Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Lost My Voice

Since taking over at CEO at Widgetbox, I have completely lost the blogging muse. The longer the silence, the more pressure I feel/felt to write something interesting.

Why is it harder to write?

Busier? Not really.

If not that, then what?

It finally hit me today. As a VC, I actively worked with nine to ten investments, met with scores of potential investments, and enjoyed a wonderful perch with which to observe start-up life, the venture process, and best/worst practices.

I could write, "I attended a board meeting today and observed x, y, and z." Or, "today I met a VP Sales who really understand the sales life cycle..." The anonymity of the comments provided cover that allowed for rich detail and candid observations on the week's learnings. The inability to tie a comment to a particular person, venture investor, company...etc makes for rich commentary and illustrative examples.

As a CEO, this is harder - it is not "a" board meeting but "my" board meeting - ie the parables and lessons leave little room to the imagination with respect to the source and people involved.

Furthermore, I am wary to turn my blog into a Widgetbox promotional vehicle and simply post about all the wonderful things we are up to at 1000 Sansome St.

I am working on a voice that can replace the lens into the VC world without Wbox chest-beating and/or Wbox confessionals.

In upcoming posts, I plan to comment on the VC vs operating role choice and my observations on what it is like to move from one side of the table to the other. I know it is the quintessential young VC question - and I hope to share my experiences with those thinking through the two choices.

Apologies for the radio silence - I am working to adapt my blogging voice to my new role.

Tuesday, April 01, 2008

How Widgets and Widgetbox Drive Incremental Traffic

Guest post from Ryan Spoon at Widgetbox.

The article below is excellent validation of the power of widgets to drive incremental adoption and of Widgetbox, in particular, to outperform Facebook and Bebo for long-tail widgets. After 7 days, Widgetbox drove 1.7x Facebook's subscriptions and 3.9x Bebo's.

Davids SEO Adventure posted a great article about trying to drive web traffic via widgets and gadgets. David has launched a new website (SodukoWorld.be) and is documenting its growth - and we were pleased to find that Widgetbox has quite helpful thus far:

And after a couple of hours of messing around with Facebook application development, I went of to visit my good ol’ friend Google to see if there was an easier way to do this. And guess what? obviously there was. It came in the name of WidgetBox, the all purpose widget making type system. So I signed myself up, threw some html at it and watched in enwonderment at the resulting usefulness: a SudokuWorld Widget that could be put in Facebook, Bebo, Wordpress and all other sorts of things.

And while creating a widget and Facebook / Bebo application was easy, David also reports that it was effective:

After 2 days

Facebook: 27 users
bebo: 35 users
WidgetBox: 92 users

Outcome: bright and breezy - not too shabby for a beginner

After 7 days

Facebook: 91 users
bebo: 40 users
WidgetBox: 156 users

Output: wahoo!

We are obviously very excited about those results and helping David's business (and others!) grow.