Election 2014?

The next US Senate election is in 2014.

Campaigning begins in less than one year.

While I love my current job, I’m giving another Senate race some serious consideration.

This time around, I think I might seek the backing of a real party… Libertarian Party makes sense.  Hell, I’ll seek nomination by ALL the established parties.  I welcome anyone who wants to back me, just so long as they know I’ll be sticking to my own principles and ideals and not the party’s.

So…. Should I do it?

Bad Laws

When legislators act quickly, and base their actions purely on emotion, we end up with laws which, in retrospect, we see as poor decisions.

Perhaps the most insidious of these in living memory is the PATRIOT Act.  At this point, there is a petition to ask the Whitehouse to put pressure on Congress to repeal this bad law.  I would like to urge you to not only sign this petition, but also to ask your friends to do the same.  Not only have innocent lives been destroyed, but more importantly, our liberties, which once lost are a struggle to regain, have been greatly curtailed by this act.

The link to share is: http://wh.gov/P9VH

The HTML code to paste into your web site or blog is:
<a href=”http://wh.gov/P9VH“>Repeal the USA Patriot Act in its entirety</a>

On the Hunt Once More…

So, once again, I seem to be on the hunt for a new job.  Working for Venture Activism has been amazing and a great experience, but due to financial constraints there, I need to move on to the next endeavor.  I’m leaving on excellent terms and hope to continue to be available to them as a consultant.

Looking forward, I’m excited to bring my wide range of skills to bear as the next System Administrator or technical manager at an exciting company.

My preference is something local, within a 2 hour commute or so.  I’m looking at some of the faster paced companies in Boston and Cambridge, MA but I’d really love work with a company in New Hampshire.  I’m pretty flexible in terms of hours, salary, and benefits.  The important thing for me is that I’m working with good people doing good and exciting things.  I’ll even consider relocation if the situation is right.

So, if your company is ready to hire an experienced admin, with a focus on Linux systems and managed services, let me know!  You can also reach me through LinkedIn and BeKnown.

Two more years…

The next US Senate seat up for election in NH is in 2014.  Senator Jeanne Shaheen is the democratic incumbent and has not yet announced if she will be seeking reelection.

Writing my first book

I have a number of friends who are authors.  Some of them even make some income with their writing.

A couple years ago, I started writing a book I still intend to complete, but recently that’s taken a back burner to actually making money with my day job running Just Works.

I’ve started or outlined a few different literary ideas, but none of them happened.

When Just Works wasn’t making ends meet, I began taking notes on what I felt I had done wrong and what I should have been doing.  I looked at case studies, took in advertising and marketing campaigns, and tried to piece together some ideas of where to take my business.  I wrote all of these down in a little, black note book.

Once in a while, I showed these notes to friends and business associates.  Several suggested I write a book using my notes as the start.

So that is exactly what I’m doing.

The working title is “The Pocket Guide to Business Riches” and the book is now up to almost 50 pages.  It will probably be about 60 or 70 pages once I’m done and I plan to publish it in a pocket size so people can carry it around with them.

Sure, I’m not financially rich yet, but this book is a collection of things I should have done to be rich and things I’m working on right now to make that happen.  The tips in the book are great ideas, but no book will make you rich by itself.  You need to work at it.  There is no such thing as a free lunch.  The proof is in the pudding, and I hope to share my experiences putting these tips to use as I make my fortune.

My Newest Endeavor… Websites for Indie Bands

In opening up my web design offerings, I came to a realization: Most bands need the same basic tools on their websites and once those tools are gathered in one place they can be replicated for more bands with much less work than creating a complete web site from scratch.

This led me to start Indie Band Websites to work on that market.

You see, I love small, independent bands.  Seeing them live is a much more personal experience and the artists themselves really believe in their work.  You can see it up close and personal.  Many of them really deserve much more exposure than they are getting.  But when I go to look them up, I often see some really poorly done websites.  Some bands just have a page on MySpace or ReverbNation, and though every band *should* have such pages, they should also have a place to call their own.

Having your own website tells the world that you are a professional and that you are really serious about your work.

So why don’t most small bands have a really kicking website?  Well, I suspect that cost is the main factor.  Hiring a good web designer costs money that most indie bands just don’t have kicking around.

That’s where Indie Band Websites comes in.  I’ve dropped my initial cost to almost nothing in favor of a monthly payment structure.  What this does is ensure I get my cut but spreads the cost to the band out over a full year.  Normally I offer an option of monthly maintenance, but most people aren’t interested.  It’s too bad, too.  Software updates come out frequently to fix newly found bugs and security holes.  Without maintenance, the site could be compromised by malicious individuals.  With Indie Band Websites, though, I make the maintenance mandatory to fix this problem and to receive a little token payment for the time I put into a web site.  What the band gets in return is an on-call webmaster to make sure their site runs perfectly.

I really think I am offering the best possible option for independent bands to get a great looking and interactive site.  So check it out and tell your friends.  And the next time your favorite local band gives you a web address at MySpace or ReverbNation, tell them to get their own website at http://indiebandwebsites.com


In my philosophy of making the world a better place, I come up with a LOT of ideas, from the very small (treat a friend to coffee) to the huge (C4I for Humanity).  In the process, people have given me a lot of positive feedback, but my own circle of friends lacks the financial power to back the vast majority of these concepts.

I’ve recently been turned on to an idea called “crowfunding” which I think is positively BRILLIANT.  It uses the idea of crowdsourcing to solicit donations or investments from the general population.  With this, a person with an idea can get their funding with a hundred thousand people donating just their pocket change rather than a small handfull of investors who are only interested in the payback.

This concept brings public opinion into the equation. By making it donation based, individuals can give micro grants as small as $1 to ideas and projects they like.  This is neither a loan nor an investment, but a donation.  Thus the paperwork is simplified, the money is all used to make the idea grow, and the person who’s idea it is can judge the public reaction before spending a load of money.

So I’ve been looking into crowdfunding for business.  The idea has been around for years for non-profits, but it’s pretty new for actual for-profit enterprises.  With Kickstarter as one of the top sources in the non-profit sphere, here are a few I’m looking at for the for-profit and personal project sectors:

  • ChipIn Logo

    ChipIn – By far this is the simplest system.  You set goals for the amount and deadline and you collect your donations direct to your PayPal account.  The donations go right in and that’s it!  This doesn’t have quite the features I’m looking for, such as pledges and incentives, but it is very easy to use and understand. The service is free and uses a Flash based widget you can embed in a web page.  They also have plugins and widgets for many social media and blogging systems.  PayPal fees are applied as per their terms.  If you’re looking for simplicity, this is it.

  • PeerBackers logo

    PeerBackers – These guys are new players in this game.  They seem committed to good funding and good projects.  All projects are reviewed for approval.  They are goal-oriented.  This means you set a goal and if the finding isn’t sufficient (80% of the goal), no money changes hands.  Their site has great tips and advice.  You can also offer a tiered rewards system to your contributors to sweeten the offer.  They offer link sharing buttons to post your project to most major social media sites, etc.  If you’re looking for a site with a lot of success stories, you might want to wait a little while.  PeerBackers is so new, there aren’t many to see here yet.  But fear not, they look like they know what they’re doing.  Keep an eye on these guys.  They have potential to shine!

  • GoFundMe Logo

    GoFundMe – Kind of a cross between the previous two, this company does direct PayPal transaction of your donations AND has a ton of social media features. They seem to be pretty easy to use, too.  They are another fairly new company and like PeerBacks, their site says they are still in “Beta” testing.  You can set your goals and track your donations over time.  Their video tour of the site is helpful.  GoFundMe does charge a 5% fee on each transaction (and PayPal will also charge you their fee).

  • RocketHub Logo

    RocketHub – These guys have a great theme to their site. Your new idea is like a rocket ship.  Your donations are the fuel.  They are goal and pledge oriented – You don’t get your funding till there are enough funds.  What makes them unique, is how the contributors work.  A contributor buys “rocket fuel” and then pledges it to the projects they like.  Then, if the tank is full, the rocket takes off.  If not, the contributor can re-pledge to a different project.  The good is that contributors are encouraged to donate to more causes and projects if one fails to be funded.  The bad is the rocket fuel is purchased.  The contributor puts their money in right away rather than pledging to do so later.  This is really not a bad idea.  It encourages people to fund a new project in the demise of their first pick.  This keeps the capital flowing and that’s a good thing.  I like the fact that by doing this, they encourage people to both keep giving and also check out other projects.  this benefits the projects greatly and makes it well worth the higher fees. Rockethub takes an 8% cut once a project is funded.

  • IndieGoGo logo

    IndieGoGo – Like we have been seeing among the others, IndieGoGo has it’s own take on things.  Here, they transfer each donation to you but hold back 9%.  If your project succeeds, they send you 5 of that and only keep 4% for handling charges.  PayPay fees still apply.  They boast over 13,000 projects over the 2+ years they’ve been in operation.  As one of the first crowdfunding sites, they are proud to have become a sort of industry standard against which most other sites are compared.  It seems they were originally focussed on independent artists but have branched out to become less specialized.  In addition, they have a pretty impressive array of corporate partners including MTV and Facebook.

  • Give.fm logo

    Give.fm – Here, the crowdfunding site with the best name, in my opinion, breaks off from the pack.  They boast the ability to solicit recurring donations.  This means that the contributors pledge a certain amount a day and are billed monthly for it.  Recurring payments, especially automatic ones are brilliant in that you keep interaction up as well as continue to get money.  Additionally, many people might forget and as it’s all automatic, the money keeps on coming.  This is how many magazines keep coming and how some electronic cigarette companies are going about their business.  While IndieGoGo is partnered with Facebook, Give.fm is fully integrated with the Causes Application on Facebook.  This gives tremendous leverage of the millions of Facebook users out there.Give.fm charges a flat $5 a month for each campaign and there is an additional transaction for  for the Causes application.

  • invested.in logo

    Invested.in – These guys seem like they’ve broken from the pack in a very good way.  First thing you see on their site are their success stories.  Second thing I found poking in there is that they boast some of the lowest fees out there at 3%.  Third, they focus on showing off the projects they host.  Fourth they offer a scalable platform so you can run a crowdfunding campaign on your own server, and over all they seem focused on soliciting support for the projects more than getting more new ones.  The way this system works, is that like IndyGoGo, they collect donation funds at the time of the pledge and make those funds available to the project when the goal is reached.  What if the goal fails?  Well, it can’t really.  With Invested.in you set either a time goal (raise as much as possible by a certain date) or a monetary goal (raise a certain amount of money).  You can stagnate but you can’t lose.

In all they are very similar with a slightly different way of doing things.  I was hoping to find a business crowdfunding site that worked exactly like Kickstarter, but I did not find one.  In stead, I found 7 good sites that do things 7 different ways and not one fit the goal I had in mind.  From the look of things, I may need to revamp my hopes here and use a different crowdfunding site for each idea I have… Pitty.

If you know of a business crowdfunding site that works like Kickstarter, please let me know, either in the comments here or by other means.

Additional Note: M. Shane Hill of http://www.TheDownTag.com and an IndoGoGo project coordinator, has let me know that PeerBackers also requires that you host your project *exclusively* with them in order to use the PeerBackers service.  I agree with Mr. Hill that his probably is not the best policy, but if you don’t mind it for your project go for it.  As with all crowdfunding sources, you should choose the one (or more!) best suited for your project.  So do your homework, folks, and while you’re at it, toss a few bucks to TheDownTag over at IndieGoGo.  The life you save could be your own.