Jan Kubr

Archive for November, 2007|Monthly archive page

[A link visited] Seth Godin about his new book

In Uncategorized on November 29, 2007 at 17:59

Seth Godin wrote a new book (yes, again) which will be released on December 27. Eric Enge interviewed Seth about the ideas in the book. Now this interview is a bit longer to read (I’d prefer having a podcast for such a length), but it’s definitely worth the time.

“It becomes easier to grow. One interesting thing is that with no exceptions, of every consumer brand that has grown from nothing in the last ten years, not one of them has been built on the back of television. In 1978 or 1968 it was a 100%, and now it’s 0%.”

“This is not a little sideshow, I believe that this is the beginning of the future, because there is no reason that I can think of why our children and certainly our grandchildren will sit down and tune into CBS and watch something.”

“They also have the power to have their own channel. They have the power to broadcast, not just receive. And, what that means as a marketer is if you get caught, or if someone doesn’t like you they are going to tell everybody. That’s not word of mouth, that’s something else.”

“It turns out that that’s ridiculous, because paying money to reach somebody who just bought a new car when you are selling cars is silly. Paying money to reach somebody who is doing their best to ignore you is silly.”

I’m telling ya, go check it out..

[A link visited] Don Tapscott on Web 2.0 Expo

In Uncategorized on November 27, 2007 at 20:27

Don Tapscott shows us some interesting trends we are seeing in the (western) world at the moment in his talk on Web 2.0 Expo in Berlin. He made me happy by confirming that ideas Flempo is based on are (still) recognized as our future:

“75 years ago Nobel Prize winner Ronald Coase: ‘Why does this vertical economy exist, why do we have companies? (…) Why isn’t everybody an independent contractor?’ (…) The cost of collaboration in an open market is greater than the cost of doing things inside the boundaries of the corporation.”

“[But now] the collaboration cost is dropping so much in an open market, that peers can come together and not just network socially, they can produce socially. ”


(Video found on Jiko blog).

Flempo has a signed SSL certificate!

In Uncategorized on November 26, 2007 at 20:47

Amazing, after all the hassle, I finally received and installed the certificate. And as of now all the “paying” users have their communication with the server encrypted.

With RapidSSL it was kind of a breeze in the end – they never called me again; I just needed to click a link in an e-mail verifying I am the owner of the domain. Now that is rapid, indeed.

What business is GoDaddy in

In Uncategorized on November 25, 2007 at 19:21

I got the refund from GoDaddy on Friday after I had to ask for it having had a horrible experience with them. That is when it appeared on my account, they sent it actually a few days earlier already. It surprised me how responsive they were after I asked for the refund. When I was trying to buy something from them, it could take them many hours to get back to me with a simple request. But the whole refund thing was done within a few hours (two, three I believe).

Then I got it. GoDaddy is in the business of giving refunds, not selling certificates, right?

I went to RapidSSL then and it seemed to be all good (no humans, automatic processes), but then there was a phone call which was supposed to verify my number is valid (reasonable) and record me saying my name (eh??). Well and that didn’t go all that well, their system didn’t receive what I was typing on my cell phone and two other calls where disconnected before I got to anything. Now I need to wait till tomorrow to receive a call from a human. Yikes!

[A book read] The Dip

In Uncategorized on November 25, 2007 at 11:19

I finally got around to buying a copy of Seth Godin’s latest book The Dip. I read a lot about it on the book’s blog before, but finally bought it when I was in the States a few weeks ago and read it while waiting for the planes back (it is a very short book).

If you skim through the Squidoo lens, you’ll have a pretty good idea what the book is about. The old saying is winners never quit. However, the book says it is OK to quit if you realize you’re in a dead end and what you’re doing doesn’t get you any nearer to your goal. It is OK to stop doing what you’re doing and change strategy.

The obvious problem and the actual difficult skill here is how to realize when to keep pushing (and not to stop just because things are too hard) and when to quit. And no, the book doesn’t answer that. Apart from saying you should come up with a metric and measure your progress towards your goal. If the numbers don’t get any better, quit.

The following quote summarizes the book for me (p. 68):

“Quitting as a short-term strategy is a bad idea. Quitting for the long term is an excellent idea.”

[A link visited] Stephen Wolfram on starting companies

In Uncategorized on November 22, 2007 at 13:21

Came across a great talk by Stephen Wolfram on starting companies. My highlights:

“I think that’s a general feature of at least my style of running a company. At the beginning the CEO does everything. But gradually as you understand things, you can hire other people to do them.”

“But if you ever delegate without understanding, things will get messed up.”

“You’ll never know if it’s ultimately correct. You just have to use your judgement, make decisions, and move on. To some people, that’s pretty scary. Not to have any answers to look up in the back of the book. Just to do stuff.”

“Yes, if you luck out, you can make a lot of money. But it’s really rare that money carries people as a motivation. You have to actually care about what you’re doing.”

“I’ve always thought that running companies is pretty much common sense. It’s stuff that can be figured out just by thinking, practically, about things. And knowing a certain amount about the world.”

“You know, sometimes there are things in business that just don’t seem to make sense. Some deal that’s too good to be true. Some magic solution to a problem. But somehow those never really seem to work out. Somehow in the long run things always arrange themselves to sort of be fair. To get out what gets put in.”

Buying certificates at GoDaddy is a nightmare

In Uncategorized on November 19, 2007 at 20:03

Long time ago I decided paying users of Flempo will have their communication with the server encrypted. This means no one along the way can “sniff” their teams’ data. I’m sure you know it from many sites, it’s when the address bar turns yellow, the address is prefixed with https instead of http and somewhere in the browser a lock icon is displayed.

In addition to that, it is also used to make sure you are working with the real flempo.com and not with any other (spoofed) site that pretends to be Flempo. How does that work? Well you go to a certificate authority and that will issue you a certificate which then other parties (especially Internet browser vendors) trust. The certificate authority will make sure flempo.com is yours and provide you with a file that you upload to your server. If the browser “finds” (in a way) this signed file on your server, it knows it talks to the real flempo.com

So far so good. Now there have been quite a few problems in my case. Flempo is using both flempo.cz and flempo.com addresses, but only one server at the moment. But it turned out you can’t use two certificates for one IP address. I solved that by redirecting everyone who has the paid features to flempo.com, even if she started on flempo.cz. That turned out to be a bit more difficult than I thought because the browser will provide you with a new session when you change the domain – basically all the information kept about you between requests is lost. Was quite a hassle, but it should work now.

Then I wanted to actually buy the certificate. I went to GoDaddy because they seem the cheapest. Their certificates are compatible with all the major browsers, so I said, what the heck, that’s good enough. Because if you look at the prices, they’re quite ridiculous. A wildcard certificate would be really nice (that would work for http://www.flempo.com, anything.flempo.com and not only for flempo.com), but $300 a year? For what, exactly?? (It’s not that I can’t afford it, but Flempo can’t afford it because it doesn’t generate any revenue. And the prize compared to what I get is crazy).

Then you try to buy it there and find out the site is the most confusing ever, you need to create two accounts, they accept PayPal, but with some strange conditions I’ve never seen, they don’t accept credit cards in the usual way, the URLs are uglier than the ugliest dog in the world..

Then they want you to send them a scan of your passport (I can understand that) and a bank statement (why??), but you HAVE TO black out all the account numbers on it. Then they tell you your registrator doesn’t publish your e-mail address in the WHOIS database and you go there yourself and see it right there, so you tell them that.

And then you wait for I don’t know what, which is what I’m doing right now. And I chose them also because it was supposed to be finished in two hours.. Maybe going to Verisign would have been better? Maybe not.

Fortunately there are activities such as Cacert that promise to bring an alternative. I will keep an eye on this.

[UPDATE:]

I just got an e-mail from GoDaddy:

I apologize for the inconvenience, however there was a problem in the issuance of your certificate. Your previous certificate application was denied and will need to be resubmitted. Please follow the instructions below to resubmit your application:

and continues a seven step process how to reset my application to be able to go through the process again. Will this ever end?

[UPDATE2:]

And then they wanted the passport again and said the bank statement doesn’t mention my address, but it has to.
They don’t know it’s 2007 already. I hope I can get a refund and go to RapidSSL which I should have gone to at the first place.

[UPDATE3:]

I photoshoped the statement to show my address, but they say it doesn’t say the account type in English. Well, it is a Czech bank, jerks! Canceled my request, asked for a refund, and will go to RapidSSL. This is not funny anymore.

I want to be a millionaire

In Uncategorized on November 16, 2007 at 10:05

Who doesn’t, anyway. There’s this Win a million contest here in the Czech republic and I thought it’d be nice to win it. Right. No seriously it is rather an “ideas for a million” contest and it rewards best business ideas with some prices and exposes them to investors as well.

I thought I’d write something about Flempo and send it to the committee. Although I don’t think I need an investor actually. Not necessarily now, I mean. A while ago I quoted Kelly:

“Work evenings, weekends, holidays…whatever it takes to get the product to the most mature state you can take it without further financing. And that doesn’t mean a bunch of database design and mid tier coding that normal people can’t actually make sense of.”

I still want to go this way. However, sending the proposal to the comitee can (did) help me:
Read the rest of this entry »

Slept three and a half hours today

In Uncategorized on November 14, 2007 at 3:46

Not that I was trying this out, but due to circumstances.

But it made me think about sleep again. A few people around me told me that “you don’t need more than five hours of sleep a day” and “you can get used to it.” Well yeah, I’m sure you can, but don’t think it’s healthy, really. Although I understand that the amount of sleep one needs varies from person to person, five hours or less seem just too little. However, if you want to keep a good schedule, what I found interesting (and inspiring) was Steve Pavlina’s How to Become an Early Riser:

“The solution was to go to bed when I’m sleepy (and only when I’m sleepy) and get up with an alarm clock at a fixed time (7 days per week). So I always get up at the same time (in my case 5am), but I go to bed at different times every night.”

Also sleeping three hours a day?

In Uncategorized on November 13, 2007 at 16:39

“I enjoy sitting on nice beaches and hanging out with my girlfriend and playing with my dog, but that’s three hours a day,” Mr. Levchin said. “What about the remaining 18 hours I’m awake?”

I totally understand what this guy means, but I think he should get some more sleep..

Very interesting read though: Sold PayPal, now working even more