How To Start A Project | Autodidacts

I may be biased 😉 but it seems to me this infographic is missing the ‘look around for reasonably priced domains that match our project idea and save ourselves a whole lot of time’ step.  Here’s a few other things to consider…  With a better domain, are you more likely to invest time into your project? (Your domain should inspire you and give you confidence to talk about your project!) If you invest in a domain, you have skin in the game and what better nudge to ‘get it done’ than cash out of pocket? Apart from whether or not you build your project, will the domain you’ve invested in become an asset you could resell, that could even increase in value? Does a great domain make your project easier to sell later if you decide to move on?

Early in your project’s life, your domain is the clearest signal of how clever you are as an entrepreneur.

From Autodidacts.io (Well, of course, great content can help… at least in the short run.)

domainnoob-how-to-start-a-project

Brandable Domain Names – There’s A Domain For That!

For more information or to make an offer please email me.  More great names here!
(Where a Twitter handle is mentioned, I’m happy to transfer it to you for free at the conclusion of a domain sale.)
Contact form, or email me…

FixIt.Tv
FixIt.Tv @FixItTv
GroopReads.com
Read it together! GroupReads.com @GroupReads

 

Swipd.com
I ‘Swipd’ it! Swipd.com @Swipd

yowio
Yowio.com @Yowio

SolarPowder
SolarPowder.com @SolarPowderCom

osoyo
Osoyo.com @OsoyoCom

iuzit
Do you use it? iuzit.com @iuzit

Killer Web App
KillerWebApp.com @KillerWebApp

WeedApp
Rentome.com

NFC Coupons
NFCcoupons.com @NFCcoupons
Stokt
Five letters, 14 years old, exact-match Twitter. Stokt.com I’m @stokt

 

 

Lucid Streaming
LucidStreaming.com @LucidStreaming

appanese
Is your startup a Japan related app? @appanese

iSpyTv
iSpy.Tv @iSpy_Tv

NFC Systems
Nice, corporate-quality near field communication domain. @NFCSystems

appets
Oh, like an app for pets? appets.com @appets

heyto.com
Send them a HeyTo! @HeyToCom $4000

OneTapp
Mobile sharing app? OneTapp.com @OneTapp

Typly
Type? Fonts? Typly.com @Typly

louzy.com
Louzy.com How was the service? @LouzyCom $2800

yayno.com
Yayno.com Yay, or no? Something to do with making a choice. @YAYNO

affly.com
Affly.com Affiliate related company? @AfflyCom

ichrg
Charging station startup? iChrg.com @iChrgCom

Filterly
Filterly.com Aggregating and filtering?

Bendr
Social bar-hopping app? Bar-hopping limousine service? A band?

Givly
Giving it away? @GivlyCom

TDrop
@_TDrop

Burnly.com
Calories? Burning Man? Burnly.com @BurnlyCom

Share My Bike
Also ShareMyBicycle.com @ShareMyBike

Hapium
Did your company discover Hapium? @Hapium

HugTo
Down and out? Send them a HugTo! @HugToCom $1200

CodeFounder.com
Building an SaaS that matches coders and founders? CodeFounder.com @Code_Founder

Most of these domains are priced low to mid 4 figures.
Need a domain to run a market test? I’ll point the DNS to your test if you’ll share the data.
Are these domains an appropriate quality/price point, but not in your vertical? I can find you a domain.
Lots more elsewhere in the blog or email me!

FixIt.Tv Swipd.com iuzit.com KillerWebApp.com WeedApp.com Burnly.com NFCCoupons.com Stokt.com HugTo.com LucidStreaming.com Appanese.com NFCSystems.com Appets.com HeyTo.com OneTapp.com Typly.com Louzy.com Yayno.com Affly.com iChrg.com Filterly.com Bendr.com Givly.com Fukrz.com ShareMyBike.com Hapium.com LePetitOiseau.com  GetLA.com CodeFounder.com iSpy.Tv GroupReads.com

Re-Branding Walk-Through, Sean Harper of FeeFighters Mixergy Interview

I love Mixergy and Andrew Warner’s interviews. Over the last few years I’ve listened to Andrew interview hundreds of startup entrepreneurs. I’m sharing this particular interview because it’s covers my favorite territory – domains and naming your company. You can find this interview, a transcript, and an audio version at Mixergy.

Sean Harper kept hearing that people didn’t like his company name, which at the time was TransFS.com. They’re a credit card processing price/feature comparison engine that helps you get the best deal for your merchant services. Somewhere around the time Sean heard his father mispronounce the company name, Sean and crew decided to go ahead and begin the painful process of renaming.
If you want to cut directly to the discussion of finding a name and then acquiring the domain, that starts around the 11 min mark. By the 24 min. mark, Sean has acquired the domains and then begins discussing implementing the changeover.

These are my notes. The process Sean describes is helping me formulate a process for an idea I’m working on called CrowdNamer.

FeeFighters.com is a service that helps it’s customers, usually merchants, optimize their credit card processing costs.
Formerly TransFS –Transparent Financial Services
Understanding we had a problem with the name.
They would say things like “How do you spell your name again? What’s your domain name?” Or, “I mentioned you to one of my friends.”
Started keeping track of how often the difficulties around their name came up.
Sean’s father mispronounced the old name.
It was more than a quarter of our customers that were having confusion with our name, when we looked at the data.
“Basically the methodology we followed was one of coming up with lots and lots of ideas and then filtering those ideas according to a methodology. The one we used the most is this methodology called Igor  I-G-O-R, which is a methodology for branding and scoring each name and then keeping a list of the ones that scored the highest.
http://www.igorinternational.com/
Free naming guide:
http://www.igorinternational.com/process/naming-guide-product-company-names.php
I called them Vectors -for naming.
Two word name. One describes, the other more emotional.
A lot of time with the dictionary. Bugged our friends, a lot.
Name brain storm.
Crossword dictionary- synonyms, by number of letters
Paper on the wall, writing all over them, hundreds of names.
Narrowed down in batches.
Ranked them by IGOR
Factors: Memorable, easy to spell, emotional, how close to your value proposition, how descriptive
8 variables.
Y axis all the names they’d thought of
X axis all the criteria
Rank them in a Google spreadsheet, independently of each other
Trying to add an objective framework on top of something fundamentally subjective
Personally loved CostHammer but the rest of the team didn’t like it.
Very exhausting. After a week. All start to sound the same.
Whittled it down to about a dozen names.
Used Survey Monkey to get opinions from friends, advisors etc. using same framework they’d used themselves.
Had people rate 12-15 names by survey with a small section for opinion
Tabulated the numbers.
Scores made clear: best, medium, dogs
Wanted a .com with no hyphen
Weren’t going to pay more than $10k
Some of the names were being used legitimately, some they couldn’t reach the owner,
some owners wanted too much.
Contacting and pricing domains very time consuming, lots of back and forth.
Needed to buy Feefighter.com and Feefighters.com Different owners, took days to contact each.
Ended up paying about $8k total for both names. ($4500 +$3500)
Were very happy (with the price) thought they’d have to go higher.
Had a few names they could have lived with. But going into it, everyone liked FeeFighters.
Had already thought through the whole branding, imaging, process for the top few names.
Sean then goes into details about getting the word out, switching the domain over etc. etc.
Thank you Sean and Andrew for sharing such excellent information.

Memory Helmet MemoryHelmet.com

There is a permanent record of the stream of consciousness within the brain. …hidden in the interpretive areas of the temporal lobes, there a key mechanism that unlocks the past… (Penfield, PNAS, 1958)

[Update 7/14 Wow! DARPA just funded, to the tune of $37 million, two research teams to explore how memories are stored and formed. Both teams will use implanted electrical devices to measure and record brain function around memory.]

[Update 10/13 We’re getting closer! Check out this article about DARPA funding transcranial ultrasound stimulation which can access and modulate deep into the brains accessing targets to a finely focused degree.]

Now hear me out… and check out the video below the photo. When I was a kid I saw a documentary on Dr. Wilder Penfield, a Canadian neurosurgeon and a pioneer of surgical techniques especially related to epilepsy. In the documentary, Dr. Penfield had a patient lying on her side, conscious, while her brain was exposed. He applied a very small electrical current using a two-pronged probe to the surface of her brain, and the patient instantly had the memory of sitting by the fireplace around the Christmas tree as a young girl. She described the room in detail. She recalled the conversation. Wow! I thought. Someday we’ll be able to put a helmet on our head and navigate our memories with a joy stick.

I’m a little disappointed they’re not here yet 😉 but am encouraged by all the interesting advances in brain science. They say about our experience that it’s all still in there. Let’s hope the memory helmets aren’t too far off.  (PS I think this is a great band name as well.)

Memory Helmet
Photo CC BY-NC-ND 2.0 by Clarksworth

P2PCar.com MowFo.com

I look at a lot of names, usually around ideas of my own, but often around a trend that’s breaking. Here’s a couple of names I found irresistible today. ‘Collaborative consumption’ is a buzz word around the phenomenon of sharing things rather than owning them outright. It’s estimated, for example, that the average electric drill will see a total of 12 minutes use in its lifetime. “What you really need is the hole, not the drill.” (Rachel Botsman, Collaborative Consumption at TED) People are starting to figure out how to share locally. Cars, for instance, sitting in garages while you’re at work, or in the driveway when you’re home for the weekend have become a target for peer to peer sharing. It’s kind of obvious the minute you think of it. There seems to be quite a lot of activity in the startup community around sharing cars. I was surprised to find that my first choice for a name, P2PCar.com, was available. I hope that, as new companies come into the space, one will be happy to find that a great name is available for a reasonable price.

p2pCar.jpg

As for MowFo? I saw that it dropped recently. I put it in my interesting list. And then I tried to forget about it. But I couldn’t. I just kept picturing a gardening truck driving by me with MowFo.com on the side. Or wouldn’t it be a great name for a grass cutting Roomba?


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Creative Commons License  credit: hagwall

We Will Watch You – WeWillWatchYou.com

We Will Watch You

Update 8/18/11 Probably Turntable.fm inspired, but here come a lot of rooms to hang out in. watch and comment on, videos. In Beta, these guys have a great domain http://chill.com.

This dovetails nicely into the previous post about CrowdNamer because it too involves a crowd.  Before there was Groupon there was ThePoint. Andrew set it up so that people could build critical mass around an action before the action executed. So, for instance, if you were going to protest something, but didn’t want to risk a lame turnout, you could post the campaign to ThePoint.com (still can) and only after reaching a critical mass of supporters would an action trigger. I’m also thinking of Kickstarter, especially that aspect of it that requires a target dollar amount to be achieved before any of the contributions change hands.

If you’ve ever made a short film, music video, or video ad for that matter, then you know how difficult it is to get an audience together to watch your work. Submitting to film festivals etc etc… Or sometimes you want early stage feedback to help you shape your story. Or you might have a fork in the road and want some audience to help determine which way to turn.

Introducing WeWillWatchYou (this one has an audio logo as well, it’s a drum beat, can you hear it?) Post a project. Collect committers until you reach your goal, and then- we watch online, together, and talk about it in a live chat!  Data! Fans even.

Since I’ve discovered Convore.com I can safely say that the chat part of the equation is done. The video can be posted on YouTube, even privately.  So all I really need is a front end where film makers and video artists can login and post projects. And watchers can create an account and commit to watching projects. Doesn’t sound too difficult but it is beyond my coding chops. If you know of an off the shelf CMS that could do it, easily, let me know. I don’t see a business model yet, but hey, it’s 2011!

Are you my CTO?

CrowdNamer.com, or is it CrowdName… CrowdNaming?

[Update 12/10/14 Just heard about someone who’s doing this. Wonder how much better they’d do with a great name of their own? Dockname.com ]

[Update. This is ready to test NOW. If you are looking for a name for your startup (or a better name) I will hand pick a posse of knowledgeable domain and branding professionals, and in a private, invite only chatroom, we will post our finds and suggestions. You only need to feel comfortable explaining clearly what you’re looking for in a name.]

Probably the main motivation for getting into domain names, at the time (about 3 years ago), was to scratch up some extra cash in order to self-fund a startup. I’d just sold one of the 4 domains I owned for more than I earn in a couple of months at work. “Really, could it be this easy?” Well, it’s not. Or hasn’t been. I used that money to buy a couple of hundred domains. Most of them were bad choices- experiments around keywords where there might be traffic (but not cybersquatting). I was trying to think outside the box, and indeed that’s about all there is left to think about when it comes to domains, as I’m sure most of you know.

Anyhow… Tough to start something without any capital, especially when you’re not a developer. But one of the great things about domains is how they can ‘lock in’ an idea. It’s not just an idea if you have the domain name as well!

CrowdNamer.com, CrowdNamers, or is it CrowdName.com. CrowdNaming.com? (Either way I’ve got it covered but I think CrowdNamer is the one). The idea starts out pretty straight forwardly. Get feedback from the crowd on choosing a name for your business. Let the wisdom of crowds help you name your company and find a domain for it. Along the way domainers might suggest one of their names, with a price. The crowd might help you find out who owns that Twitter handle someone is sitting on. They might help determine a fair price for a domain.

I’d really appreciate any feedback you have about the idea. Which of the three domains do you think makes a better brand? What do you think the minimum viable product that would provide enough real value to get started might be? Do you think reputation in a community would be enough to drive participation? Do you think a business model could be built around taking a small percentage of sales between domain sellers and buyers?

Are you my CTO?

crowdNaming.jpgCrowd NamerCrowd Name

Crowd Namers

 

Is $2000 Too Much To Pay For A Great Startup Domain?

As an example to startups especially, I wanted to highlight this recent auction as an example of the kinds of domains that can be acquired for reasonable prices. If you’re getting ready to launch and are facing the difficult task of finding the right name consider enlisting my help. I know where and how to look for great names at reasonable prices.

I recently participated in a domain auction for the domain Penance.com. I actually have content that matches the domain perfectly. Previously I’ve hosted it on other URLs but I’ve been keeping my eye open for a better one. For my purposes you couldn’t have a better url than Penance.com, and with a ‘category killer’ domain like that it would be much easier to roll out more content in the event the idea started to get traction. But besides my (fun and basically no-profit) idea, Penance.com could make a great domain for all sorts of things (perfume, fashion, feature film title, etc. etc.) so, in my opinion, it would be a smart buy even as an investment- depending on the price.

I hopped in the auction, which was at Sedo. The domain was part of a collection being offered by a single domainer and all the domains were no or low reserve (meaning the owner was prepared to let them go for whatever the market priced them at).

Here’s what happened…

penance-Auction

Penance.com went for $2075, in my opinion a great price. A little over my head but a great deal for the new owner.
If you’re a developer I’m sure you see some obvious and interesting potential for the HockeyScore.com names.
Doodling.com strikes me as a good (not great) branding opportunity for an art related site or blog.
The point is, there are great domains out there for reasonable prices. If you could use a little help finding them, drop me a line.

Normalizr Normalizr.com Making Podcasts Sound Good

How obvious is this? Maybe it’s out there already? Adding it to my bright ideas with a domain name and a Twitter handle list.  A cloud based, enterprise level, podcast audio and video normalization and enhancement service.

  • Optimize your audio or the audio of your video file for volume and balance, i.e. all voices in discussion are at the same volume level.
  • Optimize your video file for brightness and remove excess camera jitters.

Not rocket science. Scoop up the podcast RSS feed, make it really nice to listen to and watch and re post it to RSS. I think clever programmers could automate this. Hey, are you a clever programmer? This project needs co-founders.

Normalizr