Snake Oil

A few year’s back I wrote marketing copy for a snake oil company – just for the fun of it. I have lost track of most of them, but here are the few I have left.

Having trouble solving the last straw? Fail early! Ask early! As soon as you ask, the answer will magically appear in your own mind. Having trouble failing early? You need Snake Oil (TM) from Nobody’s Business!

Real words don’t sell. You need Sssreal Words. Sssreal Words (TM) – Another smooth product from the original inventors of Snake Oil, Nobody’s Business: Tantalizing the English speaking world Sssince 1066 (TM).

New product from Nobody’s Business: Snap Snake Oil – Abrasive and Explosive in a fun way! The friction from a snap is sufficient to ignite it, causing a series of explosions that sound approximately like a thousand rattle snakes.

What does it mean to be open source, when you are brick and mortar?

Open Source – the business model of the future!

Everyone knows that the best and most popular software is open-source. [1] Photography, music and many other content types have Creative Commons. Many other types of businesses are also looking for ways to get in on this economy of free.

But what does that look like for brick and mortar business? Share your blueprints with the world and ask them to help you make them better? Share you business plan, employee manual and business processes? Share all internal documents, software, and prices for sales and purchases?

Can you even do brick and mortar business that way?

Does it go deeper?

Does it mean sharing facilities, employees, equipment, even management? Shared advertising? Share fulfillment?

Some of this has been done for centuries in the brick and mortar world. Does that mean that Free and Open Source was invented before the internet?

How can you tell? What is at the very core of  Free and Open Source? And how could that apply to things other than information products and services?

[1] Yes, the supremacy of Open Source is a matter of opinion. Humor me, keep reading and leave a comment. Whether you think it is better or not these are still some interesting questions.

Make Events / Event Training Materials – Inventory

Here is a list of documents we are working on to help planners of WordCamps and other WordPress events. This is just a static reference. All discusion and updates will be on http://make.wordpress.org/events/

A/V

  • AV release form for Speakers – Must have one for every speaker
  • Working with AV – Best practices for recording good presentations and dealing with A/V tech in general.

Communication

  • Email Lists – Working with MailChimp (or other mail providers; e.g. campaign monitor)
  • Promotion & Outreach – How to get the word out about your event. Creating partnerships.
  • Social Media – Streamlining workflow for Facebook/Twitter presence; tracking event activity on day-of.
  • Survey Template – Post-event survey.
  • Pre-event Email – Template for pre-event email to attendees
  • Recording & Reporting Policies – Inform participants they will be photographed / reported on – inspiration: http://dc.adacamp.org/information-for-participants/policies/

Schedule

  • Schedules – What formats to use (e.g. iCal); planning your schedule / Check out http://guidebook.com/
  • Session Types – Common + uncommon presentation types (e.g. tutorials vs. panels)
  • Unconference (Day) Guidelines – Best practices for organizing the unconference: timing, content, organization

Financial

  • Budget Sample – suggested amounts and percentages for different types of events
  • Budget Template – Currently provided by WC Central to WCs.
  • Invoice Template – Currently provided by WC Central to WCs.
  • Financials Guide – Funneling money through WCC; requirements for out-of-country events. Cover sponsors, vendors, refunds, late registration, additional attendees at speaker dinner, organizer reimbursements, Non-profit letter.

Location/Venues

  • Insurance Guidelines – What to look for / choosing the right provider.
  • Venues Guide – Finding good venues (event, afterparty, speakers dinner). Also floorplan and set-up.
  • Do’s & Don’ts of Venue Selection
  • Accommodations – Finding hotels, motels, BNB’s, and other locales to get you a discount.

Logistics

  • Timeline – In a countdown to event format
  • Organizer Tasks / Agreement – Dividing tasks between organizers, assigning responsibilities, list of mutual understandings

Registration

  • Registration Guide – Templates for registration; release forms (for speakers);
  • CampTix – How to use, best practices, pricing suggestions

Speakers

  • Speaker Guide – Best practices for presenters; tips and tricks; advice from longtime WordCamp speakers.
  • Checklist of Best Practices – A quick reference for wrangling speakers
  • Speaker Submission Form – Questions to ask potential speakers.
  • Choosing Speakers Guide – A guide for organizers on how to choose appropriate speakers.
  • Speaker invite templates – Invites to speakers, confirmation, request for materials, logistics template emails
  • Speaker rejection templates – How to thank people for submissions / proposals but not accept them
  • Speaker Dinner – How to choose a location, who should be invited, how to manage the budget

Sponsors

  • Sponsorship Guide – Templates for sponsorship tiers; how to choose sponsors; guidelines (e.g. GPL requirement).
  • Checklist of Best Practices – A quick reference for wrangling sponsors
  • Fundraising – Who to ask, what to say, what to offer, how to make sure commitments are fulfilled.

Suppliers

  • Food n’ Drink Guide – Best practices for choosing a caterer; dealing w/ dietary restrictions; budget management.
  • WCC Wrangling – Ensuring vendors are paid on time; communicating w/ WordCamp Central.

Printing

  • Swag – Best practices/advice for swag. Includes stickers!
  • Event Signage – Listing signage type + best practices (e.g. schedules on doors, what info?)
  • Badges – Several templates and ideas

Volunteers

  • Volunteer Wrangling – Estimating how many you need, recruiting, training,
  • Volunteer Job Descriptions – Typical hours required, expectation of volunteer time, etc.

Website

  • Website Guidelines – Site map; what content you should have in place.
  • Logo and Site Design – No Fauxgo, asking for, rewarding and acknowledging volunteer designers, WordCamp oneword
  • WordCamp Theme – How to style, and how to use CPTs
  • Snippet Library / FAQ – Answers to questions organizers get asked a lot. Explanation for organizers and public version.

See anything we missed? Have some of these materials you would like to share? Again this is just a reference. All discusion and updates will be on http://make.wordpress.org/events/

I Want to Thumb-up Your Ad

Some ads are really well done. Some are not. Some are ok but so far off topic / awful I would like to ban them from my computer.

I have never been a fan of advertisement, but now that advertisement is my primary source of income I am a little more interested in making them better. 🙂 And honestly, ads can be really helpful if they are talking about a new IDE or something else I want to know about.

And that is the key. I want to control what type of ads I see. I really don’t want some algorithm based on my birthday, occupation, and other demographics. Those details put me in a category that I really don’t identify with. The same is probably true for you as well.

Give me the ability to thumb-up the ads I like and thumb-down the ads that I don’t. Pandora style. Actually Pandora would be a great place for this to start. Yes, I know that thumbing them all down will not get rid of all advertisements. I will just get stranger and stranger matches. I am smart enough to give you good feedback so I get better ads, and you will get feedback on which ads are hits and which are duds.

Deal?

 

Last Day of NaBloPoMo

Well, I made it through the month, but I am pretty sure I am not going to post again for a while.

It was tougher this year but that may be because I have been rather sick.

It was nice, though, to have a bit of pressure to get some posts written that have been waiting on the sidelines for a while.

The Internet Could Save Millions of Words From Extinction

It is no secret. I love language. Not so much the English language – but certainly language in general.

In recent years, the English and Chinese languages, two of the most ubiquitous  languages of our time, have all but lost thousands of words. The assumption was that simpler words and fewer of them would make it easier for people to learn new concepts quickly and that it would just make communication faster, easier, and clearer.

Instead we have become very reliant on context and tone of voice. And since tone cannot be heard in print we use ALL CAPS *stars* bold and all sorts of other vain attempts to disambiguate things that could be made perfectly plain with a larger vocabulary. At the same time we are inventing new words to fill in gaps of meaning left by lost words.

Don’t get me wrong I am not opposed to the natural evolution of a languages, and actually favor strategic modification to make them more internally consistent and to clarify terms that might have fallen into murky ambiguity. I am certainly no fan of English in its present state, and think it could benefit from some repair.

However, I don’t think the solution is vocabulary reduction. So, I was very excited to see this conversation in the comments section of the definition of wont:

Comment: I used it [the word wont] in something I was writing. Editor said this generation wouldn’t be familiar with the word.

Reply: Then they can look it up on their iPad

Funny I had never thought of it quite this way before. We can start using our full vocabulary again and just link to the definition of words that boomers and beyond are not likely to be familiar with.

Now to dig out those rusty old words, blow off the dust, add a little oil, and write a few sentences I can be proud of.

… but what have we lost? I can hardly recall any of those fading words of which I used to be so fond. Do you remember our dear old friends?

Diamond Training – Looking Sharp

I am thrilled to see the Diamond Training site back in active production after sitting dormant for a little while – and with a much better color scheme as well.

Lot’s of great wisdom there. Looking forward to some exciting things happening there over the next few months.

http://diamondtraining.net/

 

Node.js Grunt.js Headache.js

I successfully installed HomeBrew, Node.js, and nearly have Grunt.js – I just have a few errors in npm and now I have a headache. 🙂

To be honest, I have been under the weather for a few days so the headache is unrelated, but it was fun. 🙂

Anyway here are the steps so far:

  • http://mxcl.github.com/homebrew/
  • https://gist.github.com/3182604
  • http://shapeshed.com/setting-up-nodejs-and-npm-on-mac-osx/
  • https://github.com/gruntjs/grunt#installing-grunt

The two errors I get to look at tomorrow are:

npm WARN prefer global node-gyp@0.7.1 should be installed with -g ronn@0.3.8 node_modules/ronn

and

npm WARN cannot run in wd npm@1.1.66 npm prune ; rm -rf test/*/*/node_modules ; make -j4 doc (wd=.)

Update: I fixed the first one (I think) by running

sudo npm install -g node-gyp

The second one doesn’t seem to be much of a problem.

How to Build a Wiki in WordPress

Note: This article is for developers. It is an outline of steps that need to be taken to build the plugin.

  1. Define a custom-post-type so that this can live next to a the rest of the content on a site. Slug: wiki, of course
  2. Define shortcode [w pagename] that links to the correct page if available. If not, suggest alternatives and give option to create page.
  3. Enable front-end editing for this CPT.
  4. Expose revisions on the front-end.
  5. Add ability to define pages that will act as the header and one or more sidebars.
  6. Add widgets that do page menus, topic menus, etc.
  7. Create a [widget] shortcode
  8. Add custom user levels
  9. Add ability for non-privileged users to submit edits in a format that editors can just click to commit.

Being A Leader: It's All About Balance… Except When It Isn't

Being a leader requires you to balance a lot of different, often conflicting priorities. You even have to make the call between a balanced, diverse (safe) approach and going all in.

You will have much greater success if you stay in the center of your lane, but you will have a much shorter life, if you stay in the middle of the road.

Here are just a few things you have to balance. Feel free to add your own in the comments.

  1. Speak and act with confidence. Be humble.
  2. Never do yourself what someone else is willing and better able to do. Be a servent.
  3. Listen to wise council and to the heart of your people. Stand firm for what is right.
  4. Provide stability. Push your followers to achieve the impossible.
  5. You are here to make decisions now and make them stick. Don’t be rash.