The Top 10 (or so) LastDropofInk Articles of 2011

In this article I recall my top 10 favourite and most notable articles of 2011 and provide a reflection on each of them.

2011 saw myself and the LastDropofInk site go through some major changes, the site got a complete redesign in August and that dead mosquito was finally laid to rest and a new shiny design was put into place. This also saw me step into the world of video too and my thanks to AndyLuckyShot for helping me with the introduction section to the video content, the comments that you all made around the quality of them and I also took the opportunity to explore some of the topics that had been on my to-do list for quite some time.

A quick count shows that I created over 100 articles for the year, for which I’m pleasantly surprised, as some weeks I’d add nothing and some weeks 5 or more articles in one hit. I openly admit that some of them were weak, however there are several that helped me (and hopefully you too) understand some of the complexities that impact the way we work and the way that the marketplaces also work too.

Top 10 Articles of 2011

These are my top 10 articles of 2011. There are a lot more than just 10 though, as many of them are interlinked or were created in parts that lead on from each other. This is why its easy for me to reflect on what was documented over the year as I can see the full picture now of where each article was going and how they were linked together.

#1 – Tesco Marketplace

Tesco LogoIn November 2010 we heard concrete rumours that Tesco were going to launch into the marketplace arena, the launch date kept slipping throughout 2011 and now its set for sometime 2012.

However that didn’t stop me pondering what positives could be taken from the existing two key players in the marketplace arena, eBay & Amazon and from niche sites like Etsy and to ponder what would happen if you could rewrite the marketplace platform from scratch.

The article was titled “Part 1: Battle of The Giants – Tesco V’s Amazon – Who Will Win?” and it quickly exceeded 25,000 words so I published the first part in January.

If you look through the comments you’ll see that I didn’t actually publish the latter parts of articles detailing the steps and USP’s that I felt that were needed to create a killer marketplace. After all, Tesco in my mind is the only company that I know of that could actually take on Amazon in the UK and make a serious dent.

I did get my chance to pass a few of these ideas over earlier this year, but frankly screwed the chance up as the person I spoke to, didn’t really comprehend what I was discussing and it was entirely my fault for not putting it into a language that they understood.

When Tesco finally launch the marketplace, it has the potential to make a minor dent to Amazon’s trade, but sadly I suspect it will not be the marketplace that so many businesses are looking for to provide viable alternatives to the major players eBay & Amazon.

#2 – SEO for eBay – 10 Minutes Per Day

elephant-car

See even elephants need spoonful sized mouthfulls too. Yummy

While this article only scratched the surface, the important note was made.

That being that even with 10 minutes per day, the cumulative effect of lots of minor changes over time would become a huge positive.

The article titled “How to: SEO for eBay – 10 Minutes Per Day” first tackled the perception that it’s a large job, but a spoonful at time was perfectly manageable and then moved into the 5 key areas to focus upon.

#3 – Making Sense of the Pending eBay UK Updates in May 2011

girl-cryingAfter deciding to take a different stance towards the updates that eBay released in May 2001 (frankly, I had been too negative in some cases), I included my favourite image and quotation to date.

As far as I see it there are two options
#1 You cry like a little girl
#2 You fully embrace the changes in advance

There are two types of sellers on eBay, serious merchants and ones that chuck their toys out of the pram and cry at every turn. This was a prime opportunity for me to poke fun at the latter and help push the former seller types forwards with information that they could actually use to embrace the changes.

In these updates we saw the fee structure change for eBay, mainly for the better, multi-variations go live in many more categories and also the reincarnation of the failed eBay express checkout, adapted to a shopping cart and what we see now on eBay UK today.

#4 – eSellerPro (x2)

eSellerProI can tell you neither of these won me any browny-points, but as far as I am concerned they needed to be written and I’ll explain why now. This is actually a combination of two articles, the first is “The Unofficial History of eSellerPro” and the second being “Are There Alternatives to eSellerPro?“.

In the unofficial history of eSellerPro article, I pointed out the incubation factors that led to the creation of eSellerPro. There were a couple of factors, but the two main ones were the failing of both MartketWorks and ChannelAdvisor to adapt to the UK market fast enough.

The incubation period didn’t just spawn one new product/service provider (that being eSellerPro), it actually spawned at least one more within a 2-3 month window. Sadly [for eSellerPro, which was a product that I personally worked on to solve, not hinder merchants], with hindsight at my side, I now understand that there are specific conditions right now, that will spawn a 3rd generation take (they’re different, but they’re there), for which we’ll probably see arrive publicly by late 2012.

To add to this statement, I’m not part of this, but I am open to offers as CEO or evangelist. You can contact me directly here to discuss further.

This feeds nicely into the second part of this section, as when I wrote the “Are There Alternatives to eSellerPro?” the whole point was that you[as a merchant] should not change providers at all, instead try and look at the provider differently and solve the issues that were hindering your business differently.

#5 – Affiliate Networks

Again this is a combination of articles, all focused around affiliate networks as an additional sales channel . It’s a topic that I am looking forward to expanding in 2012 and I will be posting more on in 2012.

  1. Part 1: What Are Affiliate Networks & Should I be using Them?
  2. Part 2: What Are Affiliate Networks & Should I be using Them?
  3. The Top UK Affiliate Networks

Affiliate networks can offer a new sales channel for medium (and larger) sized businesses and not just larger corporates. As the entire channel is pretty much working on “commission on confirmed sale”, this is very similar to the eBay & Amazon marketplaces, just that it takes longer and the overheads are different.

To keep this as easy as possible for you:

If you’re paying over £300 a month to eBay or Amazon and have a website that is half decent, then affiliate networks should be seriously considered.

#6 – Using eBay Shop Keywords to Leverage the Extra eBay Shop Pages

eBay Shop keywordsThis was a fab article for myself (and you hopefully), as I had been meaning to complete this for months.

After finally sitting down and taking the time to document the eBay Shop keywords that can be used in the custom pages of eBay shops and included plenty of examples, it turned out to be a thorough article and also lead to the article I was aiming to do which was another titled “How to Make Your Own eBay Daily Deals & Weekly Deals

#7 – The Book Responsible for Where I am Now

“I owe everything to this book and if I can learn its contents in a week, in a caravan with no computer, you can too.”

I can actually tie the reason why I am where I am today down to a single book. There’s no need to explain this further as I made a video especially for this which is below:


Video not showing? Click here

#8 – The E, A, S & Y Model

In 2011 I was able to hammer out an approach that was simple to follow and would allow me to take a structured approach that both myself and clients could easily work to, helping them with their businesses.

I wanted this to be as easy as possible so I named it as “EASY”. The crux of this model is outlined in three articles, these are:

  1. E is for Efficiency
  2. A is for Add more Sales Channels
  3. S is for Stock
  4. Y is for why or who is doing it

You’ll notice that there is no dedicated article for the Y part, this is simply because its not a speciality of mine and as such I have drawn the line at this point. The first 3 stages will impact the fourth stage, however this stage requires skills and experience that I just don’t have and if you have the first 3 stages licked then your game is huge!

#9 – The Limits of Marketplaces

Why do eBay Sales Stay ConsistentI had first wrapped this up as a ‘conspiracy theory’ in late 2010, but actually that was bollocks.

Marketplaces such as eBay & Amazon have limits, they were once thought of as having unlimited growth and merchants shouldn’t have any reason at all to stray from just one or both of them, because all the customers they could possible reach were there.

As 3rd party software as developed and evolved over time, its allowed businesses to sell over multiple channels and even on the same channels but under different persona’s. Reaching a wider and wider audience. We’ve seen this in reverse with larger corporates (see this article) now leveraging eBay & Amazon in a trend which is likely to peak in 2012, as they realise that these marketplaces are viable, complementary channels for their existing operations.

Such limitations were first covered in the article “Why do eBay Sales Stay Consistent?” in September 2011 and I am now 100% sure such a modifier that I discussed in second the article “The eBay “Best Match” Position Bias Modifier Hypothesis” is actually true. Its true because with the unique view that I have had over the past few years as proven it to be the case and ironically its exactly what I would do!

#10 – UnderstandingE, code-named ProjectE

understandingeAfter flirting with this idea for years, it wasn’t until someone approached me with a similar idea is when the wheels started to turn on the original idea earlier this year.

I had the huge pleasure of working with 6 people (not businesses) after making a rather public and free commitment to 5 businesses in August for eight weeks. The first video of me making the commitment is here and the second video with a more formal invitation is here.

It was only meant to be 5 businesses that were included, there were +50 applications that I received and a sixth snuck-in. Ironically, it was the 6th that had the largest increase to their business post the eight weeks with growths of hundreds of percent and are now posed with operational issues that the other 5 had hit and overcome some time before. What a “good problem”.

This allowed me the opportunity to play with a few ideas I had and test them out, outside of my normal client base. The outcome wasn’t exactly what I expected, I discovered a new factor that I must include in the UnderstandingE business when its launched in January.

I’d like to take the opportunity to thank Jason, Gill, John, Paul, Sue & Danny for allowing me an insight into your businesses. What you allowed me to do was absolutely fundamental to the pending launch of UnderstandingE.

Summary

I know I’m supposed to summarise here, but one last article that is worth of a mention is an article I wrote about the Podcasts I listen to and one of my idols posted a comment back here on the site, the article and comments are here. This had everything to do with Dave and thank you, it made my year!

I’d like to thank you for taking the time to read the articles I’ve written, I’m hopeful that you have found them exceptionally useful.

What I have been able to do is create content that is timeless and while flirting with the UnderstandingE project and procrastinating on it heavily for months, I’m ending this article on the note that UnderstandingE is a go! And as such you’ll be hearing &amp seeing me a lot more in 2012.

Ted.com Massive-scale online collaboration

I rarely watch “normal” television now and when I do it tends to be more factual rather than soap (as they drive me up the wall). Ted.com has been a fabulous resource of viewing material.

As such I would like to share a recent video from the site, that took and 10 second task and made it epically useful. I’m not going to say any more as it’ll spoil the presentation:


Why I am Envious of a Cocaine Addict

To explain this properly I need to share a short story with you. I am fully aware that this article is controversial by its very nature, if you read it in full, you’ll understand how on earth I could possibly come to the conclusion I came to.

Friday Drinks

To set the scene its Friday and I’m out for an evening drinking with some friends, we’ve met up at one of my favourite bars, its a boat called the Apple in the centre of Bristol and they only serve cider (hence the name).

After having an evil “day after” a few weeks back suffering from mixing 10 or more different ciders, I had decided to stick with cans instead of tap house ciders and Thatchers Gold was my poison of choice.

After a couple, we decide to move on, pay a visit to Vodka Revolutions and proceed to drink some vile concoction called “Mojito”, which had more ice & plants in it and is positively evil. Although this did spur some random photo’s that were promptly uploaded to Facebook and possibly the worst close-up shot of me was taken.

After finishing off that interesting mixture of plants (mint apparently, tastes rank on its own), ice, some sugary powder base (not cocaine!!) & alcohol we move on to the next bar, where some old friends are spotted. They’re positively wasted, although suited up in the traditional recruitment consultant grey suits, loud, but still holding it together.

Another round of Mojito’s arrive and this lot made the first round taste like lemonade, as I think the bartender put too much of or the wrong sugar base in it and ruined them completely. Anyway, after one of them falling over & promptly ejected by the doorman, the other two deciding enough was enough, decided to leave and one was left, let’s call him “Dave”.

After another mixer round of rum & coke, washed down with a pint of Strongbow, we moved on and ended up at another bar, feeling pretty alert after the thus-far alcohol intake, I started to listen in on a conversation between Dave and another. Now this is where it got interesting.

Dave has been a long term coke user that had progressed to rocks (or known as crack, which is the most addictive shit of them all), in the next 10-15 minutes I hear one of the most horrific stories I’ve ever heard on how it’s affected Dave’s life, in and out of CA rehab, family & relationships.

The guy literally poured his guts out to us in those few minutes and I was speechless (which for those who know me personally, it can be ni-on impossible to shut me up after, even before drinking). It was a journey that I am personally so glad I’ve never taken, although none-the-less exceptionally interesting, although I feel ‘horrific’ is an understatement.

Dave left us around 2 am, we were pretty sure he was off to score before bed, I had another pint after he left just to try & comprehend what I had listened to.

The Only Positive Point

Now where the hell could I get envy from in such an awful turn of events I had just been privy to?

It’s simple, motivation.

Now here’s the thing, do you think Dave would be wide awake and in his office by 09:00 the next morning? You bet your ass he was going to be. He’d have been in there before 9 and on the phones straight away, driving results to fund his habit.

Now do not believe for one second I am an advocate of hardcore drug abuse, my line has always been alcohol, tobacco and trying (badly) to chat up the opposite sex, of which the latter I gave up on 12 years ago (getting hitched next year).

Sometimes we all lack motivation, I know I do at times. However, in this extreme case, pretty-much the only positive I could pull from it, was that regardless of what events unfolded in Dave’s personal life and putting every bad effect of coke to one side that he would be highly motivated to succeed.

eBay Sales Count/History Does Impact Sales

In this article I’d like to share an observation of my own buying habits and it actually surprised me afterwards once I had analysed my own buying activity and spotted something I had glazed over in the past when purchasing from eBay.

Picking Processes Apart

My online buying experiences are far from the norm, typically I analyse each & every step, work out what processes are being actioned and how they appear to the user. It’s an annoying habit I have, as I’m used to working those processes from the backend to the customer, so I’m always ultra curious on what the “I” as the “customer” sees of them.

I needed some professional lighting for my office, as the lamps were just not cutting it and had decided upon two softboxes as a kit from eBay. You would have thought my first choice would have been a seller that had an ultra clear description, in a professional template with superb product images and all the bell’s & whistles that I have become to expect…

But No!

I ended up buying from one of the worst combinations of font sizes, text colours and from a listing that had only one image. Pretty poor when you consider that the kit had numerous parts and didn’t show them individually, plus was out of the normal “comfort zone” for buying at £50.

A screen shot of the listing is below, I’d smirk, but it was actually effective for one reason which I’ll show you in a moment:

Softboxes-listing-1

And That Reason Was…

Sales history! Simply put, if +300 people had bought this kit and the sellers feedback was not trashed, then it had to be better than just “OK”.

eBay Sales History Affects Buying Decisions

There were 5 different sellers I was considering during the process and the one that won my business was the one that had the highest sales history count on the listing. Yes, there were cheaper options and this option was not the cheapest by any-means and some of the others on offer were described to a superior level, but they just could not compete with a sales history like that.

Yes, the best match is carried over when using 3rd party tools that reference the previous listing or by using the “relist” button at the top of an ended listing, however, if you do end the listing, then you’ll be loosing the visible sales history count on the listing and from my own personal experience, this can make the difference between making and not making a sale.

Stop - Take Action!Have you consciously bought from a listing because of the sales history on the item too?

White Hat, Black Hat,The Plain Obvious, Interpretation & Application

I’d like to talk about white hat & black hat in this article and what the differences are between them. Also the differences between interpretation & application and why one is pointless without the other.

This article is also written with only two people in mind, if makes no sense to you, then I do apologise, it will to them.

Black Hat

This is a term used to refer to person’s that uses unethical activities to gain information or access to a third party system through un-normal means.

There are a few key terms here that are commonly used, the first is “hacker“, this term refers to someone whom “breaks into” networks or devices for ill-good. The other is a “cracker” who uses “brute force” to gain access networks or devices also for ill-good.

Black hat is naughty.

White Hat

White hat is different, this refers to an “ethical hacker“, using various means to ensure the security of networks, devices or organisations information systems.

News organisations can be perceived as “white hat”, when the information published can be of a dislike to the person’s or entities whom it was regarding. Unlike the “black hat” approach which was for ill-means (naughty stuff), “white hat” is generally either for the wider audience (think news) or for a specific entity (whether a person or company).

White hat is good, although sometimes distasteful to the few.

The Plain Obvious

Sometimes things are blatantly obvious and are in the public domain for anyone to read or to identify. Let’s take the eBay Outlet stores for example, if you call the shop ‘outlet’ or similar, it can be found in Google. If you also give that shop a level that is “not normal” then that can also be easily identified.

Interpretation & Application

This site by definition is not news orientated, there are other sites that make a far superior job (than what I could ever do) and as such I do not compete on a playing field that I do not wish to be in. However interpretation & application is a field that I happily play in.

For example, I will consider the upper limits of what a marketplace can offer, the limitations of what can be done with a single marketplace and why these exist in the first place. It is only in knowing what the limitations are, that one can fully appreciate where such marketplaces fit into a multi-channel environment that merchants find themselves in today, this is a part of interpreting via consideration.

Application is different because it takes the new found knowledge through interpretation and applies it to the real-world. Theoretical knowledge is all well and good, however is pointless if not applied. It’s only in the application of knowledge that new views, thoughts and events can be found and experienced.

So to be ultra-specific in my closing words, I believe you are mixing up black hat & white hat, the plain obvious and are concerned over the interpretation and the application of knowledge.

If you’d like to clarify the stance that I take and where you stand within it, you already have my number, pick the phone up and dial it, don’t “pussy foot” around others, its awkward & inconvenient for them.

The Problem With Being an Entrepreneur

Being an entrepreneur isn’t really all its cracked up to be. This is caused by an inherently different view on the outside world. That sometimes rubs up against the norm.

The Way the World Appears

Entrepreneur’s look at the world much differently than the many. This has come up in most of the conversations I had on Friday. One insight I thought was a brilliant example.

While sat in the queue at Tesco’s the checkout girl processes the items across the scanner, but one item won’t scan, so she pops her light on and someone fetches her another. However instead of putting the item with the duff barcode in the customers shopping, the item ends up going back to the shelf.

Sometimes ignorance is utterly bliss (on the part of the checkout staff), but to the entrepreneur it’s a “scream” in their head, that person stood in the queue observing realises, that within a short period of time the same faulty item will be back in circulation and will cause exactly the same issue, but on a different till.

Most of the UK’s petrol stations are a failure.

Is it always an after thought that you cannot fit a car between two parked cars so that you can reach the unused last pump or was the creation of dual sided pumps “enough”?

Hammered to be a Good Employee

Those years you spent at school, was in a system to create employees, not entrepreneurial people. We’ve been hammered to be “good employees”.

That’s what happened when children started school and not working in the cotton mills or down mines. The motivation was not because of the poor conditions they had to endure, it was because the cotton mill & mine owners, realised that having educated workers meant less hassle and higher production rates.

Note: My history sucks, this is my interpretation of the change.

Entrepreneurs are Rarely Good Employees

Talking from my personal experience here, I did the 9-5 day-job after spending 4 extra years at Uni (short for just about qualifying, chatting up women and drinking too much).

The first proper job I held was the true 9-5. Even then I had worked out numerous ways of making my day less tedious, scripted actions to auto assign engineers to jobs and implemented front line support in the International welcome centre off-the-back-of the line of thought:

“Why should I send one of my guys out, if I can fix it over the phone?”.

A year or so in, I was bored & frustrated, so talked my way into looking after the Rolls-Royce contact in Bristol for the same company, 6 months into that I had got restless again. I had covered so much ground (repairing relationships & machines that the previous good employee had destroyed), I quickly worked out I could filter all calls remotely, while achieving the same, far superior results and promptly started an eCommerce business and left shortly afterwards.

Two software companies, one odd diamonds experience & a business later, the same came true. Entrepreneurs cannot help themselves to look at the world differently.

I saw a tweet pass my desk on Friday from Doug Richards here:

Question: “Can entrepreneurship really be taught?” YES!!!

Corporates try to emulate entrepreneurship through processes, masturbation, sorry I mean ‘meetings’ & diversification. The reality is, that many of these fail. I’m currently reading “On Competition” by Michael Porter (aff link), in a study of 33 companies from 1950 to 1986, they attempted 3788 diversification attempts and managed a ~74% failure (divested) rate. It rarely works and these businesses included names like 3M, IBM, Proctor & Gamble, Xerox and Sara Lee.

So the Problem with Being an Entrepreneur?

Is that entrepreneur’s, just see the world differently. This causes problems. Some are good, some are bad. I could add countless famous names here that have had probably more bad problems and the good problems you know them for. Wins, losses, successes & failures, it’s all the same, its the results of someone looking at the world differently.

So I’m leaving you with this… That screen you’re using to read this on, 100% invented by a collection of people that looked at the world differently. Grab a mirror, does that person also look at the world differently too?

Image source

This Weeks To-Do List

I’m here writing out what my “to-do list” is for the week and thought I share parts of it with you.

Reading

I need to make a serious dent in a book I have been slowly reading over the past few weeks, its called “On Competition” by Michael Porter. I’m now only 75 or so pages in and what is covered is best described as ‘epic’. I’ve never looked at competitive advantages in such detail and finally understand the power of straddling and why the lust for growth can make compromises to a business.

I also just completed Freakonomics over the weekend and have ordered the following book, Superfreakonomics which should be here Tuesday, along with a book I took from Scot Wingo’s reading list called Founders at Work. I have previously read ‘Rework‘ by the chaps at 37signals.

Accountant

VAT registration is on the cards again and a special thanks to Chris from Tamebay on some pointers earlier today. I have a meeting with the accountant on Thursday. I’m also quite excited about this as there is the potential to bring her in on some of the topics that I have to cover as part of ProjectE.

Social Networking

I’m going to flip my usage of social mediums this week, one change I made a week or so ago was to keep the spam down on my personal accounts, for example, not posting updates from here to my FaceBook account. I’m going to take this a stage further and keep as many of the interactions as possible incoming, rather than outgoing, if that makes sense?

Podcasting

You might start to see a new side to this site later this week. I have been toying with the idea of releasing podcasts for quite sometime now, they’re part of the road-map for this site and you might just see this come to fruition this week (but no promises).

ChannelAdvisors Amazon 360

One of the largest strengths of ChannelAdvisor is their ability to create reports that make sense and part of their changes due out soon is something called “Amazon 360”, the Autumn press release is here and I’m hoping on seeing this before it goes live in two weeks time.

Two Key Articles

I’ve got two key articles I have been working on, the first is a critical observation from the eSellerPro council and the other is regarding the limitations on eBay and well marketplaces in general and it’s already raising more questions than it answers. Both are pending authorisation by 3rd parties, so you are may or may not see these this week.

Other Tasks

I’ve still got 4 tasks from last week to complete, none of them were simple either.

The ongoing commitments to ProjectE and the ProjectE 6 are taking up my entire Friday. They’re half way through right now and its too early to comment on their progress, other than we’re at the stages that I expected. We had an exceptionally interesting conversation on Friday regarding pricing strategies I can tell you!

How does this compare to your to-do list?

I Am Failing At… Email!

Email, Email, Email, Email, Email, Email, Email, Email!!!

Time to rewrite the book on email usage for me and this completely down to me failing badly at answering email in a sensible amount of time. Ironically you probably have the reverse of this problem and are addicted to answering email in nano-seconds.

Failure is OK, but not recognising it and then not doing anything about is insanity.

Quick Background

One of my tasks for last week was to reach out to those I felt were “fab” and tell them so. Trust me I got some odd replies, however one was Chris Ducker from virtualbusinesslifestyle.com.

I’m not going to include what I wrote and only part of his reply, put it this way I’d have not replied to it and credit to the chap, he did.

This was his reply:

Hi Matthew

[content here]

Thanks again, and stay tuned – lots of great stuff coming up!!! :-)

C

————————————————————-
Q: Why is this email 3 sentences or less?
A: Click here to find out!
————————————————————-

Chris C. Ducker
Virtual CEO
@chriscducker

The main contents of the reply is irrelevant to this article, what is, is in the link here:
http://www.virtualbusinesslifestyle.com/my-three-sentence-rule/

Quote:

The Solution
Although receiving and replying to email is an important part of my business, I feel it should not BE my business. So, I now treat all email from this blog like SMS text messages from friends. Since it’s too hard to count and limit myself to a number of letters, I simply count sentences instead.

The maximum of three sentences.

What I am Now Doing?

Anything has to be better than what I am doing & where I’m at now with email (which is a backlog & a mess).

I have been failing badly and this may actually work! So if you get three sentences in a reply, you now know why and who’s responsible.

Image source

Your Invitation to ‘Connect’ with Matt

I do not run a ‘product’ based company. Doing so would cloud the line between consultant and competitor. As such I am able to uniquely leverage 10 years of experience over two software providers. that of many past & present clients, to adapt, mould processes and drive results to suit your unique business requirements.

There are a number of online channels out there that are all aimed at keeping people in touch, I’d like to virtually ‘connect’ with you and there are a couple of ways you can do so.

Note: I would have included a video with this to make it more personal, however its out on loan currently.

LinkedIn

I’m a big LinkedIn fan, its like the adults version of Facebook.

You can connect me here http://uk.linkedin.com/in/matthewogborne

Twitter

I have a few Twitter accounts, the main one I use is @MatthewOgborne and the original one is @LastDropofInk and I monitor them both most days. Also you’ll see specific messages on each account too.

YouTube

As you may have noticed, there is a distinct move on my part towards using video content more and mopre here. Its a very personal medium and you’ll literally be seeing a lot more of me!

You can subscribe to my YouTube channel here http://www.youtube.com/user/matthewogborne

Google+

I must admit, I’ve not paid Google+ much attention yet, mainly because I am focused on other sites. However the messages you’ll find here from me are both personal & business related.

Facebook

I’m also on Facebook or rather this site is.

You can find the LastDropofInk Facebook page here, I need to update it after the design change here and will be doing so later this week.

RSS & Email

Did you know that you can have the latest posts delivered straight to your inbox using Feedburner, a free Google App? No, well you do now!

Go to http://feeds.feedburner.com/TheLastDropOfInk and hit “Subscribe with Google”.

Also I have an ongoing mailing list, you can subscribe at the top of this page on the right. I keep communications to a minimum and tend to use it to grab feedback before a large article or event, like the Webinar I held last week.

You can of course just interact by leaving a comment on an article here that you’ve liked, if only yo say “hi”.

That’s it, I look forward to ‘connecting’ with you!

Matt

The Only 3 Podcasts I listen to & Why

In the next few minutes, I’ll be taking you through a little bit about podcasts, what you need to listen to them and the 3 I listen to and why.

More podcasts than video channels

Podcasting has really taken off in the past few years and is more prolific than video, although I suspect as more and more devices integrate to the likes of YouTube, that video will become the more popular format.

There are millions and millions of podcasts and wading through them all can be difficult, that’s where iTunes comes in handy as the podcasts are well organised and you can easily find a topic that interests you.

iTunes is required

ITunesWhile not absolutely required as I’m sure there are lots of “other” podcast sites, I’ve only really focused on iTunes. You can navigate a selection on the Apple website, however you really need the iTunes application to dig deeper and its free and can be found here.

The iTunes application lets you navigate the the podcast sections (and lots of other stuff too) and will manage the subscriptions you chose to subscribe to.

I personally find the app “clunky” (sorry but it is, must be Windoze eh?), but its worth figuring out as it makes subscribing and managing the subscriptions much, much easier.

The Business section

Now I’m only really interested in the Business section of the podcasts on iTunes and a direct link to these is here. The vast majority are free and there are also some paid-for versions, however I’ve never looked at those.

The variety is huge and you’ll find the obvious publishers, like the BBC and Bloomberg, I’ll leave you to dig around and see what you can find.

My top 3 podcasts that I actually listen to

Its quite tempting to just subscribe to everything, but frankly you’ll never listen to half of it, so instead I found a more focused approach worked and I never miss an episode of the three chosen podcasts and I strongly suggest you limit yourself to just a few and commit to them as well.

Six pixels of separation

While my first, this is always the last one I listen to in preference of the other two. Really informative and I find the presenters easy to listen to and equally I enjoy their content. You can find their podcast here.

Smart passive income

Pat Fylnn is author comes across as an extremely authentic person and holds little back. He’s a role-model that I’m using for some of the new projects you are experiencing. Frequent guest speakers and some really interesting insights. You can find Pat’s podcast here.

Virtual business lifestyle

Chris Ducker is well connected and I actually have three podcasts waiting to be listened to. One is with the legend “Chris Brogan” and another person of personal interest is “Gideon Shalwick” due to his activities with on-line video.

I like his[Chris’s] voice and the topics he covers. You can listen to his podcast here.

Summary

My biggest tip is to try and limit the number of podcasts you subscribe to, otherwise you’ll do what I did and get overwhelmed. I’ve found my three and they’re great when out on the bike, hiding from the kids or like right now, I have the speakers on and listening to one while I type.

You don’t need iTunes, but it makes life a lot easier and there is only one place you need to check for latest versions. In my example, that would be three websites, that ain’t going to happpen.

Stop - Take Action!What you waiting for?
iTunes is free and there is an obscene number of podcasts out there and I’m sure with a little narrowing down, you’ll find your 3 podcasts too.

Sneak Peak at ProjectE

Here’s a quick peak at a tiny part of ProjectE

Note: The red bit is on purpose, it would give too much away ;-)

What is an eBay Listing Template-1

5 People I Follow & Why

I’m on a 10,000 word bender today for ProjectE and need a warm up and this is it. If you’re not on this list, don’t get your knickers in a twist, I probably value your input so much I want to keep it ultra secret :)

Sooo… now to the five people I follow regularly and why.

Rob Cubbon

 Rob CubbonI’m not sure how I found Rob, it was probably via Twitter. I’ve since spoken with him a couple of times and even laid down an “affiliate challenge” to him (I’m waiting…. I’m not letting you win thou!).

The content that he’s created is absolutely fantastic at both his personal site at robcubbon.com and one of his other sites at wordpressseomarketing.com and I’ve found both to be a brilliant resource. This is why this site has a sign up form on the right from one of his articles, although I need to do more.

Put it this way, when I get stuck with WordPress, Rob is the person I ask. You can follow Rob via his twitter feed here.

Seth Godin

I mainly like Seth as he has less hair than me.

But seriously this chap is amazing, I think I’ve now read or listened to 6 or so of his books. I even bought a purple jumper, solely because of his book “Purple Cow” and he is one of my virtual mentors.

With his uncanny ability to see straight through bullshit, if there was one person I could only follow, this would be the one.

If I ever need motivation and a firm “slap with a fish for desiring to be a corporate monkey”, I read his blog http://sethgodin.typepad.com/.

Rob Abdul

Rob AbdulI stumbled across Rob when searching the keywords ecommerce expert and he just so happened to be occupying #1 the spot. past the envy part (mainly because of the amount of work he’s put in to get there), turns out Robs a really great bloke (shocker that) and his last tweet sums it up:

Google admit they were at fault – my mother always says, when you admit you were wrong, that makes you right http://t.co/LsNQFE4

Chris Dawson (TameBay)

Chris DawsonTotally hats off to Chris (& Sue Bailey of course), from the booze up when TameBay was first birthday in Manchester a few years back, to today its still running and being frequently updated, which is no small feat.

Normally Tamebay is one of the first sources of news (quicker than AuctionBytes and not USA biased) and most posts are followed by some very interesting & hilarious comments.

Chris Brogan

Chris BroganChris might say “Good night moon”, but I’m sure he doesn’t sleep, he’s really a machine!

Been a long standing follower of his blog at chrisbrogan.com and his musings on his twitter feed. No nonsense advice and suggestions on numerous topics, you really just need to read some of them to see if they’re of as much value as I find them.

Summary

They each add emense value to myself and I sincerely hope these five people can add some diversity into your social ventures.

Now only 9514 words to go before I can escape this office. Better put the coffee pot on I think…