Q Manning Makes Pretty Things


Articles and pieces I’ve written for Entrepreneur


Innovation a Problem? Go Back to ‘Day One’ the Way Amazon Constantly Does

It’s hard to imagine that a company like Amazon is going anywhere any time soon. Decades after ignoring the scoffing of traditional booksellers and launching an online bookstore, Amazon has become a staple of the modern world that would be difficult, if not impossible, to replace. Yet, for all its appearance as a bedrock company,the attitude of Jeff Bezos belies this image.

What 'Back to the Future' Teaches Us About Innovation

Back to the Future, the smash-hit movie trilogy, is 33 years old but continues to capture the public's imagination, even three decades on. Proof? When October 2015, rolled around, fans celebrated "Back to the Future" Day, marking the date that Doc Brown, Marty McFly and Jennifer Parker made their way into the future, in Back to the Future II.

More recently, the movie made news in August because of a mini-reunion at the Fan Expo in Boston, where questions of a remake or sequel were raised and, unfortunately, shut down once again.

4 Tips for Managing the 'Nuts and Bolts' of Your Business

Even in today's digital age, some small business owners, surprisingly, are still bucking the online trend: A CNBC poll recently found that only 45 percent of small business owners polled said they had business websites. And that's a problem.

Another problem: Of those businesses that did have a website, only one-third used them to communicate with customers.

Why Mark Zuckerberg Recently Warned Entrepreneurs Against Chasing 'Eureka!' Moments

In his recent commencement speech at Harvard, Mark Zuckerberg warned entrepreneurs against chasing “Eureka!” moments -- advocating instead for sustained effort toward a single goal.

“Ideas don’t come out fully formed,” the Facebook CEO said. “They only become clear as you work on them. You just have to get started.”

4 Strategies for a Strong Early Marketing Plan

Joining the likes of Facebook, Twitter and Snapchat, Pinterest is adding capability for video advertisements that may give other social media channels a run for their money.

After testing with advertisers for a year, Pinterest decided to follow in the footsteps of Facebook with the autoplay format. But Pinterest is also addressing known issues by allowing advertisers to use metrics from third-party sources such as Moat and Nielsen. 

3 Steps You Need to Take to Build an App That Will Boost Your Business's Value

Countless businesses and entrepreneurs assume that building an app is a great idea. There is good reason for that: Research by Dot Com Infoway shows that mobile apps are expected to generate $77 billion in revenue for businesses this year.

However, not all that wealth is being spread around: Forrester Research reveals that only a fraction of the 2.8 million available apps out there are ever actually used. What most businesses and entrepreneurs fail to realize is that just because you build an app -- even if there's a "cool idea" behind it -- doesn't mean people want it.

How to Pursue the Perfect Virtual Reality Experience

Even in today’s tech-driven, gadget-filled world, you’d be hard-pressed to find anyone who isn’t completely enamored with virtual reality. Just the concept of strapping on a pair of goggles and being whisked into a different world awakens the dreamer in all of us.

Devices such as the Oculus Rift and HTC Vive are already ushering in a new generation of VR. Tech experts predict that this industry will continue to grow into a market worth $150 billion by 2020.

Don't Be the 'Next Big' Anything: 4 Tips for Creating Unique Value

Like a sitcom that claims to be the next Friends, any move you make that sets high expectations is likely to lead to a letdown.

The same goes for the hype behind the new entrepreneurism trend and the empty optimism of untested entrepreneurial consultants: Indeed, those people are sending more and more new companies crashing into the abyss.

5 Steps to Bring Users Back to Your App

Are push notifications getting too pushy? Or are they the perfect ingredient to spice-up app engagement -- when used sparingly?

According to a recent study by Blueshift, personalized mobile push notifications receive a 2,770 percent increase in engagement compared to generic push notifications. Users today demand more than mobile outreach: In the face of endless advertisements and alerts, they want information relevant to their personal situation, location and habits.

4 Ways to Avoid Nintendo's Super Mario Mobile Mistake

For gamers of all ages, few properties elicit more excitement than a certain Italian plumber in a red cap and well-worn overalls. Gaming juggernaut Nintendo was banking on this in December when it released Super Mario Run, its second foray into the cutthroat world of mobile gaming.

Developing an App or a Game? Take a (Retro) Lesson From 'PAC-MAN.'

Yes, believe it: Retro games are making a big comeback.

The Commodore 64 gamer computer, a smash in the 1980s, will soon be providing players with a second round, via the upcoming release of the $70 C64 Mini -- a system complete with 64 games, a joystick and easy connectivity to a TV or other peripherals. Nintendo, meanwhile -- which is at the heart of this resurgence -- is selling out retailers' stock with its SNES Classic.

5 Ways to Be More Mobile-Friendly

Look away from your screen for a second. Go ahead; I’ll wait. What’s going on in the world around you? Are any other people looking up from their screens, or are they all just as absorbed as you were a moment ago?

It’s not just your imagination. According to comScore’s 2016 Mobile App Reporttotal digital media time grew 53 percent from 2013 to 2016, and 80 percent of that growth was driven by mobile apps. The point is, we haven’t all turned into zombies -- we’ve just altered our focus to take in content at an almost constant rate.

3 Strategies for Taking a Bite out of the Booming App Market

"There's an app for that" used to be a tongue-in-cheek slogan in the iPhone's early days. Now, it's a fact of life: By 2020, it's estimated that 6.1 billion people will rely on smartphones. Users will install 210 billion apps between now and then, a trend that will earn developers a collective $57 billion in revenue in 2020 alone.

Apps are quickly becoming a brand imperative. But going after downloads or in-app purchases isn't enough anymore; those are just the beginning stages of a product's life cycle. To make apps a part of long-term growth strategies, companies must evolve these products based on users' behaviors.

Until Robots Destroy Us All, 'AIM' High With AI Marketing

Ask Elon Musk about the future of artificial intelligence, and he'll likely claim that the robot apocalypse is right around the corner. That's a terrifying proposition. Fortunately, it's not supported by other tech moguls like Mark Zuckerberg and Bill Gates, both of whom believe that Musk’s points are not only overblown, but also destructive.

How to Maximize Engagement With Intelligent Apps

With intelligent apps topping the list of strategic trends for 2017, bridging the gap between man and machine is coming much closer to reality. In fact, the trend is so strong it won’t likely lose steam even into next year: Gartner predicts that 200 of the largest companies around the globe will develop intelligent apps by 2018.

Profit in 90 Days? Avoid the Mistakes That Could Cost You a Million Dollars.

Like most reality shows, Undercover Billionaire has a seriously catchy premise: Give an uber-successful businessperson precious little capital, drop him (or her) off in an unfamiliar city, and see whether this individual can whip up a successful business idea in 90 days. Does our hero (or heroine) make a million bucks or fail miserably? Which of three factors -- desire, old-fashioned hard work or luck -- plays the biggest role in realizing the American dream?

3 Steps to Profit With Shared Data Experiences

These days, sensors are everywhere: Phones know where their users have been, what music they’ve listened to and which events they've agreed to attend. And while the data that results is a powerful tool for businesses, they aren’t always connected to material generated on laptops, tablets and wearable devices.

The Big 3 Tech Categories That Will Contribute the Most to Your Startup's Success in 2018

Few startups these days can exist -- let alone succeed -- without technology. In fact, Forrester’s mid-year tech outlook, published in September, predicted that tech spending would increase across multiple sectors in 2018. Theoutlook forecast that 4 percent more would be spent across the board for global purchases of software, hardware and technology services by corporations and government agencies alike.

That's the kind of growth that will push the tech industry past the $3 trillion mark for the first time in history.

How Entrepreneurs Can Adapt Today's 'Smart Assistants' to Build Tomorrow's Office

The era of smart assistants is here, and the race for dominance is on: By mid-December, Consumer Intelligence Research Partners was able to report that Amazon's Echo was leading the pack, with 20 million units shipped, selling more than three times its nearest competitor, Google Home.

Even Apple had entered the fray with its HomePod, a product that includes a Samsung smart speaker utilizing Bixby -- a smart helper mobile app -- that further diversifies the marketplace.

3 Ways to Master the One Thing About Video That Entrepreneurs Don't Understand: Distribution

Digital marketers have been creating videos since the dawn of their job category. But because most people would rather watch a video than read paragraphs of information, the novelty hasn’t worn off. The downside of the popularity of videos, though, is that when everyone makes them, any particular video -- yours, perhaps -- becomes harder for people to find.

Your company’s videos, then, have to be more than just a passive experience for viewers.

Modernize U.S. Politics? Here are 3 Ways Tech Companies Can Help.

Political candidates don’t agree on much. But even Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump are in unison about one subject: getting out the vote. As November draws near, Democrats and Republicans will implore their supporters to perform their civic duty by lining up at polling booths or dropping by early voting locations.

Is Apple Going to Delete Your App? Here's How You Can Save It.

Until now, an outdated or half-baked app could be left sitting around, collecting a slow trickle of downloads even after its developers stopped pushing out updates. But that digital norm is about to change, as Apple recently announced its intention to clean up the App Store by evaluating and removing apps that fail to meet quality standards.

How Pinterest, Starbucks and Lyft Grab More User Attention

Americans love their media. As eMarketer noted, U.S. adults spend more than five hours daily on their mobile devices and desktops. And, according to Com Score research, 57 percent of that five hours happens on apps.

Not surprisingly, brands want to leverage these impressive statistics. And that's no surprise since clearly the best place to acquire and engage customers is through their screens.

4 Ways to Prepare for the Next Apocalyptic Amazon Web Services Outage

You probably heard about the outage in late February that hit Amazon Web Services (AWS), the company’s cloud-computing service. Amazon is the country’s largest service provider of cloud computing for businesses, and thousands of websites and apps that rely on its services found themselves in freak-out mode due to the interruption.

Want to Build the Next Candy Crush? Here's How.

I have good news and bad news for app developers. The good news is that consumers are insatiable when it comes to great apps. Usage patterns indicate that the most engaged users frequently search for new sources of entertainment or productivity resources on their mobile devices -- so the opportunities for selling to them are limitless.

Want 'Right' Swipes on Your App? Here's How to Make Your App a Star.

Looks like users are "swiping right" (saying "yes") on app usage: Some 70 percent of Americans are adding a new app each month, increasing the number of apps per user to 80 or more, according to app-market insights firm App Annie.

Bigger Isn't Always Better, But With the iPhone X, It Is

The holidays came early this year -- Nov. 3, to be exact -- for lucky entrepreneurial techies. Not only did those early birds snag their preordered iPhone X models, but they enjoyed quick access to the newest Apple gadget while competitors had to wait up to six weeks for theirs. And what those first buyers discovered is that the iPhone X has shattered the mold once again, offering significant opportunities to businesses wanting to up their game.