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Flow Hive: How Bees Went Viral

Flow Hive Beekeeping

Bees didn’t used to be a topic of conversation. These days, we’re hearing more and more about how the bee population is in danger, and the repercussions of the bee species dying off. For years, not much was done in the consumer world to combat this. We all worried about prices of honey rising, and maybe planted some wildflowers in our backyards, but that was about it. At least, until the Anderson family came along.

The Andersons have been beekeeping for three generations. Father and son duo Stuart and Cedar Anderson recognized a problem in the beekeeping industry – harvesting honey was disruptive to the bees, and often resulted in the beekeeper being stung. “There must be a better way,” Cedar remembers thinking at a very young age – he began beekeeping when he was only six years old. Stu and Cedar tinkered with designs for almost a decade before coming up with the Flow Hive.

Stu and Cedar launched an Indiegogo campaign in February 2015 that would quickly become one of the most successful crowdfunding campaigns in history. Their humble goal of $70,000 was reached within minutes of going live. Flow Hive holds the title of the most successful campaign ever launched on Indiegogo. So, what’s their secret?

For starters, they had identified a problem and pain that seriously lacked a solution. Bees were already on the forefront of people’s minds – Flow Hive offered a way for people to be connected. Stu says, “I think people saw Flow as a sort of drawbridge to connect them with the natural world.” Nothing like this product had ever been offered before, and they had an already established niche market of beekeepers – but their market extended past that because of the usability of the product. With Flow Hive, anyone could be a beekeeper.

 

The Internet played a massive role in the success of Flow Hive. They started a social media campaign less than a month before their Indiegogo campaign began. The goal was to tap into their personal networks and gain a few beekeepers, but the videos Cedar had made for the campaign went viral – the Andersons attribute it to help from friends and family and a genuine interest in bees and the concept of beekeeping. Their campaign page was clear, descriptive, and showed the passion Stu and Cedar had for their project. By the end of the campaign, Flow Hive had raised over $13 million from 38,000 contributors.

Flow Hive is a perfect example of how the Internet can exponentially grow the success and reach of a start-up. Without it, there’s a slim chance we would have heard about a normal father-son duo from Australia and their groundbreaking idea to innovate beekeeping.

Check out the Andersons’ story of the Flow Hive invention process:

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What’s Everyone “Yammering” about?

yammer-the-enterprise-social-network-logo1

Yammer is a social network that’s entirely focused on your business.  The service operates under a freemium model that delivers most of its basic features away for free, but assesses a monthly service fee for access to its advanced group or administrative controls. It is a cross between Twitter And Facebook. What makes it interesting is it is set up to be used as a private space for companies and institutions as opposed to Twitter and Facebook which is open to the whole world.  In order to get involved with the site, your business’s Yammer network, an applicant must have a working email address from your company’s domain.  You can also create external networks to allow non-employees, such as suppliers and customers, to communicate with your company.

 

Yammer is set up like Facebook: a newsfeed for posts, you can “like” posts, create groups which is helpful for segregating talk that’s relevant only to specific internal teams, private messaging, and share photos as well as videos.  What I like about the created groups is that if you come up with a situation and your group requires assistance from other employees, you can share it with a specific person via instant message or with another group entirely.

yammer

The social media aspect of it is what I like and I think it solves an issue within the workforce.  It brings people together within a company or institution.  Yammer provides a way to close the gap and has the potential of bringing people together in virtual communities of practice.  I know there is the issue of people being too nervous to join social medias because they don’t want to put themselves out there or for the Government to have more information on them *cough my mom cough* (just kidding my mom has nothing to hide and is very involved with all social media…it’s a blessing and a curse).  This gives people in the company the ability to see what their fellow colleagues are up to without being nervous that other strangers will see their stuff.  It is not so much of a risk if your audience is just within your organization.

 

The main problem that Yammer has it that not a lot of people know about it, or if they do know about it, they don’t want to give up the system they already have.  One of Yammer’s goals is to help get rid of the clogged up email inboxes and put everything in one place.  However people are still unwilling to let go.

“…enterprise workers are holding onto email for dear life and are not prepared to give it up”

I am unaware of what exactly they are looking to do, but I am aware that they are looking to improve their site and try to get more organizations involved.

 

In the future when I’m all grown up and working for a company (or have own of my own) and they are looking for a way for the whole company to get more involved with each other, I will remember Yammer and possibly suggest it to them if Yammer is still up and kicking.  I find it to have many great qualities and it will be interesting to see how they decide to improve.

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Pinterest: An Alternative Marketing Approach

Pinterest: An Alternative Marketing Approach

With an $11 billion valuation and 100 million monthly active users in 2015, Pinterest is a one stop shop for creative inspiration, recipes, travel tips, advertisements/marketing, household tips and so much more.

Originating in 2010 as a social media network of “visual bookmarking” (similar to Tumblr), the internet sensation has grown to be the second largest social media network, following Facebook. Pretty impressive, right? So what does this website offer that people can’t get enough of?

Not only is the website and mobile app user intuitive, it also supplies new content after the page is refreshed. Because the user activity is so consistent, the website it always adding new content to your feed. This feature is quite similar to other social media networks in how the networks can become addicting. When there is always new content to see, users have the urge to continue browsing the app until there is no more to read.

But there is so much more that adds to Pinterest’s greatness.

Beginning as a platform to save “visuals,” Pinterest still holds the concept of sharing ideas. Within the past few years, this concept has developed into a goldmine for advertisements, marketing and e-commerce. Companies now use Pinterest as a tool to reach their target audience in a different approach. Instead of a flashing advertisement, companies mold their marketing strategies to the Pinterest style.
For example, Wix–a website development platform.

wix

This is a pin that was on my personal Pinterest feed. Notice the design and wording of the advertisement –the trendy floral design, bold typography, the creative buzzwords such as “design” and “stunning”. These characteristics would stand out to a Pinterest user because it appeals to the general Pinterest aesthetic. In addition, notice how the pin attributes Wix.com–“Promoted by Wix.com.” Using a softer and positive word like “promoted” is more approachable for the target user instead of harsher words. Although this is a Wix advertisement, it masks itself to be more interesting and welcoming.

Another alternative marketing feature is the Pin it button extension. A user can download the Pinterest button on Google Chrome and pin photos from any website. This creates extremely high traffic for both the pinned website and Pinterest.
For example: Free People–a woman’s clothing retailer

After downloading the extension, the Pin It button will appear on your browser’s right side bar.

pin button

Simply click it when you would like to pin a photo from a website. Here, I clicked the button while browsing Free People’s new arrivals page.

Pinterest FP

Once choosing a photo to pin, click the red “pin it” button, choose a board and viola, it is saved to your Pinterest board!

pinterest

Using this feature not only added content to Pinterest’s platform, but it also pulled content from Free People’s website that may have never appeared on Pinterest without the pinning button feature.

Pinterest’s consumer influence is undeniable and its internet presence is unavoidable, who knows what will be next for it!

 

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Learning from All Sides of the Interent

From MarketTran.com

From MarketTran.com

I love learning about internet-based companies, but while researching I realized how many people have internet-based careers without actually having a traditional business. For example, Ben Shapiro, one of my favorite political commentators, uses the internet as a platform for his podcast, show, and columns even though he doesn’t have a full-on company. It got me thinking about how multi-faceted the internet is. There are so many opportunities, you don’t even have to have a traditional company to get into the internet space. You can have a YouTube-based show, a blog, a podcast on iTunes, a website, and a social media presence, all completely dedicated to your personal brand. A lot of people make millions of dollars a year just off of one of these internet-based opportunities. For example, in 2015, over 40 YouTubers made over a million dollars for the year.

I think the opportunities outside of traditional internet-based businesses can teach us two important things about traditional internet companies: 1) The internet is truly a flourishing and growing content driver.  2) While it’s important to have discretion with how you expand your business on the internet, you don’t have to choose just one platform. You can expand to any and all platforms that effectively help your company’s growth.

It’s important to keep in mind everyone who’s succeeding in the internet space, and look at what they’re doing right, not just traditional companies.

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Social Networking; the Plane Way

Breaking the Social Ice

Social NetworkGoing to a new place is always a challenge and unless you come in with strong social roots, it can be overwhelming.  The “Social Ice” that is a result of being in a new place is a real problem.  Its hard and some times intimadating trying to get integrated into a new are when you don’t know anybody.  Well similar to the challenges of joining a new group or organization and the awkardness that that initially incurs, Plane is a Social Ice breaker to help smooth the transition into a new place.  The idea is comes from the idea that people crave community but dating sites, meet up apps, and other similar products currently used can feel to intimidating and leave much to be desired in the search of finding a social presence.  Plane is a hodge podge idea using similar traits of Snap Chat, Facebook, and Yik Yak to help the consumer meet and get to know people in a new area.  Plane is a brand new idea and has just been launched recently so their is not a huge following as of yet but the idea is backed by successful angel donors and the idea is spear headed by Tim Allison, the founder of Cupple.    This idea came from Tim’s own personal frustration with moving countries and is a social media platform that allows you to post a short “signal” that explains who you are, your interests, and anything else you want to share and allows people from the same city to see it.  The idea focuses on making meeting people casual and less awkward and requires little commitment or worry because “signals fade” after 24 hours.  Plane is almost entirely text based removing the need for selfies and other pictures to make your profile stand out and lets you stand out for you.  Connecting with people is now simple and allows people to message privately, swap social cards, or respond publicly all for the goal of helping people meet people.  Plane is a great balance of a new idea and a pivot of old ideas to fit a new unique niche.  Watch out for Plane coming to a city near you and who knows, you might find a relationship that takes off.

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Roosters in Austin, TX, Reaching New Heights due to Alien Invasion

Although the idea of poultry in the air and a global extraterrestrial takeover is part hilarious and part terrifying, I’m not referring to our feathered friends. Rather I’m referring to a movie that recently hit box offices called Lazer Team, a comedy fantasy/science fiction film produced by Rooster Teeth Productions and funded by their loyal fans. Raising $2.5 million dollars (over 300% of their  intended goal) through an indegogo campaign it’s a wonder how what started as a five man team making a Halo machinima web series developed into an icon of the internet.

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