A General Update Regarding StatusPeople

By Rob | 29 Aug 2016, 09:00am | Category: General

Hi All,

Some of you have been asking me about the state of StatusPeople.com and our Fakers App. You are worried that because there hasn't been much activity on our Twitter feed or blog that we're no longer supporting the site.

Let me assure the site and Fakers App remain active and are being supported. We have released code updates this year and plan to do more in the not to distant future.

The reality is though that this project is now a one man show. As some of you should be aware I'm @RobDWaller on Twitter and you can always contact me there, or as normal email at [email protected]  

I am of course a very busy software developer, in fact I recently became a team manager, I will always try to respond to your communications quickly, but sometimes it might take me a few days.

I'll try to update this blog a little more often now.

I hope that all makes sense.

Cheers, Rob

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year: StatusPeople 2012 Review

By Rob | 21 Dec 2012, 11:00am | Category: General

So 2012 is nearly done and dusted forever... It's been an amazing year and thankfully I'm still here plugging away at StatusPeople.

The year I suppose began slowly. In many respects we were still feeling around to define what our product was and how you get a business up and running. And while it has been a tough one financially we have made significant progress in this direction. Our product is beginning to take shape and we're beginning to get the business side of things running properly.

But of course the high point for us came in July when we launched our Fakers App. A tool that checks how many fake Twitter followers you and your friends have. Within a month it had exploded all over the Internet -- which certainly wasn't expected.

It was featured in Mashable, the New York Times, The Telegraph and many more publications. I was also intereviewed on CNN and Radio 4 and was generously shipped out to LA to talk Social at the Scion Music(Less) Conference. See here's a picture of Santa Monica beach and the Pacific Ocean taken on my old iPhone 3GS...

The Fakers App has now generated over 340,000 sign ups, been blatantly copied by Social Bakers -- seriously if you want to cover your fries in knock off Ketchup be our guests... And it spawned the Fakers Dashboard which produced my best moment of the year -- our first sale. 

Genuinely I am very humbled and proud that someone would pay me for a tool I built. And to all those who have parted with their hard earned cash for one of products thank you very much, it is much appreciated.

Other high points include the re-design of our website, which was carried out by the amazing @meteoracle. Seriously he is a design genius and has plenty more to come in 2013. We've also begun working with some large test clients -- and all credit has to go to Ben for all the hard work he has done to make this happen.

So what's in line for 2013. Well, a lot we hope. Yesterday we released some more updates to our tool to improve our Facebook features and our scheduled campaigns. And you will see a lot more improvements to our existing tools over the next few months. We also plan to release our mobile apps early in the New Year and a set of training courses. And by the end of Q1 2013 we hope to have a killer social media marketing product out on the market.

However our main objective for 2013 is to become a sustainable business. And we're hoping to achieve this by the end of Q2 2013. We will do this by improving our pricing plan and bringing on board some of the exciting clients we have been testing with over the last few months.

We hope you have enjoyed 2012 as much as us. Have a great Christmas and New Year. And here's to an amazing 2013.

We're off to LA for the Scion Music(Less) Conference

By Rob | 2 Oct 2012, 10:00am | Category: General

This is just a quick message to let you know I'm flying out to LA today for the Scion Music(Less) Conference.

We've been invited to contribute to the Social Media panel discussing "Truth in Social Media". It's being hosted by Wired and NYT journalist Steven Leckart (@stevenleckart) and it kicks off at 2:15pm on Friday.

So if you're in the area and want to ask some question or just have a chat sign up to the conference and come a long. Also I'll be at the conference both days so if you want to catch up before my panel appearance just send us a tweet to @RobDWaller.

Hope to see you in LA.

Speak soon.

Update 2012/10/03: Just so things are clear Wired and NYT have no relationship to the Scion Music(Less) conference they were merely referenced in relation to Steven's resume... Also Steven has informed me that he is only a 'moderator', which sounds like host to me but we won't dive into the world of semantics as I will still treat Steven like Sir Brucey -- he won't get that joke...

We Shouldn't Need Tech City

By Rob | 22 Mar 2012, 12:00pm | Category: General

There seems to be a lot of talk about Tech City at the mo and whether it has been a good thing or not. @Olivia_Solon over at Wired Magazine has written a detailed 'expose' and a supportive blog post on London's 'coolest' QUANGO. While @Nero has questioned whether Tech City will be around for too much longer.

Anyway as a start up wanabe, not based in East London, I thought I'd provide a few of my own thoughts on this topic. For me this issue isn't really about whether the people at Tech City are doing a good job or not. I'm sure they are trying their best to fulfill the objectives of their mandate. And their £1.7m budget is hardly worth mentioning -- even in these austere times...

The question we need to ask ourselves is why do we need QUNAGOs like Tech City at all? @Olivia_Solon suggests that one of the main reasons is to attract foreign investment to London...

Tech City was officially launched out of UKTI in November 2010 by David Cameron to promote the vibrancy and growth of the area to attract foreign direct investment, entrepreneurs and large companies to the area. It aims to provide a direct dial to policy makers, organise networking and cheerleading events as well as encourage companies looking for a European HQ to consider London over other cities.

My question would be, should this not be obvious? Surely it should be abunduntly clear why foreign investors, entrepreneurs and corporations should want to do business in London..? And even the UK as a whole.

The reason I ask this is that on a country level we don't actually live in a very competitive World. Some of you may baulk at this idea -- but consider this. According to the Economist Intelligence Unit Democracy Index out of 167 countries across the world only 25 are fully democratic. This represents just over 10% of the World's population. Basically only one in ten people on our planet live in a country where concepts like free trade and property rights are generally respected. Things that are essential to business success.

To provide an analogy it's a bit like having a PC market where only Apple and HP are capable of producing laptops with functioning keyboards. Essentially there is no competition so the potential reward for new participants with innovative technology is huge. 

So why is the UK not cleaning up? Well, because we're not very competitive. Let me show you a comparisson of the UK vs the BRIC nations in terms of government spending*...

CountrySpending to GDPPublic DebtSurplus +/-
UK 55% 80% -9%
Brazil 41% 54% 3%
Russia 16% 20% 0.5%
India 7% 52% -5%
China 15-25% 44% -1%

What this shows is that the UK State places a greater burden on individuals and businesses than many of our up and coming competitors. Which makes business more difficult -- and that's without mentioning regulation or our tax code. 

And while the BRIC nations may struggle with democracy it will be easier for them to improve in this area than for us to resolve our Government spending and debt issues. 

How does this relate to Tech City? Well, until we resolve the above issue and become more competitive we are going to need as much flag waving as possible. So we should welcome Tech City's help for the time being. But as a community of developers, creatives and entrepreneurs we need to push our Government to become more streamline so the UK is more competitive.

Then there will be no need for Tech City or any other business QUANGO because the UK will be the obvious business choice.

* Source is CIA World Factbook. Note I appreciate the figures may not be definitive, but the picture they paint is relatively accurate.

My Start Up -- What I Have Learnt So Far...

By Rob | 13 Mar 2012, 09:00am | Category: General

Well it's been 7 months now since I quit my job with the aim of setting up my own business. So I thought it about time I share my thoughts on what has happened and what I have learnt.

Let's start with the Bad. Don't worry there isn't too much here... 

Well, to begin, cashflow has been a problem. Which means I've swung quickly and regularly between wealth and 'poverty'. I'm still not use to this and I would advise those who enjoy security and stability to keep away from start-ups...

When I began StatusPeople I was way out of my depth, not that I realised it. And in some cases I still am. To get things up and running has taken far longer than I planned. I've had to overcome many technical problems I hadn't envisaged. Learning to market and sell a product is difficult and I still haven't mastered it. And I've still got a long way to go before I get StatusPeople off the ground -- so if you haven't signed up yet please do so...

See, that wasn't too bad. Now for the good...

As a person I am far, far happier than I was. I'm not content yet or pleased with myself but I am a lot happier. 

I am a far better developer now than I was. In fact I would argue I have learnt more in the last 6 months than I have in the previous 5 years. I feel I could genuinely cope with a large development project now and produce a good result. Before only a combination of ignorance and arrogance would allow me to believe this...    

I've begun contracting to cover the bills. This has been a revelation. I'm working part-time at a lovely Ad Agency -- you know the type, fancy office, lot's of trendy, goodlooking people... My pro-rata pay has doubled which is brilliant. And the working relationship is more grown up. For the first time No means no, which is wonderful. 

In terms of StatusPeople development the platform is beginning to come together and seems to be relatively robust. API development is also well ahead of schedule, which I'm pleased about.  

So overall, while things have been difficult I'm in a good place now. And as for some advice, here are a couple of tips...

Don't be frightened. If you have a dream don't let fear stop you. Because it's unlikely anything really bad will happen to you. And failure really isn't the end of the world.

Business Bank Accounts are very important. Without one you will lose a lot of capital to the tax man before you can make good use of it.

And finally, people who will give you their honest opinion are invaluable when it comes to product development. They will help you find the flaws and improve things. @anna8988, @email_dale, @meteoracle, @simonjgibbs, @danoprey and the guys over at @SDkMagazine have all been a great help to me. 

I shall leave my thoughts there. Hope you have found it useful and not too self absorbed. Either way I will post a similar update in a few months. By which stage I hope StatusPeople will be beginning to make some money. Otherwise I'll be writing my "How to Fail at Business" guide...

Speak Soon.