Scale, it’s All About Perspective


Have you noticed how some people seem to fail and others seem to be very, very successful at what they do?

The thing is, this isn’t by accident.

They look at the world differently and one of the key things that they look at differently is the perception of “scale”.

Scale on a Whole New Level

In the video below by Brian Greene, the famous theoretical physicist & string theorist he discusses an import factor when looking at the world around you.

We understand that most humans are several feet tall, that planes go fast and we walk quite slow from our “day to day” activities.

We only have one perspective of scale, we’re in the middle if you like. However, these are just a small fraction of the possibilities.

Press play on the video below, it’s only a few minutes long:


This starkly wakes us up to realise that scale is much more than what we see day to day, it can be as small as an atom or as large as a universe.

“We’re here to put a dent in the universe. Otherwise why else even be here?”
Steve Jobs

Other people focus on what they see day to day and others… well they want to ding the universe.

I know which one I’d rather do, you?


Image Source: here

Go the Extra Mile, It All Counts


I’m a year older today, Skype & Facebook has exploded with birthday wishes (many thanks by the way!).

Someone asked if I would be “taking it easy” and another asked if I would be “taking the day off”.

As a fellow entrepreneur & business owner like yourself, I feel compelled to clearly state:

Am I hell.

I got up an hour earlier to make more of a difference ( so that was 04:30 instead of 05:30 ).

In everything I personally do I aim to work and deliver 10 times more than anyone else, I do my utmost to lead by example and that includes on birthdays.

If you’re wondering what I’m up to, here are a couple of the things that I have done since September last year:

  1. The 3rd Generation of Multi Channel software was started in Sept 2013 over at
  2. I’ve helped build the largest online community for Magento & M2EPro users
  3. Between myself & Dave we’ve recorded over 250 “Plain English” video tutorials in 9 video courses
  4. We held a webinar promoted by eBay which we were joined by over 500 business owners like yourself to show you how easy it is to sell on eBay using Magento. And I personally answered every single one of your questions ( over 200 of them! )
  5. Published over 100 blog articles here
  6. Recorded 14 Podcasts which are available on iTunes & YouTube
  7. I’ve personally replied to over 2,600 questions from business owners like yourself in the forums and that’s not including the +1,500 comments made to the video tutorials.
  8. I’ve hired two full-time members of staff and hit profitability a long, long time ago
  9. I went on holiday for a week and while other people would people would read a book or 3, I wrote a book. This is being published on Tamebay right now, see here for part 1, part 2, part 3, part 4 and on Friday part 5 and the book will be published on Kindle shortly. Update you can now download it here.
  10. And you’ll see me presenting not just one talk, but two at this years eCommerce Expo in London

I know that this may sound insane, however for any business owner out there, go the extra mile.

It all counts, even on birthdays.


Why Your New Years Resolution Sucks

It’s that time of year again when the regrets of eating too much yummy cake at Christmas start to kick in and plans are made for New Years resolutions are made.

But why not pick a resolution, so simple that you know you can keep?

No false promises, not something that will fade away with the hangover. A resolution that you can chip-away at every single day and know that by the end of August you can still achieve it.


2013 The Year of Failure

Last year I set myself the goal of failing in 2013.

Success is stumbling from failure to failure with no loss of enthusiasm.
Winston S. Churchill

Failing? WTF? Yep seriously my new years resolution for 2013 was to fail and the reason for this was simple.

If I (or you) fail at something that means that we have actually been trying to do something. Anything! Success doesn’t happen overnight, other people look at the successful and think “wow they were lucky“. What a load of tripe, the people that you look up to that are successful didn’t get there by chance, accident or luck. They got there because they worked their pants off and part of that is failing.

In my mind, the more I failed, the more I was doing. I was learning, moving forwards each time something didn’t go to plan because I then knew that wasn’t the right way.

The resolution was so simple, I could literally not fail at it.

And for 2014?

However, this year needs a whole new tack to build upon the success at failing 2013, but it needed to be so simple, I could do it everyday.

ShareAnd the resolution for this year seemed to fit in so well with what I’ve been up to for the past 6 months with UnderstandingE and this year I am going to simply “share”.

It sounds so simple and it is on purpose. I need something that I know I can execute every single day, not only on the first few days of January, but for every month that follows.

  • Share my knowledge
  • Share what I’ve learnt
  • Share what I am working on
  • Share the successes
  • Share the failures (expect lots)

By standing up and saying “I think that this just might work“, sharing starts a conversation. Sharing starts the path to failure. Sharing starts the path to success and sharing is so simple, I know I cannot fail at doing it.

Think about it, what one thing can you do in 2014 that is so simple that by March you know you’ll be able to actually keep that resolution for the entire year?


PS. And if you’d like to hear all of the wins, failures & the funny parts of what I’ve been working on the past 6 months, I have already started to “share” and you can listen in here.

Are You a Procrastinator Too? This May Help

Do you put stuff off until tomorrow which you really should be doing today?

I do.

I do it all the time.

I’m continuously working at it and something really small has helped me greatly. A simple wallpaper. It’s not for the light of heart but it makes the point clearly and that’s why I’m sharing it with you (point #3) and it might help you too.

Full download URL:


PS. Probably not the best idea for a customer facing computer screens ;-)

Why & Well Done


I just popped this out as an email a few minutes ago, but if you’re not subscribed, I don’t want you to miss out, because it’s well earned.

What makes us work 18, 20 or even 22 hours a day?

Simple, we’d rather work 22 hours a day for ourselves rather than working 7 hours for someone else. And that makes us different.

It’s not easy, but we feel we’re building something special. Customers can drive us bonkers, I bet you’ve got a squillion emails already today and the majority of them want something from you, a return, a complaint or have a question that you have probably answered 500 times already this week. And at times I know it feels like a thankless slog.


It’s hard at times to appreciate that the vast majority of times everything went right, mainly because these go silent or are lost in the oodles of positive feedback or is just never spoken of, because “you just did good” and there is no need as far as customers are concerned.

So what’s the point of this post?

Sometimes we never get a pat on the back for “just getting it right” and doing an excellent job. It’s time to say well done.

So… well done.

Have a fab Thursday,


PS. If you’re not subscribed to the mailing list yet, I only email when there is something worth saying and you can subscribe here

Two Types of People

I’m writing this post with one person in mind, if this helps you too, I’m glad.

As far as I see it there are two types are people.

One does something, the other day dreams.

It doesn’t matter if they’re told no, they’ll just find a way. As one door closes, they just deem it to be the wrong door and move to the next (which is obviously now the right door [repeat endless times])

One of them will research and

  • Read 1000 web pages until they “get it”,
  • Sit there and read a book until they “get it”,
  • Watch 60 video’s on YouTube until they “get it”,
  • Will take an online course until they “get it”,
  • Will do something, anything until they “get it”

On a subject they don’t know about, but know they need to know (or if they’re super smart, they’ll just get someone else to do that part for them). The other one just gave up at Google or just didn’t even open the web browser.

One is concerned about making sales, the other is more concerned about providing value.

One will phone friends (or anyone that will listen) to find answers and if they have none, they’ll go online, make some and then find answers.

One will see that it’s mandatory to be educated in specific fields, the other will just shrug their shoulders and say to themselves “I’ll work that bit out later”.

They’ll listen to an expert and if they deem them to be wrong (highly likely), they’ll go and find another (if they exist) that says otherwise and see how it works out.

One of them sees a problem and finds a solution, if that solution helps others then they’ve found a niche. The other just saw lots of problems, but never a solution.

Both are scared of failure, but one of them knows what’ll they’ll be doing if it does.

One day-dreams about the doing part, they may go through the motions but never actually do anything.

So which one are you?
Image Source

What Music Do You Listen To While Working?

Music is such a powerful medium and I’ve always found that the right tune can help me get through the early hours when completing a project or to just help the day fly by.

I’ve included three of my personal favourites below and they sum up the wildly different tastes in music I have and a little background to why I use them and when I use them too.

These are my tastes but I’d really like to know which tracks give you the chill’s and help you get through your working day. You can let me know them in the comments section at the bottom.



The first is a motivational track taken from Madagascar 3 (mint film by the way, have you seen it yet?) which I use for when I’m working on a tough project and needs me break from the self-doubt I struggle with badly.

Dig Deep and Make the Hours Fly By

The second is actually a collection of classical tracks that I loop through when I need break those small hours and dig in deep and push through. The playlist is here.

Change My State of Mind in 1 Minute

And if I get really stuck, then this tune always liven’s me up.

But it comes with a warning… You might want to turn the sound down before playing as the intro is ‘loud’, hence why I use to change my state of mind and that dude in the orange shirt at 1:00, that’s me, well mentally anyway.

What Gives You Chills?

That’s enough about my tastes, what do you use to:

  • Spur you on?
  • To relax with?
  • Change your state of mind entirely?

Let me know by leaving a link or track name in the comments box below.

A Good Problem. We’re Moving!


There are bad problems and there are good problems, I always prefer the latter and I’ve got an excellent one.

This is one of those amazing posts that I only dreamt about all that time ago when the LastDropofInk was first started.moving-home

For the past few weeks the sheer volume of traffic to the site has meant we’re coming to the end of what can be done on shared web hosting. It’s time we grow up and find a new home on a beastly dedicated server to allow this site and its services to grow even further.

This weekend the site will be moving to a new home and will be locked down to a holding page for a few hours which the data is transferred and DNS settings updated. Besides that you shouldn’t notice any visual difference to the site after the move and over the next 2-3 weeks I’ll start tuning the server to improve performance.

Two years ago I made the decision to not worry about web hosting and just get on a creating content,  the very first article was for Google TV. Since then with your help & support through all the conversations, emails, comments and support this site has grown & grown from a tens of hits each day  to thousands and for that I am eternally grateful.

I’ve got to run and edit today’s Podcast on eBay variation listings, the target time for the release is 2pm today, so I better get my rear-in-gear and get editing!

Thank you so much for your support.

Speak soon,


LastDropofInk Mobile Site Launched

LastDropofInk Mobile Site

Well, it’s about time I re-launched the mobile version, after all 10-20% of the traffic here during the weekdays can come from mobile devices.

Yesterday I altered one of the standard themes, wrote a customised mobile site and after testing on numerous devices, it’s been launched.

It’s been set up so that if you’re on a mobile decide (other than an iPad) that you’ll be redirected to the heavily cut down version which includes the basic functionality.

  • Home link
  • Search
  • Finger-friendly links
  • Image optimisation
  • A method to get back to the main site if desired

Being a speed freak, I’ve also ripped out (blocked) the really large overhead files as well, so that instead of the total page weight being around 183Kb, that it comes in at a tenth of this at 18Kb. You can test mobile sites here

I’d like to also pass on an excellent tip I found to block the extra styles and JavaScript files in WordPress from here. My example is below and blocks the tubepress extension from loading css and js files in the header on the mobile site, by blocking them in the functions.php file.

add_action( ‘wp_print_styles’, ‘my_deregister_styles’, 100 );
function my_deregister_styles()
wp_deregister_style( ‘tubepress’ );
wp_deregister_script( ‘tubepress’ );

Using the Mobile Site?

Use the comments box below and let me how it feels!

Quickly Dealing with Website Spam Bots

website-spammers-1If you look in the image to the right, one of the community based sites I’m involved with was seeing a higher than normal user count for this time of the morning, which probably meant that it was being attacked by users or most likely spam bots.

Looking through the IP addresses, there was a common theme the IP ranges 180.76.6.* and 180.76.5.* which are located in China (we have no users in China see here for a lookup tool)

Now that’s pretty easy to crudely solve using a .htaccess file, regex and apache rerewrite rules.

Because I want to cover two subnets, I’ve written two rules, they are simply:

#180.76.6.* and .5
RewriteCond %{REMOTE_ADDR} ^180\.76\.5\.
RewriteRule .* [R,L]

RewriteCond %{REMOTE_ADDR} ^180\.76\.6\.
RewriteRule .* [R,L]

If you desired to just block a single address then you would need a slightly different rule, which would be:

RewriteCond %{REMOTE_ADDR} ^180\.76\.6\.183$
RewriteRule .* [R,L]

This won’t stop their current connection, but as soon as the user agent goes to reload or navigate to another page, then in this example they’ll be sent to instead (although I can assure you they are not being redirected to google in the live example of this).

Coping with a siege such as this example speed is of the essence and this is a quick and dirty way of dealing with them and also highly amusing as you chose where they are redirected to (but for goodness sake, make sure you check this works with your IP or IP range first!)

Ideally configuring a firewall wall before they even hit the site would be more suitable along with a few other methods of identifying them without being altered to the attack in the first place.

What if the prices for everything were the same?


This whole price parity issue with Amazon over the past few days as got me thinking. What if the prices for everything were the same?

Let’s imagine for a few minutes what would happen if we say, all governed by a communist government worldwide and one of the parts of the establishment was that for all products, the prices had to be the same.If Prices Were the Same?

I mean everything, from a can of coke to a Plasma TV. If it’s exactly the same product it has to be exactly the same price set by a third party, no if’s, no but’s and you go to jail if you break the rules. (The jail part is harsh, but I’m just making the point).

Now before you start picking holes, unbranded goods would fall into categories, for example, a printed T-Shirt, regardless of design or material would be a fixed price. All broken or refurbished goods have to be scrapped. Every single product is categorised and has its own fixed price, regardless of country of origin or point of sale and cross-border trade was not allowed.

How Would You Differentiate Your Business?

Humouring me for a few moments, that everything businesses product has to be sold at the same price as their competitors.

What would you do to to compete in a marketplace where everything was equal as far as pricing is concerned?

Let me know your thoughts in the comments box below.

SOPA & ACTA Explained in Video

There are two agreements being kicked around presently, the first is “Stop Online Piracy Act” or SOPA and we’ve seen a lot of news coverage for this, however the second “The Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement” or ACTA and has caused riots over in Poland.

While I agree with the general idea of both of them, what they actually imply is far too reaching for my liking (and a lot of others apparently, including Matt Cutts from Google). Rather than me explaining these both (badly), here are two videos I have personally found useful to bring myself up to speed.

SOPA – Stop Online Piracy Act – Video

ACTA – The Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement – Video

Your Thoughts

Do you think either of these is a good idea?