OpenCoffee Athens XV took place in the 7th of October. Guest star was Jason Calacanis, the guy behind Weblogs Inc and mahalo.com. He talked to us completely informal, just a small notebook, no powerpoint, not even a laptop. Although I have seen many people talking on stage, Jason’s keynote was absolutely stunning.
He talked about his experience, his mistakes and his view. But most important, he motivated everyone in the room. I left the Open Coffee and I went home with a desire to do things, to work. There is no excuse such as “I have to make some money, I don’t have time to do what I want”. Nobody works 24/7, there is always some free time. In that free time, you can work on your side projects.
As Jason said, there is only one difference between entrepreneurs and wanabe-entrepreneurs: Entrepreneurs dared to start something! Failure is part of the game, nobody is mr.Perfect. But, as I already have stated, there is always something to gain, even from your biggest failures. Jason decided not to sell his first company for 20 millions and 9 months later he shut it down. Although he was back in square one, he managed to come back and built Weblogs Inc. He dared to do things, he worked hard and nothing was given to him for free.
However, motivation is one piece of the puzzle. One other piece is getting organized. He suggested that we create groups specializing in specific topics, like graphics design, Amazon EC2 etc. Sharing the knowledge will make everybody better, greek start-up community will improve and, who knows, maybe next year there will be some greek start-ups in TechCrunch 50..
PS. The day after the OC event, some of us had breakfast with Jason. Great speaker, great guy to hang out with, he even talked about greek basketball and he promised to be in Greece again real soon.. Nice meeting you Jason!
[photo via flickr.com, user: nsyll]
Some days ago, I decided to create a new blog for my upcoming podcast but there was only one MySQL database. So, I had to use it for 2, or even more, blogs. The solution came, as usual when it comes to programming, from my friend Panagiotis.
In fact, it is a real simple solution.
- Create a new subdomain
- Unzip wordpress inside the new subdomain
- Copy from the first blog the file “wp-config.php” locally
- Edit it by adding “$table_prefix = ‘new_db_name_’;”
- Upload the edited file to wordpress folder
- You are done
As some of you may know, I am an editor at pestaola.gr, a Greek blog with thousands of visitors every day. Like every other blog, pestaola.gr gives the ability to users to comment on a blog post. In fact, many people do and that’s great because it shows two very important things. First, it proves that the blog post is really interesting and second, it proves that your readers are not bored and are trying to get more information about something.
What really confuses me is the questions that sometimes are asked. And I will explain that with an example. Let’s suppose that there is a blog post about a new car. The article makes clear that the car is just a concept and it won’t make it into production. However, there is a user asking what the price will be.
So, either the user wants only a small part of information that he is too bored to search for (by reading the article) or, even worse, he is unable to proccess what he is reading.
In the first case, I don’t really believe that there is a solution. I mean, blog post are not THAT long, most of them are approximately 200 words. Reading these 200 words, won’t take more than a minute. However, writing a comment will take you less than a minute. But you will have to wait until someone else will read the whole blog post and the comments and then decides to spend some time for something that is, at least, obvious. That, will definately take more than a minute. So, the person who wrote the comment will lose much more time than reading the post in the first place. Plain logic that, as it seems, some people don’t have.
In the second case, I think that there is a solution. And it is very simple in fact. Read carefully. By that, I don’t mean reading ten times a simple blog post, it may don’t even worth reading it second time. But once you decide to comment on it, make sure that you have completely understood what is written. As it seems, you are interested on that topic, so pay the attention you think it deserves the post and read it carefully. By reading an article and finally not understanding or realising what you have just read, you only lose time..
Fail. Deadpool. 0 visitors. Insufficient funds.
Definately the words a web entrepreneur would love NOT to hear in his career. But why failing is so bad? Ok, you probably lost some money but you have gained experience. If you can realize what lead you to deadpool, that’s a great advantage. Probably, now you know what to avoid, which of your colleagues did not try hard enough and whom to trust.
Experience is a great advantage. However, it does not come for free. There will be a moment when you will face a great dilemma. One choice drives you to deadpool and the other one drives you to success. Nobody can help you because nobody knows all the facts, all those small things that matter. And let’s be frank, would you trust someone else to take the biggest decision of YOUR startup?
There are 50% chances of taking the wrong decision, if it’s the first time you have to decide something. If you have been there before, you can value much better these small things that will point out for you the right decision.
To sum up, I strongly believe that failing is not the end of the world. In fact, it’s the begining of a new era, a wiser one. And as Randy Pausch said at his last lecture
Experience is what you get when you didn’t get what you wanted.
Hey, how are you? I just found that an e-store has a RAM module suitable for your macbook. Do you want to upgrade to 4 GB… FOR FREE?
That was what I heard from my dad one morning and, let’s be honest, I would have been stupid to turn down such a good offer. 2 days later, a small package arrived. The first thing I did, was to call my friend Bilou and ask him to come over. Bilou loves hardware stuff, so I knew that he would like helping me out.
So, let’s see what we did exactly.
First, what we need? Apart from a macbook and the new chips, all we need is a screwdriver.
Now, we have to flip the macbook and remove the battery.
Once we have removed the battery, a sticker is there with instructions telling us what we have to unscrew in order to change the RAM modules. (Unfortunately, there are no pics of me unscrewing but there are 3 screws to be removed).
In order to remove the old RAM modules, we must push that two little triggers and.. here you go, the old modules are out!
After removing the old modules, we have to insert the new ones. Unfortunately, there is no indicator (like a click-sound) that confirms that the module is placed correctly, so you have to press as hard as you can.
Now, you only have to redo the unscrewing part, place the battery and you are ready. Enjoy your faster Macbook.
Some days ago, I started writing a blog post. I edited it like a million of times. I deleted it completely and then I ended up tweeting about that phenomenon. As it seems, many other bloggers face the same problem. It goes like that:
- start a new blog post -> don’t like it -> delete it -> start a new blog post
Cory Doctorow doesn’t seem to agree with that particular tactic. I am quoting him:
Just publish and let comments do the rest.
Personally, I disagree completely. I mean, it’s ok to write a bad blog post if you think that is good, but what happens if you already know that your blog post sucks? Why let your readers down by delivering a below-average article according to your standards? Maybe some of your readers will find it “perfect”. Yeah, ok, but why are you blogging? For your readers or for yourself?
I strongly believe that a blogger is successful when he (or she) is blogging for him (or her). Writing comes normally, not because “I must write a new blog post”. Forcing yourself to do something you don’t really want, will have the exact opposite results from what is expected, a mediocre blog post that most of your readers will probably dislike. And when you write for your readers, that is even worse.
- bad blog post -> readers dislike it -> “I must to write a new article” -> forced blogging -> bad blog post
So, next time you have written an article, think twice before pressing “Publish”.
[Thanks to Nikos Anagnostou for inspiring me to write this article]