Tendenci is flexible enough to let you turn off modules you don’t need, and SEO friendly enough to make it a great alternative to proprietary CMS systems.
No Proprietary Technology Lock In
No Long Term Contracts
No “Named User” pricing to prevents “Knowledge Silos”
Open Source and an Open Community
These are all things that forward thinking companies, not just non-profits, are starting to realize. And the wave of technology continues to compound behind large open source projects like ours (the entire Tendenci community’s). So sayeth the data.
“Constantly seek criticism. … A well thought out critique of whatever you are doing is as valuable as gold.”- Elon Musk
“If you do the simple math, if somebody else is working 50 hours and you are working 100, you’ll get twice as much done in the course of a year as the other company.”
“Just work like hell. You’ve gotta put in 80, 100 hour work weeks.” – Elon Musk
“Starting a business. Number 1 is having a high pain threshold.” – Elon Musk
“You are always going to buy the trusted brand unless there is a BIG difference.” – Elon Musk
“Constantly seek criticism. … A well thought out critique of whatever you are doing is as valuable as gold.” – Elon Musk
“Usually your friends know what is wrong. They don’t want to tell you because they don’t want to hurt you. … Usually your friends are right. …. You should take the approach that as an entrepreneur you are wrong. You want to be less wrong.” – Elon Musk
If people don’t know how to do something, make them learn. That’s how Dropbox went from having 3 to 4 engineers regularly contributing to the iOS code base to over 30. “If you’re doing things right, something will always be a little bit broken. Most importantly, tell everybody that a little bit of chaos is okay,” Agarwal says
The success of SXSW’s March event each year has brought a year-round calendar of mind-expanding events like the 2nd annual SXSW Eco conference a few weeks ago. SXSW Eco brings participants together to focus on areas of Sustainability. The popular SXSW format, panel discussions and meetings over the three days, allowed experts to share their ideas, successes and challenges with audience participants. I was able to attend a variety of sessions including one important to both Schipul and our clients who use technology to support their business or non-profit.
The Good, Green & Shocking Truths
Panel Summary: Many factors such as planned obsolescence, consumer trends, and updated technology contribute to e-waste becoming one of the largest societal waste segments. Exactly how recyclable are our electronics, and what are the most responsible methods of disposal?
The panelists discussed the history of electronics recycling in Texas and the ways their organizations, alongside our state’s legislature, have gradually increased the ease of recycling for businesses. The panel shared the different local electronics recycling programs and explained which programs were legitimately using state approved certifications and processes so that Houston business owners could confidently select a certified recycling center.
History of Electronics Recycling in Houston
15 years ago in Texas, most waste was being shipped overseas, and low grade metals were one of the main waste products. Within the last ten years, we’ve seen this change as more businesses are seeing the value of sustainability programs. Granted, some of this was instigated by policy change. For example, Texas passed the 2008 Computer Take Back Law making computer manufacturers responsible for providing recycling to residents and small businesses.
In 2011, there was only one certified center in Houston and now there are 5 certified centers indicating a move towards easier and more responsible waste management. The increase in facilities comes from businesses who provide recycling services moving towards end of life asset management for businesses, including refurbishing and re-use as much as possible, and encouraging recycling when re-use is not possible. Combined with policy changes, taking out the hazardous materials and doing the right thing has become a profitable business focus. Recyclers also recover more value when possible for the business or consumer than they did in the past.
E-Waste Sustainability in Houston Today
Yesterday’s technology included much more solid metals waste and was larger (think old Desktops). Today’s recycling stream allows removal of metals and proper disposal. Current electronics are smaller and more efficient in their production. This already eliminates some of the bulk of recycling. Both of these are results of policy changes bringing a change in practices and new business opportunities.
Clive Hess, President of CompuCycle – Houston’s first R2 recycling center, brings success stories that share how CompuCycle has expanded their services to include data management and data sanitization, and provide better opportunities for Houston businesses to incorporate sustainability programs. At CompuCycle, many recyclers now securely erase, sanitize and provide warranties on products they resell. No products are sold as-is, but only with a warranty and if it can’t be sold with a warranty, then it is recycled.
CompuCycle also participates in the unique recycling challenge called the WhatIf? campaign where you can donate your eWaste and they will hire and train individuals to recycle the components. This creates jobs and training for a local non-profit organization. The plan is to continue beyond the campaign as a sustainable endeavor, but they ‘need your junk’ to be successful.
Seek Out R2 Certified Recyclers
Most companies are not quite educated yet on R2 certification and the panel shed some light on how to evaluate and find the right certification options for your business. There’s still a long way to go for the recycling industry to be a recognized standards bearer and the EPA encourages companies to find out if the recycler you’re considering is certified by an accredited, independent certification auditor such as the ANSI-ASQ National Accreditation Board.
The panelists agreed that Education will become key for Chief Sustainability Officers in companies and for your Chief recycler in your home. The people who fill these roles will want to seek updates and stay informed with both the changes within the recycling services corporate world as well as with Federal and State policy changes. Some rrecycling businesses are only registered and will include this as part of their marketing materials, but doesn’t mean they are certified for recycling responsibly.
Our future should include policies that put pressure on electronic manufacturers to build upgradeable devices and longer life cycle products to reduce waste. But, this will require individuals to let their lawmakers know how to write these policies. Lawmakers listen to their constituency and particularly parents.
Want to Help Improve E-Waste?
Manufacturer’s need collection goals and the public needs easy locations to drop-off.
Require retailers to provide information about recycling to consumers.
Require state agencies to recycle assets via certified vendors.
Find local R2 Certified Recycling facilities in your area.
Concerned about the future of materials in your landfills near your children? Let your State Representative know your concerns. The EPA’s website also has a list of Recycling Resources where you can go to stay up to date on changes in policies and find tools to help individuals and businesses develop and implement sustainability programs at home and in your office.
Silver Lining for Urban Mining – Urban mining and rare earth metals can be found locally instead of offshoring with other countries. Opportunities exist for job creation and has even been part of the lawmakers focus in Colorado for underserved markets. A de-manufacturing site provides jobs for disabled or underserved markets, and a refurbishing site can provide high-tech jobs for engineers. Recycling E-waste is a reverse supply chain position taking one part and producing many parts from the whole. The recycling industry is a consumer driven market. Imagine what happens if everyone started sending all electronics to recycling? It would be an influx of materials. A typical middle-income household has four or more devices per person in their home. Game consoles, cell phones, old iPods, CRT screens, printer, etc.
Business is good for current recycling facilities. What happens when there is no longer a market for glass or other low grade materials? There are electronic parts that have value such as copper, gold and metals, but it is getting harder to handle materials such as glass, lead and plastic. Panelists were quick to suggest as invention increases, there is opportunity with the challenges. Glass is now used in aggregates for road construction to help the roads last longer with addition of silica to increase life span. Reground ABS plastics lower the cost of many manufactured items. There will be a greater need to find opportunities like these for our increased e-waste.
Businesses are relying more and more on Facebook Fan Pages as a way to connect with their target audience and reach the right client demographics. But having a large, engaged fan base is something that doesn’t just happen overnight. To make the most of your Fan Page you must think strategically and use the right tools to help drive traffic to your site.
Erica Bogdan is Web designer and developer at Schipul and Facebook page admin for AIGA Houston. She will show you how over the past few months she’s increased her page’s number of fans and gotten them to interact on her page. This Webinar will cover the following:
How to use Facebook admin tools effectively
How to increase your fan numbers organically
What strategies to use to ensure your content is being seen by the most amount of people.
Recently, I added myself to the list of iPad owners. I own Apple products, but not a tablet, so I was excited to put this new technology to productive use. These apps aren’t free or cheap ($1-2) like a lot of other productivity apps, but they are well worth it. Here are my top 4 recommended iPad apps to help make your workday more productive.
If you need a place to doodle, take notes, or annotate PDFs, Note Taker is for you. It isn’t cheap, but you will get much more functionality than something like Penultimate ($.99).
Note Taker lets you create folders of documents and store those in other folders so it’s extremely organized. It also conforms to your style of note taking. Whether writing, note taking or doodling, you can:
Insert text via the keyboard
Insert shapes (Note Taker has 65 built in) or pictures from both your photo library and your camera instantly
Change the color and size of your pen
The zoom writing feature allows you to write accurately as large or as small as you’d like. When you want to advance: tap the right arrow to continue on the same line and the left to go to the next.
The gray bar is the wristguard feature. When most people write, they rest their hand on the writing surface. In Note Taker, the wristguard makes sure you don’t mark or mess up the line you’re writing on. You can toggle it on or off in zoom tools.
My Favorite Feature
My favorite feature is the ability to annotate PDFs. I needed to fill out some forms for an online class I was taking and had left my computer at a friends house. I downloaded the forms (as PDFs) I needed, filled out all the subject fields, and sent them in from my iPad.
Note Taker Tips and Integrations
Note Taker has a lot of features and is extremely powerful, but it has a bit of a learning curve, so you have to be patient with it. To read a comprehensive Note Taker user’s guide click here.
Note Taker is compatible with CloudOn(mentioned later), Evernote and Dropbox and you can send your notes to any of these apps using the output button in the tools section.
Overall, this app rocks. Plus, its only $5 for one killer note taking platform.
CloudOn’s claim to fame is being the first to bring Microsoft Office to iPad. It’s great for editing your PowerPoint, Word, and Excel Microsoft Office documents on the go. CloudOn’s downside are the limitations with creating new documents or doing heavy re-structuring.
The keyboard responds to commands like cut, copy, paste, and undo. All of the buttons in the interface are click-able but not all of them work.
I use CloudOn for minor editing and changes like font family, size, and type.
It’s especially helpful in PowerPoint because you can easily edit, add, or delete slides and save to the cloud.
CloudOn links with Box, Google Drive, and Dropbox. You can save, edit and access your files anywhere with Internet.
CloudOn is great for the price and offers on-the-go editing for the on-the-go person who needs to make quick edits to their Office documents.
Pocket Informant HD is expensive compared to some other apps in the App Store and is the most expensive app I’ve included in this review. However, if I had to choose one app as a must have, Informant is that app.
At Schipul, we use Google Calendars for scheduling and Informant syncs seamlessly. It also syncs with Toodledo, Google Tasks, and iOS Calendar.
The beauty of Informant is that it does everything. It has a calendar (with customizable views much like Google Calendar), tasks & events, notes, and contacts. Each item is tabbed and color coded.
Features that Make Informant Worth the Extra Cash
With Informant, you can call anyone (via FaceTime) straight from the contacts tab.
Informant also enables you to link contacts and send them invite via Google sync or the iPad’s email client when creating tasks/events.
One or more of these features come standard in every scheduling app, but Informant effortlessly puts them all in one place, for you to use. For the same price as a good notebook planner, you always have it, and it integrates digitally.
Increased Productivity for Just $26
I use these apps daily and I strongly recommend all of them. Together, they make your iPad more than just a portable toy for playing Angry Birds by giving you a suite of tools to increase your productivity at work.
Informant is a stand alone app and the other three apps integrate with each other. I’ve found it is pretty easy using Note Taker, Scanner Pro and CloudOn in unison.
You can get all of these apps from the iTunes iPad App Store for just $26 dollars (less than dinner and a movie)!
While You Are on Your iPad…
Come check out some of Schipul’s recent mobile responsive sites from your iPad! Responsive design gives your website the cool ability to display an optimized user experience based on the size of each site visitor’s screen. Come see how these sites look on your iPad compared to your desktop and smartphone:
“there’s nothing like good old-fashioned networking”
Passion is important. So is attitude. When it comes to promoting brand awareness, a passion for the product and a positive attitude make all the difference. People will perceive your true attitude to the detriment or benefit of your brand so it’s important to find someone who actually cares and is personally and deeply invested in your product.
Katie Laird shared about becoming a brand ambassador for Nintendo. It was an “organic connection” she says. She bumped into one of the Nintendo higher-ups and a causal conversation became a job opportunity. It was not who she knew, it was her passion: who she is.
“there are things about you that you can share!”
All three panelists stressed the need to be transparent. When you communicate with a brand ambassador it is imperative to be up front about needs and expectations. In other words, honesty is the best policy. Potential disasters could occur due to simple miscommunication.
Even if it isn’t a simple mis-communication it’s best to be realistic (transparent) and up front during any business transaction and it saves all parties involved a lot of heartache.
This happened to Kashi recently after it was released that they were using genetically engineered soy in their cereals. Fans of the Kashi brand confused the labels “organic” (which is an FDA regulated label for foods), with “natural” (the label Kashi used and is *technically* correct). You can read the full story about Kashi’s brand mis-communication in this story by USA Today.
Influence vs. Popularity
know the difference –> increasing conversion to sales (influence) vs. increasing product brand/reputation (popularity).
It’s important to note the subtle difference between the two. Popularity does bring influence, but not necessarily to a target audience ready to buy. When selecting your digital influencers, you want to focus on your ultimate goal for the campaign. Ask yourself: are you looking to increase lead conversions with this campaign, or are you seeking to expand your brand’s recognition?
Influence: A writer who runs a successful blog that has an engaged audience of readers might not be nationally or critically acclaimed but their strong influence over loyal followers can be a marketing gold mine.
Popularity: A pro athlete that is nationally (or even internationally) recognized will reach a large audience, but not necessarily have a direct impact on sales.
Keeping Your Brand Ambassador
make me feel special
Gerome, Katie, and Meredith all expressed gratitude for the brands they represent. Katie remarked that during her ambassadorship she got to tour a national Nintendo facility, all expenses paid. During his multiple endorsement deals as an athlete, Gerome remembers all the “swag” and free shopping trips from brands like Nike, Reebok, or Adidas. Meredith endorses BCBG and gets 75% off of clothes and gets to dress in style.
1-Minute Video Wrap-Up of the Lunch!
If you missed the luncheon, here’s a quick inside look at all the fun from HIMA’s June lunch
Here are three ways you can go identify the right digital influencer for your Brand:
Go find those people who exert influence over your target market. Use social media reputation monitoring tools to find out who’s already talking about you. Inc Magazine has a great article on reputation monitoring tools and their use.
Start with the people who are already following you online and engaging with you already. Check your social media accounts to see who is talking about you, following you, and mentioning you. This will give you a better idea how to engage with your audience
Remember, ‘There’s nothing like good old-fashioned networkingâ€. You never know when you’ll meet your next big fan!
Please! Leave your comments. Tell us how you found your brand ambassador or how you became a successful one.
If you’re in marketing and wondering if you should be utilizing Google+ for Business – my answer is a resounding Yes!
I’ll admit that I was skeptical when Google+ first released Brand Pages and hesitated to commit to using Google+ as part of our web marketing strategy. There are so many different social media networks and so little time. I wasn’t eager to add another social network to my list. I was wrong to hesitate and thought I’d explain what I’ve learned and how Google+ helps your website convert leads into sales.
How Google Search Works (in a Nutshell)
Google is continuously improving their search engine software to provide more personalized and socially relevant search results for users. There are different opinions out there regarding just how much control we should give to Google in determining how personalized our search results should be, and I’m not going to go into that debate issue here.
Instead, I want to share Google’s brilliant business strategy that has made Data the currency of the internet.
The majority of Google’s products are 100% free and target individual consumers. We, the consumers, use these geeky web tools and instead of paying for them with money, we pay for them by giving Google certain permissions to collect and share information about us.
The majority of Google’s profit comes from ad revenues for pay-per-click, Adwords, and other online advertisements presented to consumers as we surf the web. Google is so profitable because it uses the data from consumers to personalize the ads each person views. This makes the ads more relevant and less annoying to the consumer and also makes the ad more effective and likely to result in a sale for the ad buyer’s business.
Talk about an awesome example of a win-win situation!
Google wins = they earn a profit
Consumers win = free tools they want and less boring internet ads
Businesses win = affordable online advertising with measurable results
The Proof is in the Numbers
Google works, and the proof is in the number of people who are using it. Here are some usage stats:
Google has created a service that delivers personal, individual results to each of its more than 1 billion users, profitably.
How Google+ for Business Works
Anyone who creates a free Google account also automatically gets a Google+ plus account now. As I mentioned above, there are currently over 100 million Google+ users and that number is still growing. You’ll need to have your own Google+ personal profile set-up before you can create one for your business.
Google has some really great resources and training videos to help you set-up your organization’s Google+ Brand Page on the Google Plus for Business website. Schipul is partnering with Google’s Houston team to host 2 terrific and Free events: an upcoming webinar on May 29th and a hands-on workshop June 19th for those of you interested in getting help with Google+.
Google+ Brand Pages for businesses have some restrictions and you can’t just go start following all your clients or add them to circles immediately. Since Google’s business model demands protecting the privacy of its users and making sure we all enjoy using Google’s products, businesses can only follow users who first come and add your Brand Page to one of their circles.
Why You Want A Google+ Brand Page
Google+ Brand pages have started to show up in search results in a very noticeable way. For example, if I’m following a certain Brand on Google+ and do a search in Google, their Google+ page shows up on the right hand side at the top of the search results. Some Brands are starting to show up there even if I’m not currently following them or when I search anonymously.
Google hasn’t exactly explained why some Google+ Brand pages are showing up on search results when you aren’t following them, but Mashable has a theory that it could be related to Google’s Direct Connect program. The Direct Connect Program links your Google+ Brand Page and your website. I highly recommend you get a Google+ badge for your website and register with the program.
Google+ Secret Recipe for Higher Lead Conversions
If the premium placement of your Google+ Brand page on search results isn’t motivation enough to add Google+ to your marketing strategy, combine it with the Social aspect that Google’s integrated with their search engine and I believe you’ll see why I’ve changed my tune.
As marketers, we understand the value of relationships when it comes to generating leads that convert to sales. Referrals from existing clients close more often, faster, and at a reduced cost than cold leads. People are far more likely to work with the business a friend or family member recommends than go with a company they’ve never heard of.
One recent study shared on econsultancy.com’s website showed that 88% of consumers look at reviews from other customers before making a purchase decision. 52% of those surveyed said their purchasing decisions were influenced by their friends’ recommendations. The study also showed that just by having reviews or testimonials on your website increased your lead conversion rate by over 60% in most cases.
We already know that when your prospects come to your website and read positive reviews of your work, they have a higher chance of converting to become a client. Since Google+ results now show up on Google search results, Google+ gives prospects your positive reviews and recommendations from the search results page. Prospects can compare the results with other competing sites before clicking through to a website. If the research is accurate, then that means there is a good chance that more people will visit the websites of companies with more positive reviews from Google+.
As an added bonus, the Google search results from Google+ also show the searcher who in their network has +1‘d your business, implying they recommend you.
Google+ Brand Pages are the new digital version of the “Ask for a Referral” postcard used by traditional direct marketers. Asking for referrals has always been a very effective marketing strategy, in my experience.