Archive for the ‘CrashUtah’ Category

The Humble – Confidence Dichotomy of Successful Entrepeneurs

Tuesday, August 9th, 2011

When reading this post by Brad Feld, I was reminded of the challenge that is being an entrepreneur and leading a company. In Brad’s post he talks about a couple of strong, capable entrepreneurs that were starting to have self doubt. Brad suggests a way out of this self doubt using inquiry. Go read his post to learn about that.

What hit me about his description of self doubting entrepreneurs was how much of a challenge it is to be an entrepreneur. As the founder and leader, you’re constantly walking the tight rope of humility and confidence. You have to be humble enough to not compare yourself to others (and other companies), while keeping your confidence for the rest of the team.

Both of those characteristics are hard to manage.

I think by our very nature we want to start comparing ourselves to other people. If it’s not in our nature, then it’s in our culture. Either way, the ability to not compare yourself to others is a challenge. When you talk to other entrepreneurs you rarely get the whole story. They only tell you the exciting and wonderful parts of their business. They seem to avoid telling you about their fears, anxieties, pressures, stress, and even failures.

Since all you’re hearing is the great things about other companies, it’s not even fair to compare your business to another. Even if you do hear the challenges of another company, there’s still little value in finding your self worth in your company being better than another company. Guess what? It doesn’t really matter.

Related to the above challenge is the entrepreneurial challenge of remaining confident for the rest of your team. There’s a reason that a coach is so great for an entrepreneur. It gives them someone to share their deepest fears that they’ve kept bottled up from the company because they want to maintain the culture.

I’m not talking about lying or misleading people in your company. You should always speak frankly, honestly and openly with the people who work with them. However, the best CEO’s know when is the time to keep your fears to yourself and when is the time to share those fears with the company. Often some things are better kept unsaid.

Thus the dual life of an entrepreneur. I’d love to hear your thoughts on this challenge. How do you deal with it? What have you seen?

Life is Good – Busy, but Good

Sunday, June 19th, 2011

The last month or so I’ve been extraordinarily busy. Actually, much busier than I like. However, I love all the projects that I’m working on and so I keep driving them all forward. Here’s a quick summary of what I have going on (in no particular order).

I’ve helped organize Startup Weekend Las Vegas (happens this weekend…Woot!). I’m happy to say that Startup Weekend Las Vegas has sold out. I can’t wait for this weekend.

Along with Startup Weekend, I’ve grown this new passion for trying to do some small part in helping to grow the number of internet startup companies and internet startup entrepreneurs in Las Vegas. I even launched with the help of a number of other people a new blog called Las Vegas Startups. However, the most rewarding part of it all has been the number of interesting Las Vegas internet entrepreneurs that I’ve met since doing these things. It’s a great feeling to be connected to so many interesting and amazing people. I can feel that it’s laying the ground work for something special in Las Vegas.

Many of you probably don’t know of my love for Ultimate Frisbee. Well, it’s real and fantastic. I always say my addiction to ultimate frisbee is my key to staying skinny (or at least relatively skinny). Lately, I’ve been helping to keep the Las Vegas Ultimate frisbee community organized. It’s a completely selfish desire since it’s hard to play ultimate frisbee without other players. I even organized a Las Vegas summer ultimate frisbee league which starts on Monday. We exceeded our registration goal and so life is good.

On the blog side of things, I’ve grown the Healthcare Scene blog network to 14 EMR and Health IT related blogs and still growing. Almost every site in the network is growing and improving in all the important metrics. I think we’re up to 9 people blogging across the network. I certainly couldn’t do it without all their help. July 1st, I’m changing the way I handle ads on the various websites. Let’s hope that the change goes well. Each day I’m in awe at the power of blogging and the influence blogs can have.

The Pure TV Network is doing really well. Pure DWTS, Pure SYTYCD and Pure America’s Got Talent are all killing it with amazing readership (and amazing writers that help me) and we even launched Pure X Factor. I’m lucky to work with the dozen or so writers that participate on those sites. After reading this post, I think they’ll realize why I haven’t had as much time to post myself.

I also just got put in as Scoutmaster. I’d been an Assistant Scoutmaster for the past couple years, so it hasn’t been all that much different. Just getting to know some new leaders and help them understand how scouting works. I love the impact a Scoutmaster can have on these fine Young Men. I can’t wait until July when I’m going up to a high adventure camp for a week. Certainly there’s some level of service required to be a Scoutmaster, but honestly I’ll probably have as much fun at this camp as the boys. Although, don’t tell my wife I said that. That’s the only bad part about scouting, being away from my wife and kids.

On that note, I’ve saved the best for last. I’ve been able to spend a lot of time with my kids lately. Mostly because my wife took off for a week to go on a Sister’s trip. It’s been pretty exciting watching the kids for a week. We’ve had some good time to bond. I’m sure I couldn’t do it all the time like my wife does, but I’m glad I had time to enjoy my children. I’m even happier my wife got a break and some time away from the children. Needless to say, I’ll be very happy to have my wife back.

There’s my update. As you can see, I have one or two things going on right now. Not that any of you really care, but I started writing and just couldn’t stop. There’s something therapeutic about getting it out in the open.

Summary of 2010 Blog Posts on CrashUtah

Friday, December 31st, 2010

I found this really interesting WordPress plugin that summarizes the activity on your blog for the past year. Pretty cool. It’s not the perfect format with this theme, but you can still see the data. You can see I picked up my blogging regularity towards the end of the year. I expect this will continue in 2011.

In 2010 I wrote 36 posts and added 1 pages to this blog, with 3 attachments in total.

The number of posts in each month:

August:

  9 (25%)

September:

  6 (16.67%)

October:

  12 (33.33%)

November:

  10 (27.78%)

December:

  17 (47.22%)

The number of posts in each day of week:

Sunday:

  2 (5.56%)

Monday:

  8 (22.22%)

Tuesday:

  9 (25%)

Wednesday:

  7 (19.44%)

Thursday:

  11 (30.56%)

Friday:

  12 (33.33%)

Saturday:

  5 (13.89%)

At what hours I publish new posts:

0:

  1 (2.78%)

4:

  1 (2.78%)

6:

  4 (11.11%)

7:

  3 (8.33%)

8:

  6 (16.67%)

9:

  6 (16.67%)

10:

  3 (8.33%)

11:

  4 (11.11%)

12:

  3 (8.33%)

13:

  3 (8.33%)

14:

  2 (5.56%)

15:

  5 (13.89%)

16:

  2 (5.56%)

18:

  1 (2.78%)

19:

  1 (2.78%)

20:

  2 (5.56%)

21:

  2 (5.56%)

22:

  2 (5.56%)

23:

  3 (8.33%)

In 2010 the posts were commented 25 times, from which 6 comments (24 percent) were written by registered users/authors.

TOP 10 commenters in 2010:

  • John Lynn's Thoughts » Blog Archive » The Start of Something Great: 1 comments
  • tas: 1 comments
  • The Value of Local Events | JohnThoughts: 1 comments
  • Happy Labor Day | EMR and HIPAA: 1 comments
  • Smuggle Me » Shutting Down Smuggle Me…Mostly: 1 comments
  • Jeannie Pitt: 1 comments
  • Laura Giaimo: 1 comments
  • mason: 1 comments
  • Monetizing My Blogs | JohnThoughts: 1 comments
  • Heather in BC… & Beyond! » Hello Orlando!: 1 comments

TOP 10 most commented posts in 2010:

The number of comments in each month:

August:

  3 (12%)

September:

  9 (36%)

October:

  3 (12%)

November:

  6 (24%)

December:

  4 (16%)

On what days people comment:

Sunday:

  3 (12%)

Monday:

  1 (4%)

Tuesday:

  2 (8%)

Wednesday:

  10 (40%)

Thursday:

  4 (16%)

Friday:

  5 (20%)

At what hours people comment:

3:

  1 (4%)

6:

  3 (12%)

7:

  1 (4%)

8:

  1 (4%)

9:

  5 (20%)

10:

  1 (4%)

12:

  1 (4%)

13:

  2 (8%)

14:

  2 (8%)

15:

  2 (8%)

16:

  1 (4%)

17:

  1 (4%)

20:

  1 (4%)

21:

  2 (8%)

22:

  1 (4%)

Summary generated by 2010 Summary plugin by Tomasz Topa

The Irony of Holiday Vacation Time

Wednesday, December 22nd, 2010

The other day my wife asked me how much time off I’d get for Christmas. I thought it was a really interesting question since I now just work for myself as a blogger in the evening and my sports fundraiser and boy scout fundraiser during the day.

As I think about a holiday vacation like Christmas, I think that most people split that time between family and some hobby. How many people have projects they’re working on that they’ve saved for their Christmas break from work? I know a lot of people who do this.

The question is, what do you do when your hobby is your job?

Makes for an interesting experience. Needless to say, I’ll be enjoying plenty of time with family for Christmas, but I’ll also be spending plenty of time working with my websites. Call it work if you want. I just call it enjoying my time off.

“If I Could Pay to Have That Feeling I Would”

Tuesday, December 21st, 2010

Ever since I read this post about open source motivations I’ve had a lot to think about. The post and some of the related posts were fascinating. However, I’ve been completely struck by a comment that Matt Mullenweg (founder of WordPress) put in the comments:

When I receive earnest or polite emails, I either forward them on or answer them myself. Most of these people are quite lost and probably don’t even realize my role in WordPress when emailing me. But the gratitude expressed and knowing I made the world just a little bit better for a little tiny moment is worth more than a few dollars worth of donations. In fact if I could pay to have that feeling I would.

The last line is completely fascinating. It resonates in a fantastic way. A few days ago, I tried to describe this feeling to someone who knows very little about computers and particularly open source. I used it in the context of helping a friend fix their computer problem. The blank stares on their face told me they didn’t quite get how I reached this point of discovery. Just says to me that these people I was talking to hadn’t tasted the joy of helping someone fix a problem that they couldn’t fix themselves. Often a problem which is incredibly simple for me, but heart breaking to the person having the problem.

I totally agree with Matt when he says…

“If I Could Pay to Have That Feeling I Would”

Chew on that for a little while.

I’m Such a Minimalist

Saturday, December 11th, 2010

As I think about my use of various technologies I realize that I’m really a minimalist. I’m all about finding the easiest way to do something. For example, when I first started with Firefox plugins, I was installing things left and right. Quickly I realized that I didn’t want to have all those plugins installed. Plus, when it was time to upgrade Firefox, I was always afraid to upgrade since I wasn’t sure what impact that would have on all the plugins I’d installed. I quickly removed a whole bunch of plugins which sounded like a good idea and just left the ones that I used regularly.

When I started WordPress, it was a similar story. There were a ton of plugins to do all sorts of cool things with WordPress. I added one after another and loved a lot of the extra features. Then, it was time to update WordPress. Unfortunately, in the open source world not all the plugins get updated for the new version of WordPress like they should. So, this would mean that I would have to go through and test to make sure that when I upgraded WordPress, that my plugins would all still be working.

Yep, you can imagine that I quickly started removing the WordPress plugins that weren’t really adding any value to my life. Not to mention I moved to a number of more mainstream plugins which I was certain would be upgraded as WordPress released new software (ie. plugins from WordPress in many cases or plugins with enormous install bases). However, I still wanted as few plugins as possible. It was all about value.

This really goes on and on in my life. For example, as much as I love automation, I’d rather have a car that didn’t have all the bells and whistles. The more features it has, the more places it could break. When something breaks it takes me away from doing what I really want to be doing. Some people like fixing broken things (and there is some satisfaction doing so), but I prefer to create things.

This is why in so many aspects of my life I look at ways to minimize and simplify how I do things. Take a look at my blogs and you’ll see that their designs follow the same sort of pattern. It’s all about minimizing and simplifying.

New Google Adsense Interface

Wednesday, November 10th, 2010

Today when I logged into Google Adsense, I was prompted about a new Google Adsense interface. Since I probably log into Google Adsense as much as any other website I use (except my email) I definitely wanted to try out the new Google Adsense interface. I love the data around ads as much as views to my site. I am a stats addict after all.

Let’s just say that I was pretty disappointed by the new Google Adsense interface. It had a couple nice features like graphs of your earning over time. However, they took out some of the most useful features from the old interface. What a mistake!!

I did report them as bugs and asked them to replace them.

The two biggest problems for me was:

1. They got rid of all the channel data reports from the main page of Google Adsense. This probably doesn’t matter if you have one website with one channel (which should never happen). I have my Google Ads spread across a dozen or more sites. So, the total for the day is interesting, but it’s more interesting to see which channels are earning the most money.

2. It defaults to my earnings to the last seven days. A few years ago I remember the Google Adsense blog talking about how often people logged in. I can’t remember the exact stat, but it was multiple times per day. If that’s the case (and I attest to you that it is), then why would you default to 7 days? I want to see what happened today. That’s why I log in 5 times a day (or something like that). If they had an IV where I could just automatically pump that information into me, I’d use that. Seeing the number is like a drug. Even if some people want 7 days, they could still let me change my preference to have it just show today.

As such I decided to return back to the old Google Adsense interface. I might go back to the new one on occasion. Now if they could just get the tie in with my Google Analytics account to work with multiple analytics accounts within the same Google Account (or a way to merge analytics accounts) I’d be much happier.

When I browsed the new interface I saw that I first started using Google Adsense back 7 years ago. It’s kind of crazy to think that I’ve been using it that long. I recently saw that Google is planning to give $1000 holiday bonuses and 10% raises to its employees. How about Google give us a 10% raise on our Google Adsense earnings? Or a $1000 holiday bonus? I’m not an employee of Google, but sometimes I kind of feel like one.

Attending WordCamp Utah and WordCamp Las Vegas

Monday, August 16th, 2010

I’m really excited to be attending both WordCamp Utah and WordCamp Las Vegas in the next couple months. I’ve attended WordCamp Las Vegas in the past and enjoyed it thoroughly. I’ve always wanted to present at a WordCamp and so I’ll actually be presenting at both WordCamp conferences.

WordCamp Utah
At WordCamp Utah, I’m going to be presenting on “Why BuddyPress Rocks!” I think it’s going to be a fun session where I can talk about all the different ways that BuddyPress can be used. I can discuss where the development of BuddyPress is headed and how I’m using BuddyPress on my new sports fundraising website. This should be a lot of fun since I pretty much work on BuddyPress all day now.

Plus, hopefully I’ll be able to share how cool it is to be a member of a small niche community like BuddyPress. There are thousands of them online and it’s really fun to be part of one. Plus, hopefully I can connect with some other BuddyPress and WordPress developers that I can work with in the future. If I grow GivingSports.com and GivingSquare.com the way I’d like, I’m going to definitely need some good WordPress/BuddyPress development help soon.

WordCamp Las Vegas
I was planning to present on BuddyPress at WordCamp Las Vegas as well, but another guy was interested in presenting on that topic too. Not a big deal for me. I’m just glad that BuddyPress will be talked about at the WordCamp. Plus, I have 6 other blogs that basically feed my family so there are plenty of other blogging related topics that I could present on.

I’m going to be presenting at WordCamp Las Vegas on “From Hobby to Full Time Blogger: Lessons Learned from 5 Years of Blogging” I’ve wanted the chance to tell my story of blogging for a while, so I’m excited to be given the opportunity. Hopefully those that attend will find it interesting and useful. I’ve learned a lot about blogging over the past 5 years and I’m really happy to call myself a full time blogger.

If any of you are planning to attend these events, I look forward to meeting you there.

My Own TechStars or Ycombinator Like Summer

Friday, August 13th, 2010

I was recently watching some of the videos that they created for the end of TechStars Boulder that were posted on Brad Feld’s blog. As I watched the various founders on the videos, I came to an interesting realization. My summer had been very similar to there summer. I basically created my own little TechStars summer and built a company just like them.

I started out on April 1st when I quit my day job to work on Giving Sports and Giving Square full time. It was a big move for me, but very exciting. Similar to TechStars or Ycombinator, my goal was to relatively quickly (months) create a website and launch it. August 3rd I officially launched Giving Sports achieving that part of the goal. Woot!

Now I’m just entering the second stage of the process where I start building up the customer base and iterating the product over and over. It’s very exciting as I’m just finalizing the details with a number of organizations that plan to use the websites and I’m talking with a dozen more organizations.

Of course, my experience in some ways was quite different than those at TechStars. First, I didn’t have all the mentor ship that they received in the program. However, in some respects I feel like I have some of the same mentors. The blogs (Fred Wilson, Brad Feld and Mark Suster are some favorites), websites, videos, etc that are out there on internet startup companies are tremendous. Twitter and my Feed Reader have been pretty amazing mentors for me.

No doubt I didn’t have the same type of exposure that they have had. Nor did I want some of the exposure they get for my product. While I’d love exposure to the tech crowd, those aren’t my customers. So, it would be little more than stroking my ego to get coverage from the various tech outlets that cover internet startups.

I also haven’t paraded in front of investors for my website either. I’ve certainly built a number of relationships with investors this summer, but there’s something beautiful about bootstrapping the startup. As I grow I may change my mind on this, but for now bootstrapping is beautiful.

I guess I’m just struck by the power of the internet. First, to be able to build a product (website) in such a short period of time. Second, how it provides amazing access to resources that were never available before. Third, that some little guy like myself in Las Vegas could create his own summer TechStars/Ycombinator experience is just awesome!

Now it’s time to make sure I get the same type of results out of my company as those companies have achieved.

What is CrashUtah?

Thursday, August 12th, 2010

I figure I better start off with a post explaining why the domain is called CrashUtah. CrashUtah has gone through an interesting evolution. CrashUtah.com was the name of the first real website that I ever created back in 2001. I worked on it through my college years. It was intended to be a kind of “city search” for the relatively small college town that surrounds BYU (in Utah). The crash kind of came from the idea of “crashing a party.” So, I called it CrashUtah.com.

While I learned a ton from the experience and got tremendous benefit from building the site, as a business it was a horrible idea. However, the name CrashUtah kind of stuck on me. So, I started using it for all sorts of things including my main email address. I even built my first EMR blogs and first TV blogs on the back of the domain crashutah.com (with various extensions). I’ve since moved them off to their own domain, but CrashUtah has kind of become part of the family.

So, when I decided to officially form a company around my various blog and IT consulting entities, I figured it was only appropriate to call it CrashUtah, LLC. That way it could cover my EMR blogs, my TV blogs, my WordPress consulting, my IT consulting and whatever else people pay me to do.

I’d been wanting to start a blog like this one for a while, but it really needed a fresh blog (not one of my other existing blogs) to be able to cover all the things I wanted to write about. I tried to buy jo.hn, but you can’t buy 2 letter domains for .hn (Honduras). Or at least not at the standard price. My last name is Lynn (also 4 letters) and so I couldn’t use it either. JohnLynn.com was also taken. So, I figured, I might as well go back to the old reliable CrashUtah.com.

There you go. That’s the story behind CrashUtah.com At the end of the day, it’s treated me well. Plus, it’s fun to see people’s faces when I say it.