How do you build a community using a blog? I asked myself this question and started working on Startup Noodle on April 2012. The official launch date was July 19th, and this is what I’m celebrating today, SUN 1st anniversary.
Five hundred twenty-five thousand six hundred minutes
Five hundred twenty-five thousand moments so dear
Five hundred twenty-five thousand six hundred minutes
How do you measure, measure a year?
Working on SUN is a great privilege for me and gets me to wonderful places meeting new startups and enthusiastic entrepreneurs.
It took me a long time realizing what would be the subject I’d want to write about in SUN. As mentioned, I started around April 2012 thinking what would be something people are missing in china.
There were already good substantial blogs around tech and industry news and that was not the voice I wanted to bring. I don’t feel like a journalist, reporting…I Felt a practical voice needed to be out there, on achieving your goals in China and creating startups.
Being an entrepreneur who recently moved to china gave me a lot of practical information to write about and had a unique angle. It’s also helpful! I want to write a blog that matters (Never took the course, but highly recommend their blog, at least the 1st 2 years of it).
So, what we had so far?
First posts were published even before July 19th. I remember I had standards for making them long and detailed. It was a good decision as some of them still attract a lot of traffic and visitors are most engaged by those.
Here is the most popular content on Startup Noodle after it’s 1st year:
I’ve published (including the couple of weeks before the actual launch date) 40 posts, out of that 36 posts were mine and 4 were guests posts.
Two of those guests post are even on the top content! Good job guys!
Those 40 posts resulted 59 comments (including my own comment to my readers), which is a little less than 1.5 comment to a post.
The most commented post is China High Tech jobs: Where the %#@$&% are they?! (which is not one of the most popular posts)
The good things…and the bad…
SUN developed to more than just a blog in the past year. It opened up more interesting opportunities (much more than I initially thought) for me to develop and share with others.
Successes and new opportunities
approximately 6 months ago I started having open sessions helping entrepreneurs in their pursue for their own startups and ideas coming to life, with the simple description of “Startup help“. It indeed became one of the most popular pages on Startup Noodle (#7 on the image above).
I felt I can give some of my previous experience to others and I’m extremely glad I did so. It’s one of the most fulfilling things I get from SUN.
I don’t have an exact count of how many meetings and Skype calls I had, but I know that through this service I helped around 25 entrepreneurs and hope I did well with my advice
I enjoy these meetings/calls and glad to talk to more entrepreneurs who need assistance. So, please do!
Partnership with ikuramedia
In the last year we’ve been working on a couple of projects, some for our clients and some apps we’ve developed for our own portfolio.
We’ve made Zince, a great habit management app. We are closely working with Splitforce a China accelerator company making an A/B testing tool for apps. Our newest release we’re proud of is Pubhub which is handy when you wonder where is the right pub to go to right now.
Working with Steve Price is a privilege of its own, he is talented and a creative developer as well as a great skipper.
Lean startup Beijing meetup
I’m glad, I managed to more than double the number of members (450 now) since then. I organized 4 meetups and co-organized and promoted another 2.
The most successful meetup had 70 members joining in. I discover that the optimal time between meetups is around once a month. It’s close enough for people to feel they are part of an existing community and far enough apart so people would feel that they want to come and meet the community again.
I’ve joined 2 entrepreneurship programs this year. Last september was Startup Leadership Program (SLP), where I really felt at home getting to know the startup community in Beijing. People I met there, who are now good friends of mine were of great help in many ways along with the 1st shapes ups of Go Finish, which since then looks very different (somebody mentioned pivot?)
Startup weekend NEXT was the 2nd program I joined. I was not sure if I should join as a mentor or as a fellow, wanting to push Go Finish further I decided to be on the fellows side. Kevin Dewalt was running the show and thanks to him and the rest of the great group (now good friends) of fellows and mentors I’ve made progress with Go Finish, which now accepts beta users.
Speaking and Features
I had the privilege to speak twice at Barcamp Beijing along with speaking at the International Technology transfer congress (ITTC) about how to build a startup Eco System. I also participated along with Steve from ikuramedia in a cool podcast called Beijing hangup (which was alot of fun) about entrepreneurship in China. I really enjoyed that one!
This year brought some failures as well.
Boutique classified ads
During my work with entrepreneurs and people I meet & hear about a lot of opportunities. From Looking for investment, to finding a job or looking for employees. I thought the best way to help with this would be putting it out there for people to see. So I started a boutique classified ads just for opportunities I knew about. I thought it would bring more traffic to SUN and be helpful for more people, and people will add their own ads as well. So, I thought…
The thing is that after running it for around 6 months, I found that most of the ads were still mine, and not others. Not too many people were communicating regarding those. So, this one is down.
It’s really important to have a launch for your product/website. It’s because the hype around it can bring substantial numbers of followers and email sign ups. On that launch date a year ago, I made a couple of guest post on related website. I told them to publish it on the 19th (which not all of them did). I contacted a couple of high influencers on tweeter for help and told them to tweet exactly on the 19th! I was ready!
What eventually happened is that I got the hype, but not too many followers and sign ups. Perhaps because SUN then didn’t look as good, and people then didn’t see the value in registering.
changing the design certainly helped getting more people get interested since and sign ups are much much better now. Still, there is a place for improvement and design can be even better. It’s a step by step work improving your CTR and ROI.
This is one is a funny story. Many people have asked and commented me about my logo, the most common question is by people who just see it for the 1st time (and not seeing the web page) saying: “Are you a restaurant?”. So, I’m not sure if it’s a failure but a tweak is needed. Which leads me to a common comment I get about it as well.
People who know some about the Chinese culture says that sticking the chopsticks up right in your food is something you mustn’t do. It reminding on the incense of praying for a dead person. So, it reminds death. Not all Chinese people I’ve asked have problem with that. Some didn’t event think it’s problematic. But still , on that sense, I should chang ethe logo slightly.
Looking at the next year
Next year, would be at least as exciting as this one as more activities are planned.
The 1st activity is translating SUN into Chinese language as well. As local entrepreneurship is booming as well (It’s not only about foreigners coming to China to create their startups) it became pretty clear after a while that I have to publish the posts in both languages. So, It’s official, Startup Noodle, will be published on both languages! And…it already started.
In the next couple of weeks we will upload the content in Chinese as well. We already have some translated and uploaded content which you can see here. It’s also a great chance to Thank Anna, our translator, for the help.
I’m working on one more product and
a one more service an App distribution service in China for this year, the 1st is a course which will be published on Udemy and called: “Entrepreneurship for non Entrepreneurs”. I invite you to add on the comments what subjects you would like me to talk about on the course. I already have the course layout, but want to change and add things according to what my readers a re interested in.
Also, except of my consulting service
I’m developing a new service as well, aimed for mobile application owners and companies. More on that coming soon Android Apps distribution service is live now, if you have an app and want to get to 400M of smartphone users, check it out .
Most important (and now over to you)
I meet many of my readers on meetups conferences, Skype calls and in person meeting. I’m looking forward to those encounters and appreciate them very much. Please keep feedback me and let me know how Startup Noodle can continue be helpful for you in the next year.
I’m really happy with the good 24.3% of my visitors actually returning over and over, I want to be able and increase it next year.
I don’t take this for granted, and really thank you all for being my readers. Other websites are a click away and you could be spending your time on other places. Hope to continue being helpful with valuable materials and activities for your benefit. See you on the other side!
Glad to reach this point and celebrate one year with Startup Noodle this July 19th!
Image credit by RLHyde