Inside My Brain

Thoughts about startups, tech, marketing, and life

TAG: Thorn Technologies

Reflecting on 2015, big changes coming in 2016

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Another year flies by! It’s amazing how fast 2015 went and how quickly 2016 will be here.

Here are my thoughts on how I did with the resolutions I made in 2015.

And I’m not making resolutions for 2016!

Read on…

Recapping 2015

Here were my resolutions for 2015 and how I did:

1) Publicly launch ribl and gain over 100,000 users: ribl launched, but we didn’t get close to 100K users

We launched ribl publicly at SXSW in March, but we certainly did not gain over 100,000 users.

While we worked hard to launch our app, we couldn’t keep up with the fast pace necessary to maintain and grow a consumer mobile application.

We’re bootstrapping ribl, which means that we’re funding the company with our own money. Bootstrapping a startup is hard; it’s difficult to find a balance between working for paying clients and building a product that won’t bring in any revenue for the foreseeable future.

Because we had to spend a lot of time on consulting engagements, we didn’t quite get as far as we expected with ribl. Sucks.

Rating: 5 out of 10

2) Measure more: not bad

I made a resolution to be more analytical and more frequently look at the metrics of my clients’ websites, my blog, the ribl app, and any other property that I managed.

I did spend more time on analytics and learned some new measurement tools, but probably didn’t do as much as I could.

Rating: 6 out of 10

3) Avoid alcohol for two weeks every quarter: total fail

Jeez, I totally forgot about this one. Again.

Absolute fail.

Rating: 1 out of 10

4) Be a great dad: pretty good!

Baby Maya was born on May 14, 2015 and she is incredible!

It’s tough for me to truly judge how great of a dad I’ve been, but I think I’ve done a solid job so far.

Vicky and I have been working well together to balance our schedules to take care of Maya. We also have the help of Vicky’s mother and my Mom, which has been a godsend.

Maya is happy and healthy, and that’s all that really matters.

Rating: 8 out of 10

One more thing for 2015 – launch of my podcast

Another big thing that happened in 2015 is that I launched a podcast, the Go and Grow Podcast.

At the beginning of the year, I hadn’t ever listened to a podcast. But by October, I launched my own!

It’s been a great ride so far.

My podcast has reached #1 on a few iTunes New and Noteworthy categories.

More importantly, I just love speaking with entrepreneurs about how they’ve launched and grown their companies. I’ve learned so much and have been inspired by their stories.

Looking forward to 2016

To tell you the truth, I don’t feel like making any resolutions for 2016, and maybe ever again.

I just wind up forgetting about the resolutions I’ve made and then get depressed when I write this blog post at the end of each year.

Yeah, I know, it seems like a cop out. The better solution may be to actually remember the resolutions I’ve made and stick to them, right?

Instead, I’m just going to work hard, make progress every day, and balance my career and life as a whole.

I do want to highlight some major changes that are coming in 2016.

Career changes

As I stated in my recap of resolution #1, we didn’t even come close to progressing with ribl as we hoped. This was because we lacked the time and resources to focus on building and growing the app.

The ideal situation would be for me and my co-founders to dedicate 100% of our time on building ribl or whatever product we choose to develop. But life doesn’t work that way, as we all have families for which to provide, so we need income.

So I’ve decided to join my co-founders in growing their software development firm, Thorn Technologies, where I’ll be Chief Marketing Officer!

The structure that we’ve had the past couple of years wasn’t quite working.

I consulted for Thorn Technologies for a few hours per week to help market the firm and sell software development projects. And whenever we had some free time, we would work on ribl.

Thorn Tech would grow a little, ribl would grow a little, but we would still be strapped for resources and not get as far as we’d like on either.

Now I’ll be working full-time to grow Thorn Tech faster.

The hope is that by dedicating more time to growing Thorn Tech, we’ll have a larger portfolio of projects and more robust pipeline of potential clients. This in turn will put us in a better financial situation, allow us to hire more resources to both cover our client projects and help us build a product, whether that’s ribl as it exists, ribl in another form, or something in a completely different direction.

Will this new structure work? We think it will, but who knows.

It’s clear that what we had didn’t work, so we need to try something else. It wouldn’t make sense to keep going as-is and just hope that things will get better.

So we’re going to give this experiment a shot and see how much progress we can make on the product front.

I’ll still continue to grow my podcast on my free time, and maybe even launch a show for Thorn Tech!

Life changes

With the birth of Maya, our condo is getting pretty cramped. And with Maya growing so quickly, it will only continue to get more crowded.

So Vicky and I have been looking for a larger home that will accommodate our growing family.

We’re not sure where we’ll wind up, as we have to balance our love for the city, the quality of schools, availability of houses within our budget, and many more factors.

It’ll be a lot of work to find and transition to a new place. We’re not even sure if the move will happen in 2016 but it’s certainly a possibility.

Conclusion

2015 was a fun but up-and-down year.

The birth of Maya was certainly the highlight of 2015. Though it’s a tough job raising a child – many sleepless nights and lots of uncertainty – it has been one of the most rewarding experiences ever.

And while I’ve had early success with my podcast, I didn’t come close to achieving as much as I would have liked with the startup, which is my #1 career priority.

2016 is going to be full of change and excitement.

I can’t wait to see how much Maya develops, and look forward to the changes her growth brings to our lives.

I’m pumped about my new role at Thorn Tech, as I do believe it will help us progress in building a product.

And I’m excited to continue working on my podcast and growing my audience.

See you later, 2015, it was nice knowing you. Hello 2016, looking forward to finding out more about you!

What changes are coming your way and what will you focus on in 2016? I’d love to hear about it in the comments!

Image courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.

Two new guest posts for Thorn Technologies – The Ultimate Mobile App for Real Estate, and The Week in Tech

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Check out these two new guest posts I recently wrote for Thorn Technologies.

The first post is called “The Ultimate Mobile App for…Real Estate.” “The Ultimate Mobile App for…” is a blog series that highlights the top three features and characteristics of mobile apps for specific industries and uses, and this article focuses on the real estate industry.

The second post is “The Week in Technology: GMail + Google Plus = spam, CES highlights, and more.” This post highlights the top tech stories of last week, which includes GMail’s new integration of Google+, a short recap of the International Consumer Electronics Show, AT&T’s Sponsored Data program, and NY Times’ website redesign.

I hope you enjoy!

I hope you found this interesting! If so, please connect with me on TwitterGoogle+, and LinkedIn for future updates.

Two new guest posts for CEA and ThornTech

Sorry, I’m a little behind from traveling and other stuff, but I’ve written two guest posts in the last week that you should read!

The first post is for the CEA and is titled “10 Essential Tools and Resources for Entrepreneurs to Get Stuff Done.” This post highlights the software and other resources that I use nearly everyday to stay efficient and productive. Check it out, some of these tools could be useful to you!

The second post is for Thorn Technologies and is called “The Week in Technology: Target hacked, Facebook intros video ads, Uber hated, and more.” This post highlights the top tech stories of last week, which includes how Target got hacked, Facebook’s introduction of video ads, PayPal’s and Amazon’s moves in mobile payments, and how Uber pissed off a lot of people a couple of weekends ago.

I hope you enjoy! Happy Holidays!

Guest Blog Post on ThornTech.com About The Rise of the Second Screen and What Broadcasters and Marketers Should Do

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Check out my guest blog post on ThornTech.com called “What Else Are You Doing While Watching TV? The Rise of the Second Screen and What Broadcasters and Marketers Should Do.

More and more people are using their tablets and smartphones while watching TV to interact with their favorite shows and fellow viewers. This article outlines how viewers are doing it, how this behavior is impacting broadcasters and marketers, and what they need to do to keep up with this changing landscape.

If you found this interesting, please follow me on Twitter – @mikewchan – for future updates.

Guest Blog Post on ThornTech.com About How to Optimize Mobile Landing Pages

Check out my guest blog post on ThornTech.com listing 11 Steps to Optimizing Mobile Landing Pages.

Mobile landing pages are a crucial part of every mobile marketing strategy, and the quality of the design of these pages can have a huge impact on whether customers purchase your product or never return.

If you found this interesting, please follow me on Twitter – @mikewchan – for future updates.

Guest Post on ThornTech.com: The Shift to Mobile Video and TV – When Will Mass Cord Cutting Happen?

Check out my guest blog post on ThornTech.com: The Shift to Mobile Video and TV – When Will Mass Cord Cutting Happen?

Despite all the money I spend on cable TV, I find myself watching more and more video and TV on my laptop, iPad, and mobile phone. But even with all of the TV viewing alternatives out there, like Hulu, Netflix, and Amazon, cable TV provides unmatched access to the most content in one place, so at what point will I cut the cord? How about you?

I hope you enjoy the article and let us know what you think!

Like this post? Then follow me on Twitter – @mikewchan – for future updates.

Guest Blog Post on ThornTech.com – Is Text Message Marketing Dead?

Check out my guest blog post on ThornTech.com – Is Text Message Marketing Dead?

With the continuing increase of smartphone adoption, rising popularity of mobile messaging apps, and more and more people using their smartphones to access social media sites, where does that leave text messaging in businesses’ mobile marketing mix?

I hope you enjoy the article and let us know what you think!

Guest Blog Post on ThornTech.com: Mobile Social Commerce – What’s Going to Happen Next?

Check out part 2 of 2 of my blog series on ThornTech.com: Mobile Social Commerce – What’s Going to Happen Next?  iStock_000017856499XSmall

I make some predictions about what may happen with MoSoCo in the future, how technologies will evolve, and how retailers and brands will implement them.

You can find part 1 here: The Rise of Mobile Social Commerce.

I hope you like it!