Archive for the ‘business’ Category

The 2011/12 Genesis Enterprise Programme

Sunday, March 13th, 2011

Been asked to blog about this and get word out to (mostly) Cork based folks.

The Genesis Enterprise Programme based on the CIT Campus is recruiting for new participants this year. The programme is well-established and is a nice way to drive you from a very new and innocent business to a professional one.


So what’s it all about? Genesis is a 12-month, full time, rapid incubation programme that provides a comprehensive range of supports to innovative start-ups to help them establish their business successfully in a planned and focused environment.

Some alumni of Genesis: Abtran, Crest Solutions, Cully & Sully, Comnitel/IBM, Eolas International, Ferfics, Radisen Diagnostics.

Consider applying.

And what they offer:

  • Management Development Training in strategy, finance, marketing, sales etc
  • An environment with other entrepreneurs at early stages of business development
  • Business address and office facilities
  • Experienced business mentor for each participant
  • Opportunity to access the staff and facilities of the Programme Partners
  • Access to CORD Funding, subject to Enterprise Ireland approval
  • Information on other sources of funding

Buying fans – How it’s done so simply

Thursday, February 10th, 2011

There’s been a rush of late for agencies and marketing people embedded in companies to get higher numbers on their Facebook Pages to justify their time/money spent being all amazing social media ninja-y for clients.

As long as systems are in place that reward people for numbers, gaming will happen. If you just look at numbers only as a company, you will get gamed by some agencies. It’s actually easy for a business or a model to get 100,000 fans on Facebook very quickly. Or 30,000 Twitter followers. Or even more traffic to your client’s website after you “worked” on it.

Amazon’s Mechanical Turk is a computer to human being interface. You write a mini-program and it gets executed by human beings for a few pennies a go. The example of the 10,000 sheep a few years ago is great. In World of Worldcraft and other games you can hire people in net cafes in the developing world to gold farm for you: Play the game for hundreds of hours to build up you points in the game so you don’t have to.

And so now we have the same for Facebook Fans, Twitter followers and so on. There are probably 1000s or 10s of 1000s of people in developing countries sitting in net cafes who are paid to create GMail acccounts, Facebook accounts and Twitter accounts and then are tasked to Fan or Follow accounts. Automated scripts can create traffic surges to sites or manual refreshes are done. All in the name of numbers. The same people who run dump and run spam campaigns are also hiring out their Fan services.

It makes sense (if you are morally compromised), sad sense that agencies in Ireland are boosting their own numbers in order to tell prospective clients that they will use their huge followings to get them traffic and fans too. The trouble is as Facebook does their purges, all those zombie accounts are killed off and off you go and start again.

How to spot bullshit:
Look at the Facebook Page without logging into Facebook. Is the Irish or UK company big in Malaysia and India? Look at the comments left on the Page, if any.
Look at the Twitter account. Same number of followers and following? 40,000 of both. Software is used to follow any account that auto-follows back. Zombie Twitter accounts. Check their type links. Generally they get about 14 clicks, bit lame for 30,000 “followers”

I’m not pointing out the services but there are a lot out there where you too can avail. But hurry, the gaming has already moved on to Quora.

Forget about numbers
No, really. Get real people. That should be the endgame. Find genuine fans, be genuine with them. That spreads faster than fakery.

Social Media Cushions

Tuesday, January 18th, 2011

Saw some of these on Etsy a while back. Found a local Irish maker of them: Heli Designs. Heli will happily make them for you too I should think. Yes, logos for Irish sites can be done/are on the way.
Social Media Icons/logos Cushions

#mulleybucks discounts

Wednesday, January 5th, 2011

A few weeks ago, after getting the comic book commissioned and printed, I asked Tommie Kelly to design some Christmas cards for me. Then I wondered what should go in them. Ah yes, money.

So this is how the Christmas card looks. With an IP infringement nod to Bóthar.


And then I decided to get money printed. #mulleybucks to be precise. Here they are.

I sent the money out to a lot more people than the Christmas cards. Over 100 people got them I believe. But the money was created for another reason too. Ideally I wanted to see these Mulleybucks used to be able to cash them in on products and services that I offered as well as from a few other people too. So with that in mind, here are some discounts from myself and other people. A few more too are on the way:

#mulleybucks discounts

Mulley Communications: I’ll give you 50 euros off my Cork or Dublin Social Media Evening Courses if you present one of the #mulleybucks to me.

Caricatures Ireland: Will give you 20% discount for $50 Mulleybucks

Sweet Dreams Ireland: 10% off their products if you present $50 Mulleybucks

Project Arts Centre: 2 for the price of 1 tickets to see any performance of Celebrity from 11 – 15 January. Regular tickets are €15. Quote mulleybucks to get the offer when booking on 01 8819 613. Bring them along on the night too 🙂

As I mentioned, more discounts from other companies are on the way.

Update on 07/01/11
Blacknight are offering you:
.ie domain name €14.99 / year 1-10 years and transfers
.eu domain €3.99
Minimus annual discount by 20% (or something “round”)
Expiry: December 31 2011
Code for buying online: Go find it. Last 5 digits on back of note
(Do post them a #Mulleybucks note too!) will offer a 10% discount off their advertising rate card in exchange for 50 #MulleyBucks.

Jo Burger Would like to give you two burgers & a portion of bush fries for 20 euros which is a 30% discount. will give you 50 euros off designing a Facebook Landing Page for you.

Imogen Bertin is offering lots of free time for you:
Lifehacking: 30 mins one-to-one advice/training on sorting out your computer/smartphone to free up time in your life for stuff you want to do…

Gardening: One hour’s free help which can be advice, design, or clearup after the winter weather. RHS qualified.

Horses: One hour’s free help for the stuff you never get to. Fencing, tack cleaning, clearouts. BHS qualified, Teagasc Young Horse handling cert.

Italian Foodies are offering 10% off when you produce a #mulleybucks note.

Costelloe’s Malthouse in Clonakilty are offering 10% off when you produce a #mulleybucks note.

Red Balloon Main St Ballincollig gives 15% discount with #mulleybucks. Gifts, balloons & more.

Spiral Hosting have the following deals:
25% off any shared hosting or reseller hosting package (includes free domain name on yearly packages) Use code: bucks1 domains €3.50/yr Use code: bucks2
.mobi domains €3.50/yr (until 31st March) Use code: bucks3

Glucksman Gallery will offer 10% off in their shop if you present some #mulleybucks

$50 real money discount on a yearly Toddle Email templates subscription if you hand them over #mulleybucks.

The connected self

Tuesday, January 4th, 2011

I normally do one of these Ones to watch each year that goes live a few seconds after midnight on New Years day. Like the linked post. 2010 was quite a busy year for me getting the company going and doing a hell of a lot of travel. 2011 will be the same, I’d expect. It resulted in me having less time to get to know others and what they’re up to. So the ones to watch 2011 post is not as researched as I’d like it to be. Still, I met a lot of new and existing people that were interesting and doing new things in 2010 and I am quite positive about 2011 and the next few years.

Patrick Freyne interviewed me a while back asking me about the idea of an Irish Silicon Valley and whether Irish web startups were at last getting suited and booted and ready to take on the world. It made me think and evaluate things. I recently wrote about the failure mentality in Ireland and this being chipped away is probably helping people too.

Since the days of Paddy’s Valley (Sequel in pre-production hell?), we’ve had plenty of Barcamps, Web Summits, Founders, Web Awards, Bizcamps (mmm coachtastic), Open Coffees, 091 labs and more. All events where people mix and share and build networks. This takes time too. That culture of meeting up with those with the same interests always happened but with the Internet and networks like Twitter you can each out to way more people and then gather them together. Physically or not. As I’ve said probably too much, James Burke and very recently Steven Johnson both talk about cross-pollination of ideas needing to happen for new inventions/technologies to occur.

In Silicon Valley it really does seem like everyone knows everybody else. There are lots of events, lots of startups and lots of starting again. Introductions fly all over the place too. There are plenty of people that have worked with each other before and will work with each other again. Now in Ireland we are seeing the same with companies doing side projects with others, talents are being mixed with some people with experience and some tech geniuses doing something they love for the first time.

Ireland still isn’t as networked as we could be but we’re certainly getting up to speed quite quickly. The average Irish person on Facebook having 160 connections is an example. This recession also gives us many opportunities we didn’t have before: Cheaper labour, companies willing to experiment more, landlords practically giving away office space and even redundancy money waiting to be used on that passion project you couldn’t do when writing java code for AIB. We shouldn’t forget to get out of our small pond too and meet people in London, Boston and Silicon Valley from time to time and bring back and share what we’ve learned.

So 2011, we’re the ones to watch. Let’s get more connected. High five or some shit.

Ones to watch in 2011

Saturday, January 1st, 2011

The list for 2010. Nice list of people that did well there. .

I actually wasn’t going to do this post at all since I haven’t had much time in 2010 to meet and greet and then stand back and evaluate trends and topics and have a look at the potentials. However people read these posts so I’ll do a mini sized one instead.

Stephen O’Leary
Stephen O’Leary in O’Leary Analytics. Media/social media monitoring and data magicking is what they do. Started his own company and is now up and running and doing well, getting his name out there, networking, getting to know people, sharing his insights for free and learning as he goes. 2011 will be big for people that can measure stuff that happens online and especially in social media.

Brian Greene
Brian I know for years via the Blog Awards, Web Awards and Twitter. An election in 2011 means Brian will, unlike so many of us blowhards, put his name down to ask the people for their vote. And possibly an actual honest politician in his area too.

Lisa Domican
One of life’s golden rules is “Don’t fuck with a mom” and Lisa Domican is typical of so many others out there who ignore what everyone says and goes off and gets what she needs for her kids. So off she goes and gets an iPhone app made for people with autism. Find the person to do it, gets it made, works like mad to get attention for it and still doesn’t stop. The Grace App won at the Web Awards and she made her thanks, then hunted anyone down that had a lanyard that evening so they could be used with iPhone holders. As you do. Just wait for her pitch in the comments here as well! The Grace App is gaining momentum so good luck to Lisa.

Pat O’Mahony
That guy that did that fashion yoke on the telly. That’s how someone addressed a letter to him before. Pat’s stuck me on the television twice now with his year in review show. He’s the producer, dontchaknow. The reason for being on this list though is that firstly Pat knows everyone. No really. I met Pat for a coffee before and he knew 6 different people in the space of a few minutes. A very well connected and pleasant person to know. On top of that he’s an intense worker. Lots of ideas always on the go, always chasing down need leads and potential features. Lots of plates deftly spinning. As he builds back up his local network, 2011 will be a good year for him I should think.

Eoin Purcell
Eoin worked for a publisher previously and now works via his company Greenlamp Media as a consultant. Eoin’s personal blog, work blog and Twitter accounts are great to find out what is happening in publishing in Ireland and abroad. With Kindles and iPads, digital books, ePublishing or whatever you’re calling it, 2011 is going to be a very very interesting year and Eoin is there as a veteran of traditional publishing and someone who consumes online media, he hopefully has a chance to show authors and publishers a better path than the “follow the exact same path as the music industry” path some have chosen up to now.

Suzy Byrne and Alexia Golez – Electionauts
The upcoming election, mentioned above is going to define Ireland for a very long time. Like the present government has done by leaving the country and people with scars on out international standing for generations, this election and what happens as a result of it could worsen things or clear out the rot. During the electioneering, the hype, the car crash youtubes and the highs and lows at the count centres will be many politicos and anoraks but the two I’ll be watching will be Suzy Byrne and Alexia Golez. Suzy the consummate finder of gaffs and weird singing lawyer songs and Alexia doorstepping everyone including Lord Garreth Fitzgerald. There, token women section is now done.

Margaret Smith
Hang on, I thought I reached the women quota already? Margaret Smith is a cook and blogger in Ireland. I’ve met her a whole twice but would interact with her on Twitter a good bit. She’s come up with a tonne of different ways for her to teach you, your partner, kids etc how to cook as well as doing catering for your events. What I admire is that she’s working and networking like mad the past year to build her name and as a result get trade. Twitter, blog and Facebook within the year. 2011 is going to be fun for Margaret.

Fail fast, fail cheap, fail smrt

Monday, December 27th, 2010

Failure is an option that is finally getting explored in Ireland. It’s now starting to trickle through that trying something and failing is not the sin it once was. Many have been saying for years how in Silicon Valley people are trusted almost more if they have previously done something and failed. It’s not the failure per se but it’s the experience gained from work and being at the coal face. In Silicon Valley it’s “hard luck, what are you doing next?”. In Ireland it’s been a case of “Oh that guy failed, should you really do business with him?” It still exists too. Lots of companies merged or were acquired in recent years to save face.

There’s a definite culture thing at play here. Good old Catholic guilt probably contributes to this. Communities via the pulpit have always been encouraged to knock anyone that rises about their “station”. Possibly tied to that is the excuse about bankruptcy laws in Ireland. I’m not convinced strict bankruptcy laws are holding people back.

If struck off it’s hard to start new business yet there are plenty who never go as far as being struck off. Plenty of people have risen above being struck off and have done well for themselves. If bankruptcy laws are holding you back are you not creative enough or are you too risk averse?

It seems like years ago but at a conference in March Dylan Collins amongst others talked about embracing failures and mistakes and learning from them. “We have to be proud of our mistakes – It’s how we learn.”

Any fans of James Burke and his Connections programmes will know of the way discoveries throughout history were more to do with lots of trials and their errors moreso than eureka moments. A “good” failure allows the lessons learned to be applied elsewhere and lots of these combined becomes a new discovery.

Just like the scammers swarmed into seo and social media though, now I wonder will the acceptance of failure see the spirit of it twisted to: hard luck, what grant are you going to try and nobble next?

Failure when you and others/the collective learns is important. Selfish failure does not help anyone, it encourages skewing of data, hiding results and outright lying. Going back to companies merging, many that invest in companies including organisations like Enterprise Ireland and VCs have plenty of companies on their books that are probably already dead but to save face, are not publicly wound down.

I do wonder has this culture of fear of failure not only slowed our progress and experimenting but also created an even worse scenario where you can have worse failures because of the level of secrecy that happens. And what of all the things learned in them. A secret failure means others will have to trudge through the same stuff too. Can we have a Wikileaks for this stuff?

Cheers Homer.

Full day on social media in Limerick on October 14th

Friday, October 8th, 2010

€40 for Limerick City Enterprise Board members. €150 for everyone else. You can book it here.

Limerick City Enterprise Board asked me to give you a heads up on the above course that’s on next week. As a member you get the course at a massive discount. Check out the other courses (not done by me) on SEO and LinkedIn too which also come with a big discount.

Mulley in Donegal next week

Friday, October 1st, 2010

Mediabox have booked me to do a “social media” seminar in Donegal on Thursday. And it’ll be with a castle in the backdrop. Glenveagh National Park’s Visitor Centre is where it takes places. Well done to Joanne and crew for putting together the seminar and charging people sfa for it too. Seminar and lunch is €65 and a tour of the castle.

And of course I’ll have to try the food at Harry’s.

Social Media: Facebook and Weddings

Monday, September 20th, 2010

I’m loving how some businesses are using different aspects of Facebook to get business. I asked some companies that work in the Wedding Industry to explain how they use Facebook for business, two good examples here:

Allan Cavanagh from Caricatures Ireland

Allan Cavanagh Weddings

I’ve used Facebook to advertise my business, Caricatures Ireland, since 2008. In that time my combined ads have been viewed five and a half million times, and have received 5,000 clicks. The numbers are staggering for the relatively small spend I’ve invested in that time, and while I’m simply too busy to track exact conversions (enquiries converting to bookings) the fact that I am so busy is probably indicative of a decent percentage.

If you have a niche business like mine, the ability to tailor your ads to a specific demographic gives Facebook an enormous edge over Google Adwords. In short, my Facebook ad will only display for Facebook members who’ve indicated they’re engaged in their personal details. Compare that to Google Adwords, where your ad displays to anyone searching for keywords: a potential waste of money. A Facebook ad is reaching a motivated target market exclusively.

I’ve picked up a few tricks for maximising ROI on my ad too. For instance, there’s no need to have your campaign running indefinitely. I run my ad in bursts, spaced 4-6 months apart, and usually no longer than a week. Your ad will probably be seen by everyone that’s interested in that space of time, so you need to allow a few months go by for numbers of the newly engaged to build up again.

Allan Cavanagh Weddings

You’ll need to play around with your spend as well. FB will suggest a cost per click, but you should start lower than this and increase it until you notice an increase in enquiries. You can pay per impression or per click, but if you’re a small business you want to drive traffic instead of exposing a brand name, so pay per click. Your maximum spend is something you’ll need to play around with, but I think a trickle is better than a deluge: if your budget is €500, put a max spend of €10-€20 per day so your budget isn’t sucked up too quickly.

Good copy will get a potential customer to click through to your site. A good, illustrative image will draw a potential customer’s eye. Your landing page is your shop window, and all the info a customer needs should be present on that one page, including how to contact you. A separate landing page for your Facebook campaign
will help you keep track of how your ad is going. Facebook is rapidly outgrowing its role as a website: it is becoming more of a presence than a place, as the new “Like” button spreads throughout the web. Think about setting up a Fan Page, and incorporating the “Like” button on your blog.

If Google’s catchphrase is “Don’t Be Evil”, Facebook’s unwritten one is “Be Lucrative”, so get on it.

Allan Cavanagh is on Twitter here and Facebook here.

Claire from Facebook

The main reason we wanted to create a Facebook welcome page was to increase the number of fans (“Likes”) that our business page was achieving on a weekly basis. We wanted to create something reasonably eye-catching and that would have an obvious call to action feature – i.e. the big arrow that encourages users to like our page. At the same time, we also wanted to give a little bit of information about what is all about i.e. our friendly discussion forum, our supplier directory, our wedding checklists and wedding advice articles. We also included this message in text format underneath the graphic so that it would be indexed by Google. Facebook

After setting the welcome page to become the default landing page for new visitors, we could see very quickly that it was working for us. Within 10 days or so, our fans increased from 500 to 1,000. This has levelled off now, but we’re still attracting a decent number of new fans on a weekly basis.

Like the mrs2be Facebook Page or follow them on Twitter.