Book Review: Contagious

contagious_uk_1

How To Build Word of Mouth in the Digital Age…by Jonah Berger (Stanford MBA Alumni and Wharton Professor)

Over the last 3 days, I read ‘Contagious’ – at 210 pages, it’s a quick and enjoyable read filled with great examples and easy to understand language. Berger focuses on his research on defining the six qualities of how products, services, and ideas spread through the human population. You can make content contagious by following these STEPPS:

S – Social Currency – people share to make themselves look cool.

T – Triggers – people share things that are top of mind and tip of tongue.

E – Emotion – not positive versus negative emotions, but the key is high arousal.

P – Public – if you can’t see it, you can’t share it.

P – Practical Value – Useful news.

S- Stories – like the Trojan Horse, wrap your product or service into a narrative.

It’s a great book for anyone in marketing, product, or business. I’d say a 3.7/5 read. And he mentions some pretty great YouTube videos (like the Parisian Love one I posted about) or this one about corn:

Now, I’m going to start a Bulgarian comedy called ‘ожених се за веганка’ (I married a vegan). And I’m going to read the book in a lovely coffee shop in Sofia called Chucky’s Coffee & Culture.

чао за сега!

‘Watch’ This Space…

for some cool timepieces. As today is my 24th birthday, I’ll share a lifelong goal of mine: to have a cool watch collection as I grow up. Now, I’ve picked out a nice simple (but elegant) silver Skagen watch for my present this year, but I thought I’d share three other cool watches that have definitely caught my eye:

ONE. Mondaine (I have mentioned them a million times before) have a new edition to their Helvetica range. Who doesn’t love a good font and a classy colour? This is their Helvetica No1 Light Graphic Edition. 

mondaine

TWO. By the luxury brand Jaeger-LeCoultre, their Reverso Classic Small. I haven’t explored square watches nearly enough…

jaeger

THREE. A cool new company, GroveMade, based out of Portland, Oregon. They’ve created this unusual Round Maple Watch that I would love (but it only ships in the US… darn!)

wood

 

Happy Holidays and watch this space for more time-related inspiration in 2017! X

 

Venture Capital

I recently hosted a Tablecrowd dinner with speaker, Simon Menashy from MMC Ventures… and boy did I learn a lot!

Here are my favourite remarks about the fantastic world of venture:

  • Remember that VC’s also have to fundraise for their fund
  • Venture Capital is not right for every founder and business.
  • The fund has to return profit to investors despite the majority of start-ups in the portfolio failing, so VCs are on the look for companies that are:
    • SCALABLE: Can increase it’s business without increasing the operational costs
    • ACCELERATABLE: If the VC puts $1 mil into the business, it should grow faster and deliver more return than if the $1 million investment wasn’t there.
    • 10x RETURN – VCs are looking for exits that sell the company for 10x the original evaluation (a few need to reach the potential to support all the failures)
  • This stuck with me the most: Every time you take capital, you are limiting your options. For example, Simon mentioned that if you take money from him at a $5-15 million evaluation, you are agreeing to ONLY build a $100million company (no smaller growth or earlier exits).
  • Always plan and alight your current funding round and evaluation with future rounds and evaluations. As in, what can you realistically achieve with this money? And then, what are you going to need and look like?
  • VCs want to see what guidance founders will need in the future and if the founder has mapped out the journey ahead.
  • Series A is a larger fundraising round and later in the company lifecycle. Simon mentioned a huge gap between seed and Series A in the UK marketplace at the moment.
  • Series A investors are looking for: tenacious founders, solid teams, consumer traction, revenue growth, and ROI from their companies.

I’m slowly learning more and more about the funding side of start-ups (whereas I mainly work with their advertising and product development). A great resource if you haven’t discovered it yet is the podcast 20-minute VC! Each podcast interview today’s most successful and inspiring venture capitalists, delving inside the funding game in an easily digestible audio format. I must admit, I’m a little bit in love with its founder Harry Stebbings.   

Mr. Stebbings also started a blog recently, so if you’d prefer to read over listen, check out Mojito VC.

And now, I’m off for a white Christmas in Bulgaria! X