Posts Tagged ‘Extreme Bootstrapping’

Launchpage design: One v.small step for man, one giant leap for Aware Monitoring

February 17, 2009

We’ve now got our Aware Monitoring launch page up – hurray!!! It took more work than we originally thought, which seems the norm for software development. The two build choices for a homepage or Launch page are pre-built technology or Do-It-Yourself.. We looked at both. Here are our experiences, ideas and some useful links. Our launch page requirements were:

  1. Email address box
  2. Beta Tick box
  3. Text action button
  4. Unsubscribe & email statement
  5. 1-2 sentences about product/benefit
  6. Logo image branding
  7. Link to Privacy Policy

We looked at heaps of past Launch pages  including the examples on Launch Soon . Dave Stone also has some useful tips on launch pages. We liked the Newsvine page the most because its straight forward and bold. We also looked at Alex Tew’s PopJam recent beta Launch page.

Newvines launch page

We were going to use Feedburner for our registration system and email updates, but after some thought found it too limiting. We wanted to give visitors the option to signup for news updates and also be on our beta. Feedburner did not give us this capability, so we decided to build our own registration system. This brings more flexibility and we can extend the system as our needs change. Now I’m starting to see why so many dev houses build there own tools.

Aware Monitoring Launch page backend

Aware Monitoring Launch Page – One small step at a time.

We also published our new Extreme Bootstrappers blog static holding page today:


More details on the Extreme Bootstrappers blog to follow another day. Interestingly I viewed a slide show entitled ‘What is design’. Its says design is at the heart of everything. I think they could be onto something 🙂


Using 99Designs: Sourcing low cost logo designs – PART 2

January 28, 2009

We’ve now got a great logo for our new Aware Monitoring service using 99Designs:


Our logo was developed with the final designer over a number of ideas:


In the end we had 37 designers who produced 146 design concepts which I gave 78 feedback comments on.  The contest started at break neck pace over a weekend. It takes more time than you think to look at, rate and comment on all the designs. The design quality varied a great deal. Here are two examples of the more elaborate designs. In our 99design brief we said we wanted a clean, simple modern logo.


We found it very useful to look at each designers past work. As we did with the Elance bids for our Viisys logo. This approach helps to choose which designers to encourage.  Clearly the designers have to be careful where to put their efforts in because no win, no cash. I did feel uncomfortable rejecting 36 peoples efforts.  These are our final contest results:


To view the full Aware Logo design contest at 99Designs site click here. The winner Keegan from Indonesia has entered a staggering 716 events and won 43 to date. That’s a mere 6% conversion rate. The contest is definitely in the contest holders favour with the designer taking most of the risk. However at an average of $300 per logo Keegan will have earned $12,900 on his 43 wins plus any extra followup work.

The Internet and crowd sourcing continues to plough through traditional business models e.g. the newspaper industry, music distribution, software, etc and now logo design. 99Designs brought us more choice and ideas which developed between all the competing designers. It was a good experience and I would recommend both 99Designs and Elance despite the ethical debate and unhappy traditional designers.

Local designers will have to adapt to the new market place or they will be marginalised. When our startup grows up and has more cash it would be great to use and compare top end niche designers like this who developed Jive Software’s logo. But for now we are extreme bootstrapping and as the saying goes fail cheaply and quickly.

“The only barrier to failing fast and failing cheap is your ego. You must be willing to fail, fail, and fail again if you are going to win in today’s competitive marketplace.” BusinessWeek 2007

My other startup related posts: