If you are a local business and have ever used Groupon or similar are you tired of paying vast amounts to them, then maybe you need to try the new local deals service from DiscountVouchers.co.uk. It’s currently in trial but the team are super keen to help small and local businesses.

Here is how it works.

  1. Signup as a local business
  2. Add your promotion, under your terms
  3. Get included on Discoutvouchers.co.uk and within their newsletter.
  4. Never pay Groupon again.

Sign up here >> http://www.discountvouchers.co.uk/advertise-with-us/

I was lucky enough to be in India recently with a couple of the DiscountVouchers.co.uk team and they thought there had to be a better way, so they built it.

Simples, try it out, tell your local businesses.dv

I discovered something magical today, how to update WordPress from within the Admin if you don’t have FTP enabled.

This means you can 1-click and update without having FTP enabled! The same applies to the plugins too.

All you have to do are a few steps.

  1. Add this to your config.php file, save and upload:
    define('FS_METHOD','direct'); 
    
    
    
  2. Change the ownership of the files for the site as they need to be owned by www-data with the following chown command:
    chown www-data:www-data -R * 
    
    
    
  3. Change the directory permissions to 755:
    find . -type d -exec chmod 755 {} \;
    
    
    
  4. Change the file permissions to 644:
    find . -type f -exec chmod 644 {} \;
    
    

wordpress

 

This also applies to plugins, one click and you are done!

happyIt’s likely that your early stage investors gave you money when all you could afford was pizza and diet coke. You need to keep these people happy, even if you think you are going to be going to one of the major VCs.

Trust me, it’s a small world.

There is usually a funnel from early stage investors to the big VC’s. Dont be a cretin and think these guy don’t talk. Chances are they have done business before and if you misbehave with one chances are when asked what they think of you they will tell the truth.

I have personally seen further rounds of investment being scuppered by the honest truth from an angel investor because the founder was an arse. It’s a small small world.

Keep your investors up to date with what is going on, chances are you will need more money from them later on. If you took the money, smiled and then never sent any updates you are a fool. These people will not know who you when you come knocking and are likely one of your best links to the next round. I’m not talking about chapter and verse, but a one page PDF with your main metrics on.

Set up mailchimp or even manually email them! Keep the report clean, a graph and some key points. Even mention your problems, it’s likely that these people have faced similar problems but if you don’t ask and all that.

Make their life easy, give them reports when they ask and be nice. Seriously, be nice. We have been trying to figure out what makes a good startup at Potential Investments for years now. Almost all bets are off if you are not nice/likable. Now, I’m not talking giving £5 to a homeless person, or not getting shit done, I’m talking about not being an arshole. Could you go for a drink with your investors?

Maybe you should.

Some Shit Picture Related to SEOIn your startup, if your main marketing or user acquisition is based around SEO, stop NOW.

SEO is volatile and hard. I have been doing since before google existed and I look for other method of growth if I can.

Since Google came along there were once glory days when you could stick a page up, add a bit of content and then throw a few anchor text links in and unless you were going after “casino” or “car hire malaga” you were in.

That is not the case now.

Investors or savvy one will pretty much disregard this as a scalable strategy.

Let me give you one example, retailmenot, a listed company lost massive amounts of traffic due to a Google update. Share prices fell, etc etc. They are a Google Ventures backed company! So if they can get nailed so can you.

In fairness, their SEO was brilliant, they had the foresight to avoid keyword rich anchors which probably helped them loads.

Investors largely hate volatile sources of traffic.

It was suggested to me that if SEO is the primary source of traffic then half the value.

Now consider PPC, which is scalable and known, if you can make the user acquisition / revenue work from a paid model, you will be on much safer ground.

The facts as I see them are this:

  1. Get your titles, headers and usual on page stuff sorted. This is a short task, minimal time.
  2. Make sure you have stuff like Google Webmaster Tools sorted so you get updates.
  3. Set up alerts in Analytics for increased and decreases in traffic. (Covered in a future post)
  4. Add decent content if it helps your users and carry on with the rest of your business.
  5. DO NOT BANK/RELY ON GOOGLE traffic, treat it as a nice bonus.

De-activate auto preview on Twitter

In their infinite wisdom, or rather to prepare for greater ad revenue twitter have started showing inline images in your feed. I follow some questionable people and the last thing I wish to have in on my screen or phone is an obscene picture, amusing as it may be.

Currently, you can turn this off in the App but not on the desktop. Awesome stuff twitter!

If you want to do it in the app, go to “settings” and de-select “image preview”

De-activate auto preview on Twitter

De-activate auto preview on Twitter

 

Way way back in 1994, I used to contact mining industry people on the USENET, it was almost the begging of time and it was cool.

Anyway, this bloke I used to discuss things with sent me his “laws” of life with respect to engineering. Most of these fit today, even in a tech field. I have no idea how to ask the gentleman whose list it for permission to post, but if he does contact me I will give credit.

  1. The most difficult lesson for a recent engineering graduate to learn is how uneducated he is. Ignorance is bliss … and bliss is hard to spurn.
  2. An apprenticeship of 6-12 months will be served at the beginning of every job, and at every level. Pay the ante graciously and be admitted to the game.
  3. Two groups of people call themselves “engineers”, managers and practicing technical specialists. Only the latter has true claim to the title, despite smoke/mirrors, and other feigned claims of expertise.
  4. A distinguishing peculiarity of a manager is an ability to prosper in a world of lies, hypocrisy, and deception. This trait often is manifested as overt manipulation, dubious ethics, gamesmanship, or a proclivity to rationalize away personal motivations. The more lofty the manager, the more lustrous is the facade that masks this trait.
  5. Engineers who have spent time as a front-line supervisor making concrete things happen are easily distinguished from academic scholars. “Rank-and-file” miners can be fine “real world” teachers. Education at this level is unavailable from academia and is valuable. Seize it early and be open to instruction from anyone.
  6. Make time to listen; hear what is being said. Seldom are all the words in a conversation verbalized. And, of those that are, many are not meant literally.
  7. Do not assume managers are interested in optimizing anything but their own salary.
  8. It is irrelevant whether an engineer is right or wrong, he can only prove management asinine in public a small and finite number of times before he will be fired.
  9. It is easier for management to tolerate conformity and mediocrity than nonconformity and excellence. There is provision in predetermined scales of measurement for mediocrity but not for excellence. Submissive conformists seldom crusade for radical change or are leaders in insurrection.
  10. There are few truly imaginative/creative engineers. Consulting firms have been created to allow major corporations continued access to these individuals since they will be rejected from most corporate cultures.
  11. An engineer who cannot convey his ideas/work graphically, verbally, and in written form is useless. Get a dictionary and use it.
  12. Learn basic statistical analysis, accounting, and the many other semi-legitimate MBA techniques used to distort the truth. These frequently employed managerial devices can be convincingly used to sell your story, or fraudulently destroy it.
  13. “A picture is worth a thousand words . . . ” The human mind is like a multimedia computer with 90% of it’s processing power dedicated to image processing. Graphic images, therefore, are intuitively easier to comprehend than tables of numbers. Learn how to make pretty pictures to get your point across to the technically unsophisticated. Take advantage of every opportunity to present your work to those who count. Make sure your name is on every document that you generate.
  14. Most people are untrained in managerial science when they are promoted to a supervisory position and acquire little meaningful training after that. 3-5 years after quitting technical work, a person usually becomes obsolete in his field. It follows, therefore, that most managers are inept by definition. Exceptions occur, but don’t expect more.
  15. It is a bad assumption that dedication, and voluntary overtime resulting in excellent work will be rewarded, acknowledged, or even recognized by anyone but a colleague. Management is more likely to plagiarize good work than laud it.
  16. It is a bad assumption that a corporation will return the loyalty you give it. To a corporation, technical professionals are budgetary costs that should be jettisoned whenever possible, and are easily replaced with lower cost modules when necessary.
  17. Managers like to refer to themselves as a subordinate’s “superior”. It follows, therefore, that they will see you as their “inferior”. Don’t allow/accept/believe it.
  18. Never underestimate the power of “bull shit” or “bean counters”.
  19. An incompetent supervisor is a heavy load.
  20. Creativity is an important asset to every engineer. Learn what it means. Cultivate it at every opportunity, and in every way possible.
  21. There are two distinct and separate career paths for people with engineering degrees, technical specialization and management. Decide as early as possible which you want and actively seek out the requisite experience and training. Be careful what you wish for, you may get it.
  22. The effortless answer for a manager is always “no”. However, it is taxing for an engineer to say “no” to a manager. Develop the chutzpa to say “no” at appropriate times.
  23. If you ignore something long enough, it will usually go away. However, the third time a manager asks for something, do it, even if it is nonsensical. You don’t always know your manager’s agenda.
  24. There is no rational way to explain the “golden boy” syndrome but it is real. Some people have to make their own luck; others have it thrust upon them. Don’t take undue credit if it happens to you. Don’t stop believing in yourself if it doesn’t. 25
  25. Find a mentor.
  26. Keep in touch with people and organizations that you truly admire. There won’t be many, and the “good-ol-boy” network is a powerful ally.
  27. Study management science. You may become a manager someday through no fault of your own. Meanwhile, you will better understand what is happening around you. Untrained managers (a majority) can themselves be managed.
  28. Never be responsible for endangering another person’s health or safety no matter who commands it.
  29. Always give credit where credit is due. Always claim credit when it is yours.
  30. Managers seldom appreciate flamboyance or understand hyperbole.
  31. An unsolicited complement goes a long way with secretaries.
  32. Never stop learning or assume that you “know-it-all”. Inspiration comes from unexpected avenues.
  33. Write down “brilliant” ideas that come to you in the middle of the night if you have problems remembering. These ideas often are brilliant. Some of your most productive times will occur when your eyes are closed.
  34. Be careful who you call enemies. Be even more careful who you call friends. Betrayal by an enemy is to be expected. Betrayal by a friend is devastating.
  35. You cannot call yourself a mining professional until you have been fired at least once. The first time you are fired, or otherwise dismissed, is the most painful. It gets easier with practice.
  36. Job offers seldom come one at a time. The best job often does not offer the highest salary. There are hidden reasons for inordinately high salary offers.
  37. Truly excellent engineers are not draftsmen. Truly excellent draftsmen are not engineers. These are two totally different creative talents and should not be mistaken for each other. However, since the only tangible product of an engineer is ink on paper, make that product the best you can every time.
  38. Quick and dirty estimates (often called preliminary results) are usually just that, quick and dirty. They can’t always be avoided but make sure a list of caveats/exceptions/etc. is clearly stated. Preliminary results are often quoted out of context by management.
  39. Elegance is a key engineering concept and should always be sought, although seldom attained. Elegantly simple solutions are the acme of engineering work. Complexity usually means a problem hasn’t been completely thought out.
  40. Quality of engineering work is often judged by the mass of paper accompanying it. Verbal communication is of little value to managers because it cannot be comprehended, retained, filed and plagiarized. A single sheet summary will not be judged credible. A single sheet summary attached to a mass of computer generated output will be judged acceptable because it looks like you actually did something, and reading time is minimal. “Tomes of Wisdom” with deeply imbedded conclusions/recommendations never get read except by other technical specialists. Best of all is a laser printed graph that can be photocopied as a flawless transparency for misinterpretation in a “manager’s only” meeting.
  41. Define a personal code of ethics. Professional registration is one avenue toward this goal. Reconciliation between the concepts of “Political Correctness” and professional ethics is an ongoing and difficult personal process. Don’t allow pressure to prostitute your personal code of ethics.
  42. An engineer’s job is to analyze, draw conclusions, and advise. It is management’s job to make decisions and take actions. Don’t allow these roles to become confused. Document your work, maintain records, and otherwise cover your ass, or you may become the scapegoat when things go wrong.
  43. If you don’t understand, ask questions. Keep rephrasing and asking the question until you understand. There truly is no such thing as a bad question. A question becomes “stupid” only when it is asked repeatedly by a person who will not listen to the answer.
  44. Political correctness, amorality, and malevolence will overcome youth, vigor, and righteousness every time. Be discreet around politically correct elitists in any organization. Don’t wage war with sneaky old men.

Americans!

Do you recycle stuff?
Do you take stuff to to thrift stores?
If you do, do you get the tax rebates?

If you don’t personally, what do you think is the general feeling of recycling in the US?

Do you think anything is missing from the world of recycling?

Reply here or contact me personally. Thanks

God Mode

If you fancy being omnipotent when in comes to your install of window 7 there is an option called “God Mode”. It as bit OTT to call it that, but it does have some nice features.

To get GodMode, right click on your desktop and create a folder with the following name:

GodMode.{ED7BA470-8E54-465E-825C-99712043E01C}.

This icon will then appear:

God mode

God Mode

Now when you click on this icon you get a million options, well 274 to be exact, but I like to exaggerate sometimes. See here:

The Actual god Mode

The Actual God Mode

If you are worried about your peers thinking you are a bit cocky upon seeing this you can change the “GodMode” bit, but you must keep all the other stuff there.

doug-startup

The 29th of May 2013 saw a rather good group of people come together to talk rubbish as Doug Scott would say. Organised by Doug which explains the party hats and hosted by Fede of Playfair Capital in the rather nice new offices that have some interesting companies sharing the space, from Duedil to Blottr.

Not everyone on the 90 strong list of people was able to attend but from what I understand it was vastly oversubscribed and many other people were fended off making it quite an exclusive event.

I suspect if you want to attend the next one and talk bollocks then you need to track Doug down and made him an offer he can’t refuse, but it is likely to be something other than money that will make the difference.

If you want an idea of who was there, here is a rough list of the Startups, VCs, Angels and Accelerators who were there:

24Haymarket
Adizio
Arts Alliance
Asap Compare
Asap Ventures
Balderton Capital
Ballpark Ventures
Blottr
Bluefields
Canddi
Chalkhill Partners
Connect Ventures
ContextPR
E Synergy
EC1 Capital
Eden Ventures
Episode1
FIG
Finance Birmingham
Forsyth Group
Forward Group
Forward Ventures
Frostbox
Gleepost
Greenlight Digital
H and I Investments
Hotspur Capital
Ignite100
Information Warehouse
Just Add Red
Lean Investements
Matchchat.co.uk
meals.co.uk
Midven
MMC Ventures
Money.co.uk
Northstar
Octopus Ventures
Oxygen
Passion Capital
Piton Capital
Platinum Bay
Playfair Capital
Pondera.me
Profounders
Seed 1
Spontly
Tech City London
Techopedia
Techstars
Tigernation.org
Traffic Junction
UKTI
Venture Factory
VroomVroomVroom
Warlock Media
whisk.co.uk
X Million
Zugo

Thanks Doug, pleasant and inspiring way to  spend a day.

A SEOMOZ presentation show some nifty data that you can use to identify referring clicks from Google and setting up advanced segments to filter this data.

Check it out, go to slide 50

http://www.slideshare.net/TMResnik/reclaiming-your-google-referral-data-mozinar-by-tim-resnik-share-21284737