The Purple Cow: Startup Edition #1



As a purple cow evangelist, I always have a few crazy ideas that are percolating in my head, which is why I started the Purple Cow, Startup Edition. I will take a fledgling startup and come up with a few remarkable ideas. My goal is to encourage creativity and motivate marketers to do something different.

I recently stumbled upon theSkimm, a startup I think that can change the way we read and absorb news. Here are my ideas that will take it to the next level:

Highly localized skimming. World news is nice but knowing what’s happening locally is even better. Maybe a new celebrity chef is opening up a new eatery in Soho or maybe there is a crazy dancing guy that started blazing a trail in Manhattan. I would love Skimms like that!

Friends only Skimm newsletter. Most of the news I read actually comes directly from my Facebook feed so why not allow Skimm users to create their own Skimms that can only be seen by their friends?

I love it when my friends post status updates about their new job or fancy new car. Create a platform that allows them to tell those stories using the Skimm template.

And of course, if you want your friends to know all the juicy stories of your life, you will have to tell them to download and use theSkimm app – in other words, a great viral loop to increase the readership base!

Good news only Skimm

Genre based Skimms, i.e. fashion, sports, art, music, tech etc.

Surprise Skimms. Allow users to make special Skimms for things like marriage proposals.

Comics. Yup, a news feed is not complete without a funny comic to compliment it everyday. Just look at how infamous the New Yorker cartoons have been. TheSkimm should have their own unique comics that match their brand.

Be outrageously opinionated. The former newscaster Peter Griffin said it best when he openly asked, “You know what really grinds my gears?” TheSkimm should have its own version of this and do it in a very tongue-and-cheek way.

Reprinted by permission.


About the author: Jay Deng

Jay Deng is an angel investor and venture capitalist. He invested in two companies whose exits topped $800 million. He is also the CEO and founder of Diva For Less.

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