10 easy steps to set your membership site up and running in 30min, for FREE!


these past weeks I’ve been busy studying the best infrastructures online to get up and running with a small online business (a membership site, as I’m building one…), so I thought of sharing the main steps to get your presence online and the tools you need.

What is a membership site? A place where people regularly pay to have access to restricted topics of your choice (e.g. a cousine website where for $9 per month you get new recipes regularly…)

Here are the steps:

  1. Go to Facebook and create a Page and a Group (the group is useful to create a private community on the topic)
  2. Go to gmail.com and create an email (do this first so you can use it as the email contact for all the other steps)
  3. Go to Teachable (www.teachable.com) and create your own “school” (where you’ll put all your material)
  4. Go to Twitter and create an account
  5. Go to IFTT.com and create an account
  6. Go to Buffer.com and create an account
  7. Go to YouTube and open a channel, this will also create a Google+ profile (to post promotional videos)
  8. Go to Google Analytics an create an account (for web analytics)
  9. Go to Optimize.ly and create an account
  10. Go to MailChimp and create an account (for a free mailing system up to 2000 subscribers) — [ActiveCampaign is definitively a better choice, but it ain’t free]
  11. Use GoDaddy.com to get your domain name (.com! search on google for coupons and you’ll spend $1 for your first year – ok it’s the only thing that’s not free, but it’s very affortable!)
  12. Go to Mixpanel.com and get an account (for mobile analytics)
  13. Go to SumoMe and get an account (to grow traffic: AWESOME!)

The nice thing about this is that you will then:

  1. Link your Facebook Page, Twitter, and Google+ together thru IFTT and Buffer (so you just have to write in 1 place and have ALL your posts propagated in the other social channels!)
  2. Link your MailChimp account to Teachable and your Facebook Page (so people signing up will grow your list, and that’s the only thing that matters)
  3. Link your Google Analytics to everywhere you can…
  4. Forward your domain thru GoDaddy to Teachable


People who go to your .com domain will split test your landing page (thru Optimize.ly), and then either receive an email or go directly to your membership site. You’ll write new stuff on your blog on Teachable and gather all the emails with MailChimp.

What do you think? Any other tools you’d recommend?

How Investors Make Better Decisions: The Investment Readiness Level

Here’s the 3rd post related to the Investment Readiness Level by Steve Blank.

1st post here: It’s Time to Play Moneyball: The Investment Readiness Level.

2nd post here: Is This Startup Ready For Investment?.

Steve Blank

Investors sitting through Incubator or Accelerator demo days have three metrics to judge fledgling startups – 1) great looking product demos, 2) compelling PowerPoint slides, and 3) a world-class team.  Other than “I’ll know it when I see it”, there’s no formal way for an investor to assess project maturity or quantify risks. Other than measuring engineering progress, there’s no standard language to communicate progress.

What’s been missing for everyone is:

  1. a common language for investors to communicate objectives to startups
  2. a language corporate innovation groups can use to communicate to business units and finance
  3. data that investors, accelerators and incubators can use to inform selection

Teams can prove their competence and validate their ideas by showing investors evidence that there’s a repeatable and scalable business model. While it doesn’t eliminate great investor judgment, pattern recognition skills and mentoring, we’ve developed an Investment Readiness Level tool that fills in these missing…

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castlesintheworld – a cool blog on castles

I love castles! They remind me of a romantic past of knights and ladies, where courage and values where prominent…

I recently found this cool website (castlesintheworld) that describes castles around the world. Too bad it’s only in Italian and there’s no description (yet 😉 ) of my hometown castle, Castelvecchio.

I love the pictures and the descriptions though, it’s a nice place to get ideas for your next weekend trip! 😀

Why Build, Measure, Learn – isn’t just throwing things against the wall to see if they work

Latest on Lean Start Up

Steve Blank

I am always surprised when critics complain that the Lean Startup’s Build, Measure, Learn approach is nothing more than “throwing incomplete products out of the building to see if they work.”

Unfortunately the Build, Measure, Learn diagram is the cause of that confusion. At first glance it seems like a fire-ready-aim process.

It’s time to update Build, Measure, Learn to what we now know is the best way to build Lean startups.

Here’s how.

Build, Measure, Learn sounds pretty simple. Build a product, get it into the real world, measure customers’ reactions and behaviors, learn from this, and use what you’ve learned to build something better. Repeat, learning whether to iterate, pivot or restart until you have something that customers love.build measure learn

Waterfall Development
While it sounds simple, the Build Measure Learn approach to product development is a radical improvement over the traditional Waterfall model used throughout the 20th century to build…

View original post 1,403 more words

3 World Cup Trading Champions… and me

Hi all, it’s been a while I know… 🙂

I’ve been quite busy working lately and last month I’ve attended a course on trading in New York.

The Big Apple is always magical (although very cold at the time!) and I also got the chance to catch up with a friend I hadn’t met in the past 10 years.

CentralPark (Central Park early in the morning: freezing!!)

The bigger take-away though was the fact that getting in touch with smart people of different walks of life always makes your brain breathe clearer air. What I mean is that you get exposed to new ideas that even if per se are not applicable to you, they make you think of something that you can work on…

And so it happened, I crafted a program in Matlab which allows you to automatically choose the best strategies of your portfolio to trade for the next period, and also the number of contracts you should trade per strategy, taking into account the chance of leveraging your account if your margin is not completely full.

AndreaUnger,TimRea,KevinDavey (me, Kevin Davey, Tim Rea, and Andrea Unger)

PS: Kevin (American) won the Robbins World Cup Championship of Futures Trading in 2006. Tim (New Zealander) won in 2011. Andrea (Italian) won in 2008, 2009, 2010, and 2012 Q4.

PPS: if you want to learn more about Andrea Unger’s way of trading, you can register here for his free training “The NEW Way To Create Systems That Make Profits!”

The Math of Life

Yesterday was my 35-th birthday and I saw this picture on a friend’s facebook post:

which puzzled me, because I don’t think it’s correct. I see it more like:


(I used this LaTeX Equation Editor, I know it’s not perfect, but it gives the idea… 😉 )

I consider happiness a function of time, while in the original formula it seems like the older you are, the less happy you are (as time is at the denominator)…

Now, given that birth can be considered a constant (in the sense that it doesn’t depend much on us), to maximize the integral we can:

  1. “increase” death, which is to take it as far away from birth as possible (supposing happiness to be a positive function, which is not so in the case of deep sorrow).
    Now you’re gonna tell me “but I can’t decide when I’m gonna die!” Of course not, but we can take action on trying to make life longer (namely sleeping properly, doing physical exercise, having a healthy diet, living in a less polluted city, etc.)
  2. having happiness(time) as “big” as possible. I think everyone defines happiness in their own way, it could be a mixture of success, freedom, fulfillment, love, meeting Maslow’s needs, ecc.
    Personally I find that, once you have enough money not to worry too much about the future, spending time with my friends and family (and taking care of them, and myself), while doing cool and challenging work, and discovering new and adventurous things (by reading, travelling, learning, etc.) are what thrill me the most about the day ahead.
    Taking also into account that you can be happy:

    1. by living in the moment a happy situation, or also
    2. by remembering past happy situations (or also thinking about sad memories in a more pleasant way)

    I figured that I’m meeting the purpose of life at a greater extent than I thought, especially lately! And I wish you can do that too!!


“There are many types of rich — and I am talking about both external and internal rewards. Being rich is about having an abundance of what matters to you most.”

Btw, I also got the bestest present in my world yesterday, thanks to my goddess, whom I dedicate this song to:

10 Travel Lessons from Indochina

“a journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step” – Laozi

vietnam-hoian (Hoi An, Vietnam)

I just came back from a 4-week vacation to “Indochina” (Thailand, Cambodia, Vietnam, Laos) with my gf.
Here’s the itinerary, main attractions and means of transportation we’ve used.

  • Venice to Bangkok (Thailand) with stop in Dubai with emirates: great airline, comfy chairs and good food.
  • Bangkok: we stayed in Chinatown, the city was too crowdy for us, but the area around the royal palace is great.
  • Ayuttaya trip by taxi.
  • Seam Reap (Cambodia) via plane to see the Angkor area: majestic!
  • Da nang (Vietnam) via plane
  • Hoi An (A-W-E-S-O-M-E!!!!) via shuttle bus + Cham islands (not really worth it)
  • Hué via sleeping bus
  • Dong Hoi via local bus + Phong Nha Kẻ Bàng national park to see the caves (mesmerizing!)
  • Hanoi via night train
  • Halong bay (unmissable!) via shuttle bus + Cat Ba national park
  • Hanoi via shuttle bus
  • Sa Pa (great rice terrace views!) via night train to Lao cai & shuttle bus
  • Hanoi airport via sleeping bus
  • Luang Prabang (Laos) via plane: fantastic!
  • Chiang Mai (illuminating talk with Buddhist monks) via plane
  • Chiang Rai via bus
  • Bangkok via plane
  • Venice via plane with Emirates, upgrade to business class up to Dubai!!!

Unluckily due to time, budget, and weather constraints, we didn’t manage to go to the South of Thailand to see islands, beaches, and the sea…

Altogether we spent, ALL included, about 110€/day per person. Getting the flight earlier would have probably saved us an extra 200-300€.

bangkok-wat-arun (Wat Arun – Bangkok, Thailand)

Lessons learnt:

  1. Do laundry on the spot when you need it, it’s 1$/kg (if your hotel charges more, go outside on the street to find it)
  2. Food and drinks are cheap: 2€/$ for a dish, 0.50€/$ for a soda; food in the street is generally half price of what you find in a restaurant.
  3. Get a meter taxi when you can (from a recommended company, use Wiki Travel to find out), it’s usually cheaper than tuk-tuk. Public transport is cheapest of course. In many airports if you walk 200m out of the exit there are cheaper means of transport (used by locals I guess).
  4. Either you have a tour guide who can speak good English or just have a driver to get you around (or go by yourself), the tours we took were not so great, do them yourself with mopeds!
  5. Use mopeds/motorbikes (only with automatic transmission!!!) to get around the city, it’s the best way and cost just 4€/$/day (don’t get them at the hotel, find them on the street so it’s cheaper, no Driver license needed!)
  6. Hotels/guesthouses: agoda.com is a great place to find a good place to sleep, have them including breakfast, don’t get anything else from them (laundry, tuk-tuks, tours). Only book 1 day in advance at a time, so you’re flexible in changing your plans in needed, and in case you can always stay an extra night at usually a cheaper price!
  7. Get a local SIM card (5/10€ well spent) for your smart phone, so you have internet (and navigation with google maps!!)
  8. Bargaining: for souvenirs, transportation, tours, etc.: by chance in Kenya I stumbled across this “technique”… Lowball at 1/10 of what they say and see their reaction… Usually half price of their initial price is a correct price, but I always thought I could have done better. The important thing is to have options (e.g. More than 1 souvenir shop you can buy from, hence never buy the first thing you like! you can always come back later) and not too care too much about what you are buying (i.e. I can come back later… Usually another good “technique” I found is not to bargain at all, just give a low price and keep saying that, then go away if it’s not met). Never accept their first offer!!! In any case the common sense plays a key-role: it’s way better to negotiate hard on big purchases where you can save “big bucks” (10-15€, i.e. tours, expensive souvenirs, hand-made tailor-fitted clothes…) than on small purchases where you can save little (2-3€, i.e. tuk-tuk rides…)
  9. … Upgrade to business class on long flights, if u can!!! Ask in a very friendly way when you check-in, especially if the flight is overbooked, you check-in early, are well-dressed, and have a frequent flier card (and maybe say you’re on your honey-moon :-P)…
  10. Don’t expect the locals to solve your problems, take the initiative and solve them yourself! E.g. The bus we took to Chiang Rai broke down halfway, so if another one arrives and goes in the same direction: GET IN! Don’t expect the employees of the bus company to fix the problem for you by accommodating you on the next available bus, do it yourself (also because they hardly speak English). Another example: at the travel agency in Sa Pa they said the bus would only stop at the centre of Hanoi, but we needed to go to the airport… so we talked to the bus driver who agreed to freely stop the bus at about 2km from the airport, which saved us 2 hours (and of course where it stopped there was a taxi for the remaining 2km)! Hence, do-it-yourself and ask for forgiveness instead of permission… 😉

vietnam-sapa (Sa Pa, Vietnam)

We also noticed that despite the most beautiful places are in Vietnam (we wished we had stayed more in Laos to compare though), the average Vietnamese is not as nice/pleasable/kind as (northern) Thais, Cambodians and Laotians… Also because in Vietnamese culture it’s much more ok to make tourists pay more than locals, compared to the other countries mentioned above.

What about you? any tips to share for our next vacation?!? 😀

angkor-thom (Angkor Thom, Cambodia)