Chasing unicorns!

There are two things that I tell crowdfunding campaigns when they reach out to me. The first is that no one captures 50% of the total market out of the gate. Markets progress, over time you dominate more and more of the market, but day one, you already only capture the early adopters. They represent 7-13% of the total market possible. Most starts or crowdfunding campaigns make the mistake of assuming they can capture the entire market. Now the market they think they can capture is often significantly larger than the actual market. I’ve had people tell me that they had a billion-dollar idea. Those, in the financial world, are called Unicorns. When is the last time you saw one, a unicorn?

Once we get back the mythical creature discussion the problem is often use cases. I know that many software companies spend weeks building use cases. A use case is how we as software buildings, consider what a user is going to do with what we are building. Here is the single most important thing about a use case. Someone has to want to use what you are building the way you want it to be used. Or, if you get lucky, the market will make use cases for you and you will sell your product easily. My blog has a use case, but for me, that use case is sharing technology information with other people. The reality of the information I have, is sometimes it is more than what people want or need.

Want or need is the very best use case. For that use case, I want to thank everyone that has read one of my technology posts that were far from something they needed or wanted. Thank you to everyone that read and commented on technology posts that honestly were outside of their interest or need. It is something that all of us as authors deal with. The difference between what people need and want from us as writers. We reach out to the universe with our tiny offering, sharing it with the world. We are each an island, with water all around us, we reach out by placing our blog in the bottle (Virily) and hope that it is found. The interesting connection that happens is the best part of throwing that bottle into the water.

What will I find, today?

PS I lost a unicorn, anyone finds one please send it to me!

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my review of the square point of sale

I know a lot of folks here on Virily also sell crafts and other things. Have you considered the Square solution? Square allows you to turn your phone into a POS. A POS is a point of sale, in the craft fair, flea market world square is a great toolset to add. I have an account, and while I only use it on occasion, it has saved me time several times. The solution is based on a card reader. It does not have a chip reader, but it does support the swiping of the card. The Square software is easy to setup. The advantage of the software is that you as a small business person can send frequent customers an invoice. Or, you can right there at the craft fair accept credit cards!

The reality of using a Point of Sale, is you have some risk and some security benefits. Based on that, we should discuss the risks and benefits.

Benefits

•You can take credit card payments anywhere

•You are not forced to carry a lot of cash with you

•You have a permanent record (for taxes) of sales and payments

Risks

•You have no way of knowing if a credit card was stolen and may accept stolen cards for payments.

•There is no chip reader which reduces the security a little

I’ve been using square since they first came out (more than nine years ago). I take around ten payments in a two-year period. My mother, who makes and sells quilts uses Square as well. She takes between 25 and up to 40 payments per quilt show (they do 2-3 a year) She is overall happy with the solution. I have a couple of concerns. The device itself is not re-enforced. I wish it would have a remote Bluetooth dongle as the reader rather than plugging into the USB port of the phone. Anytime you have to hold a phone at an odd angle you increase the risk of dropping it. A Bluetooth card reader would also allow for the use of chips in the newer credit cards which increases the overall security of the transaction.

Overall my rating of the Square Point of Sale system is a 7 out of 10.

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Thank you to the Virily Hero’s…

In the past three years, I have posted some “what we need, what the authors would like, what is missing, what works well” posts about Virily. Here is the thing I’ve learned out of all those different posts, polls and interactions. Time spent that I have learned. The best part of Virily, is actually what was the best part of Niume, the community. I posted a let’s introduce ourselves post about a week ago. There are some very interesting people that haunt the posts of Virily. The stories of Virily would be a very interesting book to read. There are stories of spots loss, of redemption and stories told by artists. I find evolutions that the conversations I engage in (respond/reply) are with people I honestly find amazing.

It is also why I do ignore the comments of some people. I am trying to move our community forward and wholly or partially negative posts, and comments are not going to help us. I do also know that it is important to be true to ourselves. I learned many years ago as a teacher that you can’t only say negative things to someone. If you do that, they will ignore what you say. You have to balance the positive and negative. I love to comment, to share something I found or learned in the photos I read.  Here is the most important thing I have learned about that; it is what I found. I am responsible for what I see, what I do and how I react to anything. My responsibility is me.

There are things I love about Virily (community, interaction with people) and things I don’t like. For example, I don’t like the fact that the latest version of Windows 10, doesn’t allow you the thumbnail viewer for gallery’s that it used to. I know that is my issue, but I know it is annoying. I also know it is the latest version of Windows 10, I have a VM I don’t update, and it doesn’t have the problem. Building software is a process. I have collected issues, concerns and shared those with the admin team. I have the same luck the rest of you do with the admins. Sometimes they respond, sometimes they do not. From that, I have learned a lesson that some authors have shared before.

We are stronger if we work together!

I would like to personally thank the community for how amazing you are!

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Remember those in the storm!

The three kids all say I am a soft touch when it comes to dogs. Look at the picture shared with this post, of my daughter’s dog, Fran. Wouldn’t you melt as well? Yesterday I got a chance to use my 5g MiFi in downtown DC. I was only in the National Mall area for an hour (lunch), but in that hour I downloaded three movies that I had in my iTunes account that I hadn’t downloaded on purpose. Even doing the remote, going to iTunes and only using 5g, it took 23 minutes to download three movies. That includes the time it took me to figure out where movies were in the new iTunes and then to click on the next movie when the first and then the second one was done.

The evolution of connection is a topic I have covered many times. Today I thought I would wander a little differently. Many of you don’t have or use smartphones. Every time I ask, I get “I only use my cell phones for calls.” As I have long said it is critical that you, as the consumer, get what you need from a device. If you don’t need something, don’t get the device. Having a phone wherever you are, that can be very important. What drives me doesn’t drive you. I also know that many people get really frustrated with technology. A friend of mine works for a power company. His job is to manage the switch network (that is the network where all the switches exist). The number one thing that the helpdesk he runs gets for calls, “my power is down.” Now I am not saying that the frustration people feel isn’t valid, and it is valid. But no one ever calls back to say “my power is up.”

We expect the power to be on. We expect a dial tone for our landline (if we still have one). We expect our computers to boot. All of these things operate at a high SLA (Service Level Agreement) that we expect. I started in the network world where we didn’t offer today’s Service Level Agreements. The most we could offer with the computers of the early 1990s was 99%. Today many companies expect 99.95% uptime for their solutions. But, we as consumers (I am guilty of this) expect 100% uptime for our internet connection, our landline, and the lights. Next time in a bad storm when the lights go out, reach for a flashlight and think about the poor repairperson out in that storm to get your power back on!

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continuing the how we got there…

So yesterday I got through the first part of the revolution that was computers. Today I want o talk about reality in front of us. What is the internet? First off, the interest is a vast ocean of information. But, as I always tell people when I give information, and IT talks, you are standing on a 50-foot platform. Your mission is to dive into the internet headfirst. Based on that fact that much of the internet is less than an inch deep with real information, you get to choose when you dive. The internet has made three distinct evolutions in the past 20 years. I am exploding from the folks at CERN around 1992. The Mosaic project at the University of Illinois created a browser.

The web browser was the first evolution of the internet.  The next evolution was the reality of self-publication. Sites like Virily, and before it Niume and many others. More failures than you realize. More success than we probably realize as well. The last evolution of the internet occurred around the same time as the publication platforms, but it was more of a device platform change. Wireless or what we often call Smart Phones exploded on the scene. Publication platforms started to appear around 2002. The Smartphone appeared before that but didn’t explode onto the market until Steve Jobs stood on stage with an iPhone in 2007. Sometimes, it is critical to have marketing.

So what happens next is interesting. Publication without verification allows this post. Niume and Virily both had a period where you couldn’t directly publish your posts. However, BlogSpot, Live, WordPress, and others allow people to create their blogs. The reality is that the “dis or miss” information is apart of what happened with the creation of more “un” managed information sources. The rise of mobility made many blogs even shorter and smaller to fit into the window of a smartphone or tablet. Information becomes the problem not the gold at the end of the rainbow. I have begun to consider searching on the internet to be like the game fish (if you need a 4, assuming that the other person isn’t holding 3) you would have a 1 in 9 chance of drawing a 4.) that is how I look at internet search now. If I am looking for specific information I try to go to the known good source for that information. If I am troubleshooting something, I got to that companies website.

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The evolution of the computer revolution

The modern computer age began with the computation machine of Charles Babbage and the mathematical processes of Aida Lovelace. From that beginning, we moved to a Machine called the Eniac. Erica was developed by IBM to help with several larger calculations required for moving troops and other activities during World War II. ENIAC was the size of most houses, and honestly slower than the cell phone you have in your hand or pocket. Slow, in the computation reality. Still faster than a human being, but slow in terms of what we expect from computers today. People always argue the next big leap occurred with the rise of cloud computing but I don’t think that.

The next change was the explosion of non-mainframe mail systems. Profs was a mainframe mail system that many companies used for internal mail. The rise of X.400 addressing made it possible for one company to send mail to another. The ARPA Net or what was later to be called DARPA Net was the first connected network to help people doing research and development for the various US government Department of Defense agencies. At the same time the MOD’s of Canada, the UK, many countries in the Society Block of that time and so on were all building networks so that computers could talk to each other. This gave rise to the next big thing, IP or Internet protocol.

IP suddenly allowed multiple computers to exist on the same network. In the days of Token Ring networks, there was an absolute limit to the number of devices that could be on a Token Ring. One more joined, and one of the already connected computers was kicked off. It was called a beaconing ring. When too many devices were on the token ring. The rise of IP addressing, the rise of ethernet doomed Token Ring. Now computers could be unique on a network. In the late 1980s, the Swiss Research facility known as CERN created what I consider to be the 4th computing revolution. The scientists were looking for a way that a reach project could quickly connect with other projects and share information. At that point, it was called the Hypertext Transfer Protocol. Using a computer program you could ask for Http and type in an address. A web page appeared. As more and more IP connected devices appeared, HTTP added the additional we now as WWW or world wide web.

More to come!

The first four Computer Revolutions

1.Computational Machines (Lovelace and Babbage)

2.Mainframes (Government and many others)

3.PC and Email

4.The World Wide Web

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Doing introductions

One of the things that I am always curious about is the “who” of the online conversation. Based on my post of yesterday talking about the reality of the not yet here information age, I would share a little of who I am, to help people get started. It isn’t a challenge, just an opportunity to create a greater connection.

First off, I work in the IT world and have for most of the last 30 years. I have had various leadership positions over the years, based on that some of my suggestions come across as orders. I promise they are not meant as orders, always suggestions.  I run a team of people; sometimes, I forget that I need to throttle back a little.

I live in the US. (in the comments, where do you live) I have lived in what traditionally called the middle of the US (Born near Chicago, lived in India and Ohio). I have been to all 50 US states so far and more than 60 countries of the world. I’ve logged over  1.5 million miles flown and spent more than 1000 nights in various hotels all around the world.

I am a parent. I am also a husband. Now more than eight years ago, we packed up the family and moved to Maryland (on the Eastern Coast of the US).

Thanks for reading! Now you know a little more about me. During the workweek, I get up at 3:30 in the morning so that I can get a jump on the day’s activities!

Will you share more about you in the comments?

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