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Young millionaire: Robert Small

Sample of miniclip:

MOST entrepreneurial success stories involve years of struggle against long odds. Not so for Robert Small, a young internet games entrepreneur who created an almost instant winner with his business straight after finishing university.

His venture stemmed from a childhood love of computer games. “When I was a boy I was absolutely obsessed with early games like Jetpack on the ZX Spectrum,” he said. “They seemed so exciting and well made. Looking back I think my imagination made those blocks of pixels seem better than they were, but I was hooked.

“I was attracted by the fact that this was entertainment that was interactive rather than passive. It probably helped that my parents didn’t have a television set until I was 10 years old. We lived in the country in a fairly remote area so I was used to amusing myself from a young age rather than just sitting in front of the TV,” he said.

Small was 24 in 2001 when he set up Miniclip.com with his friend and business partner Tihan Presbie. Small used money given to him by his grandmother, and Presbie used cash he had made as a City trader. Together they invested £40,000 in their online gaming site. One of their first products, a simple interactive game called Dancing Bush, in which players made an animated President George Bush dance to their commands, attracted more than 2m players within a month.

It was an easy game to create, said Small, who had never had an interest in writing code for games. “Macromedia Flash was new at the time and it was a great tool for developing this type of content. You could take digital video, chop it up and create animation without any training and only a little practice. I filmed Tihan dancing in the kitchen and we superimposed Bush’s face on to his body.”

Their focus from the start was on simplicity and the player experience, not on sophisticated graphics or complex multi-player shoot ’em ups, said Small. “We wanted to get online and get a global audience but we knew we were never going to do that by trying to create amazingly detailed console-style games.” Small was quick to capitalise on this early success, attracting more users to the website and broke even within nine months. Today the business has 43m dedicated users a month. They come from all over the world and are typically aged between 10 and 18. He has achieved this without any external funding.

Users are attracted by Miniclip’s 400 games, which tend to be simple, addictive and, in most cases, free to play. They include puzzles, Sudoku, shoot ’em ups, and samples from online games run by other sites, for which Miniclip gets commission if users subscribe to the full game.

The site earns money through a variety of other means. Advertising was the early revenue earner and is still an important part of turnover, which was between £18m and £20m in 2007. Subscriptions to paid-for games as well as sponsorship from film makers who pay Miniclip to create games round their latest releases – such as Spider-man and Pirates of the Caribbean – make up other significant chunks of Miniclip’s income. It is a profitable business, too, with margins of about 35%.

Small ascribes this rapid success to understanding very clearly that instead of trying to aggressively control his intellectual property as the bigger brands were trying to do, he should set it free by allowing other sites to use Miniclip games.

“Getting users to the website early on was the big challenge,” said Small. “It’s something we were very focused on. Luckily we realised the value of the internet lay in helping users to share information. Our content was built for the internet and it was built to be shared. About 300,000 other websites use our content now.”

The fast-moving nature of online businesses holds danger as well as opportunity, said Small. In a sector with plenty of competitors and very few barriers to entry, nimbleness and constant innovation are the only way to ensure sustained success and growth.

It is advice other start-ups should take to heart if they want to survive, he said. “It helped to be small. We could make decisions instantly and get things done quickly. When you are small, you should capitalise on the opportunity this gives you to move quickly. First-mover advantage can be very powerful.”

Sustaining the enthusiasm of your online community is also vital, he said. “Make your product great and it will get talked about. Don’t get distracted by PR and marketing until you’ve got that right.”

Understanding what your target audience wants and putting yourself in their shoes is the single most important factor to focus on, however. “Make your service simple for the customer even if the execution is complex. We offer 400 games in 11 different languages but we keep the home page simple.

“We never asked the advice of some business evangelist to tell us what to do. The point of view of 30 average gamers drives most of our decisions.”

Unsurprisingly, Small’s life is dominated by the need to keep on top of a rapidly growing business that creates new games all the time. Now aged 32 and single, he admits to being chained to his laptop, often checking the web statistics and plotting his next moves late into the night. Such dedication is not motivated only by money, however, but by the love of the community he has created.

“I love the fact that when I go home to visit my parents the kids in the village know me as Mr Miniclip. I certainly don’t do this out of a desire to be wealthy. For me the idea that 43m people are using our site is the thing that makes the hairs stand up on the back of my neck. It has become a bit of an obsession.”

Website: http://www.miniclip.com/games/en/

Link: http://business.timesonline.co.uk/tol/business/entrepreneur/article3341684.ece

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March 17, 2009 Posted by | Comedy, Entrepreneur, Million dollars Idea, Millionaire, Uncategorized, Youtube | , , | 4 Comments

Young Millionaire: Dominic McVey

A young man, his mobile phone and an idea. It’s the dream most kids have when they are young, but earning a million dollars doesn’t need ‘The Secret’, years of wisdom or even a car, according to one self-made millionaire.

 Using what he calls his childlike spirit, British teenage millionaire, Dominic McVey, made his early money with a simple idea and container load of zeal. By 15, he had made a million dollars.

“I was very, very competitive,” he said, starting up a business at just 13.

To save up for a collapsible scooter he thought filled a niche for London workers, McVey ran discos and did fund raising.

His hunch was right.

McVey’s Top 5 Tips for making a million

1)      If you are young, don’t draw attention to that.  I was young but I didn’t talk about it. I got on with what I wanted to do. I wanted to prove to people I could do it.

2)      Keep promoting – you have to get your product out there.

3)      Development – you have to move your product forward. You can’t let your product get stagnant or stale. Keep aggressive – have something new to offer all the time.

4)      Invest your money elsewhere. I invested in new brands, ideas, products, cosmetics, fashion.

5)       Be careful with your ideas because it might disappear at any time. If you have done it once, you can do it again.

 After selling the first five to family and friends, he then imported another ten and before long he had sold 300,000.

He was inquisitive and always disguised his age, doing all his business on the internet from his bedroom.

“Whenever I did meet companies, even if I thought I couldn’t get any business out of them, I asked them a million and one questions about how they did business,” McVey said. “They loved telling me because they felt like the other brother telling the kid what to do.”

And yes, it helps to be living with your parents.

“The added advantage is that the money you make is in a sense all yours, because you don’t have a mortgage or bills, all I was paying for was the internet and my mobile phone.”

McVey makes the point that your money may not last. This much is true for Australia’s Rich List.

A look at last year’s Top 5 Richest Young Australians (by BRW) highlights tragic stories, one of Edmund Groves the founder of ABC Learning Centres, and the Crazy John’s mobile phones magnate John Ilhan. The family man died of a suspected heart attack while out jogging. He was 42.

 

Practicing what he preaches, McVey has several new ideas in the pipeline.

And it involves his other passion – music .

McVey is set to launch a new boy band, called Most Wanted, and a music show for TV is also planned.

When you add a line of condoms called ‘Newd’, and some high-end pharmaceutical products it seems, for now, McVey’s riches are still on the rise.

link: http://au.lifestyle.yahoo.com/b/sunrise/8117/a-15-year-old-millionaires-tips-for-success

January 14, 2009 Posted by | Business, Entrepreneur, invention, Million dollars Idea, Millionaire, Television, Uncategorized, Youtube | , , , | 3 Comments

Young Millionaire: Joel Boblit

Joel Boblit, 29

  • Bigbadtoystore Inc.
  • Somerset, Wisconsin
  • Projected 2005 sales: Over $4 million
  • Description: Online toy retailer specializing in collectible action figures

Robo-biz: Joel Boblit parlayed nostalgia for his childhood toys into big-time business when he discovered how much Transformers–robot action figures whose popularity has continued since the 1980s–were being sold for online. He launched BigBadToyStore.com in 1999 shortly after graduating college, while he was reliving fond memories of trading his favorite childhood toys–GI Joe, Masters of the Universe and Transformers. The biggest challenge in those early days? Boblit admits: “Being teased by my friends.”

Parental guidance: While in college, Boblit sold action figures as a hobby for extra money, but when he decided to turn his hobby into a business, his parents supported him on all levels. They went heavily into debt to finance the business, and worked 100-plus-hour weeks alongside him for BigBadToyStore. Housing his inventory at one point, his parents had to create aisles in their home to navigate around the ceiling-high boxes. Says Boblit, “They have been instrumental throughout all this and worked just as hard as I did to keep it all together during the tough early years.”

Grade A service: BigBadToyStore caters to specialty toy buyers with vintage favorites like Star Wars figurines and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. Boblit also branched out to comic- and movie-related items, earning loyal customers around the world. Serious collectors prize mint-condition toy packaging, so Boblit guarantees his toys by using a grading system to distinguish “standard grade” (mint or near-mint condition) from “substandard grade” packages. He also offers a premium packing service that ensures an item is in tiptop condition and handled with extra care when it’s shipped. Another big draw is the “Pile of Loot” function, which allows customers to stockpile items they’ve already paid for in a virtual storage bin. Upon the customer’s choosing, the company will ship out all the items at once, reducing shipping costs. Future plans include distribution to approved retailers, who can view volume pricing online. Boblit says, “We’ve got the competitive edge for convenience.”

source: http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/9967767/page/4/

September 3, 2008 Posted by | Business, Entrepreneur, Life, Million dollars Idea, Millionaire, News, Uncategorized | , | Leave a comment

young millionaire: Jordan Wirsz

August 8, 2008 Posted by | Business, Entrepreneur, Million dollars Idea, Millionaire, Television, Uncategorized, Youtube | | Leave a comment

Business Idea: college prowler

As a high-school student in Marin County, Calif., Luke Skurman wanted to attend college in the East but was disappointed by the lack of information available in university brochures, college guidebooks, and magazine articles.
While a sophomore at Carnegie Mellon, he launched a book-publishing venture to offer the inside scoop on everything from cafeteria ratings to fraternity parties — all the info missing from traditional guides — at 200 campuses around the U.S.
On the College Prowler Web site, students vote and rank schools, offering an alternative to the U.S. News & World Report lists. Consumers can also order directly from the site, which offers excerpts.

Skurman raised $130,000 in capital through four angel investors within the first two years of operation. Today, he has a team of eight full-time employees and 214 student-authors nationwide. Skurman says 2005 revenues from book sales have grown tenfold since 2004.

Lesson learned: “I can’t emphasize enough how important it is to have a solid team. It’s the only way a company achieves success.”

 

 

website: www.collegeprowler.com

source: http://freeonlineschool.manila.ph/entrepreneur/entrepreneur-luke-skurman.htm

July 9, 2008 Posted by | Business, Entertainment, Entrepreneur, invention, Life, Million dollars Idea, Millionaire, News, Television, Youtube | , | Leave a comment

Business Idea: MadPackers

CHICAGO – Somewhere along the way, college life has gotten a whole lot more posh.

On a number of campuses, students are able to hire personal maids to clean and do their laundry. They pay moving crews to pack and transport their stuff — plasma TVs and other high-end electronics included. And they’re living large in housing that looks like anything but a dorm.

“You know it’s good when your parents walk in the room and say ’Can I live here?”’ says Niki Pochopien, a 21-year-old senior who just moved into swanky new living quarters for students at DePaul University in Chicago.

Known as Loft-Right, the mod-looking structure has all the amenities: expansive city views, granite countertops in the kitchen and bathrooms, modern designer furniture and satellite TV hookups. The lobby lounge — like something out of a hip hotel — has a pool table and fireplace, and soon will have a Starbucks and tanning and hair salons next door.

Living at a place like this isn’t cheap.

Students at Loft-Right each pay more than $1,000 a month for a private bedroom in a two- or four-bedroom unit, with bathrooms shared by no more than two people.

Grown-up vision
“It dovetails with their vision of what it is to be a grown-up,” says Robert Bronstein, a student housing consultant and president of the Scion Group, which manages the building and university-affiliated residences in other states.

Upscale housing and other perks also fit with some parents’ expectations, especially those whose children attend the priciest private schools.

“It makes the $40,000 tuition worth it,” says Brian Altomare, the 25-year-old president and founder of Madpackers, a Manhattan-based moving company for students.

This fall, his company added one-off limousine rides so student customers can arrive at school “like a rock star.” The company also plans to offer grocery delivery and cleaning and laundry services — something other companies, such as Valet Today and DormAid, already do.

At East Coast schools, DormAid charges $60 for a two-hour room clean and about $40 to wash and fold three bags of laundry. Madpackers’ rates start at $289 for an in-state move, with extra charges for packing services and supplies and the limo trips.

A different world
Students who take advantage of the perks tend to shrug off comments from college alumni who scoff at the pampering they never had.

“Going to school today and living as a young adult in this world is completely different than when they grew up. What could be looked at as spoiled for them, is not necessarily spoiled for us,” says Josh Hoffman, a 19-year-old sophomore in New York University’s jazz performance program. He took a Madpackers limousine to school this semester.

“I just feel like we have so much, with technology and computers. We have everything at our hands,” he says. “It’s just a matter of choosing.”

Many students say housing amenities, in particular, play a big role when deciding which school to attend.

That worries some education watchdogs, who believe the focus on living the good life is driving up the already burdensome cost of college — and causing some students to ask for more grants and rack up more debt than they normally would.

What’s wrong with communal life?
“Students and school employees are living in increasing luxury while taxpayers are getting soaked,” says Neal McCluskey, a policy analyst for the Center for Educational Freedom at the Cato Institute, a libertarian think tank.

Still others think there’s something to be said for basic communal living, especially for underclassmen.

“The traditional college dormitory with two students to a room and a bathroom and common room down the hall is a pretty good way of getting students out of their rooms and away from their computers,” says Tom Kepple, president of Juniata College, a liberal arts school in Huntingdon, Pa. “In this environment, it’s pretty hard to avoid getting to know your fellow students and how to live in a community.”

Some students agree. “It’s a crash course in conflict resolution,” says Renita Young, a 20-year-old senior at DePaul who started off in a cramped dorm and only recently moved to Loft-Right. She feels she’s earned the perk.

source material: http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/14836425/page/2/

June 17, 2008 Posted by | Business, Entertainment, Entrepreneur, invention, Life, Million dollars Idea, Millionaire, News, Television, Uncategorized, Youtube | , , , , | 2 Comments

Business Idea: Bear Naked Granola

  
 
Kelly Flatley, 28, and Brendan Synnott, 29
Bear Naked, Norwalk, Connecticut
Projected 2007 Sales: $50 million
Description: Manufacturer of all-natural granola productsIt’s All Natural: Childhood friends Kelly Flatley and Brendan Synnott were in between jobs in 2002 when Flatley, ever the health nut, began making all-natural granola in her kitchen and enlisted Synnott to help. “The whole food chain [has become] so processed and filled with artificial ingredients,” says Synnott. “[To both of us], it just didn’t make sense why you would want to put that in your body, if you are what you eat.” Flatley and Synnott each invested $3,500 and moved back in with their parents as they began selling hand-wrapped bags of granola at street fairs.

Healthy Returns: Repeatedly pitching Bear Naked products to local grocer Stew Leonard’s yielded no response. Finally, Flatley and Synnott upped the ante: At 7 o’clock one morning, they showed up in matching outfits, armed with granola, yogurt, milk and fruit “[to] bring the buyer breakfast in bed,” explains Synnott, “which was so cheesy, but it worked.” In fact, when their target buyer wasn’t there, they spotted Stew Leonard Jr. walking by. “He [said,] ‘Come on in.'” Today, Bear Naked is also sold at Costco, Kroger, Safeway, Target and Whole Foods, and four of its products are sold in Canada.

 

 

 

Food for Thought: Scaling their company upward was challenging. “It was often difficult to maintain the balance between the amount of product our sales team could sell and the amount of product our manufacturing team could produce,” says Flatley.

Not wanting to give up their control to investors, they built from within. Says Synnott, “It forced us to ensure that every decision we made yielded value and success for us, even if it was the harder decision.”

Follow Their Lead: Do something creative–but still in line with your product philosophy–to distinguish yourself to buyers. –Nichole L. Torres

UPDATE: receipe for success:- Bear naked

Part 1: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oqskUD8BrPY&NR=1

( Double click on the website address if it’s says no longer available)

Part 2: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=krbSnSsv5Yg&feature=related

Part 3: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MUUhGHQ0bhQ&feature=related

Part 4: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3o4hwUCen7k&feature=related

June 3, 2008 Posted by | Business, Entrepreneur, Life, Million dollars Idea, Millionaire, Television, Uncategorized, Youtube | , , , , , | 2 Comments