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Memoto: How to win the startup “Hunger Games”

Jason Hesse

Speaking at LeWeb’13, Memoto founder Martin Källström offered ideas for how startups can come up with a successful idea that will do well in the marketplace


Martin Källström is the founder of Memoto, the life-logging camera. Using an in-built 5MP sensor and GPS, the wearable camera automatically takes a photo every 30 seconds, capturing your life as you live it.

Memoto is also one of the most successful Kickstarter projects ever, raising $50,000 in five hours, followed by another $500,000 in one month. So Källström knows a thing or two about launching successful products.

Speaking at LeWeb’13 in London today, Källström offered advice on how startups can win the entrepreneurship “Hunger Games”. He believes there are four ingredients necessary to coming up with a successful idea.

1. The idea

Memoto device

A Memoto camera

The trick, according to Källström, is not to just find one idea, but to think of plenty of ideas.

When brainstorming for Memoto, his team did not immediately come up with the life-blogging concept and then get to work; the team first created a “huge spreadsheet of ideas”.

“Come up with a multitude of ideas simultaneously, and get the ideas to fight one another – create a battlefield of ideas! You want the ideas to hate each other so much that they want to kill each other,” he explained. “Don’t pick a business idea until there is a victor, until every idea is dead and there is just one left standing on top of the hill as the winner.

“This idea needs to be strong enough to capture your mind completely. Everything you read, everything you see, everything you talk about has to have a connection to the idea. When you can’t think of anything else to talk about to people, that’s when you’re ready to start your business.”

2. The team

Having a team behind you is also essential. Källström said that entrepreneurs often feel invincible, that they can achieve anything – that you’re an entrepreneur and marketing genius and know how to build a company. But, says Källström, no one will buy it.

“It’s just untrue,” he said. “You need a team that will help you do all that. You need experienced engineers that will build your product, you need marketing geniuses to help get the word out, and you need knowledge to build a successful organisation that works efficiently.”

3. The market

The third ingredient for success, said Källström, is creating a market for yourself. The key is to get people excited about your product – they need to know about it and talk about it, ideally all at the same time.

“You need to work multiple channels: not just Facebook or Twitter or blogs or marketing or PR, but all of them in unison,” Källström explained.

On the day that Memoto’s Kickstarter campaign went live, Källström had already approached bloggers who agreed to write about the product on that day. Nine blogs published stories about Memoto on its go-live date. Källström and team had also created a Facebook event which had 2,500 participants who were waiting for the Kickstarter page to be published, as well as a mailing list of journalists and enthusiasts who wanted to hear about the launch.

“The day we released all that, everybody saw it. We were on all the channels: Twitter, Facebook, the blogs – everybody was talking about Memoto,” he said. “That is how you create the necessary tension. As soon as one individual sees the same new thing mentioned on every channel they read, that’s when they start getting interested and talking about it themselves.”

4. Colourful socks

Finally, said Källström, you also need colourful socks. “You can’t just go around the world with black and white boring socks. Make sure you also have some joy in your life as well.”

More seriously, Källström also emphasised that entrepreneurship is about providing value for people. “Think about how you can create value, not how you can create success. If you manage to create success without value, what have you really accomplished? But if you’ve created value but are not successful, at least you’ve created something. That’s how you need to think about your business idea.”

Photo credit: @Kmeron for LeWeb’13 Conference at Central Hall Westminster, London.

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