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Best News I’ve Read Today

Posted on: December 19, 2007 I Written By

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Today I was reading Techcrunch like usual and I found an interesting study on how many teens create content online. It also touched on how involved teens were in using other parts of the internet like blogging and social networks. I’m so excited by this study, because I have an idea I hope to build that focuses on this niche. I’m so glad that teens are as well connected as I thought.

A Couple More Great VC Blogs

Posted on: November 30, 2007 I Written By

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I’ve really grown interested in the various VC firms, startups and getting funding for a startup. It’s like entering a new world that speaks a different language or at least talks at a different level. However, I’ve really enjoyed what I’ve read and I hope that all goes well and I can start working on building my idea.

Anyway, VC blogs are some of the most interesting websites out there on this topic and today I came across 2 more on Techcrunch.

Fred Wilson of Union Square Ventures
Rick Segal a Toronto-based VC

Facebook Social Ads Network

Posted on: October 28, 2007 I Written By

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Today I came across an article saying that Facebook will be Launching a SocialAds Network on November 6th. I’m interested to see what exactly this is going to be. Something like Google Adsense for Facebook applications? Or is it more like Google Adwords for Facebook? Or maybe it’s both. I guess it does make sense for Facebook to launch their own ad network first. They certainly want to make sure they have enough inventory to be able to place ads throughout facebook and throughout the gazillion facebook applications out there before they open up an ad network to facebook applications. However, considering all the buzz over Facebook, I’d expect that Facebook should be able to sell ad inventory pretty quickly or use some of the ad inventory from their new ad partner, Microsoft.

In that same article, they also suggested Facebook launching an advanced analytics package and e-commerce features for the Facebook platform. That would be pretty sweet. I’ve thought about the e-commerce package from day one. I’ve always thought that the best way to monetize a facebook application would be for facebook to provide a means for users to purchase things using facebook. The facebook application I’m currently building is one that would really benefit from a well done e-commerce facebook package.

IM Everywhere and I Mean Everywhere

Posted on: April 4, 2007 I Written By

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I recently came across a link somewhere in the depths of my internet reading that said there was a way for you to embed an IM chat on your blog. Since I live on both IM and my blog I decided it was a good fit. The link led me to a company called Meebo which I had actually already used for Jabber IM. Turns out I got completely distracted by everything else that Meebo does that I still haven’t found the IM embedded in the blog. So, that post will have to wait for later.

However, I can tell you that I think a central web location to log into almost every chat service in the world is a great product. Not to mention all these other interesting Meebo products. Not to mention their blog which I can quickly tell you is a great read for anyone interested in a technology startup like me.

Business Plan Competitions Around the Country

Posted on: February 27, 2007 I Written By

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As some of you may know I won the Donald W. Reynolds Nevada Governor’s Cup Business Plan Competition last year. Well, I’m going to enter again this year and I hope I’m able to pull off the win again. I don’t have nearly as good of an idea and I haven’t put in nearly the effort I did last year, but I think because I have the past experience I should be able to fair decently. We shall see.

UNLV hosted a simple elevator pitch competition which I also entered. I’ll find out Friday how I did. A quick $500 wouldn’t be a bad thing. My friend did her pitch today. I would have loved to see it, but I wasn’t able to make it since I’m home with my baby today.

I also applied for a competition in San Francisco, but didn’t make it to the finals. I was a little disappointed, but I guess that’s life. I still have hope because I entered a competition in Portland called the New Venture Championships. It seems to be well organized and have a good set of prize money. Hopefully I’ll know soon whether I made it to the semi finals or not. It would be really nice to win and be able to get my fantasy sports high school fundraiser up and going.

Strategic Planning Thoughts Website

Posted on: February 17, 2007 I Written By

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Entrepreneurship and business are two of my latest passions. I’ve recently blogged about venture capitalist extraordinaire Dan Rua. I just really love so many facets of business.

However, the one I think wraps everything else together is strategic planning. Strategic Planning Thoughts is a blog dedicated to the subject of strategic planning. I really like the site because it has some great insights on strategic planning. In one post, Robert Bradford does an analysis of the various types of ways that a business in Ann Arbor obtains customers. Of course word of mouth and Repeat! customers were the highest. However, most of their money was being spent on the least productive customer finding methods, location and advertising. Of course he points out that we should focus more on the other finding methods.

My biggest complaint about the blog post is that he doesn’t really talk about how you generate more word of mouth customers. Sure, it’s a noble idea that you should generate more word of mouth customers, but how do you actually accomplish that goal?

I’ve thought about similar things on one of my websites. We’ve accomplished it by scraping people’s email contact list to gain referrals. Of course we have a refer a friend on the website. These type of tools really help produce what Robert Bradford talks about on his blog.

Here’s a nice tip from his latest post:

Tip Number One – Be Disciplined in Your Strategic Planning

Reminds me of a conversation I had recently about a company being ADHD and changing their direction every other day. I guess that’s the discipline he’s talking about.

Why I wish I was Dan Rua, Venture Capitalist Extraordinaire

Posted on: February 10, 2007 I Written By

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As many of you know I’ve been participating in PayPerPost pretty much since the beginning. It’s been a pretty great experience. I’ve made a stack of cash and met a lot of really interesting people. That hits 2 core components of blogging. At least they are 2 of my core blogging components.

Well, I must admit that I’m a little envious of a venture capitalist named Dan Rua. From what I’ve seen Dan is a true believer in the PayPerPost vision of consumer generated advertising. He believes in PayPerPost so much he helped put together $3 million in financing. Not a bad way to start a business. Dan has been great for PayPerPost and I honestly think that PayPerPost is going to do great things for Dan. I guess that’s what venture capital is meant to do.

My envy of Dan doesn’t really come from his ability to make money investing in PayPerPost. Sure, I’d love to get a piece of PayPerPost too. Once they allow me to post for shares of their company instead of cash I’ll be signing up immediately. However, my jealousy of Dan stems from his access to all the PayPerPost financials. I’d personally love to check out PayPerPost’s financial models.

I know that I’m a bit odd. Who wants to look at financial statements? Well, I do. I’m serious about this. I’m so interested in financial statements, entrepreneurship, and business that I’ve written my own business plan which won the Donald W. Reynolds Nevada Governor’s Cup. I’m currently taking that same plan to USF-PSI International Business Plan Competition in San Francisco and probably the New Venture Championship in Portland. Plus, I’m working on a new plan to enter into the Nevada Governor’s Cup. Dan, are you interested in investing in my idea? I’m talking to a couple angel investors now.

Well, you can check out Dan’s Florida Venture Capital blog to learn more about Dan. It’s an interesting read. I’ll also forgive him for being a Florida Gators fan. I also must mention that Dan’s best blog post so far is his thoughts on the FVCC 2006. I loved his succinct style and ability to narrow the concepts down to its core.

Free Small Business Advice on Hundreds of Small Business Blogs

Posted on: December 27, 2006 I Written By

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If you are looking at starting a small business then you need to take advantage of all the free advice for small business owners. Let me just show you one example of things you can learn for your small business. The minimum wage was just increased here in Nevada. A blog recently wrote about the effect that the minumum wage increase will have on small businesses. This is great information that could help you as a small business owner understand the various things that are going on around you that you might not know otherwise.

Networking has always been about learning from the other business professionals around you. With the power of the internet, you can now network with business people and not have to leave your chair. I have a feeling that a new breed of business owner is going to be created in the digital world.

Search Engine for Short-term, Ready-to-use Office Space – Executive Suites, Shared Office Space

Posted on: October 23, 2006 I Written By

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Everyone that reads my blogs knows that I’ve talked about the great benefit of short-term flexible office space that’s great for budding entrepreneurs. It really is a great option for those interested in starting their own business and yet they need to get out of their home.

Well, is doing The Home Office From Hell contest that all you work at homers should enter. The Grand Prize winner will receive 12 months of rent (up to $12,000) at any location posted on plus a paid trip to New York City to have lunch with Donald Trump’s right-hand man and former Co-Star of The Apprentice – George Ross (although isn’t George getting booted off in favor of Trump’s son? Still a good prize).

All you have to do to enter is post your 10 reasons you should win and upload a picture or video of your home office. Go ahead and win. Just remember to share the office with me if you win.

Shared Hosting Services

Posted on: October 17, 2006 I Written By

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I’ve talked to a number of people recently about hosting their website at home or on their own server in a data center. I personally think that doing so is a pretty big mistake. I think that getting a shared host is the best option for 90% of consumers. In fact, most businesses wouldn’t need more than a shared hosting service like Hosting Zoom either.

Here are a couple reasons you might think about when deciding to use a shared hosting service or not:

High Availability
A shared host often uses clustered failover to handle the failure of the server. If you have your own server your more than likely don’t have this level of reliability. If you do have clustered failover then you should stop reading this blog post altogether. It’s not designed for you.

Improved Performance
In a shared host environment they have designed these servers to handle high volumes of traffic. Their netowrk pipe is designed to handle large amounts of traffic.

Patching the Server
Patching and securing a server is not a trivial thing. Let them take care of that while you just take care of driving more traffic to your website.

Much more could be said, but that’s a start.

Hosting Zoom is an example of a company that’s using this clustered failover hosting technology. Pricing starts at $7.95/mo. It still amazes me how low such a robust technology costs these days. For that price all website data including email, web, and databases are mirrored in real time and in the event of a server failure our system will route all traffic to the available server within the cluster keeping your website online until the problem is resolved.

Why then did you want to host your own server?