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Archives for: January 2015

There were 3 posts published in January 2015.

Top Smartphone Features to Look for in 2015

The evolution of smartphones has now reached such a rapid pace that perhaps it makes more sense to say that smartphone tech itself exists in a dynamic state. Before new devices and features even hit the market, manufacturers and consumers alike have set their sights on the next big thing. Imaginations run wild and it’s not long before companies are pushing products that toe the line between plausibility and science fiction. Remember when the notion of a curved screen seemed fantastical? So when some of what is being predicted for 2015 sounds equally farfetched, keep in mind that it’s today’s hopes and dreams that form the basis of the technologies in our pockets tomorrow.


Here’s some of what you can expect to see:


Affordable Premium


In 2014, Chinese manufacturers started forcing the big players in the Android gear space to scramble to keep up with devices like the ZTE ZMAX. This year the phone to watch for is the OnePlus Two, an upcoming release from the Oppo spinoff. Unlike the OnePlus One, which was plagued by issues ranging from sexist marketing to its confusing invite-only pre-order system, the Two may just deliver the promised flagship-grade specs in a mid-priced device.


Monster Specs


LG revealed the G Flex 2 at this year’s CES, but as exciting as its amazingly durable flexing curved screen is 2015 won’t be the year of the curve. The upcoming release of the G4 is much more thrilling. Leaked specs suggest that this device featuring Snapdragon’s mobile technology is going to be hot with shutterbugs thanks to a juicy 20.7 megapixel camera. Samsung’s Galaxy S6 is also rumored to have some bodacious specs that will make up for the disappointing sales of the S5.


Slim Lines


If you think a phone can never be too powerful or too thin, check out the Oppo R5 and the Vivo X5 Max. The former may not be on the lips of many outside of its home market (China) but will be soon thanks to Oppo’s ability to squeeze solid specs into what is nearly the world’s thinnest phone at 4.85 mm thick. The latter measures in at more than .1 mm thinner, however, making it half the size of the Nexus 5 or LG G3. Other than that, both phones have remarkably similar features – including their rarity. Much easier to get in the US will be Blu’s Vivo Air, a 5.1 mm device that will cost just $199.


True Customization


Forget being able to customize your display – that’s so last year. Think of Project Ara as the LEGO of phones, making 2015 the year modular devices will finally hit market in a limited pilot. You get a phone built to your specifications featuring (almost) everything you could want in a handheld. Like a second battery for twice the power, a bigger speaker or even something as nichey as a night vision camera. Planned obsolescence and the unending upgrade cycle may be a thing of the past starting later this year.


If nothing above sounds like the phone of the future you’ve always dreamed of, don’t despair. Smartphone manufacturers who are serious about competing with Apple aren’t going to rest on their laurels while tech fans and artists sketch out concepts for the next big iPhone release. The one constant in the smartphone world is that everything is always changing and change happens fast. Keep hope alive for long enough and soon you’ll wake up to the device of your dreams.


5 Bootstrapped Marketing Ideas That Don’t Scale

One of Paul Graham’s oft-quoted advices is to do things that don’t scale. Paul explains that as startup founders, you cannot sit and wait for users to come to you. Instead, in the early days, you have got to recruit them manually. Although this is precious advice, one reason why a lot of startup founders don’t take this idea to heart is the fact that user acquisition costs often seem to shoot through the roof with such a strategy. But that does not have to be the case. Here are five bootstrapped sales and marketing ideas that may not scale but can help you find users in the early days.

Meeting People Outdoors : What are the kind of events that your target prospect likes to attend? Go to local meetups that your target prospect is likely to attend. You may not get to spend time with each of your prospects individually and would often be there to only get introductions for a future appointment. But although this is not scalable, it is a good way to get that initial reference. It’s always easier to make the next call introducing yourself as the person who they met at the meetup.

Cold Calls/Emails : This is the most common strategy to get your first users – find the target prospect and call them up. And if your prospect is someone who is also expected to check emails several times a day, email them. A lot of people assume cold calling is not for them. But the reality is that it is a skill that can be refined over time. This Youtube video has personally helped me significantly reduce my rejection rate. Depending on your infrastructure budget, it is recommended that start-ups invest in a business phone service that can help you bootstrap while allowing you call your prospects anywhere in the world.

Befriend An Influencer : Every industry has influencers that people in the industry look up to. These are people who are actively followed on Twitter and who speak at a lot of industry conferences. Getting them to endorse your product is an amazing way to reach out to all your target prospects at once. But this is not something that can scale, for building a relationship with one such influencer takes a lot of time and energy. Start off by following them on Twitter and engaging with them. You may be one of the hundreds who do this – so it takes time for them to know you by your name or even your Twitter handle. But over time, it is easy to ask them to try your product or refer it to their followers. MarketingProfs has a different take on influencer marketing, but is well worth the read.

Latching On To Trends : Social media users often dismiss businesses that latch on to the trending topics of the day as spammy. That’s because they abuse the trending hashtags in order to get visibility. This is not only unscalable, but also ineffective. The more effective way to find new prospects is by doing something that will appeal to them. According to Matt Mickiewicz from 99designs, his company made a great use of this technique when GAP announced a logo design that was heavily criticized. Hating on GAP’s new logo was trending in the industry and 99designs took to their crowdsourced platform to build a better logo. The result – not only did 99designs get visibility off a trending topic, they also got to showcase their platform to prospects who may have not known them earlier.

Speak At Conferences : A lot of start-up entrepreneurs make the assumption that they have not reached a level where they can speak at conferences. So while they religiously attend events, they only focus on listening to other speakers. But what one may have not realized is how desperate various organizers are for good speakers. If you are a business owner, people want to listen to your experiences in an industry event. Write to conference organizers – big and small – offering to speak. Register at the various online speaker marketplaces – you may eventually only get to speak at an event attended by twenty odd people. But not only does this set the first step for another event with a larger audience, you may also potentially have one influencer among the audience who could write about you, and help you reach out to your target prospects.

All of these strategies take a lot of time. But when you do succeed, the visibility you gain this way can be immense. What are your thoughts?