• A clever idea to keep customers up to date

    Screen_shot_2010-08-10_at_20

    Wufoo greets customers who haven't logged in for some time with a list of interesting new developments.

  • Weeknote #18


    Organizing

    Man, I wish I could buy time. While the company bank account is quite well equipped, I just can't find the time for everything that gets put on my plate by me or by others. Time Management my ass, it's Getting Shit Done™ what it's all about and that means: Differentiate the urgent stuff from the important stuff. And then do the latter.

    I have to admit that I struggle to keep that in mind all the time. There are always many unplanned things that threaten to become serious distractions, be it a call from a customer in need of some hand-holding, a disrupted IT service or a sudden stroke of genius that of course should be worked out immediately. I try to be a good GTD disciple, but instead of a "mind like water", my mind every so often resembles more a flushing toilet.

    Learning

    Starting a business means starting a new way of learning. I'm amazed what amount of things I've learned since I started planning my business in late 2009. After relearning things I had forgotten already and acquiring new knowledge about topics I had only heard about from my directs at my previous job as an IT manager, my sysadmin knowledge today is at a new height. At the moment, I'm doing heavy in-depth reading about MySQL performance and MySQL high availability concepts.

    Working with clients is another great learning arena. There's the client that first consumes a lot of support effort ("How do I create an SSH key?", "Please help me install git on Windows!", "Can you explain to me what the Features module is and how I use it?") and then cancels during the test month nevertheless. There's the customer that enjoys explaining to me how we should do our job. And there's the client that is pure pleasure to cooperate with and pays their bills a year in advance.

    Marketing

    I'm happy to have closed the deal of sponsoring the Drupal-Initiative, the german equivalent of the Drupal Association. All their websites are going to be ported to a DrupalCONCEPT Drupal cluster and we in return will be mentioned as their hosting sponsor.

    My next action will be an email newsletter to all my Drupal contacts. I'm unsure how successful this will be, but I'm afraid there are a lot of people that haven't yet heard of DrupalCONCEPT and I'm definitely going to change that.

    And with that, I'll return to doing important things!

  • Tips for the S-Office

    Matt Shapiro suggests that Starbucks should change its name to “Startbucks”, because so many startup founders not only get their caffeine kick there but also stay for quite a while during the day to do work and have business meetings. Certainly, I’m a member of that group. Over the course of a week, I spend at least 15 hours in my favourite Starbucks outlet in Freiburg working through my todo lists and answering customer requests.

    With power outlets at many tables and free WiFi, Starbucks actively attracts road warriors with their laptops or iPads. But since they still call themselves a “Coffee House” instead of “Coworking Space”, I’d like to emphasise GigaOm’s recommendations for making oneself comfortable working at Starbucks without making others uncomfortable:

    • Almost always favor a single location. It makes it easier for your contacts to drop in for meetings.
    • Learn the names of most of the baristas and also take time to have a conversation with them. It helps build a human connection.
    • Make the baristas involved in your venture – share your news and make them feel part of your struggle.
    • Make sure you buy coffee or something at least three times a day.
    • Tip generously – up to $10 a day will ensure that folks at the store don’t view you as a freeloader and a pest.
    • Don’t spread out your stuff and take up too much space at the store.
    • Invest in great noise-cancelling headphones (to counter the loud background music).
    • Keep your mobile phones on vibrate and leave the store for conversations.
    • Make sure that the number of people attending a meeting is fewer than four so that you can all circle around a single table.

    As much as I’ll second the headphone item, I’ll also add a quasi-opposite experience: You’ll soon find out that you’re not the only regular. Drop your introverted geek defences a bit and introduce yourself to your fellow S-Office workers. More often than not, a new acquaintance becomes a business opportunity.

  • DNS-Check bei Pingdom

    Seit kurzem bietet Pingdom einen DNS-Check an. Einfach die zu prüfende Domain auf http://dnscheck.pingdom.com eingeben und man erhält einen ausführlichen Testbericht.

    Dnscheck

  • HPC in der Amazon-Cloud

    Der Name erinnert mich stark an meinen Lieblings-Kaffee-Provider:  "Cluster Compute Quadruple Extra Large". Beim genauen Hinsehen stellt sich heraus, dass es sich um einen neuen Instanztyp handelt, den die Amazon Web Services seit Neuestem für High-Performance-Computing-Anwendungen anbietet.

    Es handelt sich um die leistungsfähigsten Instanzen, die es in der EC2 gibt:

    • RAM: 23 GB
    • CPU-Leistung: 33.5 EC2 Compute Units (2 x Intel Xeon X5570, quad-core “Nehalem” architecture)
    • Storage: 1690 GB
    • I/O-Leistung: 10 Gigabit Ethernet

    Ich bin beeindruckt und gespannt, welche Rechenprozesse bald auf der Amazon-Cloud Einzug halten werden.