August 23, 2009

Kathmandu and the Social Web

kathmandu-thamel

Kathmandu, Nepal is one of those mythical places people mention when they talk about faraway travel. “You might be headed off to Kathmandu,” someone told me last month when we were trying to arrange a meeting in a place much closer to home.

Well, actually.

I arrived in mythical Kathmandu after traveling to L.A. three days ago and then Hong Kong the day after that. Like Timbuktu, another mythical place, it takes a while to get to Kathmandu, but so far it looks like the destination is worth the journey to this part of the world. I’m acclimating to South Asian life again and looking forward to spending all next week in Bhutan. Expect a more detailed trip report soon.

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Three things in this weekly update:

Extreme Gratitude, L.A. Edition

Before flying to Asia, I spent half of an L.A. layover hanging out with all kinds of fun people who came out to say hi. I had a great time and returned to LAX buzzing with all kinds of stories and possibilities from the group.

I made a short video in my Kathmandu guesthouse to thank everyone who came out on Wednesday night. Check it out here if you’d like:

Writing Contest Winners

Last week I awarded the winners of the Unconventional Writing Contest. I’m working with Allan (the grand prize winner) to get his essay posted up sooner rather than later. It might even happen in the next week or two while I’m traveling.

Originally I said I would publish the winners by the end of the year, but a few people told me they didn’t want to wait that long. No worries, I can work with that – watch this space and the first one will be here soon.

Social Web Launch

Because a full life is the best one, the day before the trip I launched my first new product in several months, the Unconventional Guide to the Social Web. Launching a product is an intense, fun experience that deserves an article all of its own, so tomorrow’s post is all about how that process works. In short, this launch went well, and after a long period of development, I’m glad it’s joined the World Domination Store along with the others.

I’ve been asking for input on how we can make it better, and ironically a number of people have said they were surprised that the third pricing option (with the 30-minute jumpstart session) was underpriced. This is a good complaint to have, of course — I was recently reading some comments on a forum where someone was complaining that a $14 resource from someone else was “too expensive in this economy.”

The thing is that when we decided on pricing, we wanted to kick it off at a low price point and see how the market responded. Well, Gwen is booked up for the next 17 days straight, so I get the hint: it’s priced too low.

I don’t like the use of artificial scarcity in marketing (“We’re going to sell out of ebooks! You must buy now or you’ll miss out forever!”), but in this case, it’s true that Gwen is only one person and her time is worth a lot more than what we currently offer it for. Therefore, we’ll look at raising the price to a more realistic (but still low) figure in the next 10-14 days after it’s been out for a bit longer.

This way we can follow the good business advice to price it higher, but anyone who wants to get in on the original pricing still has some time to do that. Of course, the updates we’re busy preparing will all be included at no additional charge regardless of when someone joins the owners’ list.

In case you missed it, you can read more here.

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That’s it for now. I’m jet-lagged but happy. I hope all is well in your part of the world, and I’ll be working live from Bhutan for the rest of the week starting on Tuesday morning.

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Thamel, Kathmandu Image by LMarty