I am in Las Vegas this week for a multitude of business reasons, that makes twice this month and I have managed to not become a plot line for The Hangover 4 but more importantly I am happy to say that, although it was a lot of work, the goals for the week will be met. Being in sales and hunting your way into multi-billion dollar corporations is not something that is always easy, but when the hunt comes together it feels great.
All that said, one of the great pleasures I had this week was sitting down for lunch with Dusty Trevino (CFO) and Tyson MacKay (Director of Marketing) from the Dot Vegas team. It was really eye opening to sit down with them and get their insight into launching .Vegas in what I consider the city/region with potentially the most brand recognizable name there is. There are plenty of great cities in the world, I love traveling to many of them, but Vegas, well, it is different when it comes to the brand and what it stands for.
I had reached out to them late last week based on the fact I would be in town and I had been making some investment in .Vegas domain names in the most recent auctions. Really with no agenda other than just to hear more about their plans and how things were going we decided to meet for lunch at the MGM Grand.
I am happy I made that effort. Love or hate new gTLDs, it is hard to argue that names that make sense ending in .Vegas will not be recognizable or memorable for both the locals and visitors. Although any new gTLD will have plenty of marketing to do, understanding where to market is the first step and they understand to have major success they need to focus on the businesses in region, and more importantly cater to those that will grow the brand by developing and creating great things with it. Does that mean missing out on bulk purchases by the domain investment crowd? Sure. But in the long run that means people purchasing these names, for the most part, will be helping to drive value to the new gTLD as their intent will be to build it, which in turns mean show up in search rankings, billboards, business cards, etc. So you may balk at the ~68ish dollar renewal fee, but to me this shows long term plans for the gTLD and not just grabbing easy money. I believe even though the cost may be higher, with less random purchases the renewal rates could be higher.
One interesting thing they talked about was featuring their customers on billboards they have around town, to me that shows that the Dot Vegas team recognizes giving “free” marketing to their customers is a win/win for everyone as at the end of the day promoting sites that use .Vegas actually does more to gain the support from the general consumer than pushing them to nic.Vegas.
Judging .Vegas by the number of registrations they have would be shortsighted, you cannot really compare .Vegas to .Com when it comes to registration numbers. But is that not really the point? The purposeful use of .Vegas has inherent value to it that is obvious in the extension. With the right planning and securing customers that have purpose they will succeed.
There is still a list of 1000 premium names if you are interested, had on over to nic.Vegas to check them out (this is not a paid post or an ad BTW).
Sorry for any typos or ramblings, I have been in Vegas for several days, give me a slight break…
I have had several requests as of late to post the slides and a recording of the presentation that Tiffany and I gave on the opening day at NamesCon on how to rapidly get moving with WordPress. Although we do not have an audio recording of the session I can post the slides here as I have loaded them up on Slideshare. The session was only an hour long so we were limited in what we could cover so our goal was to give the attendees (a full room!) what they needed to know to take something from a pre-installed free WordPress blog site to something more full featured and useful. For those wanting the slides, read on, the slides are at the bottom.
In many cases someone has a very limited amount of time to develop their site but still wants to create something of more value than a simple lander, or maybe you do have larger plans for a site and want to use WordPress as the initial platform to create the base functionality from and then add content and more complex features as time allows, either way the tips we had presented can help.
We are also happy to announce we have been invited to do an encore of our session on Brand.Bar hosted by Angela St. Julien. Tiffany and I will be live discussing WordPress, site development, and giving our thoughts on things we run into while working with customers, we have worked on hundreds of actual paying customer websites and have heard it all, learn from our pain:)
Also, during the session I am happy to take any questions on the rapid launch of Credit.Club, how the initial path was chosen, where it is headed, and discuss how product roadmaps work when working with limited sets of time.
A few other things, based on the several requests we had during the presentation and since then, before the embed of the presentation from NamesCon.
First off themes, most domain developers as well as small and medium size customers do not have the budget (and to be quite honest, the need) to create a WordPress theme from scratch. It is very seldom that need exists today and, as such, that allows WordPress developers to keep cost down as quality options exist that can then be customized (sometimes visually, sometimes feature wise). We tend to use themes from ElegantThemes.com, ThemeForest, and at times WrapBootstrap (Bootstrap is a topic for another day and just as important as WordPress these days). Yes those links are affiliate links, only because we actually do use the products.
You will find in each of those sites a wide variety of themes, we use these for our small business customers on a day to day basis. It is very important when selecting theme providers that you check out their support, forums, and actually pay for themes that provide a high level of support. You will find bugs, and they will have to be fixed, that 50 dollars for the theme will save you thousands of dollars in lost time. Guaranteed.
Plug-Ins are another topic, we have several that we have standardized on, our selection is based on using them on real sites that are used by real businesses, there are plenty of other options out there but here are a few. Also, in future posts I will list specific feature focused plugins (i.e. database integration, etc).
Contact Form: Gravity Forms or Contact Form 7 depending on need
Sitemap: Google XML Sitemap
This is the base set, there are plenty of others, as mentioned, that I will list in future posts. But based on the questions from the NamesCon sessions and messages I have received since the base Plugins seems to be of particular interest. Feel free to add your favorites in the comments.
Here are the slides from the NamesCon WordPress 101 Session:
A couple weeks back I had tweeted that I felt inspired to start blogging again. Amazing all the various things that have occurred since then to inspire me even more to start streaming words on to the interwebs again. 4 years back (wow it has been that long) I would write 2 to 3 blog posts a day and really enjoyed the interactions with people in the domain investment community. Then it would be a post here and there, but I never could gain the consistency back. But one thing I always knew was that blogging actually helps me be more productive. It helps me get my thoughts together in some ways, in a public manner, yet it helped to focus me.
Well, although there are quite a few new people in the domain community who may be wondering who the heck this blogger is showing up on Domaining.com (need to put that banner back up), I look forward to hearing from those who have opinions on my opinions. The gTLD expansion has opened up whole new expanses of property, and as much as dot com may still lead the way, it would be hard to argue that many of the gTLDs would not make it to a successful place on the internet. This makes the industry interesting again. For so long it felt like more of the same, which I think is why I just stayed in the background and did my thing, had some nice dot com, dot co, and dot me transactions and jumped heavily into mobile app development and re-launched Missouri.me.
Today I spend most of my professional working hours as VP of Technical Sales for CafeX Communications where I lead the global sales engineering team and sales for a large swath of North America, selling WebRTC real time engagement SDKs to Fortune 500s is challenging yet has been the most fun I have had in the past 10 years. But at the same time LocalTek, the company I founded in 2009, has established itself as a leader in our region in web design and development as well as mobile apps for small businesses, it was founded out of ideas for business development on geo domains (we as a company own 24 different state.me domain names). But the geo domain business has shifted, and out of that came innovation we have created based on mobile apps that we have started to show with Missouri.me. I give my wife a lot of credit for the success LocalTek has had as working for a rapidly growing startup like CafeX is quite all consuming, so it takes a strong partner to make sure things move like they should on the other fronts.
It is time though to start growing my domain investment again, I have became an active participant in auctions again, and, well, maybe have had a few nice gTLD hand registrations, you may of heard about Credit.Club. Although I am the first to say do not start registration every generic word on every new extension, there is plenty of value out there right now that in a few years will show to be good investments.
I will shut up now, but I am glad to be back. Even if my entrance back ended up being a bit more dramatic than planned with the weeks past events.
This past week I attended the WebRTC Expo in Santa Clara, CA and enjoyed the opportunity to both learn from the various sessions as well as spoke in one of the sessions focused on enterprise readiness with WebRTC. Below is the presentation for those interested. WebRTC now has over 1.2 billion endpoints enabled and is rapidly being deployed as a mechanism to bring both voice and video collaboration (with no downloads) and also new unique applications to the web (and example is SoundTrap which was demo’ed by Google at the conference).
BIG RIVER BROADBAND TO ENHANCE YOUTH TECHNOLOGY SKILL THROUGH DONATION OF COMPUTERS TO SUPPORT PARKLAND PROGRAMMERS
FARMINGTON, MISSOURI (November 14, 2013) – Big River Broadband donated 15 laptop computers Tuesday, Nov. 12, to the Farmington Regional Community Foundation to enhance technology skills among students ages 8-12 participating in Parkland Programmers.
This is the first gift to the Farmington Regional Community Foundation as part of its fiscal sponsorship agreement with the Parkland Programmers, a youth technology initiative which began earlier this fall as a way to provide extra-curricular computer programming training to youth in the area.
Parkland Programmers coordinator Tiffany Marler is excited about the opportunities this gift from Big River Broadband will provide.
“The gift of these dedicated computers for kids will help so much,” Tiffany Marler said. “Since our participants start at age 8, we know not all of them have their own personal device to bring to class, so this will help us ensure that each student has access to the tools they need to learn these important skills.”
“We always want to be able to provide the same opportunities and level of education no matter the financial circumstances at home, so having those laptops available for “check-out” will give every kid the opportunity to succeed,” Marler said.
Marler also said that having dedicated computers will cut down on the amount of tech support time by program administrators which will allow more time for letting students learn and create.
“The skills that are being provided by Parkland Programmers are helping our own young people right here at home to learn to think creatively, develop critical thinking skills, and work collaboratively,” said Kevin Cantwell, president of Big River Broadband. “These are essential skills for students to become productive employees and leaders in the 21st century.”
Cantwell said that technology is such a driver of innovation and is a necessity for jobs in all industries and that opening doors to these tools early in a child’s life, will undoubtedly help prepare them for success.
The 40 students who participated in the first session of Parkland Programmers used Scratch, a Web-based program designed by the Lifelong Kindergarten Group at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology Media Lab. Scratch provides a framework that allows students to design interactive stories, games, and animations, and share their creations with others in the Scratch online community.
Marler said that Scratch provides a strong programming framework that’s fun and exciting for children, which prepares them to learn more complex language as they develop their skills.
“Schools are working very hard to include science, math and technology in the classroom, but with rigorous state and federal standards, there’s only so much time,” said Doug McDermott, executive director of the Farmington Regional Community Foundation.
“This initiative is just one way as a community, we can create and develop our own strategies to support formal education and provide unique opportunities to students who are developing a passion for lifelong learning and technology,” McDermott said.
“The purpose of a community foundation like ours is to connect donors to opportunities to make a difference here in our own community. This special gift from Big River Broadband will have lasting effects on the future of our students and the opportunities to build a workforce that is ready for growth.”
The Farmington Regional Community Foundation, formerly the Chamber of Commerce Focus on Farmington Foundation, was created in 1994, for the purpose of soliciting, managing and distributing private funds and resources to further the development and welfare of the people of the region. Past projects facilitated by the foundation include creation of Farmington’s Bicentennial Park, improvements to the Farmington Public Library and Civic Center, a variety of memorials/legacy displays, and other community enhancements.
More information about Parkland Programmers and future learning sessions is available at parklandprogrammers.com. To support the program or to learn more about the Farmington Regional Community Foundation and the ways community foundations allow donors to create lasting legacy in their own communities, visit focusonfarmington.org.
Big River Broadband is a full-service telecommunications provider offering wireless internet, telephone and fiber based internet solutions to the residential, business and education markets in southern Missouri. Big River Broadband owns and operates a state-of-the-art 4G LTE network which ensures customers high speed connections with the absolute best technology and service available. More information can be found at www.bigriverbroadband.com.
If you are interested in donating or helping with the Parkland Meetup and Parkland Programmers to help drive tech growth in our rural go to ParklandMeetup.com or ParklandProgrammers.com or use my contact form here on the site.
WebRTC is here to stay. Yes I have been an early adopter of the buzz worthy tech, you can see more about my early thoughts on WebRTC here. But with the buzz seemingly accelerating daily (specifically while shows like Mobile World Congress are going on) it makes it even better when I can see technology in action and working, not just in other peoples demos, but in products that I am using myself and actually presenting to customers while traveling across the US for Thrupoint.
One of the great things about WebRTC is that its completely clientless if you are using Google Chrome or Firefox (nightly releases). This means you do not have to download another version of Java, or Skype, or Microsoft Lync, etc, etc. So today we thought we would show that WebRTC is actually ubiquitous and actually works from anywhere. Even at 32 thousand feet while heading to Palo Alto.
We used Thrupoint Fusion Web Gateway, Fusion Client SDK, and Fusion Media Broker to do this call using the production Google Chrome. Amazing using the VP8 codec currently supported in Google Chrome we had virtually no issues on the planes wifi for voice or audio (although I was quiet since I did not want to annoy passengers next to me).
Thrupoint also posted today they have Cisco Jabber working along side WebRTC for voice, video, instant messaging, and presence allowing for enterprises wanting to keep their legacy IP PBX in place to use the latest web technology to extend their applications outside their 4 walls.