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Sunday, July 24th, 2011

These $1Billion+ Brands Began As Something Different


Some of the most successful products of all time began as something else — I love coaching entrepreneurs on this fact!

The morale of the story is: get started on building your products because the sooner you get started, the sooner you’ll know what amazing product you can build!

Here are 10 of my favorites products that began as something else:

Bubble Wrap

Two engineers, Marc Chavannes and Aldred Fielding, sealed two shower curtains together to create a new type of wallpaper (with bubbles in it). It was later marketed as greenhouse insulation.

It wasn’t until years later that Bubble Wrap would be used to help protect IBM computers during shipping.

BubbleWrap is also ranked #22 in my list of The Top 100 Brands Synonomous With Their Product Category.


It was at first a patent medicine invented in the late 19th century by John Pemberton.

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Wednesday, October 20th, 2010

5 Frustrating Things About Paypal


A sharp colleague of mine vented about some frustrating things about using Paypal (as a seller).

I wanted to share this so that:

  • Folks know what they’re getting into when they sell through Paypal;
  • Paypal will be pushed to be better; and
  • Entrepreneurs will see opportunities to create alternatives to Paypal!

Here are the 5 Frustrating Things About Paypal

1) Batch Payments

To do batch payments (i.e pay a load of affiliates or staff by uploading a spreadsheet with the data) you have to first fund the PayPal account – this can only be done by bank transfer which takes a long time and means you need to predict the payment amount up front and fund it beforehand.

This is a cumbersome process. Uploading the CSV and just being able to pay immediately without preparation as with any other payment would be helpful.

2) Support

PayPal support was pretty awful in the past, although it is getting better and you can now actually find a phone number on their site to call them, but from what I read they only did that because of legal pressure, which is a signal of how the company works.

3) Cost

Paypal is quite expensive. Enough said!

4) Random Blocking of Funding Sources

They randomly block funding sources for security reasons. This means at times I am unable to make payments or it delays payments that have to be sent by eCheque.

PayPal won’t rectify it if you contact them, the problem just disappears – it happens more to me when travelling.

5) Canceling of Subscriptions

If you have subscribers or are subscribed to a service via PayPal, then PayPal will automatically cancel the subscription when your credit card expires, you change a credit card and a few other reasons – I have lost a lot of paying subscribers this way.

PayPal does not explain this process very well to subscribers so a lot get confused and don’t know what they are subscribed to, or how to fix it.

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