Startup Junkie Underground Discusses Customer Roles in Product Development

Startup Junkie Underground

July’s Startup Junkie Underground saw Jim Mooney, founder and CEO of References-Online, telling the story of his business and the influence his customers have had on its development. According to Mooney, he has been able to turn “one good idea” into a successful business employing over 20 people without ever taking on outside financing. With a background in business-to-business sales, Mooney knew firsthand the difficulties in connecting a prospective customer with a reference customer. The task was especially difficult for new companies that might have relatively few customers, as even a customer willing to provide a reference may tire of the process after a few calls. Mooney’s idea was to create recorded references that were easy to access but with less marketing spin than “the glowing testimonials found on the corporate website.” References-Online’s initial product were audio recordings of interviews with reference customers, all conducted by a third party and available online. The interviews were split into short segments of about a minute in length by topic to allow prospective customers easy access to the information (Mooney notes that in seven years no prospect has ever hit the “play all button”), and also allows companies to track what information was of interest to the prospect and tailor future messaging accordingly.

 

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Some Products Flying Off Shelves Despite The Recession

Products That Are Bucking The Recession

Products bucking the recession

It’s not all doom and gloom in the U.S. economy. Some products are bucking the recession and flying off store shelves.

Sales of chocolate and running shoes are up. Wine drinkers haven’t stopped sipping; they just seem to be choosing cheaper vintages.

Gold coins are selling like hot cakes. So are gardening seeds. Tanning products are piling up in shopping carts; maybe more people are finding color in a bottle than from sun-worshipping on a faraway beach.

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Study Shows Parents Unaware How Much Their Children Make Them Buy

Study Shows Parents Unaware How Much Their Children Make Them Buy

 

The influence children wield over their parents’ purchase decisions at the point of sale is grossly underestimated by parents. This was shown in a new study conducted by researchers at the University of Vienna, Austria. According to the study by consumer researchers Claus Ebster and Udo Wagner, twice as many purchases in supermarkets are triggered by children than their parents are aware of. The study was published in the internationally renowned Journal of Retailing and Consumer Services.

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Plug-And-Play Solar Panels By Veranda Solar

Plug-And-Play Solar Panels

Veranda Solar Panels 

Solar start-up Veranda Solar wants to change the world of solar power the way Apple changed computers. Veranda got a big head-start on financing the start-up when the company was awarded 100,000€ as runner-up in the PICNIC Green Challenge, funded by the Dutch postcode lottery. The solar panels Veranda uses are nothing special. The prototypes were developed in cooperation with Stanford University and SunPower Corp. No new photovoltaic advances, no biomimicry.

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Extreme Cheapskates

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Now here is a real cheapskate

Amy VanDeventer has always been a cheapskate. The recession is taking her to new extremes.

Before the economy tanked, she was still wearing maternity clothes from her last pregnancy, clipping coupons and using hand-me-downs to dress her daughters, ages 2 and 3. Now, she’s salvaging bagel scraps left on their plates for pizza toppings and cutting lotion bottles in half so she can scrape out the last drops.

“I was already cheap,” said VanDeventer, a 36-year-old mortgage loan underwriter from Broomfield, Colo. “Now I am neurotic about it.” Continue reading… “Extreme Cheapskates”

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ThinkGeek’s Personal Soundtrack T-Shirt

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The Personal Soundtrack T-Shirt started off as a joke back on April fools day. The joke was launched by ThinkGeek who are known to act around on that day by launching a bunch of fake products. However, the joke T-Shirt triggered such a response that they actually went ahead and made it to sell.

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Affluent People Prefer Buying Products Online

Affluent People Prefer Buying Products Online

Wealthy people prefer to shop online

“The Second Annual Survey of Affluence and Wealth in America” report; recently released by American Express Publishing and The Harrison Group found that 70% of US consumers with over $100,000 in discretionary household income surveyed prefer online buying to the in-store experience.

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Consumers Demanding “Green” Products

Consumers Demanding “Green” Products

Demand for “green” products continues to grow

A February 2008 survey sponsored by DoubleClick found that 60% of US adults who make online purchases say that it is very or extremely important to them that a company is environmentally conscious.

Almost half of those who make online purchases said they specifically search for environmentally-friendly products at least some of the time.

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