Archive for February, 2012

Why Write a Book?

Tuesday, February 28th, 2012

I got an email from a friend this morning and she was talking about the books she has inside her that she has thought about writing.  She’s wording about the process: writing, editing, revising, etc.  She didn’t mention PUBLISHING, which should be at the top of her list (although easy to resolve).

In my response to her I said:

“The bigger question is, why do you want to write a book?  Is it to sell the book, or get speaking engagements, or to be known as an expert?”

Let’s break that down:

To make money selling books: Everyone says you don’t make money selling books.  I’m here to tell you, that is not accurate. People make money selling books.  I’m one of them.  Over the last 4ish years my royalty checks have surpassed one year of what I used to make as the general manager of a software company. It’s not enough to live on, but it is a great supplement to my other revenue streams.  I’m expecting the book I’m working on now, 101 Alternatives to a Real Job, to sell a lot.  Each sale will be profitable. I will make money selling books.  And then I’ll get the benefits of the other things listed below.

To get speaking engagements: I told my publisher I had no interest in speaking (or consulting).  Then, a few weeks later, I was offered $5k plus expenses to sit on a panel interview at a conference.  In less than one second I decided that HECK YES I was a professional speaker! Since then I’ve been paid a number of times to speak at conferences, do training for companies, on webinars, etc.  I don’t know the exact figure right now, but since I started speaking I’ve made more than six figures as a professional speaker.

To be known as an expert: I had no idea that writing a book on LinkedIn would make me a “LinkedIn Expert.”  Sounds silly, I know, but that’s not why I did it.  I did it to get exposure for my company (JibberJobber.com).  That worked, but a major side-effect was that I was known, world-wide, as an expert and authority on LinkedIn.  Will being known as an expert help you, somehow, in your career, even if you don’t care about book sales or speaking or consulting?

To just get it out of her mind, and off her bucket list: This is more of a vanity play than anything else… not that that’s bad, but there’s no real reason to do it, other than to say you are an author?

If you have a book in you, and it is just nagging at you to get out, why do you want to do it?  Is it one of these four, or something else?

Developing Mobile Apps: Need To Know

Thursday, February 9th, 2012

I am regularly asked about developing web apps, like JibberJobber, or mobile apps (which I don’t have experience in, but am interested in). I found a really good post on Mashable titled 8 Things You Should Know Before building a Mobile App.

Lots of interesting tidbits in there…. the one that all my buddies need to pay attention to, first, is this:

Making an app will cost you, at the very minimum, around $10,000. This is for a super-simple program — none of that fancy enterprise or social networking jibber-jabber. Even still, any app worth its weight in code will likely cost you closer to $20,000.

Yes, you can do it for less, if you are a developer.  If you aren’t, get out your wallet.

And remember, there’s maintenance… p0tentially lots of maintenance.

Website Design: What’s Important in Design

Friday, February 3rd, 2012

I’m no design expert (you can see that from my sites), but I’ve recently been working with designers on major overhauls of my stuff.  Last night I was in meetings with a team for a new project and I had a personal epiphany of what makes a site awesome.

After a couple of hours, I narrowed it down to three components:

Sexy: It must look cool.  It has to look modern, and have current elements of design that don’t make people think – wow, that was so last decade!

Functional: this is where my applications have always shined… even though they didn’t look very good, they have always been extremely functional.

Easy: If it is not easy to do a “thing” (like add a new record, etc.), then people won’t use it. I tried to use financial software for a while but it was just to dang hard, and I gave up.  People will give up if it is not easy and intuitive, no matter how complex your process is.

How would you grade your offering (or design) on those three things?

Which is more important than another?  I have focused on funcational, then moved towards easy (there’s still a lot of work to do), and have neglected sexy.  But sexy is coming in the next little while… which means the next task is to focus on easy.  Oh man, it’s going to get good :)

Reid Hoffman: Ten Entrepreneurship Rules for Building Massive Companies

Wednesday, February 1st, 2012

Brilliant post by Reid Hoffman.  Sounds like simple stuff, but I’ve read and reread and asked myself where I am at on each of these 10 points…

Ten Entrepreneurship Rules for Building Massive Companies

Are you an entrepreneur, or aspiring entrepreneur, or business owner?  Read the post.

And then read this: Analysis for Continuous Delivery: Five Core Practices