Big Brand vs Smaller, Focused brands

So last weekend I had what I honestly believe is my biggest, best and simplest startup idea yet.

We’re going to do it.

It’s definitely in the stock market.

It definitely appeals to younger people.

It definitely is mobile first if not mobile only.

Now what I’m struggling with (prematurely, I admit)… is whether or not this is a separate effort/brand/company, or if it should fall under the existing (and growing!  and awesome!) LikeFolio brand?

Easier to market and build one big brand with multiple functions and larger scope, or separate functions = separate brand?

I’d really enjoy some comments from you guys… or if you prefer to keep your 2 cents private, you can email me at andy@andyswan.com

Any resources, experience or opinions on this sort of thing.

Is it better to keep brands narrow and focused?  Or better to go for the big brand?  

Let me know what you think.

p.s.  The only reasons I’m considering the “big brand” route is because 1) LikeFolio has great traction and distribution already and 2) the new idea is focused on the same demographic and industry as LikeFolio… but it would be a substantial expansion in scope.

Why we are doing what we’re doing

For the 14 years that I have been in the business of helping individual investors, this is what the world of finance has looked like to most people:

image

Jobless claims, ECB rates, Federal Reserve, Technical analysts, conflicting messages of predictions of tops, bottoms and currency wars.

These are the distractions of a non-stop news cycle, a hype machine.

Enough.

That’s why we created this:

image

See, we believe that for most people, getting started investing should be about three things:

1.  Investing in companies that you understand and like

2.  Taking a long-term view… becoming a shareholder 

3.  Enjoyment.  You become good at the things you enjoy.

LikeFolio sets out to simplify “finance” down to what matters most…. discovering the companies that you want to call yourself an owner of.

We’re just getting started, but I love where we’re going.

Win.

Google abandoning reader was NOT an opportunity

I really cannot understand how Google abandoning reader made people think that an RSS reader was an opportunity.  Obviously, the market there is shit.  

Google dominated that market and still didn’t want it.  Just walked away!

Not only is getting into the reader business “Red Ocean”…it’s a bloody red ocean where the only thing left are scraps that the big fish didn’t want to bother with.  Leave it to the vultures to clean up that carcass.  

I’m late to this but it’s a lesson we should have all learned from it.  When the best don’t want the market, you shouldn’t either.  Instead, invent or expand a market that they will want in the future.

 

 

In the spring of 2002 we were 18 months into our first business and things were NOT going well.  7 or 8 paying customers, no momentum.  Nothing.  We lived in fear that 2 of those customers would quit the next day.
It was a sad state of affairs.
It wasn’t really for lack of trying…we were moving and doing all the time.  But we had no focus.  We were pinballs inside of our own miserable company.
I can distinctly remember one afternoon.  The trades we sent to our clients were going badly.  I was sure that half of them were going to quit.  I wanted to quit.
So I started looking at other options.
"What would I do if I didn’t do this?"
It took a few hours of going through all the scenarios (work for someone else, off to business school, etc) and then it hit me like a ton of bricks.
I don’t want to do anything else.  This is what I want to do.
This is worth fighting for.
I can’t really describe how liberating this was.  Worry turned to determination.  Fear to strength.  I know it sounds cliche’ but it’s true.
THe energy was palpable.  Confidence completely reversed.  I didn’t know how or when DaytradeTeam would be successful…but at that moment I knew that it would be eventually…and that’s all it took.
Focus came into the picture…what to accomplish next, what to experiment on, what THIS WEEK’s goals were.  I finally knew exactly where I was going and that failure (or treading water) was not an option.
Imagine your business, right now, on the brink of failure.  IS it worth fighting for?
If not—-how do you make it worth fighting for?
Fight.
Win.

In the spring of 2002 we were 18 months into our first business and things were NOT going well.  7 or 8 paying customers, no momentum.  Nothing.  We lived in fear that 2 of those customers would quit the next day.

It was a sad state of affairs.

It wasn’t really for lack of trying…we were moving and doing all the time.  But we had no focus.  We were pinballs inside of our own miserable company.

I can distinctly remember one afternoon.  The trades we sent to our clients were going badly.  I was sure that half of them were going to quit.  I wanted to quit.

So I started looking at other options.

"What would I do if I didn’t do this?"

It took a few hours of going through all the scenarios (work for someone else, off to business school, etc) and then it hit me like a ton of bricks.

I don’t want to do anything else.  This is what I want to do.

This is worth fighting for.


I can’t really describe how liberating this was.  Worry turned to determination.  Fear to strength.  I know it sounds cliche’ but it’s true.

THe energy was palpable.  Confidence completely reversed.  I didn’t know how or when DaytradeTeam would be successful…but at that moment I knew that it would be eventually…and that’s all it took.

Focus came into the picture…what to accomplish next, what to experiment on, what THIS WEEK’s goals were.  I finally knew exactly where I was going and that failure (or treading water) was not an option.

Imagine your business, right now, on the brink of failure.  IS it worth fighting for?

If not—-how do you make it worth fighting for?

Fight.

Win.

The “launch party” for Disney Brothers Studio.
They were nervous.

It’s no secret that we were sticking just about every nickel we had on the chance that people would really be interested in something totally new and unique in the field of entertainment.

They were down…

Mickey Mouse popped out of my mind onto a drawing pad 20 years ago on a train ride from Manhattan to Hollywood at a time when business fortunes of my brother Roy and myself were at lowest ebb and disaster seemed right around the corner.

But they knew….

The way to get started is to quit talking and begin doing.

They ignored…

I am not influenced by the techniques or fashions of any other motion picture company.
We are not trying to entertain the critics. I’ll take my chances with the public.

They believed…

All our dreams can come true, if we have the courage to pursue them.

and there is no “done”…

Disneyland will never be completed. It will continue to grow as long as there is imagination left in the world.

Build what you believe in.  Believe in what you build.  
Ignore them all.
Never finish.
Win.

The “launch party” for Disney Brothers Studio.

They were nervous.

It’s no secret that we were sticking just about every nickel we had on the chance that people would really be interested in something totally new and unique in the field of entertainment.

They were down…

Mickey Mouse popped out of my mind onto a drawing pad 20 years ago on a train ride from Manhattan to Hollywood at a time when business fortunes of my brother Roy and myself were at lowest ebb and disaster seemed right around the corner.

But they knew….

The way to get started is to quit talking and begin doing.

They ignored…

I am not influenced by the techniques or fashions of any other motion picture company.

We are not trying to entertain the critics. I’ll take my chances with the public.

They believed…

All our dreams can come true, if we have the courage to pursue them.

and there is no “done”…

Disneyland will never be completed. It will continue to grow as long as there is imagination left in the world.

Build what you believe in.  Believe in what you build.  

Ignore them all.

Never finish.

Win.

Big companies fear you.  Let me repeat that.  Big companies fear you.
You’re fast, they’re slow.  You’re nimble, they’re not.  You’re innovating, they’re conference-calling.
Yes, their mass makes them extremely powerful.  They can monetize FAR better than you can even dream of.  That’s what they do… they push the big lever that works really well.
But if you’re smart and stay in the blue ocean, they can’t touch you.  They know it.  
That’s why they need you.  They need you to find a new lever that works.  They need you to show them the way through dangerous new water.
Don’t compete on the big levers.  Find the small ones that work and grow them.
Win.

Big companies fear you.  Let me repeat that.  Big companies fear you.

You’re fast, they’re slow.  You’re nimble, they’re not.  You’re innovating, they’re conference-calling.

Yes, their mass makes them extremely powerful.  They can monetize FAR better than you can even dream of.  That’s what they do… they push the big lever that works really well.

But if you’re smart and stay in the blue ocean, they can’t touch you.  They know it.  

That’s why they need you.  They need you to find a new lever that works.  They need you to show them the way through dangerous new water.

Don’t compete on the big levers.  Find the small ones that work and grow them.

Win.


"You’re born alone and you die alone and this world just drops a bunch of rules on top of you to make you forget those facts. But I never forget. I’m living like there’s no tomorrow, because there isn’t one."  — Don Draper

You’re not gonna starve.
You’re not gonna to sleep in the rain.
What is it you’re scared of?  A mortgage?  A non-existant scoreboard that shows you losing to non-existant competitors your age?  You already lost.
401k, IRA, credit score, retirement, mortgage, lexus, granite countertops.  
Amateur-hour, dude.
You keep thinking you’ve moved up.  You’ve got more.  You’re almost “there”.  
The reality is, if you’re “moving up” just to move up, you’re doing very little other than ratcheting up obligations.   Trapping yourself into a situation where you feel like you don’t control what you do.  
The good news… it all goes away the minute you decide it does.  You’ve got the keys.  
DO.
win!
Attribution:  ”A Whiskey Girl” by daveydeathwish
 
 

"You’re born alone and you die alone and this world just drops a bunch of rules on top of you to make you forget those facts. But I never forget. I’m living like there’s no tomorrow, because there isn’t one." — Don Draper

You’re not gonna starve.

You’re not gonna to sleep in the rain.

What is it you’re scared of?  A mortgage?  A non-existant scoreboard that shows you losing to non-existant competitors your age?  You already lost.

401k, IRA, credit score, retirement, mortgage, lexus, granite countertops.  

Amateur-hour, dude.

You keep thinking you’ve moved up.  You’ve got more.  You’re almost “there”.  

The reality is, if you’re “moving up” just to move up, you’re doing very little other than ratcheting up obligations.   Trapping yourself into a situation where you feel like you don’t control what you do.  

The good news… it all goes away the minute you decide it does.  You’ve got the keys.  

DO.

win!

Attribution:  ”A Whiskey Girl” by daveydeathwish