JFS Curb Appeal Event – Helping Seniors in San Diego

I volunteered for a JFS Emerging Leaders event where we helped a woman named Angel, who had broken both of her arms to clean her house and to tidy her back and front yard. Watch the video to hear more about her story.

JFS Feeding America San Diego

I was lucky enough to have had my camera at the JFS San Diego Feeding America volunteer event. I was able to ask a few questions of Ashley Harrington about their mission and purpose for the JFS Emerging Leaders program. This is what she shared.

Feeding American San Diego – JFS from Brad Slavin

ThinkContact New Website is Live

The website for my newest application ThinkContact is live.  We have not recieved Apple application approval yet and we are hoping to have it with in the next seven days.  ThinkContact will help you sort your addresses book by occupation rather than by name.

Market Research – Founder Institute

The journey continues and we are now in week two of the Founder Institute program and we are making huge strides as we prepare our market research for Formactivate.

The goal of this week as I mentioned is market research and we’d thought that you would be interested in some numbers.  We’ve always know that there is a big market in lead generation and lead response but honestly we were surprised at just how large this market is and how rapidly it is growing.

By applying some of the research principles that we have been studying we were able to determine that this year alone businesses will spend about $105 billion dollars on online marketing and advertising. The is the market for all advertising of which lead generation and the buying and selling of leads plays an important role.

The lead generation business is growing at a rate of over 20% per year with much of the growth coming from the automotive, legal, insurance and health care sectors.  The average lead cost in one of these markets is $50 per lead and although we are not planning on generating leads we are going to make these purchases more efficient.

FormActivate operates in a market segment called lead response– which deals with the way companies respond to new leads. As you can imagine, with companies spending billions of dollars on lead generation, they want to ensure that their money is well spent – and this is where we come in. By connecting prospects to companies immediately when they express interest in a business, we provide the sales team with the best possible opportunity to convert a prospect into a new customer.

So, how do we price our service, and what type of market slice do we expect to gain? Our direct competitors price a lead response connection at approximately $1.00 per lead. However we a consumption model, in which we charge a per-minute rate for all connections.

Our typical rate is $0.10 per minute. Given a typical phone call duration of 5-8 minutes, we are pricing our offering competitively and will be providing a parity service for about 60% of the competitors pricing.

To understand the market share question, we need to look at the average purchase price of a lead (in all verticals combined), which is about $30.00. So, by charging $1.00 for lead response, we’re effectively pricing lead response at a 3% slice of the lead generation market. This amounts to $162 million in 2012 and is projected to grow to $300 million by 2015. We feel that this is a pretty good model to pursue – especially since there are so few competitors in this field.

Of course, getting a slice of the $300 million market segment is easier said than done. So, stay tuned as we continue our journey to identify the next steps in making FormActivate the de facto standard in lead response.


Think Contact has been submitted to the Apple Store

After about a two month delay from the team and some last minute changes because of iOS6 we have submitted the Think Contact app to the Apple store.   The application will sort your address book by Occupation rather than by name, making it easier for you to find  a service provider and also refer them to friends.

No more trying to remember peoples names or having hundred of contact in your phone but not having any idea of what they do for a living.  It’s a new way of looking at your address book and visualizing your real world relationships.

I am anticipating getting approval for the app in about 10 days.

Vision and Values – Founder Institute

Here is where we stand. Things are going well for us in the technology area, we reciently completed some new integration into the platform to expand our reach into the medium business arena.  Following on the heels of our WuFoo announcement, we have also completed our integration with FormStack and to cater to the users of these services we have introduced a 30-minute free plan.

This means that the 18 million forms that are currently powered by these providers will have access to our intelligent form and call routing technology.  We have worked really hard to integrated seamlessly with their platforms and for a user of each system they can be up and running in less than five minutes.

While we are struggling to find our voice and an ideal targer market for our service we are positive that this is a problem that we are passionate about and that it is worth solving.

For now these are minor issues and my task is to keep moving this company  forward.  That’s all for now.  I will send more updates throughout the startup process.

I was just accepted to Founder Institute San Diego

I have some really exciting news to share with all of you.  I was just accepted into an early-stage startupaccelerator called the Founder Institute http://www.fi.co

During the span of the four month program my co-founder and I are going to be pushing ourselves to the limit by completing the coursework and actions that are required to create a sustainable startup company.

If we are successful and don’t get kicked out of the program it all culminates with a pitch day where we present our ideas and seek external funding for our business.

We all have dreams and most of us are taking action to achieve them…for me being the founder of a scalable Internet startup has been a dream of mine for years. And I am finally taking action to take my dreams to the next level.

My Baby is Ugly. From Concept to a nearly functional MVP.

394 days ago I posted to HackerNews that I not only had a startup idea but after a few brief conversation I had also “secured” some funding to build an MVP. http://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=2223764.

I am now at a crossroads and I am reaching out the the community and I am looking for some help. The technology works but my baby is ugly. Which essentially means that the interface is clunky, the user experience lackluster, the signup process and information screens don’t flow well and frankly there is no sex appeal. My biggest concern is that the system is overly complex and that without a UI/UX overhaul I have the feeling that this application will never see the light of day.

I am hoping for some guidance or pointers, but rather than just post a few lines and asking for recommendation for a UI/UX person I figured it was best to share my journey with you first.

This is a quick recap of the last few months and to update everyone on my progress.

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Direct and to the point

“He has no enemies, but is intensely disliked by his friends.??? –Oscar Wilde

Kane Miller – SocialAdr.com – 4 Hour Work Week Interview

The 4 Hour Work Week book has influenced thousands of people to create better lives. One of the ways that people who want to create better lives come together is via in persons meetings.

By facilitating these meetings and growing based on the common experience we all become better people. Join us for our group and attend our virtual meeting and conference calls.

San Diego Four Hour Work Week Meetup Group. We have multiple methods of connecting to remote member – those who are living the dream.

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Linkedin – Apply with Linkedin Button

The apply with Linkedin Button has been released which allows businesses to accept job applications from users via their Linkedin profiles. The small button is just a peek at the way that I think Linkedin is going to leverage their business network database to benefit their user base. The service is available here – https://developer.linkedin.com/apply

If you have ever searched for a job you will understand the beauty and elegance of this simple button – rather than filling out possibly hundreds of job applications, sending resumes via email and trying to fit yourself into the employers mold – applicants can now apply at the click of a button.

Sure, I can see the downside – when applying for a job becomes to easy, just a click of a button perhaps the quality of the applicants go down. But from the other perspective, you get access to a host of information about the applicant that you would not have had ordinarily.

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Google Announces +1

I wrote last time about Google Offers and today they have finally released it to the public. Floyd’s Coffee Shop in Portland is the first official Google offers location.  As I was writing this the number of remaining went down from 425 to 395 in about 20 minutes…so congratulations to both of you.

Now I wanted to give you a few more updates from the big brains at Google that happened in May 2011. On the heels of Google Offers, Google has just announced another service called Google Wallet.  This is their take on the next generation of smart phones with contactless smart card technology (sort of like the old Mobil gas station speed pass) that will make.

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Agile User Story Cards for Keynote / Powerpoint

As a non-programmer I was struggling to find a way to build user stories. So I created this quick keynote template.  Please be aware that I have only watched some Youtube videos on the subject and I am not an expert.  Any suggestions on this template would be appreciated.






Locella – Frank Kern, Jordan Belfort – What Happened Here?

Did the marketing brilliance of Frank Kern and the sales mastery of Jordan Belfort strike out with their joint venture Locella.com?

One of the best parts of living in San Diego other than the weather which goes without saying is the HUGE and very viable Internet marketing community that thrives in the Southern California climate. For those of you who are not familiar with the ranks of the Internet marketing elite in San Diego we have Mike Koenig (personal hero) from Traffic Geyser and his new social media marketing machine , Frank Kern, Trey Smith, and not sure where Jason Moffatt is these days but San Diego was his home. These and others understand that the San Diego lifestyle works perfectly for our Internet marketing business – the benefit of living close to these guys is the ability to go to the events and to network with other people who are are at the top of their game….that was a long ramble but anyways living in SD also gave me the opportunity to walk by the Locella building on my way to the bank.

Full disclosure here – I’ve been a big fan of Frank Kern for a number of years I went through his Mass Control, Mass Control 2.0, and List Control with my Four Hour Work Week Meetup group. My girlfriend thinks that given the chance I would name my first born child male or female to – “Frank Kern”.

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Swiffer WetJet modification with Sugru

The swiffer wetjet is a great product to clean your floor but one you run out of fluid you are beholden to their proprietary cartridge for a refill.   This is the perfect kitchen adaptation of Razorblade Economics and I needed to find a way out of the cycle, $8.00 per cartridge gets to be a little expensive especially because it is only about $.40 worth of actual cleaning solution. Never mind the cost, think of the sustainability and recycling issues associated with having to discard a plastic container ever few weeks just to keep the floors clean.

So I pulled out my cordless drill and a bit that was large enough for a small funnel that I have and started to investigate how to drill and fill the cartridge.   Opening it was easy, but what I found out is that if you don’t seal the hole fully it just leaks and empties the contents everywhere – it needs to be airtight.   What do do in this situation?

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Sugru – Smart Hacks Super Pack

Today I received my Sugru Smart Hacks Super Pack from the UK.

For those of you who don’t know about Sugru you can find http://www.sugru.com and on Facebook at http://facebook.sugru.com.  Sugru is a silicone rubber that molds and sticks permanently. Subaru is designed to meet help you modify hack enhance or otherwise improve upon products or processes in your daily life. Think of it like silly putty except it gets hard after just a few hours.

The smart hacks super pack, contains 12 5g sachets of Sugru in black blue green and orange. They claim that it will bond to aluminum steel and ceramic glass would leather some fabrics and plastic. I can’t wait to see what “activities” I can get up to with this awesome product.

You should check out YouTube for videos related to Sugru –  people have done some pretty amazing things. I think one of my favorite is the iPhone 4 protector where this guy puts pieces of Subaru around the edges of his iPhone so that when he lays it down it doesn’t scratch the glass surface or the outback of his phone. I hope to be this creative in my usage of super.


Let me know if you’ve had success with Sugru,  or if you want any more information about this awesome product.

Standing Desk Experiment

Using a standing desk to supercharge your life.   You may not be familiar with the concept of a standing desk, but they have been around for hundreds of years.  Some of the greatest thinkers of our time have expounded their benefits.  After hearing Eben Pagan talk about his standing desk I had to give it a try.

My standing desk design is a modification of the Amazon.com door desk concept but with longer legs!  Attached is a video outlining the benefits of a standing desk and some pictures of the construction, ergonomics and the configuration of a standing desk.

We now use these exclusively at the office and they have been a huge boost to productivity and to mental clarity.


I hope you find this helpful.

Migrating Email to Google Apps

I just helped a friend migrate her email to a Google Apps Hosted account.  While there are a number of ways to migrate your existing email to a Google Apps account I have found that using the unix command line software called larch is the easiest way to do it.

This is for migrating email on a hosted domain so it was a FQDN – fully qualified domain name vs. shifting a user account to a domain.

After reading the larch man pages I came up with the following command line option to sync between a 1-and-1 account and Google Apps Hosted email account.

larch –from imaps://imap.1and1.com –to imaps://imap.gmail.com –all –from-user [email protected] –from-pass password –to-pass password –to-user [email protected]

It took about 20 minutes to run and migrate about 4000 email account and sub folders. There were some error messages about Net::IMAP::BadResponseError: Could not parse command (giving up) but I did not really worry about them.  I saw the folders that were having problems and they were from some archived email that she had – so I was not going to worry about them

[Apr 18 15:53:38] [info] 0 message(s) copied, 40 failed, 4242 untouched out of 4282 total

After the migration I logged into my google apps hosted account and made sure that the mail was migrated.  After checking I changed MX records for the Google SMTP servers and the entire migration process was completed.

Undercover Boss, an Amazing TV Show

Undercover Boss just shook my cage. I have been following the 4 Hour Work Week low information for over 4 years now.  I own a TV but I don’t have cable so it keeps things simple – every now and then I log onto Hulu and watch the shows I remember liking from back when I was watching TV.  Every now and and then I hear about a show from a friend that they tell me I need to watch.  Mind you, it has been a while since someone makes a great recommendation.  The show is Undercover Boss on ABC, I watched five episodes on TV.com

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Why are there so many singles in their 30’s

Why are there so many people in their 30’s who are single?

I have been following a process for 30 minutes each day that help me keep up with my network and stay in contact with people, this is both for my professional network and as a way to stay in contact with family and friends that I lost touch with.  You can read about the process in my post about keeping your network warm.   One of those personal letters was to my aunt.   She and I have been exchanging emails for a few weeks now.  I just found out that she had major surgery and no one in this side of the family even knew about it.

In one of my updates about my life I sent her an email about my relationships.

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