You’ve probably been there; Late one night in the pub, after a few too many beers, you have a bloody fantastic idea. A revolutionary idea. An idea that’s going to change the world. The chances are that come the morning you’ll realise that your beer-addled brain had slightly overstated your own awesomeness, but sometimes (just sometimes!) the spark is there. The sparks of my idea began to fly about five years ago before, eventually, they caught light. Today, I’m waiting for a factory in China to start manufacturing something I invented — the Triggertrap, an Arduino-based open-source universal camera trigger.
In 2005, I was living in Liverpool, tinkering with photography gadgets, and building some of my own photography equipment. I kept writing articles about them, and occasionally, people read them. Then I wrote an article that made the server that was hosting my blog melt several times over (it was Slashdotted; Digg-dotted; featured on Engadget, and just generally received a metric crap-tonne of traffic). After I managed to nurse my server back to life for the nine-hundredth time, I was approached by a publisher. Soon after, I was commissioned to write my very first book. It was all rather unreal. Read more »
Today, I came across a curious thing that was bobbing gently around on the somewhat polluted lake that is Facebook. It was a heart-felt appeal that seemed to say something about feeding hungry children (hungry children bad. Feeding children good.), and the bonuses paid to bankers.
Now, we’ve been through a few year of tumultuous relationships with the wealth distribution community, and I’d say that bonuses for bankers is a pretty easy target – so putting them against each other is an elegant way to drum up support, right?
Well, possibly, but it depends on how you do it… Read more »
It ain’t easy being a start-up: For every little issue you solve, six others crop up. Nowhere is that more obvious than in the earliest phases of spooling up a new venture.
At Triggertrap, our company was sparked into life after an incredibly successful Kickstarter campaign which reached 300% funding, back in the early days of Kickstarter. As with most Kickstarter campaigns, I suppose, we had a lot of setbacks in the early days.
We’ve come a long way since then, but one thing we learned early on, is that even – perhaps especially – if everything goes horribly wrong, the communication you have with your customers is absolutely paramount. Read more »
The kids who live down the street from you are probably able to build a website. When you’re aiming for professionalism and more advanced build, however, it’s quite important to keep in mind that different people have quite different skills – and they all need to do different things.
A website usually starts with a goal – or a series of goals. The website for a shop, for example, might have “Helping customers find information about the shop”, “Increasing footfall to the shop” and “selling things online” as goals. To reach these goals, you need to jump through a series of hoops, which usually involves a series of different people.
If you are building a very complicated site, you might need to get an information architect involved, to find out which types of data you are storing, how they need to interact, etc. Most sites don’t need this step, and jump straight to… Read more »
One question that frequently comes up around startups, is whether the expense of building a website is worth it. Yes, you’re probably going to need some sort of web presence at some point – and probably sooner rather than later – but that doesn’t mean that reaching for a top-tier development agency is the correct solution.
The key thing to decide, is to figure out what you need from a website.
Read more »
There is not much of a difference between having a news site, and running a good blog on your site. The distinction is further muddled by the fact that many news websites currently run on blog platforms like WordPress or Movable Type, and some blogs aren’t really blogs at all.
So, just to get the distinction right; if you are running a site with stories about what you’re doing at your company, without linking much to other sites, then you’re probably running news on your site. That’s perfectly fine, and can be an efficient tool, but the internet has moved on from there.
The word ‘blog’ came from ‘web log’ and started originally as just that: A ‘blogger’ would surf the internet, and discover new articles and sites. As they did, they gave their opinion on the site, news story, or event, sprinkled with links containing more information.
Good bloggers often serve as hubs of information, comparing different sources, analysing how the sources’ angles or opinions differ, and pick apart poorly-written or badly researched pieces about a specific topic on the ‘net. Read more »
So, by now you probably have a pretty good idea of the kind of things you want your website to accomplish. You might be thinking of ways it can help you save money, things it can do to help you make more money, and so on.
You’ll have noted that we have used the phrase ‘good website’ above a few times… So what, exactly, makes a good website? Read more »
There are plethora reasons for why you might want a website. Your competitors might have one, perhaps you wish to make information easily available to your customers, or you may be considering selling your goods or services on the internet.
While it can be cheap and easy to just fling something out on the internet and see what happens, it is worth considering what your hopes and aspirations are for your site.
More importantly: What is a visitor’s journey, and what are they trying to accomplish? Read more »
If you have a company, you’re going to need a web presence of some sort; that much is pretty much unavoidable. Sadly, that’s also pretty much the only thing you can be sure of, because as soon as you start thinking interwebs, a lot of new questions will pop up. How much should you spend? What do you need? What tools should you use? Should you learn some HTML and build your own, or is there another way?
This article is meant to help you, even if you know nothing about building websites at all. So yes, it’s a pretty long article, but I also hope it’s a pretty good introduction. Brew yourself a cup of tea, this one is going to take a while… Read more »
I recently did a presentation on how to develop your MVP for Escape the City, and at the end, I planned to finish up with a slide about books worth reading. After a while, I realised that that slide was getting completely out of hand, and that I ought to move it to a blog post instead; the very post you are reading now.
Why bother with books?
Before we launch into the list itself, though, I’d like to preempt a questions: Why bother with books in the first place? I would probably counter that with another question – If you cannot commit to reading a few hundred pages about what you’re about to embark on, perhaps building your own business isn’t for you.
The key reason to read anything about startups and how to run them, is that there are three ways of running a business: Read more »