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PayPal Money = Monopoly Money

Monopoly

Yes. Using money in your PayPal account can and does feel like playing with Monopoly money. For those of you who have done enough online transactions to take the dip and get a PayPal account you will know what I mean.

If you have a PayPal account setup to you allow people to pay you for products or services–a ‘merchant’ account–you may have at one point actually received money into your account. This has happened for me a few times with a few clients of mine. It is a great service to me and to my clients. PayPal takes a little something–but hey they have to cover their costs–I understand.

Where the Monopoly money concept comes into play is when you spend the money you have in your PayPal account. For example, you go to another e-commerce website and they take PayPal as a payment method. You jump through the appropriate hoops and voila! You have paid for your transaction. The feeling is different than credit cards because they come back to remind you that you still owe. It’s different than cash because your pockets get lighter. It feels like pretend money. You received the money, but never really ‘had it’ in your hands. And it does feel a bit different than direct deposit too because you could walk into the bank and make a withdrawl, or hit the ATM. There is no PayPal ATM (hey wait a minute, that would be cool).

Unlike Monopoly money–which can only buy you plastic houses–PayPal money, if you have enough, could buy you a real house. Now if I could just stop the impulse e-commerce purchases…

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The Condensed Stevenote

Steve Jobs @ MacWorld

Every January Steve Jobs steps to the stage and presents the “Stevenote.” The beginning of any major Mac/Apple show. These can be long affairs taking upwards of 90 minutes to cover essentially a handful of topics and information.

A great distillation of yesterday’s MacWorld Expo keynote has been created at Maholo from the Daily column with Veronica Belmont. Its amazing what a little editing can do. 90 minutes in to 60 seconds. If only so much of what we consume could get the filter like this.

You can see it below.

[youtube:http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Yz1-cPx0cIk 425 300]
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Working Globally

Earth

I have been working globally lately. Everyone has read about the “global economy” and how “outsourcing” is going to be the wake-up call to many a worker. But not everyone has felt direct impact from “outsourcing” or taken part in working the “global economy.” I too was part of that crowd until the past few weeks (or maybe I am just a bumpkin).

I have been busy as of late. The last quarter of 2007 for my business has been the busiest ever. To help with the work flow I have been using the talents of freelance designers, production artists, and programmers. One of the latter is a programmer from Poland (who shall remain nameless to protect his identity) who has made an impact on me and my business. Up until today I only communicated with him by email and instant message.

I have worked and collaborated with many people over my years and this being my first foray into working with someone almost on the other side of the world (he is 10 hours ahead of me) I was curious how it would turn out. I have been more than pleasantly surprised. His work ethic is outstanding, his work is great, he has initiative, he is honest, and his turnaround is very fast. I have been impressed to say the least. Now I know to not be so naive to think that every worker who is not state-side has these traits. There are lazy people everywhere.

What I have come to find is that there are great people to work with across the globe and current technology makes this not only possible, but an easy and efficient way to get things done.

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A Contest For A Free iPhone?

FeedBot from Upstart

At UpstartBlogger all that is needed for your lottery ticket is a post on your blog.

write a blog post linking to Upstart Blogger and leave a comment below with a link back to your blog so that I can see the link. At the end of January I will pick a blogger at random and send them a shiny new iPhone.

Here is mine.

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A long overdue initiative for email

ESP Logo

Today marks the start of the Email Standards Project. A project that is long overdue. For anyone who develops ‘rich’ content for emails can attest, it can be a b*tch to get what you have looking good in Eudora to look good in Lotus Notes 8. In my opinion its worse than the bad old days of the browser wars and before CSS was widely adhered to in browsers at all.

Basically it amounts to this. Designing and coding templates that display lovely formatted emails with images, etc. is very hard because of the wide variety of software not adhering to any sort of standard–hence this great new initiative.

So, if you have the interest or inkling, please help spread the word. Every mention will help.

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Jaw-dropping Photosynth demo

A remarkable display of image technology by Blaise Aguera y Arcas at TED. This video is certainly worth watching.

Strange that I just came across this today via a link from my friend Walker Cahall. The talk is a few months old.

The idea of how this image technology can impact those of us lucky enough to be online is incredible.

Please watch.

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Disconnecting

Plugged In

I think that those of us who are plugged in to the Internet for most of our waking day are reaching a saturation point. Too much Internet, too much of the time.

I know many of us have felt the burden of going to burnout and back. However, I feel collectively we want to be unplugged more. The nature of our working lives requires us to be connected for communication, information, and news yet I know I for one could do without a bit of the Internet, for about an entire month.

I seem to remember an experiment from a while back where the situation involved some people in a house and the only way they could get stuff for the house, furniture, appliances, food, etc. was by using the Internet. I almost wonder what it would be like to not ‘connect’ to the Internet for, lets say, a month.

I have done a week without the Internet and cell phone. My family and I travel to the White Mountains of Arizona and stay at a dude ranch that is completely off the grid. Its not a spa-like retreat, so no hot tubs and massages, but it is wonderful being that detached and not being able to do anything about it. The deluge upon your return is no fun, but during that week it is nice until the night before its back to reality.

I wonder if this is just a pipe dream of mine. I would need to get work delegated and systems in place to make this happen so that my absence would almost not be felt.

It would be truly blissful.

I wonder, do you think this is feasible?

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Advertising Agencies need to wake up

Wake Up.

A blog post on NussbaumonDesign at Business Week hints that corporations may be beginning to get savvy about the future of marketing and PR on the web. Corporations are realizing they are literally wasting money. It is simply a matter of time for them to wake up and realize they are spending millions on a way of doing business that is dying a slow death and not getting very much ROI.

What do I mean?
The tools to communicate directly to customers and clients are right here on the Internet. The rise of easy, accessible web video, social networking, the blogosphere, the allure of viral marketing all provide the ability to communicate to millions of people for a much lower investment. The Internet of today is very much a do-it-yourself environment (or certainly not very much money). Think of how much bang for the buck you could get for all that Super Bowl advertising money.

A previous blog post I read and commented on at WebInkNow discussed how advertising agencies use their web sites as a form of digital ego stroking. The post goes hand in hand with Nussbaum’s above and should be a warning of things to come for agencies that are not swift to change their ways.

Here are my comments to his post:

 

Digital Ego Stroking is rampant among Ad Agencies, Architects, and Designers web sites. I own a design firm that specializes in website design and development. I can attest that a massive majority of these organizations have the logic of their own websites in reverse.

The focus of their websites should be on answering potential clients questions about their firm and what it can do for the client–giving the client substance. Not stroking their firms ego and trying to make their website look “cooler” than others.

People want content, substance, and answers from websites. They do not want animations, music, and other distractions standing in the way of what they want and need–information.

Don’t get me wrong, art and design have their place but it needs to be tempered with client objectives and goals. It is possible to design great looking websites that are information focused.

Just as the disconnect with their own websites is apparent, so too is their understanding of the power of the Internet. Granted not everyone at every agency or firm has their head in a cloud, I am not saying that. There are plenty of talented and smart people at these organizations that understand the Internet and its power. They just don’t seem to be in positions of power to make the necessary internal changes needed to cause a shift in “the way we’ve always done things around here” mentality.

What is the cause?
Perhaps its a generation gap. There is certainly some arbitrary dividing line between those that have technology integrated within their lives, and those that do not. I would say the 30 year old and under crowd is wired solid. They are using the web daily (if not hourly) for news, information, communication, and entertainment. Once you get above 30 the number tapers off unless you are involved in the worlds of technology in some way. Meaning that the older someone is, the more likely they are going to be separate from what is happening within this medium. That means knowing and understanding the power there is within the Internet. The key word in that previous sentence is understanding plain and simple.

Perhaps, are those in the upper levels of advertising agency management are just too old and out of touch?

I’m not sure, just a thought.

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Happy OneWebDay

Today is the second annual celebration of OneWebDay, a celebration of the Internet. Dubbed on their website as ‘the Earth Day for the Internet the mission of the day is simple “to create, maintain, advance and promote a global day to celebrate online life.” People are encouraged to share how the Internet has impacted their lives because they are responsible for its existence and the quality of its being. Sir Tim Berners-Lee (creator of the World Wide Web) created a video blog to commemorate the day as well. He makes a few points of note in this video message. Namely:

How has the Internet impacted my life?
Well its been both a blessing and a curse. A blessing in that it has provided me with a path of career change. When I started out of college I only had dreams of graphic design. The World Wide Web just came into existence the summer I graduated from college and would take a few years to begin to collect critical mass. But once I logged onto the web for the first time I knew this medium was for me. So, it has been a blessing by creating a way for me to eek out a living. It has also afforded me and anyone else the ability to do research on any topic for simple knowledge or to help make a decision–for that I love it.
It is also a curse because it is my hobby as well and has been known to literally suck time away from me. I have spent a great deal of time working and playing in the Internet. To put it simply this can, and has, caused time management issues. The good that comes from this experience is reflection on what is important in life. Should I work and surf the Internet right now or spend my time in other ways?

Balance and moderation is key.

Everything counts in large amounts…” – Depeche Mode

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