Three dot Friday

(Various short items in the Startup/MicroISV world I’ve bumped into this week, paying homage to Herb Caen, the best damn reason to read a San Francisco newspaper, when people still read newspapers.)

… Over at A Smart Bear, Mike Schoeffler, founder of iPhone running application Roadbud has an excellent column about Startup Fitness with some easy online ways to start and some excellent comments. If you think VC/Angels fund overweight/obese developers, think again.

InfluAds is Anibal Damiao’s, new advertising network where one small ad runs on your startup or web development site, and you make enough to fund your iTunes habit. Anibal, Portuguese, went up to Denmark 3 years ago for his MBA and is now launching this cool and tasteful ad network. He hates the weather in Denmark, but says it builds character. Since I’m signing on to run an ad here and the Startup Success Podcast starting in April, and I hate advertising with a passion, there may be something to this character building via freezing weather stuff.

Ever been to an O’Reilly Ignite event? Me neither – I had no idea what to expect. But since O’Reilly is based here in non-tech Sonoma County, and I hoped to meet some of the people on the book side of their company (the author itch is starting up again), I figured why not, at least there would be beer available.

What I got were cool tech and non-tech people into creating and sharing ideas, a chance to meet a personal hero of mine, uber-podcaster Leo Laporte (who gave one of the 5 minute/20 slides/go presentations, on Advertising is the Sickness and New Media is the Cure.), a special guest for the podcast soon and a great tavern, Hopmonk, to recommend. Nice!

Customer Dis-service and its antidote. I live up on a hill  that has no cable, no gas and a tenuous link to the AT&T DeathStar through one box at the foot of the hill, the inside of which is has about 10x more curcuits than it should. If someone adds a DSL line, a second telephone line or bluejay alights on this box, somebody else gets grief. This morning as I was about to welcome the newest member of StartupToDo.com to the fold (plan on personally connecting to your first 10,000 customers), dead goes my business landline, dead goes my connectivity.

So, I do what we all are stuck doing – first I get AT&T repair line’s # via my iPhone, because after all, no one would use their AT&T mobile to call AT&T business, they should go to the web site… then spend 20 minutes on hold and 2 minutes talking to the nice lady who agreed with me there actually was something wrong with my landline and I wasn’t a congenital liar, but could do nothing but schedule a service call and then subverted The System by connecting me to the DSL repair line because “they can do things we can’t.”

After 60 minutes of listening to dueling/overlapping pronouncements that I should visit AT&T’s web site for “faster service” and did I know you can put parental controls on you Internet service?, I get a nice AT&T DSL Service Representative who mournfully,firmly and repeatedly informs me first AT&T has to fix my phone service before he can do a thing. Click.

To say I was in a piping hot, road-rage state by this time is an understatement. So I did the un-consumer thing  - drove down the hill to see if there was an actual competent repairperson who, you know, did things. I can’t tell you the glee in my heart and the words I was yelling in my car as I spotted not one, but two repair trucks at the switch box. I wanted satisfaction, answers, service damnit!

“We know,” was what the repairwomen who got out of her truck and came over to me before I could say a word said. “Our supervisor is dispatching a DSL tech to fix this since we can’t, but wanted us to stay here and answer questions until they arrive – about 25 homes are knocked out. Sorry about that.” My boiling rage at being treated like I was nothing by human robots mouthing scripts evaporated instantly because here was a person treating me like a person. Stuff happens, fuses pop, no big deal when you don’t add insult to injury. It’s high time large companies remember that.

(Like this post, hate it – let me now now. Thanks.)

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(Photo credit: http://www.flickr.com/photos/troyholden/4078141144/)

MicroISV Digest – 02/27/2010

Community News:

  • Mike Schoeffler, roadbud.com: the right three words could win you a top-of-the-line iPhone. Mike is running a contest to find a great tagline for his new iPhone app coming out March 1st – details here.
  • David Christian, Bright Spark Software, SimpleGlucose is trying an experiment, switching to the ‘freemium’ model: membership is now free with Google Adwords ads in the main members area, later diabetic specific companies (such as manufacturers of blood glucose meters). What do you think?
  • Marcus McConnel, bvsoftware, has released a major upgrade to his hosted shopping cart platform. They have a free store plan for up to 10 products which might be of interest to some of you. Marcus is presently working on adding electronic download functionality for MicroISVs looking for inexpensive tools to sell digital goods.
  • Wayne Allen, devZing.com, has released devZing.com, a software project management hosting solution where we deploy and manage the software and hardware and you make your product better. They call it “No Hassle Project Management Hosting”. Currently they provide Bugzilla and MantisBT with TikiWiki coming soon.

Interesting  Answers.Onstartups.com questions with useful answers:

News/posts for microISVs and Startups:

StartupToDo.com, The Startup Success Podcast and other plugs:

  • Three new Guides at StartupToDo.com:
    • Google Adwords for the Startup: High Level Overview by Ben Wootton
    • Google Adwords for the Startup: Increasing Adwords ROI by Ben Wootton
    • Rekindling your Motivation.
  • Show #57 of the Startup Success Podcast is up:  [link] [iTunes]. A very special interview with author and marketing authority Seth Godin on how startups can succeed in a world where fitting in doesn’t work anymore. Seth is the author of a dozen bestselling books including Purple Cow, Tribes, Permission Marketing and most recently and perhaps most importantly, Linchpin.In this interview Bob and Pat have the opportunity to ask Seth how Linchpin applies to startups, the IT industry, what art means to developers, what keeps you from shipping, what Ayn Rand would say and succeeding in this post-industrial world. And, we get to several of the questions you asked us to ask.
  • Show #56 of the Startup Success Podcast:  [link] [iTunes]. Bob and Pat interview Carl Erickson, President of Atomic Object, on the importance of testing regardless of platform, how to outsource startup development, applying Agile techniques – pair programming and standup meetings – to startup development, why programming deathmarches are a bad idea and more.

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(If you have an announcement of interest to your fellow microISV, indies or startups, please email me at bob.walsh@47hats.com with the word digest in the subject.)