Archives for 2008

Merry Christmas from Scotland

By StrangeWork.com: I’m writing this blog post from my sister’s house in Carlops, Scotland.

Brad and Dad in ScotlandMy dad and I flew over to visit my sister, brother-in-law, and new niece for Christmas in Scotland this year. We’ve had a great time so far! This is actually my fourth trip to Scotland so I’m somewhat of a pro at it.

At a dinner party last night we met the local neighbors. Shortly into the conversation someone mentioned Facebook, and how that is the only way they can keep tabs on their son. Amazingly everyone, old and young alike, knew of Facebook and most had their own accounts. I never realized how universal Facebook was until that point. It truly is worldwide and growing fast. Pretty amazing really.

Tomorrow we are having a huge Christmas feast at my brother-in-laws parents house and exchanging presents. Merry Christmas to all and to all a goodnight!

New Jersey WordPress Meetup coming in January

By StrangeWork.com: New Jersey now has an official WordPress Meetup Group! My company, WebDevStudios.com, is organizing the event and working to build a fun group of WordPress enthusiasts.

The WordPress Meetup Group is meeting on

January 7th, 2009 in Belmar, NJ

Proudly Powered by WordPressThis blog has been powered by WordPress since it’s launch over 2 years ago. Most of you know I’ve been a big fan of WordPress since then. We use WordPress on many different projects, some we can talk about, and some we can’t. Our goal is to create a fun group of WordPress users that want to come to the beautiful Jersey shore in January!

We plan on discussing a variety of topics including WordPress usage, designing WordPress Themes and styles, creating WordPress Plugins and Widgets, and using WordPress to its full potential. This is going to be a fun and informal way to meet WordPress fanatics just like yourself and share your experiences with the popular open source software.

We are also planning on learning about and working with WordPress MU, BuddyPress, and bbPress! Be sure to RSVP for the event on the Official New Jersey Meetup Group registration page. We’re looking forward to meeting all of you there for a fun evening of WordPress!

Getting Organized with FreshBooks Online Invoicing

By StrangeWork.com: Starting a company is hard, and staying organized is even harder. I started full time at WebDevStudios.com back in April of this year. At the start I was tracking invoices using a mix of spreadsheets and word documents. This method wasn’t too bad until I actually started getting more clients. I quickly realized this solution was not going to work for my invoicing needs.

FreshBooks.com LogoEnter FreshBooks.com, the online invoicing system for small businesses and contractors. FreshBooks in a few words, is freaking amazing! For just a few dollars a month I can now track all of my invoices online and it’s completely themed to match my business, including our logo. All of my invoices are now sent through the FreshBooks web portal and can be scheduled to send automatically if needed.

FreshBooks couldn’t be easier to create, maintain, and track invoices, clients, estimates, projects, and time. Invoices are emailed directly to my clients, who can then gain access to their own FreshBooks account to track all of their invoices from my company. It provides my clients with an entire new set of tools they didn’t have before. They can view what they have paid to date, view open invoices, and can even pay current invoices online.

At the end of the day being paid if the most important part of any small business. FreshBooks is a no brainer for online invoicing, but if you haven’t checked them out yet do it today! You won’t be disappointed.

What can we learn from Pownce.com shutting down?

By StrangeWork.com: News broke today that the micro-blogging service Pownce.com will be closing down on December 15th.

Pownce.com LogoI first wrote about Pownce back in July of 2007 when they launched in private beta. I even wrote some fun scripts that interact with the Pownce API, but in the end Pownce lost the fight and is closing down.

So what can we learn from the failure of Pownce?

Stay lean – Pownce was a pretty lean company for the most part, but how lean were they really? CrunchBase lists Pownce as having 6 employees, which isn’t bad considering some startups out there. Overall I think Pownce was very lean which is a plus.

Be unique – Sure Pownce had some unique features (meetings, images, events), but overall they were a juiced up Twitter. Even in 2007 Twitter dominated the micro-blogging space, so what did Pownce really offer over Twitter? It sure wasn’t the member base size, and the features weren’t unique enough to pull users away from Twitter.

Monetize – I would love to see the stats on the number of Pownce premium accounts vs. bandwidth costs. Did the premium accounts cover the bandwidth/servers costs? My guess is not since they are shutting down, but it would be interesting to see. Launching a new website service is easy, but making money from that site is not. Have a plan on how to make money to offset the costs of hosting/maintenance/support/service. You don’t need to be profitable right away, but you can only lose money for so long before going belly up.

Pownce had a head start from the launch with a name like Kevin Rose behind it, so it is surprising to see it close down so shortly after launching. With every great failure there is a great lesson to be learned. It’s always nicer learning that lesson from someone else rather than ourselves.

Getting Back in the Swing of Blogging

WebDevStudios.com LogoBy StrangeWork.com: I’ve been very slow to write new blog posts lately, but with good reason. I’ve been blogging primarily on my company’s blog at http://webdevstudios.com/blog/. Obviously the blog posts are less personal and more focused on news and information related to my company, so I need to get back in to the swing of blogging at StrangeWork.

I also changed the title of this blog. As my life evolves so will this blog, and we have entered a new era for StrangeWork.com. The new blog title is: Life of an Internet Startup

When I first started blogging, almost two years ago, I wrote primarily on web 2.0 news, websites, and industry information. My career has taken an obvious change since leaving Batteries.com and pursuing my own website development company full time in April of this year. This blog will now help me track my progress as the founder of an internet startup company. There will be ups and downs, but I plan to document the knowledge I learn here for all to read.

Expect to see blog posts more frequently as I travel down this bumpy road of an Internet Startup!

Official SitePoint Podcast Launches

By StrangeWork.com: I’m excited to announced to launch of the Official SitePoint Podcast, which I am a co-host on!

SitePoint Podcast LogoWe have been working on this podcast behind the scenes for over a year now, so I’m extremely excited to see the show finally launch! I’m joined on the show by some really talented and knowledgeable friends from Sitepoint: Patrick O’Keefe, Stephan Segraves, and Kevin Yank.

The SitePoint Podcast will feature top news headlines as related to Web Developers and Designers. We will also feature a main discussion topic each episode. New episodes will be released bi-weekly. On the first episode we discuss how the Internet industry is affected by the current economy situation we are facing worldwide.

This is a new and exciting venture for me and SitePoint, so I’m anxious to see how it’s received. Take a listen and be sure to post comments and feedback on the blog post at SitePoint.

Happy Halloween

By StrangeWork.com: Happy Halloween! Busy here, but expect more posts soon!

Managing Online Forums by Patrick O’Keefe

By StrangeWork.com: I recently received a copy of Managing Online Forums, a new book by my friend Patrick O’Keefe. As most of you know I am an Advisor on SitePoint Forums with Patrick, so I couldn’t wait to dive into this book and see what Patrick had written.

Managing Online Forums Book ImageOne of the first things I noticed is this book can be read by beginners and experts alike. I’ve been around internet communities for well over 10 years now and would consider myself a semi-expert in the field. Patrick was able to not only write for a beginner enthusiast wanting to learn all about community management, but also the seasoned community veteran who thinks they have seen it all.

Patrick breaks down every aspect of community management including developing community guidelines, promoting your community, managing forum staff, dealing with bad members and chaos, and how to make money from your community.

My favorite chapter of the book is one of the more sensitive subjects, Banning Users and Dealing with Chaos. One of the quickest ways to lose control of a community is to handle chaos incorrectly. Patrick does a great job of giving real world community examples and solid solutions on how to handle each.

Another great chapter is Developing Guidelines. I’ve started more than a few communities, and not once have I stopped to think about my communities guidelines before launching. Not only does Patrick go into great detail on what type of guidelines you should have, but he also provides a blank guideline template section demonstrating exactly how he lays out his guidelines for reference.

Overall I really enjoyed this book and would highly recommend it to anyone, beginner and expert alike, that is interested in increasing their knowledge on community management. So get out there and buy this book!

Gillmor Gang and my Identi.ca Twitter Bridge

By StrangeWork.com: Today I joined Steve Gillmor on his IT podcast The Gillmor Gang to talk about my new Identi.ca Twitter Bridge! Also on the show were Marc Canter (Broadband Mechanics), Evan Prodromou (Identi.ca), and Kevin Marks (Google).

Gillmor Gang IT Podcast LogoOn Monday I decided to make the switch to Identi.ca full time, but to do this I needed a way to post messages from Identi.ca to my Twitter account. After searching for a solution that would fit my needs for a bit I decided to just create one, thus the Identi.ca Twitter Bridge was born.

Steve Gillmor registered shortly after the application launched. I didn’t know at the time, but Steve hadn’t updated Twitter in over a month. Now he was sending all of his Identi.ca updates to Twitter. Steve was pretty vocal about his thoughts on the app, which was great. As a developer I always want to hear feedback on applications I build and launch. Having someone at Steve’s level review an application I created was a real treat!

Identi.ca Microblogging LogoI joined in the later half of the show and talked about my application, how it works, and where it is going. I also spoke on some new features that will be implemented, including the option to disable @replies on posts to Twitter. Steve isn’t a fan of this feature (bug as he calls it) and decided to deactivate his account. I respect Steve’s decision, but as a developer I have to give the users some flexibility with options. Not all users are the same, so I have always programmed to please the majority.

Steve also mentioned he is in the early stages of organizing a Microblogging conference and extended an invitation to me! I think a central gathering of techies to help define what Microblogging is and where it needs to go in the future is an excellent idea! I also hope they have developer specific sessions as well, and if so I’ll probably submit to be a panel member of some sort.

My Interview on The Tech Buzz Show

By StrangeWork.com: Yesterday I had the privilege of being interviewed on The Tech Buzz Show, live on Ustream.tv. I had a great time chatting about web development with Steve and Shawn.

The interview is broke up into three parts and runs about 30 minutes long.

Brad Williams Interview part 1

Brad Williams Interview part 2

Brad Williams Interview part 3