LAUNCH Incubator 3: The Legend Continues

When I visited the two LAUNCH Incubator classes in December, it was to allegedly to see if there were any interesting companies to advise. My real plan though was to soak up some of their weekly pitch practice. We were working on an iPhone app for Recurrency that we planned to debut at the LAUNCH Festival and I wanted our presentation to go as smoothly as our last one.

But watching other people pitch their startups isn’t a substitute for pitching your own. So when Jason told me that a spot had opened up, I jumped right in.

What a wild ride. Our first week of pitching went great. We won the most points. It felt like it was going to be a breeze.

Was I ever wrong.

Continue reading “LAUNCH Incubator 3: The Legend Continues”

The End of Recurrency

In January, I was back in the LAUNCH Incubator working on my presentation. I was planning to introduce a Recurrency app that made it easier for creators to engage and include their supporters each month. But the feedback I got was a surprise: “Do I have to use your failed crowdfunding startup if I want to use this amazing app?”

One of our friends spent a full year planning her Kickstarter before flipping the switch — and she crushed it. But too many people think you just walk up to a crowdfunding service, turn it on and then the Internet sends you a check.

It all comes down to doing the work.

My Medium post The End of Recurrency looks at what Recurrency did that was unique, reveals that we almost acquired another business and explains what investors hate about recurring crowdfunding services like Patreon and Recurrency. I also thank a lot of people for being a part of our journey.

Read The End of Recurrency on Medium.

YouTubers Just Got YouTubered

When I was searching for something new to build in 2014, Jason told me about the problems he was having with Mahalo on YouTube.

At the time, a single YouTube subscriber was worth an estimated $0.10/year to publishers, but an email subscriber was worth $1.25/year. For Jason’s shows, collecting 100,000 email addresses could mean the difference between breaking even and bankruptcy.

Oh man. Workarounds to capture email addresses? I had seen this before with Facebook and iTunes. YouTube was being an evil gatekeeper.

I was about to uncover my next great mission.

My Medium post YouTubers Just Got YouTubered covers a lot of topics:

  • What is YouTube Red and why does everyone hate it?
  • YouTube’s Farm and the origin of Recurrency
  • Facebook, the evil gatekeeper
  • iTunes, the evil gatekeeper
  • Should you ever build a business on someone else’s platform?
  • How can I protect myself from all of these evil gatekeepers?

Continue reading YouTubers Just Got YouTubered on Medium.

Is ‘1,000 True Fans’ Too Good To Be True?

Some creators can make Kevin Kelly’s 1,000 True Fans theory work. Most creators can’t. My Medium post Is ‘1,000 True Fans’ Too Good To Be True? explores the history of 1,000 True Fans, some its success stories and where most creators stumble.

If you want to make a living doing what you love  —  playing guitar, writing books, drawing webcomics, podcasting, reviewing movies, playing video games, making YouTube videos or filling Pinterest boards —  all you need to do is find 1,000 True Fans. When you have one thousand people each spending a hundred dollars on you every year, that’s a $100,000 salary. Now you can quit your job and focus on your art!

Simple, right?

Hardly.

The biggest thing that creators miss is that fans need constant attention and acknowledgement. Fans need to be rewarded, but rewarding and including them isn’t easy, which is why we eventually shut down Recurrency and created Clipisode.

Continue reading Is ‘1,000 True Fans’ Too Good To Be True? on Medium.

Adblockalypse!

I used the term “adblockalypse” in our team’s Slack channel and liked it so much that I registered the domain adblockalypse.com, created the Twitter account @adblockalypse and wrote a popular Medium post on the death of ad-supported publishing.

“Adblockalypse” is the end of days for publishers and advertisers. Once it arrives, content creators on the internet will never be the same again. Many will be destroyed. The ones who survive will be forever transformed.

And that might not be a bad thing.

Continue reading Adblockalypse! on Medium.

Should you apply to the LAUNCH Incubator?

It depends. It’s not for everyone.

Only apply to the LAUNCH Incubator if you want to:

  • get Jedi-level presentation training – which will help you…
  • get a “yes” from every angel investor you talk to – which will help you…
  • attract a world-class team – which will help you…
  • build a world-class product – which is made better when you…
  • get expert feedback on your product and presentation from Jason’s amazing weekly special guests.

I hope that helps you with your decision.

NOTE: If you live on the east coast, keep in mind that you will be spending three solid months in San Francisco — away from your family. They may come visit you for Thanksgiving and Christmas, but you will miss them like crazy. On the bright side, if your spouse is as supportive of you as Niki is of me, at some point during the Incubator they will decide that it’s time to sell your house and move across the country to a whole new life and all new schools in California.

Good luck!

Make awesome possible

Yesterday, Jonathan George and I launched Recurrency on stage at the LAUNCH Festival. Leading up to our debut, we spent 12 weeks in the LAUNCH Incubator doing pitch rehearsals. That training was invaluable and some of the other incubator entrepreneurs will surely be lifelong friends.

What is Recurrency? For supporters and super fans, it means giving money to creators they love each week on any social network* and becoming part of their inner circle. For creators and causes, it means “recurring currency.”

Check out the Recurrency FAQ to learn more.

* Currently this means Twitter, Facebook and Instagram, the ones with great APIs. Soon it will mean dozens more. If you’re not on one of those three services, let me know what you need us to add next.

The second mouse gets the cheese.

I’ll never forget how my friend Carolyn introduced me at a backyard party a few years ago:

“This is Brian Alvey. He invented blogging.”

I immediately corrected her:

“I didn’t invent blogging. I perfected it.”

I’ve told that story on stage many times. While it might sound conceited, there is a lot of truth in the statement. Jason and I weren’t the first people to build a blog network. But we did create a really efficient one that grew quickly and was acquired for a lot of money in less than two years.

I gave Jason some grief when I interviewed him on the 500th episode of This Week In Startups. I asked him if he’d ever had an original product idea. He was noticeably defensive, but if you name anything that Jason has a hand in building, it has always been a reaction to someone else’s product.

Continue reading “The second mouse gets the cheese.”