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Observations on Everything

Catching up with “What The Fund?”

Slightly behind schedule I bring you What The Fund episodes 10 and 11. Back story on the posting delay is below, for those of you interested in a behind-the-scenes look.

Findster is a set of GPS tracking devices that let you keep tabs on your kids and pets.

Digidate is a virtual reality project intended for first dates. I have a better idea.

Here’s the back story. I was using some inexpensive video production software for episodes 1 through 10. While the software wasn’t much to write about, it was sufficient for my original purposes — basically doing some minor post production on a nearly finished product. But when it came to doing much more than that, its inexpensive roots started to show, particularly a nasty green tinge that the webcam driver corrects for but the cheap capture software doesn’t. While I know a good video has more to do with content than with white balance, the photographer in me had a real hard time paying attention to the content.

So I acquired some less inexpensive (but still cheap, as in under $100) replacements [VideoPad from NCH software]. While it’s still not as powerful as professional software, this has let me move to a two head production (two cameras), and use my professional camera to capture full HD. While that’s a major improvement, it comes with a steep learning curve that impacts the whole production process. This means it took a few extra days to get episode 11 out the door. Fortunately after I get back up to speed it looks like it won’t take a lot more work to move forward with this format, so I hope everyone likes it.

Fun with “sansoftonline.com SEO Company”

Every once in a while I get a Skype connection from someone trying to sell Search Engine Optimization (SEO) Services. My standard rebuttal is to show them how my business ranks higher than theirs on a search for “search engine optimization”. We do relatively well because years ago I posted a very basic article on Realistic SEO. Generally speaking, the site isn’t particularly authoritative on the subject, so the search has the link down in no mans land on page 22 or so (for a search done in Canada; if you’re outside the country your results will probably place it on page ten million or so). If you add “realistic” to the search then it comes up much higher, but still in desperation land (page 2 or 3). Read more

Critiquing Crowdfunding: Introducing “What the Fund?”

What the Fund? I love the crowdfunding concept. I’ve backed two Kickstarter projects so far, and I’ve been happy with the results. I really like the product launch model: what better way to know your product is going to be a hit than to have your crowdfunded project blow right past its goals? What a great way to both lower the amount of investment you need to launch a business and to prove that you’ve got a valid concept to investors.

But that’s the ideal case. A crowdfunded project is also an acid test for your idea. If it sucks, nobody’s going to buy in. The sad fact is that a lot of ideas suck, and failure to meet your funding goal can be a harsh reality check. Read more

Everyone is Broken

I’ve just spent some time looking for a quote I think I’ve read somewhere. Historically this means I either have the quote badly mangled, or it’s something that’s been rebounding through my neurons for so long I think I picked it up from somewhere else. Either way, the version I post here will invariably be less eloquent.

“Everyone is broken in some deep, fundamental way. The trick is to never let it become visible, especially to yourself.”

The problem is that the breakage can’t be masked, only managed. Sometimes slathering a cover upon it just gives it a nice comfy place to fester and come back, bigger, uglier, and harder to contain. The last thing you want is a hole that can never be filled, no matter how much booze or drugs you pour into it.

No matter how broken you think you are, know that there are others who are just as broken, often in almost exactly the same ways. There are people who are very capable of helping broken people deal with the broken bits. They’ll never be fixed, just as an addict is never cured — only managed.

The real trick is to do the opposite of the quote above. Let it become visible, to people close to you, to professionals capable of helping. Opening up is the only way to stick the pieces together, and it’s always going to be a tough road.

You’re not alone. We’re all broken. It’s just that few of us have the courage to talk about it openly.

Ain’t Nothin’ Free

I’m at the point where if you want me to sign up for your free service, your website better have a main menu titled “Revenue Model”. Ain’t nuthin’ for free, so just come clean and tell me which piece of me you’re trying to get a slice of — or I’m likely to assume you aren’t going to last anyway.