EFactor presents: Booming Social Media Startups from the Bayï»¿
Have you ever wondered, with an enormous leap of growth of social media platforms in the past few years, what makes some successful and some not so? People now interact and communicate via social media outlets more frequently than any other form of channels. Besides Facebook and Twitter, there’s a multitude of places on the internet where people of all ages retrieve news, reconnect with family and friends, comment on blogs, controlling a sense of their own social authority. 2011 has become the age of booming social media, while a majority of such companies or startups derive from the Bay Area, let’s discover in person, what are some approaches that work well for successful startups focusing on social media interactivity and engaging their massive networks of communities.
At this event, EFactor will showcase two very special entrepreneurs in the world of social media: Noah Kagan (founder of AppSumo, founder of Gambit, he was one of the first hires at Facebook, and was also the Marketing Director at Mint.com) and Daniel Ha (founder and CEO of Disqus.) Both Noah and Daniel will come together and discuss their journey of entrepreneurship. What is their drive and passion to make their companies successful? What are their ultimate vision for their social media platforms and their own future path as entrepreneurs? They will also share “tipping points” on how they made social media platforms unique and engaging.
Join this EFactor event, bring your contacts, colleagues and classmates. All of you will learn lessons from two visionaries who will answer questions on the whole social media industry and most importantly, they will pinpoint key ingredients in making their startups...boom!ï»¿
Noah Kagan, founder of AppSumo
Daniel Ha, founder of Disqusï»¿
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Last night's EFactor event was one to remember. It made EFactor history, as the most successful event in its short timeline of hosting them in the US. What defines a successful event? 1) Topic - it was about social media startups from the bay. Check. 2) Speakers - it included two buzz-worthy keynote speakers in the social media world. Noah Kagan, one of the first hires at Facebook, later became the Marketing Director at Mint.com, and now founder and CEO of AppSumo. Daniel Ha, founder of Disqus - a company generating so much press recently for its celebration of 4th anniversary with a toast of $10 million in funding. Two dynamic speakers with the addition of two other experienced panelists: Mark Heyert (General Manager of Viumbe - that also includes the beloved EBaum’s World) and Immad Akhund (co-founder of heyzap.com.) Check. 3) Attendance - EFactor likes to host smaller and intimate events that entrepreneurs can easily network without feeling like a meaningless session of business cards exchange, 50-75 attendance is typically the expected number of registrations. Last night, over 100 people showed their faces to EFactor’s headquarter office inside the James Flood Building in San Francisco. So attendance...a definite Check.
Daniel was first to present, he began by showing how Disqus came from an idea to a site that now generates 800K website communities and 2 billion page views each month. It has been featured on CNN, Fox News, Time Magazine...and many more. Daniel showed that, the stem of his business came from the idea to extract the characteristics of his favorite online communities (reddit, Slashdot, Fark, metafilter) and apply to blogs. And what makes Disqus special is that, it sits between social networks, forum communities, and blogs. It targets a generation of users who intuitively understand and spend tons of time posting, liking, sharing. It’s a behavior that can be nurtured for the independent web. Daniel explained: today, content can be consumed in so many ways; less reasons to stay loyal to particular websites. Websites need to offer an exclusive experience: its unique community personality. He went on to describe the idea that, heterogeneous communities are a good thing. “The long term goals of building Disqus to be the brand people think of for web communities,” Daniel adds, “and the road to extend the consumer experience and stronger focus on complementary consumer products.”
EFactor focuses on entrepreneurship, so Daniel ended his presentation with his journey thus far. Disqus is his first company, and technically his first full-time job. He always wanted to be involved with an internet startup and left school to try Y Combinator - still “on leave” 4 years later. His lessons learned as an entrepreneur include: don’t undervalue your time when working with partners, understand who will be using your product, focus on the market as a whole (not on your competition,) set clear goals and be tenacious about achieving them.
Noah followed Daniel’s presentation, with a phrase that got the crowd going: Repeat After Me: You Are Better Looking Than Me! He went through his lessons of MOSTLY failures (CollegeUp, Community Next, Facebook, Mint, kickflip games, Reward Level) and some successes (Gambit, AppSumo) in creating two multi-million dollar businesses and working at two of the most successful online startups in the past five years. Noah’s presentation garnered gregarious laughter from the audience, as he went through ways to be an entrepreneur today: 1) Don’t call yourself an entrepreneur. 2) Read “Ultimate Sales Machine, Art of the Start.” 3) Do something TONIGHT. 4) Solve your own passion. 5) GET THE MONIES. And a bonus advice: 99% sucks!
Noah continued to dig deep in the subject of social media, explaining that marketing is in 2 steps: Who is your customer? And where are they? He focused on the importance of customers, and truly identifying them. He gave examples of his own personal experiences in restaurants, Southwest...to show that some customers are for life, and answered the question of: when everyone is great, how do you stand out?
The panel discussion included both Daniel and Noah, with the addition of Mark and Immad. They all engaged in topics, such as: behavioral and psychological processes behind the idea of user-sharing. What are some big DON’Ts in social media? What metrics do they use to judge a successful social media campaign? And they each named some examples of great content that they had seen. Mark’s remark on the discovery of cat videos on Saturdays, gave the word “Caturdays” a lasting impression.
EFactor members who attended were fascinated with the discussion. Here are some thoughts from last night:
“Great talks and superb panel discussion. Thanks EFactor!” - Dave Doolin
“Good meeting. Great Q&A.” - Cameron Lorentz
“Great group of people and really wonderful, inspiring CEOs.” - Noemi Mones
“EFactor put on an awesome event. Inspiring to hear the stories of these CEOs that are making it happen.” - Eric Brownï»¿