Unsplash – For High Quality Stock Photos

CC- Unsplash - Courtesy of Alex Holyoake on Unsplash



For high quality stock photos


This recommendation is a no-brainer.  Unsplash is a huge collection of well-organized, searchable, very high quality photos of every subject you can think of.

And here’s the kicker… all of the photos (ALL OF THEM) are licensed under Creative Commons Zero. This means you can use them (and alter them) in any way you like, for any purpose (including commercial use), no questions asked, FREE.

This is a great resource for any kind of media for your startup (presentations, printed materials, websites, social media, etc.) AND, Unsplash just released a new API today that allows anyone with a modicum of coding experience to integrate their library directly into any app or other software you might be building.  Fantastic.


MOO – For Custom Printing



For custom printing

There are plenty places to get stuff printed, and Moo is probably not the one to choose for cost-effective for printing in large scale.

That said, Moo is a really great option for creating high-quality printed materials in small batches for prototyping and testing parts of your business model.

Moo provides a¬†killer¬†feature that makes this possible. ¬†They call it “printfinity” which is, unarguably, ridiculous. That aside, what it means is, you can customize each printed item within an order (and on both sides). ¬†This, combined with short runs (meaning you can order pretty small batches of, say 25 or 50) makes Moo products very useful for high-quality prototypes.

Here are a few examples from Moo’s Inspiration Gallery

This is a simple example of a promotional item made in different colors, but they could just as easily have been different promotions. On the backside you could easily print several different marketing messages that would help you track where/how/by whom these were used for some easy A/B testing of a customer acquisition strategy.
This really shows how you could use the printfinity feature.  With one low-cost order of cards, this company can make a ton of customized fortune cookies each with a unique message. This same technique would be great for prototyping any product with a lot of customized parts.
Here’s another example of some A/B testing of a customer acquisition strategy. Like the example above with the glued-on tokens, these cards were printed (with different promotional messages that can be tracked for testing) and then customized by the company using them… they put a scratch-off sticker over each message.

This cool feature makes creating a high-quality paper prototype for a lot of different things possible, and for a price that’s affordable enough to do it over and over.


Squarespace – For Making Websites



For making websites

I cut my teeth in the¬†startup world back in the dotcom boom of the late 90’s, so I’ve been building websites since the very beginning. ¬†Back then, it took a lot of know-how and a ton of effort to create even the simplest things.

Today, my students routinely build production quality websites so quickly and easily, they can effectively use them as prototypes for testing their business models. It’s so effective, in fact, that they can easily update their prototypes, in real time, in the middle of a conversation with their customers. That would have blown my apathetic, Gen-X mind 20 years ago.

The emergence of tools like Squarespace makes this possible . Squarespace isn’t the only great website builder out there, and it certainly isn’t the only way (nor always the best way) to prototype. But, it is pretty great. I’ve yet to see their combination of polish, simplicity, and price be matched by any other service.


In keeping with the 90’s throwback theme running through this review, I hereby give Squarespace a red-faced, enthusiastic, Clinton-style, tiny thumbs-up.