Social Media, social networks and apps : Both Smart and Dumbphones Hate You!


Social Media and Networks are the thing. Living the social life is a matter of do-or-die nowadays for anybody willing not to be left out.

Who wants to be this kid girl, let us call her Lucy, left out of her group of friends for having the wrong smartphone, yes an iPhone, when her f(r)iends would all make use of their Blackberry – and BBM – to get, and stay, in touch ?

Social development is not individual. 

Basically, social media beg to differ by being … social.
This does easily make sense when just having a look at Facebook for instance. An account with no friends suddenly feels quite useless.
Geek or not, being willing to use or just discover social media overall and some new kids on the block in particular may prove difficult.
Not that it has become such a mission impossible to download an app and create an account but, rather, that social media need to be social.
Find yourself in the kid girl’s position and you are up for some tasteless deja-vu.

Push adoption or rely on adoption ? 

Still keeping up with Lucy and her iPhone ? Do you think that even if Lucy installs the latest and fanciest, iOS-only, app, her friends will all turn to an iPhone ?
The answer is most likely a solid no.
So what about making the most of discovering new apps, new social networks and tools ?
I found myself in that position quite a few times. I happen to be one of the very few registered users of Line (messaging app, to make it simple) in France. And looking at members of my 500+ address book (boasting contacts in various other countries in the world), only three of them happen to be found on Line.

That is three out of hundreds while only one of them is a French contact. The other being … Japanese.
So how can I really proof-test the product when so little people do actually use it and the only users are not people I would often get in touch with  ?

Discard your friends. 

How do you enjoy this slightly rude statement ? Blunt joke aside, there is still truth in there.
That is the result of my look into my own list of unusable apps. A very dramatic reading of a situation where those fancy products I have downloaded will only begin to make sense once my very own circles adopt them and the behaviour to make use of them too.
That is never to happen.
Too bad my Line, too bad my Ding Dong, too bad my Path and so many others.
My close circles are not your close circles.
As a tester more than any kind of geek or early-adopter, I first want to test things, in context, prior to judging them and making use of them if they pass. However, with quite a lack of like-minded people, this very first step of testing and sharing gets down to the ground from the very start.

Bear with it and be more social. 

When contacts, networks or even devices prevent any kind of development towards the proper use of social tools, there is little to be done.
First, just bear with the fact that friends and family may not be feeling the need to beta-test every single app being released.
Then, be social. Not only is it the point of social media but that may offer an opportunity to connect with more like-minded people and finally be able to ring the Ding Dong bell with more than a couple of people.
And last, can you not live with it, please check this new app : “Get me a Psychologist” … .

Secret networking for startups : holidays

Startup Life is a beach

Living the startup life … Life is a beach. A Mac, some wifi at the bar (or any other location of course) and you can end up working with the Pacific ocean as your office desk’s background. 

Assuming you can indeed sit down in some gorgeous place and work. I said work. Not pretend to work as some corporate workers might do.
Life is a beach indeed.
But that is not really the picture of startup life here.
Real life still boasts a Mac, some acceptable wifi and … a twenty-hours day, coding or, at least, working in the shadow.

Fight (not) in the shade. 

As much as coding in the shadows does make sense, doing business in the open does make even more.
Whatever the business and whatever the product sold, startups need to get traction on market, hence visibility.
And when looking back only at the startup ecosystem, skills, knowledge and advice will sure come from peers, from investors and/or advisors too.
But value, in advising and mentoring does not come from experience only. Would it be the case, no country would be experiencing crisis at the moment … .
Quality also comes from growing and fighting.
Fighting our own knowledge and experience.
There is always someone out there who has done the same thing but differently. More or less successfully but, hey, who cares. You are in for the learning part, not the who-has-the-biggest challenge.

Have a chat with aliens and strangers. 

Well, I reckon it is not about going out in the street and ask that mother of three about her own path to success … . Hm, wait, maybe it would make sense in the end.
Thinking out of the box does take roots in this kind of experience. Have a chat with a mum and find out how she created a secret recipe for handling logistics for her I-take-care-of-three-kids-and-my-job life.
Trust me, take up that job for a week and running a dozen people, writing some code due for yesterday and coping with that ever-angry French customer will sound like walk in the sunny startup life park.

Gold class networking : holidays

Back on track with the main point. Wherever your business drives you may not be far – or far enough – from the paths everybody walks.
Startups tend to regroup and the cities feel like villages where everybody knows each other.
Ever felt like coming across the same faces all the time at local startup events ?
Then make use of every option available to get out there in the wild and see how others are doing it.
Startups are everywhere.
Be it travelling to a conference (still very standard), attending some unknown uncle’s wedding in some sunny place, finally taking some holidays in this remote country you have been fancying for years.
Seize the opportunity.
It is not about screwing up some relaxing time. But how troublesome would you reckon having sushi and sake, in a hidden Japanese street restaurant, on a warm spring night, may be ?
Not the worst of holidays’ experience, actually happening when you meet with local tech media writers to have a (very nice) time and a chat about the startups in Tokyo and Japan.


Collaborate. The somehow back-to-basics word.
At a time when the sharing and collaborative economy is the thing, when social networks allow anybody to get in touch with any other body, it does seem that meeting people has never been harder.
Love aside, networking in business is still not fully natural and managing to get in touch with people we target still remains linked either to some healthy address book or a lot of old-fashioned harassment.
Yet, instead of asking some random website to match you with any advisor to a startup accelerator, just go human.
Have a talk. Ask. Go discover this incubator and the people running it.
Know what ? You may certainly end up meeting a lot more people in a couple of hours and catching extremely valuable insight than on any random startup dating site.
Obvious of course. But who do you know outside your startup village ?

In the end, go out and play!

Startups sure are no game.
But any startup well run still offers room for playing.
Working will still be a twenty-hours day but remember the words the best founders live :
“Work hard, party harder”.
This is real-life.
Just go the extra mile by adding easy work to the partying and make the most of down time and holidays by meeting the right people.

Networking opportunities : holidays

Entrepreneurs, do seize every opportunity to discover new (startup) cultures, expand your network and develop your market reach.
The key take : make use of holidays for that too.

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Startup life (?)

Entrepreneurship and the dream life. Being your own boss, enjoying remote work and doing what you love.
Or not.
Building a company and working for it can be very consuming.
Don’t forget the dream & passion. Life is a beach!