Michael’s Response

Siddiq T. Bello wrote:

1) How did you come up with the idea for ajaxWrite or MP3Tunes?

My mantra is that everything is moving to the net cloud. If it can be digitized, it will be stored on the net because it's safer, more accessible and ultimately more adaptable.

MP3tunes is applying that concept to music. Music is just data and we're providing everyone a personalized music locker where they can store their tunes and playlist online. Once it's online they can access it from anywhere using a browser. See screenshots at: http://mp3tunes.com/screenshots The vision really comes into focus as we enable non-PC devices to access and play your music library and playlists. We have published an API (see://mp3tunes.com/api) and you'll see non-PC devices interfaces such as phones, DVRs, game consoles shortly.

ajaxWrite is a fresh look at an old concept – software as a service or the thin client. It's been tried in the past, but what makes it unique is that ajaxWrite looks and operates like a traditional application. Thanks to the advanced browser platform and proliferation of broadband, it's now possible to deliver net applications like never before.

a) How long does it take you to go from idea to beta product?

Depends on the product of course, but because most of my idea are software/net delivered three to six months is probably typical. Any longer than that and my direction would be to pare the concept down and get something more limited out sooner so you can start collecting actual data.

2) What was your approach to consumer research (focus groups, surveys etc…)?

The only meaningful consumer research for my needs is actual data. Because it's possible to quickly launch a product and then measure real user behavior, I think it's obsoleted traditional focus groups techniques. It's easy to fool yourself with a focus group and formal survey processes. You can't do that when you're measuring what consumers are precisely using and paying for.

a) Have you used them in the past and if so to what effect?

My companies have never done traditional focus groups. The closest we've come is online surveys or polls – just quick barometer readings to get some additional feedback.

3) Did you do a formal business plan with financial projects? If so…

No. I sit down with my team and tell them what I'm envisioning and they go and build it.

a) How did you forecast demand?

I use my own intuition to determine if I think there will be demand.

b) How did you model market size?

I typically select areas of broad consumer interest (phone calls, music, desktop software, etc) so I don't need a model to tell me people want to do it because I see that they already do.

c) How closely does your current product match with the plan?

At launch it will closely match the plan, but from there we measure everything and adapt as we get data on what consumers are responding to.

4) What resources did you have (financial and otherwise) to implement the idea?

I'm probably in a relatively unique situation because I can simply use my own checkbook to get an idea started. The first thing I look for is a President who is a bright, hard working, generalist who can supervise every aspect of the company. I hire this person and then turn over the rest of the responsibility to them.

5) Who was the first person you called to move the idea forward and

what was that conversation like?

I'll test ideas and hone them with my wife and trusted business associates who run my current companies. Then I'll spend lots of time collecting data on the net.

You can read about ajaxWrite's formation here: http://michaelrobertson.com/archive.php?minute_id=206

Thanks for reaching out to me.

— MR


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