emotions processing & a new start-up program by Paypal

We struggle to better ourselves, to understand more how emotions, personality traits and other characteristics influence the way we shop, do business and interact. It’s not only useful to better understand our own reactions, but also for companies that rely on predicting a positive or negative behavior based on past experiences, likes, dislikes and attitudes towards certain events or political doctrines.

Some go to the extent to which they manipulate what their users see, as Facebook did in January 2012 (paywall), while others have other, less intrusive approaches. The less intrusive approach is, of course, much preferred and it can rule out any government investigations, as in the case of Facebook, due to consent issues. But let’s go back to the three examples that I’ve seen at the Minibar Meetup last week.

Digital emotions processing

It’s somehow ironic how a lifeless, emotionless computer can be taught to read and process our emotions. Some may argue that this is the sure path to androids and to robots taking over the world, manipulating our thoughts and forcing us to make decisions in their favor. I have a less apocalyptic view of the fact and these three companies, their business models and their customers confirm my judgement.

So there’s VisualDNA, who combines psychological testing with big data analysis. For ordinary people, this means that they help them understand themselves better. For businesses, they contribute to a better understanding of customer behavior. Their main revenue stream comes from selling data and, what I found to be the most interesting, a new way of calculating credit risk by examining the psychological profile. Mastercard has already paid for this product and they made no effort to hide that in their presentation.

And there’s Position Dial, a site that helps you explore where you stand on the issues you care about – and matches you with politicians and brands who act in line with your position. They also show you the different sides of every story: left, right and beyond, to help you make your own mind up fast. They have no revenue stream right now, but seem to be built on social stereotypes and labels and might be useful for political & social awareness campaigns. Their presentation was rather dull, but the product is interesting if you give it a second thought.

The last ones were the worst, if you take just their presentation into consideration. Crowd Emotion was the most interesting product showcased that evening. They use video technology to detect emotions via the facial expression captured from people all over the world. This can be culturally challenging, but they are expanding the comparison base to make the software even more accurate. They make money by selling video hours processed by their platform and have a huge applicability potential in customer service, interactive POS advertising, customer satisfaction, but also in clinical conditions – psychologist and psychiatrists can better analyze patient data and share results with their peers.

The world will become more creepily predictable once these type of businesses become the norm in advertising, market research, healthcare and so on.

Paypal’s new startup program

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They were the sponsors of the entire Minibar Meetup, so they held their presentation first. The Blueprint Program that they have in place for startups can mainly be accessed through accelerators, but they also allow direct applications for select companies. You would think that just by providing free transactions up to 50k would be enough, but no. They went a step further and added customer service support and mentoring with their development teams as an extra benefit to the entire scheme.

So if you think your startup might benefit from it, here are the eligibility criteria:

  • IT&C company with a focus of e/m-offline-commerce
  • privately held
  • have a Paypal account and have not breached ToS
  • you have not applied before
Categories
Business Models

A customer who calls you every day is less profitable than one who pays on time and never calls you

coins-163517_640Managing customer profitability

As business models and contexts have evolved, companies have had to shift their view from ”by all means” customer retention to a new type of approach to customer relationship strategies: divestment. This was considered unacceptable in the past, due to customer acquisition cost and the race for market share. However, due to a different approach to segmentation and the technologies that aid customer value return tracking, divesting has become viable when the strategy is to focus on the right kind of customers.

Divesting is appropriate when a customer or a group of customers generates more cost than the value the company extracts from the relationship, deeming the entire business contract unprofitable. The downside, of course, is loss of market share (to competitors), reputation and distrust among remaining customers (sensing the potential of being divested next), if the process is not done in a correct way. What’s more, a smaller customer base means that the financial risk increases, due to the smaller spread base, if the company radically divests. Companies must also not overlook the legal and ethical implications of divestment, depending on the customer relationship and on the type of commercial contract they have in place at the time of the divestment.

Even with the many risks of divestment, as described above, a company must consider divestment if a specific customer segment is either unprofitable to begin with or if it has a significantly lower profitability, compared to the rest of the customer base. A shift it business strategy or a capacity constrain could also be the basis of a divestment strategy. What’s more, the company must also consider the morale of the employees directly involved with the divestable customer segment, as they become less motivated if their work does not produce the desired profitability, potentially affecting bonuses or promotion opportunities.

In order to correctly implement such a divesting strategy, the company must take certain steps in order to precisely determine the customer segment that requires a rebalance in the commercial relationship. The first step should be a thorough reassessment of the current customer and their financial potential (future spending, potential for growth). Then, the company must try to educate the unprofitable customers, manage expectations in order to restore the equilibrium. Of course, this is easier for B2B businesses than in B2C cases, as the volume difference requires different approaches and their inherent costs (human capital, communication budgets etc.). The next step is actually renegotiating the entire value proposition, in an effort to balance the value invested vs. customer value return. Once renegotiation has been attempted and failed, another approach would be to migrate the current unprofitable customer segment to other partners, providers or channels, retaining a portion of the value and keeping the customer in the business ecosystem, but with a reconfiguration of the service level. If this also fails, then the only option left is to divest, but in a way that minimizes negative fallout, through appropriate personal communication.

The direct effect of the internet and the entire technological revolution is that customers are becoming more informed, active and connected. This is a fact to be considered when devising the marketing philosophy of the company.
Companies must now migrate from the traditional, product-manager, approach, where marketing was a one-way, impersonal process and the segmentation, pricing, promotion and mass media communication needs was activated a posteriori. The new approach is a customer-manager one, focusing on multi-way communication and long term relationships, through direct interaction, data collection and analysis and solution tailoring in order to maximize the value extracted from every customer relationship.

This new approach requires the company to rethink its organizational structure, transforming the marketing department into the customer department, where a customer centric Chief Customer Officer constantly seeks to find out the real wants and needs of the customer. He is accountable for customer profitability via the CLV (customer lifetime value), customer equity and customer equity share metrics, reports directly to the CEO, pushes marketing leaders to interact with customers as often as they need and provides a framework for free information flow throughout the organization to facilitate data interpretation.

Managerial implications

But what are the general implications and potential improvements or spinoffs of the customer divesting strategy as an approach to maximize customer equity share and overall profitability?

In the effort to grow one’s business, some managers overlook the segmentation profitability analysis and tend to compare their success in respect to the overall customer pool and the company’s profitability as a whole, blocking potential boosts in profitability by focusing on just the high value customers. If this high value approach is not possible in the early stages of business development, managers must take into consideration the deployment of a flexible, fluid customer business relationship, in order to have the leverage needed to increase value as the relationship strengthens.

They should be able to monetize more service components according to load (charge the high maintenance customers more) and offer premiums to customers who are less cost intensive (never call and pay on time). This means that companies must allow a consultancy approach to business, rather than just a product/service delivery, diversifying revenue streams. This type of mixed approach also diminishes the risk of expectations misalignment, as customers know from the beginning what they get for what they pay (one time – product, periodic or on demand – post-sales services), influencing pricing policies company-wide.

Categories
Digital Events

Found out at London’s Silicon Roundabout – Not another LinkedIn Game & other cool stuff

Went to a Silicon Roundabout last evening, just on Southbank. We were warmly hosted by the Iris Nursery, who just told us they are open to ideas and love to support startups and then let us network the hell out of the rest of the evening.

I’ve been to some meetups already in London – social media, digital marketing, innovation ones – but this was the one I found most like-minded people in. Works best if you go there open-minded, looking to find out what others do, not just to promote your stuff. By the way, it’s also useful to have a 30 second description of who you are and what you do, so you don’t stumble when people come over and introduce themselves.

photo (1)

Anyway, moving on to the topic in the title, by far, the most interesting thing I found at the Roundabout was the fact that you can play games with your Linkedin Account. With Beat the Buzzword (*made by these guys), you compete against your connections and try to guess as many buzzwords as you can. It’s a simple trivia game, but it’s part of the efforts to make Linkedin more social and more engaging, a thing they are trying to achieve also with the Linkedin Posts initiative. It’s not the first game attempt that you can connect with you Linkedin Account to, we’ve seen the DropIn, a crappy Tetris with your connection’s profile pictures (creepy). Try both, at least you’ll have a laugh.

Apart from this, I was also impressed to find out more about the latest and the greatest in the world of coding. It’s not just the social media experts that are feeling left out and obsolete, or the market research analysts or the web designers, it’s also the programmers. With tools like Firebase, Angular.js, Node.js or Boostrap.js, almost anyone can learn how to code really easily without writing thousands of lines for simple tasks. But looking at the tools and the level of complexity you have to go through to develop something useful, I believe coders still have a long way to go 🙂

Categories
Strategy

The only thing that will kill the print media in London

EconomistNo, print media in London is far from dead. Just look at the numbers I mentioned in a previous article – 45% of them haven’t even gone mobile properly. The truth is that they don’t really care yet, they don’t need to invest in expanding their online and mobile presences because they still have access to a captive audience.

The commuter

You know what the key trait of London and UK is in terms of technology (or lack thereof)? Mobile signal strength and coverage. If you have ever commuted into central London, you have experienced one of the two situations:

  1. Bad service on the train, no real possibility to read the online news without losing your top while viewing the loading screen.
  2. No service on the tube (except the few portions where the trains run overground, but there you usually fall under rule #1)

Now think of these two situations, the fact that phone and tablet battery life is limited and precious and the fact that several morning and evening papers are available for free at almost all the tube stations. You should be able to understand now that only one thing can kill the London print media – better telecom infrastructure.

Imagine a 3G connection aboard trains and in the tube. Imagine how many people would rather read the news on their mobile devices than off that pesky, smelly, messy newspaper.

If I were a big online media company and would like to kill all London print media, I’d invest in mobile network expansion. Hell, they’d recover the investment just from selling the extra airtime, not to mention the more advertising they’d drive to their mobile media assets. #foodforthought

Categories
More

How to brand offerings and leverage the brand – A lesson from Apple

Apple_gray_logoIn these times of Social Media and Digital communications, when everyone seems to value speed above all else, it’s still important, from my point of view, to go back to the fundamentals of marketing & branding.

One company that stands out, from my point of view, with regards to branding, is Apple. They have created this psychological bridge in the minds of their followers (aka customers) between their offering (iPads, iPhones, Macbooks, iPods, Appstore etc.) and the need it fulfils – need to be connected and enjoy a vast selection of digital entertainment tools and, essentially, have a better life. Apple’s products deliver a consistent above the market user experience across all their devices, which consolidates the mental connection with every new product consumers buy and with every new service they use.

Apple’s genuine asset is the ecosystem that it creates with the mixture of technology and proprietary operating systems and marketplaces. They leverage this mixture to create the unique psychological image in the minds of the consumers that covers both the brand and the need. Customers now demand for an iPhone, not a smartphone, and for a Macbook, not just a laptop, even though the technology behind the two is not that different. It’s the status, the experience and distinct service offering that allows Apple to create more value through its strong branding.

Today, according to Forbes, Apple’s brand alone is valued at $98 billion and is mainly attributed to their omnichannel seamless experience delivery. Even though the methodologies to determine this number are unreliable, it serves as a benchmark against other companies with similarly strong brands. But one must remember that the brand without the subsequent innovation and strong operations is not a guarantee for success (see Polaroid or Betamax).

Apple did not create the need for a PC or a smartphone; they simply focused more attention to those needs by offering a different experience than other market players, thus branding that type of need and the offering it fulfils. One can see this in their advertising, in the way the products are designed, the way the Stores work (both on and offline) and in the way they have created a movement around themselves, a movement that constantly queues in front of their shops whenever a new product is rolled out.

Essentially, Apple can be branded as a design firm, a media platform, a publishing company, a software company, a computer manufacturer, but most importantly a cult. (an iCult, if I may). It uses its brand to effectively speed up the decision making process by connecting emotionally and supplying enough rational justification to ensure the customer is happy with her purchase.

The branding that Apple uses actively contributes to the realisation of the other, higher, tenets – the brand attracts a certain type of customer (segmentation tenet), creates a certain experience through which it fulfils an otherwise unmet need (tenet two) and is to my best of knowledge an ethical value creation business (tenet one).

Thanks to Apple’s great branding, the world is now, to a certain extent, a black and white picture – Apple and non-Apple users

Categories
Mining

Strategic business risks: The Reputation Risk – Social licence to operate for mining companie

One of my favourite examples, when it comes to business risks, is the mining industry – given my background of almost 4 years in a TSX gold mining junior company that is running a still-permitting large scale open cast project in Romania. The most important risk – given that the deposit is proven and the technical difficulties have been alleviated, at this point, for any mining company in most countries and localities is, from my point of view, the reputational risk.

sdg

The rise of internet and social media communication and especially of mobile internet usage means that people have access to a wide range of communication tools. This factor could be perceived as good for business if it contributes to the consolidation of the company’s reputation, but it can also mean that the company is exposed to internal and external attacks. Resources have always been at the centre of wars and mining is no exception – especially when the licences legislation is to a certain extent exclusive. Some companies or non-governmental organizations may want to force other companies off certain territories and seek to do so by influencing their reputation to the point where they cannot operate any longer due to strong local and national opposition – this is called the revocation of the social licence to operate and it is a strong reputational risk that a mining company faces when engaging communities to co-create value.

When a mining company no longer has the social licence to operate, its communication channels with key stakeholders become blocked and they are judged and sentenced based on their poor reputation. This leads to blockages in permitting, lack of employee engagement, low investor trust, low or no business outputs and a general difficulty in doing business.

The reputational risk can be mitigated by

–          focusing on the first tenet, ensuring that all stakeholders are aware that the focus of the company is an ethical one

–          communicating holistically and persuasively to all interested parties in regards to its key business issues

–          monitoring and successfully rebutting myths and allegations

–          partnering with the local community and national key institutions and non-governmental organizations that can provide them with endorsements and monitoring assurance

Reputational risks are strategic for mining companies because their operations now rely partly on their external and internal brand, determining whether a company can continue to co-create value or will cease to operate due to a loss of social licence to operate. The sooner they start considering this risk as a strategic one, the better they will be able to handle potential threats and mitigate the risk in a less costly way.

Categories
Digital Events

An incomplete view of a conversation about the future of the internet

PoorMansNFCLast evening, I attended a bit of a different meetup. It was a basement chat (yes, no signal, no wifi) about the future of the internet. Unfortunately, I couldn’t stay until the end of i, but I did catch two of the presentations. Maybe some of you who have seen the entire thing can help me get a complete picture of last evening’s talk session.

Here’s what I got from the first presentation. My key takeaway from his presentation is that culture is no longer a barrier to technology integration and evolution. It’s the current technology adoption, the boxing up of our work with tech, the legacy systems and the sunk costs of software investments that are holding us back from growing faster. That and the lack of adaptation to the current capabilities of our world. I had no clue that 45% of UK print media have not adapted to mobile technology in the 7 years that have passed since the iPhone has hit the market.

Update:

Next up was Andrew Larkin, a technologist who’s keen on physics and Newton, to be more precise. I particularly enjoyed the part of his presentation where he showed the value and importance of JavaScript/MongoDB in today’s web, the power of JSON that enabled them to play with OFCOM’s datasets realtime, without any databases and the fact the he advocates the following:

Give people time, space and encourage them to play and experiment.

The best, from my point of view, was Becky Stewart from CodaSign, who took us on a trip through her work on the internet of things and bringing ordinary items to life with the help of electricity and micro-controllers. It was something in the way the objects now could become interactive that suggests the future for our houses, our clothes, accessories and workplaces. Just see some of the videos below:

Pig with Wigs – they sing if you change their wigs

Human Harp – transform any strings into harp strings

Metaprojection Jacket – project while you perform

GPS Shoes – there’s no place like home

Good Night Lamp from Good Night Lamp on Vimeo.

Hello Little Printer, available 2012 from Berg on Vimeo.

What is littleBits? from littleBits on Vimeo.

And the masterpiece micro-controller that can be used by non-technical people:

I’m telling you, this is the future!

Categories
Strategy

Digital Communications & Social Media as Investor Relations tools

1280px-Social-media-for-public-relations1There’s still one place where social media and digital communications have yet to take a central spot – investor relations. A Mediapost article shows that just over 50% of institutional investors surveyed said that social media was “not yet significant but growing in importance” as a professional tool, with 37% welcoming the new media types as ways to disseminate news and information, while 33% see them as useful for fast-moving events, like takeover bids or proxy fights. Forums still rank the highest, with Linkedin trailing just behind, while Facebook is down at the bottom.

Social media’s biggest problem is reliability, only 17% trusting it as a credible information source for investment.

However, there’s room for improvement. A NIRI survey shows that almost half (49%) of respondents who do not currently use social media for IR plan to reassess the issue within the next 12 months. The recent SEC guidance on the topic is a driving factor in determining reassessment. And that, my friends, is an opportunity for digital marketers such as myself.

My approach to IR strategy via social media & digital marketing channels:

I tend to go with a 3-step approach:

  1. Listen – track the conversations about your company. Believe it or not, people are talking about your business and you should at least listen to them
  2. Analyze – use that data that you tracked in the first place and look at it in a structured way. Use tools, draw conclusions, see trends, see potential or current problems and identify reactions to previous communications
  3. Do – Start with a direction, some communication pillars, an influencer list and some key messages, maybe a Q&A for your social media responsible and a list of DOs and DONT’s

And use some industry specific tools like:

  • Compliant Content: SEC/FDA-compliant pieces that align with yhr strategic communication objectives and that target the financial community.
  • Business announcements, financial disclosures and crisis communications, ensuring you are reflected in the best light and that all key stakeholders are quickly and properly informed through relevant channels.
  • Disclosure Postings – financial and company-related business news through social channels, aligned with SEC’s ruling in April 2013.
  • Influencer Identification & Engagement – Identify influencers in the investment community and directly engage them.
But how should you do it?

This is where I disagree with PR Newswire’s IR Blog that says basically that IR should not “engage” in social media, IR should not have interaction and dialog. Instead they suggest a broadcast approach – place the news into the stream broadly and non-selectively, which is fine. But you should also participate in conversations without selective material information disclosure. Answer questions, dispel rumors and talk to your investors.

What else can you do to communicate proactively through social media?
  • Tweet your quarterly results and other important news that has been disclosed via SEC/SEDAR/other regulated market tools
  • Post industry-related news from trusted financial sources without falling into the “promotional trap”
  • Announce partnerships, acquisitions, social responsibility activities and such
  • ReTweet and chat with your peers
  • Engage with Buy Side and Sell Side companies to create or complete your profile and become even more eligible for investment

A Linkedin blog post follows Howard Lindzon (CEO of Stocktwits, a specialized social space for investors) and his point on the fact that the majority of institutional investors are forming opinions based on social media pages. He says that investor relations needs to be closely integrated with brand activity on social media platforms. He advocates dialogue and pro-activity within social media platforms, but warns to be careful and link to regulated spaces for disclosure of material information.

Examples of IR use of social media

And since we’re talking about Linkedin, Company Pages and Groups provide a natural fit for discussing corporate information with an informed, engaged and relevant audience. Statoil’s Energy Innovation Group, which is helping to set the agenda on energy futures, is a great example. Dunkin’ Brands, parent company of Dunkin’ Donuts and Baskin-Robbins, who use social media for announcements of new products or entering a new market are coordinated with investor events like roadshows, investor conferences, earnings calls, etc. Zillow, a real estate company, takes questions from Twitter and Facebook during its live earnings call. They also live tweet during the call, use infographics to help tell the story and have a corporate blog. This quarter, Zillow added live streaming video interview with its CEO immediately after the call via the Motley Fool. In addition, Zillow’s CEO is very active on social media and the company knows that many analysts and investors follow him. Jones noted that he frequently gets questions from institutional investors related to tweets from the CEO.

Other companies may choose to reach out to investors and increase the sell and buy-side coverage to attract desirable institutional holders. You can do that through social media by carefully targeting analysts and host virtual investor day meetings where you showcase your narrative, accomplishments and dispel myths.

Conclusion & Summary

Once in place, your social media program can be used to:

  • Increase company/brand awareness, loyalty and reach
  • Drive traffic to your investor relations website
  • Improve investor’s understanding of your business
  • Identify key industry influencers
  • Engage with investors
  • Generate media coverage
  • Clarify key messages
  • Minimize repetitive investor inquiries

P.S. Executive officers and other company representatives should be mindful of the issues that derive from online communications, as their private postings on public social networks might cause embarrassment to their companies and even make them liable in front of their shareholders.

Categories
Digital Events

Startup Sunday in Barcelona with Jeff Robinson

I met with Jeff Robinson, the organizer of Barcelona Internet Startup Meetups, C.E.O. Internet Advisory Corp. He and his Meetup.com group offered us feedback on the business model and on the segment that we would choose for an online rental business that me and my friends are working on right now.

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He has 30+ years of capital market experience – everything from desk and floor trading to investment banking and was interested in the business idea, thus validating the direction we were heading, which was great.

The key takeaways we got from the meeting were:

  • stick to a simple and transparent model
  • the rental idea was validated by the group
  • suggested to focus on a single segment
  • a business that can attract investment must have an MVP that is regularly used by 100 people or so to prove the model

I think it’s very important for a group that wants to launch a startup to network and seek feedback as much as possible. Meetup.com is just one way to tap into the investor and like-minded entrepreneurs networks which can provide invaluable ideas, perspectives and tweaks that you might not have come up with in your own brainstorming sessions. What’s more, these type of events can give you a sense of what success means to an angel investor or for an up and running startup.

Always go prepared and have a targeted problem to address. For us it worked that way, it might work for you, too.