Saturday, January 20, 2007

SocialText, Joomla, Godaddy, can web publishing get any easier?

I started building web sites in 1996, when you had to hand code HTML and 90% of web sites looked like really bad MS Word docs. Amazingly, 90% of web sites still look like bad MS Word docs, but there's hope!

Easy-to-use, open-source web publishing systems, content management systems (CMS) and wiki's are changing the nature of the web completely. And as companies like Godaddy make it easy to buy a domain, set up a CMS, add a blog a wiki and a forum all in about 30 minutes, small businesses can get up to speed for a very small investment.

Unfortunately, it's not easy to customize and integrate these open source systems for a small business, so the cost will get transferred from web development to design, integration and support. This is an important transition because it will completely change the nature of many web design companies and their business models. The main advantage I see is that creative companies will be able to focus their strengths on creative design, rather than coding. And the web sure could use an injection of good design.

So if you're a small business and you need a web site, or an upgrade, ask your web designer to show you what open-source applications are available and whether they will work for your unique needs. Then make sure they have the skills to design for that system AND to configure it for your business. Feel free to contact me if you have other questions!

Sunday, January 14, 2007

New Attitude Toward Blogging... and Life.

I spent a lot of time over the last few years trying to come up with helpful topics to blog about. I figured that if I was going to spend my time typing and you were going to spend your time reading, I should at least have something really important to say!

Well, I have a new attitude toward blogging. PEACE.

P - Plant seeds
You know what I mean when I say to plant seeds. You can feel it in your heart. Plant seeds of love, joy, friendship, community, churches, gardens, whatever you can imagine. If you are in recovery, start a new meeting. If you are in a church, ask what you can do to be of service. If you feel called, plant a new church! Go out into the world and in your own special way, plant seeds.

E - Educate yourself
The best gift you can give yourself is continued education. The lack of education in the world is one of the greatest causes of continued oppression and poverty. Be part of the solution and keep learning.

A - Assist the poor
This is one of the hardest things to do when you are on the treadmill of life and every penny you make is already being spent on bills, debt, school, mortgages. But it is an essential ingredient to keep your heart open. Stay focused on how you can help others, help the poor, give just a tenth of your time or a tenth of your resources to someone who really needs your help. If you go to church, ask what you can do to assist the poor. Don't listen to your brain because it will give you plenty of reasons to pass this by. Listen to your heart.

C - Care for the sick
I heard that there are only two things you can really do perfectly in this world. Assist the poor and care for the sick. Everything else is practice. When you care for someone who is sick, you are feeding them with your spirit. You don't have to heal them, you don't have to fix them. You just need to care for them. When my friend Rob was dying, I scratched his back for him and he told me that he never knew it could feel so good to have your back scratched.

E - Educate others
Finally, take what you have learned and educate the people around you. Tell your family, your friends, your neighbors. Help the world to grow by educating your fellows. If you don't think you have anything to share, start by educating yourself and then share what you are learning. Help someone who is afraid to go back to school by tutoring them, or just give them encouragement. Do what you can to educate others.

If you've heard of these five things before, we probably have something in common. If you haven't, take them and put them to work in your life. I have a feeling you will discover something that may change your life forever.

So this year my new years resolution is to pursue PEACE. Yep, this is the year where I am no longer going to focus on the perfect direct mail technique, or the format of an HTML email so it will bypass the SPAM filters. I probably won't be blogging about the ideal design for a landing page, or how to set up an auto responder system.

OK, maybe I will. But it won't be because I have to... it will be because I want to help educate others.

Don't get me wrong, I love talking about business. I am enthralled with new technology and I get a buzz learning about new Web 2.0 applications and how they are changing the nature of information sharing worldwide. I get excited when Google comes out with a new add-on that I can put on my personalized Google home page to help me streamline my work flow, or document management or time. But I am committed to blogging for the purpose of sharing my excitement with you—because I'm excited. Not because I'm fishing for new customers, or looking to inflate my ego. Because I have the opportunity to bring PEACE to the world.

I am making a new years resolution right now and I think we should all make the same resolution:

Pursue PEACE.