It just dawned on me that this was the first year I didn’t do a year in review comedy show. Consequently, I didn’t scour the web for pop culture references and try to make jokes that would be funny for all of one week. I did, however, read a lot of very interesting 2012 year in review posts about entrepreneurship, science, advertising, et al. Here is the first in a series of posts about my favorite 2012 year in review articles and a couple of highlights that I found interesting.
Favorite 2012 Year in Review Posts
Patrick Mckenzie from Bingo Card Creator and Appointment Reminder [Entrepreneurship]
Patrick Mckenzie (AKA patio11) is known on the internet for his contributions to sites like Hacker News. He shares a lot of his personal experience with pricing your services, SEO, A/B testing, and email drip marketing. He has historically shared a lot of this on his blog. He has since expanded to email lists, podcasts, video training courses, and ebooks. In addition to consulting, he runs two products on his own:
- A website that creates bingo cards for teachers.
- A SaaS app to help businesses remind their customers’ about upcoming appointments.
I really enjoy Patrick’s writing. It’s very valuable because it is highly actionable and cites specific examples. Here are some tidbits that I’ve learned from Patrick this year and how I’ve applied it:
- A/B testing is becoming easier every year and a lot of companies still don’t do it. Why is that? Well, companies don’t understand that they are leaving money on the table by not experimenting. Others don’t know how to get started. This was certainly true of my experience at Microsoft. Though, many groups at Microsoft didn’t directly care about money. Sadly, all of the online projects that I saw would not experiment at all. The sign-up process and first user experience may change every 3-6 months, but the change wouldn’t be A/B tested! It would be fire and forget. Thus, the drop-off rate would be astronomically high, retention rates would be incredibly low, and user acquisition wouldn’t improve.
I took it upon myself to learn through experimenting with a side project. I launched a funny sad trombone site to get some hands on experience with everything I couldn’t do at my day job: namely SEO, A/B testing, and conversion rate optimization (CRO). It was a great learning experience. And just by applying what I’ve learned from Patrick to my stupid side project helped me get the skills necessary to help real businesses meaningfully increase their conversion rates for all sorts of things (email registration, selling digital items, improving email open rates, etc). If you’d like help optimizing conversions on your site or email campaigns, contact me.
- 98% / 2% rule – Both Patrick Mckenzie and Ramit Sethi claim that 98% of the time they give something valuable for free; 2% of the time they sell services or charge a premium. For me, this reinforces the need for me to blog about my experiences. It is certainly great for me to reinforce what I learn and help others in the process. It’s one of the main reasons why I continue to do my weekly tech news podcast. It’s a fun way to keep people abreast of what I’m up to, the viewers love it, and it has a reach of 30k-60k views/week. My ultimate goal is that this will help people see me as a credible and trustworthy person. And when it comes time to partner up, they will understand me and have a consistently positive experience and it should make the selling/partnering motions easier.
I’ve learned a lot more from Patrick than what’s listed above. I will no doubt cite him more in future posts. In the meantime, check out Patrick’s 2012 Year in Review.
There will be more posts to come covering my favorites in other categories like advertising, entertainment, and science.
Also, if you haven’t already… check out my Favorite Memories of 2012.
Paul Mestemaker is a full stack engineer /Product guy who splits time between Los Angeles and San Francisco. He helps startups launch their MVPs and gather feedback through usability tests and live site metrics.
In his former life, Paul was a co-founder of Mythly Studios and System Center Advisor and Head of Product at Close Inc. He co-authored a book on SQL Server performance tuning. He has been rated as a top speaker at conferences (TechEd, PASS, Connections, et al). He is also a guest lecturer at Colleges and Universities across the U.S. He was the co-host of a weekly tech news show with over 6 million views. Paul's proudest accomplishments is unlocking the "World Champ" achievement on Wordament.