Seeking a Website Developer Position? Don’t Be Stupid!

I recently posted on various rails job sites about a new open position available on BiggerPockets (BTW – If you’re a ruby on rails developer and are looking for work, please get in touch ASAP!).

In going through the various replies, I came upon one that seemed interesting, but the developer didn’t supply me with access to any code on GitHub or otherwise, to review. I sent a follow up asking for him to provide me with some code and as part of his response, he wrote:

In case you couldn’t read it (and yes, I removed his name and the name of the repos to protect the guilty), here it is again:

I have two repos xxx which is public you can use it. Another one is xxxxxxx which I will like you to keep confidential as I am under NDA, please do send me your git-hub account so that I can give you access to this repo.

So, in the name of satisfying a potential employer (me) who wants a sample of his code, this joker thinks that sharing an NDA protected selection of code and asking me to “keep it confidential” will endear him to me? He just violated the trust of a previous contract!

Yes, there really are people that stupid out there.
Yes, there are people who would have taken him up on the offer.

Don’t be that stupid guy or the guy who takes him up on it.

Yahoo Finally Discontinues MyBlogLog

It looks like Yahoo has made it official . . . on May 24, 2011 the MyBlogLog service will be “discontinued.” While I haven’t used the service in some time – about 2 years ago I saw this coming when their business development team all but completely blew off several attempts I made to connect – I am still saddened, as I did find the service to be the first truly valuable social tool for building traffic to my blogs.

For more information about the official announcement, please read the following email sent by the Yahoo! MyBlogLog team:

I’m a fan of several Yahoo products which simply don’t get the support that they deserve . . . I hope the Yahoo team can get their act together going forward; it is hard to see the grand-daddy of the internet looking so feeble these days

Why You Shouldn’t Nickel & Dime Your Customers

This story can be applied to any kind of business, so pay attention . . .

Almost a year ago we found a local company to clean the house. They worked on a few homes in the neighborhood and did a great job. Unfortunately, that relationship came to an unfortunate and abrupt end today.

We had been paying them $85 to come and clean the house, and in the early days they would typically stay between 2.5 and 3 hours. Over the course of the year the amount of time they spent declined as did the attention to detail that was present early on. As we noticed this, we began to get somewhat disillusioned, but not enough to get rid of them.

Fast forward to this morning . . . they arrived and began to clean while I worked perched on the couch. A few minutes in, one of them walked towards the kitchen, stopped, turned to me, and told me that “from today onward we’re going to have to charge extra to clean the dishes.”

“Really? From today onward?” I remarked. “How about giving someone a little heads up before springing something like that on us” I continued, annoyed by this revelation.

Silence.

The kitchen sink had a handful of dishes, some cups and a bit of silverware.

I told her that we weren’t going to be paying them any more to clean our dishes and proceeded to clean out the sink for the next 5 minutes.

I was not happy and immediately called my wife to pass on the new info. Now mind you, two weeks ago we asked them about cleaning some of the dust from under the bed and was told that there would be extra charges for doing it.

I’ve been asking to get rid of them for a while now, but was always rebuffed by my wife. That wasn’t going to happen today. She immediately told me to fire them . . .

We needed the house cleaned, so I held off and simply went on with my business.

When they finished up, I handed over my check for $85 and they told me that they’d see us in a few weeks.

“Hold on. That’s not going to happen,” I said as we all walked out the door. “If you’re going to nickel and dime us on everything, we’re going to just find someone else. Thanks for everything and good luck to you.” I was talking to the back of one of their heads as they stormed off, annoyed at me, while the other guy was very cordial and nice about it.

Do You Run Your Business Like Them?

Forget the decline in quality of service, but when they stopped offering services that are typically standard and started trying to upsell us on these very services, they lost us.

Think about the stupidity of this move . . . they were going to charge us an extra $5 or $10 to do 5 minutes of dish cleaning. There’s no way we would pay that kind of money to clean a few dishes for a few minutes, so had we not fired them, they would never see any dishes from us to clean going forward. The most they would possibly have gotten from us on this up sell would have been the $5 – $10 had I decided to eat crow and let them do it today.

Instead, we felt like the principle of their nickel and diming us was something we couldn’t deal with, and fired them as a result.

Mind you, we pay $85 every 2 weeks or $2210 over the course of a year.

They lost that steady cash-flow because they got greedy and wanted to make a few more bucks from us.

Not only did they lose our money, but it is going to cost them money to acquire that next steady customer, so the losses compound themselves.

Was it worth it?

The fact that I was talking to the back of her head as she walked away, tells me that she probably realized at that very moment that it probably wasn’t.

What would you have done?

Photo: Paul

New Paid Directories and Other Online Products: Chicken or Egg?

We just launched a new product on BiggerPockets, a hard money lenders directory, and I’ve been pondering the challenges of getting a product like this off the ground.

Lucky for us, our site has a nice built in audience of over 60,000 members and we’re approaching 200,000 monthly uniques, so I’m confident that we can very quickly ramp this up. We’ve got our first signups and have many pending commitments in less than 24 hours, so I’m very pleased.

That said, I was wondering how other sites that have a similar model get up and running . . .

Have you created a directory site? How did you get it off the ground?

Another question emerges with something like this, and that is in promoting your product. You always want to be promoting your products, but there is a certain challenge in promoting a directory that is lean on listings. My quandary thus far has been in how far to go and when to turn it on 100%? While we don’t want new visitors to get turned off by a lack of listings, we also realize the need for promotion.

So . . . we’re going to do as we always do . . . we’re going to figure it out and kick ass doing it!

By the way, if you’re a hard money lender and are reading this, and haven’t yet talked to me about getting your company in our directory, get on it and we’ll see if we can get you taken care of!

Photo: Ivan Walsh

Slideshare – Are you using it?

The following post, from David at twago, details how businesses can utilize the Slideshare social media platform to drive their marketing efforts.

slideshareUtilizing the benefits of Social Media is difficult for any company. Whilst the prospect of expanding the online presence of your company into new markets to reach potential customers is intriguing, getting the right balance between informal, personal and professional social media output is tricky. Luckily there are social media platforms that exist purely for business purposes which companies and entrepreneurs can utilize solely to expand their professional, quality driven social media output.

Slideshare is the business orientated Social Media platform that revolutionized the business world after it went live in October 2006; it now regularly attracts around 12 million visitors every month. The platform works in a similar way to YouTube in that it enables users to upload slides from presentations on a range of business related topics such as freelancing, start-ups and forming business partnerships.

However, Slideshare is of a more serious nature than YouTube and slides that are uploaded should only contain serious business orientated content rather than videos of cats playing pianos!

The Benefits of Uploading a Presentation to Slideshare

  • Good PR — spread your company’s brand through this serious business platform which is used by millions of other professionals.
  • Possibility to attract new customers and business contacts by uploading professional, quality driven presentations. The best presentations are also spotlighted by the Slideshare site which would prove to be an invaluable promotion tool for your company.
  • Track back function allows the user to monitor how many people have viewed their presentation once it has been uploaded.
  • Instant transcription of your presentation allows for certain Keywords, to appear in the text version of your presentation; which gives you a SEO boost.
  • Embed your presentation in other social media outlets such as your company’s Facebook Fan Page and Twitter account, to maximize the output of your presentation.
  • Name the Slideshare account after your company and add relevant tags to get Google’s attention.
  • Slideshare offers the user an opportunity to extend the lifetime of their moment in the sun (so to speak). If you have delivered a presentation that you are proud of then why not share it with others?
  • Whilst the service is free, a premium membership (SlidesharePro account) can be purchased, offering you the chance to create a custom channel, upload HD videos, remove ads and much more.

In short, Slideshare has gained a solid reputation for facilitating business success through a more dependable, professional social media platform. So what are you waiting for?

Good luck with your new Slideshare endeavors!

Have You Tried mod_pagespeed to Speed Up Your Website?

Since reading about its introductionfrom Google on November 3, I’ve been asking people about mod_pagespeed, a module for the Apache HTTP Server.

According to Google, it:

perform(s) many speed optimizations automatically. We’re starting with more than 15 on-the-fly optimizations that address various aspects of web performance, including optimizing caching, minimizing client-server round trips and minimizing payload size. We’ve seen mod_pagespeed reduce page load times by up to 50% (an average across a rough sample of sites we tried) — in other words, essentially speeding up websites by about 2x, and sometimes even faster.

Here’s their mod_pagespeed video comparison showing the effectiveness of the new module. As you can see, it definitely makes a significant difference in page speed and load time:

That said, I’ve talked to developers and server folks that I know, but no one has rushed to install it yet. I wonder if this is because they don’t know enough about it, or if it is because these refinements may already be accounted for through other caching and optimization methods. Any thoughts?

For More Information Check Out:

Have you installed mod_pagespeed yet? What do you think about it?

Yahoo Clues is Born: Does Anyone Care?

Apparently, after years of simply giving up anything having to do with search to Google, Yahoo has decided to get into the game. Today they announced the birth of Yahoo Clues, a tool that looks to be an alternative to Google Trends. Clues provides a great amount of data on search results, including: search volume over time, searches by gender, by income, by location, related searches, and related searches. While it is just a beta launch, there is definitely some promise; I’m looking forward to the inclusion of more data and search results as the tool develops. (Thanks to Marketing Pilgrim for letting us all know about it)

Here’s a tour from the good folks at Yahoo:

As a side note, sadly the 425 views to the video at the time of this writing tells me that no one really cares about the announcement; I’m guessing that unless Yahoo changes their name to Google, Twitter or Facebook, that will likely continue to be the case. Yahoo isn’t a fresh brand anymore . . . I think the company needs to think about how to rectify that before focusing on product — OR at the very least, they need to come up with a product that is a game changer.

Finally, I wanted to leave my thoughts about the announcement on the Yahoo Search Blog, and was met with a fail of massive proportions. It looks like the blog’s admin has some work to do, as comments aren’t working because of some kind of conflict with the Brian’s Threaded Comments Plugin. You’d think that Yahoo could keep their blog running smoothly . . . hopefully they get this handled.

If they’re reading this post, I guess they can see my thoughts below:

Yahoo Search Blog error.  Comments don't work

My Reconsideration Request: A Prayer To the Google Gods

Over the years since I launched this site, there have been periods of highs (when I was highly motivated) and lows (when I was just too busy), but overall, I’ve been committed to sharing my thoughts, insight, ideas, and some tips with all of you. I never paid too much attention to the traffic or rankings of the site, but when I was in my active posting phases, this thing was starting to rock. New articles quickly got posted to Google, and brought in new readers.

It seems that times have changed.

With other sites that I run, blog content is indexed almost instantly. On the other hand, my latest article on this site – a review of my experience with the new Skype 5.0 Beta – posted yesterday morning, still hasn’t been indexed from what I can tell.

I’m guessing that I got the infamous Google Bitchslap, but as we all know, there is just no way to know for sure. For a brief while, I did succumb to the demon inside me and sold a few dollars worth of text ads on the site, but it has been a long time since I’ve removed these (they made me no real money and when I realized that it was against the will of Google, I put a kibosh on it)

So . . . with that in mind, I’ve decided to file a website reconsideration request.

To submit a request, you simply need to sign into Google Webmaster Tools, click on the Site Reconsideration link, and fill out the form. Of course, you want to make sure you’re in compliance with Google’s Quality Guidelines before submitting the request.

Here’s the context of my message; hopefully I have as much as success as Amit (Digital Inspiration ROCKS!) did with his request.

Hello –
I believe that the rankings on this blog have declined significantly over the past years, and have noticed that new articles aren’t being indexed.

For a period, the blog hasn’t been updated as regularly as when it was first launched (when we did very well in the Google results), but I believe that the reason that we saw a decline in our PageRank is that we had a small handful of text ads on the site through a link broker – specifically TextLinkAds.com. These were added a few years ago when it was common practice online, but we haven’t had any kind of text ad on the site in a long time.

The only way this blog is monetized currently is through Google Ads, and we have NO intention of trying to undertake any practices to manipulate the search engines like buying or selling links. Otherwise, we do not employ any kind of SEO service, and have not, nor would we ever, employ any kind of blackhat techniques on the site.

I hope that you’ll re-evaluate this site and can attest that my intent is to follow the Google quality guidelines going forward. If you’d like any supplemental information, I’d be happy to provide it.

Thank you for the reconsideration,
Joshua Dorkin

I’ll keep you all posted of any developments . . . wish me luck!

Update 11/16/10:
I noticed while checking Google Webmaster Tools that I had a message in my inbox from sometime yesterday (same day I posted my request). Google has acknowledged that they received my message, and supposedly they will be reviewing the request in the next weeks. Since I’m doing nothing wrong, I do sincerely hope that they remove any penalty that may currently be applied to the site.

We’ve received a request from a site owner to reconsider how we index the following site: http://www.timeforblogging.com/

We’ll review the site. If we find that it’s no longer in violation of our Webmaster Guidelines, we’ll reconsider our indexing of the site. Please allow several weeks for the reconsideration request. We do review all requests, but unfortunately we can’t reply individually to each request.

Photo: IntangibleArts

Skype 5.0 Beta Review: Video Conference Calls are Sexy but App is Buggy

I’ll admit it . . . I’m seriously addicted to Skype. Not only is it a childhood dream come true (video calls are AWESOME!), but it has become an incredible tool for connecting with business and personal connections.

Before getting on a Skype conference call yesterday, a friend suggested we try out the new Skype 5.0 Beta (Mac OS X), which has a ton of new features — most importantly group video calling (video conference calls are even more AWESOME than one on one video calls); keep in mind that there is no beta available for Windows.

We all downloaded the new beta and did our best to connect.

It took a good 20-30 minutes for us to finally all get connected; each time we attempted to set up the conference, problems arose, such as video cameras not coming online, or the app closed without warning. We did finally get a few minutes of quality group video chat happening, but beyond that, the experience was not great. I actually uninstalled the Beta a few hours ago because I was no longer able to have video one-on-one calls with people; my video stopped working reliably.

skype 5.0 beta conference call screenshot

Aside from the bugs, there are two things that caught my attention. First, you have to agree to a 28 day free trial for the conference video calling, which clearly means that Skype is planning on selling the service in the near future, though I couldn’t find any mention of paid plans anywhere to determine the intended price once this trial ends. What bothered me about this is that the software is so buggy that I’m now destined to have my trial expire before I actually get to really use it (though I’ll likely end up paying for it regardless, once the official release comes out). The other thing that I’m not happy with is that it appears that you can no longer resize your Skype application (I’m using a Mac) to a narrow skyscraper-esque rectangle on your computer’s sidebar. The new application limits you (from what I could tell after a few hours of playing) to a fairly large sized box, making it difficult to quickly visualize who is online while you’ve got other windows open on your desktop.

So, if you’re an early adopter type, you should definitely check out the Skype 5.0 Beta, but be prepared for some frustration until they get the bugs out.

How to Find a Good Rails Developer

finding a ruby on rails developerBefore I get into the details of finding your next rails developer, I thought a bit of background would be worth sharing. One of the earliest tactical mistakes I made as I developed my web platform at BiggerPockets was to convert the application from PHP to Ruby on Rails. I was fairly skilled in PHP, and what I didn’t know, I could at least hack . . . with Rails, I’m just completely out of touch. While I’ve been very happy with Rails overall, this all presents one major problem:

I can’t review code from developers to determine the quality of their work. This applies both to code written for our site and to code that a potential developer submits to me in reviewing their candidacy to work for me.

In working with dozens of independent contractor developers over the past 5 years, I’ve had the full gamut of talent: from absolute crap to amazing — astonishingly, many of the crap coders have had fantastic references.

So what can someone like me do?

Frankly, I think it is somewhat of a roll of the dice for someone to hire a developer when they don’t have a background in that language, but over time you do get better. I hope that my learning curve can help someone else, which is why I’m sharing the information below, which should come in handy for anyone who needs to hire a rails developer.

Where to find Rails Developers: The List

Here’s a list of websites that I recommend you use to find your next rails programmer. Keep in mind that this is not an exhaustive list.

The Rails Job Sites

  • *RubyNow – RubyNow’s job board has typically brought the best response out of any site I’ve posted to. If I had one place to post, this would be my choice.
  • Startuply – This job board for startup companies has been a great resource for finding talent. I always get a good set of candidates when I post here.
  • ODesk – I’m a huge fan of Odesk and have found several of my favorite rails developers through the site. There are a ton of upstarts here, but there are definitely a few diamonds in the mix.
  • RubyInside – This is the one site here that is not free, but I’ve heard good things. I just have a hard time paying the $249 for a 60 day posting.
  • Railsjob – Like Railswork, I haven’t gotten a ton of people to respond to my postings here, but the quality was good — usually at too high a price for me, though.
  • Craigslist – I’ve found that the quality of submissions through Craigslist are usually pretty poor. Typical respondents have been newbie coders or folks from Southeast Asia.
  • Masterbranch – Another free rails job site. I’ve posted there once with zero responses.
  • RailsJobs.co.uk – I haven’t used this one, but it looks to be fairly active.
  • Startupers – Another resource I haven’t yet tried
  • RailsLodge – Not a ton of listings here, but another free source you can try.

Here are a few ways to do your due diligence on a Rails developer:

  1. Check them out on WorkingwithRails. The higher the authority and popularity someone has on the site, the better (most of the time)
  2. Check to determine if they have made contributions back to Rails. You can do that by looking for them on the Ruby on Rails Contributors page.
  3. Are they on GitHub? The site is the go-to version control destination for Rails programmers and is a great place to check to see if someone is an active programmer or to see if they are giving back to the Rails community at large by contributing to OpenSource Rails projects.
  4. Of course, you’ll want to interview previous employers.
  5. We will typically include very specific instructions in our job posts and request access to any open source code that they have written or any other code that isn’t covered by an NDA, amongst other things. This is actually a great test to determine whether an applicant has an eye for detail and following directions. Amazingly, I’d say that at least 50%-60% of people who apply for a given job posting I place ignore these instructions.

Keep in mind that you’re going to find developers that have an hourly rate starting from $10-$20 — typically from Eastern Europe, South America, and Southeast Asia all the way up to folks asking for $150 and above (mostly here in the States). What I’ve discovered, though, is that rate doesn’t always determine skill. I’ve seen many developers who charge near the upper end of the scale, whose skills are trumped by guys asking a more reasonable rate.

What is important to know is that most developers will drop their rate for long-term projects. Steady work at less money will – in the long run – likely end up being more profitable for someone than doing a handful of jobs for a higher rate with lots of lead time in between.

Just be sure to ask a ton of questions, do your homework, conduct an interview to ensure they don’t do the big rails development no-no’s, and make sure to discuss your working styles, the tools you use, communication, etc. before making a hire. Any of these can make or break your working relationship with a developer. If you have no idea where to even begin in putting your ideas together and how to present them in order to properly work with your programmer, then be sure to check out this guide.

The Horror Stories: Just for Fun!

I’ve had my fair share of horror stories when it comes to developers. Here are a few tidbits/highlights (or low-lights); keep in mind that in between the bad, there have certainly been a handful of very talented people who have had my back over the years.

- I had one developer who was very talented and who was working around 20/hrs per week for me on an ongoing basis. One day he told me that he was going to go to a conference back east for a few days, but would be back a few days later. When he didn’t get in touch for the next few days, and didn’t respond to me by phone, email, etc., I got worried and called the conference to see if they knew if anything happened to him. It turned out that he wasn’t going for a conference, but a job interview, and got arrested while he was over there. I don’t need to get into the details, but clearly I had to let him go.
- Another developer who was seemingly quite skilled, turned out to be a complete nightmare. One day he decided that I didn’t know what I was doing running my business, and he told me that I should essentially turn the keys over to him to make decisions because he was much more competent than I was. I was actually amused to hear his crazed rantings, but clearly had to give him the boot. Ironically, he has applied for several job postings I’ve made since then.
- One guy who was amazing on paper got working and actually broke everything that he touched. It took weeks to undo the damage he caused by his incompetence.
- Many freelancers have disappeared in the middle of jobs.

Do you have any rails sites you recommend for finding someone? What about your screening process? Did I miss anything? Finally, do you have any horror stories? Please share!

Using Convertible Notes for Financing a Startup

I’ve been doing some research on the use of convertible notes for the purposing of financing our startup, BiggerPockets.com. If you’re also doing research on this financing option, I hope you find the info helpful — if you’ve got some great articles that you want to share, please do in the comments below.

Without further blathering, here are a few articles that I’ve discovered, followed by a key quote from that piece:

  • What’s The Best Structure For A Pre-VC Investment? – FeldThoughts

    Assuming that you are planning on raising VC money some time in the future, there are two different typical structures for the first angel financing: (1) convertible debt and (2) preferred equity.

  • What are the benefits of debt in a seed round? – VentureHacks

    When your business is very young, raising a seed financing ($50K-$500K) via convertible debt is a great alternative to selling equity. Convertible debt is also known as a bridge loan since it ‘bridges’ the company to its next financing.

  • Raising Money Using Convertible Debt – Entrepreneur.com

    To boil it down, using the convertible debt method of financing with family, friends and angels essentially boils down to you saying, “I need money, and you have it. But I don’t know how much my company is worth, so let’s see if professional investors or the passage of time will set the value for us while giving you an upside that’s more in keeping with the risk.”

  • What Happens If Convertible Notes Are Called By Angel Investors? – AsktheVC.com

    One thing to note: don’t personally guarantee angel notes. In that case, the calling of the notes will attach to the entrepreneur’s personal assets and may indeed incentivize investors to call their notes sooner than later.

  • What happens to the convertible promissory note if the maturity date is reached and there hasn’t been a financing? – startupcompanylawyer.com

    The company could either (1) pay back the loan (which is unlikely since it is probably out of money), (2) ask the investors to extend the maturity date, (3) convert the loan into the last round of Preferred Stock (if any) at a pre-determined (i.e. last round) price (or price negotiated at the maturity date), or (4) convert the loan into Common Stock at a pre-determined price (or price negotiated at the maturity date). If the company can’t repay the note, then the investors could push the company into bankruptcy.

  • Should Entrepreneurs Be Worried About Convertible Notes as a First Financing Event? – AsktheVC.com

    Pros: It is much cheaper to consummate a note deal, than a financing deal, which also means it is much quicker to close. Also, you don’t have to lock in a very low valuation today and if you do well the notes should convert into a higher valuation than they would have if you have done an equity deal.

  • Supersize your debt with these microhacks – venturehacks.com

    Note that the company makes the decision to convert the debt to equity—not the investors. This term lets the company avoid defaulting on the loan.

  • How Do I Do Multiple Closings for an Angel Round? – AsktheVC.com

    For a convertible debt round, you can keep it as simple as issuing a promissory note for each investor. This promissory note can contain any special conversion terms, including what happens on a qualified financing (including the definition of the qualified financing), what happens on a sale of the company, and what happens if the company fails. You can do as many closings as you want by simply issuing a separate promissory note for each investor.

    Additional reads:

Stop Making Commitments When You Can’t Live Up to Them!

This is one of my biggest pet peeves. On almost a daily basis, I run into a situation where someone made a commitment to me, and didn’t live up to it. It is tiresome, annoying, and flat out rude. I don’t pretend to be perfect, and I’m sure I’ve made my share of commitments that I couldn’t keep, but we need to put this pattern of recklessness to a stop.

Just this morning, I can already count two instances where people made promises to me and failed to live up to them. The first one was for a weekly Friday morning meeting that we planned for brainstorming and masterminding — the other party has failed to show on three of three occasions (yes, I’ve already removed this from my calendar now) — and the other was from a writer who committed to provide articles to me weekly, but hasn’t in several weeks (and hasn’t responded to my emails, either).

If You Can’t Live Up to Your Commitments, Don’t Make Them!

I can’t tell you how many times I was really excited about doing business with another company and had to pass because we weren’t able to commit to executing on our side of the relationship. While at the time, these situations were disappointing to both us and the other party, in the end, being up front about it probably saved our reputation and relationships with those companies. I’m very aware of our capabilities and try to never make promises I can’t keep . . . I strongly urge others take the same direction with their businesses.

How do you feel about it?

Reputation & Crisis Management Rockstars: Where to Turn When Things Get Crazy

Brett Borders – Online Reputation Management

I just finished responding to a bunch of interview questions about community building from a good friend, and social media rockstar, Brett Borders. If you haven’t had the opportunity to check out his site before, I strongly recommend going through each and every post, and of course, when the interview is published, you’ll want to have a look at that as well. Brett is one of the smartest people in the social space, and I guarantee that you could stand to learn a thing or two from him.

In addition to social, Brett is a bonified expert in online reputation management. He publishes a blog focused on the topic called Online Reputation Edge, and if you’re ever need some help in that field, I strongly recommend you check it out or get in touch!

Charles Feldman – Crisis Management & Media Consulting

I’ve known Charles for many years now, and he is flat out brilliant. Formerly with CNN, he is an investigative journalist with KNX Radio in Los Angeles, and writes for such outlets as Reuters, Huffington Post, WalletPop, HousingWatch, and the BiggerPockets Blog . He is also co-author of the book, “No Time To Think-The Menace of Media Speed and the 24-hour News Cycle.”

According to his website, “He has extensive experience as owner of a Beverly Hills based media consulting company in corporate, as well as individual media crisis management. Feldman has trained lawyers, doctors, corporate leaders and private citizens in how to best present themselves and their business/practice to the media.” Very few consultants have the experience in television, radio, print, and the internet, as do Charles.

Wrapping it up . . .

DISCLAIMER: I don’t get paid for referring these people to you.

Both have the experience and expertise to help you in the event that you need assistance with your reputation or crisis & media management. So, in the event that the shit hits the fan, you now know where to turn.

You can contact them on their sites, or follow Brett and Charles on Twitter.

Planning for the Unexpected and Startup Team Building

Today was supposed to be a new beginning, but sometimes we have to deal with headaches from our past, and that appeared to be the case this morning, as I learned of a security hole that was causing bots to be able to spam parts of our site. The hole has since been closed, but I wasn’t planning on spending the first few hours of the day on that nonsense.

The Entrepreneur’s Life: Something ALWAYS Comes Up

If there is a lesson to be learned here, it is that no matter how well you plan things out, something will always come up to distract you. While many of these distractions can be ignored, often times you’ll need to re-prioritize your entire day/week/month as a result of others.

In my case, the loss of my developer this week means that everything else that I had planned to do has to be put on hold. We had some exciting upgrades to BiggerPockets planned, and unfortunately, they will need to wait until we can get someone new in house to execute. I was also working on some business deals, and these too must be put on hold for a short while until the number one priority – hiring – is complete. Of course, I’ve always got my backups, but it gets rough when you go through a period like I’ve had recently, with the loss of several developers over a short period of time. Then again, that’s how it often goes when you’re working with contract workers.

This is not something new for me. Dealing with unforeseen circumstances is the story of the last five plus years of my life, but if you’re an upstart entrepreneur, you better make sure you’ve got the ability to deal with such events, because they come up often.

Forward Planning: Plotting the Future of a Company

I’m planning on spending some time over the next days in linking up with other entrepreneurs to get a better idea of what size team to plan for when we start building things up. I’ve got a pretty good idea of our needs, but of course, it would be great to see what the experiences of those people who have been through the capital raising phase after bootstrapping are; most folks I know started their companies with financing . . . I’m in an altogether different place with a live, revenue generating and profitable business.

Here are some good reads I’ve found regarding team building as it relates to getting your startup off the ground:

More to come . . .

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