Archive for the ‘business’ Category

Events dear boy, events

Monday, January 14th, 2008

TechLudd (despise the name, love the concept) is happening on January 24th in Dublin. You know you want to.

Before the annual third national world Irish Blog Awards on March the 1st there’s going to be a “but I’m a lady” bloggers meetup. You know you want to, but maybe a different want. Now, will there be a lads get together too?

Staying on the ladies theme, my offer of a free blogging course in Dublin and Cork has gone well. Dublin is full and it seems a load of women want to do the course in Cork but no males have applied so the Cork event is going to be ladies only. Except me. Still space, just waiting on a venue confirm and date!

How I’d do advertising on blogs

Friday, January 11th, 2008

I wrote a blog post recently on advertising/Internet marketing and my thoughts on how vulgar and useless some ads can be. Cheap, intrusive and sneaky ads that bring short term gain while screwing over people who visit your blog are not good for anyone.

I’d like to think that one future of blog advertising is where ads actually make the blog better so that the reader and the owner/writer gets something back. Your readers get new valuable information while you get some money.

I’m still playing around with and have a few UI changes and backend additions before I seek out sponsors/advertisers. For that site, the main section is the aggregator that aggregates Irish Food Blogs and on the right is a section where a sponsor will write a blog post giving away valuable information that will make the site even more valuable to the readers but I also make money. I was thinking it would be a good space for Wine companies to talk about what wine goes best with what meal and then listing some wine that fits that from their range or maybe a restaurant talking about how to prepare one of the items on their menu or a food company talking about putting together a festive meal and including some of their products. That’s how I’d like to see advertising on blogs. Professional ones. I still won’t have ads on this blog.

If you were a company though and wanted to get word around on loads of blogs I’d go along the same lines and follow one of the online reviews/carnival thingies. There’s this thing called the Blawg review where each week a law blogger will give a summary of what the law blogs are talking about. Other law bloggers point to this blog or find you via the main blog, so it means a massive traffic surge when you are the the chosen blogger that week. I’m not sure would it scale in Ireland but having a rotating blog post each week with valuable advice from a sponsoring company would be great for the company and the blogger in question. Having your own blog would make it easier to coordinate all this too.

Beats a banner ad.

Property Owner? Empty properties? Why not let a startup move in for free?

Friday, January 4th, 2008

Update:This was meant to go out on Monday. I really need to get my dates right! Anyways, it’s out so might as well keep it out.

Well, in return for equity or delayed payments. So when we were in the Valley (and his readers go “Oh Christ, here we go again”) some of the advice we got was too be as frugal as possible and that in the Valley some lawyers and accountants would often provide their very important services to you in return for equity. Lots of gamblers over there too and I think everyone is good at spotting potential riches if they team with certain people.

With property tanking and lots of talk of it there might be a lot of empty property in 2008. Property owners and estate agents might have to work that extra bit harder to get buyers and tenants in. Maybe instead of the apple tart in the oven trick that they use in houses, they could have a few energetic companies in what otherwise might be an empty building. The buzz from these companies might encourage everyone else to move into that building. Maybe this will encourage more property developers to build co-working facilities and incubation centres? With everything else being equal of course, it will then come down to other marketing techniques.

Then there’s the idea that developers/owners might enjoy the highs and the gambles of the old property market and might ant to try their hand at investing. I mentioned it already in this post of predictions and you never know.

Get out and push

Friday, January 4th, 2008

Web2Ireland, PaddysValley, OpenCoffee, BarCamp Ireland, PodCamp, TechLudd, Ireland Inc., Startup Ireland, whatevernext? Too many yet not enough. All great ideas and all will make Ireland better. But…

Despite all the groups and all their aspirations it’s the same ding dong at the end of the day: There are a core number of people that shut up and do and far too many that talk and do no more and then bitch and whine when they don’t like what they are being spoonfed. Look at the overlap with all of these groups above. No, not with those that attend their events but those that do any kind of work organising them or even help out in a small way. The numbers are tiny. They barely increase year on year. I said the same about the same old faces at BarCamps. It’s time to get out and push.

I’ve put my time into the BarCamps and the PaddysValleys, broke my arse for Paddy’s Valley (at a time when I never realised it but I was seriously ill) and so now my lot is done. I’m retired until such a time as all the talkers start becoming doers. No I won’t join your group as it means me getting fed up with inaction and doing the heavy lifting, no I won’t spend hours on conference calls giving up my time for the benefit of others who don’t have time to organise their own stuff. Get out and push.

I think it’s time that people gave back without having to be asked. I’m also starting to think that those that do the work til now maybe have to start being more strict with their generosity because it seems the Joe Drumgooles, the Conor O’Neills, the Fergus Burns’, the Ken McGuires, the Keith Bohannas, the Paul Walshs, the Elly Parkers, the James Corbetts etc. are spoiling people here by always coming forward and are almost expected to do all the work. However I also think anyone that stands up and wants to do something either via an existing group or a new one should be encouraged and let them talk less and do something. So yeah, get out and push and maybe let the others rest for a while.

And how do you get out and push?
You can start in the morning by signing up to the next BarCamp to give a talk or to volunteer a worthwhile chunk of your time to the organisation of it. You can start your own BarCamp anywhere. You can do it without demoing your product or talking up your companies services. Maybe take the ShareIT idea I started and do one for your local area. Why not contact your local Enterprise Board and offer to give a free talk at one of their events? Why not actually use an OpenCoffee event (Which you can start locally) to give a quick tutorial on something. Or the list at the start of the post has groups that all need volunteers and people that do. Join one and get out and push. Don’t have the time, neither do any of the people I mentioned but they make time. Get out and push.

Salim Ismail and Paddy’s Valley

Friday, January 4th, 2008

Finally getting around to thank Salim Ismail for his help during Paddy’s Valley. There’s going the extra mile and there’s running a marathon. Salim showed us around Yahoo! Brickhouse on one of the days and they showed off upcoming projects some of which are still in stealth I believe. Then introduced Jerry Yang to the group. As you do. The next day we got a tour of the Yahoo! Sunnyvale campus and some of the lads gave a micro-pitch to one of the main acquisition guys for Yahoo! Beat that! Salim also turned up for some of the pitch evening on the Tuesday night and drove up to Palo Alto to hang out with us one evening. In a culture of being friendly and transparent and welcoming travelers, Salim went much much further. He’s a really decent guy for helping us so much and I think Brickhouse really chose well when headhunting Salim. The next time himself and his colleagues come to Ireland there’ll be a lot of kegs emptied. Hooray, another post that was in draft for weeks and is now done!

Update: He’s going to be coming to Cork on March 2nd.

6 of 22 Blog Awards Categories left for sponsorship

Wednesday, January 2nd, 2008

A few categories are left for sponsorship:

  • Best News/Current Affairs Blog
  • Best Music Blog
  • Best Crafts Blog
  • Best Popculture blog
  • Best Food/Drink blog

and of course Best Blog.

Prices and details of other sponsorship opportunities are available here.

Sneaky Social Selling 101: Make (tainted) money from Facebook Groups via Sgroups

Tuesday, January 1st, 2008

Alexia coined the phrase and I like it so much I bought the company, er, no I mean I liked it so much I stole the term too. I have a few groups I created on Facebook, one of which is the Dear L Drivers group. I didn’t look at it for a whole while and next thing there’s 600 people in the group. I’d love to see 1000 or 2000 people in the group and getting them to engage with each other. But. The evil side of my mostly evil brain was thinking “Couldn’t these groups be used by spammers or sneaky sellers to make money?”.

For example, imagine if a car parts company offered me money to to send a message to all members with some special deal they were offering? Does Facebook say no to this? Imagine if some insurance company offered to buy into the group and take it over and offer cheap insurance to the most young members of the group? What could Facebook do about it besides close the group? Not worth suing the insurance company. There’s probably something in the terms and conditions to prevent this, maybe a law nerd can check it out? I can just see the Pay for Post opportunists coming along and doing something like this. Build something up and then flip it. Isn’t this the business model of so many web apps these days? Build up a massive audience and make money by selling it to Google and the like?

Just look at all the groups that instantly pop up in Facebook surrounding a news event. Within minutes/hours there was a group for Benazir Bhuto and her murder. It currently has 800+ members. I wonder will we see spam groups or “sgroups” start popping up more and more just to get the attention of people in Facebook who love nothing better than to join a group on something that’s in the news? Big event, get people signed up and then sell them out. Or how about creating a “silly” or “fun” group on Facebook such as the I Use my Cell Phone to See in the Dark Group which has over 400,000 members. Imagine flipping that? How much would people pay for access to those people? I wonder are Facebook going to start offering some revenue share deal with these groups actually? That’s one way of stopping potential abuse. Many of these groups have been created by bored college students. But college students are idealists and would never sell out for beer and pizza money so we’re safe there…

But but, we can do positive things too. I freewheeled about this over and Twitter and JP Rangaswami came back with a few very salient points:
Am I really the owner?

“Who owns the group?”. The administrator? The initiator? I would have thought “its members”

Your group or community won’t last long if you sell them off:

as Julius Henry said all those years ago, I wouldn’t want to belong to a group who sold me as a member.

But he also points out that buying or hiring a creator is about their potential:

Ah but. “a salesman is only as good as his NEXT sale”. So when I buy a creator, it is for what she WILL DO, not what she DID.

And that there is a positive way to make money from a group/community you brought together. Get yourself noticed and get experience in looking after a group like that and don’t sell out, don’t do sneaky ads, instead use your skills to gather a community for a company or other interested party. It’s harder to do than just selling out though but I hope it becomes the norm. They’re now refering to people that do this as “community managers” which is a term that bothers me a bit and it’s not just me!

So, being an evil and making money is still a choice. With pay per post tanking, I really do wonder will their people start ruining Facebook too?

Ones to watch in 2008

Tuesday, January 1st, 2008

So here’s my list of ones to watch in 2008. Here are the ones from 2007.

In no particular order:

Robin Blandford.
Robin’s a genius. I could stop there but his energy and his drive and his creativity mark him out from the pack. He’s currently at Reuters and he’s doing some interesting things there and they’re sending him off to Singapore in the next while. I’m sure he might spend a little longer in the company but one day he’ll probably have a startup or two or three. Maybe one day two he’ll come back to Ireland and work here when the environment can handle multi-talented people like Robin without them getting bored.

Fergus Burns
I’m having more and more chats with Fergus this year and more and more email chats with him and the folks in Nooked. Hardest working man in tech? He’s certainly in the running. Known all over the world, not just Ireland and the UK, he’s a networking machine. Many doors in Silicon Valley for the Paddy’s Valley group were opened up to us because of Fergus. Towards the end of 2007 Fergus deservedly won the Netvisionary of the Year and bloody right too. I have a huge amount of time for Fergus because he has a huge amount of time for everyone and unlike our own Government organisations, he opens up his rolodex and makes connections.

The Paddy’s Valley 20
Or at least a small amount from the group. There are some very intelligent and creative people that headed to Paddy’s Valley and I think over the next few years we’ll see some shining stars appear from that crew. More work, more graft and more scars and we’ll see success from this group.

Patrick Collison, John Collison and all at Auctomatic
They’ve already done what most Irish startups are talking about. Good idea, good product and good backers. All before lunchtime. Keep watching them in 2008.

Richard Hearne
He’s the S.E.O. God in Ireland but he’s changing direction slightly in 2008. I’ve met Richard a good few times now and the man isn’t afraid to call a spade a spade yet he’s not a crank. Richard doesn’t suffer fools gladly so couple that with his great talent and intelligence and how understands the web and how humans work with websites and viceversa and you know why I think he’s one to watch. Sub to his blog, see what he’s up to and try and work with Richard in 2008 if you can.

Conor O’Neill
Argolon, LouderVoice, OpenCoffees, originator of the Paddy’s Valley idea and planner who couldn’t make it in the end which was a bloody shame. His balls got him a lot of attention in 2007 but lets hope it’s his community spirit and his great products that get him attention in 2008.

Alexia Golez
My partner in crime when it comes to fights over on Twitter. We have frank, personal but not too abusive disagreements about disagreements on Twitter. She’s the Ken Starr to my Bill Clinton indescretions. Another person that doesn’t suffer fools gladly. No happy happy clap clap from her. If you want someone to deconstruct your web application or IT Project, this is the person for you. I didn’t make it to the FOWA event in Dublin in 2007 but I heard from a few people that she made a few presenters sweat. She’s currently working in Microsoft and I do wonder whether she’d be better suited in a smaller company that appreciates her talent more. Hire her for some nixers. Ahhh, enough of that bullshit, she’s only on this list cos she’s the token female.

Martha Rotter
I’m sure the Microsoft haters will once again talk about conspiracies here as I point to a second Microsoft person in my list. Good, I love baiting losers. Martha is an evangelist, a proper evangelist that you don’t see much on this side of the Atlantic. She shows a passion and understanding of the products she shows off, can engage you in a very techy discussion about whatever, knows how to network and will go to the ends of the earth to follow up on any queries you have, even when it’s barely linked to the area she works in. I really do think that Irish people should see how Martha does her work and then just rip it off. 🙂 Check when the next Microsoft roadshow is and then book a place to see Martha present. It’ll be worth it.

Marcus Mac Innes
One of the Paddy’s Valley groupies. I knew a little about him and his project (Pixie, pronounce it Pixie, he get’s slightly violent if you say Pix dot ie) before the event but knew nothing of the guy himself. Marcus has this great laid back attitude, good business sense and is a mischief maker too. Nice mix. Looking forward to seeing what Marcus and does in 2008.

Pat Phelan
Fuck’s sake, Pat, get out of my lists will ya! Pat is here again because I have a strong belief that he’s going to make 2008 interesting for himself and all the rest of us. See what I already said about him in 2007.

Cian O’Flaherty
Another chap from the 2007 list. Expect more to come from Cian in 2008.

Paul Fabretti
He only got into this list because of the grandmother rule, you the one that the soccer team uses, if your gran was Irish she can get a soccer jersey. Or something like that. He moved jobs in 2007 and it was through Facebook that he got his job. Impressive. As social media takes off so then we hope Paul’s career will too. Still, he needs to work on the Paul Fabretti global microbrand a little bit. 🙂 No pressure now with all of us watching him.

Paul Walsh
The most connected man in the digital and web media in the UK. And Irish. Paul Walsh and I have our ups and downs on issues. *cough* Sheriff badge *cough* and he never fails to cause a stir and polarise people, however Paul is another man generous with his time and his rolodex and always seems to want to help others. How come most of the Irish that do that are NOT in Ireland? Anyway, hopefully we’ll see Paul being a little more selfish in 2008 and putting Segala first. I’ve tested out the content labels product from Segala and I think maybe with a different spin it could take off. It certainlu makes the web a lot cleaner and easier to use. It could be used to turn Google into a spam free resource.

The Irish yet again miss another obvious opportunity

Saturday, December 29th, 2007

So this writers strike in Hollywood/America. No shows can be made if they don’t have writers. Heroes, Lost and loads more are going to be delayed. While Letterman has done a deal with his writers, the main strike is going to go on and on. Where is the IDA on this? Why are they not showing ABC, NBC and CBS what we can offer them. Let’s export all the quality shows we have out there and even create spinoffs.

Fair City L.A.
Fair City is SHIT
Bella, Leo, Jimmeeeeeeh and whoeverthefuckelse is on that show take a trip out there. And fit in. But all written and filmed in Ireland. The setmakers already make it seem like Carrigstown is realer than real so L.A. should be just as easy to copy on to shaky wooden frames.

But there’s more!
But hell, with P.S., I’m an eejit doing so well and Irish accents being all hot again, let’s give them quality stuff. Glenroe. Dinny and Miley and Fanny and Biddie and endsinYie and their Billy Barry kids with D4 accents.

Then to feed their habit, let’s unleash Bracken on them. No, not the fella, the show.

And the game shows
Where in the World (book still available for 200 sterling) and Head 2Toe should be exported out to Lala land too. (Aside: I would have thought Fustar had some Theresa Lowe stuff but alas no.)

We have tonnes of stuff that we could ship over. What else could we send over? We’ve not even started on the quality from TV Three.

Blog Awards 2008 – Nominations have started

Friday, December 28th, 2007

Start your engines.

New nomination system, new judging system and a restriction on the number of categories you can be nominated in. This means there’s more chance for smaller blogs to get through and combined with no public vote this year, it means it’s not a popularity contest that gets you to the second round. So, to be clear, all nominated blogs will get judged in round 1 and whittled down and some will go forward to round 2 where the judging gets a lot tougher. Good luck!