This Blog Has Posts About:
- 02/15 Market Your Advice Online Via Chat - 3 services that help you sell it!: From the Cassandra Daily Article: http://www.cassandradaily.com/tech/the-price-of-advice/ Greenro...
- 02/14 2013 Valentine: Happy Valentine's Day!...
- 02/08 Zapier - Something Cool: I don't know how I'm going to use this yet, but it feels like something I need. https://zapier.co...
- 02/05 Multiple "Send From" Addresses in Apple Mail: Here's a great little trick that works to set up your Apple Mail program to use one account to allow...
- 01/22 Add Custom Fields to Google Checkout: Update: As much as I hate PayPal, it seems that Google Checkout is worse. Here are some reasons: ...
- 01/05 Maker's Schedule, Manager's Schedule: This great article was recently passed on to me by a programmer friend: July 2009 by http://w...
From the Cassandra Daily Article: http://www.cassandradaily.com/tech/the-price-of-advice/
Greenroom: lets fans purchase video chat time with specialists from fields ranging from art and comedy to weddings and health. Those with advice to dispense can list video chats at either specified flat rates or through an auction format. While Greenroom takes a 25% cut, sellers can keep their share or donate it all or some to a charity. All chats are private, except for an operator, and buyers later receive recordings of their conversations that can be shared across their social networks.
Huddlewoo: has created a platform that enables entrepreneurs, authors, celebrities and other experts to monetize their professional knowledge by selling online video chats. Using the video platform Tokbox, participants set their rates at a minimum of $10 per session (Huddlewoo collects a 10% share). For people wanting to chat with a Huddlewoo expert, they simply request a “huddle,” enter details on what they want to discuss, and give three available time slots for the account owner to choose from. Chats can remain private, but users who want to invite friends to watch and learn can make them public.
LiveNinja: lets advice seekers have face-to-face online consultations with authorities on such diverse topics as fashion, décor, medicine, law, and cooking. To join, “ninjas” list their skills, establish a rate, and notify users of their weekly availability. LiveNinja retains 20% of the earnings, but in exchange offers a well-designed, customizable video chat room that can be leveraged to build personal brands. The company aims to build a community in which experts themselves become clients. To wit, once the experts have earned revenue, they can choose to cash out or use the credit towards time with fellow ninjas.
Happy Valentine’s Day!
I don’t know how I’m going to use this yet, but it feels like something I need.
Zapier can do stuff like add your new PayPal customers to your MailChimp mailing list. Very cool.
Here’s a great little trick that works to set up your Apple Mail program to use one account to allow you to send from multiple different email addresses.
I tried it in my iPhone too – but no dice.
Update: As much as I hate PayPal, it seems that Google Checkout is worse. Here are some reasons:
- You can’t control your payout schedule. They force a payout on the 14th of the month, or for some accounts it has to happen 2 days after the transaction. For people with monthly accounting, or who need to transfer to separate accounts, this is a nightmare.- You can’t keep your logins separate. Google is on a campaign to merge all accounts together, so if they detect any overlap, they will try to force you to create one password for all your accounts.
- It’s hard to get to your Google Checkout page. Almost all pages re-route to Google Wallet, so even if you’ve already set up a Google Checkout account, they keep trying to force you to give them your credit card info and set up a Google Wallet account.
- They make “guest checkout” nearly impossible. Even though this feature does seem to be available (where your users don’t have to create a Wallet account), it seems to only work if you are using their Checkout cart or button generator. In any other case, like a 3rd party cart, it defaults to forcing your customers to create a Google Wallet account, which most people will opt not to do.
- And, as I mention in the post below, you can’t create just a couple custom fields for your products.
Here’s a great post of alternatives to PayPal: http://www.creativedevelopment.com.au/ecommerce/paypal-alternatives/
If you’d like to add a simple custom field, like, “Name for Engraving” or “Your birthday”, the short answer is: you can’t. I spent a while looking for this answer because it seems like something so easy and logical for them to offer, but it doesn’t exist. Everyone hates PayPal, but at least they give you the option to add a couple custom fields when you set up a simple button.
So, hopefully this will save you sometime. You need to integrate a 3rd party cart or plugin on your site to have customers give you more data.
Here’s a list of 3rd party services that integrate: http://checkout.google.com/seller/integrate_cart.html#partners
Here are some known, good shopping carts:
- Squarespace – http://www.squarespace.com/ – they have a new shopping cart feature that I haven’t gotten to use. But if it’s like everything else they do, it will be excellent. I’ve had multiple great experiences with this company. Cool software and great tech support.
- Big Commerce – http://www.bigcommerce.com/pricing/ (starts at $24.95) – one of the best reviewed shopping carts on the market. In my experience it is very easy to get set up and going — much easier than Magento Go, although better for people with basic HTML / CSS skills.
Update: I’ve recently had some more experience customizing a BigCommerce shopping cart. I found three areas lacking: 1) customer support – emails were answered slowly and frequently with the wrong answer or very little info. I got a knowledgeable and helpful person on the phone after waiting about 20 minutes on hold. 2) notification email and downloading orders: if your company requires special info, like size, color, custom message, all those options are grouped into one field. very annoying. 3) CSS body tags are non-existent. Since this is a standard feature in all CMSs now, I found it weird that it was missing here. If you customize the template, you can insert the page title into the body tag in order to get a custom body tag for each page, but it doesn’t come standard. Overall, the software is fantastic, really smart and intuitively put together, I was very impressed with the easy set-up process. Unfortunately, the terrible notification emails and order downloads made it unusable for my client.
- WuFoo – http://www.wufoo.com/signup/ – not really a shopping cart, but great if you just want a bunch of custom fields for a couple items. Plans with payment integration (PayPal or they recommend Stripe) start at $29.95
HOWEVER, wufoo notification emails are sent when each form has been submitted, not the when the payment has been processed, so you either have to match each submission notification email with the PayPal payment email or download the orders directly from wufoo, where there is a field that indicates “paid.”
- PandaForm – pandaform.com – this only works with PayPal – but has some great and easy to use options, similar to WuFoo and it’s much less expensive. (starts at $9/mo) Has the same problem with notification emails not waiting until the PayPal payment has cleared.
- Cart32 – http://www.cart32.com/pricing – starts at $9 a month ($49 set up fee) – great tools for creating custom product fields, a nice, simple service (their customer support told me that they’d allow the PayPal only plan to cover Google as well)
- e-Junkie – http://www.e-junkie.com/ej/pricing.htm (starts at $5) – I’ve used them, they are bare bones, but very good. (supports 3 “dropdown” type custom fields and 3 custom text fields)
- Shopify – http://www.shopify.com/pricing – starts at $29/mo – one of the best reviewed carts on the market. Reviewed as being VERY user friendly to set up. But, in addition to their monthly fee, they also charge a per transaction fee – on top of the fee that your processor charges (paypal, google), so – that kind of sucks.
- Magento Go – http://go.magento.com/plans/ – starts at $15 a month, very highly reviewed, in my experience, one of the more complicated carts to use.
Haven’t used / don’t know:
- eCrater – http://www.ecrater.com/features.php – totally free! (nice customer support, but no custom fields)
- Mercantec – http://www.mercantec.com/google/index.html – totally free! (but doesn’t look like they support custom fields)
- Lite Commerce – http://www.litecommerce.com/features/feature-full-list.html – free, open-source, works in Drupal or as stand alone SOFTWARE (not a service)
- WP E-Commerce – http://getshopped.org/ – WP E-Commerce, free WordPress plugin
- PayLoadz – https://www.payloadz.com/ – only for digital products, starts at $14.95/mo + per transaction fee, their pricing looks like a ripoff.
- X-Cart – http://www.x-cart.com/pricing.html – starts at $195/mo.
- Pinnacle Cart – http://www.pinnaclecart.com/plans-pricing/ – starts at $30 a month
- Get DPD – http://getdpd.com/plans-and-pricing/ – starts at $10 a month (downloadable products only)
- Flying Cart – http://flyingcart.com/ – plans start at $10 a month, no support for custom text fields though.
- Network Solutions – http://www.networksolutions.com/e-commerce/index.jsp – I have had several horrible experiences with this over-priced, dishonest, hard-to-use service.
This great article was recently passed on to me by a programmer friend:
July 2009 by http://www.paulgraham.com/makersschedule.html
One reason programmers dislike meetings so much is that they’re on a different type of schedule from other people. Meetings cost them more.
There are two types of schedule, which I’ll call the manager’s schedule and the maker’s schedule. The manager’s schedule is for bosses. It’s embodied in the traditional appointment book, with each day cut into one hour intervals. You can block off several hours for a single task if you need to, but by default you change what you’re doing every hour.
When you use time that way, it’s merely a practical problem to meet with someone. Find an open slot in your schedule, book them, and you’re done.
Most powerful people are on the manager’s schedule. It’s the schedule of command. But there’s another way of using time that’s common among people who make things, like programmers and writers. They generally prefer to use time in units of half a day at least. You can’t write or program well in units of an hour. That’s barely enough time to get started.
When you’re operating on the maker’s schedule, meetings are a disaster. A single meeting can blow a whole afternoon, by breaking it into two pieces each too small to do anything hard in. Plus you have to remember to go to the meeting. That’s no problem for someone on the manager’s schedule. There’s always something coming on the next hour; the only question is what. But when someone on the maker’s schedule has a meeting, they have to think about it.
For someone on the maker’s schedule, having a meeting is like throwing an exception. It doesn’t merely cause you to switch from one task to another; it changes the mode in which you work.
I find one meeting can sometimes affect a whole day. A meeting commonly blows at least half a day, by breaking up a morning or afternoon. But in addition there’s sometimes a cascading effect. If I know the afternoon is going to be broken up, I’m slightly less likely to start something ambitious in the morning. I know this may sound oversensitive, but if you’re a maker, think of your own case. Don’t your spirits rise at the thought of having an entire day free to work, with no appointments at all? Well, that means your spirits are correspondingly depressed when you don’t. And ambitious projects are by definition close to the limits of your capacity. A small decrease in morale is enough to kill them off.
Each type of schedule works fine by itself. Problems arise when they meet. Since most powerful people operate on the manager’s schedule, they’re in a position to make everyone resonate at their frequency if they want to. But the smarter ones restrain themselves, if they know that some of the people working for them need long chunks of time to work in.
Our case is an unusual one. Nearly all investors, including all VCs I know, operate on the manager’s schedule. But Y Combinator runs on the maker’s schedule. Rtm and Trevor and I do because we always have, and Jessica does too, mostly, because she’s gotten into sync with us.
I wouldn’t be surprised if there start to be more companies like us. I suspect founders may increasingly be able to resist, or at least postpone, turning into managers, just as a few decades ago they started to be able to resist switching from jeans to suits.
How do we manage to advise so many startups on the maker’s schedule? By using the classic device for simulating the manager’s schedule within the maker’s: office hours. Several times a week I set aside a chunk of time to meet founders we’ve funded. These chunks of time are at the end of my working day, and I wrote a signup program that ensures all the appointments within a given set of office hours are clustered at the end. Because they come at the end of my day these meetings are never an interruption. (Unless their working day ends at the same time as mine, the meeting presumably interrupts theirs, but since they made the appointment it must be worth it to them.) During busy periods, office hours sometimes get long enough that they compress the day, but they never interrupt it.
When we were working on our own startup, back in the 90s, I evolved another trick for partitioning the day. I used to program from dinner till about 3 am every day, because at night no one could interrupt me. Then I’d sleep till about 11 am, and come in and work until dinner on what I called “business stuff.” I never thought of it in these terms, but in effect I had two workdays each day, one on the manager’s schedule and one on the maker’s.
When you’re operating on the manager’s schedule you can do something you’d never want to do on the maker’s: you can have speculative meetings. You can meet someone just to get to know one another. If you have an empty slot in your schedule, why not? Maybe it will turn out you can help one another in some way.
Business people in Silicon Valley (and the whole world, for that matter) have speculative meetings all the time. They’re effectively free if you’re on the manager’s schedule. They’re so common that there’s distinctive language for proposing them: saying that you want to “grab coffee,” for example.
Speculative meetings are terribly costly if you’re on the maker’s schedule, though. Which puts us in something of a bind. Everyone assumes that, like other investors, we run on the manager’s schedule. So they introduce us to someone they think we ought to meet, or send us an email proposing we grab coffee. At this point we have two options, neither of them good: we can meet with them, and lose half a day’s work; or we can try to avoid meeting them, and probably offend them.
Till recently we weren’t clear in our own minds about the source of the problem. We just took it for granted that we had to either blow our schedules or offend people. But now that I’ve realized what’s going on, perhaps there’s a third option: to write something explaining the two types of schedule. Maybe eventually, if the conflict between the manager’s schedule and the maker’s schedule starts to be more widely understood, it will become less of a problem.
Those of us on the maker’s schedule are willing to compromise. We know we have to have some number of meetings. All we ask from those on the manager’s schedule is that they understand the cost.
Thanks to Sam Altman, Trevor Blackwell, Paul Buchheit, Jessica Livingston, and Robert Morris for reading drafts of this.
Cool tools to help you find the best price on a big ticket item:
It’s good to check them both because they have slightly different data.
A great round-up of some current, great slideshows for WordPress. http://www.tripwiremagazine.com/2012/10/wordpress-slideshow-plugins.html
You can also share your screen using Ustream.tv , but there is a 5 second delay.