Business – Page 2 – Stay N Alive

Presentations Available With Audio

Just a quick update – I’m posting my Ignite presentation below, dubbed with audio this time. It should be a great primer to get you started in Facebook Development. Also, scroll down and you’ll be able to listen to the panel I joined at Global Entrepreneurship Week Utah 2 weeks ago.

Facebook Development in 5 Minutes[swfobj style=”margin:0px” width=”425″ height=”355″ src=”http://static.slideshare.net/swf/ssplayer2.swf?doc=fb-development-5-minutes-1227159742206508-8&stripped_title=facebook-development-in-5-minutes-presentation” type=”application/x-shockwave-flash” allowscriptaccess=”always” allowfullscreen=”true”]

View SlideShare presentation or Upload your own. (tags: city lake)

Here is the GEWUtah Panel (taken from http://www.utahpulse.com/featured_article/unleashing-ideas-conference-viral-marketing-secret-weapons-a-down-economy-panel-dis):

[audio:http://www.utahpulse.com/files/GEWViralMarket.mp3]

How Transparent is Your Business?

ATT0005216161616.pngThis image is a Gas Station from the times that my parents and grandparents grew up. You’ll notice that there are glass cylinders on top of each of the gas pumps giving a glimpse into what’s inside. Those aren’t lights, nor are they crazy bug zappers. They are a symbol of how honest that gas station is.

My Uncle explained to me his memories of these:

“First a valve would open to fill the glass cylinder (about 5 gallons). That proved they weren’t cheating you. Then another valve would open and the 5 gallons would flow down the hose into our tank. This would be repeated as needed.”

Nowadays, in a world of computers and binary calculations, it’s easy to just let the computer do the work for you. They’re pretty accurate, and hey – nobody shares their statistics any more. You don’t need to share that data. After all, you know you’re being honest. But do your customers know you’re being honest?

Some times it’s easier to keep our honesty secret and trust the computers. However, your customers will be happier if you follow these Gas Stations’ examples. Go transparent, open up the blinds, and be sure your customers have no doubt in their minds that you’re being honest. Wouldn’t the world be a much better place if we all felt pressure to expose our honesty, rather than hide it?

I’m Changing Gears

Picture 1.pngI mentioned earlier I was going to announce a big change this week. I’m “on the move“, as Jeremiah Owyang would put it. Today was my first day working full time at a new Silicon Valley startup with offices here in Utah, where I will be leading their Social Product strategy moving forward. I am phasing off my regular consulting, and moving to this new Entrepreneurial effort in helping them grow.

At the moment, I can’t reveal much more, other than the fact that we’re building the next era in Interactive Entertainment on the iPhone. The company I’m working with right now started out as a client of mine, and I liked their product so much I decided it would be worth helping them out full time. I believe fully that we are going to change much of the way you watch TV today. We will be launching most likely next week, and you can follow the Twitter account @MediaMyWay to catch our launch announcement and follow our updates (I’ll also point you there from my Twitter account when we launch – we’ll announce it there first!). Other Twitter accounts you can follow for updates and “clues” are @JustintheWhitt, @Romay, and our CEO, @BradPelo.

How will this affect the other stuff I do? In reality, not much is changing, other than what I do full time. I have received permission to keep SocialToo.com going part-time, as it has, unless it takes off. Expect some very cool things to come from SocialToo in the near future – we’re working on a completely new design and a really cool new feature that will be released in the next couple weeks.

As far as my blogging and book-writing is concerned, I see nothing changing, and I intend fully to continue blogging regular, unbiased articles that I feel inspire and educate. I will disclose where necessary if I feel my current employment has any influence in what I am writing. I still hope to continue writing in other capacities as well, as long as speak as I’m asked to do (I’m speaking in Dallas next week to the Dallas Chamber of Commerce, in fact – come see me speak!).

So, keep watching the @MediaMyWay Twitter account, and you can also follow this blog and I’ll be sure you’re aware of the latest of our happenings (we’ll have a company blog here shortly, which I’ll let you know about). In the meantime I’ll keep posting regular, educational, and original content as I always have and always will. “Stay” Tuned!

Google Bullies Blogger to Surrender "GoogleAppsEngine.com"

Google-is-evil.jpgA friend of mine, Ali Akbar (@aliakbar), has made me aware of an interesting development going on with the domain he bought, googleappsengine.com (note the “s”). When he bought it, he approached me asking if I would be a blogger for the site, with intent to blog about Google App Engine news and announcements on the domain. He seemed quite excited about it, and, as a fan of Google App Engine, saw this as the perfect domain to write under since Google didn’t seem to be using it.

On Friday, without even time to set up the blog he was intending to create, Ali received the following very generic letter from Google (which he shared with me), asking him, in a very bullied fashion, without any offer to even make it right, to surrender the domain or face legal consequences:

Dear Sir/Madam:

Google is the owner of the well-known trademark and trade name GOOGLE, as well as the domain name GOOGLE.COM. As you are no doubt aware, GOOGLE is the trademark used to identify our award-winning search engine, located at www.google.com. Since its inception in 1997, the GOOGLE search engine has become one of the most highly recognized and widely used Internet search engines in the world. Google owns numerous trademark registrations and applications for its GOOGLE mark in countries around the world.

Google has used and actively promoted its GOOGLE mark for a number of years, and has invested considerable time and money establishing exclusive proprietary rights in the GOOGLE mark for a wide range of goods and services. As a result of its efforts, the GOOGLE mark has become a famous mark and a property right of incalculable value.

You have registered, without Google’s permission or authorization, the domain name googleappsengine.com (the ‘Domain Name’). The Domain Name is either confusingly similar to or incorporates the famous GOOGLE mark in its entirety, and, by its very composition, suggests Google’s sponsorship or endorsement of your website and correspondingly, your activities.

Your use of the Domain Name constitutes trademark infringement and dilution of Google’s trademark rights and unfair competition. Your use of the Domain Name is diluting use because it weakens the ability of the GOOGLE mark and domain name to identify a single source, namely Google. Further, your registration and use of the Domain Name misleads consumers into believing that some association exists between Google and you, which tarnishes the goodwill and reputation of Google’s services and trademarks. Moreover, your registration and use of the Domain Name is also actionable under the Uniform Dispute Resolution Policy (‘UDRP’). Under similar circumstances, Google has prevailed in numerous UDRP actions. These decisions are located online at www.icann.org/udrp/udrpdec.htm.

In view of your infringement of our rights, we must demand that you provide written assurances within 7 days that you will:

1. Immediately discontinue any and all use of the Domain Name;
2. Take immediate steps to transfer the Domain Name to Google;
3. Identify and agree to transfer to Google any other domain names registered by you that contain GOOGLE or are confusingly similar to the GOOGLE mark;
4. Immediately and permanently refrain from any use of the term GOOGLE or any variation thereof that is likely to cause confusion or dilution.

Sincerely,
The Google Trademark Team

What???!! “You have registered, without Google’s permission or authorization, the domain name googleappsengine.com (the ‘Domain Name’).” So wait – now I have to get Google’s permission before I get any name that even resembles the Google trademark?

I am astounded at the bullyish nature of this letter, and to assume that anyone that buys any name even resembling the Google trademark to be a violation against their trademark name. Google clearly hasn’t been very good at defending this in the past – just searching with their own search engine, I’m finding tons of examples of sites using the Google name in their own domain name (yes, I “Google’d” it):

googlefight.com
googlesystem.blogspot.com
googleguide.com
googlealert.com
googlerankings.com

The list just gets started from there…

Now, let me preface this with the fact that I am not a Lawyer, but I did learn this in Law class in college. The “Uniform Dispute Resolution Policy” which Google references can be found here, and in the document, it states:

c. How to Demonstrate Your Rights to and Legitimate Interests in the Domain Name in Responding to a Complaint. When you receive a complaint, you should refer to Paragraph 5 of the Rules of Procedure in determining how your response should be prepared. Any of the following circumstances, in particular but without limitation, if found by the Panel to be proved based on its evaluation of all evidence presented, shall demonstrate your rights or legitimate interests to the domain name for purposes of Paragraph 4(a)(ii):

  (i) before any notice to you of the dispute, your use of, or demonstrable preparations to use, the domain name or a name corresponding to the domain name in connection with a bona fide offering of goods or services; or

  (ii) you (as an individual, business, or other organization) have been commonly known by the domain name, even if you have acquired no trademark or service mark rights; or

  (iii) you are making a legitimate noncommercial or fair use of the domain name, without intent for commercial gain to misleadingly divert consumers or to tarnish the trademark or service mark at issue.

Based on Ali’s approaches to me, there was no intention for commercial gain, nor to tarnish the trademark or service mark at issue. I also have e-mail to prove his demonstrable preparations to use the domain in connection with a bona fide offering. Let me also add that my intention to blog for him was simply in my own support of the Google App Engine. I personally had nothing huge to gain from it other than possibly a little exposure from what could possibly be a good blog.

Let me also add that Trademark issue is a very different issue than the Copyright issue I mentioned before with the Mormon Church and Wikileaks. That issue was about Wikileaks knowingly stealing the content owned by the Mormon Church and using it for unintended purposes. This issue is simply about using the Google domain to further promote Google and its properties. Ali had intent to do such, and with my limited knowledge he should have every right to do so.

What if Facebook were to go after my other blog, FacebookAdvice, or even the book I co-wrote, “I’m on Facebook — Now What???“? What about my friend Nick O’Neill’s AllFacebook, or my other friend, Justin Smith’s InsideFacebook. What about my other blog, OpensocialNow? Does this mean I’m the next target to be bullied by Google?

Of course, GoogleAppsEngine.com isn’t my domain, and I don’t know what would make Ali feel better, but my suggestion to Google is to apologize to Ali for such a rude and inappropriate letter to what may be one of their biggest fans, and make right with him. How about, instead of threatening to take it away from him, offering him at least some swag and a little money for the domain? Come on Google – let’s not be evil here. I know you’re better than that.

As for Ali, last I heard he is not backing down. It’s a David vs. Goliath battle, but let’s hope Google can be a little better than Goliath in this case and just back down a little.

What do you think? Am I wrong on this issue? Is this just the same as the copyright issue I mentioned earlier? I’m very interested to hear your thoughts – this seems very unfair to me.

Photo courtesy http://mathmath-ecomm.blogspot.com/2007/11/google-is-useful-but-worried.html

Utah Startup Series: Bungee Labs

logo_bungeelabs-flat_md.png(Sorry it’s been awhile since my last blog – it took me several days to figure out how to get my Flip video imported and exported to and from iMovie. To make a long story short, if you want to export from iMovie and have both picture and sound, you must import your source as something other than MP4 or AVI.)

This is the first article in my “Utah Startup Series“. Starting today I will be circling Utah to find the best and most innovative startups in Utah, and featuring them here on Stay N’ Alive. If you have a hot startup (early to even late stage) and would like to demo for me what your product can do, please contact me – if I have the time and like your idea I’d love to come out and take a look at it!

While at Web 2.0 Expo I had the opportunity to meet with Bungee Labs, a local, well funded Utah company who had “Platform as a Service” down before Google even started thinking about their App Engine. In our meeting they demoed their Bungee Connect “IDE” (written entirely on the web). You can see the video below.

My thoughts – you have to see this stuff in person to understand the full ramifications of what they’re doing. One of the cool things about their service vs. Google’s is they actually integrate with Amazon’s EC2 service (which was announced during Web 2.0 Expo), so you can actually host your other stuff on Amazon’s EC2 platform with the same licensing as your Bungee Connect account. Their licensing structure is very appealing as well – Bungee only charges based on the number of registered user sessions using their platform, not traffic, not bandwidth. If I understand correctly, it’s all based on the number of users actively using your application on their platform. For Facebook and Social Media developers this is appealing, as most Applications are rated based on Application use, not number of users or traffic. With Bungee you only pay for the users that actively use your system.

Overall, the guys at Bungee were Rockstars at Web 2.0 Expo. With their announcements about EC2 integration, flexible licensing terms, features on TechCrunch, EWeek magazine, and a dozen other publications, you can bet Google has a watchful eye on them. Ironically, it was interesting seeing Kevin Marx, head guy over the OpenSocial (and other) efforts at their party on Thursday evening.

Bungee will be presenting at our Social Media Developers meeting this coming Tuesday, showing us a simple “Hello World” example on how to build a Facebook App using their platform. Follow me on Twitter and if we can stream it live you can watch it via my Ustream channel. After demo I may just write my own Facebook App to try out their system – it should be interesting.

Bungee Connect Demo – Web 2.0 Expo from Jesse Stay on Vimeo.

Are You a Hot Up-and-Coming Utah Startup? I Want to Meet You!

I’m thinking about starting a series on this blog of hot startups that I find interesting in Utah. I’d really like to show to the world the great startup scene that Utah has to offer – hopefully other bloggers in the area can pitch in and join in this effort as well. I am relatively new to Utah, and am just getting to know the scene out here, so please don’t take this the wrong way. My hope is that this is only because I’m new to the area – honestly, I only know of one or two established startups. I know of many that are “in the works”, but only a few have an actual business model with customers and revenue stream (or venture/private equity/angel funding to hopefully get to that revenue stream). I’m hoping I am just not “in the know”.

Do you have an up-and-coming startup you’d like me to feature? Do you know of any that stand out to you? I really am hoping those in Utah can step out of the woodwork and share via the comments (I monitor FriendFeed as well so you can also comment there) what you know. I hope to then pick out the best and try to get the word out about what you’re doing. Speak up, or forever hold your peace!

The "What You get From Facebook Pages" Series: Default Widgets and Applications

On FacebookAdvice.com I am starting a new series on “What You get From Facebook Pages”. Over the next week or so I’ll cover several topics on how you can best optimize Facebook Pages for your business. In the first article I’m covering the default widgets and applications that are installed when you set up a Facebook Page. Read more about it here.

Need some help getting a Facebook Page set up for your Organization? I do consulting! Contact me at jesse at staynalive dot com and I’ll get you setup with a plan on how you can utilize Facebook to bring your company more customers.

Recruiters, Here’s How to Approach Me!

I get e-mails very regularly from recruiters asking for either a referral or for me to work for their client. Most, if not all, come to me in the form of a generic e-mail, very little personalization, and obviously no care for me as a developer. Here’s one I received today, and my response – it’s my hope that recruiters, which since they generally don’t Google us developers beforehand so probably aren’t reading this, will take this advice to heart. They will have much more success by doing so! (BTW, I’m very confused by this – first they say there’s an unemployment low, then they say timeliness is critical because employers grab candidates quickly. If you’re a developer, believe the first one – getting a job should be easy, and the power is in your hands.):

Good Afternoon All,

I’m writing to touch base with each of you, regarding your present employment situation. The unemployment low has continued in Utah and has created a tremendous need for talented IT Professionals across the state of Utah.

We current have open opportunities for .Net and Java developers, in addition to Technical Project Manager and Business Analysts. If you are presently looking or know anyone that might be, please contact me directly.

In this market timeliness has become critical, some employers are hiring very quickly to grab the best candidates available. If you have thought at all of looking, don’t delay, get in touch with me today.

All the best,

And my response:

First of all, I’m an individual, not an “all”. Secondly, I strongly suggest Googling the names of those you contact, get to know them, and approach them only if first, they fit the description, and second, you can personalize with them a little. I talk to developers on a daily basis, and they hate recruiters because of this. You will get much better response by doing so.

Without Googling me beforehand, I will respond with the above every time – please do your research before contacting me!

Five Real Reasons Vista Beats Mac OS X

I’m going to step away from my normal focus on Social Media because the inner-geek in me just couldn’t resist. Recently Chris Pirillo posted a challenge that I just couldn’t help taking on. In it, he criticizes a post by Preston Galla of ComputerWorld stating “5 Reasons Vista Beats OS X”, and he makes some very good points. I admire Chris a lot because he’s one of the most unbiased Geeks I know, except when it comes to the Mac. Chris and I would get along well.

I too am a Mac user, in fact, the post I am typing at the moment is on MarsEdit on a Macbook. I absolutely love my Mac, and thus far have not found a preferred Operating System for development and desktop environment to work on, at least as a software developer (I should note that actually, most of my software development is over Terminal on the Mac, over to a Linux Server, my preferred server OS).

I will be the first to admit however that the Mac does have its flaws, in particular Leopard. I do run a Vista Ultimate machine, and I love it too, but for different reasons. Let me give 5 real reasons, and Chris, if you’re reading I would love to hear your response to this, why Vista, at times can be better than a Mac, in particular Leopard. Here are 5 reasons in response to Chris’s challenge that I think really make sense:

  1. It’s all about the media. Chris, I’m not sure if you’ve used Windows Media Center to its full extent, but sit down, set up a Windows Media Center machine/server, and then set up an Xbox 360. Be sure your server has a good TV card or two in it as well. Now, sync the two, and begin watching TV live over your home network. Add on a Media Center Extender to another TV in your house and begin streaming live TV on another channel to that TV as well. Now, on one of the extenders, open up some music, maybe even from your iTunes library on your PC (assuming it’s not DRM protected, stupid Apple). Go on over and visit the videos you have stored on your PC. Install some MCE plugins, and begin browsing your videos on Youtube, or even Netflix watch now movies. Got HD? MCE supports it. Go to the sports section, see all the sports games playing currently and what their scores are, surf through all the sports channels (all in HD!). Go in and schedule to record your favorite TV Series. AppleTV isn’t even near ready for this (although I so desperately would love to see them do it!). Heck, turn off MCE even and start playing some games, or rent a movie. If you can point out a Mac combination that can do that, I’ll jump for joy!
  2. The corporate environment. As a CTO and entrepreneur, I simply cannot force everyone onto a Mac. I have first, the expense of the learning curve and integration between Mac and PC, and second the cost of the Macs themselves. I can get a PC for under $500 these days. The closest equivalent to that is the Mac Mini, which still, at the equivalent PC level is more expensive. Now, add to that the expense of Parallels so those that need Windows apps like Quickbooks Corporate editions and others. True, integration with Exchange is possible, but is still pretty limited when compared to Windows. In the end I’m looking at a pretty expensive IT budget. Again, I think a Mac is an excellent development machine, and would still encourage a Mac for my developers due to their need to develop in cross-platform environments, but it just doesn’t make sense cost-wise across the entire company.
  3. Hardware compatibility. I agree – there are a lot of options when it comes to supporting hardware for a Mac, but, can I just get a decent wireless print server that works with the Macs in my household? What about print drivers that work across the network with Windows-connected printers? Leopard fixes some of that, but it’s still not anywhere near compatible as the Vista machines are. Is it Mac’s fault? No, but it is a strong point to buying Vista. What about shuffling around every time I need to connect to a projector because Macs use the non-standard VGA/DVI adapters? I’m sure the readers can come up with more unsupported hardware.
  4. Finance Software. I touched on this a little earlier, and Galla very broadly covered it in mentioning supported software, but his claim was not backed by specific examples. Simply saying, “Vista runs more software” is an opinion, and Chris, as you point out not necessarily proof that Vista is better. However, one thing I do have issues with is the vast array of Windows Finance software (aka Small and large business versions of Quicken and Turbotax) but lack of within Leopard. I run a very small business at the moment, and frankly, Quickbooks for Mac is simply too much for me. I’m looking for something more like Quicken Home and Business until my business gets large enough for me to hire an Accountant. There’s also the flip-side to that in that if you run a very large business, there are no enterprise versions of Quickbooks for Mac. This is why both my Father, and Father-in-Law who are CPAs do not use Macs. For now, I’m stuck to slowing down my machine with Parallels any time I need something like that, which, IMO is a hack.
  5. It’s all about the animated wallpaper! Can your Mac run animated pictures of waterfalls, running streams, or flowing lava? My Vista machine can. Come on – you have to admit that’s something my Vista machine can do that my Macbook can’t, don’t you? So long as we’re going to praise the Mac UI this is one really cool feature I’d just love to see on my Mac. There are also other cool UI features on Vista that I like, even though I think Mac trumps them as a whole.

So, those may or may not be big things to some, but that is my list, and you asked Chris. Of course I could always come up with 10 more things that Mac beats Vista in, but my point is, as they told us when I was a Sales person at Computer City as a teenager, there are strengths to each OS – it’s important to evaluate what works best for you and your situation, and choose accordingly. Now, I ask my readers, are there any reasons (supported by true, concrete facts) that you feel Vista beats Leopard or the Mac in general?

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=k_AprFotKZU&hl=en]

Twitter Opens Their Messaging Platform

Today, in the first post on the new Twitter Technology Blog, Alex Payne announced that Twitter is releasing their underlying messaging platform, which they call, “Starling”, to the community. From the announcement it appears Starling is the basis for handling all communication underneath Twitter, speaks memcached, and reminds me in some ways of Perl POE, for Ruby. This is the development baby of Twitter, a great move by the new head of Engineering for Twitter, and a great benefit to the development community! Twitter is starting to remind me very much of Google in its philosophies, starting with a core technology, focusing on that, then figuring out monetization after the fact, all while giving back to the community. Way to go Twitter!