Hey, what about the ROI?

If you’re about to meet a VC firm there’s one thing you should remember: take your timeline and measure the time between the meeting begins and someone from the Venture Capital firm asks for the Return on Investment (ROI) of your startup company. Write down the exact times you get in all the meetings you’d have (of course, you won’t get the money in the first meeting…)

Despite of the fact that all companies -and all VCs, of course- should get some revenues in a medium-time period, an excesive pressure over the team to make them earn money asap would result in a serious damage to the company.

The recent social media history can give us some clues:

-What would be (The) Facebook today if all the VC companies that helped Zuckerberg to build his social empire would have asked for revenues since the first days? It’s very possible that Facebook wouldn’t be earning 4 billion dollars each year now (7 years later) and the company wouldn’t be valued in 100 billion. There wouldn’t be any Skype joint-venture, no “social-boom” and, of course, no 750 million people sharing their lives inside a website.

-What about Foursquare, Twitter and other similar companies? All of those ventures have changed the way we share our lives through digital channels. We’ve moved from the classic “Hi! I’m taking a beer at the corner” SMS to Check-in with the Foursquare App. We instantly share our opinion about a TV show with thousands of people using the same “hashtag” in Twitter.

And, is Foursquare a company offering revenues to their shareholders? Of course not. And it’s been “so long” since they got their first investment. But what can you do when 10 million people -and counting- are using the same app to share their location? Find a way to monetize that. Because when you find the right path, yes, you’re smart: you’ll get all the revenues you’ve been waiting for.

So, does this post means that you’re supposed to look for a VC company offering an “infinite time” to recover their investment? Absolutely not. They put their money to help you and in exchange you’d be commited to do your best to make your company grow as expected and they earn money in a reasonable time.

But never forget this: if you have a good idea and your product is built over strong basis with a good business plan, don’t sell a big piece of it to the first VC company. You need the money but you don’t need anybody destroying your dream (your product).

By the way, I found yesterday an interesting book while reading an article in TechCrunch. “One Book Every Entrepreneur and VC Should Own” is a compilation of advices from Mark Tuster (www.twitter.com/msuster), a man that’s been around since 1999 helping companies…starting by his own enterprise. Reading that book you will get unvaluable information about some concepts that you may know if you’re about to start a negotiation: “Drag along rights”, “Redemption rights”, “2x liquidation preferences”, and so on. I’ve only read a summary, but can’t wait to get it and read the whole thing.

I REALLY love this button!

The “Add to Moodyo” bookmarklet is a button designed to add items to your lists while your’re browsing your favorite sites. You’ll find it in the right column of your personal home page in Moodyo. Just drag and drop it to your browser’s toolbar and click on it every time you see something that you’d like to share with your contacts in Moodyo.

My partner Álex Guerra (@xelagc) coded this in a few hours. He’s so great!

Designing Moodyo

Once upon a time, I was a teacher at the university with a bunch of students learning both web and graphic design. They usually wanted to launch Illustrator, Photoshop or Dreamweaver and start designing the project they had in their minds. Wrong.

I always used to tell them about how important is the first step after having a good idea: to make a sketch with paper and pencil. No colours needed at this stage.

This is specially important for a web designer. And sometimes we forget this because of deadlines. And here’s the first advice by my side: never miss this first mandatory step or prepare to waste a lot of time later with corrections…

We sketched almost every page of the new Moodyo site. Alex, Rui and myself joined around a table for days and we discussed about what was right or wrong (in our opinion…) for usability, ease of use, etcetera. I also designed the first drafts of the “MooMachine”, that big machine in our public home page that virtually shows the activity inside Moodyo. Another useful tip is to use colors to give different priorities to the different features. We used three levels: blue for “high”, green for “medium” and pink for “low”.

After we made all the drawings, we built all the vectors and bitmaps in Illustrator and Photoshop. We coloured the layouts and moved every pixel to its right place. And, of course, we changed the colour schema many times. But the basic structure it’s strong. There will be for sure some modifications in the next weeks but we have a path to follow.

Here I’ve attached some pictures showing the drawings we made in the first designing stages. Hope you like it.

Is Google+ designed to be the 3-in-1 network?

I’ve been tuning my Google+ account to fulfil my needs. And I’ve seen that my circles are not balanced. Most of my contacts are wrapped in the “Acquaintances” circle.

So I’ve come to my first conclusion: In this first stage I’m using Google+ as a Linkedin-like network but without CVs and all that stuff.

What if I would have filled my “Following” circle? Would that be a sign that I’m using Google+ with a Twitter-like philosophy? Maybe.

And What if I…? Yes! I would be using Google+ like I already use Facebook. Nice!

In my opinion Google has tried to build a 3-in-1 social network. You can browse and share what you like, with the group of people you like just toggling to your preferred “Stream” (the Wall) by clicking in the left column filter. Amazing, right? Maybe.

There’s a little problem with that approach. Despite of the fact that our Facebook account works in most of the social sites we visit every day (ok, not in Twitter), giving us the chance to toggle between networks with a pair of clicks, do we want to have our boss, our father, our favorite singer, our wife and our friends in the same network, even in different “streams”?

Because they’re separate… but they’re together at the same time. You can decide not to click on the “Partners at work” circle -that includes your boss’ account, of course- in the weekend. But the true fact is that you have the chance to do it. And it’s not funny mixing the funny story of your friend at the beach with the annoying story of your partner that hates your boss. Both stories are just one click away from each other. In other words, Google+ can turn into one of those flats with very thin walls that gives you the “chance” to hear the reason why your neighbour is angry with his girlfriend…

Let’s see what happens in the next weeks. And yes, this is my first post and I was supposed to write about Moodyo.com because I’m the “CEO” (something that sounds “bigger” of what really means at this point). Well, feel free to visit our new network. There’s one thing for sure: in our social site you won’t have to drag&drop your boss to any circle. Just reject his friendship request and enjoy building your gift lists.