Post Olympics Reviews from Lenovo

When a project ends, good companies do post-mortems to determine what worked, what didn’t to help them improve institutionally, while identifying possible opportunities created, and mitigating any risks exposed. Great companies do this and they do it in a way that the rest of us can benefit as well.  Such is the case of two excellent post Olympics assessments from Lenovo.

Esteban Panzeri
Esteban Panzeri

First off, I’ve got to call attention to Esteban Panzeri’ post “End of Madness Recap” from his blog, “The Challenge”.  Since I spend a lot of time in the trenches shoveling bits and bytes around, I naturally gravitate to the folks that turn the dreams into reality, and on this project, Esteban was apparently the guy.  

He comes up with an excellent list of lessons learned and among them:

  • Ideas will flow like rivers, it is execution that matters
  • One must learn to focus and discard things quickly
  • Anything can be done
  • Outsourced stuff does not always work as it should
  • Distributed content is the future

Ideas will flow like rivers, it is execution that matters” – a line I am printing out in 72 point type to hang in my office.  Yes, indeed, ideas are important and without them, there is no innovation, but too many of us forget that at some point we need to stop talking a start doing.  Only a select few ever truly learn this lesson. Continue reading “Post Olympics Reviews from Lenovo”

Mid-lining: Why Shooting for “OK” Gives You Incredible Results

Mid-lining: Why Shooting for “OK” Gives You Incredible Results | Work Life Balance | Time Management Tips | Wake Up Early.

We can’t be great at everything.  If the need for excellence is getting in your way of trying, then lower your expectations.  At least then, you try, and sometimes trying is enough.

A very thought provoking post.  Utterly contrary to most of what you read, but has the ring of truth, and borne out by experience.

Geek.com Relaunched

For the past couple months I’ve been devoting a lot of my time to the re-release of http://www.geek.com – the online technology resource and community for technology enthusiasts and professionals.  We’ve added a lot of social networking tools, and also done a general wordpress/bbpress upgrade which will allow us to easily take the latest releases in the future.  

This is important on a couple of levels, first off, this is a site that has over 10 million unique users a month. That ought to put to rest the “WordPress doesn’t scale” talk I hear around the net.  Wordpress scales just fine for large sites if you set your server up properly:

Continue reading “Geek.com Relaunched”

Notice to Staff and Stakeholders: Reorg

Notice to Staff and Stakeholders: Reorg.

One of the funnier blog posts I’ve read in recent memory.  Ann Handley gets what is is like to be support staff for a teenager.

Greetings all staff and stakeholders of Coddled Teenage Boy Enterprises:

It has come to my attention that there has been some confusion about your roles and responsibilities within the organization, which has led to infighting, yelling, and name-calling—this happened just yesterday, prior to 7 AM. Such behavior is both unprofessional and upsetting, and it is my job as the CEO and central “brand” of this enterprise to address this situation before it begins to negatively affect morale as well as my performance in the marketplace, also known as “school and social life.”

I get similar messages from Self-Obsessed Tweener Girl Inc., especially when I have the gall to suggest that she ought to be dressed more than 5 minutes before the bus is scheduled to arrive.  Dogs have owners, cats have support staff and kids have slaves…;-)

Old Media Lessons for New Media

Just because you’re new media doesn’t mean you can’t learn a few lessons from old media.  As we’re so fond of saying, new media is all about changing delivery channels of old media, hence I think it’s implied that the old school journalism rules have a place in our lives going forward.

First off, we need to think about what type of journalism we’re doing.  In almost all cases for bloggers we’ll fall into one of the following three categories: Continue reading “Old Media Lessons for New Media”

How Does The Web Define Authority | chrisbrogan.com

How Does The Web Define Authority | chrisbrogan.com.

A great post that really brings to light a lot of questions about how authority on the web is defined.

Personally, when I think of Alexa, I think of the time when I had  Reel-time.com readers install the Alexa Toolbar.  Even though we were a niche site, we were able to get it into the sub-10,000 list which is a place that no niche site should turn up. So, for the record, I never use Alexa as a statistic and frown upon reports which mention them as a credible source.

5 WordPress Features You Should be Using

Since I work with WordPress at a code level virtually everyday, I’ve got a pretty good handle on how the system works.  The thing that never ceases to amaze me is the number of feature requests I get from users for things that already exist in their system.

I’ve seen it in other systems, but honestly, I’m still shocked at the number of great features that most people don’t know exist.  As a blogger, your blogging platform is the prime tool of your trade: you should know how it functions and be able to make it do whatever you want.

Schedule Posts – As of version 2.5 the feature is much easier to find.  Even with that, most people don’t seem to know it exists.  All you have to do is find the Publish Status window in the right panel of your Write or Manage Post window and click the “Edit” link beside “Publish Immediately”.  Now change the day or time, or both to whatever time, past or present you want it to be and you’re set.  Magically your post will appear when you want it to.

Using that you can schedule your posts to appear while your on vacation, on a business trip, etc.  I’ve used if to do regular features like my Friday Music Video installments for several weeks in advance. Continue reading “5 WordPress Features You Should be Using”

5 Simple Mistakes Bloggers Make

I wish I could tell you that I never made any of these mistakes, but that just isn’t true.  A couple of these items have cost me dearly, and honestly, the first one I have learned not once, but twice.

If you’re starting out, this list can save you a lot of trouble in the future.  If you’re an experienced blogger, you may find some pain down there:

  • Own your domain – I’ve had lots of calls looking for help to move people off Blogger.com, Typepad.com and other blogging sites.  If you’re going to blog, invest in your own domain so you don’t have do deal with the agony of moving from joesblog.blogspot.com to www.joesblog.com and suffer the inevitable drop in traffic that will come when you move.  I know this one all too well.  I  blogged at Vario.com and when I stopped working with them, had to rebuild my readership here. Not a lot of fun for someone with an ego like mine, let me assure you.  You could also ask http://fakesteve.blogspot.com/ as we found we couldn’t get his traffic moved from that site to his own domain.
  • A corollary to this is letting your domain expire.  If it does you only have a short time to get it back before a squatter grabs it or it is gobbled up by a domain reseller.  Used domains are big money…
  • Hosted vs. Self-Hosted System – I really love the freedom of having direct access to my own installation of WordPress.  The problem is many non-technical users don’t bother to keep their installations up to date.  My advice is that you go with a hosted service (and I recommend WordPress.com) for your site if you aren’t up to maintaining yourself.  You may find you can’t add all the plugins you might like, but it’ll be virtually impossible for you to completely hose your site. Alternately, you need to get setup with someone experienced who can manage the technical end of your site.  Software updates, theme modifications, plugin setup etc. are the types of things you’ll want.  Be sure to check that the person has a list of sites where they have done similar work using the same system.
  • The Snarkfest – At some point we all seem to channel Anthony Bourdain.  Let’s face it, we’re all critics at heart.  The thing is, just because we have an opinion one way or the other, doesn’t mean we’ve got a right to  question someone else’s right to exist.  Remember that your opinion is just that.  Everyone’s got one, so before you shoot your mouth off and take someone to task, have some actual facts to back you up. This isn’t just a blog phenomena – it happens on Twitter even more.  A couple weeks ago I made a snarky comment about Drupal developers. The comment was made with a cocktail in hand, and was a reflection of my dislike for the Drupal system, but I quite unfairly disparaged Drupal developers.  I really wish I could take it back, and I am thankful that Jim Spencer called me on it.
  • Plugin-orama – At some point, all WordPress users will discover the WordPress Plugin Directory.  It’s a great repository of all kinds of wonderful functionality, most of which you have no earthly reason to add to your blog.  I’ve seen way to many blogs completely hobbled by incompatible plugins that have changed the functionality of the site so much that it has become unusable. The thing to understand is that plugins are just like the people who write them, fallible.  Many are out of date, some are not coded well to begin with and there are a few that are downright security issues.  Think twice before you introduce a new plugin to your blog.Similarly, many bloggers end up on the “Theme of the Week” club.  Find a good theme and stick with it.  The look is part of your personal brand, so try not to change it too often.  Personally, I find the simpler the better.
  • More Ads Than a Stock Car – At some point, we all think how nice it’d be to actually get paid for blogging.  Ads are a great way to earn money, and they are also an excellent way to send readers running for the hills.   David Churbuck calls it “NASCARed” with tons of little ad impressions running on your site, creating one huge and ugly impression on the reader.
I hope these help you avoid the problems so many of us have made in the past.  Please use the comments to add some other simple mistakes  you’ve seen!
Resources: 
Search Engine Land – Twelve SEO Mistakes Bloggers Make