WordPress Goodness: Slideshow Pro Integration

Today I took a few minutes to add Slideshow pro to my blog. I purchased the Slideshow pro flash viewer ($29.95) and the Slideshow pro director admin panel ($29.95) see screenshot below. I added a database and installed Slideshow pro Director on my server. I then uploaded some images and installed the Slidepress plug-in to my WordPress plug-ins directory. Finally I added the slideshow pro SWF file to the Slidepress plug directory and voila!!

Links:

 

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This is one integration that I highly recommend for beautifully displaying content on your wordpress site. If you would like to have something like this added to your blog and don’t know where to start, let me know via comments and I will get in touch.

(photos courtesy of my homeboy chemc)

How to stop procrastinating and get all of your great ideas on paper

If your a visual person like me who lives and breathes ideas and creativity, but often find if difficult to get great ideas down in a way that is organized, you may want to try mind-mapping. (for software I use Mindjet)

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Mind-mapping is an extremely fun exercise that I use when I have a really big (or small) idea that I want to get out of my head and on paper and don’t want to worry about organization yet. In fact, the beauty of this process is that it’s so freeing and the non-formal structure increases your creativity and the ideas will just flow. As you write down ideas you start to see patterns, and one idea leads to another. By the end of the process you suddenly have all your ideas for a topic loosely organized. 

Now you can take this idea-map and start to break it down into a more organized structure. It will allow you to create goals and tasks and see the relationships between all of the ideas. 

The reason I like this type of exercise is because it’s fun and most of all it does not cause idea paralysis. Have you ever tried to create a list of for a big idea and get frustrated because it seemed hard to organize your thoughts? Mind-mapping (I like idea-mapping better) avoids this type of paralysis and frustration by just letting you write down any idea without worry of formal structure. Once you are done the feeling you have is one of major relief and gratification because you have emptied the holding bin inside your head and allowed room for new thoughts and ideas. Keeping things locked in your head causes frustration and anxiety until you can empty those thoughts. 

Mind-mapping can be done with a number of softwares ( I use http://www.mindjet.com/ ) or even a big whiteboard (my favorite – my office is filled wall to wall with whiteboards) and when you fill up the whiteboard use a digital camera to take a picture and can then wipe the board clean for round 2. 

In the end you will be amazed at how many new ideas this exercise develops and how organized your ideas will actually become as you start mind/idea-mapping. Now go idea-map all those great ideas!!

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here’s another good article by Thursday Bram on mind mapp to presentation

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Thanks for stopping by! ~ Devin Day

Capabilities-driven strategies: Thriving in a tough economy

Last week my company held it’s kick-off meeting for the 2009 season and one of our big topics was innovating our capabilities. Processes, standardization, skills, tools, etc. are necessary if we are to outpace our competition. A few days after our meeting I came across an article from Strategy+Business that discussed the topic in depth (see article here or click here for PDF). To me there are so many reasons that focusing on your capabilities-driven strategy is far more important than focusing on better improving your product to the nth degree (most companies that are built and run by “technician minded” people tend to focus on continually improving the product vs. delivering the product, thus their companies tend to remain a “ma and pa” shop.)

Let me give you an example of capabilities-driven strategy from a great book (E-myth Revisited) that sums it up so well. “Most of us could build a better hamburger than McDonalds, but few (if any) of us could build a better system for delivering those hamburgers than McDonald’s.”

McDonald’s capabilities and skills in process, marketing, standardization and so forth are what makes it such an efficient company. A better capabilities strategy is also why so many companies thrive and others don’t. If a company can outpace its competition through greater understanding and clarity of their capabilities-driven strategies then they are likely to be able to thrive even in a tough economy!

Have a peak at the article, it’s a great resource for learning and improving your capabilities-driven strategies and getting a jump on outpacing your competition in 2009.

An Entrepreneur’s review: The Art of the Start by Guy Kawasaki

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Let me preface this review by saying that I realize I am the nth person to comment on this book. I am also what many would consider a “practicing serial entrepreneur.” While I make no claims to be a start-up expert, I have founded four businesses in the past 10 years and have experienced everything from pitching business ideas to major brands and strategic partners to raising large sums of investor capital. All this to say that I hope you find my review useful coming from one who has significant experience starting things.

While The Art of the Start did not (and didn’t intend to) present any new or revolutionary concepts, it did something for me that other start-up books haven’t done. Kawasaki focuses on one of the great challenges entrepreneurs face (starting something) and compiles all of the essential concepts for success in one concise, easy-to-read handbook. He not only covers the basics of business (such as how to pitch, how to hire staff, etc.), but he also addresses such ideals as character and integrity, topics that are difficult to teach but are some of the most crucial elements for success in any business environment. Many startup business books address topics such as raising capital and writing your business plan, but few zero in on the importance of human relationships and emotional intelligence in the entrepreneurial process. The problem is that, by neglecting such issues early on, we risk being too oriented on the forest to see the trees and our business and leadership suffers as a result.

I consider this book a manual for start-up success that combines the human relationship skills of Dale Carnegie (link) and the business savvy skills of Jack Welch (link) from the perspective of a guy (no pun intended – link) who might understand the entrepreneurial process better than anyone.

The book’s chapters are as follows:

  1. “Starting”
  2. Positioning
  3. Pitching (great information)
  4. Business Plan (great information)
  5. “Bootstrapping”
  6. Recruiting (great chapter)
  7. Finding investors
  8. Partnerships
  9. Branding
  10. Rainmaking
  11. Being a good person, or a “Mensch”

Key excerpts from the book

  • “There are few tasks that face an entrepreneur that are more enjoyable than recruiting employees to a hot start-up.”
  • “Organizations are successful because of good implementation, not good business plans.”
  • “If you don’t terminate people who aren’t working out, you increase the probability of having to lay off people who are.”
  • “Like the Holy Grail, the business plan remains largely unattainable and mythological.”
  • “If you ever want to understand what God thinks of money, look at who He gives it to.”

These points make it crystal clear that Guy Kawasaki gets it. Each idea is one that I have learned through first hand experience over the years and is the reason the book resonates with me so much. I plan to continually revisit and review this book as an integral part of my business library. You should have it as well (most of you probably do).

DDay Rating – 5 out of 5 stars (for nailing all the topics that matter when starting anything)