Today, there are more mobile devices in the world than computers especially in developing countries. Taking a peek into worldwide mobile sales, in this USA Today story, Gartner, a leading tech research company predicts, "an astounding 1 billion smartphones will be sold in 2014, about double that of PCs in the same year."
Yes, one billion, *pointing pinky at grin like Dr. Evil*
My life purpose is to help make the world a healthier place, and in 2011, the year of "Manifest," I got clear that my specific mission in this phase of my life is to help make the world a healthier place with mobile devices.
photo on Flickr by CannedTuna
In the Now
Like I had to re-imagine how I’d manifest my family and how my first book would get published, I re-imagined how to make a living from my social media efforts. I have blogs full of content: Back in Skinny Jeans, Noshtopia, and One Mile One Meal.
I have created a respected and influential healthy living brand online particularly on Twitter with an audience of almost 54,000 now. Over the summer, I did some social media experiments on my iPhone which got me excited about new possibilities. I’ll share more detail about those results later. If you follow me on Twitter @skinnyjeans and Instagram, you know I'm obsessed with taking iPhone food shots. Here's an example of one of the best iPhone photos I've ever taken.
In fact, businesses are now paying me to take food shots with my iPhone. Yeah very cool, and no one could have ever planned that. So, how do I monetize my content because I'm sitting on a pile of influence and talent?
Numbers Dr. Evil would boast
Earlier this year, I read that the number of mobile health apps would triple from 200 million by 2012. Just on iOS devices, in July, the week of iPhone’s 4th birthday, 15 billion apps had been downloaded. The new iPhone 4S has been out only 4 days, and sales topped 4 million.
In books, last year Amazon announced that for the first time it was now selling more eBooks than printed books. The torch has been officially passed. Again, *pointing pinky at grin like Dr. Evil*
A BIG question every blogger needs to ask themselves
With all this staggering data about mobile, from a business perspective, how can you not think about mobile? I asked myself a very important question:
How will you monetize your content on mobile?
I now ask that question to every blogger I meet. In fact, I'll start asking every business owner I meet that question because you need to have an answer. I did not have an answer, and suddenly, I could not stop thinking about mobile. I consider my iPhone a third arm, and I'm not alone. More importantly, mobile is one of the most significant ways to spread healthiness around the globe!
In January, I was already feeling burnt out with blogging, but in a last ditch effort to revitalize my blogging fervor, I created One Mile One Meal in March as a way to help people get back in their skinny jeans through tiny actions. The blog was an instant hit. Traffic literally poured in, but after my 112-day exercise streak ended at the end of June I was blogging toast, and like I said in Part I, I Forest Gumped on the blogging.
I finally have the guts to call myself Founder
Back in Silicon Valley, I’ve worked at several startups, in fact did really well at one that went IPO. Because I'm a Swiss Army knife of skills and talents, and delight in adventure, I thrive in a startup environment. I'm also a Geek and am fascinated with technology coupled with the fact that I am DaVinci-like in that I have sketchbooks filled with ideas for businesses, products, and services that re-imagine industries I think are broken or need revitalizing. With all this brilliance however, I’ve never had the guts to bring those ideas to life and be a Founder. Well, like the Lion in the Wizard of Oz, I got some courage, and I did it! I changed my title from Blogger to Founder.
Over the summer, I came up with an idea to turn One Mile One Meal into a mobile health iPhone app because I think most health apps in the weight loss category are the same old thing. Because I am I was a healthy living blogger, I've sifted through dozens and dozens of healthy living apps, and instead of complaining about the apps, I should just be quiet and build my own. So, I did. I designed the One Mile One Meal app conceptually. The screen-shot is one of the concepts. I pitched brands for sponsorships. I looked for a CTO and developers. I started building a team. Even though very early, I also started talking to money people about funding.
I applied to some startup incubators. I took a startup class at Gangplank here in Arizona. I also did plenty of failing and flopping. I’m a really good creative, inventor-type, a big picture thinker, but not so good with operations, sales, and focus. I'm a good WHY person, but I need a good HOW person. This is where I’m like a Paul Allen who needs a Bill Gates.
Our startup dream takes a slight detour
On my way to manifesting my mobile health startup, I found myself in this chicken/egg situation. Getting creative with funding, I thought if Morgan Spurlock could get brands to fund his movie, “The Greatest Movie Ever Sold,” maybe I could get my startup funded using the same approach only it would be, “The Greatest App Ever Sold.” Because I’m already established as an online influential, big brands are happy to talk to me, and I got some brands intrigued with the proposition I posed to them with sponsoring the development of my app. The only thing was that they wanted to see a working demo - fair enough.
On the development side, I have experience working with developers from my NVIDIA and Microsoft days, but all that experience is in Silicon Valley where I know lots of people because I lived there for 30 years. I've only been in Phoenix two years come October 17, and because I'd been an independent blogger, I haven't worked or partnered with any developers here, so I either need some funding, find a technical person who believes in the vision and will join for equity, or move back to the Bay Area. So far, I haven't been able to do any of those things. In the meantime, I also need to eat.
Not to be deterred, it was time to come up with Plan S - supplement income...which actually grows the vision for Thriving Media.
In book publishing, I see a future in mini-books or eSingles 10,000-30,000 words because mini-books are better suited to read on mobile devices. In fact, there was an article in the New York Times about, "Shorter eBooks for smaller devices." Have you tried reading a regular 80,000+ word book on a smartphone, it’s a pain in the eyes, at least to me. Also, the attention span on a mobile device and tablet is shorter.
Digital mini-books are sprouting up already. Amazon launched Kindle Singles in January. There are mini-book publishers like The Atavist and Byliner. In universities, Princeton University Press is the first university press to publish eSingles. My vision is for Thriving Media to be a publisher of non-fiction mini-books in the area of healthy living. And coupled with the books, I see the development of apps because apps are a complement to a book and an author's brand.
To wrap up, here's the vision with the development of Thriving Media which will happen as it happens. I'm learning to be totally open with planning because you never what the Universe will throw my way.
- On my personal blog here, as I mentioned before, I will share what's going on in my personal life, cool things I find and love, and my thoughts about various topics. It's all open.
- Noshtopia will be turned into an iPad magazine published under Thriving Media along with my other brands, and will focus on "eating wellness" which is creating vibrant health through the fork which I hope one day just becomes normal mainstream eating. There will be an emphasis on topics like food allergies, plant-based diets, organic, humanely raised meat and seafood, and non-GMO because those are the foods and ways of eating I believe create optimal health.
- One Mile One Meal will become an iPhone app helping people get back into their skinny jeans through tiny actions and social support.
- Back in Skinny Jeans will be a digital mini-book coming out in January about how I personally dropped 35 pounds and kept it off for four years now. It’s not a how-to book, but a how-I book.
- Thriving Media will publish apps and mini-books between 10-30K words focused on healthy living topics from personal brands starting with my stuff obviously. My first mini-book, “Be #awesome on Twitter” will be available on Kindle, Nook, and iBooks in the next two weeks. Yay! I’m a published author. And coming out by December my 2nd mini-book will be available which is about the death of my corporate life and finding my life purpose work. I'll keep the title a secret for now :)
I have in the pipeline to publish mini-books from new authors on the topics of vegan cupcakes, overcoming agoraphobia with social media, and an insider scoop on mommy blogging. The topics of our books will lean towards "unconventional" ways of healing, and voices of talented bloggers I've seen online who have amazing stories but don't quite have the marketing umph to get that book deal with a traditional publisher, yet. I only emphasize the word "unconventional" because the healing stories that intrigue me are ones where traditional Western healing like pills and needles failed, and something considered alternative worked. For example, going plant-based eating to heal Diabetes like in the movie, "Forks Over Knives ."
Obviously, this is a huge vision because well that’s how my brain works, and I need to build a team. If you have loved my work and believe in this vision, I’d love to talk more with you. In particular, editors, developers, executives, funders, or just plain, this is cool, here’s what I can add.
For now, here's where "Live Purposeully" stands for me. Of course, I've got my running shoes on because you never know where life will take you.