Stop the meetnaping

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Don’t feed the startup assholes

Cheap Toilet tissue

The “asshole” wording has been put forward quite a few times recently about Silicon Valley and startups (see Sarah Lacy’s bit on Pandodaily).

On the smarter side of things, the right (?) behaviour was summarised in one old(ish) tweet by Dave McClure :

pro tip: always give nice people a better deal. otherwise, ur rewarding & optimizing the world 4 more assholes.

It does say it all … .

Do not complain for shit products and services when you are the ones allowing them to strive.


(Image credit: Flickr, user : Travis S.)

IPhone in store ? The bait and the scarecrow


Once upon a time I considered swapping my nice current iPhone 5 for the new and seemingly slightly better iPhone 6. Nothing crazy yet.
Since not being in a hurry, the pre-orders frenzy and all the crazy queuing were not on my list and I finally happened to put my hands on a phone yesterday, in a (non-Apple … I know, still beating myself about it) store.

Welcome to the world of Telstra

And welcome to Australia by the way. Since Telstra is major here, not having the iPhone in store would definitely not make sense.
Not only for the sake of being able to offer the main products on the market but also to draw advantage of the marketing impact of the device itself (or devices indeed).

Oh joy, since a few weeks after the launch, The smartphone was there on display for every commoner to approach – and even test – it.

Customers – sales people

Before moving to hands on matters, I would begin with a slightly more business-oriented observation : the absence of a crowd.
First, not a single body to be seen around the iPhone 6. And nobody apparently willing to show even just a sign of interest for the device.
Ok, I may have come to be more geeky than I thought and all the buzzing around this phone may not mean people should show interest. Still … .
Then, in a shop where a couple of dozens of customers could fit, only one person was to be seen, nonchalantly browsing the various phones on display.
While a bunch of sales people were apparently busy having a chat between themselves. Why should I care ? Well, for once, no one came to me wondering if I may need help with a purchase or just even information.

No touching!

As a customer, I do not necessarily like to be disturbed while quietly browsing stuff I will certainly not buy. And as logic wants it, I would definitely ask, would I need further details.
So, there I was, happy bunny, testing this new iPhone which, by the way, is already too big in its small version and could have kept on offering black as a color.
That is until I set on looking at the touch ID. The oh-so-new feature for me, poor user of a 5 with no such (fun ?) technology.
And so much for conspiracy theorists (yes, the NSA collects your prints from your iPhone) that did actually trigger the most amazing response from the bunch of sales people with one lady rushing to ask me to stop. Because … I would “lock the phone”.
– But “this is a demo, Mam’”.
– “Please stop or the phone will get locked”.
– “Erh … demo ?”.
But facing a crazy look and a person who, visibly, does have no interest in a (minimum) 800 Australia Dollars sale, that was me on my way.

The bait and the scarecrow

This is a more serious take regarding this slightly funny story.
The iPhone, in Telstra’s case, is basically not only an added offering to the range and the ability to offer the full portfolio of devices, it is also a necessary one for a telephony leader.
They basically have to have the iPhone on offer.
But, also, the phone serves as free marketing and lead generation.
I am the example of it as I only stopped at this shop when seeing the phone on display.
And that is the perfect bait – when customer-hunting – as it would draw a population of potential buyers with the ability to foot the bill for a high-end device.
Yet, the bait is not enough. Especially if next to the bait, you put a scarecrow.
In the form, here, of a lazy sales team and a – seemingly – crazy sales person.
Not letting a potential customer test a product is already bad enough but done in a questionable way it then raises further questions, not only on the people but the brand too.

Here, that is a lead lost, a very bad image for Telstra and, well, a post about it which will be read by the hundred of thousands of you (I wish …). 


The lesson to be learned

Generating leads is not easy. When you have a bait like the iPhone to generate easy leads make sure to have the right structure in place to handle the second part : closing the deal.
And not just a bunch of scarecrows.

Samuel Pavin, nominated for the Inc 5000 Europe

Inc 5000, an exclusive list of Europe’s fastest growing companies. How nice it is to get an email from Mansueto Ventures informing me of this nomination for this exclusive list. 

An official announcement

I quote the terms of the note : 

“You have demonstrated that you have the boldness, courage, and intelligence to do what few others can do. You lead a fast-growing entrepreneurial private company in Europe. 
Our research indicates that is not only one of the fastest growing companies in France, but is one of the fastest growing in all of Europe.”

Honored to be honored, I still could not really see the end of it. 

You are nominated. Please apply! 

Ah, this thing tends to make more sense all of a sudden. 
A standard call for all companies to apply for this list. A form to fill and a fee to pay. 
That does make even more sense. Even if not on par with Red Herring’s scam-like “recognition”  this actual nomination still sounds like “we, experts, think you have what it takes, do apply and pay for a year subscription to our publication … oh, and get an opportunity to maybe, possibly, be featured among the likes of “Microsoft, Oracle, Timberland, etc.”. 

Is Samuel Pavin that major in Europe

If Inc research says so, it must be true. Yet, looking at the basic standard conditions for applying it does appear that some conditions have to be met. Including showing some serious enough revenue. 
My own, quick research, does easily show that I sadly can not match this requirement … yet (remember, “one of the fastest growing companies in France” …). Good joke aside, I would assume that the email list provider must not be involved in the research here. 

So major, a fee is nothing

Mark their words, you all eligible companies out there : 

We believe you will easily qualify for the Inc. 5000 Europe, but you must apply to be considered. There is a moderate application fee. Being listed on the Inc. 5000 Europe is worth far more than this fee.”

Hence, every single – eligible; that you all are apparently – company should go ahead. What is a fee worth compared to the chance offered ? 
Even I can be listed on the Inc. 5000 Europe. How cool is that ? 

Time to polish my things then … . Or, well, just maybe write a wee blog post with a laugh and get back to getting stuff done in my fast growing wee company. 

A great email subject line ?

I received an email today. One of many (many, many, many … ).
And while waiting for Mailbox to finally get to me with their Mac application, I had to resort to the old way of handling emails. Which means trying to cut through the noise and open the relevant ones.

One stood out though. One of numerous emails from the Web Summit, in the wake of their upcoming event.
However, since I am not a speaker there, nor invited, I will not make it to this edition. So emails tend to just fall under the spam category, by default.
This one email had this subject line : Cats.

Cats ? yes indeed. And before you ask, this had nothing to do with the actual content of the note.
Still, even if I am not a crazy lover of furry felines, this actual subject line got me curious and I did end up opening this email.

Shame on me ? Maybe but that is also a lesson. Just one word proved enough here to make me react. At least make me curious.

Be disruptive – and not necessarily provocative – in your email subject line.

(Image credit : Deviantart / Pendragon1966)