Category Archives: Business

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Horizons, horizons

Just thought I would post a small update on the off-chance that anyone reads anything that I post!

I am currently doing some work for the Union initiative at Unity Technologies. It is an initiative designed to bring current and future games to emerging platforms whether they are set-top boxes, TV internals (play a game on your Bravia without having a console), or cellular platforms. We are doing most of the business-end deals with manufacturers and hoping to bring a great catalog of stellar games made with the engine to them.

I am also still doing community support for the Torque line of engines, though I cannot really announce anything officially until the trigger is pulled by Eric Preisz. But the future there is bright for all Torque licensees.

I am also applying for a position with District 25 as the Technology Coordinator. I have no idea yet if I will even get an interview. I am hopeful, but I also really enjoy working at ISU as a Computer Analyst.

So that is just a small update on some of the things going on in my life right now. Thanks to the two spammers who are reading!

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Circumventing the System: iPhone Development and the Desire to Not Use a Mac

Category : Business , iPhone

I talk to people everyday who are really, really excited about developing for the iPhone since they have heard about the amazing profitability of things like the Fart App. They usually ignore the RSS feeds and news stories about the typical lifecycle and profitability of the vast majority of the Apps in the App Store. Many of these extremely excited entrepreneurs are also looking for a way to cut their costs (which makes sense). These people, who are looking to cut costs any way possible, usually seem to have a Windows machine and are going to do anything they can to not have to purchase an Intel Mac.

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How Not to Design a Product Page

Category : Business

Have you ever been looking for a particular type of product and discover that a lot of people are using one particular product that does what you want...but when you go to the site/product description, you cannot for the life of you figure out why others are using it?

That has been my experience with Snapz Pro X from Ambrosia Software. I am in the market for software to capture video of what I am doing on my Mac to create some iPhone developmnet videos. This, of course, led me to search Google for such software. I found several reviews, which were quite nice (though some of them like FreeMacBlog pointed to IShowU as a better-quality competitor).

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Two Cool Things from Around the Net

Category : Business , Programming

Ben Nadel's Extensive  JQuery Explanation

Ben Nadel is an expert. I'm usually pretty skeptical when I see/hear the word expert, but in this case it is true. His resume not only speaks for itself, but his presentations and previous work speak more volumes than his resume ever could. His extensive look at JQuery is one of the best explanations I have ever heard on it; and extremely accessible to people new to JQuery. I'm not new to JQuery and it gave me a ton of "Ah-ha!" moments where I groked things I hadn't realized I did not get.

Mark Cuban's "Open-Source" Business Stimulus Plan

Do you have a killer business idea? How about 999? I found both of these on Seth Godin's blog. Very, very cool (and open) proposal for serious businesses.

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Redesigning the Stop Sign

Category : Business

A great parody video that actually bites pretty deep. As linked to me by WebRat.

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Underminding Your Message: Dodge Radio Commercials

Category : Business , Thoughts

We have a commercial for Dodge trucks that is running on our local radio stations. The commercial plays out like this (paraphrased):

"I'm a truck driver. I drive big rigs all day long and I know trucks. When I get home, I love to drive my Dodge."

That's the base message of the ad. And it makes sense to me. I've known a lot of truck drivers in my time, and they definitely know a lot about the trucks that they drive. It makes sense that they would choose to drive good-q2uality, heavy-duty trucks in their regular "off-duty" time as well as when they're on the clock. The authenticity of the messages is almost self-fulfilling.

But then at the end of the ad, there is a disclaimer. Aside from the various APR commentary and such that is included in such commercials, there is a notice that the commercial is not based on actual customer experience. Which throws a huge red flag in my face. Could the marketing department or ad agency not find a real truck driver who is a Dodge fanatic? I know several, and while some would definitely not be the poster-children of articulate radio ads, there are a lot who are very articulate and very, very supportive of their trucks.

Living in Idaho, I know people who have gotten in fights over their favorite truck being dissed by someone with a different favorite. While those people are not the fans that marketing hype want to focus on (they are already caught), there are a ton of enthusiastic and well-spoken fans ready to scream down the competition. Why not make use of them? Especially in ads that will otherwise deflate themselves when it comes out that the whole thing was a marketing sham?

If you happen to have a fanbase, make some good use of them. People like to state their opinions, and if they love you...let them.

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Interruption Marketing

Category : Business , Thoughts

I'll be the first to admit that I know very little about business. I have started businesses in the past. I have closed businesses in the past. I know how to do those two things. But I also know that interrupting your viewers before they even have a chance to see your business is really, really bad business. I know this because this is exactly what Fast Company's web site does.

Interruption marketing is nothing new on the web. If you go to CNet's websites like GameSpot, are not logged in, and try to click on content, there is a chance that you will see an ad on the way to the content you really want to see. I do not have a really big problem with this, even though it interrupts the usability of their site. I know that they need the revenue from the ads and interruption marketing is well-entrenched.

Fast Company, on the other hand, interrupted me before their main page...and the ad did not load correctly. It was akin to walking up to a shop that looked somewhat interesting and being told by the doorman that there was a really cool thing to see down the block. He was not exactly sure what it was, but that it was better than what I had been looking for at the shop. Undeterred by the doorman, I entered the shop and found he was right.

The site definitely has some interesting articles, but most of them are somewhat underwhelming to be gracious. I should have taken the doorman's advice and gone somewhere else. However, just like I did not click the ad that refused to load, I would not tip the doorman in this case; providing no click-through revenue for Fast Company or whatever company's ad had failed.

Now, I don't like people stopping me on the street to sell me encyclopedias and I don't like sites interrupting me when I'm trying to find something relevant to my interests. But I'm willing to say no to the pushy encyclopedia salesman and I'm willing to click the "skip this add" link if I have to. I'm trained to jump through bad marketing hoops, and I'm good at saying no and forgetting whatever was pushed at me--the likelyhood of me actually being interested in your interruption is low and my irritation rate is high at having to be interrupted.

However, I do often click ads and such that I find interesting on social media sites like Facebook (which often have a voting mechanism to let the marketing group know if their ad was effective or not). But I have to find it interesting and find it on my own. If I'm in the middle of something, I'll bear with your ad and clicking to ignore it. But if I see an ad before I even see your front page and who you are and what you do...there's a problem with the way you do business.

If I can't connect with what you do, why would I want to go to your site at all? Maybe, if interruption advertising on this front were effective, I would never go to your site at all because I would keep clicking on your partner's. Sadly for those partners, I think that in my many, many years of being online and dealing with online marketing, I have never clicked on an ad presented in this fashion.

It just tells me that you do not care about your customers or your own brand (or else you would show your frontpage before anyone else could stop someone from getting there). Or else that your only focus is on advertising; any conent that you have that might draw customers to the site is secondary (if not further down the list).

If I'm going to your site; if I might be interested in spending money there (if you have such services) then let me get there. If one of your premium services is that I do not see ads (as many sites are wont to provide to paying customers) will I even know that the service exists if I'm blocked from actually going to the frontpage of your site?

Just some thoughts.