Entries by glitch007

Making decisions Part 1 – A or B?

We’ve all been at a point where we had to decide whether to do A or B. If only there was a process to help you decide. The processes that are common are pros and cons list, ask someone who’s already been through this situation, consider the opportunity cost etc. But what if that still […]

How to actually set up Microsoft Word to create and publish and edit posts to your WordPress blog

I just stumbled onto this obscure feature in Microsoft Word and wanted to share this with you. Why would I want to do this? Have you ever wanted to just directly paste in pictures/screenshots from your clipboard and have them automatically uploaded? Have you ever wanted to create your post offline without distractions from the […]

Taking Baby Steps

The first month of 2018 has come and gone. 

If you’ve created a bunch of goals for the new year but haven’t achieved those goals, don’t worry  — but take another look at them.  Maybe you've set a really big goal and are struggling with it...

For me, I’ve been struggling with figuring out what to work on next with my blog-to-audio web service.

  • How do I make the website look better?
  • How much should I charge?
  • How should my email sequence look like?
  • How do I market this?
  • What do I put in the terms and conditions?

Now if I think about all these issues at the same time, I’d be overwhelmed.  

The advice I've received is to focus on one thing, get to a point of 'good enough', then move on to the next important thing. 

Questions to ask yourself

  • What small steps can I take today to move closer to my goal?
  • Is my goal based on factors that I can directly control?  (e.g. lose 30 lbs - you can't directly control this;  exercise 30 minutes a day - you can control this)

This is Radhika (my daughter) showing you how to take baby steps

Productivity tips I’ve picked up in January

Use Trello — it lets you group your tasks into buckets, so it’s very easy to take 100 tasks, which is daunting, and categorize them into 10 groups of 10

Don’t prioritize your tasks with numbers, just move the task you want to focus on to the top of the list - just by being more visible, it becomes important.

Book Recommendation

The One Thing - Learn how to focus on one thing at a time.  It's available in audiobook format as well.

What were your goals again?

So before you leave, I'd like for you to share one of your goals and what small (realistic) steps you will take in the upcoming weeks to achieve it.

I wish you success!

Tech Stuff That You’ll Use

Tech items that I actually own and has made me more productive

With the holidays coming up, you may be in the market for some tech gear.  But wait, how much of this stuff would you actually use?

I buy lots of tech gear (which irritates my wife), but here are the ones that I actually use daily…

Bluetooth (One-ear) Earbuds 

These are perfect for just listening to podcasts or audiobooks — they are also very discreet as well. I bought two so I always have one that’s charged. They run just under $20 each.

These are the ones I got, and it fit pretty well in my ear without falling that easily.

If you don’t already have an Audible subscription, you can use this link to get 2 free audiobooks— one thing you probably didn’t know is that if you try to cancel during your free trial, they give you free credit to NOT cancel 🙂 Not sure if this still works though…

Echo Dot

Most people are confused as to whether they need an actual Echo to use the Echo Dot — the answer is no. The Echo Dot works fine by itself — it may not have the best microphone, but it is only $50 bucks and probably cheaper during Amazon flash sales. There is also the Google Home Mini that was released to compete with this, but I haven’t used it myself.

It can do lots of things, but I just use it to play music for my kids (yes, you can connect it to Bluetooth speakers). 

Shameless plug: Make sure you check out the Orator Skill — which lets you play tracks from articles converted from your bookmarked links.

If you already have an Echo Dot, you may want to consider getting a battery base (it lasts for 10 hours on standby), but it’s great if you want to move your Echo dot around the house without having to restart it. Another first world problem solved!

Bluetooth Mouse

Speaking of first world problems, if you've got multiple devices (computer, laptop, tablet) and want to use the same mouse without moving a stupid dongle around, get the Logitech MX Master 2S - there is a switch underneath the mouse to pair it to 3 different devices.

There is also horizontal scroll as well.  Furthermore, it charges with a Micro USB cable - you can use the mouse and charge at the same time.

Android Smart Watch

If you’re in the market for an Android smart watch, check out the TicWatch E by Mobvoi for $160. It’s got all the bells and whistles for a relatively cheap price. I just received mine, so I can’t really review it yet, but I have tried the Google Keep app and it seems to work well for viewing/deleting/creating notes.

Though you may not have heard of the brand, the company has made watches that received some pretty good reviews.

Cheap Cell Phone That Actually Works Well

Personally, I use a Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge, but I probably would not get any more curve screened phones because the screen protectors don't fit and I end up not using one.  (then my screen cracks)

But what I was more excited about (strangely) was a cheap phone that runs a relatively new version of Android.  So I got the BLU R1 (2 GB RAM, 16 GB storage), which is the best bang for the buck at $100, however it will remain at Android 6.0 with no updates.  There is now a successor BLU R2 which runs Android 7.0, it costs just $10 more.

It's a great back up phone when you don't want to go downstairs to grab the phone you left on the couch.  Another first world problem solved!

Laptop to replace Desktop

I have an HP Omen 15t which I've purchased at the end of April 2017 - the specs are the best for the money at the time.  

Specs:

  • NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1050Ti 4GB GDDR5
  • i7-7700HQ Quad Core Processor
  • 32 GB RAM
  • 256GB m.2 NVME Solid State Drive
  • 1 TB 7200RPM Hard Drive
  • I got it at $1,254.56

The bad news is that I can no longer find it at this price point, however there is another (cheaper) gaming laptop that is the best bang for the buck - that would be the Acer Predator Helios 300. You get a better graphics card (which is VR ready) 

  • 256 GB SSD, no regular hard drive
  • NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1060 with 6 GB of dedicated GDDR5 VRAM
  • 16GB DDR4 Memory
  • 6 lbs
  • @ $1050

Laptop that's Portable

If you're looking for something light weight, check out the Surface Pro 4 (which is one model behind the newest one - during Black Friday, you'll see better discounts on the SP 4) - Full Disclosure: I work at Microsoft (but I don't have ties with anyone in the hardware team) - I've used my Surface 3 occasionally and find it very portable.

What about you?

Are there any productivity related tech items that you use on a daily basis?

Produce First – Why choosing before consuming will make you feel more accomplished

Choosing to Produce Before Consuming… When you wake up, do you even think about what you do? Most people act on autopilot. How many times have you woken up, then “quickly” checked your phone, then ended down a rat hole of email, news, Facebook, Reddit, YouTube, etc. ? (These sites were made to have you keep […]

How (not) to sell software yourself

Selling software is simple…

Just start coding/making it based on an existing app, make a better version, put it on the App Store, or Play Store and then people will buy it!

Ok, stop. If this is what you think of when you have an idea for a product, then you're going about it the wrong way. Sure there are a few people who have done this, but this is an exception. Don't get me wrong, generating ideas is a good thing, you should at least jot them down. But how do you pick which one to execute on?

That's the question I asked Yaro Starak, a well-known blogger, he respond to my question with this: Don't make it about something you can sell, figure out the thing that people want to buy. In other words, find out their pain points and make a solution for them. So treat your "ideas" as guesses as to what people want and try to validate your guesses.

If you would help me validate my guess, that would be much appreciated! It will only take 5 minutes (4 questions).

[link to survey]

Here are some of the concrete steps that I have compiled

Just a word of warning: I have not actually followed through on this yet, I'm just jotting down the rough steps of what makes sense to me at this point.

  1. Find a pain point to solve (interview or survey)
      • In this step, you'll be interviewing potential - I actually attended a really good webinar by Cindy Alverez last week. The main point is to validate your idea. She provided some good questions to ask potential customers.
      • Follow up on pain points:
      • "In the past month, how often has [problem] happened?"
      • "What other ways have you tried to solve [problem]?"
      • "How high a priority is it to fix [problem]?"
      • "If [problem] was magically solved, how would that make your life better? What would you be able to do?"
      • "Who else is affected when [problem] happens?"
  2. Make a new email list and a landing page for people to get signed up. Keep trying to grow this list as you build your software.
  3. Create a really simple prototype (don't need to code anything, can just lay out what the screens look like)
  4. Make the software in small incremental steps. After each small victory, blog about the process or share with the list. Keep validating your assumptions as you go to figure out which features to implement first.
  5. Set weekly goals to complete your tasks.

Here's a popular article by (@cliffordoravec) that I've found very helpful - it is related to selling Software as a Service, but the ideas presented can apply other digital products as well (ebooks, courses, etc.):

In it, he gives some templates as to how to reach out to potential customers via email.

Another helpful and popular course is Evan Kimbrell's 1 day MVP on Udemy (444 ratings at 4.7/5)- he's even generous enough to give this away for free (assuming coupon code still works)!  Here's the link.  He goes in depth about the 7 steps of an MVP:

  1. ​Sniff test (in your head)
  2. Competitive analysis
  3. Customer Development Interviews
  4. Basic Pitch Experiment
  5. Complex Pitch experiment
  6. Build the prototype

Tools You can use to Sell your Software

As a last step, here is one solution you can use to package up and sell your software (make sure you spend more time on getting a following of people via email first):

withCoach.com - You can get started for free - you can list an unlimited number of free products and one paid product (Coach takes a 10% commission on that, which isn't bad). You are allowed 100 customers (which is a good target if you're just getting started).

Another popular platform is Gumroad, but the support isn't as good. You can read more on my article about Gumroad vs WithCoach: The two best online platforms for regular people selling their stuff.

Others: selz, ejunkie, shopify. I didn't bother with these as they didn't fit my needs

Selling software is simple…Just start coding/making it based on an existing app, make a better version, put it on the App Store, or Play Store and then people will buy it!Ok, stop. If this is what you think of when you have an idea for a product, then you’re going about it the wrong way. […]

How You Can Create Effective Infographics that people actually want to read (for FREE)

Hello, Internet Neighbour!

It's pretty well known that people judge articles by their cover image. I'd like to think otherwise, but that's how it is. There are just so many articles out there that just having a great headline isn't enough.

Have you ever thought of creating an infographic but not willing to shell out money for expensive software that you might not even know you'll end up using? (not to mention the time you have to invest to learn to do something useful with it)

I've tried Fiverr for infographics, but even though they did a good job, I ended up having to wait for days and ended up editing the final infographic myself anyways, so it's not like I saved any time.

In this post, you'll learn how to do just the essentials to make your own infographics and title images real easily because you're not starting from scratch.

So if you're ready to reduce the time it takes you to edit images, get ready.  Here we go.

Download Your Free Template

Are you spending way too long trying to create nice images for your blog/social media posts?

Download my free image template and I'll teach you how to use the free Google Drawings service to help you can edit the designs for your needs.

Here's how you do it.

I just learned about Google Drawings last week and I'd like to show you how to use it efficiently.

Here are some quick and dirty videos I've made:

How to add text to an image:

How to apply the 'zoom in' effect to a screenshot:


The Infographic

Here's the infographic I've made to help you make infographics (I know… that's some meta shit right there)




Download Your Free Template

Are you spending way too long trying to create nice images for your blog/social media posts?

Download my free image template and I'll teach you how to use the free Google Drawings service to help you can edit the designs for your needs.

Post Mortem: Stuff I've learned after the fact...

After making the infographic, I've compiled a few learnings that might help you:

Resizing the canvas to make it longer will screw up the scaling, just start out with a very long image and shorten it if necessary.  If you really need to extend the height, make a long rectangle and drag it to the bottom of your screen, then scroll down and use the resize handle on the canvas.

Google Drawings doesn't export long images properly in png or jpg format, you must export as svg, then find a converter like https://cloudconvert.com/

Use an actual placeholder image in your template sections (and apply the mask), then use replace image (rather than using a placeholder shape like I did)

If you have white text and use a different font, copy and paste your text into notepad.exe before copying it onto your infographic. This is so that you can paste as plain text. Otherwise, your text will get pasted as black even though you want the text to be white.

Can't be bothered with this? Go to Fiverr.com and pay someone to do this - try to ask if they can make an infographic for you in Google Drawings so you can edit the text later. You'll have to send them the text (for the infographic content) beforehand.

Hello, Internet Neighbour!It’s pretty well known that people judge articles by their cover image. I’d like to think otherwise, but that’s how it is. There are just so many articles out there that just having a great headline isn’t enough.Have you ever thought of creating an infographic but not willing to shell out money for […]