Wahooliganism breaks out in Lichfield businesses

Posted by Chris on February 24th, 2012

Lichfield businesses have been subjected to an incredible outbreak of Wahooliganism. Wahooliganism first emerged in Minneapolis in the U.S. last year and then spread globally via highly connected individuals and internet influencers.

It gained serious Klout along the way but suffered a setback in early February. It is expected to re-emerge over the coming weeks stronger than ever and businesses in Lichfield and indeed globally are advised to prepare.

What is Wahooliganism ??

A short description proffered by Wahooly founder Dana Severson is  ” Accelerating Start-up growth through online influence.

There’s a good description of Wahooly in TechCrunch here:


Wahooly ( a start-up itself ) is helping it’s first 3 start-up’s ( actually on the website there are 4 now – http://wahooly.com/ ) to gain traction by having ” influential people ” invest time, effort and skills in them and promote them on a global basis.

Does this actually work ???

Well I think it does. Word of Mouth Marketing,Networking and Referrals are established ways of ” getting the word out ” and ” growing the business “.

For those of you who have read Gladwell’s ” The Tipping Point ” you will know that “The success of any kind of social epidemic is heavily dependent on the involvement of people with a particular and rare set of social gifts.” These people are Connectors, Mavens and Salespeople.

According to Gladwell, economists call this the “80/20 Principle, which is the idea that in any situation roughly 80 percent of the ‘work’ will be done by 20 percent of the participants.”

The 20% are defined by Klout ( arguably ) as those who have a Klout score of greater than 45. ( Klout is only one company that is measuring Internet ” influence ).

This is not really rocket science – you get influential people ( in real life and virtual life ) to promote your company, products and services and this helps you grow your business.

Let’s take two examples:

Twylah ( http://www.twylah.com/ )

Twylah is a company that wants to take your Twitter Tweets and ” Tell your story and get you noticed ” by making an awesome looking website out of your Tweets. Twylah is based in San Franciso and is a start-up with co-founders Kelly and Eric Kim. Kelly is the community manager for Twylah and the marketing face of @Twylah.

Kelly Kim

Twylah has some VERY famous clients already ( see http://www.twylah.com/featured ) which include Lady GaGa, Britney Spears, Bon Jovi and Arnold Shwarzenegger !! This might give you the impression that only famous people need apply ! Here is David Skok of Matrix Partners Twylah page http://www.twylah.com/bostonvc/topics/matrix ( A Boston based VC investor  ) and here’s my Twylah page  http://www.twylah.com/cwindley .

From small beginnings Twylah has spread globally – mainly by using Twitter. Kelly has some 13,000 or so followers on Twitter. By picking certain people ( famous, influential, interesting ) Kelly has spread the word on Twylah and now Twylah users are spreading the word further.

Coco Meli Bakery ( http://www.cocomelibakery.co.uk/ )

More locally, Meli Nicolaou, of Coco Meli Bakery is using various means to promote her Artisan Bakery business and newly launched refreshments van at Trent Valley Railway Station.

Meli (  @CocoMeliBakery on Twitter )

Meli Nicolaou

has a relatively small ( well at least to Kelly !! ) Twitter follower base ( 500 odd ) but she has used this to help spread the word about her business. She now has a Twylah page http://www.twylah.com/CocoMeliBakery .

Again, physically and online she is spreading the word and others are spreading the word for her – some of them are influential people.

The involvement of influential people is having an actual positive effect on the growth of the business. What is the value of a new Twylah customer or a new Coco Meli Bakery customer ?? I don’t know but Eric Kim’s background is in the monetisation of Internet platforms and to him ( and the industry he has worked in for the last 10 years or so ) each follower, retweeter, circler, favouriter, liker and email address has a dollar or pound ( or part of ) value !!

Social Media Summariser Hootsuite shows how High Tech Lichfield can see growth

Posted by Chris on February 15th, 2012

Hootsuite is one of a number of applications that now exist for people to monitor relevant activity on a number of social media networks simultaneously like Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin and Google +. Competitors to Hootsuite include TweetDeck, PeopleBrowser and CoTweet. One of the major concerns for investors considering investing in HootSuite was it’s location in Vancouver, Canada.

You may know that Vancouver is  the home of many start-ups lots of which are ” high Tech. ” including HootSuite. HootSuite was ranked in the top 10 at the time of this survey.

Vancouver is a beautiful City located on the West Coast of Canada and a 100 or so miles away from Seattle, U.S. – the home of Microsoft and the original home of Starbucks Coffee . I have been to Vancouver a number of times – mainly to ski in Whistler. I sent my son David there to learn about Internet Marketing and I will also always remember it as the home of ” those otters “. You know the cute ones that float around holding hands and have over 17 Million hits on YouTube !! We tried to get David to visit the otters in Vancouver Aquarium but he never quite made it. He did however fly out to Vancouver and back on his own.

Anyway – back to HootSuite. One of the downsides identified with HootSuite by the venture capitalists, as mentioned earlier, was that it was based in Vancouver.  You can’t really believe that Vancouver is viewed ( by some ) as a backwater but it is. It’s vibrant start-up community is a drop in the ocean when compared with e.g. San Francisco, New York and Boston.

The biggest problem perceived ??? How would they get the talent needed ??

In fact this “disadvantage” turned out to be an advantage ….

“Up there, surrounded by quality dev talent with limited competition, HootSuite has been able to attract A+ people at a fraction of the cost of its competitors. This advantage has only grown as HootSuite now is one of the top tech companies to work for in Canada and can pull from across the entire country. ”

Similarly a ” Silicon Crossroads ” in Lichfield would be perceived as ” nowhere ” by the High Tech. community but it has major advantages in the talent pool, the location, access to transport and many other areas.

2007 article about Vancouver’s High Tech. start-up’s:


It sounds just like a Hubspot !

Posted by Chris on February 9th, 2012

You know that Golf advert – ” sounds just like a Golf ” well the other day I am having a conversation with someone and they are telling me that ” they have something that sounds just like a HubSpot ” . I’m saying to myself – well I don’t want something that sounds just like a HubSpot – I want a HubSpot.

Look – I don’t work for HubSpot, I ain’t getting paid by HubSpot and if you cut my head open you won’t find ” HubSpot ” written inside – it’s just that I can’t stand all this stuff that looks and sounds like HubSpot but isn’t HubSpot.

This web developer sort of guy is saying to me ” Yeah, well I can pull this app. to do analytics and this app. to do this bit and this app. to that bit and .. ” and I’m thinking right, so YOU are going to pull all these apps. together to tell ME what I want to know about my website and my Internet Marketing and so forth.

ok so that’s cool but I can go to HubSpot’s Marketing Grader and get a full analysis of any website at any time.

I can put my website onto the HubSpot platform ( which has an Alexa ranking of 702 in the world – I DO NOT have time to explain the value of platforms to you ) and get information about the performance and effectiveness of my website in a way that I can understand – as a business owner – easily OR I can let you pull together all these apps. and then try to explain to me what they are saying – because I will never be able to understand them myself.

Look – if I want something like a HubSpot I will look you up – in the meantime I will have  HubSpot please. 😉

The Biggest Lie I ever heard about Web Marketing in Lichfield !

Posted by Chris on February 7th, 2012

Well actually this lie about Web Marketing was not heard in Lichfield but received in an email from U.S. Marketing guru, Charlie Cook, whose blogsite and article with a title similar to mine is here . Hopefully Charlie will be o.k. with me borrowing from his email ( initially ) and blog post.

You really want to take the time to follow this link ( here it is again )


and read it before coming back to my blog post.

The gist of it is this: Business people realise that they have to invest considerable amounts of money, time, skill, knowledge and effort into” bricks and mortar sites ” like for example a new restaurant in a chain of restaurants or a new office location in an expanding company but they think that they can open up the Internet or online part of a company for nothing and in a short space of  time, with no skills or knowledge and little effort.

They then wonder why it has not worked.

Charlie says ” Isabela, a successful restaurant chain owner,  knows that when she opens a new restaurant, it’s a big investment. On average it takes, $494,888 to open a restaurant. Yes almost a half million dollars. Of course, within 18 months the typical restaurant is grossing $1,171,629 a year and making a profit of $91,103 – which isn’t bad at all.

How about Isabela’s online business? How much did she spend to get it up and running? Practically nothing – and no surprise it makes practically nothing. ”

I often say to people ” Treat your website like an online sales team ” . Now guess what – a successful physical sales team takes  all the things to build that I have mentioned earlier money ( and some ! ), time, skill, knowledge, experience and effort. Not to mention the fact that you need tools, processes and systems in place to monitor the performance and effectiveness of your salesforce. Those of you that have built a salesforce
( accountancy, law practice etc etc ) know that getting the right team is an extremely difficult and time consuming process.

Charlie reckoned that Isabela’s Internet business could be making $200,000.00 for her but was actually making virtually nothing. This is like a salesperson carrying a ( profit target ) of 2 restaurants worth. To generate $200K the investment would be huge.

I whizzed Charlie’s email off to one of the Director’s of a company that I work with and he came straight back with:

” I always say to the retailers I speak to that want to be e-tailers that the web store needs to be treated like any other store, and will require time and investment if it’s going to be a success on the same scale. “

So, maybe this will help ?? When you are thinking about starting an online business think about it like opening up a new restaurant, a new store a new branch or building a new salesforce and maybe you will get things into perspective !!

Could Lichfield become the U.S. high tech startup destination ?

Posted by Chris on February 6th, 2012

High Tech. Start-up’s are booming in the U.S. with Boston, New York and Silicon Valley all very active and there are many U.S. start-up’s looking at establishing a European office. Could Lichfield a.k.a. Silicon Crossroads in Staffordshire dare to dream that it might host some of these start-up’s ?

Friends of mine established Leap the Pond some years ago in order to assist start-up’s gain a successful foothold from the U.S. to the U.K. and vice versa and also from Asia to the U.K. and America and vice versa.

A while back I wrote this blog


as I was asked to suggest a suitable European location for a U.S. software company that I knew.

Right at the end you will see mention of an accounting practice called the ” Double Irish and a Dutch Sandwich ” fully described here


which describes the tax savings achieved by Google and to be achieved by Twitter by having offices in Southern Ireland and Luxembourg.

Like it or not the ” financial parameters ” are going to have a significant influence on where a foreign company bases itself in Europe.

Helmet cheek piece

Lichfield can do no better than London in influencing the tax position of the U.K. mainland. The so called ” Silicon Roundabout ” in London will have to put up with U.k. Tax laws although it is interesting to note that Google also has offices in London and is taking more space in Silicon Roundabout:


Recognised ” High Tech. ” areas in the U.K. include: London, M4 corridor, Cambridge, Oxford and Silicon Glen, Scotland. There has been an effort to make the M42/M5 corridor High Tech. and also Telford hosts a number of High Tech. companies.

When you look at Europe from the U.S. you probably have a different perspective and London, Luxembourg, Belgium, Holland and Barcelona in Spain all seem to figure high in Americans minds.

I.D.A. Ireland ( now known as the ” Silicon Republic ” !! ) is very active in the U.S. with ” salespeople ” based in Boston, New York and the West Coast yet it does not necessarily get considered despite having many high tech companies based there.


This video by the C.E.O. of IDA Ireland spells out a lot of the criteria


The Tax Environment

The Business offer ( Incentives to base your H.Q. there )

The Talent Pool

The Track Record

Proximity to other ” synergistic ”  businesses.

Transport links

Despite very tough economics in Ireland, or perhaps because of it, I.D.A. Ireland has got all it’s ducks in a row and does a massively professional job of getting inward investment.

Pectoral cross

Lichfield has to live with the tax regime, as does London.

The business offer would have to be very good.

The Talent Pool, whilst small is there.

It has little track record and not many existing businesses to be synergistic with. There is however a talent pool skilled in web design and S.E.O.

It has fabulous transport links.

It is a beautiful location, great lifestyle and has an opportunity with the ” Saxon Hoard ” to become much better known around the world.

With a lot of work and commitment Lichfield could become a High Tech base.

N.B. This post in the Guardian about The Lichfield Blog


shows the depth of the social media knowledge in the area.

Information about Tech City, London : http://www.ukti.gov.uk/investintheuk/sectoropportunities/ict/item/124866.html

Internet marketing performance of Lichfield based businesses

Posted by Chris on January 31st, 2012

Lichfield in Staffordshire has a very Internet aware local government ( e.g. Lichfield District Council uses Twitter for Planning Applications ) and local business population. I thought it would be interesting to use HubSpot’s Marketing Grader software to grade the Internet Marketing Performance of a random selection of Lichfield based businesses.

I chose my random selection not so randomly, mainly from HubSpot’s Twitter Grader for Lichfield on the basis that if people were on Twitter then they were likely to be pretty Internet savvy and social media aware. Hence my selection was ( in order of best performing ) Lichfield Live  , Lichfield District Council , Executives on the Web ( our ” web ” company ) , InterVallum ( Paul Hooper-Keeley has the most Twitter followers in the area ) Hellmann ( Logistics ) and finally Framework Gallery ( who I spoke about in an earlier blog and who performed well in a local search on ” oil paintings “.

Stylised seahorse



I wanted to get a bit of a ” spread ” of results i.e. from high end results like Lichfield Live ( who you would sort of expect to have a comprehensive Internet presence ) , through Lichfield D.C. ( who probably have a team of website specialists and as mentioned before are very pro. social media and the Internet ) to Executives on the Web ( who again, as a web based business, you would expect to be pretty high ranking )  to Hellmann’s ( who arguably don’t need a particularly strong web presence ? ) to Framework Gallery who, as I say performed well in some earlier searches.

I don’t propose to go into any detail on each of the reports ( they are all listed below if you want to take a look at them ) but you probably need to understand that these grades are relative to thousands of other websites around the world i.e. 78/100 means that the Lichfield Live website in conjunction with it’s associated blog and social media memberships  has a better internet marketing performance than 78% of the web presences reviewed by HubSpot. That’s pretty good !!


Millefiori stud

You also need to understand that HubSpot takes a pretty ” salesy ” view of life. Terms like Top of the Funnel and Middle of the Funnel may not mean much to some business people but they will be familiar to most salespeople. HubSpot’s mantra is ” Get Found ( on the Internet ), Convert ( Visitors to leads ) and Analyse ( how you did it and how you could do it better ).

To achieve this HubSpot recommends the establishment of what I call an ” Internet Ecosystem ” i.e. a combination of a website, a blogsite and various social media memberships and other sites that essentially drive visitors back to your website. ”


Sword pyramid

Marketing Grader Reports

http://marketing.grader.com/site/lichfieldlive.co.uk  – 78/100

http://marketing.grader.com/site/www.lichfielddc.gov.uk – 68/100

http://marketing.grader.com/site/www.executivesontheweb.com – 60/100

http://marketing.grader.com/site/www.hellmann.net – 39/100

http://marketing.grader.com/site/www.intervallum.co.uk  – 31/100

http://marketing.grader.com/site/www.framework-gallery.co.uk – 12/100


Start up Start up Wahooly Starts tomorrow with Klout behind it

Posted by Chris on January 31st, 2012

Start up Wahooly starts tomorrow ( Tuesday 31st January ) having used Klout to select it’s members. I realise that this is is all about as clear as mud at the moment !

Let’s start with Klout which is a company ( one of a few that are doing this ) that essentially grades your Internet influence. Here is Klout about Klout:


” Klout was founded in 2008 to help you measure and leverage your influence. We believe influence is the ability to drive action. For example, Oprah’s opinion on literature has inspired millions to read titles from her book club. But you don’t have to be Oprah to have influence. You influence your friend when she listens to a song you recommend on Facebook. You influence your coworker when he checks out an article you posted on LinkedIn and shares it with someone else. Social actions like these are a reflection of influence. ”

Klout uses a ” secret algorithm ” to measure people and brand influence.



A few month’s ago this algorithm was ” modified ” and a lot of people’s ” Klout score ” changed ( many for the worse ) generating considerable reaction from Klout ” members “.

A lot of people say ” Who are Klout and what right do they have to rank my influence ? ” I have my own issues with Klout including the fact that they have a lot of technical bugs that impact people’s scores.

Anyway – let’s get on to Wahooly. Wahooly is a start-up that aims to help start-ups by recruiting ” influential ” people to promote start-ups that they wish to support. In return the influencers get equity ( shares ) in the start-up. So, this is like hiring an Internet Marketing Expert ( Social Media Marketer ) and PR person and paying them in equity rather than hard cash.

Will it work ?? We shall see.

To be a member of Wahooly you needed to have a Klout score of 45 or above ( mine was at the time of selection but has fallen slightly since. I have been as high as 67 in the past ).

More on Wahooly’s use of Klout here:


I am therefore a founder member of Wahooly and a Wahooligan ( as they call it ).


Given that it has been very hard to raise start-up capital in the last few years there have been many new initiatives to help start-ups get going. Equity for influence is just the latest of them. There have, for example , been a whole host of crowd financing ( investing small amounts of money for small amounts of equity ) initiatives.

Obviously Wahooly has a presence on the main social media platforms:






Google +




It is going to be an interesting experiment !!






Using Hubspot Marketing Grader in the U.K.

Posted by Chris on January 29th, 2012

I have recently been using Hubspot’s Marketing Grader to assess how well some of my clients Internet Marketing efforts are working. It is a fantastic tool and looks at not only a company’s website effectiveness but also the supporting Internet ecosystem.

A tool like HubSpot Marketing Grader is vital when trying to work out how easily a person or companies website is being found on the major search engines for relevant search terms and also how well visitors to that website are being converted into prospects and customers.


HubSpot has always looked at Internet Marketing in simple terms: How well are you found ? How effectively do you convert ? What are the statistics that support that process and how can they be improved ?

What I find so often is that people don’t understand what a website is there for. It is there as part of your overall marketing efforts to create leads and convert them to orders.

As a salesperson I completely identify with this view of the world and I say to people ” Treat your website like another salesperson or sales team ” and look at it’s effectiveness in the same way that you would look at the effectiveness of your sales team.

If, as I have done, you were running a salesforce ( in a fairly advanced way ) you would measure things like Activity, Skill and Knowledge and collect information like “How many prospects they have ? ”  “How many proposals they have written ? ” and other data that would give you some indication of the effectiveness of your investment into a salesperson or salesforce.

It is somewhat interesting that HubSpot eschews some of the “old ways ” of prospecting and selling ( broadly lumped into Push Selling or Marketing or Outbound Selling/Marketing e.g. telemarketing, mailshotting etc etc ) whilst utilising many of the same methods of analysing the effectiveness of the ” Pull ” or ” Inbound Marketing ” approach.

Internet Marketing is not just about an effective website it is also about traffic being driven to that website from blogsites and social media and about the effectiveness of e.g. your Facebook campaigns and presence in their own right.

HubSpot’s Marketing Grader gives you a comprehensive checklist to work through but you do have to understand the overall strategy.

Get your Internet Marketing Grade here:




If you need help understanding what to do please contact me.

Here are a couple of links to videos about Marketing Grader




Internet Monetisation hierarchy, email and platforms

Posted by Chris on January 27th, 2012

I recently watched the Twylah video referred to in Jim Connolly’s Marketing Blog here:


( See also the video at the end of this blog for more about Twylah )

and aside from what Jim had said and the fact that I agreed with him that Twylah had a great story there were a couple of things that resonated with me:

Internet Monetisation




I noted that Eric Kim, the co-founder of Twylah had been involved in Internet Monetisation ( that’s like ” Show me the money ” in amongst all this Internet stuff ! ) for around 11 years and that he had founded Twylah because there was no obvious monetisation strategy emerging for Twitter. I also noted that he carried around in his head an ” Internet Monetisation Hierarchy ” ( I was going to call it a Pyramid but Pyramids have such bad press in recent years ! ) which went something like – an email address has the highest monetary value ( he actually put a value on a 1000 email addresses being emailed as ranging between $5 and $100 ) and then said that email has a higher value than e.g. a Facebook ” like ” which in turn has a higher value than a Twitter ” follow “.

He said that ” email is STILL the number one mechanism for communicating. People check their email first ( typically ) before checking social media “. A point which I will come back to.

I am sure that Eric has a whole load more ” valuations ” in his head and they range from the obvious like ” the number of visitors to your website ”  and ” the number of transactions through your website and the value of those transactions ” to the less obvious like ” the number of favourites and retweets  on Twitter “.  Everything has a ( micro ? ) value.

Recently I have been using HubSpot’s ( Internet ) Marketing Grader to see how well some companies Internet Marketing ” System ” is working. Since HubSpot is basically trying to see how easily you get found on the Internet, how well you convert visitors into ” leads ” ( which might mean getting their email address and permission to email ) and how well the being found and converting process works it is broadly speaking helping to measure the ” value ” of your Internet Marketing system.


It looks at your website, your blogs and your social networks and how one element provides support to the other elements.

Included within the HubSpot Marketing Grade is your Klout Score  ( arguably, a valuation of your Internet presence ) and offers you incentives based on your Klout score e.g. a £50 credit to AirBnB .

Twylah is another piece of the Internet Marketing ecosystem jigsaw – automatically converting your Tweets to what looks something like a blog page ( Mine is here ) and also analysing the effectiveness of your Tweets in achieving micro-value via follows, favourites, retweets etc etc.

2 of HubSpot’s favourite elements are ( or can be )  included within a Twylah page – an email sign up and/or another ” Call to Action ” ( e.g. Click here and buy and download  Lady GaGa’s latest single ).

The Importance of email

As Eric says ( and many people agree with him ) email is still very important.

This blog

Email Marketing is down but not out !

is spot-on. There are challenges with email marketing but it is probably the highest value item that you can attain and therefore it is your OBJECTIVE to get it !!




I am constantly reminded of the value of ” platform websites ” . This blog is on WordPress which is becoming hugely powerful. ( It has an Alexa ranking of 18th in the world ).  N.B. HubSpot’s Alexa ranking is 691 and Twylah’s 14,504.

Ecademy.com ( Alexa 9,377 ) was one of the first sites where I noticed the effect of ” Platform Power ” some 10 years ago.

Content posted on these websites becomes very visible to search engines like Google and ranks highly. ( I highly recommend WordPress and HubSpot based websites !! ) Over time Twylah will also become very powerful ( it’s Alexa ranking grew 35% over the last 3 months ).


So, in summary keep in mind platforms and the Monetisation Hierarchy and keep trying to get those email addresses and use them !!


Another great video about Twylah  below


Who has the most twitter followers in lichfield ?

Posted by Chris on January 26th, 2012

Well I do – but then again I don’t – according to the applications that tell you who has the most Twitter followers in e.g. Lichfield or Birmingham or London or the World  –  like Twitter Elite


and Twitaholic


I do, in that if you look here


I have a Tweet Grade of 97.4 and ( currently ) 2,278 followers but I don’t appear on the list ( at the time of writing ) produced by Tweet Grader in the first link that I detailed above.  Philip John has that honour currently. (  philipjohn )

Out of interest the person who has the most followers in Birmingham


is an 18 year old Economics student called Aluna Sagita Gutawa with over 1.1 Million followers !!!! ( How ?? Why ?? )

Philip and I have never met ( to my knowledge ) but he and I do have a common interest in WordPress blogs it seems. ( Where I am writing this ).

Does it matter ????

Well actually the number of followers ( like e.g. the number of Facebook likes or the number of email addresses ) does actually have a monetary value, small though it may be. ( For example I recently heard the co-founder of U.S. based start-up Twylah talk about a dollar value for the number of email addresses something was emailed to ).

What does matter is visibility on the Internet and being found on the Internet via search engines like Google.

Tweets are also being turned into website pages that can attract ” traffic ” ( visitors and users ) and rank on Google. Here is my Twylah page for example:


( Twylah is in beta at the moment so you have to request a Twylah page )

If you don’t think being a Tweep is very interesting then you might find being a ” Twyp ” of more value 😉

You might not think very much of Lady GaGa either but she is a ” Twyp ”


along with a whole host of other celebrities


GaGa’s ephemeral Tweets have been turned into a much longer lasting web page ( with the invitation to download her music ).

Translated into something that might interest the average Lichfieldian ?? well it’s another way of getting ( global ) visibility for your Lichfield based business.

Connecting with and communicating with people is important and so is being found.







Copyright © 2007 M & A Rainmaker. All rights reserved.