Category Archives: Market

FundRazr’s World First Debut With PayPal’s Technology of The Future

Almost our entire start-up team attended PayPal X Innovate conference last week.

It was a considerable cost to fly five of us there for three days but one we considered worthwhile.

It proved to be a very smart investment.

We were the first company in the world to go live with both new PayPal technologies integrated into FundRazr. We got to showcase this on stage as a PayPal partner three times over two days, to a crowded room of developers & press who were intrigued to see a real live example of the new technology in action.

So what does this mean for you, our customer?

This means you receive the benefits of these new technologies just by using FundRazr. Let us tell you how you benefit:

Adaptive Payments: This new API will allow us to make:

  • Split fees – allows us to take our commission, PayPal’s fees and pay you all in one transaction
  • Recurring fee and donation payments – automate fees you have to pay on a regular basis
  • Aggregated payments – you can pay multiple organizations from one payment

Adaptive Accounts: This new API allows you to quickly and easily set up a PayPal account, if you don’t already have one, when setting up your FundRazr organization. Creating an account now seamlessly integrates into the set up process.

FundRazr making headlines

Along with delivering great presentations on stage during the conference, Daryl managed to get interviewed by Mashable via Ustream TV. Both Daryl and I got video interviewed numerous times during the two days whilst at our FundRazr kiosk, catch a mention in this video below.

PayPal’s hard-working PR team meant we were featured on several major sites and even made the Wall Street Journal. That was totally exciting. We got featured on ReadWriteWeb and also connected with some excellent bloggers who will hopefully be featuring us over the next week.

It was fantastic coverage and exposure for us. We did demo after demo at our kiosk which was manic but really satisfying. The invaluable feedback we got from so many people has helped shape our thoughts on what capabilities and areas we can improve on next.

We totally believe in our FundRazr solution and that Social Commerce is the way of the future!

The amount of beta code requests we’ve been receiving means that you do too. Thanks and keep the feedback coming.

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Thunderbirds are going for launch

Courtesy of Nasa

Courtesy of Nasa

Software development is a fascinating realm, and I’m continually learning all the nuances involved in agile product development, iterations, technical specs and time to market.

I’ve read several blogs and been to some fascinating technology events where `crossing the chasm’ from early adopters has been discussed. It seems there are lessons to be learned everywhere and many of them the hard way.

This is particularly timely as we countdown to our beta launch in July. We’re all keen to get our application into the hand of real users for testing, feedback and improvements. Just to see how customers first react to FundRazr, their ease of navigation and flow through the steps and their user preferences will all be closely observed.

Reading one of my favourite blogs OnStartups I picked my fave favourite key points he had to make about launching:

1. Wimps wait.  Revolutionaries release early.

2. Don’t hug your software too hard.  If you love it, set it free.

3. You will more often regret when you were reluctant than when you released.

4. To succeed, you need to be remarkable.  To be remarkable, you actually have to release something.

5. No heroes and legends are created by software that almost shipped.

We’re totally driven right now and all working super hard to make this happen. We need to be given the competitiveness of this market and the rate at which technological improvements are being made.

Facebook redesign annoys users – so what

There is a media frenzy brewing over user backlash against the new Facebook design. Over the next few days and weeks I expect we’ll see lots of virtual ink spilled to breathlessly describe how this is a crisis for Facebook. After all, this is a HUGE rebellion of millions of users.

Or is it?

There are certainly lots of people making noise that they really, truly dislike the new design. Even Nick O’Neill, an ardent Facebook blogger (allfacebook.com) and supporter, is reporting on the issue in this post. Michael Arrington, influential blogger on TechCrunch, reports in his recent post that 94% of the people taking a poll on the redesign don’t like it.

facebook-redesign-poll-results

facebook-redesign-poll-results-2

However, even the single digit millions of people who are expressing their opinion constitute less than 3% of the Facebook user population (and I’m being generous in my calculation). That implies 97% of the user population either doesn’t care enough about the issue to express their opinion, or more likely, is neutral or perhaps even supportive of the change. People tend to complain loudly when they dislike something but are much less vocal when they approve.

On the whole, most people in the world in varying degrees hate change. It is a natural consequence that change, which makes us have to look at things we thought we knew with new eyes, disrupts our busy lives and costs us time. The new Facebook design is making people change the way they work with a tool that they know and LOVE. That is uncomfortable.

I like the new design because I can see how it does good things for me personally and for my business and my customers. Fortunately, we are starting to hear a few people talk about why they like the new design so I know I’m not alone.

Regardles of whether people like the changes happening now, the issue goes far beyond the simple concept of what Facebook looks like. It deeply impacts how Facebook will make money and thrive as a business. Facebook needs to make some money at some point or everything they’ve built will come tumbling down. Simple ad-supported models are struggling right now and Facebook’s is not dramatically out-performing others. The changes Facebook is implementing to support much richer conversations between people and business in the social graph will provide significant revenue opportunities.

Robert Scoble (prolific and respected blogger) posted an article today responding to the buzz in the industry that Mark Zuckerberg (Facebook’s CEO) has told his staff not to listen to their customers. Common wisdom says the “customer is always right” but, in this case, I agree with him that Facebook needs to stay the course and implement their vision. This will surely test Zuckerberg’s mettle and his diplomatic skills as he has to navigate through what might be some pretty choppy water.

It is somewhat ironic that the platform that Mark has created is giving his detractors an amazingly powerful pulpit to attack him from. I hope people will start to look beyond their petty grievances to see how these changes might be positive for them in the long term. I think he is on the right course and I hope he succeeds because his vision is making great things possible for our business and our customers.

Great article on Facebook “for adults”

Fortune magazine posted a new article on Facebook that has some fabulous facts and figures on the growth and appeal of Facebook to the more mature segments of the population i.e. NOT the school or college kids. Here is a little excerpt:

But these days the folks fervently updating their Facebook pages aren’t just tech-savvy kids: The college and post-college crowd the site originally aimed to serve (18- to 24-year-olds) now makes up less than a quarter of users. The newest members – the ones behind Facebook’s accelerating growth rate – are more, ahem, mature types like Lichtenstein (57), who never thought they’d have the time or inclination to overshare on the web. It’s just that Facebook has finally started to make their busy lives a little more productive – and a lot more fun.

Read the full article here.

When we started ConnectionPoint and the FundRazr project we anticpated that it would soon begin to appeal to our target demographic user (adults with kids). Frankly, while it is very exciting to see it actually happening, we have to admit that even WE are surprised it is happening so quickly. The growth in the platform is frankly astounding and yet continues to accelerate.

One of the best things about this growth is that not only are more people accessing Facebook all the time, these people are spending more and more time (169 minutes per month on average) on the site. The Fortune article discusses how our online lives are growing to resemble our offline lives in terms of the quality and quantity of our interactions. This point is key to our appeal to our customers; we will make our services available to them in the place where they want to “hang out” online. This convenience factor is a big competitive advantage for us and something we will promote strongly.

Tell us what you think of all this. Use the comments link below…

Facebook continues its stellar growth

The stats are out for last month and Facebook has continued its explosive growth. The global audience of people accessing the Internet has also grown and is now estimated to be over 1 BILLION strong. Of this gigantic audience, roughly 200 MILLION of them or 1 in every 5 people online visited Facebook last month. Another astounding fact hidden in here is Facebook grew over 10% MONTH TO MONTH in December.

This is huge. At this size, Facebook is the de facto standard in social networking. Given that many people visit Facebook daily or even multiple times a day, I think it confirms a trend that social networking is becoming a part of our daily lives, just like email did in the last decade.

For further commentary on this and references to the original statistics sources, read Michael Arrington’s column on TechCrunch.

Facebook growth predictions

It looks like Facebook is still growing very quickly. According to an article by Eric Schonfeld of TechCrunch, Internet traffic tools show Facebook has significant monthly unique user counts in excess of what Facebook is “officially” reporting and is now the fastest growing social networking site. The graph from Eric’s article is shown below but I recommend you read his blog post for his more detailed analysis.

Social network growth

Social network growth

Nick O’Neill of AllFacebook.com, the premier Facebook blog is predicting Facebook will grow to over 300 million users this next year.

These facts and predictions support our premise that more and more people of all ages will use Facebook and that social networking will become an intrinsic part of most people’s Internet experience. We believe that people will want to control more of their lives through the convenience of their social networking site as it becomes a “home page” for their daily activities. Our applications are built to fulfill that desire.

Facebook opts out

 We received some great news today. Facebook has elected to postpone their electronic payment system indefinitely. See this link for details.

This is obviously important to us as it removes one major potential competitor from our arena. However, many industry observers still see the need for a payments platform. See this link for one opinion on the topic.

While Facebook would not have directly competed with us, their entry and offerings would have confused our market. We don’t want to provide a full payment platform like they would, just a specialized payment engine. This announcement gives us maneuvering room and, in some ways, confirms our opportunity.

I’m feeling very good about this!