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Archive for March, 2008

As the “avid” readers of my new blog, you know that I am currently working on a secret project, I should be able to announce it by mid April.  I have told a few people under NDA and have had a fantastic response, in fact, it looks 99% certain to have the potential future British Prime Minister involved too!  Anyway (to create a seamless link!)…whilst putting together the “project” I have agreed to enter a team into the First Mini Monster Dualathlon specifically in Leeds on 25th May 2008.

So, you’ll have to excuse the linking here, the people I have linked to probably don’t know about this blog and why should they! (I haven’t written this post for links, but is far easier than typing emails).

I want to challenge the following to put together some teams, i’ll even get a special trophy made for the challenge!

So, the UK PR Twitterers I follow and chat with please try to enter a team  DrewB, Stephen, Simon, Stuart and the PRGeek!

..and also I want to challenge the UK Press Peeps I follow and chat with ie JemimaMikeIan and Pete.

And this is an open challenge to anyone in the UK with a blog, if you can get yourself up to Leeds, leave a message, should be fun!

The Dualathlon is a four person relay, first leg is 3k run, hand the batton over to a cyclist for a 10k ride they then hand over to another runner for a 3k run then the final leg of 10k on a bike.  Not hard, 25% of the £20 team entry fee goes to Save the Children.  One can also raise money by sponsorship.

Go on guys, you know you want to 😉

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Since I started fuelmyblog life has been a roller coaster of emotion.  I know people always compare things to a roller coaster but there really is not another comparison.  You have amazing highs and dreadful lows.  Sometimes you have zero emotion.

One thing that exaggerates emotion is the total and utter lack of rest.  When I say rest I mean, “tools down” rest.  The kind of rest you can only have when you are employed.  I remember that 5.30pm on a Friday, the last work day before a fortnight’s holiday.  That feeling of elation, recording your voicemail “I am now on vacation until..”, typing your out of office message for your emails.  When you have a start-up, this never happens.  Firstly, you are never away from the office (you’ll have a Blackberry, your laptop etc).  Secondly, you can never switch off your mind, welcome to the world of “always on”.

I remember planning Christmas last year with my wife, we were invited to spend it with my in-laws in Provence, the South of France.  Their large new apartment had just been built, they still lived in Paris and wanted to basically invite all the family to their new pad.  The first thing that crossed my mind “have they got wifi or internet?”.  The answer was no, we had to book into a hotel nearby with wifi, away from the family.  Of course the wifi didn’t work, apparently I was the first person ever to use the wifi, “people generally booking our hotel are here on holiday”.  I had to go into the Managers office, get on my hands and knees and fix the bloody wifi for them.

You see, when you have a start-up, more so an internet start-up, Christmas for you, is not a holiday, it is a time when users are away from work, a time when users are on the internet.   Granted, generally people are not using blogging networks on Christmas day, but picture this, on Christmas day in Europe, it is 26th December in Australia, Malaysia etc it is also Christmas Eve in the USA, Mexico etc..So you see, although there are days of rest, we are not all on the same day at the same time.

Having a day off means getting up at 6am, reviewing blogs, checking the servers, making sure the blog posts are up to date, checking the forums, answering 2-300 emails and then, at 10am, going out for the day.  Arriving back home late, the day off is over..time to review blogs, check the servers…

So if you want to enjoy the riches presented by having a start-up be prepared never to rest.  Ever.  But be prepared for the most amazing highs (and of course sometimes, big big lows).

But most of all, be prepared to meet the most incredible people on Earth, people like you.

Next post – time away from the family is part of the parcel.

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When I first started Fuel I thought the best thing that could happen would be to get Mike Arrington of Techcrunch to review it. I was wrong on many parts. Not because of fear that Techcrunch would write a bad review, nothing like that but I think a review would have killed the site back then (and would today for a day or two!).

You see, when a reader of a blog or news site get to hear about a new service or website, they generally, based upon the quality of the review, will go visit and see for themselves. So this presents two immediate problems, firstly, the site needs to have the server and capacity to take the hits and secondly, is the traffic going to be sticky or "drive-by's"?

The friend widget (fuelroll) on fuelmyblog is currently getting over 40,000 clicks per day, this has resulted in the site slowing down and now we are experiencing some running issues, so we can only imagine the numbers if the site was stable and up all day every day! These issues will all be resolved with a shiny new server next week, we are self-hosting finally and I guess this is the first stage of "scaling up". So with a review from a large site like TC, we'd be screwed for at least a day or two, this is why sites need to be able to scale up, even with our small site, that point has already happened.

So on to the traffic, as we all know, as bloggers or site owners, traffic is what we crave and desire. We all want traffic, for some it is key to survival, for others it brings pleasure in the form of comments. We also want that traffic to stay and come back (sticky). So, if TC reviewed fuel, I suspect, the traffic it would generate would be high, when Mashable wrote about fuel we gained 1000 users in the first 24 hours, with readership of around a 7th(?) of Techcrunch, I suspect we could safely expect a similar pattern. But what kind of users would they be?

Organic users are sticky, they are generally referred to read your blog or site by a friend and stay because, well, they are already a friend of that blog or person and will have similar interests. Are people arriving following a Tech review going to stay? I say Tech review in particular because people that read Tech blogs or sites tend to be early adopters, always willing to try new stuff, staying in general with a handful of sites they prefer. Generally, I suspect they will take a look around, maybe hate it, maybe love it. I am guessing they also pop back to the source of the review, leave a comment and move on to the next review. This is why the majority of that traffic may not be sticky. Of course, if the site is good, they'll come back and that is key to actually getting a review, something we don't deserve yet 🙂

So, this is why I think a Techcrunch review would have killed the site before but in a couple of weeks time, won't (or shouldn't). We'll have the new features by then and be ready to start actually talking to the world about Fuelmyblog, it will have to be ready too, as I have that huge announcement coming soon.

One I have promised to tell Mike Butcher about before I go to the press. And this announcement, linked to Fuelmyblog in a way, will attract as much offline ("deadwood" news interest) as the online news/blogs. And I know I am still being vague, I have to be. I am meeting with two public companies in a few weeks time to discuss it. These companies have 40,000+ employees, are based mostly offline and their CEO's want their companies to be involved. So believe me, dear readers, I have something cooking that will benefit the bloggers and users of fuelmyblog like no other social network has ever offered before (or possibly ever after). And I will not let you down. I promise.

(Oh and Paul and I are going to Sobcon08, an interview with Liz Strauss will be on here next week, if you are going, I'll be able to talk about it with you in person!)

'Til the next post folks, see you soon!

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A quick break away from the norm here.

I recently downloaded and installed Windows Internet Explorer 8 Beta 1 for Vista. Big mistake, it is totally unstable right now and probably should be tested more from such a big corporation, I will not dismiss it but as I cannot use it, will not review it. I will revert back to Firefox until they release a better version. So how does one uninstall it from Vista? In XP, it is simple, go to Add/Remove programs and uninstall as per normal.

It seems Windows Vista does not regard Internet Explorer as a program so when you go to uninstall programs, it is nowhere to be seen, it is in fact, tucked away as an Update. Great, so how do I remove it?

Simple, go to control panel, click on Uninstall Programs, then glance over to your left, you will see “View Installed Updates”, click on this link, then, once it has loaded up, you will see a sub section called Microsoft Windows, you should see Internet Explorer 8 , click on it and then click on the uninstall button. Done.

You’ll need to then restart your PC. After that, download another version such as IE7 or Firefox.

Who says you learn nothing in here!

🙂

(I copied this post into the fuelmyblog blog so sorry if you read it twice!)

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Wow, that was a long time since I last posted. Far too long. For that, I am so sorry.

Things have been really really busy behind the scenes over at Fuelmyblog. I have been working like crazy, flying back to the UK almost every week this year on Ryanair,and if you ever find yourself in Europe, they are such a cost effective way of getting around I fly from South West France to London for $30 return!! (carbon offsetting does take place)..I have also started a three times a week show on BlogTV with the great Paul O’Flaherty, soon to be of this fame. We have had a few guests on the show so far, the amazing Liz Strauss who is hosting a great business school for bloggers soon here and the talented Mr BusinessGolf, Scott took the stage too. The show is still in very early stages and really it is thanks to Paul that it is not an absolute shambles, he has an incredible interview talent and I would love to see him speaking to more amazing people, maybe you guys would like him to interview Stephen, Loic or even Mr Scoble? (I would love to see why they do what they do) Please drop me a fuel if you have any ideas on future guests.

The frustrating thing about some of this really exciting stuff is that I can’t really talk about all of them. Not yet. Sorry again! I can give you an insight as to what the site is going to be doing soon, I will write a separate post on where it is going and my vision for Fuelmyblog in the future, in fact if you guys could offer some assistance at any point, I’d be grateful. But I can’t tell you about the new “concept”.

I have been putting together a concept, an idea that is just so different and simple it promises to be (and will be) the biggest kind of non-online, online “thing” ever to hit the shores of the UK, then Europe, the USA followed by rest of the planet (I have NDA’s coming for those really wanting a sneak preview). Truly amazing. The only thing I can say now is that as soon as I can say more, I’ll do it here first! Our investors are not always the easiest to get excited but during our last board meeting I was offered almost a blank cheque! I suspect we won’t need any as I am talking direct to the CEO’s of major organisations and all have (so far) gotten excited (these CEO’s have over 40,000 employees to look after!). I can’t wait to tell more. If you own a website, are a journalist, a blogger or even simply a web user, you will love it. I promise.

So, what is going on at Fuelmyblog?

Right now based upon a keynote here delivered by Matt Mullenweg, we have developed a Facebook application for your blogs, it will show your URL (with link), it will show blogs you read (the fuelroll as seen over on the right) and it will look pretty cool and will be more useful than throwing a sheep..!  He also is talking on his blog about splogs at the moment and it is the reason we monitor every single blog that joins up, keeping it spam free.

We are changing the way you arrange the order of friends, by dragging them up and down freely.

Then comes the next big thing on Fuelmyblog, we are starting True Product Testing. We are going to let you lovely folks keep products in return for some honesty, “does it work?”, “is it any good?”..but you won’t be paid (you get to keep stuff) you won’t be asked to write positively and you will never be given a script. It is simply going to be called product testing 🙂 You will be able to opt in to be included.

Fed up with fueling blogs, is the process too slow? We have a sexy little solution for that too, it will make the process far easier and allow multiple fueling!

Oh and the friends widget will display your number of votes too!

So again, sorry for the absence, I will write much more regularly in here..I hope!

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