Long Tail Keywords

By | Insight, Software, Technology | No Comments

In the world of the Internet, specialization (niche business) has been a growing trend as a way to combat larger businesses.  You may never be able to get the sales volumes of someone like Amazon, but you’ll get dedicated customers looking specifically for your niche product/service.

So why not use the same tactic for SEO?

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500px Prime

By | Photography, Website | No Comments

I’ve long been using 500px as a way to post some of my favorite images to see what other photographers think about them. Sort of a weak peer review. I’d love to see more criticism to see how I can improve my photography, but I’ll take what I can get. What I really love about the site is seeing what really good photographers are doing from around the world. If you want to look at good photography, head to this site. Lastly, the site design is really nice. It’s clean, simple and looks great.

This brings me to 500px Prime. It’s 500px’s new stock photography site. For $250 you get complete access to the image for use on anything. Additionally, these images aren’t your average stock photos, with a side toward very artistic. The price is certainly a premium; however, the quality is there and the licensing is super simple. Best of all, they give the photographers a 70% cut where other sites are not nearly as generous. The site is currently in Beta so you’ll need to wait until you get an invitation code or the site to go live.

One of my photos was selected for the site and here is what it looks like. Nice interface.

Screen Shot 2014-03-06 at 8.10.20 AM

The Power of Shooting in RAW

By | Photography, Software | No Comments

I just returned from a trip to Mexico and I’ve been going through my pictures.  I’m writing this post because I wanted to visually show how powerful shooting in RAW and using software like Lightroom can be to enhance your photos.

Here is the original (cropped).

DSC_4332-2

 

Here is the edited photo after using Lightroom.

DSC_4332

 

The reason this works is because RAW captures a lot more information than a JPEG.  The software enables you a much greater freedom during editing to bring out the colors and enhance the shadows and highlights.

Total edit time about 5 minutes.

Google Knows When It’s Your Birthday

By | Technology | No Comments

I don’t know if I should be flattered or scared.  Ok, quick decision, mostly scared and somewhat flattered.

I actually think it’s pretty cool that they took the time to implement this code.    I don’t often go to google.com to search, but when I do, I’m happy to see the effort they make to ensure each day is special; even if it’s just for me.

Great OS X Photography App Bundle

By | Software | No Comments

I love application bundles for OS X and this one might be one of the best I’ve seen.  This one comes from StackSocial and it’s The SuperStacked Mac Bundle 2.0.  I like it because one, it’s for Photography/Design and two, the applications are really good.

I already own the good ones of this bunch, Snapheal, Focus and ColorStrokes, but for $30, those alone are worth it.

Yes, if you have Photoshop then you can perform most of these functions; however, these apps make the actions easy.

Snapheal > remove unwanted objects in the photo.

Focus > nice focus effects to achieve a shallow depth of field look or miniaturization effect.

ColorStrokes > remove color from everything, but the objects you want to pop.

I don’t get paid to promote this one (wish I did) so it’s just my word on this one.  Worth trying out if you’re into photography and want some great tools to enhance your photos.

Is There a Good Alternative to OS X Mail?

By | Software | No Comments

I’m all about maximizing efficiency in the way I work and email is one of those things that continues to cut away on a daily basis. I spend way too much time getting through emails, updating my 2Do list and then filing things away for later if I need them.

Now, I’m not your average user as I currently have 8 email addresses to work across. Each one necessary to maintain for different things in my life. My personal email, my personal commercial email (for e-commerce, signups, spam), and one for each of my business endeavors.

Here’s What I Do

Boot up OS X Mail. Read my emails. Flag those I need to take action on. File those I want to keep. Delete those that I don’t. Repeat 100 times a day.

MailHub
I use a great program for mail filing called MailHub. Because I’m a filer of past emails, this program is amazing. It actually learns, based on the sender and context, where I might want to file an email. I no longer have to drag and drop an email into the hundreds of folders I have. It places a nice tool just above the email list where I can direct my messages. I’m not sure what I’d do without this program.

MailHub

Is there a better way?

I’m asking you.

I’ve tried moving away from filing and to embrace the world of search. Conceptually this is pretty awesome. Enter some people and keywords and you’re all set. However, my experience has been that the results are never as focused as I need them to be.

Airmail
The nearest, best solution is Airmail. You can buy it for $1.99 so it’s pretty much a no-brainer to at least try out. I loved the interface, customization options, integration with 2Do (task management) and marking items as To-Do (vs. flagging). It really worked for quite some time. Tragic flaw was the (in)ability to file away old emails. I’m a clean inbox guy and after some time it was just taking too long to file things away. If I could get MailHub in Airmail I’d quit OS X Mail in a heartbeat.

MailPilot
I love the concept. It’s a mail client and task manager in one. It works really well if you have one email address to look after.

Is there a good email application for people who have too many email address?

This is a much better question I should be asking. I need it to do the following:

  • Ability to easily file old, but important messages
  • Integration with, or replacement of, 2Do
  • Help me clear my inbox

If it works, what’s wrong with OS X Mail?

As I said, I still spend way too much time on my emails. Maybe the only solution is to give up on filing and delete more messages. Perhaps I could have much higher level folders, one for business and one for personal. Then I could select the folder when searching to have a narrower field to search from. Maybe I’ll give that a try.

QUICK UPDATE: Sources

This post quickly prompted me to do a search. Here are some good resources for me and others:

Get to Know the Land Before Moving

By | Insight, Startups | No Comments

If you’re getting started in something new, breaking into a new industry or exploring a new customer base I would suggest you ask yourself one question: Do I really know this space/industry/product/customer/etc?

My experience tells me that we often blind ourselves with the excitement of an opportunity. We feel that our skills will translate immediately and things can’t be really any different from what we’ve done in the past. Also, we often come from a land that we’ve grown to dislike so much that we feel that anything would be better; the grass is greener conundrum.

Get to Know the Land Before Moving

If you really want to try your hand at something new why not become an employee first? The risk is removed and the stress isn’t yours to bear. It may slow things up a bit or you may miss out on an opportunity, but it may save you greater pain in the end.

Now, I naturally haven’t done as I have written here, but I’m a glutton for punishment.

Whatever your choice, good luck and enjoy the ride.

Is Silicon Valley Really Public Enemy No. 1?

By | Insight, Startups | No Comments

Post copied from my article on Kikai Mining
————————

Just finished reading an interesting article by @DannyCrichton on TechCrunch.

The article is entitled “Silicon Valley Is Now Public Enemy No. 1, And We Only Have Ourselves To Blame.” Danny points out that public sentiment on startups has begun to sway against them.

Oh great! I switched my career last year to focus solely on building my own startups and helping other startups.

But apparently not all is lost. The reason for this trend appears to be a PR issue for the startup community. Here you have hot-shot, 20-year-olds who are appearing to avoid the trend of working their entire lives to be ‘successful’*, upending entire industries and not really doing much to improve the communities in which they work. So pretty much, don’t be cocky, complement vs. destroy and give back. Good thing it’s simple to solve.

It’s not that easy to solve

Wait? Didn’t I just say it was simple?

It’s not that easy. The rate of change in business has been astounding and naturally there will be some push back. Startups are so focused on Minimum Viable Products, Cost per conversion rates, Business Models, Pitches and Investors that there is very little time to think about the overall impact you might have to society. You’re passionate about your solution and you know it’s better than anything else out there. I’ve been there and I’m living it. I focus so much energy on begin successful (in a business sense) that the other aspects aren’t often considered.

What’s a startup to do?

Here are some initial thoughts that I’ve considered.  I’ll certainly be thinking more about this as I continue with my startup-based career:

  • Give back – mentor, volunteer, donate.  I do all 3 because it helps my community and makes me a better businessman.
  • Can you complement instead of compete? – Your idea might be awesome, but does it necessarily have to compete in the industry?  Reality is that if the industry is big enough you can probably make plenty of money without directly competing.
  • Be humble and thankful – yep, you worked hard to get where you are, but i’m pretty sure you’ve had a lot of help along the way.  I know I have.
  • Sometimes you can’t win – Even if you know the fight is the right thing to do and you’ll prevail, it doesn’t necessary mean anyone wins.

* Success in my mind is not determined by material wealth, but by what you do with the opportunity.

[Read the whole article at TechCrunch]