Tuesday, September 23, 2008

madKast in the News with ShareThis

There are various reports today that madKast has been acquired by ShareThis. We can't give details at the moment; you can, however, expect a forthcoming post addressing these reports as soon as we can.

- the madKast team

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Google Chrome Error

Some of you have reported that Google's new browser Chrome is throwing an error that madKast is hosting malware and warning users.  This ended up being a misclassification on Google's part and has been solved.  Don't worry, madKast has never hosted malware.

Friday, August 15, 2008

Congrats to a TechStars team: SocialThing!

As most of you know, last summer we participated in an investment/mentorship program in Boudler, CO called TechStars.   TechStars was an amazing experience that we would recommend to any startup in America that wants access to some of the best mentors in the country.  Last summer 10 teams went through the 10 week program and today we are happy to congratulate our friends at SocialThing! for being acquired by AOL.  We couldn't be happier for you guys!

Thursday, July 3, 2008

madKast loves your feedback

We get a lot of emails from happy bloggers telling us that we have the easiest to use sharing widget.  Thanks to all of you.  Please keep the feedback coming.  We really build our product roadmap around the feedback that we get from people using our widget.

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

madKast is hiring

madKast is looking for the best flash, .net, and javascript developers in Boulder.  If you are interested please send a resume to: jobs [at] madKast.com.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Watch for the New madKast!

Something big is coming from madKast. Very big. Suffice to say that before March ends you can expect to find a brand new website from madKast to accompany a brand spankin' new product launch!

While, in the interest of suspense, I can't give you too many details at the moment, let's just say that we're expanding way beyond sharing blog posts. Soon you will be able to share significantly more types content with your friends. I can also tell you that the new madKast will also have a significant presence on the social web -- think sites like Facebook and MySpace.

We will also be expanding to reach e-commerce sites with our sharing technology. As such, if you have an e-commerce site and want to be part of our beta to help you best advertise your products on the social web, please send me an email: josh AT madkast DOT com

If all goes to plan, sometime in April you can expect to see madKast on some pretty big, non-blog sites.

We are thrilled about the direction we're moving in, and think you will be too when we release it!

Stay tuned....

Friday, February 22, 2008

What's on the madKast Bookshelf?

In a recent meeting with one of our investors and mentors -- David Brown of Zoll Data Sytems -- he mentioned a book that he had found particularly useful for him regarding sales. The book, called Spin Selling by Neil Rackham, is a fantastic resource for anyone wanting to learn more about the intracacies of selling a product -- whether large or small, simple or complex -- to someone else. It is an extremely well-researched guide to successfully selling based on the research of 35,000 sales calls tracked by Rackham and his associates.

The word "SPIN" in the title refers to the method that the authors have found is the most successful: (S)ituation; (P)roblem; (I)mplication; (N)eed-Payoff. The author's premise is that the "traditional" steps in a sales call -- (1) opening the call; (2) investigating needs; (3) giving benefits; (4) objection handling and (5) closing techniques do not very well for larger, more complex sales such as one that may require many phone conversations.

Instead, the authors guide the reader through the four steps their research has found pivotal to successful sales calls. First, situation questions that help the seller gather data regarding the buyer. Second, problem questions probing difficulties or dissatisfactions in areas where the seller's product can help. Next, and most important, implication questions which take a customers problem and explore its effects or consequences. Finally, need-payoff questions, which are powerful ways to get the customer to tell you what the benefits of your solution are.

The authors also do an excellent job of describing how to assess the outcomes of particular interactions with buyers. From worst to best: "no sale," where the customer actively refuses a commitment; "continuation," where the sale will continue but where no specific action has been agreed upon by the customer to move it forward; "advance," where an event takes place in the call that moves the sale forward to a decision; and "order," where the customer makes a firm commitment to buy.

Rackham also spends a lot of time explaining how larger, more complex sales differ from that of smaller, simpler sales and that techniques that work well in one arena may not transfer well to the other. For instance, in larger sales, needs take longer to develop, their more likely to involve more than just one single individual (decision-maker) and needs are more likely to be expressed on a rational basis.

There's a host of other fascinating ideas and strategies that the author takes about in the book, and I couldn't recommend it more highly. It will certainly benefit madKast significantly as we frame our new product launch and pitch it to content

Also on the madKast bookshelf are Punk Marketing by Richard Laermer and Mark Simmons and Marketing to the Social Web, by Larry Weber. Both of which are also recommended! Have you read any of these books? Leave a comment if so!

Monday, February 4, 2008

Evangicamp v 2.0 Wrapup!

While I was only able to participate in about 2/3 of Evangicamp last week -- due to the cold/flu plague invading Colorado -- it was a worthwhile and fruitful endeavor, much like the first Evangicamp. While the first Evangicamp was smaller, more focused, and more philosophical, we had almost double the participants this time around, so the tambre of the discussions were much less focused and more social. Neither experience was "right" or "wrong" -- just different. I'd like to mention a few (of the many) topics that were discussed.

One of the first topics we discussed was using Facebook or LinkedIn to reach potential users or bloggers. Often bloggers do not put their e-mail addresses on their sites, but do put their LinkedIn or Facebook contact information; this is an additional potential way to evangelize, even in the absence of direct e-mail addresses. We did, however, debate the overall effectiveness of these methods and I guess the jury is still out.

We also discussed the importance of going after certain verticals (i.e., food bloggers, or Mormons) as opposed to a more horizontal approach. And Micah Baldwin of Lijit discussed his company's recent focus on networks or associations of bloggers involved in the same activities or existing in the same or similar communities. They seem to have had decent success with this approach.

Though we talked about a whole range of topics, there's one last one I'd like to address. That is finding the right balance between contacting your potential or current users too much versus too little. If you contact them too often, a certain fatigue regarding your company or your company's product can set it among users, while if you don't keep in enough contact with them, they may become disinterested in your product. There is no hard and fast rule about the frequency with which you contact potential users/current users, but there certainly are subjective thresholds which one should be aware of.

I'm looking forward to Evangicamp v. 3.0 at some point in the future!

Thursday, January 31, 2008

Exciting Opportunity:
Invitation to Closed Private Beta

madKast is offering you an exciting opportunity! In the next two months, we will be releasing what one might call madKast v. 2.0: a revolutionary and highly evolved way to share content on the web. At the moment, the madKast widget allows you to share blog content with others via e-mail and social bookmarking tools.

What we are working on now will let website visitors share and recommend ANY content with their friends where they "live" online -- Facebook, MySpace, the blogosphere, etc. This evolution of madKast will provide publishers with tools ranging from a fully customizable share widget to a completely implicit sharing mechanism.

We are looking for people who are interested in joining a closed private beta in the future as we get closer to the launch date of this ground-breaking new concept.

For these customers, madKast will provide custom integrations at no charge. If you're interested in being one of the first to check out what we have in store, please send me an e-mail at josh AT madkast DOT com, and we'll put you on our exclusive list to test this new technology before we officially launch it.

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Evangicamp v 2.0

A last minute reminder that Evangicamp v 2.0, or as Tara refers to it, Evangicamp Part Deux will take place this evening at 5:30pm at the me.dium headquarters.

The first Evangicamp that we had -- back in December -- was a great success, with lots of food for thought and great discussions.

I have no doubt that Evangicamp v 2.0 will also be fruitful, with people from madKast, Lijit, me.dium, Fuser, Filtrbox, Villij, and other tech startups attending!

Full wrap-up on how it goes later in the week!

Friday, January 25, 2008

madKast Adds One!

I'm delighted to introduce you to the newest member of the extended madKast family: Michael Restuccia. He is the beautiful baby boy born last weekend to our CTO, Tony, and his lovely wife, Apple.

Michael arrived on January 20th and came into the world as a 7lb 11ounce, 20 inch long bundle of joy! Mom and Michael are both doing well.

We're ecstatic for Tony and Apple and wish them and Michael the best.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Do What We Did: Apply to Techstars!

As most of you who read this blog know, madKast had the profound honor and privilege of being one of ten chosen (out of more than 300 who applied) to the TechStars program in Boulder, CO this past summer.

While we received $15,000 in seed funding from TechStars, this number only tells a tiny fraction of the story. From late May through mid August we, along with the nine other startups chosen, received first-rate, invaluable mentorship, advice, guidance and support from some of the brightest in the tech community.

We had workshops, discussions, and individual meetings with some of the top venture capitalists and investors in the area, from founders and directors of some of the most successful tech companies and startups (like NewsGator, MyBlogLog, Yahoo, PayPal, Microsoft, etc), to design firms as well as access to legal help.

Because of the priceless mentorship we received, and relationships we built during our time at TechStars, we were able to successfully raise a Series A venture capital round of $300,000 less than a month after the program ended. That is what is allowing us to continue to build and grow madKast into the bright vision we have.

Why am I writing about all of this now? Quite simple, really: TechStars applications have opened for the 2008 summer session, and we’d let people know that TechStars is a truly invaluable experience and that if you have a startup idea or company you’d benefit immensely from the same guidance and support we did. Plus, Boulder is a pretty amazing place to live, especially during the summer.

We are very grateful for the TechStars program which helped nurture and support our ideas into a successful tech startup company whose growth (number of active blogs) has increased by 40% over the past two months.

Check out the TechCrunch article on TechStars and consider applying today!

If you’d like to know more specifically about madKast’s experience at TechStars, feel free to shoot me an e-mail at josh AT madkast DOT com.

Friday, January 18, 2008

Introducing Detailed Analytics from madKast!

Though I gave a brief teaser of it in the last post, I'm happy to report to you that madKast has launched a detailed post-centric analytics package that will provide bloggers with details about how their readers are interacting with their blog content.

All you need to do is visit madKast and type in the name of your blog in the search field in the upper right corner of the site. You will then be directed to the analytics for your site.

I’d like to give you a preview of some of the stats on the analytics page. First, there is a chronological graph (in green) of the number of the times individual posts on your blog have been read. Also on this graph (in blue) is a plot of the number of times readers have shared your content through e-mail and social bookmarking sites. In addition, on the left you’ll see the percentage of your readers that also read other sites madKast is installed on. Below that, you’ll see a tag cloud showing which words or topics are mentioned most frequently on your blog. On the bottom part of your page, you can see which of your blog’s posts have been shared most frequently as well as which posts are the most frequently shared within your blog’s “community” – which includes other blogs your readers visit.

If you are unhappy with the number of times content has been shared on your blog it is most likely because your readers are not familiar with using madKast. We’ve found that both sharing and readership of content on blogs that madKast is installed on increases noticeably when the blogger mentions what madKast is and how to use it. If you haven’t yet introduced madKast to your readers, and are comfortable doing so, you’ll probably see a spurt in sharing and readership. And finally, if you have blogging friends who don't have madKast on their sites, tell them about it!

We value your opinions and feedback at madKast, so please let us know if there are other statistics you’d like to see or improvements you can suggest to us to make the analytics page even more useful and informative for you. Either leave a comment here or send an e-mail to feedback AT madKast DOT com.

Tuesday, January 8, 2008

Off to a Great Start in 2008

We've seem some pretty impressive growth in the number of blogs using madKast in recent weeks and months. In particular, we've seen a 20% increase in the past month and a whopping 50% increase over the past two months. Now that we have added compelling, detailed site analytics to madKast -- type in the name of your blog here to retreive them -- we should see these numbers increase at an even faster rate.

I'd like to mention some of the recent blogs that have installed madKast:
Thanks to these sites and many more who are every day installing or using madKast. And if you have madKast on your site and haven't yet checked out your site analytics, I urge you to; there's some neat information there!