Home » Posts tagged "startups" (Page 2)

Image credit: 99designs.com

Image credit: 99designs.com

In my previous role at Spoonfed Media Ltd, I undertook a project to migrate the team one CRM to another, administer the system and train the team on the new system. I learned a ton about how the right or wrong CRM can make a big difference in a small company and wanted to share a couple of comments.

Our team made the decision to migrate from Zoho CRM to Salesforce for three primary reasons. Important metrics were inaccessible to key decision makers, our talented top-performers were doing repetitive tasks and we were missing out on sales opportunities because customers did not get responses quickly enough.

In a small company, there may not be a specialized data analysis team so the CRM needs to make it easy and quick to view key metrics. Fewer people means that the more automated processes, the better, otherwise top staff might end up doing data entry or data cleansing. Finally, limited man hours in the day means that without powerful tools in the CRM to either auto-respond to customers, auto-assign leads or quickly qualify sales opportunities will mean missed sales opportunities or time spent on the wrong opportunities.

The impact of switching to Salesforce was dramatic. Reporting tools allowed us to determine critical metrics including total revenue, customer lifetime value and churn rate, making us more efficient in our spending. Talented recruits who previously focused on data maintenance spent more time analysis, a more satisfying and productive role. And automated processes improved our response time for new prospects from days to minutes, significantly increasing the likelihood of a sale.

For your small business, consider the following when deciding on a CRM:
– How accessible is your data
– How robust are the data management tools, and can they reduce man-hours spent in the system
– Can marketing be automated to improve response times and sales

If your CRM isn’t checking out against those three points, it might be time to consider a switch.

In news that has come as a shock to Instagram’s millions of users, the photo sharing service has announced changes to their terms that will allow parent company Facebook to sell user’s photographs to any other company – without compensating or notifying users. Want to opt out? Too bad – if you don’t delete your account by 16 January you have by default agreed to their new terms.

This decision will certainly cause many users to rethink their Instagram usage. But with the world’s largest photo sharing app looking a bit less appealing, where are users to go to satisfy their photo sharing needs? We look at the top photo sharing services for different types of users.

For parents and families

The Instagram news is especially horrifying to parents, who may have posted hundreds of photos of their children to the site. The idea of seeing your child’s face advertising a product you don’t endorse, after Facebook sells your Instagram photo to another company, is the stuff of nightmares. So where do families concerned about privacy go? To 23snaps, a mobile and web app that allows parents to save children’s photos, videos and updates and share them with family and close friends.

Like Instagram there’s a photo timeline and a news feed of the photos of everyone you’re connected to, but there’s no public feed, photos are only visible to the select group you authorize and collections, partner accounts and child profiles are unique features that make 23snaps a compelling alternative for parents who want to look beyond Instagram.


For couples

Instagram allows users to set their accounts to ‘private,’ so that their photos are only visible to friends. With their new terms, this point becomes somewhat moot. So want to share a sexy snap with your partner? Pair is private networking for couples, letting you share photos, videos, updates and texts with one other person.

Pair offers more than just photos however, so in addition to images and videos, couples can play games together, draw pictures, even video chat. For those who use Instagram to have private, image-led conversations, Pair might be the perfect alternative.


For a community of photographers

Instagram attracted millions of users with their strong community of photographers, who discovered new content, and friends, through the public photo feed. For users who don’t want to give up the rights to their photos, but are happy to share their photos publicly with a community of likeminded users, EyeEm might be the solution.

EyeEm has your standard photo features, a news feed of your own photos and a public photo stream, but the service also offers up photos tailored to your interests and encourages a highly interactive community, even going so far as to help users organize local meetups. If privacy isn’t a concern, but owning your own photo content is, EyeEm might be the perfect Instagram replacement.


For photo filters and high quality pictures

One of the reasons Instagram became so popular was due to the huge array of photo filters, frames and editing options. Suddenly, with just a few taps, photos could be enhanced, blurred, resized or recolored for all sorts of cool effects. If you want to continue to dress up your photos, Camera+ is a perfect Instagram upgrade.

Lauded by photographers as being as close as you can get to an SLR with an iPhone camera, Camera+ not only offers great photo enhancement features, but also offers high quality zoom, improved flash and photo scene modes just like a digital camera. If Instagram was your go-to app for photo editing, once you switch to Camera+ you won’t look back.


Instagram is going to struggle under the backlash that will arise from their new terms, and in the end, they may find a way to appease their users. But this change just shows how dependent users are on finding the right service, one they trust to do the right thing by their photos and one that truly serves their needs as mobile photographers. Now is the time to explore Instagram alternatives, and 23snaps, Pair, EyeEm and Camera+ could easily be the next big things in photo sharing.

Are You a Techette?

I wanted to share a little project I’ve been working on for some time now. I’m excited to announce my brand new website Techettes – the tech savvy girl’s guide to what’s sweet on the web. Part Daily Candy, part TechCrunch, Techettes is meant to provide short and sweet reviews of great web sites and web tools, interviews and editorial about web technologies as well as the social networking tools for readers to save and share their favourite stories.

The idea for Techettes arose when I discovered that I really enjoyed reviewing my favourite up and coming websites and web 2.0 companies, as well as various other tech-related subjects here on The Top Floor Flat, but the posts didn’t really fit with the rest of my London and travel musings. I wanted a place where I could gossip about the tech news that interested me, and hope that some other women out there will be up for reading my ramblings.

This means that now, since I’m maintaining two editorial based websites (Top Floor Flat and Techettes) in addition to working full time at Spoonfed, the posts here may become slightly less frequent and (as you may have already noticed) a bit photo-heavy, at least while I’m sorting out a routine. That said, I have some very exciting ideas for The Top Floor Flat as well, especially as I no longer plan to work tech posts in with the rest of my writing here. I’ll be looking at a bit of a redesign of the main page and will start putting together sections for city and London travel guides based on the places I’ve already visited and the posts that are already here on the site. While I probably won’t be changing anything for a little while, I like the idea of making The Top Floor Flat solely about London life and travel while Techettes takes over on the tech side.

I’d really appreciate any feedback on the Techettes site – it’s still in its early stages and has some bugs to work out (please let me know if you find any weirdness!) but I’m quite excited to share my second internet home with all of my Top Floor Flat readers.

It’s the big day for Sonnet Models, a very clever Facebook application that I’ve been beta testing and incredibly impressed with. While they’ve been in a private beta for the last few months, they’ve finally launched to the world today at 11am GMT.

I’m generally very wary when it comes to anything related to modeling – not because it’s not an exciting, appealing and strangely fascinating industry but because I, like the majority of real women in the world, just don’t fit a stereotypical model profile.  Sonnet Models, however, seeks to match individual looks with the model agencies and clients who need them.

Here’s a bit more info about the company:

The ‘Sonnet Face of the World’ competition will allow any aspiring Kate Moss to be voted by the public into the attention of top modelling agencies around the world; Sonnet currently has partners in 33 locations. All finalists will secure contracts with leading agencies like Elite, Diva, Scene and Click. The winners will fly to one of the fashion capitals for a shoot with a top photographer to launch their modelling careers.

Although simple and intuitive, the application is also incredibly powerful. By gathering millions of consumer opinions from around the world, the patent-pending sorting algorithms will allow modelling agencies to instantly find the best models – even if they have to meet very specific criteria. For example, a scout from an LA-based agency may be looking for new face to meet a client’s request – a female who is at least 5’11”, aged 16-18, living in California and considered beautiful and elegant by men aged 25-35, living in New York, who are interested in technology and fashion. This may seem like an impossible task – but a simple search on Sonnet will locate the best candidates in seconds.

You can also find more about Sonnet Models here:

We know you think of yourself as a bit of Betty (and don’t be modest, we certainly don’t mean the Ugly one). But when it comes to getting the recognition you deserve, it can be tough. Fortunately new Cambridge, UK based startup Sonnet Models knows exactly how to catapult you to the front cover.

Read more about Sonnet Models from Sonnet Models on Techettes.

Knowing one of the guys behind the project and having seen it for myself, I’m quite excited to see where Sonnet Models can go, and the opportunities it can provide for men and women who might not otherwise have been able to break into the modelling industry.  It’s free, it’s fun and it’s a great application – check out the Sonnet Models Facebook application today!

DormWise Revisited

I’m going to indulge in a slight bit of bragging (as if that’s different than what I normally do here) for a moment in honour of a recent feature in my high school’s alumni publication.  In the most recent edition, the website I founded while at Colby, DormWise got it’s very own write up.  I couldn’t be more chuffed.

Castilleja's Around the Circle Magazine

Although the info is slightly outdated (I believe I originally got in touch at the end of my Junior year of college and since then have been quite busy with other projects and been unable to develop DormWise as much as I would have liked) it incredibly flattering to get the attention for my first big online project.