Bill Weye

Tag: Business

What we really need, though, are good bodegas, built in areas where people walk or would walk, but bodegas that carry more than milk and eggs, that devote more of their space to broccoli and less to beer.

Bodega 2.0: A Business for Healthy, Walkable Cities?

Like more and more farmers across Canada, Black has found that Twitter has become, among other things, a way to bridge the gap between farm and table, and connect Canadians wanting to know more about where their food comes from with the people who make their living producing it.

“We’re able to explain what we do on our farm,” says Black, who farms with his father in Huron County, near Goderich.

In one exchange, Black answered questions on pesticide use. In another, he invited a consumer from Ottawa to come and walk in his soybean field.

CBC News: Tweeting farmers bridge gap between farm, table

Is it okay to highlight how a website looked before I worked on it?

I’ve got one question for you, web designer pro: is it a dick move for a freelance web designer to point out how a site looked before they started working on it?

Here’s the context of the question. I’m a partner in a small design shop. We’re just getting our business off the rails (we’ve got clients and no live website for our business!), and we’d like to write case studies about our clients on the website to be. In one instance we’d like to show before and after screenshots of the site they hired us to redesign, along with text describing what we did.

The idea for having before and after screenshots of our clients’ websites came from plastic surgeon’s websites. They show before and after photos of their clients, so why can’t I?

I’d appreciate your feedback on this question. I have no sense whether it’s a dick move or not.

Photograph by Elizabeth Runder and republished here under a Creative Commons license.

Getting wine to flow on the Web — working with Amherst Wines

I’ve been working with Steve Freedman, owner of Amherst Wines & Spirits, for more than a year now. Some of the things we’ve accomplished are create a new Web site (using the content management system, TypoLight), set-up an email list using Mailchimp, and offer Web communication consultation.

Helping people learn new Web technologies to communicate with their customers or audience is satisfying, especially when it’s someone like Steve who’s interested in expanding his skills. I asked Steve to answer a few questions about our work  together.

Hi, Steve. First, can you describe a bit about how Amherst Wine & Spirits was (or was not) using the Web for business, a year ago?

There was a static web site, basically just a “home page” which introduced the store. I could not put anything else on it.

We’ve been working together for a year now. What do think have been the most useful technological advances you’ve made?

The web site is a much more useful source of information than in the past. The mid-month email is terrific, resulting in more sales while also being measurable in terms of viewing. You set me up with terrific (and free) software to make this happen.

For me, one of the most satisfying aspects of working with you has been teaching you to do Web communication yourself. I get a kick out of walking into the store and hearing you tell me about the latest task you complete without a problem, whether it be updating the Web site or sending out the email newsletter. Can you describe a little bit about this experience from your perspective?

Computer stuff does not come easily to me. You have been patient in teaching me how to dramatically improve my electronic newsletter as well as uploading content to my web site. It has not been without incident – sometimes I trip up – but now I can usually do all the things I consider important by myself. I’m most comfortable when I do not need to depend on someone else to do my web stuff for me, and you have helped to get me there.

So, Steve, in terms of Web communication with your customers, do you have anything new planned for the new year? Can you share any plans Amherst Wines might have?

My next project will be uploading graphic material – photos and wine labels I can get from the web – to my web site and online newsletter.

Profiling a social enterprise: Memory Magic

I needed to get a VHS tape transfered to DVD for a project you’ll see on this site soon. By word of mouth (Twitter, really) I found Memory Magic, a local business that provides all kinds of digital transfer services. The interesting thing about Memory Magic is that they’re run as a social enterprise by a human services agency to provide employment for people with mental disabilities.

The work they did for me is topnotch. Actually, it was better than I expected, and I probably would have paid twice the price without batting an eye. Plus, you can’t beat the mission.

Here’s a little story about this business.

Farm stand map for Western Massachusetts

There are a lot of small farm or garden stands in Western Mass. I drive or cycle by them all the time (in season): little tables set up in front of a house with berries, asparagus, corn, sometimes flowers … all kinds of things that are grown locally.

Often times these stands are off the main street you might be driving on, but only 30 seconds out of your way. Take for example Route 9 in Hadley; off the top of my head I can think of 6 little tables set up 30 seconds driving off Route 9.

These little operations get business based on traffic driving by … until now.

This year I would love to see how much business we can give these little operations. The trick is to know where they are and some of the produce they normally carry. I’ll need your help to create this map.

Contribute

Please spread the word about the map. Post it on your site if you’d like. And if you’re a grower, or otherwise have a contribution to the map, please leave the relevant information in the comments below; leave the exact address with a brief note about what the stand normally stocks and I’ll add it to the Google map. I’ve started the map off with some little stands near my house in Sunderland.

Let’s support our local growers and see how locally we can eat this summer.

Do you need some reasons why eating locally is important? Check out 7 things being a locavore can do for you.


View Western Mass Farm Stands in a larger map

Photo used with permission by Sandra Pipczynski

5 strategies to build enthusiasm in your organization for blogging

blogging enthusiasm I’m working with a small educational institution, helping them develop a blog that covers their specialized approach to educating students. It’s a great project; worthwhile, their blog could be a hub for writing and resources that I haven’t seen on the Web.

There’s one problem (so far!): finding and motivating regular contributors among the ranks of their institution. As part of my work for the school, I’ve brainstormed 5 ways they can get dedicated contributors on board:

  1. Don’t ask someone broadly, “can you write a post?”, instead ask them “can you write about X?” Ask them to write about their expertise or passion. That way people will give you better work and will enjoy it more. Set them up for success.
  2. Approach people and be ready to answer every “No” they could possibly have.
  3. First approach people that will both be likely to give you a “yes” and be advocates for your project. In every organization there are leaders, if not in position then by personality. Get the pied pipers on board first.
  4. Give the best support you can to your contributors. Develop a tip list for your contributors that will help them write posts: headline ideas, topic brainstorming ideas, and post format ideas. All of this together answers the statement, I don’t know how to write a blog post.
  5. Develop a good “elevator pitch”. It can be a very effective tool. One thing to be aware of: this term is often used around the business world, but there is no reason the techniques can’t be used in any number of settings. The idea is to deliver a summary of your blog in 30 seconds, in such a way that the pitchee then asks you to talk more about the project. Because you’ve created interest about your project, they’ll want to know more.

I’m sure there are other effective ways to get contributors to your blog on board. How have you done it?

Yahoo + Microsoft = Trouble For Flickr?

flickr/microsoftA couple of weeks ago, on my Photo Share Podcast, we talked about the possibility of Microsoft gobbling up Yahoo. It wasn’t hard to see the writing on the wall, if you paid attention to the business news. There was some speculation by analysts that Microsoft would make the offer soon. Little did we know that Microsoft had been courting Yahoo since late 2006, making occasional offers during the past year.

Microsoft needs Yahoo. Despite its dominant position in both the operating system and desktop application realms, the computing world is changing, and if you look closely you too can see it. The web browser is becoming more powerful, designers and programmers using their skills to greater affect to get the most from the browser technology. With this shift to a browser based computer experience, more applications are being ported from the desktop to the web; see Google Docs, Salesforce.com, Flickr, Basecamp, and many more. This shift isn’t unlike the same one that took place when computing world moved from mainframe to personal, desktop based computing.

When Microsoft gets Yahoo, which may take a year or more after regulators in the U.S and Europe finish digging their teeth into the deal, they’ll have to “integrate” Flickr into Microsoft. If they don’t, Microsoft will be wasting their money. When Yahoo bought Flickr they could afford to leave Flickr to its own devices because the two companies operate on a primarily web based business model. Microsoft’s business model is not web based, and when they’ve tried to make the shift the results have been a failure, for the most part. See the latest, Windows Live. That’s why Microsoft needs Yahoo; it’s an admission of failure.

What might the integration of Flickr into the Microsoft world look like? From jump street there are going to be problems: what ID system will you use to login to Flickr? Well, given that Microsoft is buying the Yahoo users, I predict you’ll be moving over to the Microsoft system.

Expect new features to roll out at a much slower pace. More advertising. More integration with Microsoft proprietary technology (fewer implementations of open standards). A new Office program that will integrate the desktop and Flickr (of course, it will be clumsy and crash a lot). A change in the Flickr terms of use that will allow Microsoft to use your photos across its various sites.

Stay tuned. Things will get interesting. We’ll be having a new podcast up by Sunday night or Monday morning, covering all the latest news in the Microsoft/Yahoo mess.

Copyright © 2019 Bill Weye

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