Twittering (Boss: Kevin)

Yesterday Christine played with Twitter (Day1):
  • create @knapkins_com twitter account
  • contacted both @knapkins and @knapkin as to see if they’d donate their abandonned accounts. No response
  • create a hootesuite account with relevant streams (ie. competitor @foodgawker, keywords #foodporn #food)
  • chatted with and made 6 new online foodie friends
  • received 1 feedback about the site

Consider Automating Content:
  • How often each of our blogger updates their content? 5-10 times a month
  • How many bloggers have rss feeds? about 35-40% have feeds


Here are the updated twitter account to adjust to standard wide and larger

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AARRR (Boss: Kevin)

Today’s focus was on setting up the project to be more metrics driven.  Made the appropriate additions to the app to correctly tracking our acquition and activation points, and added the follow goals on GA:

acquisition: 2 minutes on site (doesn’t abandon)

activation: 10 pages/visit (happy 1st visit)

activation: achieve a rank, meaning at least 25 votes (happy 1st visit)

activation: signup (setting up for retention)

retention: not there yet 🙂


In addition, also made the following updates to the app:

-added GA for outbound links

-added GA pageview tracker for aysnc voting

-added GA events for all major button/link/popup clicks

-added “beta” to logo

-added uservoice feedback tab

-added contact us page

-added results page for specific bloggers

-added duel page for specific bloggers

-fix duel to always match on a category (currently on sweet or savoury) 


Here’s a link to Dave’s Startup Metrics for Pirates video that we watched this morning:






User Case (Boss: Christine)

Yesterday, we brainstorm different user cases. This was slightly challenging cause we haven’t completed figured out the value we provide, so these use cases may not be relevant to our end product. So the questions we looked at were
  • When do people look?
  • Example of what they need?
  • What stat to support this? (research or people’s comments)   
  • Why do people come back?
  • How can we test this?

Christine based these questions on search and google ads. What keywords they were searching with and what information did they seek to find. I looked for combinations of keywords with had either high search volume, low competition, low cpc. I learned how people like to search for recipes.

  • keywords
  • key phrases
  • long tail search

Kevin researched through facebook, twitter, food bloggers. Kevin thought of some really great ways to “bring people back” and how to incentives people to return.

  • Duel of the Day/Month
  • Top 10 photos
  • Social hooks

However, we also must consider our community has a 70/30 women to men ratio. We were speaking to market researcher Joseph Carrabis about characteristic of women online communities. “When men approach a social network, one of the things that they tend to want to find out is one’s pecking order. In a situation where there is no hierarchy, they will begin creating one. Women form social network by and large, to create communities, to establish, not a hierarchy, but extensions of themselves.” He mentioned female have a very flat hierarchy and that any time any women rises above that it is the trend of the community to bring them down. Moving forward, we’ll need to consider recognizing and supporting all the members of our community, and less focus on a sole ‘Winner”.


Monetization: I was thinking about how we can make money besides advertisements on the site. There are ways to incorporate brands very fluently into recipes with food products. Perhaps we can look at featuring a specific item at a grocery store like “Metro” and displaying relevant food porn.



Who are they? Where do they “hang out” online? (Boss: Christine)

One of the advantages of working in a space with competitors is they have done some of the research for us. At first, I looked at 100 companies that advertise on these competitive sites. Based on the text and theme of the ad I found the following:

  • purchasing influencer (cars, kitchen appliances)
  • has kids (huggies)
  • likes being stylish (colourful electronics)
  • likes entertaining (wine)
  • likes travelling (hotel, cruise, travel credit card)
  • likes gardening (green thumb)


This qualitative content was confirmed, cause then I realized I could simply click ‘Advertise with Us’ tab. Based 10 competitors and their media kits, I was able to estimate a profile of our user. This will be a good starting point for us.

  • Female/Male  (%)
  • Median Age:  (years)
  • Median HHI:  ($)
  • Att College/Grad (%)
  • College/Grad (%)
  • Own a Home (%)
  • Median Home Value (%)
  • Principle Shopper (%)
  • Children at home (#)
  • Length on site (minutes)
  • Meals cooked at home (days/week)
  • Nights formally entertaining at home (days/month)



Google Adwords – Explored more adwords based on where people might “hang out/HO” online and engage with food/cooking. A large section I missed was online newspapers which seem to have large followings in their lifestyle/food properties.  Anywho, so I created 4 campaigns.  I spent 3 hours building 50 ads by basing my content on the key words from HO.  I tried not to overlap keywords from each campaign (hopefully they don’t compete and drive cpc up).  I wanted to understand whether the target was really searching those keywords and not that the ad was just vaguely relevant to food in general.

Food Recipe (found to be highest volume, target user)

  • Blog Sites
  • Celebrity Chefs
  • Other food property
  • Cook Book
  • Games
  • Medical, Health, Reference

 Food School (found to be highest conversion, target supplier)

  • Culinary
  • Photography

Food Brand (sucky)

  • American
  • Canadian

Food Entertaining (sucky)

  • At home



Ship day in 7 days! – www.knapkins.com (Boss: Kevin)

We’ve been busy.  For the past couple of weeks we’ve been looking into the foodie/food bloggers space.  We feel that there’s a health community there and that there’s room for value add into this community.  So, we are shipping our first iteration/feature today, a food blog aggregator that also allows users to vote between 2 photos.  Kind of like a Facemash for food from food blogs.  The goal here is to enhance the user interaction from traditional food blog aggregation sites, while allowing the community to upvote the best looking dishes.  Development time of around 7 days from start to launch.  Here are a few photos.




Feeling out the contract market – Day 1 (Boss: Kevin)

Today, I wanted to get a feel of the contracting market.  I wanted to see 1) what people were looking for, 2) where they were asking for it, 3) test out different markets and approaches and evaluate the responses.

I found the most up to date opportunities on craigslist and kijiji so I spent most of my day there emailing.  I ended up contacting 10 posters that were looking for RoR help and had conversations with 2 so far.  Here’s a template of my message:

Hey there,

I’m interested in your RoR Developer posting.  I’m an experienced engineer and have worked exclusively in RoR for the past 2 years.  You can find my CV here http://www.linkedin.com/in/kevintsoi.  

Here’s a summary of my qualifications:

  • Waterloo Computer Engineering grad, 2004
  • Creator of the mobile content platform that powers the mobile storefronts for Warner, Universal, Sony, and EMI Canada
  • Cofounder of Well of Change (http://wellofchange.org)
  • Currently working on a steathy startup
  • Other RoR side projects – http://funrays.comhttp://evangee.com
I cannot do designs, but besides that, I can pretty much do everything end to end in launching web products (including implementation of designs).

As mentioned above, I am currently working on my own startup and I’m looking for side projects to seed it.  My rate is $75/hour.  Let me know if you think I am a good fit for what you are looking for or if I can help your team in anyway, and if so, we can chat further.


My search on other “contracting services” sites were unsuccessful.  Sites such as elance and rentacoder seem geared towards bargin shoppers, and other contracting niche sites were not up to date.  My next move was to contact placement agents and see what kind of short-term flex contracts were available.

The pricing of $75 seemed reasonable.  One responded that their current position was for $60, but another responded and suggested that I should raise it to $90.

Christine took a different approach and looked for founders who wanted their ideas implemented.  She emailed 150 people on the cofounder list and received 3 positive responses, and 2 negative responses.  Her message template is as follows:
Hi guys,

We are a team of two that can get anything done. Our backgrounds are technical, business, marketing and entrepreneurial. As MyersBriggs, my partner and I are complete opposites ESFP and the other INTJ. If you or a friend are looking for help on your business, please contact us atchristine@evangee.com.
– Quick one day or one week turn around
– Soup to nuts developer and Customer development

We’ve investigated
– professional networking tools
– social media analytics
– mobile platform to distribute mobile rich media for Universal, Sony, Warner and major music labels
– social recruiting
– human resources monetization of employee referrals
– social enterprise and fundraising for charity
– event planning tools
– food blogs


The surpising part was that the people who responded seemed to be technical as well, and wanted extra help which wasn’t our initial target of business people with ideas.

Just received a positive email from an NGO looking to have some web dev work done.  Perhaps that is our niche given our background in the sector.

That’s it for the day.  I would liked to have seen more RFP type projects from established companies, but I’m guess that they usually work with companies in which they have a deeper relationship/partnership with.  Will need Christine’s mad calling skills to make those discoveries.  Perhaps its just a matter of timing/volume on contacts, as was the case with cho & associates.  Will update any progress from today’s contacts.



Foodie Addiction (Boss: Christine)

I have been posting “What I’ve been cooking” on Facebook along with some cost (ex. Taco’s cost $10.50 total). Pretty fun with 9 posts I really engaged people. I guess that is what food does for your, engage your tummy rumblings. As per Mike Kim, I wonder what the network size or Klout of the people who have commented and liked. It would be great to see a total impression size of the 23 comments and 18 likes.



Thursday is Christine-Boss-Day. Decided to explore food blogs for the day. Ran a little competition again. Again we had no landing page and no specific product idea. Kevin took 1 hour to create the landing page below with some text.


There are food blogging photo sharing sites out there, so we started with food bloggers there.

Sample Text.

“<foodblogger’s username from competitorsite>, you are invited!
Knapkins is launching July 2011. Based on your contribution to the foodie websphere, <yourdomain.com> has been selected as a featured food blog. We’d would love to showcase your favourite entries and photos on our site. We have already uploaded 14 of your blog photos with links back to drive more traffic to your website. The best part: IT IS FREE. To give us permission to publish these 14 photos, please click your special link. www.knapkins.com?name=CompanyName Cheers, Christine”



When a blogger would write back I’d say

“Our goal is to encourage more regular individuals to upload their ‘own’ tries of the featured blogs recipes. These probably won’t be as delicious as your photos, but it can help add more social aspects to your blog. Not just comments, but photos of their version of your recipe. We will always give credit to bloggers and redirect traffic to the contributing writers. Do let me know if you have any other questions, I’d be happy to answer! Cheers Christine”


  • 140 food bloggers contacted thru blogsite/email (100% – 75 kevin, 65 chris)
  • 66 unique visitors (47.1%)
  • 10 email responses (7% 7 kevin, 3 chris)
  • 15 sign ups (10.7% woohoo!)… updated to 29 sign up

Kevin won!! David from Sapient recommended tracking the number of engagements per person and how it correlates to an increase in an action. (Example the 10 people we contacted with via email, how much more likely were they to sign up?)




    Lean Startup and Customer Interviews (Boss: Kevin)

    So I luuuv lean. Usually when I’m chatting with someone about their business idea, it just finds it way and sneaks into the conversation. I feel like needing to shout to the world. It is such a different way of thinking, I feel it is my responsibility to show the light 🙂

    So Wednesday, it Kevin-Boss-Day. We did customer interview to find frustrating problems in social media. In 9 hours, I:

    • contacted social media expert through Toronto meetups (worked really well)
    • 5 customer interviews (of which three were great about an hour each)
    • 9 scheduled interviews within the next week


    Seven Ways to Find Interviewees. blog.launchbit.com/how-to-find-and-interview-potential-customers by Elizabeth Y. I didn’t go through the list but thought I leave it hear from future reference.

    • “Spray and Pray” channels
    •    1) craigslist
    •    2) online groups (google, yahoo, facebook, ning)
    • In Person channels
    •    3) Malls & coffee shops
    •    4) meetups (meetup, eventbrite, yelp)
    • Targeted channels
    •    5) Linked In
    •    6) Alumni Networks
    •    7) Google Searches


    Sample text. Although tracking down their telephone numbers proved very useful. Sometimes it is so great to just PICK UP THE PHONE!

    “Hi <expert>,   Happy Wednesday!! I’m an entrepreneur in Toronto and I’m doing some research for a project on social media and am trying to learn how what frustrates people about social media. I’d really love the chance to chat with you, would you be free for a 12 minute call sometime this week. Please let me know, it would really make my day!  Cheers, Christine”


    I left my questions pretty open ended so that I wouldn’t skew the conversation (I often do).

    • What are the most frustrating aspects of ABC
    • If you had a magic want to help you with ABC, what would it do?


    Conclusion. Great conversations! I’ve done a few more interview since Wed, still most last an hour. Then I would followup with my mock which I created using photoshop in an hour. Helps people really visualize my thoughts. Just like it helped my clients visual my designs in floorplans for event planning.  I know people have mentioned this before, but damn. I’m getting pretty good at this customer interview stuff 🙂





    Playing boss

    Decided that we are going to take turns playing ‘boss’. Kevin has Monday, Wednesday, Friday and I have Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday. So we are going back to explore Social Media. On Tuesday, I decided to create a little competition using adwords. We had no landing pages, no specific product idea, no adword accounts, no google analytics. Originally, I said by the end of the day 8 hours, but extended it for 24 hour period.

    • Impressions (worth 1 point)
    • Clicks (worth 1,000 points)
    • Sign up (worth 10,000 points)


    • $75 free credits from hostmonster 
    • assigned domain asidenote.com
    • used facebook, adwords, blogs, craigslist, forums
    • RESULT: $3.16 facebook ad
    • RESULT: 0 clicks, 600 impressions, $0 google ads


    • $100 free credit from google
    • assigned domain knapkins.com
    • used adwords
    • my resource restraint was time and soget my ads up as soon as possible
    • used content from industry expert Jeremiah Owyang
    • RESULT: 152,104 impressions, 15 clicks, $8.16 google ads
    • PS: I WON 🙂