As I mentioned in a half asleep video post earlier this month we (Annex Products) are working of our first app called Instatag and I’m personally starting to get pretty excited as this is all new to us.
The app will allow Instagram users to quickly and efficiently tag their pictures with the most relevant and most popular #tags. This means that the users pictures will be seen by other instagramers and in turn receive more likes and more follows.
We have been testing the the selected tags and many who have tried it out get more likes than ever before! Most of the functionality and the UI for Instatag has now been sorted out and it’s now down to the coding.
Annex Products is now an approved company on the Apple iOS Development platform and we are starting to think about the marketing and launch strategies for the app.
The Instatag App website is up as a place holder with the main function of collecting email address of interested instagramers before the launch.
We’re hoping to launch Instatag in early August!
So this week I had another App idea and this time I think I’ll act on it. We have no experience, but how hard can it be? (hopefully not famous last words) Anyway I asked a mate what I could use to prototype the UI and he said Balsamic. I had no idea what he was talking about so I Googled it and found Balsamiq Mockups an awesome little piece of software that I started playing with and before I knew it, it was 3am and the first draft of the UI was ready to demo.
This is the shaky video that i filmed on my iPhone4S, sorry about the excitement levels but it was 3am in the morning.
After successfully testing the Quad Lock bar mount PRO and lifting over 80KG in the static lift test we thought we’d better put the Quad Lock Wall mounts through their paces. What better way to test out a wall mount than trying to climb a wall with them!
We new the Quad Lock mounting systems was strong, but we hadn’t tested it to failure so here we go…
As we are just about to release the Poncho splash-proof cover for Quad Lock we thought it would be a good chance to go for a ride in the rain.
We recently had an idea to launch a new product called ‘The Holda‘, named after our first product the Opena Case (iPhone Bottle Opener). The Holda case is an iPhone case design to hold an ID, credit card, some cash and a house key. When launching our first product, the Opena case, the media attention played a huge part in the product’s success. We wanted to try and capture that same “hype” however, to be honest, a case that holds credit cards isn’t really that exciting.
So to generate some media interest, we decided to have a bit of fun with the idea and launch the product under a different name with a different function. We came up with the name ‘Playa Case’ and decided to push the fact that it holds two condoms, because as they say “sex sells”. So we made an especially awkward video using some prototypes and we released the video on April Fools Day.
One thing I’ve learnt about releasing content to the press, is that it’s better to start at the top and let it spread from there. Instead of sending the video to every site on the net (I’ve tried that), I ran the concept past Gizmodo and they loved the fact that it was a real product with a twist released on April Fools day. Gizmodo posted the video with a story and within the week 250,000 more people knew about the Playa case and Annex Products. Based on this awesome response, and 1000′s of people signing up to purchase the Playa case, we have decided to do a limited edition run. As a bonus, with the extra traffic to www.openacase.com, the Opena sales rose for about 2 weeks. We have even had new resellers and distributors contact us and the best thing is that the public have started to suggest that another use for the Playa case is the actual the function of the Holda.
In all I’d call this little publicity stunt a success because it took very little effort to organise, the cost was low and the return was high.
In January as part of winning our category of the Shopify ‘Build a Business’ competition, we were rewarded with a trip to New York where we met blogger, author and all round nice guy Seth Godin. For those of you who don’t know Seth, he has written thirteen best sellers that have been translated into more than thirty languages and single handily writes one of the most read blogs on the net. He sold one of his companies, Yoyodyne, to Yahoo in 1998 for 30 million (in ’98 30 million was a lot) and has been consistently called “America’s Greatest Marketer”.
All his accomplishments aside, Seth is a really well-centred individual and I was extremely impressed by him. I wasn’t only impressed by that fact that he cooked us lunch, but how he deconstructed complicated business direction and marketing problems to make them super simple, to the point that the individual he was helping would come up with their own solution.
Having read a few of Seth’s books and being some what familiar with his way of thinking I didn’t expect to be as impressed as I was, but everything seemed to be easy for him and I left thinking that things really are only as complicated or as simple as you make them.
WARNING: the following information is not guaranteed to work, nor is it financial advice. This post is just a few tips based on my own personal experience.
Since successfully funding our first project the Opena Case on Kickstarter I have been asked over and over again “how’d you get on Kickstarter if you’re Australian” or “how’d you get an Amazon Payments account as an Australian”. Well as I explained in my previous post How to run a Kickstarter project if you’re not a US citizen? the first time we ran a project on Kickstarter we used my sisters detail who lives in the US, but I do now know how to run a Kickstarter project which relies on having an Amazon Payments account hooked up to an American bank account. Before we start I must mention that the process will cost you, but if you have an idea worth Kickstarting then I think it’s worth it.
Shopify have announced the winners of the 2011 Build-a-Business Competiton. The competition was entered by over 3,000 entrepreneurs who created brand new online stores and sold over $12 million during the competition period. The grand prize is $100,000 cash, along with VIP trips to New York City and San Francisco to meet with Timothy Ferriss, Seth Godin, and Gary Vaynerchuk.
Congratulations to the overall winner Coffee Joulies – www.joulies.com
Dave Jackson and Dave Petrillo are two mechanical engineers from New Jersey. Similarly to us they crowd funded the capital on Kickstarter to fund the creation of Coffee Joulies. They’re one of Kickstarters most successful projects, and now one of Shopify’s fastest growing online stores. I’m now personally looking forward to meeting “The Dave’s” in New York along with all the other category winners.
We (www.openacase.com) were lucky enough to also win our category along with 5 other awesome category winners as seen in the infographic on the left, click the image for a larger view of the whole thing. Chris and I are both super stoked to have taken out the category prize for the “Other” section of the competition. The category prize is pretty awesome too with $25,000 in cash, a VIP trip to New York, a power session to Seth Godin and $7500 worth of Google AdWords credit.
It’s also worth noting that 3 out of the 8 winners were funded on Kickstarter which shows jus how may great Sartups are emerging from Kickstarter. We also love the fact that only 8% of the entrepreneurs who entered the competition were from Australia, but that 38% of the winners are Australian including Flock-stocks, My Footy Boots and us (Opena Case). Aussie, Aussie, Aussie, Oi, Oi, Oi!!!
Melbourne Geek’s Article on our success in the Shopify Comp. Melbourne Blog
Thought I’d throw together a few pointers to help others wanting to start up their own online business. The information you’ll find below is based on my experience, over the last 6 months, using these simple strategies and online tools we were able to sell 1000′s of units all over the globe in a matter of months. Both my business partner, Chris Peters,and I have now quit our day jobs and are currently launching other online stores.
UPDATE 1/03/2011 – With these strategies we were also able to win our category in the Shopify Build-a-Business Competition for 2011 with a $25,000 cash prize, all expenses trip paid to NY, power session with Seth Godin and $7,500.00 of Google AdWords credit.
I don’t want to go into details about products or business ideas, but rather the mechanics of setting up an online business and the awesome tools available to entrepreneurs today. It’s never been easier to setup an online business and start making money straight away.