Online calendar start-up Kiko entered the TechCrunch Deadpool Wednesday.
Company members Justin Kan, co-founder and Richard White, User Interface Designer, have reflected on the plight of the start-up at their blogs, and at the eBay company sales profile (see Google Writely: Will competitors be wronged? )
Using their insights, I have created a handy:
“Eight sure ways to get in TechCrunch Deadpool” Cheat Sheet.
Below each “Do” and each “Don’t” item is a Kiko company or team member quote.
1) DO RELY ON BLOGOSPHERE ATTENTION
it didn't matter how many posts we got on TechCrunch, LifeHacker or Scoble; we would still be stuck in the same Technosphere
2) DON'T MAKE YOUR START-UP YOUR PRIORITY
As you might have noticed, we haven't been actively working on the site for a few weeks…We are selling Kiko because we want to have time to work on other projects as a development team. We had a project in mind we just didn't want to wait on :)
3) DON'T HAVE A BUSINESS MODEL
Where was the business model?
Everything was predicated on getting a critical mass of users. Without that there's no point in coming up with alternatives and if you do achieve it then you can monetize through the usual channels (ads and premium accounts). There's no sense going more into this aspect since I don't believe it had much to do with Kiko's demise.
4) DO RELY ON PAGERANK INSTEAD OF REVENUES
Kiko currently has no advertising revenue, but it has a pagerank of 7.
5) DON'T GROW USAGE OF YOUR SERVICE
Kiko traffic has been steady at around 40k visitors / month.
6) DON'T INVEST IN MAINSTREAM MARKETING
You can make a nice living just pimping your wares in the technosphere...but if you ever want to gain any real traction as an online calendar service you have to target the cubicle dwellers and their Outlook calendars that only exist outside the sphere. Techie users are fickle, transient and demanding. You can spend all of your time implementing ATOM feeds and hCalendar export and never be the better for it.
We didn't have a plan for how to go mainstream, which, in hindsight, was a prerequisite for our success. We would have needed capital to do old school PR, marketing and sales and develop a sync service for Outlook.
7) DO HAVE A NON-DIFFERENTIATED, EASILY REPLICABLE APLICATION
Did you see Google Calendar coming?
Yes. It had been in internal beta for over a year and not all the Googlers at the 'plex are good at keeping secrets. The launch that really surprised us was 30boxes...An AJAX calendar is not fundamentally a bad idea (I think we, google calendar, 30boxes, calendar hub, and many others prove that).
8) DO OPERATE WITH THE OBJECTIVE OF SELLING-OUT AS SOON AS POSSIBLE
we thought that the release of Google Calendar might be good because it would push one of the other big players into acquiring a calendar application to compete. 30boxes had stated that they didn't want to be bought out so, as the #3 player, things were looking hopeful. Things didn't pan out, but that's okay. None of us were ever had a Lexus on hold.