STUFF YOU SHOULD USE
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.
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.
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.
In about 48 hours, you can build the beginnings of a new business, non-profit, or other organization; No previous experience required.
You can learn an awful lot at one of these events. You’ll also meet a lot of cool and very smart people and have a ton of fun to boot.
We run multiple Startup Weekends on Miami’s Oxford, OH campus every Fall – you can even get course credit for doing it. Check out what some of the past participants have to say about their experience (below) and go to the Miami Entrepreneurship website for more information (or just ask me about it).
If you’re not able to join us at a Miami Startup Weekend, you can almost certainly find another one happening near you. I recommend you do.