I wish I had resources to develop ALL my ideas. Almost six years ago I jot down a few diagrams and notes for a service that would put the likes of foursquare, Gowalla, loopt, yelp, urban spoon, and others to shame. (Sidenote: I wrote about Dodgeball 5 1/5 years ago. They died as predicted, but not exactly how I thought it would.) MY concept would help increase foot traffic to local businesses, increase the loyalty of local patrons, and could be used in urban and remote towns the same. I just uncovered my notebook recently while I was moving around a few boxes and rediscovered a lot of ideas I scribbled down. This idea is just as solid today as it was six years ago. And it will still be viable 4 years in the future. So another multi-million dollar idea put back on the shelf until the timing is right for me. That’s okay, these ideas are “a-dime-a-dozen”.
Sometimes, you have to jump at opportunities even if it means you personally won’t reap the benefits. If you don’t you may never see your vision come to light. This year I lucked into such an opportunity. I had hired a very talented team of SEO’s and developers to build a network of websites for my employer. While we did pretty good at building the traditional sites that my company was familiar with, we were missing our killer app. We had nothing that set us apart from the many, many competitive sites in our industry. The main challenge we faced was that we didn’t have a core community website that we could use to leverage trust and authority from the search engines. This authority site had to be unique, and it couldn’t just be another blog, forum, or directory. Those are all done and dated already. We needed a different type of site. As I’ve faced this exact challenge in the past with many different clients, it’s no surprise I already had an idea for the type of site we’d need that would bring the power and authority to get the rankings we were after. Now was the time to build it, even if it means that I’d be giving my prized idea to my company as intellectual property. But, that’s part of why they hired me, to bring all my ideas that can benefit us directly and put them on the table.
I did some research and discovered it would cost us almost six figures to purchase the licensing and custom development for the type of site that I wanted to build. So I talked it over with my developers and did a quick feasibility analysis. This could be done! I told my team that this was a second priority to any other projects they were assigned. I have some brilliant developers. They were able to conquer all my projects ahead of schedule, beating my most unrealistic expectations for deadlines. They built facebook app after facebook app, all the top priority sites in queue, and a lot of single one-off projects from me and from corporate. I have worked with a lot of great developers in the past, but these two have truly shown me they are two of the best. So with a lot of projects cleared off the board, and an initiative to focus only on projects that would benefit us in SEO, I gave the guys a greenlight to work full-time on the project.
This week we are ready to launch the main project, and it’s supporting sister sites, to the public as beta. I’ll be posting about it soon as an official announcement. Stay tuned!
BTW – As much as I honor my development team in this post, I can’t say enough about the fantastic marketers that I have that make up the rest of my team! They too are brilliant, motivated, and bring a very unique set of skills and talents that contributes to the unique nature of the team. Some of our projects haven’t panned out exactly like planned, but it isn’t because of a lack of trying or lack of talent. The industry we are in is truly a bitch and very competitive. But, with the launch of our new project, I expect some great things from the result of an entire-team marketing effort in a very short amount of time. So, as before, stay tuned!
Yesterday I posted a list of domain names that I am selling. While it may look like a simple post up front, it really took some WordPress magic to make that happen.
WordPress is a fantastic tool, but sometimes it overlooks the basics. The list of domain names I have for sale is nothing more than a simple table with data in it. It’s maintained through an external .CSV file. If it were just HTML that I pasted into a post, I’d have a more difficult time maintaining it.
The intention of that list is to be a list that I maintain over a longer period of time. If I sell domains, I may need to remove them from the list. If I buy more I’ll have to add them. If I want to add a column of data, like expiration dates or registrar company, or if I wanted to delete a column like prices, it would be pretty difficult to do that if it was straight html. Editing 100 rows worth of table data is a bitch in plain HTML.
Luckily, some genius by the name of Alex Rabe wrote a plugin called wp-table. This plugin lets you import all your data from a .csv file, customize the look and format of your table, manage several tables, and present any table on your wordpress site by using a single line of text. If I need to edit data to the table, I can do that pretty easily within wp-table and the post wordpress rendered version will automatically be updated.
I still have yet to toy around with the CSS styles, but I found a fantastic resource of CSS tables to get me started. Between the plugin and the stylesheets, I can now create some pretty impressive tables using wordpress.
- Today is Day 25 out of 30 for My Own Thirty Day Challenge.
Jul 11, 2006 Open Source
You may or may not have heard about Cambrian House by now, but if you haven’t you will pretty soon. They are truly making foolery out of existing business models and creating the first true paid-open-source community. We’re not talking WordPress or RedHat here where corporate identities form around open source projects. What we’re talking about is a large community sharing ideas and creating products, with everyone taking a cut equal to the effort they put into it.
How Cambrian House Works: You sign up for their community. Then you from there you can submit ideas for new projects or you can contribute to existing projects. Depending on the amount of work you put in (code, design, copywriting, etc), you earn royalty points. These royalty points are essentially your shares of the entire product. If the product was your idea, you get a pretty large share of royalty points. If you just submitted a logo or some copywriting, you’ll get a smaller piece but it still all ads up. As long as you remain a member of the community, you’ll receive “royalty” checks that are a percentage of the profits equal to your percentage of the total project.
This is a BRILLIANT idea and gets a GENIOUS (yes, with an “O”) award. I just signed up and can’t wait to see how I might contribute. I don’t see myself contributing to many ideas, unless they are ones that I don’t really lan on doing anything with. But I don’t mind throwing in help on projects where I can.