This summer Facebook changed their policy to discourage the use of like gates. Like gates are a page application mechanism by which content is reserved to fans only. Years ago I created strategies to use this feature in order to allow print fashion magazine editors to publish additional exclusive content on their Facebook pages. At the time, using Facebook as part of a marketing strategy was rather new. When I saw that it was almost impossible for me to move the development of social media technology at my day job (the largest publisher of magazines in Canada…. duh!) I quit and set out on my own. I was soon working on a viral contest platform which was gobbled up by former colleagues and associates and used for great marketing campaigns. Together we did many strategic things. With Boîte à Concours, I used like gating to grow fans count exponentially, I dis-intermediated Facebook to fill the client’s e-mail lists with qualified leads. I hacked the functionalities of page apps to the max removing all speed bumps. I never asked a user to add a Facebook application and I kept the users on the client’s branded page during the entire process! Additionally, I had zero spam or bot traffic to worry about and soon realized that over 54% of participants shared the contests on their feed! For almost three years, I ran the best yet littlest know contest solution for Facebook pages! It was used by huge businesses such as Bell Media and small creative teams in agencies. Could this business have made millions on a larger scale? Sure!
The reason why I had such a good thing going is because it was not Facebook legal to run contests using Facebook functionalities like the like button or commenting. This policy made sense but also made it expensive for small businesses to run contests. I, with my 750$ price and 48 hours turnaround time, knew that I was accessible to solopreneurs and small businesses, not just big companies who would usually buy contests by the dozen. However Facebook overturned this decision in the past year letting page owners conduct contests with page likes and page comments. In July, I decided to stop promoting my unique viral contest solution. And I’m not mad. Because it is unrealistic to expect an Web-based product to be the hottest, newest and latest thing for more than a few years.
For 20 years now I have been using dozens of market opportunities created by the Internet to make money for a short period of time. I have bootstrapped countless products and services to help me be more efficient at what I do. Right now I have 5-6 products under development including the beta version of a WordPress plugin that makes me money inadvertently! In essence, I have created work for myself and a few accolytes for two decades, simple as that. Of course I could do this on a vast scale by burning someone else’s money, but I currently do not have a startup idea that will allow guys to avoid human contact and girls to share selfies. However, if you have 250,000$ to invest, I have a ‘future of news’ opportunity for you. You have 2-5 million? How about we completely turn the world of brand advertising on its head? Unfortunately, I do not have access to the people who would like to accomplish such things, or rather, they have never had access to me.
The startup ecosystem exists to employ hundreds of talented people and pay them with venture cap or seed funding. Unfortunately, not even 1% of these startups will survive beyond six months. Rinse, repeat. By bootstrapping my businesses, I get to make them a success simply by living off of it for the time it’s useful (or allowed) in the market. All of my businesses have sold services to paying customers, all of them have been in the black… always. It’s a very antiquated notion in a world that exists to burn other people’s money, but I still believe in it. Unfortunately, most of my ideas these days cannot be realised by myself only.
I’ve been writing on the topic of Crypto for a year now at Circonference.ca. My latest project, the first crypto-currency investment fund in the World, is a grouping of five (5) highly complementary and motivated professionals. We are operating in a new field that will continue to grow rapidly in the next 10 years but turning on a dime ever three months! We just raised BTC 139 or about $50,000 for our first project! Crypto-currency technologies like Bitcoin are barely off the ground. They are, essentially, a new operating system for money or for transactional systems. By now, there are very few people left who haven’t had their personal information stolen because of the laxe security of credit card companies or retailers. In fact the traditional financial services are getting more expensive by the minute yet offer less security by the day.
Investing in a crypto-currency-related business is like investing in an Internet-based business in 1995. Nobody is late to the Bitcoin party, we are just getting started. Everything needs to be built. That is why so much funding is being thrown at the amazing disruptive technologies in our space. And today I spent my first day working at the Bitcoin Embassy with the super awesome people I have been getting to know over the past year. And I am actively looking for funding!
Everyday is full of wonderful opportunities!