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Blog Posts for June 2011

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Beat Me Up, Scotty... er, Will

 

I just hired Will, who has already started communicating to me the errors and confusions he's found in 247Toolset.

Perfect.

I love bugs. Or rather, I love to find bugs in my work - because it means that I'll be able to fix it and it's gone.

I like working with a QA, and now especially as we're loading time zone management into 247Toolset, we'll need to have the QA test the assumptions we programmers put into it all.

So it's good to have Will on board to help transport our enterprise to new places. Here's to a long and prosperous relationship.

 

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by Brett Rogers, 6/1/2011 9:26:34 AM
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Feedback

 

From a volunteer at one of the non-profits using 247Toolset, I received this comment today:

The Calendar of Events is AWESOME! So easy to use!
This forwarded to me by the volunteer coordinator at the non-profit, who has been very open with suggestions and opinions.

Yes!

I love people who aren't afraid to speak their mind and ask for what they want. Part of the reason that it's being well-received is that he spoke his opinion and I listened intently.

Just a reminder: the solution you initially give the market is likely headed in the right direction to solve the problem, but your market will tell you the exact direction it needs from you - if you'll listen.

I didn't charge the non-profit anything for their requested enhancements. Instead, they're getting a platform that they increasingly love, and I'm getting a more targeted product for my market. As a result, they'll be more likely to talk about 247Toolset to others, and I'll be ready to receive those new customers with a product that better fits their needs right out of the box.

I don't get people who nickel and dime for every little charge or effort. It's dumb business, and it's small thinking. It only creates distance between you and the market, and it forgets that the relationship with the customer is the most valuable asset a business owner can have - not the few added $ per hour of a transaction or two.

 

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by Brett Rogers, 6/1/2011 1:56:41 PM
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Eternal Optimism

 

Or, how I like my eggs sunny-side up.

Today, for the first time, I heard a trusted business associate refer to our economy as a "depression" - after calling it a "severe recession."

For his part of the country, that may well be true. I know from someone else who traveled to another distant state last year to make a new life that the area to which he moved was completely distraught economically, so he couldn't get any traction there.

About a year ago, we traveled to Ohio and I couldn't believe the number of strip malls with empty storefront after empty storefront.

(Thank you, Mr. $4-gas-who-wants-to-tax-everything-in-sight, aka, the Incessant Golfer.)

But as my friend, Duane, puts it - I'm crazy enough to run past everyone and into the burning building that is our stagnant economy.

Jonathan, my development cohort in 247Toolset, hatched a brilliant marketing plan a couple of months ago. Yesterday and today, I took the first steps toward that plan. We'll likely launch the plan in a month or two. It depends on how fast we get things just so with the platform.

Freedom means that I choose my own path. I believe in freedom, and I believe that Americans crave freedom.

I bought the book "Adapt" the other day, and the author asserts that people want someone to lead them.

Ninnies, yes - they look for a leader to lead them. And children... they do too.

Everyone else - they don't want someone to tell them what to do and "protect them." They want to choose for themselves. Playing on the playground occasionally brings a skinned knee, but it's way better than sitting safely inside.

People are happiest when they get to choose for themselves and enjoy the reward of their self-directed choice.

Freedom... that's what I'm running for. I don't see fire in the burning building; I see brilliant sunshine. No temporary jerk politician can keep me from my fervent passion to be free.

 

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by Brett Rogers, 6/1/2011 9:47:41 PM
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Coming Soon...

 

 

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by Brett Rogers, 6/3/2011 10:54:37 PM
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Reminder

 

Over the past few weeks, I've been mulling over how 247Toolset will do reminders. What are the expectations of the admins? Their audience? How will they use it?

After a lot of consideration, I determined to blend it with another feature I've had on the plate for some time, which is to create our own version of bit.ly. Toward that end, I created 247.ms. And it works great - if you go to http://247.ms/brett, for example, it will take you to this blog. Each time it's clicked, it increments the visitor count in the database so that we can tell how many times it was clicked. (It's not purely a bit.ly app, though, in that it doesn't allow people outside the network to create shortened URL's... it's just for 247Toolset's links internally.)

A reminder is sometimes sent by email and sometimes by text message. This is why the short URL is important.

This effort opened the door to another function we'll be releasing, which allows for text messaging to sign up or donate - or other things.

You only get to new places by exploring. Exploring is fun :)

 

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by Brett Rogers, 6/4/2011 3:42:51 PM
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LMAO

 

Not for obvious reasons, though. Although that's funny too.

No, I'm laughing because Breitbart handed the press its hat today. If only they'd do their jobs...

And as a refresher, here's how Charlie Gibson doesn't do his job, as collected and presented by a then-Hillary Clinton supporter.

 

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by Brett Rogers, 6/6/2011 6:07:14 PM
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Pictures of the Day

 

 

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by Brett Rogers, 6/14/2011 6:28:58 AM
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Mediacom's Service is Horrible

 

Long story short:

I liked Mediacom. Never had a problem with it.

Two and a half weeks ago, our Internet service died. Turns out it was a bad cable at the junction. Took them five days to get to my place to even look at it.

To fix it, they laid a cable at the junction. The repairman told me that, and so I asked him to flag where the cable was so that people near it wouldn't accidentally take out our Internet. Should bury the line in a couple of days, he told me.

That was a week and a half ago.

My son goes out to mow the grass, and lo and behold, beneath the tall grass on top of the ground is the Internet cable. He doesn't see it and severs it with the mower.

So much for flagging where the exposed cable was.

I call Mediacom. It's not going to take five days - no... it's going to take them six days to get to my place to repair it.

So now I'm in HyVee, using their public wifi.

When I asked if they would expedite it because this was their fault for a) not flagging the exposed cable, b) not burying the cable in a reasonable time frame, they say nope - can't do it.

Horrible, horrible service.

ETC: So I called around and Qwest can't give me new service until 7 days from now.

And then I called Internet Solver, but it was after-hours for them. Nonetheless, five minutes later, they called me back.

The guy on the phone said that maybe they could get me new service in three days, but then he asked: "If the line is just cut, why not repair the line yourself?"

Some people are mechanically inclined; I'm mechanically declined, I explained.

"Go to Lowes, get the tools, and you'll be up and running tonight. You'd have to be a monkey to mess this up, if a severed line is the only problem."

A trip to Lowe's and $50 spent on tools, a new flashlight, standing in the light rain - and an hour later, I have Internet at home again.

I'll call Internet Solver tomorrow to see if they can install to my home. If so, they won my business tonight.

 

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by Brett Rogers, 6/14/2011 8:28:59 PM
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Today's Beauty

 

 

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by Brett Rogers, 6/15/2011 2:29:46 PM
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If There Was Any Doubt...

 

The prize for dumbest foot-in-the-mouth moment of the decade has found a strong contender in Barack Obama's commentary on ATMs and jobs. You watch the video at the link and see him in his own words.

That right there is the man that the majority of Americans entrusted in 2008 to enact job-creating policy.

As a refresher, from me the guy who didn't graduate from college, here's how the economy works:

  • A person decides to create or offer something that is attractive to others
  • He markets the product or service, taking a risk in fashioning what's offered and its marketing, with no guarantee of reward
  • People, once aware of it, decide whether or not to purchase it with their hard-earned money
  • As people are attracted to it and purchase it, they increase the velocity of money around the entrepreneur, thus enabling his acquired wisdom about product creation to be applied in other pursuits
FYI, Mr. President - people are attracted to ATMs, not to bank lobbies - otherwise ATMs would not be frequented as they are. Why? Convenience, speed. It was an improvement on the bank lobby.

Further, how many purchases take place because people have quick and easy access to cash through the ATM? Without that convenience and ease, those purchases don't take place.

Harvard education as an achievement is utterly unremarkable. If this is the intellectual product of Harvard, then the curriculum is handicapping its students. A basic understanding of the economy ought to be evidenced in Harvard graduates - but alas, it is not to be. Instead, abject embarrassment.

 

1 Comment
by Brett Rogers, 6/15/2011 7:58:54 PM
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Fatherhood

 

I don't write much about my personal life here - you don't hear about my daily interactions with my family - although occasionally I intersperse my content here with things going on in my personal life. But I'm making an exception in this case, and this is mostly about my relationship with Tamara's daughter, Tess.

I got a card from Tess yesterday. In it, she doesn't call me stepdad... she calls me Dad, and in it she tells me how important our relationship is in her life.

I met Tess almost from the beginning of my relationship with Tamara - about five years ago. A beautiful girl, both inside and out, who is, like her two brothers, a bit tortured by the crazy-making behavior of her father. He's not a reasonable man, and using yesterday as an example, he used his phone call with her on Father's Day to berate her about some trivial matter and made her cry.

In short, he's a selfish jerk, and regrettably, he's a selfish jerk repeatedly.

Fatherhood is many things. A dad is protector, guide, provider, sea-calmer, wife-adorer, etc. The role of "Dad" is chiefly about about lovingly being near your kids and helping them become the best adult they can become. Sometimes, you have to grab their attention to help them prevent hurt to themselves or to others... but you never leave them sitting alone wondering if they're okay with you.

It's a privilege to know my kids. I let them know that often. My family is my favorite people. I tell my children that I love being their dad and that I'm glad they're mine. Sometimes I have to tell them difficult things. Sometimes I have to let them skin their knees in life because only life is able to teach them the lesson that they need to learn. Hard to watch when that happens - even though it's necessary for that growth that they need - but they know how much I love them.

It bothers me that the selfish jerk who is her father doesn't think twice about hurting her and her brothers. I want to stand between him and them and keep them safe. I can't, so the best I can do is let them know that for me, as a man, I adore them and love them. I treat them as though I have always been their father. The function is always more important than the title. But when you earn the title, it's awfully special.

Reading Tess' card yesterday was a powerful moment for me. And I'll tell ya - it's a privilege to be her dad.

 

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by Brett Rogers, 6/20/2011 7:17:10 AM
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Leadership

 

As the Republicans test the presidential candidates running for nomination, there's a lot of talk about who can win.

Just to set it straight...

All this moderate / bi-partisan talk is utter crap. The President of the United States is a position of leadership. Leaders make decisions. They confidently blaze trails and everyone follows - if it looks like they're heading in the right direction.

Moderates, by definition, don't lead. They don't take positions decisively. They're rather renowned for not deciding and for waiting until the last minute to make a decision, and then usually half-heartedly.

The next Republican nominee needs to project confident leadership. Given the vast ideological difference between the two parties, being "bi-partisan" just means that you have no principles and that you haven't actually thought through where you stand on issues. Or it means that you want everyone to like you - which means you have no spine. That's not leadership.

Confidence attracts. Solidity of character attracts. Well-articulated leadership attracts. Proven principles that lead to success - they're attractive. Which is how to attract voters.

Not being able to make up your mind? Not attractive. Wanting everyone to like you? Not attractive.

As for any liberal who insists that bi-partisanship is critical, I'll ask them how much they spoke out against the Super Genius when he famously uttered, "I won."

There is no compromise to be made when national bankruptcy looms.

 

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by Brett Rogers, 6/22/2011 7:12:50 AM
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Admittedly Clueless

 

I'd help him figure this out, but it would be like, well... talking freedom to a communist.

Brutally honest, Bernanke admitted that he had no clue what was actually causing the current fragility in the U.S. economic recovery. While the FOMC statement assigned blame outside of the U.S., pointing at Japan along with rising food and oil prices, Bernanke was put on the spot by a reporter who noted the inconsistency behind that explanation and a lowering of long term forecasts. Bernanke took the hit, admitting only some of the factors were temporary and that he didn't know exactly what was causing the slowdown, but that it would persist. "Growth," said Bernanke, "will return into 2012."
I agree with his forecast. After Obama and his blundering policies are voted out of office, I expect a resounding 4th quarter rebound. But I imagine Bernanke is clueless as well about exactly why 2012 will bring growth.

 

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by Brett Rogers, 6/22/2011 4:16:49 PM
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Today's Beauty

 

 

5 Comments
by Brett Rogers, 6/29/2011 8:13:11 PM
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