Tuesday, June 5, 2007

Social Media Site built for $12,107.09

I was reading an interesting and inspiring post by Guy Kawasaki about his new startup. He has summarized on his latest launched startup - Truemors and you will see below that Guy has started his company for under $15k. Not bad as I m sure many of you would had thought that Truemors must had been started with hundred of thousand of dollars of investment.

Unlike pre-Nasdaq days where internet companies needed million to start, these days companies can be kickstarted with minimum investment. All you need is some money, put in a lot of hard work, a great idea and lots of passion. Check out below what Guy had learned from starting up Truemors. Here’s quick overview “by the numbers” from Guy Kawasaki.

1. Wrote zero (0) business plan for it. The plan is simple: Get a site launched in a few months, see if people like it, and sell ads and sponsorships (or not).
2. Pitched zero (0) venture capitalists to fund it. Life is simple when you can launch a company with a credit-card level debt.
3. 7.5 weeks went by from the time I registered the domain truemors.com to the site going live. Life is also good because of open source and Word Press.
4. The total software development cost was $4,500. The guys at Electric Pulp did the work. Honestly, I wasn’t a believer in remote teams trying to work together on version 1 of a product, but Electric Pulp changed my mind.
5. The total cost of the legal fees was $4,824.14. I could have used my uncle the divorce lawyer and saved a few bucks, but that would have been short sighted if Truemors ever becomes worth something.
6. Paid LogoWorks $399 to design the logo. Of course, this was before HP bought the company. Not sure what it would charge now. :-)
7. Spent $1,115.05 registering domains. I could have used GoDaddy and done it a lot cheaper, but I was too stupid and lazy.
8. Registered 55 domains (for example, truemors.net, .de, .biz, truemours, etc, etc). I had no idea that one had to buy so many domains to truly “surround” the one you use.
9. In total, I spent $12,107.09 to launch Truemors. During the dotcom days, entrepreneurs had to raise $5 million to try stupid ideas. Now I’ve proven that you can do it for $12,107.09.
10. There are 1.5 full-time equivalent employees at Truemors. For me, it’s a labor of love.
11. TechCrunch wrote about Truemors 3 times: the leak, the leak with a screen shot, and the opening. I wish I could tell you I was so sly as to plan this. Michael Arrington thought he was sticking it to me. Don’t stop, Michael!
12. Much to my amazement, there were 261,214 page views on the first day.
13. Much to my amazement, there were 14,052 visitors on the first day.
14. Spent $0 on marketing to launch Truemors.
15. However, I did spend 24 years of schmoozing and “paying it forward” to get to the point where I could spend $0 to launch a company. Many bloggers got bent out of shape: “The only reason Truemors is getting so much coverage is that it’s Guy’s site.” To which my response is, “You have a firm grasp of the obvious.”
16. Because some people had nothing better to do, there were 405 posts on the first day.
17. A mere 3 hours went by before the site was hacked, and we had to shut it down temporarily. I was impressed. The hacker who did this might be the next Woz. Please contact me if you are.
18. A mere 36 hours went by before Yahoo! Small Business told us that we were inappropriate for this service because of our traffic.
19. Our monthly break-even point was $29.96 with Yahoo!
20. Because Yahoo! evicted us, our monthly break-even point quadrupled to $150. If you’re interested in buying a monthly sponsorship for $151, you’d make Truemors profitable. :-)
21. A mere 2 days went by before Truemors was called the “worst website ever” by the Inquirer.
22. Thank you God for the Inquirer because it caused 246,210 page views. Yes indeed, there’s no such thing as bad PR.
23. A week before we launched, if you typed “truemors” into Google, you would have gotten 150 hits.
24. Eleven days after the launch, “truemors” had 315,000 hits in Google. I can’t figure out how this can be, but I’m not arguing.

Guy learned four lessons launching Truemors:
1. There’s really no such thing as bad PR.
2. $12,000 goes a very long way these days.
3. You can work with a team that is thousands of miles away.
4. Life is good for entrepreneurs these days.

I certainly cant agree more with Guy who has certainly convinced and overwhelmed me. Life is good these days for entrepreneurs as there are way too many ways to to develop and kickstart an online business. The rise of cheaper computing, faster internet connection and lower startup cost has allowed entrepreneurs from all over the world to build their dream. It certainly had opened up a whole new world of opportunity to us.

If you have an idea and lots of passion for it, I cant see no reason why you are not doing what Guy has done. Short of transporting people around space like Star Trek, the current technology is sufficient to bridge your dream to reality. I m definitely going back to my drawing board and I hope that you are doing the same. Whatever the outcome, I m sure the journey will be most exciting.

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