Discovering Google Apps with @sarahstanley

Today I had a brief chat on Twitter with the ever amazing Sarah Stanley surrounding a technical piece of her RunRideInspire.com website. Most of it took place behind the scenes through direct message, but in the end I believe it was of assistance.

You see part of what Sarah is looking for are Inspire Ambassadors (act quickly by sending an email to RunRideInspire@gmail.com if you’d like to be one). What got me thinking was that there was a domain name intact already, but she was essentially promoting Gmail. Many businesses do this, and I just don’t understand why – whether it’s Gmail, Yahoo, Hotmail or their internet provider. The list goes on. With domain names starting out so cheap now from a place like GoDaddy.com there’s no excuse to NOT have a company branded domain name. In addition to that, even though GoDaddy.com does hosting, you can easily get your email handled for FREE through Google Apps.

This is where Sarah and I were at a disconnect. Being that Run Ride Inspire is charity, “every dollar counts” she stated. And I agree. Running a fund raising initiative of my own (I need to update it this week), I know that every penny does truly count. I’ve been using Google Apps with my domain names for a few years now and have been fortunate enough to never spend a dime on the amazing service. In fact I just recently switched two separate clients over to the service. I could go off on why it’s a great choice, but there’s already plenty out there on Google as to why it’s a good choice…and even why it’s not.

I was on my iPhone but determined to help Sarah out I did a quick search in Safari. It started to become clear as to why she didn’t want to use the runrideinspire.com on Google Apps for fear of having to pay $50 per user per year. Typical marketing. On the initial screen, you’re presented with two options: Business or Education.

Google Apps Signup Screen

Google Apps - the Hidden GoldOn the following screen they present the nice, pretty blue button to begin a free trial. But if you look closely enough, there are some boring text links under the button. This is in fact where the hidden gold is in using Google Apps with your own custom domain name…for FREE.

When comparing the Google Apps Standard Edition (i.e. the FREE version) to the Premiere version, there’s not a lot of difference that the standard, average user would ever want or use. You still get Gmail, Calendar, Docs & Sites. I’m up to about 7GB of storage space in my App Mail account of which I’ve used about 50% over the last few years…and my business handles lots of large files through email. The rest of the ‘business’ features, controls, support and reliability aren’t really required. I use my hosted Gmail with my iPhone without issue. In fact, it works better then my normal Gmail account does…so there!Google Apps Comparison: Premiere vs Standard

As much as I love my Shannon Poole (who yes, does love me), I’m happy that Sarah at least sees some value in me.

So now my question to you is do you use Google Apps and if so, which version? Is Sarah making the right choice by moving (I hope) her email from Gmail to her own domain name? Let me know in the comments.

2 Comments | Filed under Code Development

My 2010 goals

As I have mentioned many times, including just the other day, I need to write some goals. Some personal goals for me to focus on and for you to police me on. I’ve determined that goal setting works for me when I’m passionate about it and when I have something to prove…usually to those who don’t think I can. It didn’t take me long to write out my goals. In fact I wrote them down on January 15 in about 10 minutes but I’ve been sick, so haven’t had a chance to post them. But today I’m feeling better. At least good enough to sit down in front of a computer and type out some words, so here goes.

My 2010 personal goals are:

  • Raise $20,000 for the Tom Baker Cancer Centre & Alberta Cancer Foundation through the 2nd Annual Tight ‘n Bright event to be held March 20, 2010.
  • Generate $80,000 through legal online activities like affiliate sales, products & services by September 15, 2010. Roughly 236 days remain, so that would equate to $338.98 per day…if I start making cash NOW!
  • Run a full marathon under 4 hours by December 15, 2010.
  • Launch BlueBinder by March 1, 2010 with full e-comm capabilities.
  • Launch Phase 1 of OoberScoop by February 1, 2010.
  • Launch Workshops Everywhere by February 1, 2010 to the Calgary market as detailed in Phase 1 of the plan.
  • Travel to three new destinations by December 31, 2010.
  • Speak at a minimum of one conference by November 30, 2010.
  • Support and love Monica, Ava and the other members of my family on a daily basis.
  • Help Monica launch her site to the best of my abilities around her timeline.
  • Blog a minimum of five times per week through to June 30, 2010.
  • Live everyday and enjoy and appreciate what I have.

So as you can see I’ve no doubt got to get some things going. Couple the above goals with daily life and there’s not a lot of time left to actually do things…but the goal in the end is to free myself from the day-to-day to allow me to have the time to do those things. All of this will be completed in full by December 31, 2010. I look forward to sharing my success, and no doubt failures, with you along the way.

Is there anything I’ve missed? Do you think I’m completely crazy? Wanna know more about something I’ve put in the list? It’s easy, just leave me a comment below.

Thanks to Lyndon for the inspiration and the graphic.

2 Comments | Filed under Blue Binder, Code Development, Fitness, Life, Travel

Action is the BIGGEST key to success

cdn-million-dollar-billFor those of you who know me, you’ll know that I rarely have a shortage of what I consider my “million dollar ideas” to build on. In fact, I fairly regularly add to the list. A while back I wrote a post about thought vs. action. It seemed to me it was a turning point in my thought process…one of turning it into action. Fast forward a little over 6 months and where am I now? For starters, I’m off on leave (that’s really hard to say and hard to talk about). A long story short, I’m a big ass ball of stress. In addition to that my “million dollar ideas” list is larger and not a single one has been checked off anywhere near complete. There are some tiny modules that are working here and there, but nothing impressive at all.

I consistently find myself in a position where I’ve got a great idea and don’t act on it. Years back when the whole Napster vs. RIAA thing was coming to light of being illegal I was chatting with friends and telling them about a different, legal way to do MP3s on the internet and ensure the artists continued to make money. Well that idea is essentially what is now known as iTunes (and many other online music stores). At the time however, there were none…not a single online shop doing it. I’ll stamp that with a big FAIL on it as well.

Last week I was watching episode 9 (second segment) of Dragons Den on CBC. I love the show. There’s something fascinating about watching people do stupid things. But at least they’re up there doing it. I had been chatting with my brother about an idea I had which we were calling BlueBinder (@BlueBinder) and how cool it would be to pitch it on Dragons Den and get some capital, but more importantly the expert knowledge of these highly successful dragons. All five of them would be a valuable asset to the business. Well just the other week, GrubCanada pitched (successfully too I might add) and the thought of BlueBinder flickered and almost died. Then a friend forwarded me an article from TechCrunch about GrabyMyTable and it knocked another dent in the side of BlueBinder…though I’m sure OpenTable will give them a good run. Luckily there is still at least one USP (unique selling point) I have with BlueBinder and I’m hoping to capitalize and honestly competition is a good thing…it gives you someone to target. That being said, action is imminent and required IMMEDIATELY. This idea, is honestly on life support right now but can definitely be revived for huge success. I’d love to find out some information on patenting the idea/process that I have for BlueBinder’s USP.

Referencing these recent ‘insights’ I went back to have a look at the list of “million dollar ideas” and started going down the list:

  • SPRY: While not a million dollar company right now, at least it’s in progress and slowly making some income. Most would consider that a good thing and I’m definitely in that boat.
  • uPlay: I guess you could make this similar to Pandora—at least from my understanding of Pandora. Since I’m in Canada I have a hard time accessing it to actually test drive it.
  • BlueBinder: As mentioned above, similar sites exist out in the market place that are doing certain components and other various concepts but none are actually doing it the way I think it should be done or how I want to do it.
  • Community Connection: This one was a huge learning experience. Over $20k of personal cash invested in it (and still trying to pay that off) and a huge education as a result. The publishing industry is definitely an interesting one. The product was ahead of its time and I have no regrets for doing it. There’s a slight twist I’m planning to put on it that will hopefully have it making some revenue when I decide to revisit it in 2010.
  • Back 2 School: I can’t take full credit for this one. A lot of the basis of this idea was from my fiancee. A mother in Ontario has done something similar (it took me forever to find in Google), though not the same concept. I even had contacted various people at Staples, Grand & Toy and Office Depot to get communications going. It’s definitely a little bit of a challenge to get high up enough into some of these organizations.
  • Hotel Reviews: Again, not a complete idea of my own but the guys at Oyster are doing something similar. This one is moving forward slowly and will hopefully launch in Q1 of 2010.

The best part about ALL the ideas above is that they’re similar, not the same (with the exception of the iTunes one from the mid-90s). What does this mean? Well it means I need to take action. The only way to become successful is by taking action. It goes back to the wonderful grade 11 physics class with Dr. Flint and the whole “for every action there is an equal and opposite reaction” theory. I never realized how that would actually play over into life as well as the scientific realm.

Of course the list of “million dollar ideas” above is not complete. It also doesn’t give more then a 40,000 foot high-level view of a few of the things I’ve been thinking of. Have you got suggestions on things to add or features you’d like to see on them? Simply comment below.

My thought around this for a moral of the story is take action. And more to the point, why not take action today. Tomorrow is not a promise.

I look forward to hearing about your lost “million dollar ideas” from sitting around with inaction. More importantly I look forward to hearing your stories of success. Please, leave a comment.

No Comments | Filed under Blue Binder, Code Development, Life, Travel

Ketchup, Catsup or Catch up?

Well it would appear that I still have a lot of text to catch up on, and to be honest, I don’t think it’s going to happen. I’m not giving up by any means, I just have all this other work to do – another excuse I know. So, I guess I just need to decide if I want to write, or sit back and relax and do nothing.

Last night we made a quick image for a concept for S2 Photography, and now we need to turn it into an actual site. It’s just something quick, and a quick concept at that. It’s done completely wrong in that its one huge image. Not even sliced up! Sorry about that if you head there, but it does look pretty cool.

So, I’m not going to write too much right now since I’ve got so much other work to do, but I will continue to write, I promise. I need to write. I need that BIG idea. I’m sure it’s only a few pints of Guinness away!?
(WC: 175)

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If you’re lazy and you know it clap your hands

OK, I know I still owe a lot of writing to this blog, and to it’s readers, so here we go. I’ve been busy. Well, actually I haven’t. I’ve been slacking a lot at work, and at home, and at my own business. I need to get that drive and passion back. I want to sit back, relax and enjoy life, but realize I need to invest some time into it first.I guess it’s really the time investment that I should look at, and how I divide my time. I’d like to say “there’s not enough time left in the day” but in all reality, I often have too much, and get bored and don’t want to do things.

I have an ever expanding list of things to do, which include some of the following:

  • NECCS website — follow-up on the proposal, and hopefully complete the contract.
  • NECCS marketing proposal — we’ve got some ideas, now we just need to put them on paper.
  • WOLF website — contact the owners to get final payment, or take down the website; a task I never like doing.
  • Blue Rock Landscaping website — we’ve got some mocks sent to them, now we just need their approval, then we get to build the site.
  • Happy in Rush-Hour cover, website, marketing & more — yes, we have to get that done for Leanne so that she can launch her book and sell it to the world.
  • **** website & concept — I can’t divulge the information of the project, but I can definitely make some money at it, and I’ve had the idea for a bunch of years. Time to just do it!
  • Louisbonline.com website — I need to get in contact again with Louis B and get together so that we can get the movie & theatre review site going.
  • Idoloutlook.com website — some general maintenance, tweaks & enhancements. Think I still owe Lite 96 a banner for the logo as well.
  • U of C Women’s Dinos Hockey website – get it done already!
  • And more… – I know that I’ve got more, and I’m forgetting a bunch of them. This always happens to me without my task board. Time to make an online one.

So, as you can see I have a number of projects on the go. On top of that I want to have a life, spend some time with my dogs, my girlfriend that I love, my brother and my friends — of course, not necessarily in the order that they appear. I’ve already got 33+ hours banked at work. I figure once I hit the 160 mark (which at this rate won’t take too long), then I’ll be able to take a full month off with pay, and add my vacation time of a couple of weeks to that, and I’m set for a six week vacation somewhere — like Australia for WARR I hope. That’s my plan, now to make it actually happen. Of course the more business that I can get coming in for SPRY Design Group, the better life will be. My brother wants to run with it full-time this summer, and I’m sure that if it goes good enough (which we all know it can), then I’d be willing to bet he’d continue at it, and forgo another volleyball season at SAIT…though I know he loves it. Guess that’s something we need to discuss, and probably will happen with the business chat this evening. We tend to do that on Wednesday evenings. (WC: 586)

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