Saturday, December 18, 2010

TEA PARTY NOW

How did you commemorate the 236th anniversary of the Boston Tea Party?

John Cox is working on a logotype and blog banner for www.TeaParty.nu. [Editor's note: The word "nu" is "now" in Swedish.

Pencil rough by John Cox.

Please read my post, CRUSH IT BOOK AND TEA TIME, and then go to my blog, GOT Tea Party, and listen to Tea Party by Kerli.
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Wednesday, November 24, 2010

3 WAYS OF RETURN OF ENGAGEMENT

I wonder if you could help me with finding new ways of getting a good return on my investment in time and energy when it comes to my social media activities. Today I got an email from Jim Kukral that got my attention, so I gave him in a ring on Skype. It was busy, so we will talk next week. I am reading his book, Attention! This Book Will Make You Money: How to Use Attention-Getting Online Marketing to Increase Your Revenue, at the moment and I want to conduct a podcast interview with him sometime in the future.

I want to engage my visitors, readers, listeners and fellow bloggers in a more active way in the future. I also want get more social media worklife engagements in the long run.

I have tested different advertising programs, but it haven't generated much money yet. It is more like coffee / tea / beer [Editor's note: insert your favorite beverage here.] money... At the moment I am evaluating PopAds and ValueClick Media advertisements.



I joined Forbes Business & Finance Blog Network some years ago, and I have to check the status of the network powered by Adify. I will contact some old advertisers, e.g. Body in Mind, regarding the new ad alternatives by Blogads.

I have also tried different tip-jar systems, but it seems to be hard to motivate people to donate a small sum of money on a regular basis. Recently I tested Flattr, but it is an inactive feature on my blog at the moment.

The third way to get financial support is to get sponsors for your social media activities. I am searching for companies and organizations with products and services that could fit my work as a social media enthusiast and at the same time be of interest to my readers and listeners. I have some things in mind, but you are more than welcome to give me tips and suggestions on stuff that you think could be a perfect match.

How do you increase the rate of ROI and ROE? What do you think about affiliate and referral marketing?


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UPDATE 11/27/10:

Check out the comments on my post on BizSugar.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

THANKSGIVING AND VIRGINIA GOLD DIGGERS

Obverse and Reverse of the Seal of the Virgini...Image via Wikipedia
How will you celebrate Thanksgiving? I will read a passage of David Price's book, Love and Hate in Jamestown: John Smith, Pocahontas, and the Heart of a New Nation and send a mental thank-you note to the "gold diggers" of Virginia Company and founders of Jamestown.

In order to get in the right holiday spirit, please read the following excerpt from Debi Ghate's article, An American Holiday: The Moral Meaning Behind Thanksgiving:

Thanksgiving is the perfect time to recognize what we are truly grateful for, to appreciate and celebrate the fruits of our labor: our wealth, health, relationships and material things--all the values we most selfishly cherish. We should thank researchers who have made certain cancers beatable, gourmet chefs at our favorite restaurants, authors whose books made us rethink our lives, financiers who developed revolutionary investment strategies and entrepreneurs who created fabulous online stores. We should thank ourselves and those individuals who make our lives more comfortable and enjoyable--those who help us live the much-coveted American dream. (Capitalism Magazine, November 22, 2010.)

I want to start out and thank my fellow bloggers, readers and listeners, by quoting my post, THANKS FOR GIVING EGO SUPPORT:

On this Thanksgiving day I want to thank my fellow bloggers and readers who have giving me support regarding my post, COMMENTS AND FEEDBACK. I appreciate your comments very much and I value our exchange of ideas and thoughts.  (EGO, November 25, 2004.)

I want to continue to thank the following individuals:

Anita Campbell of Small Business Trends (including Small Business Trends Radio and BizSugar) for her kind words and support during these years.

@Lyceum @BizSugar Thank YOU, Martin! You're one of the first bloggers I ever "met," and now 7 years later we still converse. (Twitter, 9:07 PM Nov 11th via web in reply to Lyceum)

Palle Frid Svensson & C.S. for inviting me to their business venture, TeaParty.nu.

Kalle Blomqvist for inviting me to his NetZpider Network as a social media enthusiast.

Martin Dagger for inviting me to his Fitness Date Club as a guest blogger and his offer to give me personal training tips.

Robert Palotas for introducing me to BNI (Business Network International).

David Stiernholm for giving me inspiration to create my F.I.X IT! productivity method.

Happy Thanksgiving! Cox & Forkum, November 22, 2006.
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Thursday, November 11, 2010

Sunday, October 31, 2010

FEELING ALIVE DURING HALLOWEEN

How did you celebrate Halloween? I had a flaming shot called Blackout (Sambuca, Unicum and three coffee beans) and some strips of beef jerky made with Blair's Sudden Death hot sauce.

Learn about Halloween words with Marina of Hot For Words. 



A year ago I wrote a post on the start of my new business venture. I am happy to say that things are going in the right direction... We will publish the tea site in the near future and you will be able to follow along our journey, e.g., through a business plan competition starting in November.

Related: My post, HALLOWEEN WITH BLACK CATS, PUMPKINS AND DEVILED EGGS.
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Saturday, October 30, 2010

GOT TEA PARTY ON NOVEMBER 2?

Do you think we could get a tea party on November 2? [Editor's note: The post title is a wordplay for my site, GOT-Tea-Party.com] Read Matt Frei's posts, Can America be fixed? and Would Tea Partiers be happier in Britain? Please check out Dr. Leonard Peikoff's recommendation for the election. Here is an excerpt from Scott Holleran's post, Blanking Out with Jon Stewart:

Now the nothing worshippers are having a rally about nothing, conveniently timed as a sort of counterstrike against those idealistic Tea Party activists who care deeply, passionately, and openly about America and have no shame in saying so. (ScottHolleran.com, October 29, 2010.)

I have included The Obameter widget by PolitiFact.com in this post.



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UPDATE 10/31/10:

Shovel Ready

UPDATE 11/03/10:

Reading material:


Behind The Trigger

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Thursday, October 21, 2010

INTERVIEW WITH JEAN MORONEY

Listen to my interview with Jean Moroney. You could subscribe to the RSS feed (iTunes) and download the audio file (MP3).

Listen to internet radio with Lyceum1776 on Blog Talk Radio

I will update the post with a timeline with show notes in the near future.

(~01:00) Bio. introduction.

(~03:00) The Ayn Rand Institute.

(~04:00) Thinking Tactics.

(~05:00) I Could Do Anything If I Only Knew What It Was: How to Discover What You Really Want and How to Get It and Wishcraft: How to Get What You Really Want by Barbara Sher. The Pathfinder: How to Choose or Change Your Career for a Lifetime of Satisfaction and Success by Nicholas Lore.

(~11:00) Thinking on Paper. "Write out your thoughts in full sentences on paper."

(~12:00) Jean Moroney: "Name four planets."

...

(~20:00) Getting Things Done: The Art of Stress-Free Productivity by David Allen.

(~23:00) Weekly review. Moleskine (The Economist). Mind mapping, Tony Buzan.

(~29:00) Trader Principle. "Trader Manifesto."

...

(~41:00) Dr. Leonard Peikoff and writing books.

(~42:00) Career Renegade: How to Make a Great Living Doing What You Love by Jonathan Fields.

(~43:00) TJ Walker's Secret to Foolproof Presentations by TJ Walker.

(~47:00) Jump Start Your Thinking Teleclass.

...

(~50:00) Future guests: Ellen Kenner, Catherine Dickerson, Dianne Durante.

(~53:00) ThinkingDirections.com - newsletter - 1 h teleclass.

...

Sunday, October 17, 2010

REFLECTIONS ON THE SWEDISH ELECTION

It is about a month since the Swedish election. I have mixed feelings about the outcome. In a way, I am happy that Mevin, the octopus got it right, but I don't like that the "dark forces" have entered the arena of mainstream politics. The collectivists have now >10% of the votes. I did warn about this scenario...

It is scary that the "Feminist Initiative" is getting support from Jane Fonda, and that an anti-immigration party is starting to get closer to the 4% level. I am thinking of sending out a signal to these elements, by "personal voting" for a specific candidate who is in favor of immigration and have no problem to let beautiful women in bikinis attend his personal campaign kick-off... Thanks to my friend, Bengt-Ake Harrysson, for mentioning Göran Lindblad. Read Göran Lindblad's speech (The Crimes of Communism Should be Condemned) at the National Press Club. The candidate is ranked highly by the Federation of Private Enterprises. (EGO, PERSONAL VOTING, September 16, 2006.)

In the news:


Related: My post four years ago, REFLECTIONS ON THE SWEDISH ELECTION. Book & web site recommendation: Politik 2.0 ("Politics 2.0").

TASTY BEVERAGES

From my tweet:

Mauritz Kaffe is the best coffee in the world. See all my highlights and add yours: http://wal.la/r/CGV (@Lyceum on Twitter)

Mauritz Kaffe

I have updated my new blog, GOT-Tea-Party.com with a photo of a cup of yellow tea. It is taken with Squarespace's iPhone app.

Do you drink coffee, tea, or some other beverage?
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Wednesday, October 13, 2010

MIDWEEK 41 WRAP

Check out these links:

I got an email from Michael Sliwinski of Nozbe today. I scanned through the latest issue of Productivity Magazine and found an article on kanban productivity by Stephen P Smith.


Today I attended an information event on the Sweaty Beards movie.

From Sweaty Beards's YouTube channel:



From the Facebook page:

If you ever saw a comedy about Vikings... you didn't see this one, because it hasn't been made yet. Ever. Nothing like this.

This is what the world has been waiting for. A Viking film made by Scandinavians. And in English.


Sweaty Beards Trailer from Sweaty Beards Film on Vimeo.

Monday, October 11, 2010

CHRISTOPHER COLUMBUS AND CHILE PEPPER

How do you commemorate Columbus Day? I will read a passage from Thomas A. Bowden's book, The Enemies of Christopher Columbus and eat chile pepper.

Br. chilli One of the wonders that Christopher Columbus brought back from the New World was a member of the Capsicum genus, the chile. (Answers.com)

Fenir Chile Pepper
Fenir Chile Pepper


Columbus Day Celebrates Western Civilization



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INTERVIEW WITH ZANE SAFRIT

Listen to my interview with Zane Safrit. You could subscribe to the RSS feed (iTunes) and download the audio file (MP3).


Listen to internet radio with Lyceum1776 on Blog Talk Radio

I will update the post with a timeline with show notes in the near future.

INTERVIEW WITH BRENT LEARY

Listen to my interview with Brent Leary. You could subscribe to the RSS feed (iTunes) and download the audio file (MP3).

Listen to internet radio with Lyceum1776 on Blog Talk Radio

I will update the post with a timeline with show notes in the near future.

INTERVIEW WITH BRETT OWENS

Listen to my interview with Brett Owens. You could subscribe to the RSS feed (iTunes) and download the audio file (MP3).

Listen to internet radio with Lyceum1776 on Blog Talk Radio

I will update the post with a timeline with show notes in the near future.

INTERVIEW WITH TIM BERRY

Listen to my interview with Tim Berry. You could subscribe to the RSS feed (iTunes) and download the audio file (MP3).


Listen to internet radio with Lyceum1776 on Blog Talk Radio

Timeline with show notes:

[Editor's note: Sorry for my strange voice with an "acoustic feedback" / "doubling effect". I will send an email to Blog Talk Radio.]

(~01:00) Bio. introduction.

(~03:00) Sabrina Parsons's & Tim Berry's book, 3 Weeks to Startup.

(~08::00) All Business Plans Are Wrong.

(~12:00) Venture Cup

(~17:00) Twitter has 145 million users.

(~24:00) Social CRM and Brent Leary.

(~26:00) Business Plan Pro.

(~27:00) World Trade Center in Gothenburg, Sweden. 9/11 9 YEARS LATER.

(~36:00) Angel investor group.

(~37:00) Jason Fried and Rework.

(~39:00)10 Lessons Learned in 22 Years of Bootstrapping.

(~41:00) Source of inspiration. [Editor's note: Click the Amazon affiliate links, if you want to support my blogging.] Favorite books: ...


UPDATE 10/11/10:

[Editor's note: I will update the timeline with more show notes in the near future...]

Sunday, October 10, 2010

10/10/10

From my blog post, BLOG FATIGUE, from 2006:

I am feeling a bit down after all terrible news regarding the war on terror. [Hat tip to M.G.] It is hard to write posts at the moment, but I will try to recover from the writer's block. Maybe I should follow Laurence Simon's dress code.

Instead of writing about world politics (e.g., mullahs and other terrorists in the Middle East, dying dictators, etc.), I will talk more about my business and hobbies. (EGO, August 20, 2006)

On this binary date (10/10/10), I will have a fresh start and get back on track again with my blogging schedule. My goal is to publish a post every day, but it could happen that I take a break now and then and publish every other day. At the minimum, I will publish a wrap-up post once a week.
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Tuesday, September 7, 2010

INTERVIEW WITH BECKY MCCRAY

Listen to my interview with Becky McCray. You could subscribe to the RSS feed (iTunes) and download the audio file (MP3).


Listen to internet radio with Lyceum1776 on Blog Talk Radio

From Becky McCray's tweet:

Thank you @Lyceum for a thoughtful interview about small towns, tourism, and even blogs at http://tobtr.com/s/1207119

Timeline with show notes:

(~01:00) [Editor's note: Sorry for the slow start of the program. I had technical difficulties.]

(~03:00) Bio. introduction. "Many strings on the instrument."

(~05:00) Allen's Retail Liquor Store, Alva, Oklahoma.

(~07:00) Tourism Currents.

(~08:00) Tourism track with Sheila Scarborough at BlogWorld.

(~10:00) Jeff Pulver’s 140 Characters Conference (#140conf) in Hutchinson, Kansas.

(~16:00) Strawberry festival in Troy, Ohio.

(~20:00) Kansas Sampler Foundation.

(~24:00) Trader Principle. [Editor's note: Additional reading: Sense of Life and Benevolent Universe Premise.]

(~28:00) Listener "Dan" is calling in and asking a questions about Wordpress as a web site platform. Joomla is mentioned too.

(~30:00) Becky is mentioning Chris Brogan's post, Buy a Car Off the Internet? 


(~35:00) Becky is mentioning Shashi Bellamkonda of Network Solutions.

(~36:00) "Dan" is mentioning Just Host and Top Ten Reviews.

(~37:00) I mention Wordpress, Posterous, Tumblr and Squarespace [Editor's note: Click the affiliate links, if you want to support my blogging. I have built Ego Sole Trader and GOT Tea Party with Squarespace.]

(~38:00) Source of inspiration. [Editor's note: Click the Amazon affiliate links, if you want to support my blogging.] Favorite books:








(~42:00) New upcoming book together with Barry Moltz.

(~46:00) Mom's original margarita recipe and Persian Lime Martini.

Other people to interview:


(~49:00) Becky McCray's presence on the Internet:


(~50:00) The distance (7712 km) between Alva, Oklahoma, USA and Gothenburg, Sweden.

(~54:00) Thanks to today's technology, the industrial revolution, and a free society.

Becky is mentioning Hugh MacLeod's posts, the global microbrand rant, history of english cut, and smarter wine, cont’d… 

(~55:00) Becky is presenting a give-away of the printed booklet, 20 Small Business Ideas for Small Towns. [Editor's note: Stay tuned for instructions on how to have a chance to get a copy... Please show your interest by writing a comment here or on EGO fan ("like") page.]

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

When Starting Your Startup, Don't Count on Anyone to Help You - Except You

Starting a startup can be a completely exhilarating and mind boggling experience at once - especially for first timers.

I remember when we were laying the initial groundwork for Chrometa, our software startup, as far back as 2007 (time sure flies!) - I got hammered with advice from all angles.  Tough thing was, I had no clue who I should listen to, and who I should ignore.

Startups are exciting by nature.  There’s the allure of doing something completely new.  Of getting a business off the ground by simply rubbing a couple of sticks together and hoping for a spark.  And of course, everyone thinks of the vast riches generated by Google, Facebook, Amazon, and other past Silicon Valley startups, and thinks that - just maybe - your venture will “take off” in similarly spectacular fashion.

It’s very fun - and also very easy to lose your head and perspective.  My initial thoughts (for our first year or so) often centered around the grandiose potential for our time tracking product.  We hadn’t yet built a fully-working product, of course, but man, were there ever a lot of potential markets we could tap into!

Playing into this excitement, I found that many people surrounding our company were offering to “help us out” in one way, shape, or form.  Big shot attorneys, who normally wouldn’t have given me the time of day at my old job, were now offering to defer their fees and introduce us to potential investors.  Software resellers we spoke with talked about the tremendous potential they saw for pitching our product to their client base.  Big company executives waxed enthusiastically about the future opportunity to roll out our product across their entire 100,000 person organizations - upon successful completion of an initial test pilot!

Things looked so good, I could barely keep track of the many ways Chrometa was going to take off!  

  • “Our big shot attorney - man, he’s connected with all the big VC’s in the Valley!  Fundraising is gonna be a snap!”
  • “And when this reseller gets ramped up, they’re gonna sell an insane number of licenses for us!”
  • “Plus we’ve got this enterprise deal cooking - we’ll get a case study, their logo on our website, and a big license deal from our second stage roll out!”

There were many, many more “killer opps” in the hopper for us.  It was a tremendously exciting time.

So guess how many actually panned out for us?  

Zip.  Zero.  Nada.  None at all!

But - we’re still here - alive and kicking - in 2010!  We’ve got a growing and paying customer base, one product to market, and another one that we are very excited about on the way.  

And no thanks to ANY of these initial “killer opps” panned out for us...how can that be?

What I FINALLY learned - and not a moment too soon (otherwise I might not be writing to your today) - is that when building a startup, nobody can help you but you.  You are the one who has to get it done.

Your attorney will probably not be able to help you raise capital.  The reality is he sends too many deals to his too few investor contacts every week, so they largely ignore what he pitches them.

Your hot reseller might have another “blue sky” brainstorm meeting with you - and then they’ll go back to doing what they’ve always done to make money.  They’re not going to figure out how to sell a brand new product for the very first time to a new market.  They’ve got easier, more established ways to make a buck.

And your hot enterprise customer may complete your pilot - but let’s get real, they’re not going to roll out your alpha or beta product company-wide.  You’re dreaming.  They just want a cheap or free fix to their current pain point.  Your pilot provided that.  So they’re all set.

These examples may come off as cynical - but I am speaking from experience in all 3 cases.  There are other cases I could cite along this them - but you get the idea.  Since this is just one person’s experience, please remember that there are exceptions to every case I’m listing here.  

But I do think that for your own sanity and planning, you should assume the scenarios I’m listing here would apply to you too.  Because, odds are, these are the numbers that are going to hit when the wheel stops.

And that’s OK - it’s OK that nobody who says they are going to help you, and make you rich, and build your company.  To paraphrase the late, great Harry Browne - they don’t owe you anything. [Editor's note: Brett Owens, You and I could debate the "greatness" of the late Harry Browne. Please note that the link to H.B. org. is not an endorsement of his politics. Please read my post, THE LIBERTARIAN MOVEMENT, for my take on the Libertarian Party.]

And in fairness, nobody owes you help - or an introduction - or a fat license deal with their company.  Each individual you encounter will always be looking out for his or her own best interest.  That’s simply human nature.

The good news is, the sooner you can accept this, and become constantly aware of it, the sooner you can free up your valuable time for more productive endeavors that actually move your startup forward.  I know it was a big moment and realization for myself.

So instead of jumping from phone meeting to phone meeting - or worse (from a time management standpoint) - driving from meeting to meeting, talking about grandiose partnerships, deals, and future plans that had little (or no) chance of materializing - I could spend my entire day on the few critical levers that would actually determine the success or failure of our startup.

And for a product company, these critical levers are:

  1. Building a product that people find useful
  2. Tweaking that product into something that people will pay for
  3. Figuring out how to acquire new customers in a cost effective way
Rinse, repeat, and so on.

When I think about all of the in-person meetings and phone calls that I had with people who could “potentially” help us in our early days, I have to laugh.  It was a learning experience, and I didn’t have a clue about what I needed to be focusing in on.  So I chased every shiny windmill in hopes of finding the silver bullet that would set us on the path to greatness!

So if you are a fellow first-time entrepreneur - first of all, congratulations!  Secondly, I’d encourage you to focus on one of the three things I mentioned above, at all times.  Consider anything else to be a distraction.  Your time is your most valuable resource - it’s a bit of a cliche, but it’s the truth - you have to protect it with a vengeance!  

Be skeptical, but of course polite, to people who claim they can help you.  They don’t owe you anything - but in turn, you don’t owe them, either.  You’re all squared up.  So don’t let them hold any promises over you...odds are they can’t deliver on them, anyway.  You’re the one who ultimately has to “make it happen” - so go out there and get it done!