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An Expanded View Of What Your Clients Can Do For You

For many businesses clients and customers are targets for product announcements and future purchases. While we could debate whether this mindset is good or bad, for this post let's keep “good” and “bad” out of it. Rather let's approach the conversation from this viewpoint – if a business views it's clients and customers merely as targets to be sold to, that business is missing out big time.

As a consultant, a false and dangerous idea for me is to think that I have all the answers for my clients though they have none for me. This could not be further from the truth. In fact there is a metric ton that I can learn from my clients, and I don't mean simply how to sell them on more products and services. [Read more…]

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Why Game Of Thrones Gets More Love Than Fareed Zakaria GPS

When my family and I moved to Chiang Mai in July 2011 we looked at a few of the TV packages available. The companies here know what people want, and to get it you need the best package they have. We skipped that and stuck with the free channels, which includes the BBC. Back in the US we watched CNN and one show in particular – Fareed Zakaria GPS.

I was very excited when I found out that I could download, for free, video episodes of Fareed's weekly show via iTunes. It was going great until one day I noticed that the video segments shrank down to around 7 minutes showing only highlights of the show. Ultimately I found out why – sometime around January 2012 they created a paid subscription for the videos, keeping the audio free.

The backlash was swift and harsh. [Read more…]

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On Global Warming, War, And The Future of Entrepreneurship

I'm currently reading two books: Screw Business As Usual by my unofficial mentor Richard Branson, and War Made New: Weapons, Warriors, and the Making of the Modern World by Max Boot. Both of these books are highly applicable for all entrepreneurs, and on my “must read” list. Here's why.

Screw Business As Usual is a book about creating a profitable business by doing good, specifically helping to solve major world issues such as poverty and global warming. Now I'm not a climate scientist and can't look at data to say if global warming is for sure. However I believe it is. During the 7 years my family and I lived in Florida it got hotter and hotter each year. In addition, this year in Thailand the storms have been worse, and they began earlier than years past. This past Winter Minnesota experienced 60-degree days. When I was growing up and visited my Grandmother for Christmas it never get above freezing, for months.

These are not isolated incidents. Globally the weather is getting more extreme. You don't need to be a climate scientist to see that. It's right outside your window. [Read more…]

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Is The Future Of Search A Dead End?

When do you use a search engine? How do you use a search engine? How do you decide if you need to use a search engine in the first place? Are there alternatives that provide “better” answers faster?

These are some of the questions we were discussing at a recent Ruby on Rails meetup. Let no one say we geeks don't ask the hard questions!

As the builder of a business that helps entrepreneurs attract and convert their customers online it's my job to consider the future and how best to postion them for it.

In November 2010 online marketing was pretty straight forward. With ideal customer profile in hand it was a matter of:

  1. Creating content that attracts your ideal customers
  2. Optimize the content for both search (being found) and social (being shared)
  3. Convert visitors to leads using a variety of methods
  4. Stay in touch with those leads until they become customers

And while the devil is in the details that was pretty much it.

Time have changed, and they are changing faster than every before. [Read more…]

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Responsive Design: Your Website Needs This

How do you ensure that no matter what device your customers view your website on – their computer, iPad, iPhone, Android phone, or whatever's next – they'll be able to see your site in it's full glory? Two words: responsive design.

All geekery aside, responsive design is a web design technique where you code a website in such a way that when the size of the screen changes the content will automatically adjust to fit it.

Rather than just talk about it let's look at an example.

When we updated the Dempsey Marketing site the theme we customized was a responsive theme. So if you're on a regular computer or laptop you'll see something like this (click any image to see it full size): [Read more…]

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It’s The Small Stuff That Creates The Experience

If you want to design experiences that truly wow your clients and customers, look at every tiny little detail. It's amazing how many little things every part of a process can be decomposed into. Let me give you an example.

Today on ChecklistApp I added profile fields and public checklists for signed in users. Until today, if you signed in every checklist you created would be private. Now you can choose to make one (or more) public.

Seemed easy enough.

I add a few fields for the user profile and a little checkbox on the checklist form to make it public. Then I updated the public checklist list to show all checklists flagged as public.

That turned out to be the edge of the rabbit hole. [Read more…]

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Bloggers: It’s Okay To Skip The Marketing And SEO

Every post you write does not have to be perfectly optimized for search engine optimization (SEO).

Every post you write doesn't need to have a marketing goal behind it.

It doesn't have to be published or shared at a “perfect time.”

Sometimes people just want to know what's going on with you. They want to know what the latest going-on in your world is.

When I started blogging in 2005 I wrote about what I was up to. I shared code examples and updates about the apps I was working on. I talked about my business.

At the time I didn't know what SEO was, but it didn't matter. You fed your RSS feed into a blog aggregator and people connected with you. It was greatly topical back then and niche aggregators like DZone and RubyFlow dominated for programmers.

It was the time of Digg. [Read more…]