Updates from November, 2009 Toggle Comment Threads | Keyboard Shortcuts

  • jeffswan 9:46 am on November 23, 2009 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Drupal, Free Marketing, Intellectual Property, Joomla, Low Cost Websites, Open-source, Wordpress   

    Why Open Source is Good for You 

    Many ‘Old-School’ companies cling to the — of intellectual property like a security blanket. In the digital age, consumers are sick of it and have all the tools available to get what they want for free when they want it. That’s why it just makes sense to ‘give away’ software to the people that want it. There’s always the consumer who wants more, therefore the Upgrade model will always work.

    For those who don’t know, open source software is the tech industry’s real version of the free trial. It allows consumers and businesses to use software that a company creates for free through a general public license (http://ping.fm/rYmnK). That means anyone who wants to can use the product for their own personal or commercial use. The business model usually attached to it is that a company offers a free version of its software and provides paid upgrade options that include more features. Usually the free version has all you’ll ever need to create a great website or program, but every now and then the upgrades are REALLY COOL!

    I use open-source software on a regular basis for my business. We create website based on open-source software like Joomla!, WordPress, and Drupal all the time because it SAVES CLIENTS MONEY!! It’s easier for me to sell a client on a $5,000 website that uses much of the same technology as thousands of other websites out there than to create a completely custom app every time (would cost well over $30,000 for even the cheapest of sites).

    Not only can I get more bang for my clients’ bucks, but I can also provide them with low cost security and usability upgrades in the future without spending my company resources to build them. It allows us to focus on what makes us valuable to consumers and focus on web design and marketing. Leave the software development to the, well, software developers!

    I’ve only described why it works for me (selfish I know). There are many reasons why it can work for the software developers as well. Let’s talk awareness – give something away for free and people find out. They post it all around the web, blogs and news sites pick it up and talk about it. It can even show up on Tech TV shows, the local news, and huge conferences attended by many of the industry’s elite. People love the ‘generosity’ of developers who offer open source, and the more demanding consumer will always pay for the upgrade.

    As a business model it makes sense for the developer, the re-seller, and ultimately the end user. It saves money for the latter two and provides good will (and free marketing) for the former. With the amazing amount of choices in the market today, it just makes sense to let the product speak for itself. After all, “if you build it [and give it away for free] they will come”!

  • jeffswan 7:29 am on June 18, 2009 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , Facebook, Social Media,   

    Can Twitter Actually Fatten My Wallet? 

    Does This Represent What Social Media Is?

    Does This Represent What Social Media Is?

    Since I began using Facebook early last year I’ve been hearing the hype about how Social Media is the next big thing in business. I can see a lot of people ‘getting rich’ of Twitter and things like that but I have not met many successful business people who get the bulk of their business online. I would really like to see how it’s done and what the results are.

    I believe that if you use social media properly you can make solid connections that translate into offline meetings. This can lead to business as long as the right fit is there. However, it requires a great deal of care to maintain authenticity in a relationship in order to move forward to the business stage. You have to say what you mean and mean what you say!

    Many people believe they can throw up an automated content generator on their social media platforms and voila! More business. Instead people see right through it. They can tell if all you do is Re-Tweet people’s original thoughts and never offer your own, or add someone as a friend and pretend like you’re not just trying to get them to buy something off of you.

    There are some that do this well, but most just come across as dishonest and spammy. I challenge anyone out there that can give me an honest, straightforward way to get more business using social media. I know what works for me. What works for you?

  • jeffswan 7:34 am on April 24, 2009 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Entrepreneur, Meaning, Perspective, Share   

    What does it mean to be an entrepreneur?… 

    What does it mean to be an entrepreneur? Here’s a couple thoughts I had on the topic:

    1. Make the most amount of money with the least amount of cost
    2. Make your own rules and live by them
    3. Choose who you do business with
    4. Make a difference in the world around you
    5. Provide something of value that can’t be duplicated easily
    6. Work with others to achieve something great
    7. Share your passion and skills with your community
    8. Create strong and profitable relationships that last
    9. Take pride in your work
    10. Love your boss 🙂

    I’m sure there’s many more things you can say on the topic, but I’ll leave it at that for now. Feel free to share your ideas by posting a comment!

  • jeffswan 10:41 am on April 12, 2009 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Enterpreneur, Happiness, Life, Love Your Work   

    To Choose Your Own Path 

    Live Like an EntrepreneurJust finished watching the Matrix for about the 50th time. It never ceases to amaze me. Not the special effects, the fighting action, or anything like that. But the philosophy behind the Matrix universe. We’ve all felt like we’re part of a “Machine” at some point in our life. Like someone’s pulling our strings and setting invisible boundaries for us whether they’re welcome or not. I choose to create my own boundaries.

    This is the life of an entrepreneur I guess. It’s not that you have to start your own business and make millions of dollars to be an entrepreneur. You just have to have the spirit and the will to create your own path. Who wouldn’t want to set their own rules and live the way they choose in every aspect of life? Lately, for me, it has been the most important aspect in making my life plans. I need to have control over my own life in order to feel like I’m living.

    When I first got out of University, I did what many people do – got a job. I had good pay, a great team, and a lot of perks. It afforded me the opportunity to buy a house, a bunch of fancy toys, and a new sports car (which I’d always wanted). It was a great life in the beginning because it was exactly as good as my limited perception allowed my life to be. I didn’t know it could be better, so I was content in being an employee and letting others call the shots.

    Only later did I realize that this life was not mine to live. I came to despise the boundaries that were placed on me in my professional life, not allowing me to stretch my creative muscles in the way I believed. I couldn’t even get away for a good vacation with only two weeks holiday in a whole year with my former company.

    Now that I look back, it was a recipe for disaster. First you ask people to give their best creative years to your company, pay them just enough that they won’t quit, and make sure their ‘off-work’ time is limited so they don’t see how great it can be to not be working. It’s no wonder you speak to so many ’employees’ who hate their life, their job, and their boss! When these are the things that are contolling your existence, it’s hard to believe you’re living your own life.

    When you speak to entrepreneurs, you don’t get that kind of feeling. Many, when starting out, are financially poor, working long and hard hours, and have very little reward. It makes you wonder why they’re doing it. But if you talk to them and really listen, they rarely complain about their work. Instead they speak about their projects with passion and energy. They talk about their plans, where they’re going from here, and how they’re going to get their. It’s nothing less than inspiring.

    So when you sit down and evaluate your life, are you happy? Is going into work a great part of your day? Does it make you feel energized working on your projects and sharing your ideas with co-workers? If so, then you’re an entrepreneur. Even if you answered all three questions as an employee, you have chosen the life that makes you happy. You have a purpose to get up every morning and are truly alive when working. Work is a big part of our lives. By choosing your own path, you ensure that yours is a life worth living!

  • jeffswan 10:43 am on April 2, 2009 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Friendships, , People Power,   

    The Power of People Power 

    Making ConnectionsI know, I know. The title is redundant. But I have to get across the power of people, specifically networking. The best thing you can do for your small or medium sized business is network. As the resources are mostly limited in the start up phase, human capital is hard to come by. So make friends. Friends will help you out when you need it and you should do the same for them. Here’s a couple of examples of how you can share resources to improve yours and your friends’ businesses:

    1. Service for Service
    Think or your unique skill set. What resources can you share with a colleague that can help them solve their business problem? For example, if you’re a plumber starting out, you can offer to fix your friend’s leaky sink in exchange for him designing your business cards.

    2. Connections and Influence
    Do you know a lot of people that are in your friend’s target market? You can connect your friend with the people that would make his business a success. Introduce her to influencial people that can help her business and she’ll remember it. The favour may be returned ten-fold in the future!

    3. Share Your Knowledge
    Do you have a particular skill that a friend or family member can use? Offer them free information to help get them on their way. While they may not buy right away (or never), they will sing your praises to others in your market. While you may not cash in on your advice right away, the long-term impact on your business will be enlightening.

    These are just three examples of how you can leverage your non-cash resources to achieve business success. By providing free services and advice you develop strong relationships with the people you meet. For those that believe in Karma, what goes around really does come around. Treat people good, be fair, friendly and helpful, and the limitations of the start-up phase will soon pass. Plus it never hurts to be surrounded by people that want to see you succeed.

  • jeffswan 6:16 pm on March 22, 2009 Permalink | Reply  

    Test Toast Successful 

    Man, being a broke entrepreneur sure makes little things mean a lot. Just today, I finally broke down and bought a toaster. Yes, I’ve been putting off a $20 purchase because I didn’t have the money. But now I have a toaster so you can stop judging me. And on first try, the toast was fantastic – pretty much the best toast I have ever tasted (my perception is waaay off these days).

    Thank whatever God you believe in because I am now able to have toast with my breakfast once more. Oh, the luxuries of being your own boss 😛

  • jeffswan 11:36 pm on March 19, 2009 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: InfoSys, Motivation, Successful Companies, The Daily Show   

    ‘Will You be My Overlord?’ Says Jon Stewart 

    Jon Stewart - A Source for Inspiration?On my break from the daily grind I caught last night’s The Daily Show where Jon Stewart interviewed Nandan Nilekani of InfoSys. “You’re a nice man, and I would be happy to have you as my Exteme Overlord.” says Jon as I fall off my chair laughing – notably pissing off my partner who’s trying to work. In between fits of giggles, I couldn’t help but catch a real important phrase from Nandan, “We started with $250 dollars and a dream.” Damn, that sounds like us!

    Having no money was no obstacle for them. Granted their rent probably wasn’t anywhere near our $1300 a month, but they did it. Now look at InfoSys and all they’ve accomplished. Hell yeah I want a piece of that success after all my hard work. I know we can do it too! Just gonna put our heads down and go full steam into the development of the best service homeowners can find online…all the while maintaining the optimism that got me started on this venture in the first place.

  • jeffswan 4:22 pm on March 18, 2009 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , St. Patty's Day   

    St. Patty’s Day to Remember 

    I can’t tell you how much I was hyped about St. Patty’s Day in the ‘Big City’. I was drooling over the thought of drinking green beer with all my new friends at one of the many pubs downtown. It really made me think about the best St. Patrick’s Day in my adult life; when life was all fun and games with a side of homework.

    On one particular St. Patty’s Day back in University me and some friends decided to leave class early to spend the rest of the day in the campus bar clearly doing what college kids do – getting stupid drunk. At first I was a little hesitant since, unlike my friends, I paid to be there and I actually enjoyed my classes. I know – NERD! But I think it was worth it was definitely a day to remember!

    First, we get to the bar and are greeted by pretty much the entire Commerce faculty. Everyone wearing green, with goofy hats, and in a clearly festive mood. I remember thinking, ‘Why doesn’t the University get proactive and just ban classes on this day?’

    Everyone Loves Green Beer

    Everyone Loves Green Beer

    Obviously college students are going to get hammered on the day of the drink! People were tripping over each other and laughing about it while near strangers would embrace in friendship. The booze is the obvious motivation for all this behaviour but I can’t help but feel that this particular holiday has a unique ability to bring out the most friendly aspects of everyday people.

    Next comes rounds and rounds of green beer dying our tongues a deliteful shade of that earthly colour. Songs of the old country were belted out at the top of our lungs even though none of us knew the lyrics! Honestly if there were a day to celebrate the positive affects of drinking, it would be this day! This went on for hours and hours until we all realized that it was time to head home to prepare for the night ahead. Destination: St. Power Ball.

    I’ll skip the boring parts about getting ready and go right into the action. Now I have to say this firsthand. I’ve enjoyed visiting pubs and bars on St. Patty’s Day for many years. This one stood out because of the next part – pure craziness! St. Powerball is a local concert in Winnipeg promoted by its best rock station Power 97. It features a series of 4 to 8 bands including local talent and some major Canadian headliners. This one was the best!

    Walking into Winnipeg’s brand new arena (MTS Centre) for the first time was pretty amazing. The festive attitude of its visitors and the sea of 8,000 green shirts, hats, and pants made it quite a sight to see. Add to that the vendors pettling the aforementioned green beer and it made for great concert environment. By the time the bands started playing we were all in extreme party mode.

    Not taking anything away from the fun of the day itself, but this concert was amazing. I was lucky enough to get free passes from a promoter friend of mine so I witnessed the show from the comfort of the front row. Seeing one of my favorite bands (Three Days Grace) from that angle was enlightening to say the least. And man did they ever put on a good show! Screaming, jumping, pumping our fists, my friends and I made the best of our St. Powerball experience and lived to tell about it.

    It was a fantastic St. Patty’s Day that I’ll remember for a long time. A combination of good friends, new experiences, and a great concert made it a day to remember for me. Thinking about it now I know why I decided to stay in this St. Patty’s Day. I’m not the ‘drink all day, party all night’ person any more. I have responsibilities and my interests extend far beyond the sociable drinkfests. But honestly, just spending the day in my new apartment in a new city, watching Boondock Saints with my girlfriend made it just one more St. Patty’s Day to remember.

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