My sister, Robin, writes for a blog that is aptly named “Robin’s Resources“. It’s a sweet gig. She basically shops and then writes about her experiences in the shop. Let me give it a try:
Highland Park, IL
Sort of stinky, not well merchandised, dusty candy, very convenient.
Mike’s note: Not a big fan of Slurpees, I can do without the blue lips
Who you’ll see shopping here: Random people who don’t appear to be from the area
Their specialty: Snacks, beer and porn– what else is there?
What you should buy: A hot dog from the all-day hot dog roller
What you may not know but should:
Well, I’m not sure I captured the essence of Robin’s Resources, you’ll have to visit there to make your own judgement…
There is a trend towards software simplification out there on the Internet. The key elements are simple and useful. I remember in the early days of the internet the applications were all created from scratch. People had to concentrate on the killer app and could only include core technology. Those with a good UI caught on. Quicken.com was a great financial site, for instance (it’s morphed into a personal financial site now, not too bad.) Over time these applications fell victim to “feature creep” and the programs got really eleaborate and complex.
Competition was kept out of the market because development costs were high. Now, thanks to cool development tools like Ruby on Rails and AJAX, development is faster and cheaper. Simple versions of complex applications can be produced to capture a segment of the market that only needs core functionality.
37signals.com was no doubt a pioneer in the space with Basecamp, Writeboard, Tada Lists and Highrise. I never really took to their applications because they always missed some essentials, but I keep coming back to them to see if I can make them work.
Many of these sites are great for entrepreneurs because they are cheap and easy to use. I’m a big fan of Salesforce.com, but it’s not cheap and it is getting complicated to configure. Feature creep killed a lot of the good online apps for me. Quickbooks.com, for example. Can’t use it, don’t have time. Too much stuff.
Here are a few others that I’ve noticed in my travels along the information superhighway (remember that silly term?):
There are many others, but I can’t remember them right now…more later.
Using Twitter is kind of a drag because you have to check the Twitter site all the time. However, I found a cool, free program that gets Twits and brings them into Outlook. It’s called TwInbox.
It adds a toolbar to Outlook and allows you to read and post Twits from Outlook. Ahhh… much better.
In my ongoing quest to understand new technology I just added my feed to my twitter account using Twitterfeed.com. A friend forwarded this post from Seth Godin’s blog. If it’s good enough for Seth. it’s good enough for me. Not sure why the logo didn’t copy very well but…
My twitter account is @MikeMoyer
Several years ago I came up with an idea to allow anyone to add comments to any site (I was pretty proud of myself). It would be a sidebar plugin that users could annoymously post comments to when they were on a particular site. When others, who had the plugin, looked at the same page the comments would appear.
Today I noticed that Google has come out with the same concept. It’s called Google Sidewiki and it does the same thing as BlipNut.com. The interface is a cooler, but it’s the same general idea. Too bad Google didn’t give us one of those big Google checks that they hand out to innovative companies to buy their technology. It would have been nice to be another Craigslist.com or YouTube.com. I guess I got in the wrong line.
Anywhoo. I can at least claim that one of my ideas was good enough for Google before Google even knew it!
My sister, Robin Chung, came up with the idea to make cool t-shirts for kids with allergies (like my son, Anson, and her son, Ty). She thought of the name “Allertees.com” and wanted me to draw the pictures. So I did. You can visit Allertees.com and buy the shirts. It’s a Cafe Press site.
I’ve been looking for landing page software. I had a demo of Ion Interactive’s LiveBall today. It’s awesome, just what I’ve always wanted. Alas, it’s over $15K per year. Same with Marketo, it is even more comprehensive that Ion, but also more expensive. It’s about $2500 per month at the low end or $1500 per month for a scaled back version of their program. They appear to be a little more comprehensive offering lead scoring and some follow-up tools that seem pretty slick.
I also looked at Knotice.com. It is sort of confusing, but less expensive. It’s $6,000 a year plus a $1,500 set-up.
I also checked out Valtira.com. Very basic, but very cheap- $1,200 a year. This could be a good way to give it a try.
Let me know if you know of another alternative. I’ll keep looking.
Woot.com is an interesting site. Everyday it has a different item for sale, usually at a pretty reasonable price. I’ve bought quite a few things from them over the years including a couple of those toy remote-control helicopters for my son for $9.99.
I recently bought a Netbook for my wife. We’ll see how it goes. She only uses email and the internet so it should be okay for a 2nd computer.