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Month: December 2011

Apple Certified Associate

Last week, I took an exam to prove to Apple that I understand their products and know how to use them. And I passed! So now it’s official: I’m an Apple Certified Associate. But what does that actually mean? Great question. The exam I took specifically covers “Mac Integration,” which means taking a Mac computer and setting it up in a Windows Server environment. Why? Well, what I’ve learned over the past few years is that lots of corporations use Windows Server software to run their companies (such as Windows Server 2003, etc), but then the bigwigs who run the company go out and buy a MacBook Air because it’s the coolest laptop on the market today, and it’s super-portable, then bring it into the office and have a heck of a time getting them to work with their Windows software. In almost every instance, the business owner will hand his new Apple device to his IT guy and say “can you make this talk to the server?“, and the IT guy will give him a puzzled look and hand it back, saying “I don’t know anything about Apple.” I’ve heard this from so many businessmen that it’s become rote. There are very few IT guys that understand anything about Mac, and even fewer of them are actually Apple Certified Associates—most of the ones who know what they’re talking...

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The Limits of Technology: When eHarmony Failed

True story: I once signed up for eHarmony. Well, let me clarify—I never “dated” using eHarmony, but I did create an account. But I had a good reason. Once, not so long ago, when I was single, I was driving down the road and heard an ad for eHarmony on my car radio. I heard all about how they were offering a “free, no-obligation personality profile” where I could take a relationship questionnaire with over 250 questions and they would give me a complete profile of who I am, the type of person I was, and a list of all the single women using eHarmony that would be a possible match for me. All for free! How could I turn that down? I was fascinated to find out what “kind” of woman would be a “fit” for me. I certainly hadn’t found any among the plethora of single friends I had at the time. Well, I wasn’t about to start dating anybody online and I wasn’t interested in dating anyway. But I took the test and got a complete picture of my supposed personality type. But Neil Clark Warren’s amazing personality-matching technology failed me, big-time: I received an apologetic email saying that they’d searched their vast network of millions of eligible women and couldn’t find a single match for me. Zero. Zip. Not a one. As I said—I wasn’t...

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You Are What You Wear

Everybody knows you are what you eat. But did you know it’s also true that you are what you wear? The reality, though unfair, is that whether you believe this or not, there’s at least some truth in it. When I first started my business a few years ago, I went out to Kohl’s and purchased several sets of nice slacks, some button-up collared shirts and some nice leather shoes. Whenever I went to meet clients, I made sure my shirt was ironed, my pants had no wrinkles, and I even tried to match colors. That’s who I was, and that’s how I ran my business. I was charging customers good money (I wasn’t the cheapest game in town), and I wanted customers to know that I was taking their time and their money seriously. I also knew that as a young professional, there could be a potential age bias working against me. I wanted to rise above any possible perception that I was just a young punk who didn’t know what he was doing. I wanted to assure people that I was in business and not just playing around. So I always dressed accordingly. The funny thing is, I got feedback from some people who told me I was “unusually serious” for a guy my age. After hearing this a few times, I figured I could relax my...

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Why Have a Website?

[About two years ago, I gave a presentation to a business group about websites and their effectiveness as a marketing tool. I’ve had this sitting in my “drafts” section forever, so I figured it was time to actually post it.  -Ron] When I ran my own web development company, I often asked potential clients “why do you want a website?” On face value, this seems like a very simple question, but so many times, the people I discussed this with didn’t have an answer. There’s nothing wrong with that, but it is awfully important to answer before you actually commit to building a new website. Obviously, I have a bias towards marketing your business online, and I think everyone on earth should have their own website. But bear with me here—I think I have a pretty strong case. Websites are an incredibly powerful way to market your business, but it’s not as simple as just building a website and then walking away, saying “mission accomplished.” It takes time, money, thought, effort, and even trial and error to get to the point that you could call your web presence “successful.” Having said all that, let’s compare some of the other non-web-based advertising formats that you could use for your business: Phone Books: advertising in local phone books can cost anywhere from $500-$7,500 per month (annually, that’s $6,000—$90,000 per year, respectively.)...

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