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Anonymity, Notoriety, Credibility and Authority

The Beginning

Elias carefully tucked his spiral notebook into his backpack, ensured he had a handful of extra pens and pencils and dutifully wrapped his Android tablet, first in its padded sleeve, then a sweater. Even though he still hadn’t gotten accustomed to using it, he certainly didn’t want anything to happen to it. After his girlfriend had saved for 6 months to buy it for him, he’d sooner die than have that happen.

The truth was, though, that he didn’t really care to be drug into the digital age. He’d heard enough horror stories about people whose identity had been stolen or their account hacked that he had no desire to change the way he’d always done things. Every time he typed his password when logging into that Facebook thing, he felt like he’d walked into a crowded room butt-naked.

Ever since his birthday, Ana had been badgering him about starting a blog and putting his marketing degree to good use. What in the world made her think he’d be willing to share what basically amounted to a diary with anyone that felt like reading it? What made her think he wanted to share his thoughts with anyone? For that matter, what made her think he had anything to say? Continue reading “Anonymity, Notoriety, Credibility and Authority”

WordPress Automatic Updates: To Protect and Serve

As I checked email before going to bed on Friday night, I found a message in my inbox indicating that my WordPress websites had been updated. A moment of panic set in. I thought I had been hacked!

After checking out my sites and satisfying myself that they had not been hacked, I browsed over to WordPress Codex and started reading about this new “feature”. I quickly learned that it had been initiated with WordPress version 3.7. At that time it didn’t seem to work very well but I guess the idea lived on because the update roll-out for version 3.8.1 was in progress and a lot of the people involved with the development of this feature were congratulating themselves.

protect_and_serveThe motivation behind a feature like this is to improve WordPress security. The assumption of those at the helm is that most users won’t update their sites, a known contributor to hacker intrusion, and the Core Developers want to make the internet a safer place.

In my years as a WordPress website developer I have encountered sites that never get updated, some of which had been hacked. So the idea behind this is not altogether a bad.  The implementation of it is what was objectionable to me.  In my professional opinion, we should have been given the option to enable this feature rather than being forced to disable it after the fact of a roll-out.

I perused the WordPress forum to learn more.  I quickly learned how I could stop this automatic background update from happening again, but it was late and I didn’t want to begin implementing the solution before getting some sleep because I knew it would take hours, due to the number of sites that I am obligated to support and the need to verify post update functionality. Continue reading “WordPress Automatic Updates: To Protect and Serve”

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Pre-Qualifying Clients – What’s the big “deal”?

When I first started out as an account manager selling IT solutions to businesses, my new-lead pre-qualification mindset sucked, big time!

Not only did it affect my ability to find and work with new best-fit clients, it also drained my previous employers’ resources when bad-fit clients came on-board.

My obsession with wanting to nail every deal was terribly misguided. If I didn’t win business all the time, I felt deflated.

My poor mindset, translated into words, promoted the perception of a desperate and needy sales guy – and potential clients (subconsciously) knew this. Yep, master / slave “business” relationships are made of this stuff.

Here’s an example of my old mindset when a potential client called (cue my cringe):

Prospective client: “We need to sort out our <insert perceived IT need here> “

My thinking: “Cool, a new lead. I love getting started with new clients. All the endless possibilities! Now, what are those new deals that I’ve been told I must sell to clients? Let me at ‘em.. ”

Potential client: “Our <current IT situation here> is OK, but we need to make sure we’re doing all we can to protect our <insert IT term>, grow our <insert another IT term>, become more <insert benefit> and win more <business / market-share>”

My thinking: “Great, they’re hot. They need what we offer and they’ve got goals that we can help them achieve. They sound like a good fit..”

Potential client: “The challenge we’ve got is budget and timescales.  We’re looking for a very competitive price and we need to get started quickly, so we’ve asked a number of other companies to quote, including you and we need quotes back within the next 24 hours. We also need to open a line of credit with you, so we can pay on 90 days” Continue reading “Pre-Qualifying Clients – What’s the big “deal”?”

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Planning: Turning Barriers into Opportunities

Over the last few years, a lot of people have decided to stop working for others and try doing “their own thing” online. While there’s still a place for independent shops on High St., there are also many online opportunities for such adventuresome spirits, in affiliate marketing, consulting and ecommerce (not to mention the peripheral support services like website design and development).

If you find yourself looking enviously on, as others make the leap to independence, and have decided that you’re ready to embrace your entrepreneurial side, it’s important to set out on your journey as fully informed as possible.

The First Step

Ancient wallJust about anyone that has ever faced any sort of entrepreneurial undertaking knows that a lot of barriers can get in the way. Sometimes they’re even of our own making.

Some folks would have you believe that launching your own business is a simple by-the-numbers thing: get a product, make it known that you have a product, count your money. If only it were really that simple.

Maybe it can be, in some very rare instances (if you have the only water available in the desert, for instance), but in reality, it’s usually a lot more complex. Supply lines, manpower, logistics, regulation, competition, marketing (that lovely M-word), etc… the list can be imposing, particularly if you’re setting up an international operation with a tangible product.

A savvy business consultant will advise you to go through a comprehensive checklist, build a thorough business plan and objectively analyse your plan’s effectiveness when various stumbling blocks surface. The nature of the proposed business will determine which of those stumbling blocks can amount to a stubbed toe and which can effectively break your back.

Carefully analysing every possible contingency and its effect on your business, then formulating a solid “Plan B” for recovery from any exigencies that pop up is critical, in order to survive the inevitable problems that will occur as you develop your business.

Online is only slightly different from the brick & mortar world. The barrier to entry is lower, to be sure… but the barriers to success are much the same. And given the increased velocity of events, both negative and positive, finding the barriers that can get in our way and overcoming them can be just as critical… sometimes more so. Continue reading “Planning: Turning Barriers into Opportunities”