Tweet In the first of our interviews we took the time to send some questions to Dwayne Alexander the brains behind the new social network Live My Goals. Here is our interview with him. [Studiowhiz] Live My Goals is very new – still in beta right? So why don’t you start off by giving us [...]
In the first of our interviews we took the time to send some questions to Dwayne Alexander the brains behind the new social network Live My Goals. Here is our interview with him.
[Studiowhiz] Live My Goals is very new – still in beta right? So why don’t you start off by giving us a quick run down of just what livemygoals.com is?
[DA] www.livemygoals.com is a social network for goalgetters.
Our definition of goalgetters includes
- people who are goalsetters and want to achieve something specific in their lives (e.g. launch a business, achieve health & fitness, earn more money create better relationships or simply get their act together)
- professional goalgetters like coaches, trainers and mentors who help goalsetters create action around their goals.
The website aims to have inspirational content (articles, blogs, tools, clubs and powerpacks) which assist people and companies to create action around their important goals. It links goalsetters with goalgetters. The “powerpack” –one of the first tools enables people and c ompanies to upload inspirational pictures, affirmations and music to create their visualisation and goalsetting widget.
Coaches & Mentors can create their own branded version and distribute to their client base as a way of keeping in contact, keeping top of mind and helping their clients create action.
The website also enables goalgetters to pdf and print out their powerpacks in the form of “power cards” – which they are then able to take with them wherever they go –to fast-track their progress by visualising and affirming their goals each and every day for 10 minutes.
[SW] That sounds excellent & I can see it becoming popular in that sector. Power Cards (for personal affirmation) are a very powerful tool.
What was your thinking behind Live my goals? I mean there already are a number of social networks out there, why start a new one?
[DA] I believe niche applications are the next wave of social networking. This is a pure and focussed community who are PASSIONATE about one thing – achieving goals- not a general lifestyle or social application like myspace or any of the others. In fact we have plans to create a widget that people can use on their myspace pages. Watch this space- I am still looking at the right way of doing this.
[SW] I think you are right, while there is a place for “super” networks, they become impersonal – not something that would work with a personal growth network such as Live My Goals.
I often get asked “How did you come up with the idea for … ?”. I know you’ve been an employee for years & are now living your goals. Can I ask what was the trigger for you to say “I know I’ll build a site/company that does …..”? Did you do a lot of planning before starting?
- Years of asking myself the question: How can I add value to people, while doing something I love?
- Then I started seeding the idea by telling myself the unique concept was being born and was I was helping people and companies doing something I am passionate about …I asked my brain for the answers every day and night. I knew it would be delivered- just like you order pizza- it arrives eventually!
- Next I did a mind map of all the things I enjoyed, was good at, skills and experience etc. So a bit of work on HOW I would “create value”
- One day –after going through that process – it just hit me. The concept was born – I wanted a web 2.0 way of building a community that were “goal freeks” and provide online tools to help them achieve their goals. I wanted to link up gaolseters with goalgetters.
- One day I woke up and told myself I was no longer willing to wait until things were “perfect” and started to create a small amount of action every single day towards building that community.
- I started small – as a hobby – used www.godaddy.com to build a template first concept that I could test out.
- Then I commissioned a professional developer once I knew exactly what interface I wanted and had experimented a little.
[SW] One thing I find interesting in there (EDIT: note to readers important point here) no where did you mention “Make millions of dollars” – The point I’ve learned & Dwayne I’m guessing you have too, is find a need you can fill, and the rest will take care of itself – would that be fair to say?
[DA] Sure is. You need to be happy with what you are doing and moreover you need to be absolutely passionate to see it through.
[SW] So you wanted to build a site. What impacted your technology choices for www.livemygoals.com?
- I could not find any open source way of doing what I needed to do, so I commissioned a small, but professional team who I trusted to do the work to create the platform from scratch.
- They are an .net studio and so that was what is being used.
[SW] What thoughts have gone into site structure in the sense of providing a clean UI for users and yet maintaining good visibility for search engines? Have you given much thought to search engines, or is the initial phase to get the site up and running and then look for constant improvements over time for search engines?
[DA] While lots of planning and thought went into the UI , I am under no illusions that it will stay the same. It will evolve. I have drawn a line in the sand, created a stake in the ground. That is how I see it. As users provide feedback and as I find the “dough” to fund further developement , I will refine it as I go along. As with many entrepreneurs starting out – the ideas are more than the funding. But the ideas will attract the funding, as they have so far. I spent the first 10 years of my career pontificating around perfection – I won’t do this until that is perfect and I won’t do that until this is in place. Either I have matured, or my appetite for risk has increased.
[SW] One thing I advise people is “websites are living things, let them grow, prune them back, or truss them up – but let them grow”. Would you say this is something that is happening with www.livemygoals.com?
[DA] definitely. 3 years from now technology may have moved so much that we are on web7.0 who knows – we will need to continue to work and adapt with the audience and the technology.
[SW] How long did it take you to build Live My Goals? Was it just you or do you have a team with you?
[DA] I commissioned Pavel & Julia from www.webelement.co.nz . I gave them a very tight brief on what I wanted. They were professional, gave me lots of value and put up with my demands. It took longer than expected (no surprises) as there is a complicated .net database behind www.livemygoals.com – but 3 months – give or take and now another three months in beta to iron out the kinks.
[SW] I’ve been asked before “How much do I need to know about technology before starting a website?” I know you used to be a CEO of a media company, did you have a lot of technical understanding? What do you do when you run into something you are unsure about? You have a group of people, a sudo “board” if you will, you use as a sounding board, how did you select these people?
[DA] On a scale of 1 – 10 where 10 is expert and 1 is novice, i would place myself as a 3-, but by the end of this year I will be a 5 -6 and by the end of 2009 I will be an 8-9. I also have the contacts and general understanding to make it happen. I do have an informal board of people that I trust to bounce off things when I am unsure of something. People that I would consider experts in areas that I am merely “getting better at”
[SW] I know you are not long into your beta cycle, however I have to ask, how is traffic going? Do you have set goals for the site – traffic targets, number of members etc?
- Based on my research, this is a fast growing segment – personal development: as the world gets richer and looks for ways of self actualising. I figure I can get a chunk of that with the social network for goalgetters if I can provide them with a way to engage with each other and create action around their goals.
- I am aiming to reach around 100 000 unique users this year. I have an unfolding media strategy and link strategy to make that happen. We aim to launch to the market (out of beta) in April this year. We’ve had nearly a 1000 uniques in the first couple of months, while still in the “silly season, in beta and without major promotion- this is organic growth”.
[SW] 1000 uniques simply through word of mouth? Fantastic – hopefully this interview might help a few more arrive. One of the things any website faces, is the lack of activity from users. This is amplified in a social network where content is provided by the users. Do you have plans around this?
[DA] My research has shown that only a small percentage of social networking people actually upload and make stuff, slightly more comment and contribute and more still like to watch from the side lines. By connecting with coaches & mentors and enabling them with tools , we believe that coaches and mentors will help reduce inactive accounts by driving activity themselves-since their blog and powerpack helps promote their business and philosophy
[SW] I can see how www.livemygoals.com is in a unique position in that users don’t need to create content. They can simply connect with others who have and share that. What a great way to engage your members. So, what’s in the future for Live My Goals?
[DA] Social networking widget applications, mobile phone applications, reverse publishing –old fashioned printed products) I will be partnering with leading players to help people and companies achieve their goals using this platform.
[SW] Well before we wrap up this interview, would you mind telling us a little about you? What do you do for a living, how did you get into web technologies and have you ever heard of www.studiowhiz.com before this interview?
[DA] I am a serial intrepreneur, now turned entrepreneur. I have always been creative working within companies that I worked for and found it easy to move up the totem pole because of my lateral thinking, ability to deal with all kinds of people and ability to create action. This next step is about taking those skills and creating a legacy – adding value to the world from something that I have created from scratch. I have a long term plan, but will adjust along the way.
My main income stream is still management consulting – which I enjoy -I helping companies with change management projects and “step up sales projects” and creating action around their important commercial goals. I am purposely not placing too many demands on www.livemygoals.com to generate revenue at this stage as I believe that if you attract enough passionate people you will be able to monetize it when the time is right, with products that they want. I am now finding that companies are asking me to create corporate programs to help their staff “live their goals” and link their personal goals with that of the company.
I am a big fan of www.studiowhiz.com – which I read regularly for the tips and techniques that will help me get from a score of 3 to a score of 8.
[SW] Thank you Dwayne for your time and sharing your process that has gone into www.livemygoals.com. Great to read.
As part of our new areas on Studiowhiz, we asked Dwayne to share a recipe with us, you can read his great Special Prawn dish here.