Category Archives: Crowd sourcing

Identifying the VFM signal from the noise

starter flagThe ‘Not so secret diary of an E-commerce Entrepreneur’ continues… At last – the Seedrs crowdfunding starter flag gets waved next week.

And with it the 90-day race to raise £100,000 of capital for my E-commerce business, the Amano Tongue Cleanser, will be on. I figure it will be like a Formula 1 race – but with more excitement. Lets hope I don’t crash…

Read More »

Injecting some science into the art of search ads

Holy GrailThe ‘Not so secret diary of an E-commerce Entrepreneur’ continues… Marketing’s Holy Grail edged a little closer, thanks to the work of academics Chris Nosko and Steven Tadelis, of the Universities of Chicago and Berkeley.

Together with Thomas Blake of eBay, they have been working on an answer to John Wanamaker’s 19th century lament; “half the money I spend on advertising is wasted: the trouble is I don’t know which half”.

Read More »

Embrace the brave new digital world, but don’t shred the paperwork just yet


I found out today that the UKs ‘fastest growing’ crowdfunder, Seedrs has accepted my application to raise funds for my premium tongue cleansing brand on its site.

That’s great news.

Read More »

Gordon Ramsay and Hello Kitty engage Singapore

gordon ramsaySingaporeans love two things passionately: 1) brands and 2) freebies. When the two come together the mix is explosive!

Two great examples of this happened in the last few weeks with differing social media reactions:

1)      This weekend Gordon Ramsay came to town. As part of a SingTel PR stunt he challenged Singapore’s famous hawker chefs to a “cook off” which resulted in free Michelin starred meals for thousands of people who had queued for up to 10 hours to be photographed near Ramsay

2)      The McDonald’s Hello Kitty promotion has just finished thankfully as it resulted in riots and exasperation amongst Singaporeans desperate to add the ubiquitous smiling cat toys to their collection of other plastic memorabilia….

Read More »

‘Brand is still King’ – patents can be a distraction

angry birdsThe ‘NOT SO SECRET E-COMMERCE ENTREPRENEUR’ continues… I do not know if Angry Birds, Moshi Monsters and The Sims have patents attached to them or not.

Either way I bet their rip roaring success is down more to the ‘traditional virtues’ of brand building – rather than a complex set of inventive digital coding steps. I say this because from time to time I get asked if I have any patents attached to the design of the AMANO Tongue Cleanser. The precise answer I give (after a slow intake of breathe) depends on how much I believe the questioner’s mind is set to ‘receive mode’.

Read More »

Crowdfunding steps in – where our banks fear to tread

ideaThe ‘Not so secret life of an e-commerce entrepreneur’ continues…

What has the Statue of Liberty got in common with Kickstarter? Well in 1885 cash from more than 120,000 civic-minded Americans helped New York build the pedestal for the Statue of Liberty. That makes it the first record of ‘crowdfunding’ – comfortably beating Kickstarter by nearly 130 years.

Proving perhaps that not every good idea has been ‘discovered’ in the last 10 years. And to reinforce that point – I’m launching my e-commerce business, the Amano tongue cleanser – which is based on a 2,000-year-old Roman design for tongue cleaners. However, to pay for my slick digital and social media marketing campaign I first need to raise some finance. So I may need your help and advice (no please – put your wallets away for now)

Read More »

Part 3: Alibaba and the 40 sourcing opportunities – Yahoo’s ace out of the hole

The not so secret life of an e-commerce entreprenueur continues…

Reading The Economist last year my attention was grabbed by these words of wonder from Aileen Lee, a partner at venture capital firm Kleiner Perkins:

“E-commerce has now matured to a point where specialty online retailers with excellent supply chains can mint money from such targeted offerings”.

That was my wake up call.

Within weeks I had resurrected my 1990’s Amano tongue cleanser passion project, put to rest in the pre digital age, but now I was on a mission to seek out some of that digital gold dust.

The two-fold trust of Aileen’s point is that:

1. Globalisation enables products to be sourced far more cost effectively (I could say ‘cheaper’ but that is only part of the story)

2. Plus websites and digital/social media enables the global footprint of a product to be far wider. It is as easy now for someone in Myanmar to see your London based product website, as it is someone in Shoreditch.

It can add up to better margins from a far larger potential target market = ‘mint money’. Read More »

Part 2: Blade Runner – in a digital age (The not so secret life of an e-commerce entrepreneur)

I am about to start a new business venture, or to be more precise, I am going to re-launch a niche branded product, that I first put my heart and soul into in the 90s. Way back then I designed, commissioned the manufacture of, packaged, promoted and then sold this ‘niche product’ reasonably successfully in a number of retail stores and via mail order. All of this was done on a shoestring. This time around however I’m hoping for and expecting a better commercial result. The BIG difference between ‘the first time’ and ‘now’ is the advent of globalisation and digital marketing – and specifically e-commerce. Read More »

Broadcaster turns to crowdsourcing to find new progamme ideas

A TV company is turning to the crowd to find ideas that “appeal to the Y Chromosome”. The brief is live on creative crowdsourcing site and shows the increasingly serious use of idea competitions in more sectors. (They don’t want to tell you who they are yet, but the £5000 prize shows they mean business).

Crowdsourcing has been around longer than most people realise – The Longitude Prize was a reward offered by the government via the 1714 Longitude Act for a simple and practical method for the precise determination of a ship’s longitude. Useful at the time when getting lost at sea was generally fatal. The French government also created Montyon prizes to reward poor Frenchmen for virtuous acts. Read More »

How you can make it happen: Britain’s Start-up Saviours

back to the future: "Where we're going we don't need...Hello and welcome to this week’s Espresso of Innovation; a roundup of the hottest news and strongest stories from the world of creativity and technology filtered into a quick shot of inspiration.

This week we’re talking about ‘Start-up Britain’: to misquote Doc, “Banks…where we’re going, we don’t need banks.” – Back to the Future

Ever had a great idea as an individual or a business and wondered how on earth you are going to fund it? Banks not playing ball? Well help is at hand. And it is coming from you and me. Through crowd funding platforms anyone can contribute to the funding of projects, even if they’ve only got a few £s spare. It’s another area where the world of finance is changing through digital innovation. Estimates suggest more than £1billion was raised globally through crowd funding last year. Read More »