Goodbye blogger, hello wordpress?

OK, here I am, first time on my very own word press blog. I enjoyed the simplicity of blogger and I’m sure if I looked into it there was a lot more I could do with it. But if I’m honest, I kind of though it was a little too simple. So now I’m hitting with the big boys… tiny minnow in a world of blue whales.I’d heard so much about word press of recent that I thought I’d try it.

As my profile states, I know no code, I am (within my own average circle of friends) quite technically minded, so the big question… can I get set up on Word Press without the aid of armbands?

Here goes… please excuse huge gaping mistakes, and wopping great faux pas, but maybe just enjoy the ride of a non-techie-techie playing with a new system. I’m going into the dashboard. I maybe some time.

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2009 the year of the entrepreneur

Ah… so the new year comes around the corner… here we are 2009. Welcome, welcome, come on in. What pray tell do you have in store for us? Perhaps a bit more recession stuff, mixed with a bit of economic pain eh? Or perhaps the glimmer of light and hope to help build the resolve of hardworking peeps? Hmmm. Who can say?

Personally, I’m looking forward to the new year, generally an optimist I look for the opportunity in most things and I think we have a good chance at turning things around. I see the current economic crisis presents some exciting times for us to rediscover creative thinking, inspiring changes. The high street is struggling that’s true, but then things had to change didn’t they? There’s been a massive swing to internet shopping and large hypermarket-type stores that sell everything… wasn’t there always going to be some major changes?

And whilst I’m on my soap box, what about talking about the fact that without this economic crunch we would have continued down the road of greyness, bog standard, run of the mill mediocrity. High street shops/products/services have managed to merge into a blur of safeness – ‘best we follow our competitors in case we lose custom’… resulting in a pile of standardisation that is boring. In the UK everything looks the same, the shops in the high street are all the same, the products are all the same, the services offered, yep you guessed it, all offer the same.

That’s why the likes of Tescos and Sainsburys and Asda (not to mention Poundland and Wilkinsons) are all doing so well, they worked out a formula for sameness and they deliver it cheaply, which ensures that the customer won’t pay the high street prices anymore – what high street shops offer isn’t different enough to pay more. They don’t deserve our hard earned, highly valued spending money.

Finally the economic crunch brings us a change. NOW is the time for online shopping/services to differ themselves and do it well. Be different, be unique and do it without major overheads. If I have one wish for this year it’s that it brings creativity to the way people approach business and technology. Stop doing what everyone else does – think differently and find the customer or the user that needs your service. The internet is already a massive force with web 2.0 (not to mention 3.0) an everyday activity for millions, the credit crunch in my opinion will galvanise this massive force. A real opportunity presents itself for making your website and your service totally unique.

2009 is a really good time for creative entrepreneurs …just be different, challenge stuff and make a name for yourself. At least you’ll have a good time trying and the costs can be kept to a minimum.

Carsonified start up workshop, an eye opener for up and coming Larry Pages and Sergey Brins

Having had a weekend to reflect I feel now I maybe able to clearly write a blog about Friday’s Start Up Workshop delivered by Ryan Carson, at Carsonified.

Bearing in mind that any readers I do have (not that there are many at this stage) will know that I know how to program a VCR, use a mac regularly and generally like being slightly more informed than the average user, but in no way do I go near code – except to name drop the terms I have learnt (HTML, PHP, MySQL, Ruby and python to name a few), you can therefore understand my trepidation when I agreed to attend the event.

The event was suggested by my programmer – who thought as we approach the launch of a rather indepth website, it maybe useful if we could learn from others – the pitfalls, the mistakes, the hints and the tips to making a site that works.

I can’t tell you of the fear that filled my mind on the train journey to Bath, I had prenomitions that I’d be found out… that there would be a number of pale looking geeks surrounding me talking a total different language and they would all know that I hadn’t a clue.
All of these nightmares gladly disappeared when I first walked in. The place was chilled out, in fact I couldn’t find a pale looking geek under any of the giant bean bags and there was a constant supply of coffee… off to a great start.

The workshop was really useful, held with no more than twelve attendees, Ryan offered a very informal insight into some of the things you should address when setting up a web app business. Feedback was welcomed and I found I learnt a lot of things from the other attendees as well.

There was some general business information which goes across the board for any company setting up in business including a guest appearance from Ryan’s accountant.
The day also included some invaluable information on the marketing of your site and yourself, which really helped, Ryan also went into a number of tricks and tools that will help keep costs down (and following Ryan’s most recent controversial blog, it would seem that he himself has learnt the hard way.

Would I recommend the workshop for others who are hoping to set up a web business?
The easy answer is yes. Ryan is an approachable and relaxed presenter who has both successes and failures under his belt, and he’s not afraid to share his knowledge of these with anyone if it helps you and your own dreams. On top of that, Ryan is the epitomy of a ‘useful contact’ – offering to genuinely help anyone who comes within his Carsonishpere. Plus you meet some fantastic people who are also in similar positions, soon to be web entrepreneurs (and perhaps the next Larry Page or Sergey Brin), ensuring that you aren’t alone with your plans.

So were there any negatives to the workshop – I’ll be honest, at first look the cost is quite high (£395) considering a lot of the general business advice (the accountant included) can be found for free from Business Link and I think that the time could be used better for more specific web app info. But once you meet Ryan and any of his team, you suddenly realise that you aren’t just paying for a one day workshop, you are paying a subscription to team Carsonified and that seems (almost) priceless.

Further information on any of Carsonified’s event can be found at their website.

The tough decision: iphone or Orange?

What does a girl do? My contract on orange is coming to an end; it’s been pretty good, no major complaints although it’s a little high on the price, and normally I’d choose a new phone, upgrade and sign up again… instead though I have hit a dilemma. You see my heart is owned by the iphone. Yup, the iphone only available on O2. The same provider I kicked into touch 3 years ago for their horrific customer service… vowing never to return.

There were some rumours that apple were going to get orange in on the act but they all died a death. And so I’m left with the scruples question: do I go back on my word and sell out for an iphone, or do I throw in the towel and put it down to one bad experience giving O2 a second chance and hence get the phone I really want/need/can’t live without…

I’d appreciate anyone who has any advice on the subject giving me a clue based on their experiences. I am very torn. Or if Orange fancy sorting out a deal with Apple I’d really appreciate it…

The first blog

Well, actually, I’ve already started with a lie, I’ve written for my business and I did actually have an old blog I started as a tester on my border collie (that is the blog about the dog was the tester – the border collie didn’t read it). Oh and ignore the fact that I got the first one wrong…

So here I am back in the saddle. Starting afresh. I tell so many clients to get online, start blogging, get noticed and then I don’t keep up myself. So now, I am attempting to. Who will read it? Probably no-one, but it keeps the thoughts going and that’s enough for me. If anything I probably want to practice before I announce that I’m doing it, so as not to embarrass myself. You see, I’m no techie, sure amongst friends they think I’m a gadget head but recently I’ve had to get more involved in techie stuff since I’ve been working on a big project. And that’s when I realised there’s a whole other world out there. With a big dividing line. Not that the techies mind you being totally untechie, it’s not like a closed shop or a big nasty ‘clique’ that you need to know a password (ensuring it’s encrypted), nope, these guys are great. They welcome you in and explain things in a non-condascending manner. It’s quite lovely actually.

I went to the DConstruct Conference this year and it was just so cool. So welcoming and so self explanatory. You see the thing with tech is that it’s aimed at the user, a nontech. So it has to equate to plain english (or language of your preference) at some point. And that’s the best bit. That’s why although I’m on the edge of tech, I’m not frightened or a tech outcast, I’m actually quite cool. I know a bit of tech but can still use most of the stuff – so I get to be a user and they’re quite valued so I hear.