Archives for category: business

I am hopeful (yet cynical) that we will take this current economic recession and learn to live within our means, not go EVEN farther in debt.  This video takes it even a step farther and encourages us to give but to give less materially and more meaningfully.

[via joshuablankenship]

Arguably the most recognizable athlete worldwide.  An amazing footballing talent.  Star midfielder and captain for his international team.  Superstar of Manchester United – the reigning title holder of both the EPL and Champions League and the most valuable sports brand in the world.

If I was writing this 6 years ago, everyone would know I was speaking of superstar David Beckham, right before he moved from Manchester United to Real Madrid and is now playing for LA Galaxy.  

An eerily similar script is unfolding before our eyes today, with Cristiano Ronaldo, the new Beckham.  Yes, Ronaldo is flirting with the idea of following in Beck’s footsteps even more by moving to Real Madrid.  If you are interested in this, plenty of sports writers are discussing it, check one of them out.  To be honest, I couldn’t care less.  That’s right, I really don’t care.  

What I do care about regarding this situation is the comments that have been made by FIFA head Sepp Blatter.  Blatter said that Ronaldo should be free to pursue a transfer to Real Madrid rather than be kept to the contract that he signed 18 months ago.  Fine that is all well and good.  However the “Mad Blatter” had to continue talking, and in those remarks, he went on to compare poor Ronaldo’s situation to “modern slavery”.  

Yes, slavery.

When asked about Blatter’s comments regarding slavery Ronaldo, the portugese international said, “I agree with the statements of [Blatter] … What he said is correct.  You know what I said, what I want and what I would like.  Now I have to wait and see what happens.”

Wow. Ronaldo who just signed a 5 year contract a mere 18 months ago feels treated like a slave.  A contract that pays him a mere $238,000 per week.  Yes, I said per week, as in there are 52 of them a year.

To compare this spoiled brat to a slave is an insult to slaves.  Ronaldo makes more money than he and his friends and his family could even think of spending.  He lives like a king in a great country.  He works out and plays a sport he loves 40 weeks of the year, and gets 12 weeks of vacation.  

If he doesn’t like it, he can quit, and go into another line of work (unlike slaves).  Now there isn’t another line of work that can offer him the limelight that his ego craves or a ludacris salary like that… so if he is complaining that the team that is paying him so much has requested that he not play for a rival team, that doesn’t seem like it is asking too much.  

Grow up Cristiano.  What little respect I had for you (off the field) has all officially eroded away.  I hope Man U “puts you out to pasture” by trading you to Real Madrid and you rot in the Spanish sun like so many others have.  

So I just activated a new anthem account and once my registration/activation was complete, I was asked to log in to start using the account. I click the “log in” button and am presented with:

Site Unavailable
The online self-service feature you have requested is unavailable at this time. Our regular system operating hours are Monday through Friday from 4:00 a.m. to 11:00 p.m., Saturday from 4:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m., and Sunday from 9:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. We apologize for any inconvenience this may have caused.

Now this is a pet peeve of mine, why do “online self-service” sites have operating hours?  The whole point is so I can do it at 2am Saturday if I so choose.  There doesn’t need to be someone at the other end of the line, if you are putting a system online, it should only not be available during server maintenance times… having standard hours of operation for a website is just backwards.  [rant complete]

I’m trying out a real world SEO experiment with a freelance client right now.  Surplus Sites – http://www.surplus-sites.com  hired me to build a quick brochure site for them.  As a matter of curiousity now, I am curious what SEO techniques may be able to help them increase their rankings…

So far I have tried posting an ad in bowling green kentucky on craigslist, twittering about posting on craigslist, and now blogging about all of them (which should end up on technorati thanks to wordpress, etc)…

Turns out it is pretty easy to manufacture a “quick and dirty” web of links – if the property in Bowling Green, KY gets some increased traffic (thanks google analytics for making this easy), I’ll consider this a victory.   If it leases, I’ll consider it a huge victory, and if nothing happens, I’ll consider it a little bit of lost time while learning about search engine optimization…

Count me curious. People have been predicting this sort of “e-book” for years now (I remember discussing it in a class in college a decade ago), but Amazon’s Kindle seems to be the first one with any potential to get off the ground.

Looks to me that Amazon is hoping Kindle will be to books what the iPod/iTunes is for music. This seems like a good step into the arena, and one that was necessary. Now that iTunes is carrying so many “books on tape mp3,” even avid readers had started shifting away from traditional books…

I’ll have to reserve judgment on this until I can actually hold one (there is something wonderful about the tactile sensation of holding a book that I predict this will lack), but I think this could be worth keeping an eye on.

Sadly at $400 it is more expensive than any book I ever thought of buying (and you still have to buy the books – though they are offered at a discount).

Reason #58 it is cool to work where I do:

We won an “essay contest” from Edy’s Ice Cream.  So what you say?  Edy’s wheeled in a freezer filled to the brim with Edy’s Dibs ice cream.  Needless to say, many people around here are pretty happy about that.  (Thankfully I’m not a big ice cream fan, cause that would just be dangerous…)

A very interesting read on Apple’s attention being taken away from “computers” and onto other ventures.  Worth a read.  (I’m still thinking about getting a MacBook Pro though…)

Mark this day. Science seems to have found a way to “burn” sea water. If they can turn this into a viable engine, this could be the answer so many have been craving. We may be able to run cars and other combustable engines off of sea water, the most plentiful resource on the planet. Cross your fingers that this proves to be as promising as it looks right now.

With a little time on my hands, I set up two Google products to work with chriswho.com, Google Analytics and AdSense.

The change you can see is AdSense – it displays those contextually appropriate ads at the top of the page. My traffic numbers are currently low enough I don’t expect to make any actual cash, but I thought it would be a fun experiment to do it, and I’m looking forward to seeing what ads google chooses to serve up based off of my blog post content. So far, it looks like PETA‘s protest ads regarding Michael Vick are winning, but on other pages you can get some others… fun stuff (in an ultra geeky way).

None of you will ever see Analytics, but it is very cool. It is another free tool from google that gives me some impressive reporting on the site’s traffic. Once again, very geeky, but this is my profession, so I should be aware of as many of the tools of the trade as I can.

So far, I’m impressed with the quality and ease of installation/use of both tools. I’m trying to learn more about SEO and monetizing web properties, so I think this is a good way for me to “dip my toe in the water” so to speak. So far, I like what I see.

SAJ has a couple commercials on tv.  For those of you who haven’t seen them, check them out:

The misfits.The rebels.
The troublemakers.
The round pegs in the square holes.
The ones who see things differently.
They’re not fond of rules.
And they have no respect for the status quo.
You can quote them, disagree with them, glorify or vilify them.
About the only thing you can’t do is ignore them.
Because they change things.
They push the human race forward.
And while some may see them as the crazy ones, we see genius.
Because the people who are crazy enough to think they can change the world, are the ones who do.

- Apple Computer

My copywriter and I celebrated a truly unexpected victory this afternoon as one of our recent SAJ polls (designed as a fun poll with no real value) actually got picked up by the associated press today and has filtered down to the Houston Chronicle, Forbes, and a few others!

Sidenote – I still think we should have listed Jon Heder’s job as “egg gatherer” instead of “farmhand” – he would have won in a landslide then.

I stumbled upon this drawing and it illustrated a big part of my concept of success.

Just made my first Wikipedia edit

Here is an extensive presentation on form design and usability.  While most around here will have no interest in this presentation, my friends over at my old job may want to check this out.  I still haven’t made it all the way through it, but around slide 15 it gets pretty practical…

Hey friends – let me know if you want tickets to any of these, there is a very high likelihood I can “snag” some free ones.  Perks are fun.

We have some upcoming TV spots for those who may want to keep an eye out for them…

Comedy Central – 16th @7:15AM and 12:23PM

ESPN2 -  15th @ 7:37AM and 12:21PM, the 16th @2:25AM, and the 17th @12:42PM

During this week, we are also advertising on BET, FX, TBS, TNT, and USA, but I’m not going to type out all those spots … pretty cool!

  • Beer Kegs
  • Driving ranges
  • Ropes Courses
  • Flip Cup games
  • Volleyball
  • Inflatable Boxing
  • Miniature Golf
  • Football
  • Batting cages
  • Cookouts

They are all things we got to partake in on company time and on the company’s dime in the last week.  Not too shabby.

For those of you in the field, take a couple minutes and take this survey from ALA. i-took-the-2007-survey.gif

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A friend and I have been toying around with the idea of customizing wordpress (which powers chriswho) to turn it into a custom CMS that we could then turn around and use for freelance purposes. This weekend I came across Silverstripe though, and I’m wondering if we really need to do all that work – this could be what we are looking for. Has anyone ever heard of this (or anything like it) and have any recommendations or words of warning? I think I may try silverstripe out pretty soon. And being open source, we could still customize it as we want … If anyone has thoughts on this, I’d love to hear them.

Oh, and on the freelance side of things, sidejobtrack could be pretty cool.

I would like to thank Don Imus for his idiotic comments and the mainstream media for their enthusiastic dead-horse beating … if it weren’t for them, I may have forgotten to let you all know that I have just recently joined my first “professional association” – the National Association of Photoshop Professionals (or NAPP).

That’s right ladies and gents, I’m unionized, so watch out! Well it isn’t a union, it is an organization dedicated to training its community about the my favorite program, Adobe Photoshop.  Now that I am finally in a job where design work is a primary responsibility of mine (and not a little side project), I figured it was time to get serious about staying up to date on the latest with the program, as well as the thousands of tips and tricks from other users (and magazine subscriptions, etc).

I attended a training seminar put on by NAPP this week and it was EXCELLENT (and only $99!!!).   I am very excited about taking my understanding of this tool to the next level.

“You’re not measuring my daily hours, so why are you measuring the number of days I work?”

Netflix has a unique vacation policy … no policy. They pay you to get your work done, not attendence. According to this article, it is not uncommon for employees to “leave for three, four, even five weeks at a time and never clock in or out.” Many companies that hire “creatives” are experimenting with unusual benefits that can promote loyalty from their workforce. When it comes down to it, many of these extra freedom benefits are really the employer treating the employee like an adult.

This reminds me of a company that I interviewed with that had a refrigerated keg in the breakroom. Anyone was welcome to partake anytime they wanted (they even asked me if I wanted one during the interview). If someone is “more creative” with a beer or two, then this company was happy to oblige (and even foot the bill).

However, if you were to partake of one too many beers or vacations and your work quality or quantity were to slip, you would not be employed there much longer. It is all about the work product, not the number of hours/days that you were chained to your desk. I can dig it.

My current employer just launched its new and improved design, so go check out the new look…

I had some say in the design and a lot of work in the implementation. It is a lot bolder, and IMO a lot more intuitive, especially on the employer side. While you are there, check out the new bios page … I work with some pretty cool (and impressive) people (and the designs on that page are all mine).

For those of you who didn’t know, I have a new job as a web designer for a company whose presence on the web is integral to the business. To help give you an idea of the traffic volume of oursite, check out how “we” compare to some of the big boys like ESPN.com and progressive.com.

Over the last year, our volume grew 57%, epsn’s grew 31%, and progressive’s shrank 9%! We are definately doing something right. Pretty cool…

(Sadly chriswho doesn’t even register yet, oh well…)

There seems to be a slight misconception of my earlier post (from both Patrick and others who have talked to me about it) so I figured I will try to clarify…

For the record, I am not predicting doom and gloom for Apple as a company or even disagreeing with their apparent change of focus. In fact I think they are likely ahead of the curve here.

If any “doom and gloom” is likely, it actually is for “traditional computing” as an industry. I don’t know what will replace traditional computing, but I doubt that in 10 years laptops and desktops as we know and use them today will be in high demand from consumers (either due to saturated markets and/or technological advancements that eliminate the need for a traditional computer).

At that time, Apple Inc. will be stay in good shape because it will have other diversified revenue streams (music, communication, who knows what else).

Apple Inc. has taken the lead as technology’s innovators and unless someone else challenges their role as such, they will be able to steer the future of technological advancement. The only potential challenger’s I can come up with are Microsoft (known more for profit and production than innovation and vision) and Google which certainly has the innovation, but appears to have partnered WITH Apple instead of challenging them (yet).

A few years ago, immediately following the MacWorld keynote (announcing improvements to iTunes, the iPod, and a few other peripherals), I got in an interesting discussion with my coworkers about what was specifically NOT said, and it has been on my mind ever since.

We had just watched the first MacWorld that didn’t involve a “computer” announcement of some sort. No new models, no spec bumps, no price drops … nothing. That wasn’t like Apple. Was their commitment to computers waning in favor of more profitable or exciting fields like the music industry?

A year or so following that, they had a blockbuster computer announcement. They were moving from the PowerPC architecture to Intel. Say what?! They were actually giving up their hardware monopoly? Why?

This year, we witnessed another memorable MacWorld announcing the iPhone which could prove every bit as revolutionary as the iPod. Once again though, no new computers, no spec bumps, no price drops. But there was a significant computer related announcement, did you happen to catch it?

After all the hype and excitement, in the “garbage time” of the presentation, Steve Jobs managed to throw in what could prove to be a monumental announcement, yet it is the one announcement that is getting the least coverage. Apple Computer is no more. They have removed the “Computer” from their name and they are now just “Apple, Inc.”

I am not trying to sound too much like a conspiracy theorist, just someone who has been witnessing a strategic shift of Apple’s corporate focus from computers into software, media (sales, distribution, and consumption), and now even communication (cellphones).

Apple Computer’s fortunes turned almost entirely due to the iPod and iTunes. They have a disruptive technology on their hands that was bringing in an ENORMOUS new revenue stream, and getting the company back in the headlines and public eye. Traditional computer sales have become a margin business and Apple can’t (or won’t) compete with Dell and others on price. With that in mind, I think Apple has shifted its focus away from traditional computing to these other more profitable channels or ones in which they have (or can create) significant competitive advantages for themselves.

It makes sound business sense to me, but I wonder how far Apple, Inc. will go and how their fanatically loyal legion of consumers take the news if Apple decides one day to stop making “computers” as we think of them today (desktops and laptops).

It looks like the iPhone is on its way, and it appears to be an impressive (revolutionary?) product. Looking forward to getting my hands on this to give it a test drive. Too bad it is only for Cingular customers for the next couple years. By the time Verizon gets it, hopefully there will be a pricedrop as well as some competition, so that could bode well.