This Week From The Interwebs: Texts From Hilary, Corgis, and Things To Buy For One Billion Dollars

I think I’m going to start a semi regular feature called ‘This Week From The Interwebs’. I see so much fun stuff online (‘interwebs’ being a funny, old-timey way of saying the internet) that I can’t share it all so here’s a repository for things I find interesting, in hopes maybe you think they are interesting too.

Here’s the song and video I can’t get out of my head, first and foremost:

You’re welcome for that. And in other news:

Texts From Hilary
This Tumblr blog was all the rage the last week or so. Inspired by an image of Hilary Clinton texting, it’s fake correspondence via text between Hilary and other famous people, some political (Barack Obama, Joe Biden) and some not so political (Ryan Gosling, Mark Zuckerberg). Whether you like Hilary or not, it’s pretty funny. This week, they’ve shut the blog down since they actually got a text message from Secretary Clinton herself. If you want to know how to say goodbye on a blog, the last post is a pretty fun and classy exit.

Apps From Social Media Breakfast Bangor
So I recently gave an ‘Appy Hour’ talk at the Jesup Library is Bar Harbor and the day after, I got this great link with more apps that I’d never even heard of. If you want to do more with your smartphone or tablet, here are some cool things you can do:

Youtube Is Now Letting Everyone Monetize Videos
It used to be Youtube only partnered with channels that got a lot of traffic but now, you too can have ads with your video that could potentially generate revenue for you.

Facebook buys Instagram for $1 Billion
A twelve person company dividing up $1 billion. Not bad math any way you do it. I just can’t quite believe the size of this deal (though the baseball deal this week was bigger, wasn’t it?)

33 Animals That Are Extremely Disappointed In You
This may be the funniest thing I’ve seen all week. Scroll to the end of the post (worth it) and you will understand my not-so-secret dream to have a pack of corgis follow me around all day. 

Have a good weekend, on and off the interwebs!

These Three Weeks In Business: Crashing Edition

These past three weeks, my Mac, my PC, and me have all crashed. Let me explain.

Many people think if you happen to be good at internet stuff you are also good at computers. Not so.

I am truly terrible at physical computer issues. And in the past three weeks, both of my computers have bit it.

My Mac was the first to go. I was giving a group presentation when it decided to do software updates. So I could continue with the presentation, I did a force quit. Two friends, one week, and a lot of Mac Forums reading later, I had to reinstall my operating system. I get it, if the Mac is updating its programs, let it finish. Lesson learned.

While dealing with my sad Mac, my PC (which is a desktop computer I do a lot of my work on) began acting wonky. It quit programs mid-use, stopped backing up my files with Mozy, and other nonsense. I tried the usual stuff: defragmenting, running virus scans, etc. but nothing worked. Hundreds of registry errors and a few days with a computer savvy colleague, it’s back.

Then I crashed. I was sick for a week and last Saturday, I slept until 11 am. And I’m a normally early riser. Must be all these late nights working, which I am finally going to do something about. But more on that in a minute.

Besides all the crashing, here’s what has been going on:

I got a smartphone.
I finally bit the bullet and got an Android phone. Verizon has much better coverage in my area than ATT and since I do a lot of things with Google anyway, it was a good choice for me. On a recent trip, I found I had much less anxiety when I was able to check my email once in awhile and not walk into hundreds of emails after the weekend was over. Also when I was in computer limbo, it was nice to be able to check email and keep up with what was coming in.

I turned down work.
I got an email from Elance saying someone wanted me to bid on a project. I was flattered… until I went to look at the specifics. The bid was $25/hour below my minimum hourly rate and it was a very short term project. It felt good to turn something because I didn’t need to do it but at the same time, it made me wonder how many legitimately cool projects I was missing working on, which made me realize.

I realized I needed help… and no, not that kind of help.
It’s time to hire someone. And before announcing this in a formal way, I thought a lot about the kind of person I wanted to hire and why.

What I really need help with is administrator type stuff: invoicing, answering emails, and some basic copywriting to start. That’s not to say there couldn’t be more but to be able to work on big project, I need some help taking care of the small details.

I’d love to pay someone $25-$50/hour but this is such a gamble that I have to start off much lower in terms of pay. If I take on someone else in terms of being responsible for their pay, I need to know I can make payroll. If I can’t, I’ll never sleep. Plus it’s much easier to say “Wohoo, we’re kicking butt, I can pay you more now!” than “Wow, I’m paying you too much, I need to cut your salary.” That would not go over well.

The second thing to consider is if I am going to train someone, I need someone who is going to stick around, preferably in my geographic area which is where I am and where a majority of my clients are. Downeast Maine is an expensive place to live that alternates between a busy summer season and a dead winter season. That said, I need the help year round and I can’t have someone who disappears in the summer.

And thirdly, I  need someone who is going to listen to me. Now I’m not a big ‘power’ person but I do need there to be a bit of professional distance for my first employee.

I’ve put out the call to the guidance counselors at my local high school and to a contact at the local liberal arts college. We can debate the pros and cons of high school versus college students but in terms of the trainable tech savvy person who can be happy with a part time job and stick around for a couple years, students seem to be a logical choice. But we’ll see.

When things happen like this in a business, it’s really easy to get bogged down trying to fix it all yourself. But at a certain point, it’s smart, and even just sane, to say, “Hey, I need help” and throw some money at the problem.

Have you crashed anything recently? If so, how did you uncrash it?

A Note About Online Privacy: There Is None

It’s been interesting to watch reactions to Facebook’s changes in their privacy policy. Status updates of some of my friends have outlined how to change privacy settings by unclicking a box in the administrative options of a profile. Then I saw an interesting post on Beth’s Blog about a movement called Seppukoo (named after the noble death of samaris who threw themselves down on their swords) to get people to cancel their Facebook accounts and reclaim their lives.
Committing virtual suicide: One way to ensure your privacy. The other is to embrace the internet as part of your public life.
I haven’t felt very strongly about any of this because I’ve always felt that anything I post on the internet, whether it’s a tweet or a blog or a status update, can be accessed by anyone with enough tech skills.

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Why Your Friend Is Online All The Time

An Explanation From A Socially Needy Person

Every time I hear someone complaining about those people who change their Facebook status multiple times a day, I smile to myself. I smile because I have become that person.

Contrary to popular belief, I don’t do this because I am bored or have no friends. I have a full life and real life friends. Really!

I would like to shed light on those people in your life who, like me, seem to reach out an awful lot online. Yes there are actual reasons for this behavior which I will from now on call ‘socially needy’.

Sometimes a lack of loin cloth, internet access, and my dog are what keeps me sane. I bet if Castaway Tom Hanks would have had Facebook, he would have updated his status more than I do.

This Week In Business: The Galavanting Edition

This week was an unusual one for me. I had a friend visiting from London the past five days and yesterday, I flew to Baltimore for my friend’s wedding Saturday. Being on the road a lot allowed me to work on making my business a bit more mobile. Here’s a little of what I did this week besides have fun playing tourist:
I got and set up my new laptop.
After hearing so much about Macs (and the fact that about half my clients are using them), I decided the only way to get proficient with them was to get one and learn with it. My MacBook Pro is quite slick and is allowing me to begin this first draft in the lobby of my hotel while I wait for my ride to show up.

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