Adding your MailChimp list to Twitter

It’s likely a lot of your subscribers will also have a twitter account. We added a field to our signups to enter this, but some people are a little lazy or don’t see the value in adding it.

Twitter has a ‘find friends’ feature that allows you to search email addresses for twitter users though, so it’s quite easy to follow people on your list.

Export your mailchimp list and import it into a new email account. We use Gmail.

Now ask twitter to search this account, click the box in gmail that allows it and twitter will check the list for matching accounts.

We found over 400 people who had signed up but we weren’t following.

This is a useful extra point of contact since some people might have signed up but not realised you also had a twitter account.


As a bonus tip you can also import this list into Angel List to easily find out who might be interested in investing capital….

My MailChimp Experiment

Normally I write a newsletter and send it out once it’s done right away. I’m hardly an expert, we’ve only sent six.

This time I though we’d try something new. Apparently the best time to send mails is around 10am, I guess more people are at their desk and more likely to open them but this is tricky to time when you have a massive list of mails.

MailChimp does have a “Send with Timewarp” Feature and also “Let MailChimp optimize time for maximum engagement” but these are both paid for options….

Instead what I did was export my list to excel and reorder the list by the recipients time zones. This idea isn’t perfect and about 2/5 of my list didn’t have that as an option, but it was a start. I suspect a lot of these were due to the fact that I imported my list from another program.

I wrote my campaign as a template and then was able to schedule each major time zone list to land at approximately 10am. The unknown timezone addresses I sent at 6pm GMT, which was 10am on the US west coast. Most of the list are Americans and Europeans so this is a reasonable guess.

The last three campaigns have had a 50% open rate over all, so I will report back in a week or so if this has improved. It took about 10 minutes to paste in all the values but if it drives up the engagement it might be worth the extra effort.

Interesting startup competition on Wired UK

Each startup will have three minutes to pitch their startup to an audience of creative individuals, entrepreneurs, investors, designers and academics. Delegates will then decide who gets a spot at [email protected] — a pitch event at St James’s Palace hosted by HRH The Duke of York himself — with hundreds of top investors, influencers and entrepreneurs on 5 November 2014.

This is a great opportunity for startups to get exposure in front of some very influential people, with a large amount of media visibility.

This opportunity is open to any technology startup based in theUK with fewer than ten employees, have international appeal and are at their early stages  — those with VC funding will not be able to enter.



Mastering the art of Twitter.

I set up an auto-twittering plugin early on so my twitter account had some activity but it wasn’t really very busy. I few people followed me but not a huge amount, despite the fact that I was updating from my blog a couple of times a day…. that changed this week when I revamped my pictures and realised that you’ve got to give before you can receive. So I followed a bunch of people and some of them followed me back… so I followed more and it kept working. I didn’t just add anyone, but anyone interested in VR, AR, Oculus, startups, Star Citizen, Elite and the like all were put in on my list and quite a few reciprocated.

Now I don’t think this is going to make me the the top hash tag of the year but it’s a start, I don’t have to impress everyone just the right person who puts me on the right blog at the right time…

I also made a strategic post to the Oculus board on reddit which resulted in a nice spike in traffic. I kind of missed the wave when my blog was discovered on reddit, the DK2 was released and then someone noticed my blog… which was buried under the DK2 excitement. If I had launched just a week earlier… :p Someone posted his site to the fitness sub-reddit and it netted him 140K hits in 24 hours!! Suffice to say if I got that much traffic my raffle entries would explode past what I think I need and I could begin the kickstarter the next day…

Speaking of which, I think it’s time to submit my kickstarter campaign for assessment. It doesn’t have to be complete but if you do it earlier you won’t have to wait when you’re really ready to launch….

Some of these companies…

I just don’t get how they stay in business treating potential customers like an inconvenience.

This was a reply one reply to my general enquiry for laser cutting :

Need to se the drawings dxf/pdf files

That’s was it, no name, hello, regards… just one line.

I wrote back sending the drawings and received :

“Hi ,

You would be better approaching a metal spinning company and getting them to buy the laser cut part as they will know the best dims.

Regards John”

You can’t spin a non circular part, it needs cutting afterwards…


And then I got this gem:

Unfortunately I think we may have to decline. I wanted to give you a call to discuss but I can’t see any company details in your emails.

They didn’t ask me for my number, they didn’t even look at the drawing. In two seconds they could see if they could make it, instead I had to provide a load of superfluous details first…


Well, at least they wrote back… should I email the other companies that have ignored my first email? It just seems so backwards that I should be working so hard to find a manufacturer.




Building the team up

I decided to see if anyone in my local Hackerspace group would be interested in getting involved, so with a bit of luck I can get on with more technical aspects and hopefully someone else can do a little administration and marketing.

I found a great book about dividing shares and responsibilities in startups called ‘slicing pie’, so if you own half the company but then do no work your % slowly decreases. The authors Stanford lecture is well worth watching if you’re thinking about making a startup.