This Week in Startups
Has browsing the pages of Pinterest ever sparked your curiosity for home décor? Well, there’s an app on the market that gives users access to interior design at much lower prices than what are industry-standard.
Y Combinator-backed startup Tastemaker hopes to make professional home design a reality for people who previously thought it was inaccessible due to high costs. It works by allowing users to submit a request for proposal and answer questions about their personal taste, desired budget, and practical concerns like room dimensions. They then choose a proposal offered by designers and receive a Tastemaker design box that includes floor plans, paint swatches, drawings, and a suggested list of what to buy.
How do they monetize? Tastemaker takes a cut of the design fees. A typical design plan from them costs between $600 and $2250, while a traditional designer would charge between $5k and $10k.
Co-founder Joe Fraiman says, “Most of our customers are ‘decorating virgins’ … and they don’t know what to expect from hiring an interior decorator. We have to educate them and it’s challenging to do that in a fun and appealing way.” On what it provides for designers, Fraiman comments, “We hope to provide a source of endless on-demand work for skilled decorators who want to freelance; professionals or people like you who just love home design and have the talent to do it.”
Sound exciting? Check out Tastemaker’s website to begin your interior design project!
Back to School with Social Media
It’s already time for kids to head back to school. Thinking back, for many, part of the socialization process was being merged into a clique of people. Likeable Media lays out four distinct cliques and how each one represents social media practices.
Jocks. All eyes are on this group as they carry the school’s name and athletic reputation. Jocks correlate with Facebook in the way that visual content should be used. Remember that such content should be newsworthy, shareable, and appealing. As jocks score the touchdowns, great Facebook marketers score points with their audiences by engaging them.
Cheerleaders. It’s hard to ignore this group of people, because their loud voices and cheerful spirits allow us to learn two things: 1- Awareness of spelling and grammar. 2- Using a short and definitive call to action. Allow customers to fall in love with your brand.
Science Nerds. This group represents the importance of monitoring everything from start to finish. You can put brilliant case studies together by measuring key performance indicators. Nerds may not be cool, but they show us what it takes to reach full brand potential.
Bullies. These guys provide infamous examples of what not to do on social media. Someone who is loud, talks in third person, and demands attention is not a suitable voice for engaging consumers. Easy lesson here: don’t be a bully - allow your marketing to be inbound.
Innovation vs. Imitation
Innovation is a hot word, and not just in entrepreneurial circles. All around us companies are crafting their business models around technology, efficiency and innovation. But is innovation the sole key to success? A look into recent history reveals maybe not.
Oded Shenkar, author of the book Copycats: How Smart Companies Use Imitation to Gain a Strategic Edge, admits, “In the tech startup world, people tend to equate entrepreneurial activity with innovation, and that’s the wrong assumption … There’s a long history of successful startups that are build on imitation, not innovation.”
Shenkar says Steve Jobs and Mark Zuckerberg are great imitators. He doesn’t undermine their work, but celebrates it in recognition that imitation is perhaps equally valuable to innovation. “We have this reverence for innovation, but imitation is often the key to success,” Shenkar claims.
We can’t deny that the business world looks at imitation as a dumb thing that’s done by people who aren’t able to innovate. Imitators often execute better than innovators because they study the mistakes of innovators and learn from them. RC produced the first diet cola (Diet Rite) in 1958, but its imitators Coke and Pepsi rule the soda industry.
What do you think? Is more credit given to innovators or imitators?