Revenue Model Workshop at Ultra Light Startups

I recently attended my 6th Ultra Light Startup, where the mission is simple: “Tech entrepreneurs sharing techniques to launch faster and cheaper!”  I’ve covered their recent events including Monetization via AdsOutsourcing, SEO/SEM, and last months most popular Open Source CMS. (I made a video of that event and the article itself was picked up by the well know online publisher SmashingMagazine.)

This months meetup tested a completely new format – the Revenue Model Workshop. At this event, 5 startups were selected to give brief presentations of their business, focusing on their revenue models. It was held at For Your Imagination (special thanks to Kathryn Velvel Jones) in order to support , without a doubt, one of the largest Ultra Light crowds to date.

As usual, the night kicked off with 1 minute elevator pitches by the Ultra Light Audience. This ran pretty smoothly, particularly thanks to Ronald Bradford’s “Entreprenuer Pitch Instructions”. Some of the more impressive and eyecatching companies included:

Following the quick pitch session, guest speaker Derek Lee wowed the audience with his  “Immodest Proposal”…STOP CREATING AD INVENTORY (write up by Sanford Dickert)

  • The long tail is dead.
  • You will not feed your family or pay the mortgage with google Ad Words
  • Figure out your economic value per customer instead of ad impressions
  • Remember the difference between branded advertising and direct response – note that Lawn Doctor was on the prime time CNN show
  • Sell something – unlimited ad inventory is nothing
  • West Coast Model is what everyone is chasing – build a big community of 4M members and then monetize it. The darlings of the current economic world will disappear.
  • East Coast Model is making money – figure out your revenue model – $ for one customer, $$ for more than one, then $$$$ for lots. Pick a revenue model and build it.
  • Don’t get a job now – we are in a recession. In 20 years from now, look at the Fortune 100 then and see how many got started in 2009.

It was a lot to take in for the audience and left people hungry for more answers. Good timing, because the pizza arrived shortly after and the networking frenzy began. After 15 minutes of handshakes, business card exchanges and hardcore networking, the panel was seated and ready to go.

As planned, five entrepreneurs had 5 minutes each to pitch their product and revenue models ($$Cha-Ching$$). The panel would then provide helpful alternatives for the entrepreneur to consider as methods to generate more revenue from their business more efficiently. The presenters were as follows…

The panelists included:

Overall the feedback was helpful for the presenters. Each panelist seemed to have their own perspective and advice, but there were times where they were simply “confused” by the ideas presented.  But overall, the event was successful and the presenters walked away with what they needed to improve their business.

I highly suggest you attend next months meetup, Ultra Light Web Analytics, February 5th at For Your Imagination. The panel lined up is strong and based on the growing numbers, this will be a large/networking worthy venue.

**In order to give you an idea of what it was like to present, I have decided to sacrifice my video for the sake for your viewing pleasure:

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Posted under Events, Ultra Light Startups

7 Comments so far

  1. Vin Turk January 13, 2009 12:23 pm

    I wanted to let you know that you guys did really well up on the stage. Presentation wise, you had the confidence, charisma, and clearly articulated your business in a way that I thought some of the other presenters lacked.

    I heard your pitch a few months back at the UltraLight Startups – Outsourcing event when it was still in early alpha mode. Looks like things are coming along well.

    See you soon as more UltraLight Startup events!


  2. Seph January 13, 2009 12:32 pm

    Josh – thanks for the good writeup

  3. Derek January 13, 2009 12:42 pm

    you are a machine.. keep it up and thanks for shout out. you should definitely be an entrepreneur

  4. Jennie B January 13, 2009 12:55 pm

    Great summary of the event. I’m sorry I missed
    your five-minute presentation. I’m curious what feedback the panel had. For all of us, figuring out a revenue strategy beyond display advertising will be key to our success — but
    the model also needs to suit the business.

  5. Graham Lawlor January 14, 2009 1:34 am

    Great work, as usual, Josh. Awesome description of the event. I love the photos (including the ones from the bar afterwards!) and the video (very nice of you to volunteer your own presentation, which was excellent).

    Keep up the great work. We are privileged to have you as a member of the group!


  6. John Stacey January 15, 2009 6:20 pm

    Hi Josh,

    I loved the RezRedo idea and I have a related idea to openly share with you guys. Not sure regarding the legal details that would need to be worked out to execute this idea — nor the size or source from which you access your current resume data for RezRedo.

    So you know how sites like indeed and simplyhired ‘scrape’ job reqs. How about a site that scrapes resumes — to create a mega database to be used by recruiters and hiring managers (including your current resume database as one of the scraped resume sources)? Is that ridiculous? Yes and no.

    Surely some resume owners could opt out for privacy reasons, and many would prefer to have identifying info hidden (with an alias email provided so they could still be contacted by hiring ppl). But I’m sure many people (millions in the US?) such as myself would be fine just to post freely. Though details and resolving counterarguments would need to be grinded out, this open model only serves to make the job market more efficient/transparent, so it provides profound utility to society. (not that investors would be particularly moved by making the world a better place, but that’s not the only reason we do things!) This could arguably be called a disruptive technology in that it disrupts the current ecosystem and how job boards such as monster treat resumes as proprietary IP and charge recruiters to access “their” (our) data. I give Monster my resume for free and then they charge others to view it. Very clever…

    LinkedIn is kind of doing this already, but generally it takes more time to build a LinkedIn profile and users generally come from a savvier crowd, which comprises just a portion of the job market. With the above-proposed approach people could just upload their resume with the click of a button and be done. This could also replace resume distribution services such as résumé rabbit, etc. This could produce a much larger pool of resumes than LinkedIn. There could be a date-time stamp so recruiters could ascertain through a recently marked upload that people are actively looking and that it’s not stale inventory.

    Just sharing an idea. I’m sure someone has thought of this before and the business model would need to be explored (ad, or subscription/premium subscription, or a per search and/or per upload fee). Just brainstorming here! Would be curious what online job/resume searches will look like in 50 years. The above is likely one of the earlier steps among many such evolutionary advances…

    Take care,

  7. Ronald Bradford January 15, 2009 9:27 pm

    As usual, your review of the event and photos ensure a detailed description for all.

    Keep up the good work.


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