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AMP

AMP

I spoke with a neat creator today at One Spark called AMP (#21804).  AMP stands for Action Marketing Platform and is headed up by Manny Torres and Kenny Harper, along with some other partners.  Their mission is to amplify business growth through online tools and education.  I chatted with Manny and Kenny for a while at their booth at One Spark.  They officially pitch their project to crowd funders this evening in downtown Jacksonville.   What I like about AMP is it seems focused on the foundational elements of business growth.  They want to streamline and help guide small businesses online (think “Turbo Tax” said Kenny) through the process of establishing vision, mission, priorities, and, ultimately, brand.  Their objective is to simplify and make affordable the process of helping companies set a plan in these areas, take action, assess results, and repeat the process.  They believe that these fundamental steps are a prerequisite to seeking more personal consultative services from professionals – like marketing or business advisors.  I agree.   At BlueToad, this process was critical to us establishing our identity, building cohesion internally, crystalizing our goals, and executing against key priorities.  It was not an easy or short process.  It was evolutionary in nature.  One of my favorite business books is The Advantage by Patrick Lencioni.  We used that book in particular to help us establish a cohesive and trusting leadership team and to obtain clarity around what we do and why we exist.  At BlueToad, our mission is simple – to help content creators reach their audience.  We have since developed a vision, core values, and goals around this mission....
Opening Day of One Spark

Opening Day of One Spark

Today was the first day of One Spark, the world’s largest crowd funding festival in Jacksonville, Florida.  BlueToad is the official digital event guide partner of One Spark, and I had the pleasure of attending today’s speaker summit.  I got the chance to listen to a number of great business leaders, including Tamara Mendelsohn – VP of Marketing for Eventbrite, Jeff Hoffman – co-founder of Priceline, and Jack Welch – former Chairman and CEO of General Electric Company.   I want to share three quick takeaways from the day. People want to “Buy Experiences Not Things” – Tamara Mendelsohn talked about the importance and value of experiences and how it fits into the mission of Eventbrite.  Putting the Experience First is also one of our core values at BlueToad, pushing us to constantly consider both the experience of customers using our platform and the experience of readers using our software.  Tamara’s talk was a great reminder to me of the importance of this core value, and the work we can still do to make using BlueToad a truly enjoyable experience. Be an “InfoSponge” – Jeff Hoffman encouraged business leaders to get out of the office and soak up as much information as possible.  Most business decisions are made from within the office but Hoffman suggests that it is better to make certain decisions out of the office and in light of the perspective of your customer.  He also suggested not being picky on the source of your information – as information from other industries can often provide fresh solutions to your problems. Over deliver, keep learning, and exude positive energy – At the seasoned age of 79, Jack Welch has...
Supporting innovation and entrepreneurship

Supporting innovation and entrepreneurship

BlueToad is the official Digital Event Guide Partner for One Spark – the world’s largest crowd sourcing festival happening right here in our own sunny back yard in Jacksonville, Florida from April 7-12.  You might ask why BlueToad is involved with One Spark.  Well, there are several reasons. We want to support entrepreneurs and innovation.  My partners and I built BlueToad from the ground up, working hard to build a successful and sustainable business.  From experience, we understand that entrepreneurial success depends on not only a mix of hard work and ambition but also on the support and guidance of others.  We want to support the Creators at One Spark.     We want to support the great Sunshine State as one of the best places to start and grow a business.  Florida continues to shine in areas like infrastructure, workforce, and desirability.  It is important to support initiatives that attract talent, business, and funding to Florida.  International events like One Spark keep us moving in the right direction.   We want to support our friends at First Coast Magazine.  Check out what they are doing at www.firstcoastmaglab.com and follow them on twitter during One Spark @firstcoastmag using #firstcoastmaglab.   Finally, we want to demonstrate to the First Coast and to the Creators and attendees at One Spark just how BlueToad can help businesses transform their documents into engaging digital experiences.  While we built our business on the backs of the traditional publishing industry, we now work with just as many businesses helping them create digital versions of marketing brochures, business reports, training materials, white papers, and more.   We are proud to be the official Digital Event Guide...
Helping Build Tomorrow’s Audience

Helping Build Tomorrow’s Audience

  I’m proud to announce that BlueToad is a supporter of Just 1 Book – a local Florida charity started by 15 year old Sarah Dewitz.  Five years ago, Sarah recognized the importance of reading in her life and discovered that unfortunately not every child had this same opportunity.  Only 10 years old at the time, she challenged everyone at her elementary school to donate just one book.  Her effort resulted in thousands of donated books and led her to create Just 1 Book, which through its book mobile delivers books to the doorsteps of kids in need.  The mission of Just 1 Book is simple – to make sure every child has access to books.  Today, and because of Sarah’s efforts, hundreds of thousands of books have been given to kids who could not afford to buy books or who do not otherwise have access to a library.  To read more about Sarah and her organization go to www.just1book.org.  Sarah is an inspiration, and her organization is incredible.   Just 1 Book got me to thinking about my 1 book – the single book that kick-started my passion for reading.  I was in fourth grade when I got my 1 book.  I came home from school one day, and my grandmother had bought me the book “Out of Phaze” written by Piers Anthony.  It was my first “real” book.  “Out of Phaze” is a fantasy adventure that took my imagination to places only reachable through reading.  Within a few short years, I had read and collected nearly every book written by Piers Anthony.  I continued to read fantasy, science fiction, and mystery novels throughout high school and college.  To...
The Zero Entry Philosophy for Digital Publishing: Start slowly or dive in head first

The Zero Entry Philosophy for Digital Publishing: Start slowly or dive in head first

Digital publishing should be flexible enough to meet your specific needs. At BlueToad, we strive to provide a digital publishing solution that is robust and flexible enough to help any content creator successfully reach and engage readers.  Contrary to the claims of some, a successful digital strategy can in fact be as simple as a basic digital edition.  Of course, it can also entail a much more complex and interactive digital experience.  There is quite honestly no single strategy that works for everyone.  What may work for you and your audience will depend on several factors, including your content, your bigger engagement goals, and your audience preferences.   So, how can BlueToad help you with your strategy?  I like to think of the BlueToad solution as a zero entry swimming pool.  You can start by simply putting your toes in.  Create a basic digital edition.  Your content will be available on all modern browsers and devices, and you can begin tracking reader engagement.  Get comfortable.   At any point, you can decide to go deeper into the strategic pool.  You can add rich media to your strategy, which might include video, audio, or animations.  You can include interactive surveys, digital only content, or live news feeds.  You can launch a native app for iPhone, iPad, Android, or other platforms.  You can even go real deep by tweaking your content creation workflow and designing unique, interactive content for specific devices or specific reading experiences – portrait or landscape; phone or tablet.  With our platform, you can do almost anything you can imagine in a web browser.  It is that flexible.   But the real key to the BlueToad solution is that...