A recent entry on netbusiness blog, reviewed the famous book of Seth Godin, “Purple Cow”. More precisely it applies rules learned from the book on the online world of business blogging.

Below are the five points.

  1. What content are you producing that your competitors are not producing?
  2. What makes your site different from other sites in your niche?
  3. What unique value does your site bring to the internet community?
  4. How will you promote your site in a unique way?
  5. How will your site stand out from other sites in your industry?

We like to add following points:

  1. Can you do more with less?
    Most sites overload you. Too much noise, too little insight. We kept removing words from the site. Like one of the titles in the ‘Don’t make me think‘ book “Omit unnecessary words”

    Now, we may have ended up with something too simple, too little content, not enough depth. Future will tell…

  2. Can your readers feel a sincerity that similar sites seem to lack?
    We’re sure Facebook frustrated a lot of people when they opened up their network to everyone. The early adopters thought they were part of a private club. But the Facebook owners put the ‘subscription numbers’ as their top priority.

Spot the 5 differences

July 25, 2007

Recently we received much feedback from many helpful people around the internet. They all try to make sense of what we are doing. Typically you are compared to something people already know. We were very surprised on what people tell us:

  • How do you differentiate from LinkedIn

    LinkedIn typically links people across companies, we intend to do just the opposite: create a network within the company. In this way people can talk more freely without the risk of exposing too much of the internals to the outside world.

    In the long run, we’re thinking of offering a forum for the employees to give feedback and input on the company strategy, how the company is dealing with hiring, customers, internal promotion and so on. So the ‘company internal content’ will be much more important than what is possible on LinkedIn.

  • Sort of a more social version of BaseCamp.

    This is a comment we got from one of the people evaluating our design. We were rather honored by that comparison. I mean, being compared to the current gods of the internet! You could do worse. We initially ignored it but it kept coming back in our meetings and reviews. And the end, we promoted it as our internal mantra, much in line with what Guy Kawasaki talks about in his book. It captures much of the essence of what we do. 1/ social è seems clear 2/ basecamp è getting people on a easy to use web application.

  • The interface should look like the iPhone.

    We have declared the company as an ‘iPhone free zone’. We belong to the sort of people that went asleep a few weeks before the launch. The longer this craze goes on, the less we understand. But, if you mean the GUI should be simple, pleasing, easy to understand: of course we couldn’t agree more. We’ll even build a version that if your laptop is turned upside down, the page will do so too…

We love to hear more of these comparisons! Drop us an email if have one.

And now, a real game of ‘Spot the differences’. Find all 10!

You can find the answer and other games on the Reid Puzzles.com.

We did several jobs through outsourcing using the well known outsourcing networks. These jobs included logo design, development and technical support. In this post we share what we learned.

  1. Do your homework.
    Take your time to browse over the various networks. Each of them has their specific niche and geographical target area. A good overview article is listed below.Take 1 or 2 full days of surfing to look for stories, reviews and articles.
  2. Decide if you want to go ‘fixed price’ or ‘time and material’.
    Each network is specialized in one of the two. The fixed price ones let you post jobs and wait for offers. You basically shop around to see which offer and which seller you like most. On the typical freelance sites, people offer their services at an hourly rate.We suggest you start with ‘fixed price’.
  3. Select your jobs carefully.
    Not all jobs are possible to outsource. Evaluate each job on following criteria:

    • Can I clearly define what I want?
    • Can I clearly define the starting conditions?
    • Can I clearly define how I will evaluate and accept the result?
    • Ideally, can I have the project delivered in steps?
    • Is your Intellectual Property protected?

    If you can’t say yes to all of the above, forget outsourcing.

  4. Review the ratings, carefully, very carefully.
    All sites offer some kind of rating system. For both sides. Don’t be impressed with a score of 8/10. On some of the networks, you can get 10 to 20 qualified people with ratings of 9.6 or 9.7. Also be careful on first time bidders. A score of 10/10 is easy if you only did 1 or 2 jobs of a week. There is much more value in a score of 9.6 of somebody who did 30 projects that took on average 1 month.

    Selecting a freelancer with a better rating on more jobs saves money in the long run.
  5. Don’t forget the stereotypes.
    This is probably the most controversial statement. But I don’t mean it in a negative way. People doing a lot of international business will tell you the same thing.

    1. Being on time means a different thing to an average Eastern European and somebody from the former Soviet Union than to an American.
    2. A yes does not necessarily mean yes in China or India.

    [Fill in your own stereotype here]

  6. Beware of the bid spammers.
    Some of the companies post on any job they can. Only when they get granted a job, they read all the details. If you are lucky, the pull out of the job early (most networks offer this option to their coders). You lose a few days but at least you don’t end up with somebody who doesn’t know what he/she is talking about. If you are not lucky, they grab anything they can get. This is one trick we apply:Ask for a very specific but easy question to be answered in the bid.
    If it is not answered in the initial offer, remove the bidder from your list.

     

List of common sites

www.Elance.com

FP

Established site, but sold its software division.
Now a more creative-based service.
Guru.com

Both

Software consulting sector, public relations, advertising, and market research
RentACoder.com

FP

Mostly coding jobs but also web design.
Bid-Job.com

FP

Less known site.
GetAFreelancer.com

T&M

Mostly European focused
www.odesk.com

T&M

Freelancer site with clear rates, exam qualifications and ratings.
  • FP: A Fixed Price offer for a job.
  • T&M: Time and Material, meaning an hourly rate.

Resources

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Let me share some of our experiences with the wonderful new world of doing business.

Date Event Effort Cost
1-Jun-07 We posted a job on http://www.Rentacoder.com site. 4-6 hours preparation 0 $
3-Jun-07 We got 30+ replies. 8-10 hours to wade through all references 0 $
4-Jun-07 Selected a designer 0 $
6-Jun-07 till17-Jun-07 Received 20 samples, reviewed and fine-tuned 5 hours 0 $
18-Jun-07 Final delivery (B&W version, Photoshop file,…) 85$

So, the conclusion:

  • 3 calendar weeks
  • 3-4 days work on our side
  • 85 $

Moreover, we posted the many alternatives on our website and on LinkedIn. We received 26 reactions that lead us to select the final choice. This is a result we could never have reached using the traditional ways.

Oh and by the way, this is the result:

What we learned from it:

  • Don’t underestimate the preparation and processing time at your side. Even if the money spent was only 85$, there is a considerable cost at our side.
  • The actual work only took a few days, yet we needed 3+ weeks to get the thing finished. We didn’t involve a CEO, a work group or special task force, or alike.

The good news:

  • We were pleasantly surprised by the high quality feedback on LinkedIn. Some people printed all the logos in B&W and color, made estimations about printing costs, and gave other valuable feedback we hadn’t thought about.
  • When some of the freelancers on Rentacoder say they keep on improving until you are satisfied, they actually mean that. We didn’t exploit that, but on 1 or 2 iterations we had to overturn some of our earlier decisions. The freelancer simply kept going along with us.

Post a comment if you got similar or other feedback.

Reddy.

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As nicely pointed out in this post on zolved.com, facebook was initially restricted to the college kids. Because of the pressure of the numbers, gradually facebook opened up. Initially you could subscribe pretending you were from a high school. It nicely offered a list of schools to choose from. I got myself a fake account a few days after facebook opened that door. Now, virtually anybody can join. Moreover, the site now offers a zillion software applications to exploit your and your friends’ profiles.

Doing this, facebook forgot its original unique position:

  • Restricted community
  • Clear and simple interface

We are convinced not to fall into that trap. Let’s hope we are not tempted just because we want to attract more users…

We read the books, the numerous articles, even organized usability testing on some of my previous projects. Each time I am surprised by the amount of feedback you get from a simple 30min session. If you ask someone who has never seen your application to do even the simplest things, you can’t believe how difficult it can be for them.

More feedback will come soon. If anyone is interested in testing our application, drop a note to administrator at radiocorridor.com.

What logo to choose

June 9, 2007

We know about software, but logo design is something completely different. So we put this job on rentacoder.com to draw a new logo. We received 20+ bids. It took us ages to go over all these people’s portfolio. We even got kicked from rentacoder for 24hours because of ‘heavy browsing’.

Finally we selected ‘Draward’, who really convinced us with a smashing set of his previous work. You can find samples of his work here and here.

So now we are faced with a second problem, what logo to choose for our RadioCorridor.com site. This is where we want your help. Have a quick look at the logos below and tell us which you prefer. You can add a comment or send us an email with your thoughts on Administrator@RadioCorridor.com.

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