Its been awhile, but I promised a giveaway, so… LET’S DO THIS.
Firstly, I would like to personal thank all my twitter followers, you have made being present and active on twitter far more enjoyable then I could have ever imagined! I have put together two giveaway packages for you guys.
Giveaway #1 – Tech Nerd & Idea Wizard
Includes: GearHead Laptop case, Orange “Leather” Bound Notebook, Two awesome issues of Wired Magazine, 2150 A.D. (an old school out of print SciFi Masterpiece)
Giveaway #2 – Creative Nerd & Gadget Collector
Includes: Fun Clear PolkaDot Box, Teddy Smartphone Holder, Animal Headphone Wraps, Velcro Cord Wranglers, Mini Pocket Notebook, Funny shaped Erasers
How to Enter (two ways):
1) Respond to this post with a comment including the Givewaway number/title you would like to win and your twitter handle.
2) Tweet #ideawizardgiveaway @aliciaeesh for Giveaway #1 OR Tweet #creativenerdgiveaway @aliciaeesh for Giveaway #1. Be creative with your hashtag use!
- You can enter as often as you want; between 8/26 and 9/10. Giveaway entries will only be considered during these dates.
– You must live in the continental USA to be eligible
– You must have your parents permission to enter if you are under 18 years old
Winners will be contacted through direct message on Twitter after 9/14/2014. These will ship by the beginning of October, if I am unable to get addresses from the original winners, I will contact other individuals. Please let me know if you guys have any questions!
Butter London is a makeup company start-up in Washington State founded in 2005. Their original line focused mainly on nail polish and they have since branched out from just polish into other cosmetics.
Firstly the lighboxed pop-up you get upon visiting there homepage is unpleasant. Mostly because it is essentially an ad for a website/brand you are already visiting. As a consumer I click right through these, if I wanted to sign up to win something I would seek it out on my own. This pop-up is giving your consumers a click through, you already have one click you have to administer as visitor to their site and you aren’t even shopping yet.
As with most e-commerce sites you fall upon a wall of promotions and new products. Its basic, maybe a bit too basic. They have selected Georgia as the typeface for their body copy, which is bland, I think a sans serif would have suited them better, but that is more of a design choice than a critique of their website functionality.
Clicking on any of the selections at the top primary menu you get to another menu selection screen. Instead of seeing all the inventory of their cosmetics you see a left side menu selection to go further into the site and a visual menu breakdown. This is a click that is separating me from the actual purchasing page, sort of a mild annoyance. When you get to to the actual inventory pages it is very old school. It actually kind of feels like the site was built in 2005 and they never bothered to change it.
Clicking on any other products name will get you to an additional page with very little information about the product, a list of ingredients, and below the “fold” you can add it to your cart. You also will find a review section that they recently launched and only the ability to “Pin It” as your social sharing options.
Upon further review it looks like the site is super confused. The nail polish page looks like it is trying to catch up with the times. With hover selections and tabled products this is a little more 2013. The treatment page gets to you the full inventory of the treatment selections.
Important Info (FAQ’s and Returns)
The help page isn’t super helpful. Essentially their help page is a contact list, nothing more. The FAQ’s page houses two questions and answers. One is about returns, one is about placing international orders.
The site is bare bones and like previously stated it feels like it was created in 2005 and they never updated it. The recent offering of housing consumer reviews is a good one but… it will not make up for their site lacking important and helpful content. As a consumer I think they need:
A better more detailed FAQ’s page. Answer questions about products, shipping times, shipping methods, etc.
A Help Page that is actually helpful. Separate your contact page from your help page, link the help page to the FAQ’s as most people visiting the help page of the site really should be visiting FAQ’s as well.
A better menu system with drop downs, only being able to access further selections of the menu by clicking through is kind of frustrating.
Less patchy in terms of the site layout, make ever “fall page” upon menu selection laid out the same to mitigate any consumer confusion or fatigue.
Hello readers and curious internet browsers. I am working on making some changes around here. Don’t be scared! They are for the best!
All my food related posting is moving to a new blog
I am working on splitting up my writing to be more focused. I still love writing about food and I will still be writing about it, it will just be better for my sanity and for this blog to start another one and write about food there. All of the food related posts will be pulled from this blog by the beginning of May.
By popular demand I am going to continue the “Scary Social Media” series as well as start a few others. I will be writing about personal branding and marketing yourself as well as small businesses.
Website Reviews – Reviewing the Usability and “Click Ratings” of popular e-commerce sites
I am going to start reviewing the usability of popular e-commerce sites to see how functional it is for the consumer as well as reviewing their social media presence. If you have an idea or suggestion for a site or company I should review please let me know!
Twitter is a fickle beast, don’t get me wrong. Things can go south on Twitter really quickly but it is by far the best networking tool online that I have utilized. I like LinkedIn but it has its own pitfalls in terms of networking abilities and socialization. You are limited on LinkedIn, Twitter is really open ended, which is also its failing.
When it comes down to it Twitter functions like its own little universe, which is why it can be terrifying to some people. Someone I work with just turns up her nose at the mention of twitter, she doesn’t like it. Apparently her sister just went on Twitter celebrity following binge once and due to that experience she can’t stand Twitter. I can’t blame her, her sister seems to fall into the “People Magazine, Celeb Gossip” Twitter community. Which I will admit is a Twitter community I tend to avoid. Though the beauty of Twitter is that there is a ton of different communities and other benefits that rise twitter to the cream of the social media crop. Let me list the ways:
Community Galore and Increasing your Network
Are you a nerd? Are you a nerd into baking, comics, and ABC’s scandal? Well there is a community out there on twitter waiting for you! A mistake that a lot of people tend to make on Twitter is following the “unattainable”, which by all means I follow some famous people but the majority of my followed profiles are “real” people. The great thing about twitter is you can search based on discussed topics. I highly highly suggest you do this, type anything in that you find interesting and just read the feed. Like what someone is saying? Click on their profile, read a couple updates and if you adore their statuses… FOLLOW THEM. You will increase your network very quickly if you do this because chances are they will want to discuss these things with you.
Unfollowing and Bots
Now you might be questioning why this is a benefit… Well, let me explain. It can be a downfall if you take it too seriously but Twitter unfollowing can be beneficial to you. If someone is just not interested in what you have to say they will unfollow you, but don’t take in personally, chances are you will gain another follower in his/hers place. Things happen much quicker on twitter then on any other social media site so don’t fret if you lose three people in one day, chances are you will get five more next week. Alright now lets talk bots, chances are if you are active on twitter in any way you will get followed by some bots. Which is totally fine! Just don’t follow them back! It will increase your following numbers but I can promise you will get annoyed if you feel the need to play the follow back game with a bot.
Following Back and Sharing the Love
Unlike Facebook I can almost assure you that most of the people you will follow and that will follow you will be people you have never met in real life. I mean I have IRL friends that follow me in twitter but I would say that they only make up a small percentage of my followers. Also chances people you are following on Twitter will also need support in a way. Retweeting is an easy way to spread word on something in twitter but another wonderful occurrence on twitter is #FF or Follow Friday. Its a hashtag in which you attach the @ link for all your favorite Twitter profiles to follow. It spreads the word and increases your social capital on Twitter. Its a beautiful and wondrous thing.
Your News Feed
While Facebook has a newsfeed you are usually reading personal news on that platform. Facebook lends itself to more personal updates, often they aren’t posted in a very timely fashion either. Twitter on the other hand supports the timely posting and updating of important events. Often I find myself going to twitter just to see what is going on in the world. Twitter has truly become a source for news and timely updates, you will even find that companies post new products and services on Twitter first.
Now if for whatever reason twitter still terrifies you, I understand though I would push you to at least give it a try. Twitter can be a great source of ideas, support and communication among like minded individuals.
Dick Grayson has died in Forever Evil. It was a strange kind of death because it didn’t seem real. Not because of the way it was delivered, but rather because of our understanding of comics. Everyone knows he’ll be back, probably in the next issue, regenerated as a good Talon or something like that.
So when the Lady and I read those panels – his heartbeat fading away and his face growing greyer – it didn’t seem such a ‘thing’. But then, when we put the comic book down a realisation struck us: a man we loved had died. It doesn’t matter that in four weeks time we shall probably see him again because right now, at this moment, Richard’s life is no more.
Then an unexpected thing happened: Batman appeared in our office. Could he post a few words on Robin? – he asked. To which we replied yes…
Okay, okay I know that I am going to make some people grumpy with this one, but hear me out. Curation is the practice of the collecting and caring for a collection. Traditionally the word actually comes from the person who is invested in the care of the souls of a parish. Often the word Curator is used to define a person who is the keeper of a cultural heritage institution. They are responsible for overseeing the growth and care of the collection as well as the interpretation of the materials in their care. Curators a revered in the arts industry, their practices are sort of shrouded in secrecy. Things are changing though, in the past 10 years the Digital Curation Centre has opened, while their practices are more linked to higher learning institutions their policies are still interesting. It means that digital curation is being taken seriously by more then just the people that consider themselves to be only curators.
Let’s talk more about the practice of curation. There are plenty of differing opinions on what makes someone a curator. In my opinion you are curating everything in your life all the time, you are always creating collections of things and overseeing the care of those collections. That is a broad idea though, and not one I expect everyone to understand or agree with. To narrow things down a little I think you are curating online whenever you share images, take instagram photos, or have a blog/twitter. You are making those choices; what is seen, what is brought together, etc. Tumblr more than another other platform is a good example of online curation.
I have noticed that people who have a Tumblr or frequent Tumblr are very opinionated about which ones are good and which ones are bad. There seems to be a very distinct measure for greatness on Tumblr. If you share unique interesting images, or you share great groups of images together. It is also influenced by the theme you use and if that theme goes well with the motif you have chosen for Tumblr. If you want the pictures to really shine your theme has to go well with those pictures. It is much like the layout and exhibition design of a good gallery or museum.
Then we get to the content, everything is so carefully selected on some of these tumblrs. One of my favorites in particular was suggested by a friend; http://fuckyeahurbantribes.tumblr.com/. This tumblr utilize a clean theme and features pictures of “urban tribes”, focusing on subcultures that possess a knack for remarkable fashion. Its selections are editorial in nature a good 90% of the time, you can just imagine some of these photos inspiring a Vouge or W magazine shoot. Its this kind of selectiveness that really makes this blog curated well and sets it apart from others with a similar focus.
Focused posting and the selective nature that most excellent tumblrs exhibit really set them apart from other blogging platforms. Tumblr seems to have naturally begun a fixation on photo/visual based communication. Most of the tumblrs I frequent are almost all visual, very little is written on tumblr. Due to its nature of bring visually driven in lends itself to becoming a mecca of experimental curation. What is even better about it is that it doesn’t have rules. Something that has a tendency to limit people in their abilities and creative goals in curation is these unspoken limitations that they placed upon themselves. It seems like most people view online galleries and brick and morter locations as well to have a set of “rules” they must curate by. Most of these limitations have been imposed due to this need to make money and get great reviews/critique. This stigma really limits curation sometimes and the fact that tumblr is not only free but doesn’t limit its creators is really motivating.
I have mentored, counseled, encouraged, discouraged, hired and fired hundreds of people over the past 25 years. Oftentimes failure is less about a lack of talent or ability, and more about self sabotage. These are frequent road blocks I see in people, myself included.
1. You are lazy.
Most of us default to indolence. We take the easy way. We get comfortable. We like a routine. This may be fine for 90%. If you are reading this, I suspect it’s not fine for you. So get off your ass and get started.
2. You lack focus.
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You start out great. You spend thirty minutes of uninterrupted time putting together a plan, making a list, and polishing your resume, so you decide to take a break. You check Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, your friend’s blog, Game of Thrones, iTunes, etc. and two hours later you’re…
I will be the first to admit that I am still learning about how companies “should” be run, how employees “should” be treated, etc. Recently I have had an experience that while it put a bad taste in my mouth, I actually learned quite a bit. A few of these notes are from various projects I have worked on. I cite this as a learning experience and hopefully writing about it will help others learn from my “mistakes”:
1. Some people really abuse the intellectual property of creative people with ease and no abandon:
I had this happen to me once before. It was not a pleasant feeling, that first time the person in question was reprimanded for plagiarism. They got what was coming to them. This time it was purely my trusting nature that put me in a bad spot, a rock and a hard place if you will. From now on people will be signing NDA’s and contract agreements when they wish to use my work, or discuss it in anyway. I hate that I have to do that, I wish I could just trust people… but when it comes down to it, some people (I am not saying all of them, just some) have a really loose understanding of creative rights. You can’t really explain it to them either, its like talking to a wall, a very very dull wall…
2. If you feel that you aren’t being disrespected in any way; get out, get out fast:
Now this is different then not liking your boss or your co-workers. Some people just clash, that is the nature of the beast in social environments. This is about not getting basic human respect, you should never have to do something that goes against your morals. Furthermore you should never put up with someone who is blaming their own misfortune on you. The latter was my experience. I was told that if I marketed this “thing” better my co-worker would have had a paying job by now and the company would be bringing in money already. Which I knew not to be true, all my friends in marketing also knew that this statement was ridiculous. A company in its infancy, being 3 months old, should not expect to even be breaking even yet. He just wasn’t experienced, and he was taking out his lack of professionalism on me. Which was inappropriate and very disrespectful to the work I was doing. When I went to the gentleman in charge he listened and then said he would talk to him about it. Which I was happy to hear. Though… nothing happened, there was no sit down talk about it, no apology. That should have been the first sign that I needed to leave. It seemed like neither of the individuals seemed to understand that start-ups in the first couple of months don’t gain a ton of traction without any network connects of ties to other companies and projects. This was the case with this one, I was running in the dark with little to no support and expected to preform “miracles”.
3. Never sign into a company until you have a better idea of their operating policies:
One of these projects; I never really had an idea of where is was going, or what people thought my role was. To use “couch therapy” lingo: I feel as if I was putting a lot in and not getting a lot out of it. I feel like I was doing plenty of work and then being told that I was not doing enough because they viewed giving money and expensive equipment as more valuable in an employee. I just shrugged it off in the beginning, things really hadn’t heated up yet. Then life happened and I needed to take a short break from being super involved with the company. This was a unpaying gig, that I was spending money on, I was doing it in my free time. They seemed very understanding, though I heard later there was some very ugly smack talk being thrown around out why I needed time off. Some of my friends that had a better idea of what was going on set the record straight with the others but it was just so… well unprofessional. Then I started to hear from other people around town about how things were going. I didn’t like what I was hearing, but I tried to consult with people about it. “It’s bad but It’s not THAT bad.” “I’ve seen worse.” “Yeah, I don’t know, I doubt this is going anywhere.” is what I was hearing from other people involved with the project.
Red flags were being raised all over the place. There was clearly a difference in opinion on how the company should be run, and how the project was being handled. Those in higher places were content, those in lower places were not. No one was speaking to one another about it, people were being defensive and avoiding bigger issues. It was getting ugly.
To be honest I had signed into the company at put money in before I truly knew these people. I did so through an online posting – which I will never ever be doing again without asking some serious questions first.
Since then I have invested time and money into other start-ups but only after I had a better understanding of the people and their operating policies. People are always going to have different ideas on how a company should be run. If you are signing into something and the people involved have no idea, can’t answer simple questions, and have a “We’ll figure it out as we go” attitude then to me that’s a bad sign. It is understandable that some instances will occur in a start-up unexpectedly, that you will have to figure something out as you go but that shouldn’t be your policy. Also if they can’t commit to a company structure and they all seem to think they are in charge, than that’s even worse. Companies need some structure in order to function properly and live past the infancy. You can be casual about somethings and open about others but making your operating polices clear is something you should be more firm with.
Clearly the biggest thing I got out of all of this was a greater understanding of what a “bad” company looks like. Also if you are in your infancy and you are loosing members left and right, and loosing most of your founding members… Not a good sign. I met some wonderful people in the process and really learned a very valuable lesson. I just hope some others can also learn from my mistakes! Mainly if you aren’t getting paid, your not being respected, then just leave. Other things will come along, I promise.