How to Find a Job When You’ve Been Off The Market & You’ve Hit The 5 Ohs.

I originally published this blog entry on LinkedIn.com Pulse here: https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/how-find-job-when-youve-been-off-market-hit-5-ohs-dan-gudema?trk=mp-author-card Please make any comments on LinkedIn. Thank you.

After I made a pronouncement back in May that I was no longer going to work with startups and will be on the hunt for real benefits and a steady check, I had to face some harsh realities.

If you have taken a break from your proverbial career path for any length of time working as a consultant or had a startup and you are looking to get a full time job, well it can be downright crazy frustrating. And I have had lunch with a few of my friends who are trying to figure it all out.

South Florida has the extraordinarily unpleasant truth of having to compete with large numbers of northerners who apply for jobs here because they just can. We are obviously in a bit of a vacation location, so it totally makes sense. The end result is there could be 10x more job applicants than anywhere else for certain positions. So, the traditional apply for jobs is a non-starter in South Florida.

So what have I learned since last April.

Only put in about 10% of your time applying for jobs.

Applying is anathema to a job search. It could suck up hours prepping resumes and filling out forms with corporate robo cruncher job systems like Taleo (which by the way is the worst experience I have ever had with any online system). And every time I come across Taleo, which has that dreaded resume upload and it generates your online resume where the system thinks your last job is now your undergraduate college. Just letting you know that if that is the way they treat you in the hiring process, I’d wonder about the actual job itself! Actually my opinion is if an employer requires you to rebuild your life history through their system from scratch, avoid them like the plague!

Have at least 5 different resumes for a variety of jobs.

Actually you may need 10 different resumes. In fact, you probably should just customize the resume to the job! Yes, get better at Word now! If you are over 50 like me and technical with an MBA, you can probably handle being a programmer, architect, product manager, director, CTO. I have done them all and I need a resume for each.

Don’t Bite The Hand That Feeds You

I had a confusing experience with a headhunter recently who suddenly announced that I had missed the interview and sent inappropriate comments to the hiring company. The problem was, I had not yet been contacted. The other guy obvious had the same first name as me, Dan! The point is, never let your frustrations show. It’s totally unprofessional. That guy totally screwed me!

Pull, Don’t Push

Sounds like the Yin and the Yang of job search, but this is how you should be spending your time. Don’t apply for anything! Go to the top ten job sites and just update your resume. That is Indeed, Monster, Careerbuilder, The Ladders, Ziprecruiter, Linkedin, Dice. The key to this strategy is peppering your resume with the right keywords at the right time. What I mean is, as an example I have worked with Google Analytics, Coremetrics and Adobe Analytics (Omniture), so I add Webtrends, Cognos, Teradata and Tableau on there. I have worked with all of these products… a while ago. Trust me, I have. And once you find the area intensely in demand, like Adobe Analytics as I found out, you get the mother-load of emails and calls. But you need to make sure you have those keywords.

Yes Man

Say yes to everything! The impact of putting myself out there with all my resumes and this hot desirable tech skill was that I got called by 50 headhunters and received 3 to 20 emails a day for about 4 weeks. It was 90% from companies in India, who call like they are in NJ or Madison, Wisconsin. I would not be surprised if they were all shoved in a small building in Mumbai smoking together on their breaks. You need to play along and say yes to everything. These guys are not the real hiring companies, but they seem to have a way in to the decider! And why not say yes to everything? Until you get an offer, everything is on the table. And I will go as far as leaving Florida for the right gig anyway. I noticed occasionally that some jobs allowed for remote… That was interesting, because obviously that works best for me. Regardless, I am out for the highest bidder and the best locations (wink wink). I really am…

Marquee and Recency Matter

So I worked briefly for The Limited/VictoriasSecret.com 10 years ago. Nobody cares now. When you’re at the 5 Oh, and you have been out on the streets as a consultant or worked for startups for a while, you need a good name or two to let employers know you can actually still work! So, when I got the chance to work at Office Depot HQ for a couple months, I jumped at it. Call out to Office Depot friends, I had fun working with you guys!

What’s the difference between web marketing jobs and web technology jobs?

The answer is $30,000 a year! So I found out I am still a tech guy and not an online marketing guy (Though I will send you a resume for whatever you want me to do!) It really sucks being an online marketer who wants a real job. Now I know why so few online marketers want a full-time job, when they can make more as consultants working on a commission schedule.

Your Community Is Everything

In the end, one of my past associates got me a gig, which I am at now. Director of Business Intelligence and Analytics (I gave myself that title)! So, the best way to put this is, hours of resume writing, fighting the robo cruncher job system “Taleo”, at least 40 hours of phone interviews, probably 60 hours of redoing my resume, skype interviews, emails and texts and so far what I have is I am back at a consulting gig with no benefits that somebody helped me get into. Life is crazy and not always fair and it is less fair when you are in the 5 Ohs or greater because the world is prejudice in favor of youth. Youth does have more energy and can work till 10pm. I can’t! I’m already asleep.

Now, speaking about community. Once again we are running a startup pitch event at Cendyn Spaces in Boca Raton, FL on Sept 21, 2016. This event has a demo day portion where startups can buy space at table/booths where they can show off their product or service to investors! If you have pitched in the past, you are welcome back to demo your service or product if you pay for a table or half a table. We already have 65 RSVPS and 3 companies pitching with 3 weeks left to go. Everything you need to know is here on Meetup:

https://www.meetup.com/Boca-Raton-Tech-Start-ups-Meetup/events/233315418/

Now the funny thing is my associate who landed me my recent consulting gig I originally met at an AIP meeting (Association of Internet Professionals). Get out there and get networking. So community is everything! Hope you enjoyed this entry and I will see you at our pitch event!

Dan

10 Rules of A REAL #SocialMedia Strategy For #startups

About 2 years ago a group of startup founders working at a tech startup incubator at The Greenhouse in Boca Raton talked about running a tech startup pitch event.

I decided I would promote and run the very first event.

Back then I did not know how to promote a pitch event. What I did count on was the couple hundred people I was connected with on Linkedin as well as Twitter. I also had been blogging for a couple years about technology and startups.  So whether I acknowledged it or not, I had followers and likes!

Rule 1: Start your social media strategy by looking at what assets you can leverage.

I began to promote my event through my personal blog and through local startup organization social sites as well as Meetup and Eventbrite.  I also mentioned the event to local newspapers. To my surprise I had over 110 attendees for my very first event.

Rule 2: There are no rules
to social media.

Each unique social media campaign requires different forms of social media based on what you are doing.  You wouldn’t promote your daughters birthday party on Linkedin and you should keep business on Facebook to a minimum. Nobody on Facebook likes it!

I just think that using a one size fits all, cookie cutter approach to all social media makes absolutely no sense.  Often that is what social media agencies seem to do for clients. They seem to have one set of tools they deploy for all clients. Well, let’s just say if you outsource YOUR social media to a paid agency, expect to get crap and expect to pay a lot for your load of crappy social media. How would they know your business better than you?

I don’t use Pinterest, Instagram or Vine because it makes no sense for a startup pitch event.  I don’t use Facebook because I don’t think my family members, high school friends and fraternity brothers want to hear about my event.  They just don’t care!  Use the right social media that makes sense for each market segment!  I use Twitter extensively. Even Twitter does not work for some social media campaigns. Meetup, Eventbrite and Periscope are part of my tool-set.  I run events, that’s why!

Rule 3: Be Real.

Being real simply means that authenticity means a lot in the world of social media.  It means talking directly to people like I am talking to YOU in this article. When I see non-personalized business articles, simply stating facts, products and services with no personality, it is just not that interesting.  And it is really not effective. It is just best to be a real person behind the social media! When you go and purchase 30,000 Twitter followers and send me a canned response when I follow you on Twitter that you are going to change my life.  That’s actually worse than junk mail.  It’s just not real.  Let’s just say that my 6 and 8 year old sons can tell you if you are being real.  That’s a good test of your social media!

Be real and people will follow you.  I will say it again, do your own social media and don’t outsource it!

Rule 4: Give up something and you
will get something back.

When I see a blog that just wants something from you, selling you, soliciting for something or Tweets asking you to buy something without an exchange I shake my head. What I am doing right now is giving YOU at least my thoughts (for free). Before I ask you to do anything I give you something. By teaching you I am giving to YOU.  I gave away my last book, Names, for free as a PDF if you sign up for my email list.  I give and give and give.   And after I give, sometimes I give again.  Then whatever I am asking for at the end, attend my event, buy my book (click here), join my email list (click here) or buy my new 3 year projection excel spreadsheet for sale on Gumroad (click here), you choose whether you want to do that.

Rule 5: Connect and
Automate Everything.

I will give you a little tip.  You can either pay a Hootesuite to post out to all social media out there after writing an article or you can use a little known feature called Publicize built into Jetpack, a WordPress plugin to hit a variety of social media all at the same time. Jetpack sends the actual social media blast through WordPress.com {The WP Mothership} When I am done with this article, I will use it and blast out to Twitter, Linkedin, Facebook and Google+ with one click. Now that will save time.  See, I am still giving stuff to you!

Rule 6: Duplication and Replication is ok.

There are all these Google rules you will hear about like not duplicating content, but my experience is that only applies to website pages and static pages and not social media.  Linkedin for instance does not get searched well by Google (maybe the Microsoft deal will make this even worse).  So I copy and paste these articles to my @dgudema Medium.com account as well as my personal blogs http://startuppop.com and http://strategicpoints.com. And don’t be afraid to tweet the same thing over and over.  Yes, it’s ok. Tweets are fleeting and tweeting 2 hours later actually reaches a whole new crew of people in different time zones.

Rule 7: Activity is Everything

This is why Facebook is so good for social media, there is non-stop activity. Because I don’t feel comfortable using Facebook for business, I use Meetup activity as a way to replicate some of this constant activity.  People seeing action really helps the group or event get traction.  This is why I often give away the first 40 or 50 spots for my events, because once people see I have 50 attendees they want in on the action.  Have you attended one of my events because you saw 75+ RSVPs already in the meetup queue?

Rule 8: Be Available

I don’t think you have to be around 24 by 7, but you need to be part of the mix. Without you, the social media personality or social media manager responding to comments and coming out of your shell, you are pretty much dead in the water.  I read a great article that says if you don’t respond to a comment on your blog, you are dissing the person commenting!  Try to respond to every comment!

Rule 9: Be Controversial, Be
Daring, Be Different

Nobody wants to read 10 Golden Rules that everybody already knows!  They want to learn something.  They want to be challenged.  They want to be engaged. They want a reason to put down a comment at the end of this article telling me that I am so stupid and here is why!  Don’t be afraid to say something nobody wants to hear. For me, well, I am still fighting this feeling that I am over-exposing myself with certain issues.  I am not going to make a comment on this election, but those of my close friends know what I really think. Like Ted Cruz said “Vote For The Person You Think Will Protect Your Freedom!”  That’s about as political as I am going to get here.  Being honest, direct and truthful is what makes the most sense for social media.

Rule 10: Build YOUR Community

Whether you want to have an event, a party, a new business, a startup, a school, run a non-profit, help kids with autism, be a writer or anything, you need YOUR OWN COMMUNITY.   That is why you need to start building members of whatever community you will need for your social media campaign in the future… today.

If you are sitting at a job and are starting a startup next year, you need to be recruiting members to your list today.  How to do this?  Well, there are so many ways I can not even list them all here.  You don’t need to build out your own social network technology.  That would be stupid and just not worth it!  You can use Facebook, Linkedin, Google+, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram, Vine, Tumbler, Periscope, Meerkat, Meetup, Eventbrite, Medium, Evernote, WordPress, Goodreads and 100 other social media out there.  You just have to choose the right tools for the right segment of people for what you are doing!

If you are in south Florida and are not in my Meetup group, please join below:http://www.meetup.com/Boca-Raton-Tech-Start-ups-Meetup/

Once again, I am promoting my new eBook called “Names: How To Name Your Startup Venture here on Gumroad, or here in paperback on Createspace or here for Kindle at Amazon.com.

Follow me on Twitter here: http://twitter.com/dgudema

Read this and other articles here on Medium: https://medium.com/@dgudema

Have a great weekend and start blogging like me if you want to create a community for what you are planning tomorrow!

New #startup book #Names about choosing a venture name

NamesFrontCover2
This week, I self published my 3rd book about Startups called “Names”.  Names is about how to come up with a name or brand for your startup venture, my theories on why this name or that name works, and specific guidelines on what to do and what not to do.  There are 4 key measures of a great name.  Those measures are Memorability, Familiarity, Personality and Does It Say What It Is.  If you score high on all 4 you have a great name.  But a great name simply has one higher measure and that is can people remember it a minute, a day, a month or a year later and recall the name.  This trumps all other measures.  If they can, you have a winner.  To buy Names, you can find it on either Gumroad, CreateSpace.com or Amazon.com as a physical book or eBook.

To buy the book Names as a PDF on Gumroad, click here:

https://gum.co/nameventures

or buy it right here:

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To buy the physical book Names on CreateSpace, click here:

https://www.createspace.com/5145820

You can also find it on Amazon.com for print and eBook:

Buy the book on Amazon.com for Kindle or Print

Thank you and for all who have supported me in the past.  Have a great day and keep on reading.

Dan Gudema

 

Need A Web Analytic Consultant, Look No Further

For the past 3 months I have been working full-time as a web analytics consultant, specifically with Coremetrics, Teradata, SQL, Tableau, Excel Pivot Tables, Powerpoint and other tools.  This was for Office Depot in their B2B/BSD Ecommerce group. This means I worked with a team to deliver Ad hoc reports and delivered weekly KPIs in stand-up meetings to the marketing department.  We built out both Excel and Tableau reports and presented on a regular basis.  So, that just means I can get up and explain things!

What is amazing about this experience is I started out working with early web analytic tools like WebTrends, Hitbox and others for a Fortune 500 ecommerce company in 1999.  I have worked with Google Analytics, IBM Coremetrics, Adobe Site Catalyst (Omniture) and other systems over the years, and I have the expertise to both set it up, run reports, generate queries, even do all the advanced SQL from these  systems in a data warehouse if that is what the enterprise requires.

I have also worked as a business analyst, taking the data and coming up with a story about the data.  I am a both a technology SQL person, are able to learn any aspect of online marketing technology and make it work, including email marketing, media market, social media marketing, event marketing, product marketing and product management and can pretty much work any CRM, CMS or third party system like Salesforce or Infusionsoft or SugarCRM.  I can handle Business Intelligence tasks and have quite a bit of experience with multiple database technologies from Mysql, SQL Server to Oracle and Teradata.

So, let’s say you are looking for a full-time web analytic candidate or a consultant for a job in most US cities (or European cities).  I am available to come to your business in your city and work.  My rate or yearly minimum for my work is available if you contact me.  Here is my resume below: Have a great summer!

Dan Gudema
dan@startuppop.com
786-201-5123

EXPERIENCE

Web Analytics Consultant, Office Depot,  Boca Raton, FL – April 2016 to Present (Current)
B2B/BSD web analytics group member delivering full ecommerce website analysis, reports and KPIs from Coremetrics, Google Analytics, Teradata, Tableau and other sources.  Work with team developing advanced SQL statements, Graphics, Google Docs, Excel Pivot Tables, Powerpoint, Jira, Cognos and other systems.  Ad hoc analysis includes analyzing data and delivering findings. Gave presentation to executives for weekly analysis and KPIs.

CTO, Tech Manager, Pre-Dating.com, Ft Lauderdale, 2001-2005, 2010-2016
Managed all technology aspects of the most successful and largest speed dating company in the United States.  Architect, Product Manager. Built PHP code, managed WHM/Cpanel, Cloud for up to 150k unique visitors a month website, sending up to 1 million email monthly to a database of 350k.  Worked with Google Analytics, millions of Mysql Records and management of other programmers.  Integrated solution with Infusionsoft CRM/Email. Worked with Agile, APIs, REST, XML, Cloud, Email, Checkout, Lists, SEO, Schema.org, Mobile HTML, JSON, SSH, FTP.

Startup Consultant, New Business Development,  Boca Raton, FL – 2012 to 2016
C
onsultant to a variety of startups.  Worked with several outsourced Ukrainian and Serbian web and mobile app development companies discovering and closing projects. Ran 14 startup pitch events with 100 attendees per event.  WordPress Expert, Website and Mobile App Product Management Documentation and Analysis, FluidUI, Visio and other apps. Wrote Pitch Decks, Business Plans and Pro Formas. Product Manager for RealConnex (Real Estate Social Network), Seyopa (Passion Social Network), Connect Address (Social Address Retrieval Ecommerce Solution), Shmoozfest (Event Add-On Platform), Quakbox (Social News Site), Krowde/Frandme (Restaurant Social Platform), TenGoldenRules.com (Agency).

Web Manager/Web Marketing , Verio/NTT Corp,  Boca Raton, Fl, 2006 to 2010
Managed staff of 8 across 5 large websites including Verio.com, Websites.com and Whois.net. Increased traffic on Whois.net by over 500% by developing internationalization, search engine optimization and tools strategy, increasing traffic 12k to 60k unique visits a day.  Managed migrations and relationship with marketing. Worked with HiConversion (A/B, Multivariat testing), Checkout Process, Cart, Omniture analytics, Google Analytics, Google search appliance, SugarCRM, Linux Servers, Firewalls, Cold Fusion, WordPress, PHP, MySQL, SQL Server and Oracle.

Web Developer/Ecommerce Analyst, abc distributing.com, N. Miami, Fl, 1999-2005
Working for abc distributing, web sales grew from $0 to $500 million a year.  Held multiple titles: Lead Web Developer, eBusiness Strategist and eMarketing Analyst.  Developer and Project manager of 20,000 product web content management system. Developed in Cold Fusion, Perl, C, SQL Server and Oracle. Established relationships with vendors across all aspects of website including web metrics (Coremetrics, Websidestory/Hitbox), image management (RichFX, Scene7), external and internal search engines (Atomz), file caching (Akamai, Mirror-Image, Fireclick) and other web service third parties.

Director – Technology, Solayre Media, Inc., Fort Lauderdale, Florida, 1997-1998
Grew tech consulting business from $0 to $1.2 million a year in consulting and software sales.  Managed a staff of software developers.  Sold mapping software directly to clients.

Bell Atlantic Mobile, Bedminster, New Jersey (Now Verizon Wireless), 1989-1997
While at Bell Atlantic Mobile, systems subscribers grew from 50k to 10 million.  Worked on 2 Very Large Corporate Mergers.  Manager – Software Applications Managed high-tech help desk across 9 markets. Senior Engineer – Systems administrator and trainer of support systems.  Engineer – Materials Management  – Managed $1 billion yearly purchasing application.   Associate Engineer – Network Administration  – Cellular Traffic Analysis.

EDUCATION

–  MBA in Ecommerce, Florida Atlantic University, Boca Raton, FL, 2006
–  BA, University of Maryland, College Park, MD,  1987

Startups: Less Talking, More Walking

When it comes to startups there is a ton of talking.  This simply means that people like to talk a lot and do very little.

It’s easy to talk.

I like to talk.

And talking is important.  Startup co-founders need to get together and talk about what they are doing and creating.  They need to spend time figuring out what is important and why they are going to do it.

There is a limit to how much talking and thinking you do.  You need to be out there doing something to even start to think about succeeding.

Most startups don’t get started because they think they need to raise capital.

Most likely you don’t.

Many startups are not able to even get a web page up and running.

Why?

Because many do not have not developed the skills to create a web page.

Many startup co-founders think that creating a simple website that states what they are going to be doing and how to get in contact with the startup is work for a professional!

It’s not.

I have virtually never seen a successful tech startup (web based) where one of the co-founders did not create the first web page (I am not going as far as a whole website).

So, instead of telling me what your startup is going to be about, why don’t you take some time to learn how to create a simple WordPress site and get it up and running yourself.  Trust me, it is not hard.  Watch a couple Youtube videos and you got it!

You can do it right now on WordPress.com and not have your own hosting. Send me your website link and that will tell me what you do.  I think this is as good or better than a pitch deck. A pitch deck is important, but that just tells me you know PowerPoint. The website will tell us you cared enough and are able to figure something out that is really not that complicated.

You see, that is the difference between success and failure for startups.  Success simply means taking action.  Each action is a small success.  You have to start somewhere!

You get a bigger success each time you grow the business or idea.  And that is how you get started.  Hiding the idea away, working in secret initially works for some seasoned pros, but if this is your first idea, then you are not hiding anything from anybody.

And if your website needs to change because you changed the business around this week.  Go back and change it!

It’s not a big deal.  Practically nobody is critical of your startup.  Most people want you to personally succeed.  So just doing something, is the hardest part.

On April 20th, 2016, at 5:30 pm in Deerfield Beach, Florida (not far from I95 and Hillsboro Blvd.) we are running our 14th Tech Startup Pitch Event at SeedTronic.   We are expecting about 50 attendees and there will be panel of investors as well as up to 10 startups pitching. I will see some of you there!
Click here to learn more information about attending this event.

And have a great day.

Dan

Transparency And Responsibility In American Life

You are blind to the truth.

I am blind.

We are all blind.

And our ears don’t seem to want to listen, nor do we seem to care that things are the way they are.

I am talking about the reality of American Life. And if it where just one thing and not pretty much everything, then you could fix that one thing, maybe. From Healthcare to What You Eat to Immigration to Wars to Startups.

I mention all those areas in this article and challenge to add a few more.

Everything we do right now needs to become transparent, where we take responsibility, because most activities and processes in America right now are not transparent, and there are forces trying to keep it this way.

So what am I talking about really?

Ok, let’s start with healthcare. What does a simple doctor’s visit really cost? Do you actually know? I am not talking about the payment YOU make as you leave the doctor. I am talking about what was really payed by insurance companies to doctors, clinics and hospitals. Ever end up in the hospital for a short stay. You may be paying $2000 in deductibles, but what was the real cost? It could easily be $100,000. What is the monthly deductible? Add that up yearly and see what you pay as a percentage of your salary. Doesn’t matter if you are liberal or conservative. This is a matter of transparency. Until we are responsible for a bill, where you say to the doctor “hey you billed me three times, now fix it!” And you personally are responsible… the price will continue to go up indefinitely. We all need to be responsible to change the system. By the way, half the time I figure out my own illness myself by doing a little research and have had doctors often be wrong. They are human. Don’t just accept a doctor’s opinion. Get another opinion and challenge that one. Find a home made remedy instead of a pharmaceutical if possible! Trust me, I have.

This is just the tip of the iceberg.

Chocolate. You like it right? I do. I like dark chocolate. You get it on Halloween, Christmas, Passover. I eat it at least once a week, somewhere. It is always on a desk somewhere for me. You ever wonder where it all comes from… Well apparently Americans don’t want to know. If you wanted to really know the answer, you would google where it comes from and find much of it is created from chocolate bean farms worked by dirt poor people, practically slave labor and child labor whether in Africa or China. Needs to say on the package what it really is about so we can understand what we are eating.

Sugar. Something changed in the American diet about 30 years ago when they started to use high fructose corn syrup instead of sugar in many products, especially fast food. I don’t know the science but it is something that you need to avoid. I personally think it causes moodiness, depression and obviously it will lead to being overweight. We buy things with high fructose corn syrup all the time, like pretty much any fruit drink. But do we actually look at the label carefully. It is there in plain site on products we buy. This one is transparent, but you were not looking! Better to start now. The real problem is at fast food restaurants where you get high fructose corn syrup and don’t even know you are it in your system.

Your checking account. I have not been able to reconcile it in over 15 years since online banking. Who really knows where that monthly charge comes from that I can’t seem to figure out? Having things be easier doesn’t mean you need to look at it less and less.

Illegal Immigrants. All this fuss about people who come here to the US to work. The reality, if you wanted to know the truth, is illegal immigrants are lured and invited here by all kinds of employers who get them to work for a lot less than minimum wage. Those employers make a bigger profit, save money or stay in business whether pickers, lawn service, child care or whatever they do. Illegal immigrants are part of the US economy. And somebody is benefiting from them. But what’s best for those who benefit is to not discuss what immigrants do, where they come from and why they are here (trust me some big farms and small farms really depend on the low labor rates), but next time you eat an orange think twice about the fact that oranges are hand picked by people who are willing to work for less. Make them transparent. That means give them an ID card, have them pay medical insurance fees (because we are all paying for them now) and do it the right way, out in the open!

Citizens United. This is the biggest tragedy in American life today. Now we are expected to accept the fact that a multi-billion dollar corporation has the same freedom of speech and rights as an individual. Sounds reasonable, but it is anything but reasonable. It is used as a guise to say that corporations can spend anything they want to influence the system. Now we don’t know who or what is behind buying ads during elections. Somehow that became law. wow. It’s a major problem of transparency.

Iraq war. A war in Iraq that nobody seemed to care it went on eternally. Nobody seemed to care about the cost. Nobody could explain why we were in the war in the first place. Nobody investigated all the military corporations who charged extraordinary amounts to run the war. There were trillions of dollars spent, yet nobody seems to want to go over how much was spent or how much they are spending. Of course they don’t want transparency. None of us are taking responsibility for this. It is always somebody else.

Startups. I have met with or heard over 200 startups pitch to me directly or at an event in the past 3 years. I have worked directly for 7 as a startup consultant, employee or partner. Do you really want to know how many times I have met with a startup that tells me they have already spent $100k, $300k, $600k, $1 million and still are not clear about what they are doing exactly. Can people be so focused on what they think the world needs and not be willing to go out and simply ask people if they are willing to pay for it! Just ask. Be responsible. If they say no, move on. I understand, people don’t want to look at themselves in the mirror.

And for whatever reason, it seems like the lack of transparency or responsibility has become our American way of life.

Let’s boil it down to this. Are you the guy or gal who purchases an exercise bike from a TV ad where they say for only $16.95 a month you can start the process of owning your own exercise bike? Well, they never said how many months you pay. That is not illegal. You could pay $170 or $1700. Did you find that ding on your credit card for the next 5 years? Huh. Shouldn’t it be illegal to sell something where you don’t know how much it really costs?

Well, I do think people care about all these things that are not transparent, but say to themselves “what can I do about it?”

But you can do something about it. At least talking about it is a start.

Well, at some point I started to track down those extra charges on my credit cards. I even turned off most of my credit cards to eliminate whatever it was.

As far as the lack of transparency. You have to start by looking at everything with a different point of view. Ask your doctor as you checkout next time what was the actual real final charge to the insurance company plus what you are spending? When people say to you, get rid of all the immigrants, ask them do you know what immigrants actually do here in the US? Does your community use labor that is illegal? Hmm, well you may be personally benefiting. Take responsibility for that. When you grab your favorite RedBull, coke or fruit juice check the label carefully for high fructose syrup. Don’t buy it! Change your credit cards periodically to get any crazy monthly charges off of it. I am probably missing a dozen other things where people don’t really know what is really happening behind the scenes. Be vigilant and ask questions and don’t just accept fluff answers.

If you live in South Florida, on April 20th at 5:30 there will be a tech startup pitch event with networking in Deerfield Beach at Seedtronic (yet another startup). Up to 10 companies will be pitching to a panel of investors and experts at this event. If you register through Meetup before April 12th, the event is FREE. After April 12th the event will be $15. Click Here for more information.

Have a great day and go to my Linkedin Page here, if you want to comment on this subject:

https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/transparency-responsibility-american-life-dan-gudema?published=t

Web Page Performance – Such Are The Mysteries of Life

For over 15 years a group of us have run Pre-Dating.com, the largest speed dating company in the US.

Pre-Dating.com, like many websites that have been around a while is somewhat of an enigma at this point in time.

Time has moved on, but we haven’t at Pre-Dating.com! Some tech things we work on don’t have to change that rapidly.  They are great because they just work!

There is good reason why we don’t change rapidly. If you search on “speed dating seattle” and place that search into Google, we are number 1 organically, so we don’t exactly want to change that.  We are found by at least 110 other city names on page one. And we have more to risk with some serious changes now than to gain.

That explains a lot when you look at Craigslist, Reddit, Ebay and others.  Some of the risk is SEO based (you could lose your ranking).  Some of the risk is customers not being happy with a change.

There is a case study where eBay came up with design change the customers hated.  They put back the old design and never changed it. So if push comes to shove, as a web manager you are most likely to leave it as is!

Major Changes You Can’t Ignore

But there are some real risks to your website and web business as technology evolves without your site evolving.  The world changed dramatically in 15 years in online dating for instance.  You have to keep up with some of the critical changes or you are going to be out of business.  I can list about 10 online dating sites no longer around.

You just have to determine which technical changes are important and critical and which ones are not that critical.

For instance, did we need an online dating site with a login and membership for our event company?

It would have been nice, but we were fine without it.   Our customers did not need it.

Did we need a mobile app for our dating event company?

Actually, we were fine without a mobile app, even though every web guru, tech startup guy and their mother was crying up till recently you need a mobile app or you are out in the cold.   There are many of these potential technical directions and changes we could undertake, but the big two changes we can not afford to not keep up with are mobile ready and page speed.

Mobile Ready

This is a really a ten year old discussion.  When the first smart phone emerged, the very first smart phone people started to surf Pre-Dating.com.  About 4 years ago we recognized that our mobile traffic on Pre-Dating.com was growing by the day.   So, we decided to make a few key pages mobile ready and we have converted at least 50,000 event sales via smart phones since then.

Page Speed Comes A Knocking

And you would think page speed (The actual time it takes to load a page) would have always been a concern.  The answer is yes.  But it is now even more critical considering mobile requires faster speeds.

And in the US we don’t necessarily have the fastest connections on all our smart phones, yet we are beating the crap out of the networks with our smart phones and tablets!  So yes speed of a page load is important!

And I believe Google is ranking sites based on speed, somewhere in the Larry Page Rank, so its all part of getting found through nature search.  Plus people who have a long loading time on  your web page just leave!

So, I took a hard look at our web speed.  The first tool I used is the free tool here at Web Page Test:

http://www.webpagetest.org/

This is a real techies tool.  I use it to see if the problem with speed is at the first click or is it a javascript include, a plugin or some other issue like database query speeds.

And I started to find a bunch of new tools that were not around back when we started that are less technical, like this one by Google (Should be able to click on the text below):

Google PageSpeed Insights tool

Just stick your web page (any page URL on your site) into the box and click the Analyze button.

It comes back and says a bunch of things are not good, like often you don’t have a compression or browser caching deployed.  It also comes back and shows you what your mobile looks like and it defines a score on your mobile separate from your desktop users.

What I found fascinating is if you analyze almost any website through this Google PageSpeed Insights tool, like in this case Match.com, Yahoo.com, Huffington Post, Drudge Report and a thousand other websites out there, they all have problems with speed.  Even Apple.com sucks when it comes to speed. In fact, the entire web world is way behind on this.  In fact, it seems most big websites don’t care or don’t know they have issues and problems.

The entire web is now comprised of popular websites that couldn’t give a rats ass if it takes 10 seconds to load on your iPhone.

So, I shouldn’t feel so bad for our lowly speed dating site.

But, this also means if you run Google PageSpeed Insights and make the changes Google recommends, you will get a leg up on competitors.  So I started to make these changes.  And along the way I ran into all kinds of cobwebs of the Internet past and present that needed to be looked at and sometimes fixed.  It is a cornucopia of web issues…

A lot of us started to implement open source WordPress sites and we kind of left this kind of stuff to the plugins and the framework.  We just started writing our blog articles and not worrying about the HTML, CSS and everything in the kitchen sink.

We (who have been in the web world) for over 15 years already knew how critical these small details were for web page speed.  We just need a good tool to tell what is wrong!

So, let’s face it.  In the end, you need to research, read and get a PHD in web site speed to master this little baby of a problem.  I am thinking about blogging about all the issues I found and fixed.  In fact, check out http://pre-dating.com on your desktop or mobile and you will notice it is now lightning speed in most cases.  Well one of the secrets I will give away is local browser caching.  The first click may be slow, but then the browser caches it all and you end up fast on the second and every other click because or reused resources!

Have a great day!

Dan Gudema
dan@startuppop.com

This article was originally published on Linkedin under: https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/web-page-performance-mysteries-life-dan-gudema?trk=pulse_spock-articles

Anybody Can Publish A Book Through CreateSpace.com

They have made it very easy to publish a book through Amazon these days.

How do I know?  I have published 3 books in the past year, and I have a new book about to be released about startup names. To get on my book list to get a FREE Ebook to be released soon about coming up with a startup name click here: http://www.startuppop.com/about-us-2/

Amazon at some point purchased CreateSpace.com.  I have used CreateSpace.com to publish 3 books for free over the past year.   Yes for FREE.  I heard today from a friend that somebody paid thousands to publish their book.  You can pay thousands, even in CreateSpace.com.  But you could just as easily do it for nothing.  That is a personal choice.

Most anybody can do it who is the least bit savvy with websites, Microsft Word and graphics. We have used http://CreateSpace.com to self-publish my books. You can go there now and start the process of self-publishing.  Trust me, it is no big deal!

The problem is while it is very easy to publish a book, it’s still work to write one.

Writing is something that you desire to do.  If is a chore, then stop reading this article now and go golfing. It takes time to write obviously and it could be hard for many to write.  Only writing can make you a better writer.  That’s why I tell people to write a little bit each week or day.  This blog is just a small piece of writing I am doing out of a larger body of work I have been working on.

Being able to write well; that alone is a big barrier.  You can overcome this by writing a blog or even leaving me a comment on this article.

Other people who want to write tell me they don’t know exactly what to write about.  That comes with time and patience.  Write a bunch of blog articles and you will see a pattern to your writing. And that is what you will write about.

Most people want to read books that are well written and on a subject they are interested in.  Start off with writing a book YOU would want to read yourself. That is the best book for you to write.

There are easier and easier ways to accomplish writing a book. As one friend of mine pointed out, he no longer hand writes his books, he simply dictates them. So if you are good at talking that is one way to write your book, speaking it right into your SmartPhone, where it gets perfecting translated!

And writing a book just to have it on your shelf to hand to a new client as a financial only deal is not that impressive anymore (most anybody can do that!)  Well, let’s just say, that there is something about writing in general which is all about honesty and transparency.  People are great readers and they know if the writing makes sense and has an impact!  If you are simply writing a bunch of rules in a book to show you are an industry expert and the book is less than 30 pages that you could easily read on some website out there with a Google search, well, maybe that means you need to dig in and rethink your whole reason for writing a book.  Maybe people will see right through that.

I had started out in 2007, blogging away just like in this Linkedin post.  I had written about 100 blog posts between 2007 and 2014.  For my first book, I took the best 20 that revolved around a single subject, Startups, and put them together as a book.  Sounds simple, right. Well, I still had to work hard at editing and making sure the book made sense.

Now, you may be thinking to yourself, “why in god’s name would I want to write a book”.

Well, after a friend recently recommended Authority by Nathan Barry http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/18070394-authority, I am seeing the light on how writing can be the path to many things, the most important of which is making a living.  He points out that you can become an expert in your field even though you did not start out that way.

Just writing about a subject will make you an expert at a subject over time.  Eventually you will become an authority!

It will get you gigs/jobs, you can accomplish a life-long goal, you can get your point across, you can heal some souls, you can heal your soul, you can free the truth, you can confuse and conspire but most of all you can help people.

But one thing in Nathan Barry’s book that really struck me is how he focused on becoming an “Authority”.  When you become an authority on a subject, then you can write and sell your work and make a living as a writer.  I get that.  It makes sense.

Writing to be an authority is very different than writing a novel or screenplay. Those are creative works.  To write a non-fiction book, you may desire to reach out to become an authority or maybe not.  Barry goes even further to suggest honing in on subjects that can make other people a living.  Teaching people how to make money through your book, whether it is tech, financial, marketing, self-help or another method is part of being an Authority on the subject.  Obviously you could write a book about most anything, but helping others help themselves is an excellent place to start.

I am going to do a series of blog articles about self publishing and take you step by step through the process.  So please get on my list so you can read about my next series of articles.

Once again if you have not gotten on my email list at StartupPOP.com, please click this link http://www.startuppop.com/about-us-2/and add yourself to this email list.  I will be giving away one of my Kindle version/Ebooks for FREE in an upcoming email if you get yourself on this list:

http://www.startuppop.com/about-us-2/

Have a great day and start writing your book today.

Dan

Skill-Based Economy Vs. Startup Economy

While there has been a lot of interest in startups, we still see more and more of the IT Tech workforce focus on what I describe as a skill-based economy.

This means that most jobs now revolve around a particular application skill or specialized knowledge, a programming language knowledge or hardware knowledge.  This is different than a startup based economy, where workers learn a variety of business skills. There is also a management economy, where broad knowledge is paid for and engineers and graduates are expected to be able to handle any language or system under any situation and skills are softer running corporations.

The US is about to undergo a major shift towards a startup economy and I think that it will never look back.  A major factor is crowd-funding, but out-sourcing is also a factor.  There are just not going to be that many jobs in the future, because it is so much cheaper to outsource work and things will eventually get very automated to the point where programming is needed less or is worth less!

Most funded startups are in Silicon Valley and NYC. But startups are coming to every town in America if they are not there already.  The 99% of America that is not in Silicon Valley and NYC has to rely on starting up by bootstrapping with our own hands and own funds most of the time.  In fact, from my perspective most startups never get funding till the deal is so good that you don’t need the capital.

There is a big difference preparing for a career in a startup economy vs. a skills based economy.  For one, you need broad knowledge to be a startup vs. you need specialized knowledge to be skilled.  You need to open up your mind to the possibilities to be a startup.

In the traditional skills based economy you need to focus in even deeper and study even harder to be niche and more specialized at what you do.  The problem is skills based training, while amazingly pays the bills, does not lead you ultimately to leading or being in a startup, if that is your personal goal!  This is the lament of many tech people who ask me how to transition from tech guy to startup guy.  Trust me it is not easy and very painful and it is a doorway you can not often go back through.  Though some of you reading this have gone back and forth like me.  That is even more painful. Either way you need to start one day if that is your passion and quite often today is that day…  Sometimes when you get severance and are laid-off you get the chance.  But you needed to have trained your mind years prior!

About a year ago I noticed that a very focused MySQL expert, highly skilled at just this area was able to command as much as $200,000 in yearly salary in South Florida.  That sounds great for an MySQL expert if that is your background, because that is a ton of pay for MySQL, as high or higher than some CIOs and CEOs. We have seen this happen with a dozen other IT areas from SAP to Cold Fusion to Oracle to Java at one time.  I remember a developer who worked at $400 an hour 25 years ago at the phone company.  These high salaries are based on supply and demand.

So, what does this mean?

The emphasis on becoming an expert at these specific skill sets has caused a ton of code schools and DevOp training schools to crop up to train people.  Still doesn’t seem like a bad thing, right?  It creates a new crop of IT pros who just know one specialized area. And that is great and they get jobs. The problem is what happens when that specific tech skill is not needed anymore or once again the engineer wants to be an entrepreneur!

So What’s The Problem With Skill-Based Economies?

Well, if 90% of these people entering these skill areas are just trained in the one discipline, they are facing certain obsolescence and can’t really change their career within the current job.  They need to constantly go for training.  And what happens on the next tech era/iteration is they are often in the pool of applicants who just got trained on the new skill-set.

So what I am saying is in a skill-set driven economy eventually as you get older, you end up retraining over and over and are right along side of people with only 5 years experience when you have 25. You are starting your career from scratch every couple years!

And often the newly skilled professionals jumped into the skill without finishing their undergrad degrees.

At some point, as more and more outsourcing occurs, the job market could become a dog-eat-dog world driving salaries down, not up! While you have created this amazingly specialized skill set, you realize, that you have not developed the startup skills that you will need to create a business in your near future.  We met a bunch of tech people like this at our StartupPOP tech startup pitch event yesterday, Feb 2nd, 2016 at 6pm at The Greenhouse in Boca Raton, Florida: http://www.meetup.com/Boca-Raton-Tech-Start-ups-Meetup/events/227700750/

Tons of people and experts are telling interested techies to just quit school which is expensive and get a job programming.  In fact, they often find themselves making good money early and later on find out that they probably should have finished their degree or started their own tech firm or startup early on.

I hear people in Silicon Valley complaining that they don’t have enough of these highly skilled people.  What they are really saying is we prefer more and more single skill, highly focused people, not people who can run a business or manage people.

Businesses more and more just need specialized workers. Why? Because they don’t need people who can migrate to management, product or other areas of the business.  And they don’t need people who are skilled at Startups… Actually I think they do. but that is another blog post.  Businesses say they need programmers who can deliver exactly what they want today.  Once again that is ok and a great entry point for people. Employers want workers they can plug and play, and they don’t care how they got the skill as well.  They just want that skill.  This is how I got my first job, plugging together PCs and writing C programs to download telecom switch data.  So good entry point for us all.

And more than ever, they don’t want or need these skill based workers on a permanent basis. Eventually you move on or employers let you go when they need new skills.

They are calling this the part-time economy, where every job is a  part-time job and skill-sets that are bought and sold literally on a part-time contract basis.

Not all IT professionals want to be an expert at one thing or can handle being a one language developer for years and years.  I have done it.  You can do it for a couple years, even a decade or two, but eventually you wind up having to completely relearn an entire programming skill set or new tech paradigm and at least I had to move on to other areas like marketing, business dev (sales), architecture, project management, e-commerce and of course executive management.  Besides everything gets old and boring and humans need variety in what we do for a living or we go insane!

And most important, these skill set driven jobs often hit a financial ceiling.  I have had many programmers tell me that they can’t seem to make over a certain amount without some type of career change, whether its management or product.  So that is where you end up, stuck in a rut, not being able to climb up the ladder and not having enough broad skill knowledge to change.  So having an undergrad, MS, MBA or PHD at that point is great!  You can do other jobs!

I use the words Startup Economy or Management skills loosely.  They are two different directions.  Managers are quite skilled at project management, meetings and working with and managing large teams and organizations.  Startups tend to require all kinds of skills from low level tech skills and high level thinking and everything in between.

Building up a skill-set in one discipline does not require skills like being a serial entrepreneur/tech startup person or being able to write a pitch deck or business plan.  Those skills are not part of working in a skills-based economy. To be a startup guy or gal it requires studying everything you can get your hands on about startups, going back to school, working a startup as their second job, reading 100 startup books by Guy Kawasaki or learning the hard way or on the job.

Either way, it is a tough road.  There never seems to be enough to know in order to make a startup work, so you are often winging it.  But to leave the skill based economy and join the startup economy you need to start today!

Please join our email list on http://startuppop.com and identify if you are an entrepreneur, investors or other type in this new startup economy. Also, by joining our email list, you will find out about my next two books when they are published.  They are called “Names” and “Roadmap”… Both will be published as print and ebooks/Kindle in 2016.  Have a great day and keep on thinking of your own startup… Never give that up.

Finally, we are looking for startup entrepreneurs, mentors and event planners who want to run our pitch event in your city.  You would be part of a global group of people running pitch events under one single company.  We are open-minded to running this pitch event in Europe, Asia, South America and Australia in addition to 120 US and Canadian cities.  (Think like Avon!) StartupPOP is recruiting people to run local startup pitch events and we supply the tech, promotion tools. You secure the venue and run the event. Please contact me at dan@startuppop.com if you would like more information about running this event!

Have a great day!

#StartupPOP 13th #Tech #Startup #Pitch #Event In #BocaRaton On Feb 2nd, 2016

StartupPOP LLC is running its 13th Startup Pitch Event in Boca Raton at The Greenhouse on Tuesday, Feb 2nd, 2016 at 6pm.  The event includes Networking followed by 5 to 10 tech startups pitching for 3 minutes in front of a panel of investors and experts. This event is for startups, investors, mentors, sponsors, service providers like lawyers and accounts as well as interested parties.  We have had between 50 and 120 attendees to StartupPOP events over the past 2 years.  This event will include StartupPOP Grand Prix, which is a way for the audience to vote for each startup interactively.

Click Here To RSVP For This Event: http://www.meetup.com/Boca-Raton-Tech-Start-ups-Meetup/events/227700750/

If you are a startup and would like to pitch this Tuesday night, we have room for at least one more startup. Please contact us at dan@startuppop.com if you would like more information about pitching.  We would also like to thank our sponsors for making this event possible, including The Greenhouse.