Central Academy Talk Follow Up

My friend and colleague Steve Schultz has summarized our visit to Central Academy in Des Moines, IA very well so I'll let you read his excellent analysis.

I will simply add that it's truly amazing to me how many amazing stories are NOT being told out there purely because slower and larger institutions (educational/corporate/government) cannot or will not adapt to the current state of technology. 

I realize why they have trouble. I get it.  But usually we see the same story.  Culturally, the subordinates start to get it...but have to go up against "The Man" to get anything done.  After so many battles with the man (or the woman to be fair) they give up and go back to not making waves.  Argh.

Let's hope that we sparked a mini revolution of folks wanting to make change, break rules, and ask for forgiveness. 

In only 3 weeks, I've discovered 2 educational institutions that I knew nothing about but want my kids to attend.  Let's hope they both take the "Become findable where they all agree everyone is looking" route. 

Yes I'm still at 100% on "Google" for that answer.  Steve's mom almost said phone book but we quickly moved on to keep my record going :).

Revolutionary Video Searching the Google

It took about 2 hours but we created the ultimate resource explaining how to search google for anything.  We think this will pretty much guide anyone to success no matter their level of expertise.  Please watch and share with friends and family.

Do I need the small biz accounting silver bullet or outsourced book keeping?

I've been ranting back and forth on twitter about my accounting system trauma.  For the last year I've been trying out new systems since my transaction volume is low, my needs are typical, and my main goal is 99% automation.

I was on Quickbooks for windows.  Powerful but not web based which I prefer now.  Oh there is a version of Quickbooks for the web you say....BUT NOT FOR MAC! What????  How difficult must it be to create a Mac friendly version of a web based accounting app?  Oh yeah, there are tons of other options so Quickbooks loses.

Here's the deal, there are a million great applications out there with specific goals.

  1. Mint
  2. Wesabe
  3. LessAccounting
  4. Freshbooks

But all of them do 80% of the equation.  The ones that do a GREAT job (Mint) of automating and auto updating bank data aren't really geared towards business and thus don't really do invoicing.

Those that do invoicing still don't seem to have the ability to auto-import expenses from a credit card or otherwise. 

People are on there (like me) requesting this functionality but it seems that this is something that "everyone takes note of and will get to eventually". 

Well I'm here to say, if any ONE of you get to the point where you have a web based small biz/entrepreneur oriented accounting application that has ultimate automation and invoicing and expense management wrapped up into one package, I know a boatload of people who'll migrate instantly.

So if I'm paying $14-$30/month for this service and I'm disappointed and left with say 2 hours a month of accounting work, could I get an outsourced bookkeeper/virtual assistant to make my life whole for $100 month?  $200?  I don't know. 

If this was simply handled by someone else (ie THEY got the expenses from paypal, bank, amex) and uploaded/reconciled and i just billed people (that part is fun anyway) could I streamline this process and be happy about accounting again?


Dialog about Angel Financing in Iowa

Looking through search stats on this blog a few moments ago, I noticed that this search "angel financing in Iowa" produced a first page result for your humble author.  I've written about how Central Iowa needs to organize and bring together:

  1. The amazing talent and tech (not just software mind you) sub-culture that thrives here.......with
  2. The entrepreneurial minded angel investor who is willing to attend regular pitch meetings and put up RISK capital for prototypes and bootstrap launches.

Not so tough right?  Wrong.  The feeling among many here in town is that we have no truly open Angel funding network.  Central Iowa start up funding seems concentrated into small groups of Angels that are intertwined with business and government.  To the outsider with great ideas and little funding opportunity who gets pushed into the same funding funnels, this can be frustrating.

A couple of days ago, a lapse in my Twitter attention span excluded me from a heated exchange that resulted in this upcoming meeting at Impromptu Studio in Des Moines.  I will be attending for sure and can't wait to hear how our perception of reality is received.

I believe we could coalesce central Iowa under the www.centraliowaangels.com moniker so we don't have to see the results below when someone searches for capital to fund the next massively successful idea that could have been.

(Taken from Gaebler Ventures website, the result just below my post in the search results)

Join me next Wednesday at 6PM for a talk called: Help! My Business Is Invisible - Increasing Your Internet Findability Factor

 Yours truly will be giving a talk for the New Iowa Entrepreneurs Coalition Meet Up Group next Wednesday, November 19th at 6PM.  Click here for full details and to RSVP and/or Join this meet up group.

Description of the talk is below.  I hope to see you there meeting, interacting, and building relationships with other progressive Iowa entrepreneurs.

HELP!!! - My Business is Invisible
Increasing Your Internet “Findability” Factor
6:00 PM - Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Ask 100 people, "What's the first place you look to find a business or information on a business?" and 98 will say Google. Yet phone book ads, glossy brochures, and static "cobweb" sites still make up the bulk of many small and medium sized company marketing budgets. Break out of the old routine and hear some low cost - high impact organic Internet marketing strategies that will give your firm a fighting chance online. Doug Mitchell, Founder of createWOWmedia (www.createwowmedia.com) will show you how to increase your Internet Findability Factor and amplify your online brand with a focus on web video and multimedia.


6000 Grand Avenue
Des Moines, IA 50312

Come and learn with me through the robust QA that I KNOW will break out.  If you're already "in the know" or a super web traffic findability guru...please come and share your knowledge with the crowd through the QA and interaction. 

Ignite Des Moines - Promotional Video from create WOW media

The create WOW media team crafted a nice promo/recap video of the Ignite Des Moines event hosted by Daniel Shipton at Impromptu Studio in Des Moines.


Who told everyone in my highschool class about Facebook over the last few months

Facebook, Inc.Image via WikipediaI've been commenting to my wife that it seems everyone has discovered Facebook...in the last 90 days.  In that time, no less than 30 people have "found me" there.  People from high school are crawling out of the woodwork and connecting.  My wife has been on for a while but she's experiencing the same thing.   I brought this topic up in my Blogging Class and people started snickering that it's true for them too.

Is this massive Facebook land rush happening in my world alone?  Are there others out there who are being deluged by friends and other random people they've not heard from in years?

I'm really blown away by this.  It makes me wonder if those "find your classmates" reunion sites are headed out of business due to this "insta-connect" Facebook world.

I've started using it more lately due to this pull effect.  By default having to log in and confirm/deny connections has made me more aware of what Facebook is offering these days.

In fact, I found out some friends were engaged first....before anyone else...since I was in Facebook and saw that they'd changed status.  I'm always the last to know (pay attention) to these things.

It felt kinda good to be in the know.  Thanks Facebook.

I look forward to connecting with more of you all soon.   

Check out Brett Rogers and see how following your passion can open doors

I saw this video piece on Brett Rogers and was really impressed.  I've seen the art from his phone...I'd NOT actually appreciated that he was creating his imagery on such a small "canvas".  Wow.  For those of you who've not seen what Brett does....he creates artwork using the drawing pad feature on an LG Dare cell phone.  Mind you the screen is roughly a 2 inch square.  Fascinating.

Take a look and see what a passion for the "artsy" side of cell phones can do for you.  I hope you end up not only with free cell phone usage...but as a paid marketing consultant who discovered a brand new niche market by following his passion.

Nice work.  Keep it up.


Brett's blog found here.

Blogging for Business - Class 2

Another great night in our Blogging for Business class at Roosevelt High in Des Moines!  We barely got through 50% of the material I prepared for class two because of the great questions and group discussion.

I think I'm learning more than the class!  We still had a bit of confusion on RSS and without an Internet connection in the school...I couldn't leverage the best tools out there to convey the message.

So here's a good basic lesson in RSS class. 

So I just noticed I was picked up by Reuters via BlogBurst

I was perusing my traffic sources a few minutes ago and noticed a hit from Reuters.com.  Humm. What could that be?  Last I checked I hadn't written anything picked up by the national news since I'm not named Joe and I'm not a Plumber. 

In any case, I clicked through this link and found my post titled,

Oh the Irony of Qwest: Great Service In Person 

staring at me, nicely formatted on the Reuters site powered by BlogBurst.  I was pretty much blown away because I probably signed up for BlogBurst a year ago???  Apparently their "syndication" plan has been activated.  Maybe it's been this way for a while and I just got picked up.  In any case, perhaps you'd like to check out BlogBurst and perhaps you'll be reading your own posts on Reuters and getting traffic soon too.