Categories
Business Technology

Email Optimization

I’ve been working on email optimization lately. Here are three plugins I have found that are awesome:

Snooze your Emails – allows you to set a reminder to re-visit that email at a later date, instead of just losing it in your inbox.

Yesware – allows you to track who is opening your emails, and create templates that you can fill in with just the click of a button.

Boomerang – allows you to schedule emails to be sent at a later date.

Check em.

Oh, and make sure you are logged into Chrome with your Google Account, so that your plugins and settings are synced across all your computers.

Categories
Business Technology

Idea – Thoughts to Extend the iPhones Battery Life

iPhone battery life is a huge problem that I hear people all around the world bitch about.

Here are my ideas to solve it:

1. Put a solar panel on the back of the phone. This will give you the ability to charge anywhere there is light.

2. Implement kinetic and heat inductors. This will be the phone charges when it moves and when its in your pocket.

3. Have lock screen access to turn off and on the biggest battery drainers. Including 3g/4g/LTE/WiFi.

 

 

Categories
Business Technology

The Future of Video Storage

Imagine free, unlimited, unmetered video storage service for all your video needs.

A service where you could quickly upload, download and watch all your own private videos for free with no restriction on size, quality or content. And a service that was 100% redundant meaning that you could never lose your data, an important factor because there is no way to get back those home movies of little Timmy as a toddler if the house burns down.

  • For the father who has all those CDs he doesn’t know what to do with
  • The professional video editor who has hundreds of hard disks full of data from old projects
  • The local convenience store owner who has to erase his CCTV footage every month due to lack of space
  • All the way up to big corporations who might have thousands of cameras running at once.

Is it really such an unrealistic service?

YouTube already hosts hundreds of millions of videos for free, not to mention the plethora of other free video hosting sites out there.

Dropbox is giving 10gb+ away for free to its users.

The costs of data storage are reducing while the capacity is increasing all at an exponential rate.

That being said, it’s still not cheap. Building a service like this would likely set you back in the hundreds of millions of dollars. So how could you afford to build such a service?

Since the data is not for public viewing and you won’t have large amounts of traffic you can’t sell advertising.

The one asset you are building up is all the data you are storing. Data is information, if you can turn that information into knowledge, into usable data, you may be able to turn a profit from it.

I could guess that most people reading this post probably have either a Google, iTunes or Facebook account. If you have any of these, you’ve probably accepted a privacy agreement that allows these companies to use all of your personal information. To analyse your browsing activities, monitor your interests, what you talk about, what you read and who your friends are.

Many speculate these companies already sell your information to other corporations and even the government including intelligence divisions like the CIA and FBI.

I personally don’t think there is anything wrong with this. If you don’t want your information shared, don’t use the service. Nobody is forcing you to.

So assuming you create a privacy policy drafted in a way that allows you to do analysis on the videos that you are storing for free, here are a few ways I think you could use that data. There is probably thousands more I haven’t thought of.

1. You could use the data from cameras in certain locations to collect and analyze data about the real world. For example how many cars drive down a road per month or how many people pass a shop front each day. You could even go deeper and use it to analyze demographics. How many men vs women vs children pass a particular shop each day. How many cars above $50,000 drive down this road each day etc… Many companies can use this kind of data.

2. You could use it to find people around the world. Easy examples would be for agencies to use. Maybe to find a kidnapped child or a wanted terrorist.

3. You could sell the data to universities for human behavioural analysis

4. You could sell (some) footage to MTV/Funnies Home Videos – this may cause issues but I’m sure you would capture a bunch of hilarious shit.

5. You could provide video data analysis for your individual clients as an upsell service. Companies who want to know the behaviours of their staff or customers in their stores.

Of course all the above would be done by an autmated software product that was able to find results in near realtime.

Outside of monetizing the actual data, you could also:

6. Create a Freemium model where the higher users pay for more bandwidth

7. Create a Freemium model where users can pay so that their data is kept private and cannot be used for analysis

Many companies collect a large amount of data but don’t monetize it correctly. This is a crying shame because in today’s information age there are so many different ways to monetize data at generally little to no cost.

 

Categories
Business Featured People Technology Travel

99 Abstract Life Hacks – Make your Life Easier Today!

wet papertowel tip
 
ice cold water trick
 
picture fridge hack
 
comb nailholder lifehack
 
cupcakes icecreamcones tip
 
organize powercords trick
 
extension cords hack
 
recycled pencilholder lifehack
 
clipper tip
 
popsicle holder trick
 
iphone speaker hack
 
pringles container lifehack
 
ghettoaccessory silencer tip
 
headphone tip
 
crib clever trick
 
abort shutdown hack
 
books rollingsuitcase lifehack
 
remove strawberry stem tip
 
binder clips trick
 
cat boardgame box hack
 
direction pizzadeliveryplace lifehack
 
brownie mug tip
 
sponge icepack trick
 
blt sandwhich hack
 
clothespin lifehack
 
shoe cupholder tip
 
microwave corn trick
 
holder baseball hack
 
pencil sunglasses case lifehack
 
picture places traveling tip
 
outdoor dining kit trick
 
lent items friends hack
 
unpopped kernels lifehack
 
exit marker tip
 
icecoffee trick
 
magnet find nails hack
 
poolnoodle garagewall lifehack
 
paper organize parts tip
 
paint lock white trick
 
spring oldpen hack
 
water microwave pizza lifehack
 
spaghetti light candle tip
 
cd envelope trick
 
heating leftovers hack
 
unusual locking lifehack
 
perler beads tip
 
unrolling toiletpaper trick
 
squeeze ketchup bottle cleaner hack
 
keeping bag safe lifehack
 
wireholder tip
 
sealer trick
 
passcode hack
 
keyring zipper lifehack
 
filter unsubscribe tip
 
groceries trick
 
cellphone lantern hack
 
holes garbage can lifehack
 
powerplugs tip
 
coaster top drink trick
 
cardboard ziplock hack
 
sliver soap lifehack
 
tv charger tip
 
velcro strips trick
 
tape breadtab hack
 
tangled cords lifehack
 
emergency money tip
 
remotes trick
 
hold oreo fork hack
 
crunchy tacoshells lifehack
 
straw tip
 
dental floss trick
 
ketchup bottle hack
 
pants hanger lifehack
 
seatwarmer tip
 
sandwhich guide trick
 
wooden spoon hack
 
cd bagle tote lifehack
 
muffin condiments tip
 
doritos kindling trick
 
opening knots hack
 
stocking lifehack
 
vinegar bag tip
 
cordholder trick
 
soda pop tab hack
 
nailpolish lifehack
 
safer keeping tip
 
dustpan scoop trick
 
breadclips hack
 
toothpaste lifehack
 
can opener tip
 
hanging shoerack trick
 
fitted sheet hack
 
toilet paper rolls lifehack
 
scratched furniture tip
 
paint trick
 
staple remover hack
 
dustpan lifehack
 

Categories
Business People

Outsourcing Revisited – What I’ve Learned Since 2010

* caveat – this post is from the perspective of a small business owner who does not have full time managers and human resource specialists. Someone who doesn’t have systems and processes in place to manage large collaborative teams on long term projects. This is for someone managing a small team with limited resources and need work done in the most efficient and effective manner possible.

 

A while back a wrote a post called 4 Tips to Not Get Screwed on Elance which has gained some controversy and even some backlash from the Elance community, mostly from freelancers who wrote me up as some type of slave driver.

Well, since that post more than 2 years ago, I have clocked up A LOT more experience with Elance, oDesk and a bunch of other outsourcing sites. I have had many full time, part-time and freelancer staff and have learned a bunch more since I wrote that post.

First things first.

I completely stand by everything I wrote in the first post, and think it is excellent advice to cover your own ass. I understand this might irritate some people, but the fact of the matter is those people probably haven’t put up their own hard earned money onto a site only to had it flushed down the drain buy someone in another continent.

Of course, I would prefer to be able to put up a nice fluffy ad, sign little hearts above my i’s and frolic around a paddock while my work gets done, my business grows and my cash flow is controlled. Unfortunately I don’t live in a fairy tale and shit happens.

Even after I wrote that post, I have still had many disturbing experiences with outsourcing sites. Mostly from NOT following my own advice. I’ve had many delayed, disregarded, over priced and under delivered projects, again and again.

In fact, I have come to the basic rule that 50% of all outsourcing hires are going to fail within the first week. Please read that stat again, because it’s RIDICULOUS compared to a normal business.

Even guys I know who are based in the Philippines and have staff in house in their own office, think that a 66% stick rate after 1 week is doing well.

With these kinds of figures as an employer, it only makes sense that you need to be much tighter in not only your hiring process, but you project schedules, time tracking and more.

I am not running a start up in SF. I cant hire a few college grads, give them Mac Books and iPhones and expect them to sleep under their desk every night. Its hard enough getting virtual staff to show up everyday.

After my additional experience with virtual staff, there are a number of things I have learned. I will go into screening these concepts in later posts, but here are my 2 biggest takeaways:

1. Communication skills, Communication skills, Communication skills, Communication skills repeat etc...

Communication skills are EVERYTHING when dealing with virtual staff. Since you have no way of directly managing them, if they are a poor communicator, chances are your project is going to fall through before it even starts.

This should be your key screening metric during interviews, technical skills, processes and tasks can all be learned. But someone that doesn’t know how to do something, and never tells you that don’t know how to do it, is where everything falls down.

I will do a whole post if not multiple posts on screening communication skills.

2. Work Ethic / Current Situation / Motivation

Whatever you want to call it. We used to just call it “current situation” basically what it means is WHY does this person want this job? Do they NEED it? Are they EXCITED by the project? Will this be their primary focus? Do they already have multiple other clients and projects that are of higher commitment than your project? How much do those projects pay? What proximity and level of commitment will the worker commit to your project?

These are all questions that need to be asked when making the hire.

I have studied human resources and organisational structure and I completely understand this is not modern, traditional or textbook way  of approaching, hiring or managing staff in a traditional business.

But outsourced work is not traditional business. Ideally you want to create a collaborative culture or a fun working environment, but a REQUIREMENT is to get the job done in the most cost effective manner and thus the process becomes much more transactional.

With all the above being said, that doesn’t mean once you hire someone who you work well with you can’t empower them. On the contrary you should, but just make sure you screen thoroughly before relaxing on management techniques.

 

 

Categories
Business

The Death of Broadcast Advertising…

It has been a topic of discussion for some time now that broadcast advertising has been losing its effectiveness. I mean seriously, when was the last time you saw a billboard on the side of the road, picked up a phone and called the number displayed?

Maybe recently, but it was probably a fluke. Broadcast advertising is basically the same as spam – untargeted advertising to the masses.

Not that spam doesn’t work, it does. But it is not the most effective method of advertising.

Examples of broadcast advertising include:

  • TV
  • Radio
  • Newspaper
  • Billboards
  • Cold Calling
  • Junk mail
  • Etc…

These methods, while targeted to a small level (like you know that mostly females watch The Bachelor so you advertise female oriented products during the airing of that show), in modern age of today, you can do so much better.

With the technology and data that exists today, it is much easier to find, track and target your audience down to an almost exact science.

Here are some targeted advertising options to consider:

Search Advertising

I’m sure most of you know what search advertising, most people in the world have probably clicked on a Google search advertisement at some point in their lives. But you know why you clicked on it? Because you were searching for it, it works.

Facebook Advertising

Most people tell Facebook what their likes and interest are. So target people who are interested in what you have to offer…

Sponsored Emails

There are email newsletters in EVERY single market in the world. Instead of broadcasting to your general demographic, why not purchase an advertisement on an email list from people who have already indicated they are interested in what you have to offer?

Retargeting

Retargeting or behavioural retargeting is genius. You may have seen this happen to you already, but basically if you visit a site of a certain type (say a stock trading website) you can then follow that same customer across different sites showing them the same advertisement until eventually they buy.

Needless to say, there are many other methods of targeted advertising that all work very well. And a good combination of broadcast and targeted advertising can work wonders too (think broadcast advertising to determine your target market, then retargeting that customer until they buy). But if you find yourself stuck in the old school mentality of broadcast advertising only, you need to get with the times…

Categories
Travel

$2,000 Black Jack Hand – #ASW11

Here is the video of the $2,000 Blackjack hand I did at Vegas.

Here is the story in case you missed it:

Video of the $2k Blackjack Hand

Awesome time, thanks Shoemoney!

Categories
Business Travel

Affiliate Summit West #ASW11 – Recap, Video and Photos

Its been more than a week since I have gotten back from Affiliate Summit West 2011 (#ASW11) and wheels are turning. I am thinking it may have been the most productive few days of my life, even though all I did was get wasted all night and wake up at 5pm each day.

Here is a video of my time in Vegas. (click here if you cant see the video)

 

 

You may notice there is very little of the ‘actual conference’. That’s because I didn’t really go to much of the ‘actual conference’…. Hell I didn’t even use my free breakfast’s, lunches and I think I used about 2/10 of my drink vouchers…

Some people may say that I wasted the time there because I didn’t go to any of the sessions and didn’t learn anything (which I know is what many of the others who entered Shoemoney’s Contest wanted to do.

But I beg to differ.

I learned HEAPS. But what I learned, will never be told at a session or keynote. Its the real shit. I also made some deep relationships. I went to Affiliate Summit knowing nobody. Like literally nobody. But I have gotten very used to rocking up to places knowing nobody and quickly making friends. It is kinda necessary when you are a solo traveller.

I left ASW with a bunch of new contacts. But not just business cards. Real projects that are in the works. On top of that I made new friends.

It is really hard to really befriend someone when you meet them during the day at a networking event. Sure you may have things in common, sure you may have an interesting conversation, maybe even go for lunch or something. But it is still surface level.

To build a relationship and you need to have shared experiences. There is almost no way around it. So how do you do this?

Well… going out partying until 8am is a good start. Doing stupid shit helps too:

ASW11

My goal at ASW11 was to make some solid connections. I didn’t want to come back with a bunch of business cards and no follow up plans and I didn’t want to come back having not met anyone but listed to a bunch of speeches which I could learn in a few hours of research on my own (no disrespect to any of the speakers).

But hey, that was just my strategy going in knowing nobody. Next time it will probably be a little different as I will arrange to meet people in advance now that I know a few people.

What is your general conference strategy?

Categories
Travel

A Day at Affiliate Summit West 2011 #ASW11

4:50pm – Woke up at the Wynn overlooking Las Vegas Blv.

4:55pm – Got out of bed to check my phone that kept beeping. Had message to go to lunch – 4.5 hours ago… Organise to meet a friend downstairs for food and to watch the BCS game.

5:45pm – Get downstairs and get in line for food.

5:50pm – Realise Shoemoney is launching his new product in 10 minutes, so run off to the announcement room for the only event/speech I will see all ASW.

6-7pm – Watch product launch of Link Control and get a free lifetime pass. C ya later Hypertracker.

7:30pm – Roll with Shoemoney to play my $2k blackjack hand. I get dealt a 13 against a 10, land an 8 on the hit for 21. Dealer is 18. Winner winner chicken dinner!

8:00pm – Eat dinner/breakfast with Shoemoney and crew at Switch.

10:00pm – Head over to the Affiliate Ball at Rio with a VIP ticket. Watch 3-6 Mafia rock the house.

1:00am – Head over to the Veniusian for a drink

1:30am – Head over to XS at the Wynn

3:00am – Have a ‘drink’ with a nice young lady in my hotel room

7:00am – Sleep time

It’s a tough life…

Photos and video to come

Categories
Business

Winning the Shoemoney Crazy Affiliate Contest – P1

So as you may know by now, I was the winner of the recent Crazy Shoemoney Affiliate Summit Contest that finished up a couple of days ago.

Here is the prize as it currently stands:

  • A platinum pass to Affiliate Summit West.
  • 2 nights hotel accommodations paid for at host hotel.
  • $500 Airfare Reimbursement.
  • $2000 to gamble on 1 hand of blackjack (can you handle the pressure?).
  • Roll with me at Affiliate Summit.
  • A pass to the Epic Advertising Playboy Mansion Party this fall.

Very epic prize.

It was a long road with many hours invested. To win, you had to write a post on your blog stating “why you should win the contest”. 10 finalists were then selected by Shoemoney’s staff. After that it opened up and the winner  had to acquire the most votes over the course a 5 day period. In the end, I emerged triumphant with 43% of the total votes.

Over the next two posts, I will give a break down of exactly what I did to win the competition.

The Finalist Post

First things first. Before anything else you had to get selected by Shoemoney’s staff as a finalist. This meant a killer post.

The first thing I did was assess the competition. I immediately understood that there would be no point attempting this thing half hearted. Just whacking up a useless post on my blog isn’t going to win me a prize easily valued at $5k but it will deteriorate the quality of my blog and brand. So before even deciding whether to enter it or not, I had to do a quick analysis on reward/ratio.

If I my chances of at least getting into the finalists were slim to none, I wouldn’t even bother entering. That decision would be made solely based on the competition. In the end, there were 92 Comments with probably 70 entries to the competition. But when I made the decision to enter, there was less than 40 entrants.

Firstly, this low number was very surprising. I guess that it was the holidays and what not probably meant less people were aware of the contest. Any way, I started reading through the other comments and was fairly shocked at what I saw.

There were a number of entries that were 1 paragraph long, broken links and posts with clearly no thought put into them. Yes there were also a few good posts, but most of them were below par.

Low numbers and low quality? Shit yeah, bring it on.

When I first read the post there was two days left to enter the contest.

Knowing that I had two days, there was no reason to rush the post. You should treat it like any other piece of writing you are trying to get right and write it out, let it sit, edit it, let it sit some more (something I usually don’t do because it takes to long and editing is annoying but it definitely is the most effective technique).

The Essay Approach

When it came down to writing the post, the first question I had to ask my self is “What is this post trying to achieve?” this is something we all had to do in school when we were given one of those annoying questions and told to discuss it. What are you trying to achieve? Are you trying to argue a point? Solve a problem?

In this case, the point was to be selected. To be chosen. So I started thinking about other types of documents that have a similar purpose. The first that came to mind was a resume, something I have lots of experience with as an ex-recruiter.  A resume is a document you create so you are selected. But getting hirired for a job is not usually just from your resume, you need to do a good job selling youself to secure the position.

This train of thought brought me down the path of a sales letter. Really the purpose of this post was to sell myself. Really, this post was to be a sales page.

The Sales Page Post

I am by no means an expert copy writer. But I know a little. I know what some of the key elements of a strong sales letter are. These include:

  • Telling a story
  • Building Trust
  • Emotional stimulation
  • Focusing on the benefits

I started telling my story. People like dealing with people they know, so the more of a story you can tell the more trust you will build plus it makes for an enjoyable read. I continued with emotional stimulation by writing the post in a very casual manner and by sprinkling humour through the post. I then wrote a section on how I can give back and what the benefits would be of hiring me. Whether they are tangible benefits for someone like Shoemoney or not is irrelevant. They just have to be better than the benefits the other contestants were offering. Some is better than none.

Additional Elements

On top of the above elements which appear in every post I added two more of my own for this particular post:

  • An element to show I had done my research
  • A gimmick to stand out from the crowd

If you see down the bottom of the post, there is a picture of a girl in a grey shirt with a CLICK HERE underneath her. This was not chosen by accident. Actually Shoemoney talked extensively about this picture in his video on Facebook advertising. By adding this element is showed that I actually knew who Shoemoney was, followed his stuff and paid attention. Plus it was slightly humours, at least I thought so anyway.

The last was the tattoo gimmick. To be honest, this was chucked in right at the end. I was basically reading my post thinking shiit, I need a gimmick to close this deal and maybe more importantly, to win the votes. Sure I had a strong post, but it didn’t jump out at you, there was noting overly special about it. If you see Donny Gamble’s post he included the elf video and Danger Brown had a cool video of his own plus he was going to shave his head. These are two other fantastic examples of utilising a gimmick to get attention which resulted in both these guys making it to the finals.

I don’t know why I chose to get a tattoo. Basically I just thought it would be something that the judges would notice, people would talk about and it would make a funny story. No real reason besides it was a straight gimmick.

The End Result

Here is my winning entry. I probably spent a good 4-5 hours on it, possibly longer. Lots of that time was just reading it over and over correcting little bits and pieces. But every couple of times I read it I would get another big idea and chuck it in. As I said the tattoo idea didn’t come until the very end, maybe the last or second last re-read so it definitely pays to do this.

Next up securing the most votes.