And we’ve moved

Ben Rowe’s Blog, all 270 posts of it, has a new location.

After three and a half years (that last post was a typo), I’ve decided to register a proper domain name, move over to wordpress.org and continue from there.

From now on, you can read my posts at www.ben-rowe.com.

What are you waiting for? Head on over and grab a seat.

We’re Moving

Howdy readers,

Just wanted to let you know that benrowesblog is moving.

I’ve decided after 4 1/2 years it’s time to move to a WordPress.org blog, with a few more bells and whistles. Hopefully I’ll be able to do this over the weekend.

I’ll keep you posted over the next few days, but very shortly we’ll be at www.ben-rowe.com.

My 4 hour startup :: tweetmytee.com

Last weekend, I launched an online business. In 4 hours. From idea, to a live website … and all within the comfort of my bedroom. I’m not telling you this to show off. Anyone could have done what I did.

OK sure, I started an online T-Shirt business, not a Nanotechnology business. But nonetheless, it’s incredible how much you can do these days with an internet connection, a laptop, and an idea.

The idea? Users submit memorable / funny / interesting Twitter posts, or Tweets each week. The best Tweet submitted each week is then turned into a real T-Shirt, ready to be printed and ordered online. I figure with the massive growth of Twitter at the moment, it was potentially a good idea.

I had the idea quickly, so wanted to implement it quickly. It was about 11:30 on a Friday night. I ran the idea past my wife. She didn’t look at me as though I was a complete lunatic. So I set myself a challenge to get the concept up and running before I went to bed that night.

(Yes, this post is also an admission that I’m often a Friday night computer nerd, but that’s another story)

I got started. I registered a domain name (http://tweetmytee.com) and a matching Twitter ID (@tweetmytee). I signed up from an account on Spreadshirt, the DIY T-shirt community site. I came up with a design for the T-shirt. I threw a logo together. I chose the T-shirt styles and colours. One style, 3 colours. Keep it simple. Keep moving quickly.

With a short deadline, I found myself in a strange rhythm. I deliberately made decisions in a split second:

How much to price the t-shirts for? How about $2 less than at Threadless.

What colours? The first 3 that spring to mind.

What does the logo look like? How about a simple bird design.

Has anyone done this idea before? Don’t know, no time to check right now.

And within 4 hours, I had the site up and running, with the first set of T-shirts up for sale. And I’d spent a total of $25 US (on the domain name) to make it happen.

indefensible
So, my key point here is … that it’s easy to get a business started? It’s best to move quickly? To launch any idea that springs into your head?

Well, they’re part of it. Regardless of whether this idea will take off, it was a real learning experience to do something like this. To completely avoid planning, and to just jump in head first is definitely worth a try. And to make the most of the fact that it has never been easier to start a business (especially an online business) as it is now.

But my key point, I guess, is that you can’t just launch a business quickly and expect it to take off with only 4 hours of labour. If I really want my idea to gain traction, I have to nurture it like any other business.

I’m now finding myself spending more time than I’d initially planned to get the word out, to generate submissions for the next T-Shirt. Regular readers will know that I have a full time job AND another business, so perhaps I’ve bitten off more than is chewable. If entrepreneurship’s like a rollercoaster, this has been like the Mad Mouse.

And it isn’t easy. It hasn’t become a viral success like I imagined it might. I learnt that others have come up with similar concepts before. I’ve made a couple of major mistakes. And I haven’t sold a single T-shirt yet.

But you know what? It’s been fun. And it sure beats any of the crap on TV on a Friday night, anyway.

The 3 Sentence Strategy

I sat down to write my ivoteforart.com business strategy tonight. You know, really write it. I’ve had most of it in my head, but I really needed to actually document it. Even if just on one page.

I soon realised something. you don’t even need a page to write your strategy. You need just 3 points. In fact, you can only have 3 points.

Here are my three points:

1. Without arists, there’s no website

2. But then, you also need visitors

3. Once you get visitors, treat them right.

That’s it. That’s my strategy.

If I don’t have any new artists on the site, I have nothing. The very first thing I ever did when deciding to start ivoteforart was to contact artists. If there was no art to display on the website, there was no website. But also, good artists beget good artists. Whenevcr I add a great artist to the site, it makes it easier for me to attract more great artists.

My second point, about needing visitors, is the next step. Obviously I need to let potential visitors know about the site. And then visit the site. An then re-visit. And re-visit again. And maybe one day, make a purchase.

And once they do buy something, I’ve got to do whatever I can to make it a great experience for them. And hopefully then they will tell others about it, and the ultimate – word-of-mouth – kicks in.

Sure, mine is a pretty simple website. The content-traffic-customer service business model is fairly straightfoward. But whatever business you’re in – if it takes more than 3 sentences to describe your business, something’s not right. It’s not simple enough.

Citizen Renaissance

God The Citizen

It is frustrating that we are seeing leadership from the Lords Spiritual but still a fundamental lack of delivery from the Lords Temporal on the most urgent issue of our times.

To continue the religious theme, I once heard the late Hugo Grynn quote Father Niermeyer: ‘ask not where was God in the gas chambers of Auschwitz; ask instead, where was man?’.

If you’re not reading Citizen Renaissance, I strongly urge that you do. It’s the smartest, most honest fucking writing that you’ve ever read, about . It shakes you up but ultimately makes you feel that everything just might be ok.

Spike to a Standing Ovation

What is the mark of Web success in 2009? A million page views in a week? A spike in Twitter mentions? Both are meaningful indices, but not quite as satisfying as traffic crashing your whole site. It’s the Internet version of a standing ovation.”

via glass.tumblr.com

Hello I’m a scammer

This made me chuckle (via poketo):

nigerian_scam

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