Jon Sooy

Archive for the ‘technology’ tag

Infographic: The Inbound Marketing Explosion

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Infographic: The Inbound Marketing Explosion (via Internet Marketing Blog)

Ever wonder why inbound marketing is exploding? According to a new inforgraphic from Hubspot and Google Plus, the cost of acquiring a lead through inbound marketing is less than half of outbound marketing acquisition costs. Not only that, but inbound marketing leads tend to be more abundant. Research…

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Written by Jon Sooy

July 23rd, 2012 at 3:16 pm

Royally Geeked Out – Sooy Solar Air Space Heater

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These are the video chronicles of my experimental quest to heat a portion of our house using the sun. The idea came to me while driving down the highway: if I could capture heat from the sun in a collector, I could possibly send that heat into my house to help offset my heating bill. Like a lot of great ideas, I soon figured out that there are others already doing this! I found a great Yahoo Group called ‘Simply Solar’ and several web pages that had stories from guys like me trying to accomplish the same thing. One site worth noting is www.builditsolar.com. Thank you to all my new friends who helped me to accelerate this project with the personal accounts of their own projects.

In order to repay my debt to these solar pioneers, I have recorded my progress in 6 short videos. I hope these videos in turn will help others.

Video 1a and 1b: Introduction and basic over view of what I plan to do!

Video 2: Solar Heater Collector Construction

Video 3: About the Screen,Insulation

Video 4: Paint it Black and the Glazing

Video 5: It works!

I have some final tweaks to do but it works! Thanks again to my Yahoo Group and to builditsolar.com!

Shopping list for the electronics and some ducting (all Amazon… gotta love that Amazon Prime):
4″ Inline Blower – 235 CFM – 12 Volt – 1.3 lbs – 5 1/4″ (h) x 4 3/16″ (w) x 6″ (l)
Thermostat Switch – Circuit On At 100°F and Off At 85°F – Large Flange
Fantech RSK 4 Backdraft Damper 4″ Duct
Kintrex SPC0601 7 Amp 100 Watt 12 Volt Solar Power Charge Controller With Digital LED Display
Moeller Injection-Molded Marine Battery Box (One 27, 30 or 31-Series Battery, 13.44″ x 7.75″ x 10.5″)
Everything else was from local home improvement stores.

Written by Jon Sooy

February 11th, 2012 at 4:01 pm

The Path Towards World Domination (Part 1)

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After nearly 44 years of careful consideration and study, I have compiled this brief manifesto for success. We all define success in different ways. I don’t care what motivates you, if you do all of these things your way, you will be a successful person. You will live long. You will prosper.

Be enthusiastic. Be a complete and total spaz. It’s infectious and more impressive to more people than confidence. Think Roberto Benigni’s chair jumping scene at the 71st Annual Oscars. See it here.

Be weird. If you haven’t read Seth Godin’s new book, I highly recommend it: We Are All Weird. We are in the middle of a social revolution that has been spawned by technology and historically unparalleled prosperity. Conformity is no longer a good plan for long term success. Your strength is in your individuality. Embrace your inner weird.

Hire weird people. Find people who innovate and give them the freedom to explore and express their ideas in a non-judgmental environment. Here’s a hint on how to find these people: Everyone is weird. The secret? Hire the right weird person for the job/position you have available and let them be weird.

Work out. According to Richard Branson, this one activity alone will net you 3-4 hours of productivity per day. I never said world domination would be easy.

Say ‘Thank you’ and ‘I’m sorry.’ The trick is to say it only when you really mean it. People can tell when you don’t. Coach your team to do the same.

Take shortcuts. But only take them if they do not compromise quality or service. Another good read here is Tim Ferriss’ book: The 4 Hour Work Week. Design systems and implement them but encourage and accept criticism for these systems from your staff. If they are innovators, they will likely come up with an even better system.

Fire people. Your company is a money making machine. Each employee is a part of that machine. Take the weird people you hired and install them in appropriate positions within your machine. If a part is broken or doesn’t fit, replace it. Sorry to sound cold, but if one of your weirdos is not a good fit, you are not doing yourself or your company any favors by keeping them around. In the end you are doing them a favor too.

Listen with your eyes. Study body language and facial expressions. You will learn more from non-verbal cues than you ever will from the spoken word.

to be continued….

Written by Jon Sooy

November 1st, 2011 at 12:28 pm

Go With The Flow

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A client who recently read a very powerful whitepaper written by Greg Collins and Cal Popken asked me to explain the term ‘Tributary Supply Chain.’

So, I shall paint a picture.

Imagine, if you will, a canoe on the shoulders of a mighty river. Picture this boat as it gently travels atop the fast running and bountiful waterway. It can’t help but trust its’ provider as it bounces playfully along on it’s journey. The river and the canoe are a great analogy for how we should picture our our customers, our business, and how the success of the latter relies heavily on a very long list of tributary products and services. As it applies to a restaurant, the customer enters your door and is counting on a safe and pleasant journey. They want to trust that the river that is to carry them through their experience is equipped to do so. Certainly any disruption can and will disturb the balance that we work so hard to maintain.

For example, if a river has a poor supply of water, the canoe will bump around violently because the water cannot protect it from pronounced boulders or other dangers.  A river’s tributary supply is critical to ensuring that the canoe comes out unscathed by hazards.

Your customers don’t begin their experience by travelling from your small wares provider through a warehouse, loading docks, delivery trucks but rather they start their journey at the widest part of the river. Their ride is wholly dependent on the waters from upstream. If tributary items such as small wares, uniforms, paper goods, pop materials, POS supplies, etc are not flowing efficiently into your river, then the canoe will experience bumps from your teams inability to deliver the promise of a safe journey.

Too many businesses rely on themselves to keep the river flowing. For many small businesses this is possible but as we grow and add more locations, it becomes very difficult to keep that river running smoothly by ourselves. Recognizing that the management of your tributary supply system is an essential part of your growth is critical. It’s is an important step towards a bold and healthy waterway.

Written by Jon Sooy

October 17th, 2011 at 10:38 am

App Addicts

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App Addicts
Whether you’re an iPhone, iPad, Android or Windows Mobile user it has become clear that the ‘app’ is here to stay. What began as goofy gimmicks and games are now a tsunami of options and opportunities for mobile device addicts. As you navigate the marketplace, it is becoming increasingly difficult to figure out what apps are best for your particular business. It is interesting to me that despite the search capabilities within my Android phone, most of my favorite apps have been recommended by friends. Fun apps like HeyTell, Words With Friends, and of course Angry Birds! But what about business and productivity in general? Here are my picks for the top five apps for business:

Tripit – Available on all major platforms, this great app helps you organize your travel plans. Flight, hotel and rental car information is all in one place. You can add maps, directions and even share you itineraries with others. Even for the occasional business traveler, this is a must have app. More features here on the Tripit website.

Expensify – Available on Android, iPhone, Blackberry and Palm. This app has an incredible number of features. Highlights are the ability to scan receipts and how easy it is to create an expense report. You can also import data from your credit card. For the full rundown of capabilities, visit the Expensify website.

Evernote – Available on virtually every mobile device (not to mention every operating system). Evernote will keep all of your notes synchronized across multiple devices. I am also a Livescribe user and all of my handwritten notes taken with my Livescribe pen are saved to my Evernote account. I don’t know how I ever lived without it! On the road and forgot that contract? If you saved it in Evernote: no problem! Evernote Website.

Dropbox – For all those files that are not in Evernote. The Dropbox application places a folder on your system and everything you put into this folder is synchronized across whatever devices you wish to include. It works on Android, Windows Mobile and the iPhone. Sort of like Evernote, you can easily access documents and files on the go! Basically, any important documents you have on your computer are now in your pocket. The program is free up to 2 gigabytes and above that there is a small per gig charge. Dropbox Website.

Astrid Task – This is an Android only app but there are similar apps for other platforms. I just found this great app a few weeks ago and it’s beauty is in it’s simplicity. The feature rich alternative available on most other devices is “Remember The Milk.” Astrid is a simple task manager/to do list app that can be used as a stand alone or you can set it to synchronize with your Google tasks (which of course can be linked to your Outlook tasks). I was always tied to my Outlook tasks, now I have my list of things to do with me at all times. Available in the Android Market.

Are you an App Addict? What are some of your favorite apps?

Jon Sooy
VP Sales and Marketing

Written by Jon Sooy

August 6th, 2011 at 8:10 am

XBMC for Ubuntu

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For several years now I have been tinkering around with media center PC’s. Without exception I have used old PCs that no longer have the power to handle my heavy usage. After beginning my experimentation with Ubuntu as a lighter weight alternative to Windows, I set out on a quest to build a media center PC on Ubuntu. I have experimented with Hulu, Boxee, GBPVR, Myth and a few others that are not worth mentioning. My first goals was to be able to watch and record TV. But having Dish Networks has made this sort of pointless. What I have decided to do is to build a machine that will easily handle the other great media in my life: internet media content, mp3 files, movies and family videos/photos. Boxee does work fine for this but now that I have installed XBMC on Ubuntu 10.10, it’s bye bye Boxee for me.

If you are new to Linux, I don’t recommend that you start a project like this until you have learned how to navigate Ubuntu’s Software Center and have some experience with using the terminal.  I won’t go into details but will provide the links you need in order to build your system. The great thing about Linux and XBMC, for that matter is that if you get stuck there are tons of people on the internet that will help you! Like I tell most people who come to me with technical questions… ‘Google it, and if you still can’t figure it out, call me.’

In a nutshell, XBMC is an open source media center application that enables you to use a home PC as a device to view internet content and your own private library of movies, music and photos. To learn more about XBMC, go to their website and check out the ‘about’ page.

To build my media center PC, I used an old Dell Latitude D610 Laptop rescued from destruction from my place of work. Rather than use Windows XP (I would have to purchase a license and deal with all the craziness that is Microsoft) I downloaded and installed Ubuntu (free Linux distro that is much less needy in terms of system resources). If you haven’t tried the newer flavors of Linux, I highly recommend that you do! My personal laptop is running Ubuntu along with 3 other computers at home and 1 at work. Quite simply: they rock. All of them are on older machines that most people would have tossed out due to how slow they are running Windows. Once Ubuntu was installed, I installed Samba (which enables the Ubuntu machine to easily connect with other computers on our home network). This will make it easy to transfer movies, music, pictures or whatever. Samba instructions here.

Next, I installed XBMC. Intructions are here. I ran a video cable and and audio cable from the TV to my component cabinet (I just used a regular computer monitor cable – if your computer has an HDMI port, I would use it). With the TV set up as a second monitor I was able to remove the laptop monitor. Not difficult to do if you are comfortable with taking things apart. Obviously one should be careful. I took the monitor off the laptop because I wanted the system to be as cool as possible and with it inside a cabinet, I didn’t want to have to close the laptop. A closed laptop that is running will tend to suffer in terms of cooling.

The final piece to the puzzle was setting up some sort of remote control. I used a Logitech diNovo Mini. It installed on the Ubuntu machine without any configuration at all. I just plugged in the USB dongle and it worked within 30 seconds. Again… Ubuntu rocks and so does this remote. It has a full QWERTY keyboard and a small mouse device integrated. It’s only about 5-6 inches wide and man does it work great.

That’s it! The expense for this project was only the price of the remote control. The laptop was one that was deemed too slow for use at my office and was to be discarded. All the software was free. The other great thing about XBMC is that it is highly customizable with tons of free skins and settings that you can tinker with. Now I can stream music through my surround sound system, watch movies from my collection that I have ripped and turned into .avi files (Highly recommend Handbrake for this – yes… it’s open source too). I can also play slideshows of family events and even watch my YouTube favorites. ALL from the comfort of my couch!

Written by Jon Sooy

April 23rd, 2011 at 7:07 am

QR Codes for Dummies

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QR CodeHave you ever had a lot to say but not enough room to say it? QR Codes might just be what the doctor ordered. You’ve probably seen these odd looking square images pop up on posters, business cards, websites, billboards and even tattoos. QR stands for Quick Response and while it is just starting to take a foothold in the United States, the technology has been around for over a decade and is very popular in Asia. As more and more of us are migrating to smartphones, the use of QR Codes will undoubtedly be a powerful tool for marketing efforts and more.

What makes them special, as compared to a normal barcode, is the fact that they can relay much more information. A regular barcode contains 20 digits in a horizontal arrangement while a QR code can contain up to 7,000 digits, both horizontal and vertical. Simple to scan by using any smartphone with a scanner app, the user simply points his camera at the code and captures the image/data. Then the information within the code is read and pops up on the smartphone. It might be a link to a website, an image or text. Possibilities include but are not limited to: Text, Website URL, Telephone Number, SMS Message, Email Address, Email Message, Contact Details (VCARD), Event (VCALENDAR), Google Maps Location, Wifi Login (Android Only), Paypal Buy Now Link, Social Media, iTunes Link, YouTube Video and more. The possibilities are limited only by one’s imagination.

To make a code, you can do it yourself! A few websites that will generate a QR Code are Kaywa or QRstuff. If you don’t have a scanner on your phone already, just search the app store on your smartphone device for ‘QR Code Scanner.’ For Marketers, I recommend that you use QR Codes on your brochures, business cards, billboards, menus, wearables, websites or anywhere you have the need to easily connect your audience with more information.

Jon Sooy
VP Sales and Marketing

Written by Jon Sooy

March 15th, 2011 at 12:03 pm