frank's blog

Dont Fear The Internet Dot Com

Posted in blog, Media, web, your take on... by aldorf on August 11, 2011

American duo Jessica Hische and Russ Maschmeyer. Their site Don’t Fear the Internet is a really great beginners’ guide to the fundamentals of web design, practical but in no way patronising. (via itsnicethat)











Are you a print designer, photographer, fine-artist, or general creative person? Do you have a shitty website that you slapped together yourself in Dreamweaver in that ONE web design class that you took in college? Do you not have a site at all because you’ve been waiting two years for your cousin to put it together for you? Well, we’re here to help. We know that you have little to no desire to do web design professionally, but that doesn’t mean that you want an ugly cookie-cutter site or to settle for one that hasn’t been updated since Hackerswas in theaters. Through short tutorial videos, you’ll learn how to take a basic wordpress blog and manipulate the css, html (and even some php!) to match your aesthetic. You’ll feel empowered rather than crippled by the internet and worst case scenario you’ll at least end up having a better idea of how professional web designers turn your design dreams into a reality on screen.

Horsemaning Is The New Planking

Posted in ideas, photography, web, your take on... by aldorf on August 11, 2011

“Horsmaning,” or fake beheading, was a popular way of taking pictures in the 1920s. It’s currently experiencing a revival and is basically the new planking. Join the group on Facebook.

The How of Happiness

Posted in inspiration, your take on... by aldorf on August 3, 2011

















50% of your happiness is said to be come from your genes. Where does the other 50% come from? Here’s the shocker: it’s been scientifically proven the material affluence only makes up for 10% of happiness. That includes how much money you make, your marital status, what kind of car you drive, etc…

Where does the other 40% come from then? Well that’s supposed to be the solution. These are the things you can control on a daily basis, like how you behave, what you think, and the types of goals you set. 

Here are 12 happiness-generating activities:

1. Expressing gratitude

2. Cultivating optimism

3. Avoiding over-thinking and social comparison

4. Practicing acts of kindness

5. Nurturing social relationships

6. Developing strategies for coping

7. Learning to forgive

8. Increasing flow experiences

9. Savoring life’s joys

10. Committing to your goals

11. Practicing religion and spirituality

12. Taking care of your body

(Book: How of Happiness: “A Scientific Approach to Getting the Life You Want” by Sonja Lyubomirsky)

Product or Customer?

Posted in ideas, Media, your take on... by aldorf on August 2, 2011

The Resume Is Dead, The Bio Is King

Posted in blog, ideas, inspiration, quality, your take on... by aldorf on August 2, 2011

[via 99%]

If you’re a designer, entrepreneur, or creative – you probably

haven’t been asked for your resume in a long time. Instead,

people Google you – and quickly assess your talents based on

your website, portfolio, and social media profiles. Do they

resonate with what you’re sharing? Do they identify with your

story? Are you even giving them a story to wrap their head


That’s why the resume is on the out, and the bio is on the rise. People work with

people they can relate to and identify with. Your bio needs to tell the

bigger story. Especially, when you’re in business for yourself, or in the business

of relationships. It’s your bio that’s read first.

To help you with this, your bio should address the following five


1. Who am I?

2. How can I help you?

3. How did I get here (i.e. know what I know)?

4. Why can you trust me?

5. What do we share in common?

here are a few key pointers for reinventing your bio as a story:

1. Share a Point of View.

You’re a creative. Having something to say is the ultimate proof. 

What’s missing from the larger conversation? Speak to that. Don’t be afraid 

to tell the bigger story. We want to know how you see the world. 

Show us that you have a unique perspective or fresh vantage point on the 

things that matter most.

2. Create a Backstory.

Explain the origin for how you came to see the world in this way. 

Maybe it was something that happened to you as a kid or early in your career. Consider your superhero origins. How did you come into these powers? 

What set you off on this quest or journey? What’s the riddle or mystery you are 

still trying to solve? When you tell the story of who you were meant to be, it becomes an undeniable story. Natural authority is speaking from the place of 

what you know and have lived.

3. Incorporate External Validators.

Think frugally here. To paraphrase the artist De La Vega, we spend too much 

time trying to convince others, instead of believing in ourselves. Nonetheless, 

if you’re doing something new, different, or innovative – you have to anchor 

it into the familiar. Help people see that your novel ideas are connected to 

things they recognize and trust. That might be your notable clients, press, publications, or things you’ve created. Just enough to show people your story 

is for real.

4. Invite people into relationship.

Now that you’ve established you’ve got something to share, remind people 

you’re not so different from them. Vulnerability is the new black. 

Share some guilty pleasures. Describe what you like to geek out on. Reveal 

a couple things you obsess about as hobbies or interests. This will make you 

more approachable and relatable. You’re human, too. Help people find 

the invisible lines of connection.

This Is A Prototype Manifesto…love it

Posted in innovation, your take on... by aldorf on August 2, 2011

Key Insights From One of America’s First Chief Innovation Officers

Posted in innovation, quality, your take on... by aldorf on May 4, 2011

Amy Radin became one of America’s first Chief Innovation Officers when Citigroup appointed her to the role in 2005. She is currently Chief Innovation officer at E*E*Trade Financial, the leading online discount stock brokerage. (via

A tangible corporate structure is becoming less necessary for delivering goods and services to consumers, so there’s more pressure on established businesses to embrace technology.

The key to success is to fail fast and fail cheap; harvest the learnings and move on.

Innovation is not a one-year return on investment, or time…. you should probably take a 24-36 month view.

Main steps managers would need to take to adopt Ami Radin’s VC-type innovation approach:

  • Establish a pipeline or portfolio of bets approach.
  • Focus on understanding potential market/universe size and unit-level business model/economics, not a full P&L statement early on.
  • Make the effort to uncover real market needs within the universe of people whom you would like to serve, and stay relentlessly focused on delivering them.
  • Engage all functions in the organization as early on as possible. People want to be included, and helping them see what is going on along the way is invaluable.
  • Don’t automatically apply traditional business process to innovation – it needs to be faster, more iterative, and is inherently different than how companies may approach running a well-oiled machine.
  • Don’t underestimate the criticality of leadership and culture. These will make or break your success. This includes fully-engaging the CEO in your innovation efforts.

Key characteristics of good people in the innovation space:

  • Left brain/right brain thinkers
  • Bias for execution and getting things done
  • The wiring of a start up employee combined with a healthy respect for the benefits of being in an established company (brand, resources, talent, expertise, franchise)
  • Leadership ability, which includes influence, communications, teamwork, collaboration
  • Ability to embrace ambiguity and not get flustered by it
Read full story at

Entrepreneurship – Do You Have What It Takes?

Posted in blog, inspiration, quality, your take on... by aldorf on April 29, 2011

Well put Chris Dixon (Co-founder of, and other venture)

There Are Two Kinds Of People In The World

You’ve either started a company or you haven’t.  ”Started” doesn’t mean joining as an early employee, or investing or advising or helping out.  It means starting with no money, no help, no one who believes in you (except perhaps your closest friends and family), and building an organization from a borrowed cubicle with credit card debt and nowhere to sleep except the office. It almost invariably means being dismissed by arrogant investors who show up a half hour late, totally unprepared and then instead of saying “no” give you non-committal rejections like “we invest at later stage companies.” It means looking prospective employees in the eyes and convincing them to leave safe jobs, quit everything and throw their lot in with you.  It means having pundits in the press and blogs who’ve never built anything criticize you and armchair quarterback your every mistake. It means lying awake at night worrying about running out of cash and having a constant knot in your stomach during the day fearing you’ll disappoint the few people who believed in you and validate your smug doubters.

I don’t care if you succeed or fail, if you are Bill Gates or an unknown entrepreneur who gave everything to make it work but didn’t manage to pull through. The important distinction is whether you risked everything, put your life on the line, made commitments to investors, employees, customers and friends, and tried – against all the forces in the world that try to keep new ideas down – to make something new.

YouTube founders Chad Hurley and Steve Chen buy Delicious from Yahoo

Posted in internet, Media, pioneers, your take on... by aldorf on April 28, 2011

Delicious will become part of Hurley and Chen’s new Internet company AVOS, starting in July 2011. Their goal is to build the best information discovery service.

48 Ways to Crowdsource Everything

Posted in design, innovation, internet, pioneers, web, your take on... by aldorf on April 26, 2011

Crowdsourcing, which involves a community of anonymous people completing a given task, has become an attractive labor model. Everyone’s

seeking it out, from solopreneurs needing transcriptions to Fortune 500 companies looking for answers to complex scientific problems. Here

are 48 ways to crowdsource just about everything you can think of.


1. While hotels offer predictable accommodations and quality, sometimes you need something different. Like an entire oceanview flat, or an

ultrabudget basement room in the heart of a city’s university area. Sites like AirBnB and VRBO let you search rooms, apartments and houses

listed for (nightly) rent by their owners. When you book through the site, the owner gets everything but the small cut taken by the booking site.

Ideally, you get the kind of different vacation or business travel accommodations that you’re looking for.


2. TunedIT specializes in crowdsourcing data mining and data-driven algorithms. They pose both industrial and scientific challenges, with

student contests to boot. The best algorithm wins the payout.


3. In his book “The Smart Swarm,” author Peter Miller relays the fact that the most effective kind of swarm involves smart people who

specialize in a variety of tasks. Atizo, a crowdsourced brainstorming site, harnesses this idea. From naming a unique company to marketing

ideas to product concepts, this Swiss site lets you collect hundreds of ideas from people across disciplines. Its innovative payment system is

based on points, which brainstormers can accrue in a variety of ways.

4. If you want to focus on the kinds of fresh ideas that young people provide, Brainrack is an idea and solution site with an army of students

brainstorming behind it. Prize money gets divvied up between the best 15 ideas. Kluster is another brainstorming site to check out.

5. There’s also a DIY option in this space. If you want ideas for new products or services, or even how you conduct business, take an example

from Dell. The computer giant’s IdeaStorm website lets consumers submit their ideas for new Dell products and services, as well as anything

else that strikes users’ fancies. Dell doesn’t define the topics, leaving its users creative space. Of the 15,000 or so ideas it has received to date,

the company has used more than 400. If you’re a smaller operation, you can do something similar through a Twitter list or a Facebook group

(or your fan page) devoted to the topic.

Broadway Plays

6. Ken Davenport is producing the musical Godspell this year exclusively with crowdsourced funding. One share of the musical costs $100,

and investors have to buy a minimum of ten shares. This entry ticket pales in comparison to the usual Broadway investor minimum of $25,000.

Godspell needs a total budget of $5 million, relatively meager compared to other plays. Davenport, who had to pass a finance exam in order to

sell the shares of his play in the first place, runs a site called The People of Godspell to continue the effort.

Business Innovation

7. Innovation Exchange, like many crowdsourcers, runs contests that award winners with a cash prize. They focus on the business side of

innovation, such as products, services, and processes. Companies submit problems to the site, then facilitators pull together teams from diverse

backgrounds to tackle them. Challenges range from marketing ideas and ad campaigns to better packaging and transport. (Though the site

doesn’t advertise its challenges as being technical, some of the challenges do require a technical background.)

Cancer Treatment

8. Cancer Commons’ goal is to provide patients with the best cancer treatment possible through crowdsourced information. Doctors, scientists

and patients contribute to the effort by sharing treatment results (based on the tumor’s genomic subtype) and using that knowledge to figure

out how to best treat the next person. The website also aims to outsmart the shortfalls of Big Pharma’s randomized clinical trials by gathering

volumes of specific information.


9. These guys have quite the niche. Colnect is a crowdsourced collectibles catalogue on which collectors display hundreds of thousands of

stamps, coasters, phone cards, and other things they’d gathered. Call it the crowdsourced anti-print catalogue. Users have both wish lists and

swap lists, so people in this little industry can fine-tune their collections.

Data Entry and Digitizing

10. Microtask crowdsources your data entry and digitizing of handwritten forms to a mixture of people and machines. Instead of being able to

select their assignments, human Microtaskers work through a queue of seconds-long tasks for as long as they’re available to do them. This is

what the New York Times calls an “online assembly line.” Companies use these information factory workers full-time; Microtask’s software

facilitates the process and guarantees results.


11. “If you don’t give back nobody will like you” is Crowdrise’s motto. While certain politicians and beloved-by-investor corporations

continually prove this statement wrong, there’s something to it, and Crowdrise knows that. Basically, you create a profile, put up your cause

(or join someone else’s), message via existing social media sources, and network. Eventually, unless everyone still hates you, you’ll get the

money you need.

Finding a Mortgage

12. You know those automated mortgage comparison sites? SmartHippo isn’t too different, except that it’s powered by a human community,

which gives you a more personal touch—and potentially more accurate information—during your mortgage hunt.

Forecasting and Data Prediction

13. If you have reams of data and want trained eyes to tell you more about it, hit up the statistical analysis crowdsourcer Kaggle. There, teams

of data scientists can predict everything from the speed of freeway traffic at a certain time of day to the ratio of people who will default on

their bank loans. The team with the best data prediction model wins your prize.

Graphic Design

14. Your website design, logos, business cards, pamphlets, and more can all be crowdsourced now. 99Designs is a contest site where you

submit your concept and let a pool of more than 100,000 designers compete for your prize. At the end, you get the design and the copyright.

ReDesignMe is another website to check out in this space.

CrowdSpring is a similar website that specializes in small business graphic design. It also offers a host of writing services, from opinion

articles to company naming. It also operates on a prize-based model. Squadhelp is another site that crowdsources web design and marketing,

also with a focus on small businesses.

15. Minted is more of a niche crowdsourcer. It only crowdsources paper designs, especially cards, announcements, wedding invites, and other

kinds of stationary. Their open design competitions are, unlike many other crowdsourcing sites, democratic: Users vote the best designs to the



16. Tapping your Twitter followers will help you gain real-time input on your products, services, and anything else you need to know.

Depending on how much feedback you want, and how detailed you want it to be, you may want to offer an incentive such as a prize. You can

also join or create Twitter lists for ongoing collaboration and discussion. Using Twitter doesn’t require an intermediary, it’s fast, and it

harnesses people you’re already familiar with.

17. Facebook is another way of doing just that. Through a private group or by using your fan page, you can collect rapid-fire feedback for your

company. As with Twitter, offering a prize will often get you more responses. You can also use the site for ongoing collaboration.

Innovation (B2B)

18. Some big corporations have set up proprietary networks to crowdsource their innovation. For example, P&G Connect + Develop, Procter

& Gamble’s invite-only open innovation website, lets companies work with the consumer products giant on its innovation. Only select

companies can participate, and ideas aren’t visible to everyone. While P&G has the heft and leverage to pull off this kind of proprietary

network, if you’re a small business owner, you can also crowdsource innovation through private groups on Facebook.


19. EquitySplash says it’s “crowdsourcing Wall Street” by letting users invest in a fund (their ownership is proportional to their investment),

then having them buy and trade individual picks via a proprietary platform. The outcome of each trade gets spread around the fund. It sounds

fun, unless you’re the one making all the bad trades.

20. Through StockTwits, you can network with a huge community of traders around the world, riding their coattails, adding to the info pool, or

being a revered lead-dog trader yourself. It doesn’t just run through Twitter, either—you can get tools, widgets, data feeds, and more off their


Lawn Mowing

21. Who said you couldn’t crowdsource cutting grass? Put in an order on Lawn Mowing Online, and someone from your area will come over

and cut your grass the next day, for $19 and up. Anyone with a lawnmower, digital camera and computer can compete for a gig on this site.

As a result, moonlighters and professionals are available at a moment’s notice, all from one central website.


22. If the bank won’t lend you money, or if you’re looking to make a better interest rate than the measly one banks are currently offer, peer-topeer

lenders like Prosper offer alternatives. Find real people to lend to or from. With more than 1 million users and $227 million lended,

Prosper is money.

Marketing Research

23. If you need to build and organize a client database, run marketing surveys, or even just sort your existing information, the dutiful

Clickworkers will hand it over with characteristic German efficiency. They also crowdsource things like writing instruction manuals and


Mobile Testing

24. If you’re developing anything on a mobile platform, Mob4Hire can basically crowdsource the entire development process you, using a

swarm of more than 45,000 testers on more than 300 carriers around the world. They give you feedback in every stage of the development

cycle, helping you bring your product to market quickly and efficiently.


25. When millions of users share their playlists, streaming individual songs to other users who want to listen to them real-time, you have one

massive crowdsourced music system. That system’s name is Spotify, and its technology lets users listen to just about any song they want to—

with the exception of a few with licensing issues, like Oasis in the UK—on demand and for free.

26. If you want to crowdsource your music making, MusikPitch lets you tap the swarm for custom songs, compositions, jingles, background

music—you name it. is the first site for crowdsourcing custom songs and music compositions. You name the kind of music you want and what

you’re willing to pay, then sic the crowd on the task. The winner gets your prize.

Patent Research

27. This task can be a horribly time-consuming pain, and Article One Partners has the panacea. Their network of more than 1 million patent

researchers works on whatever patents or patent issues you need dug up. You can communicate with them to make sure you get the right

results. As with many crowdsourcing sites, the best or most extensive research, as determined by you, wins your monetary prize.


28. You have the means. You have an idea of the societal problem you want to address. But you’re not sure how to put your funds or available

grants to best use. Enter Philoptima, which crowdsources the design and implementation of nonprofit programs for people who have money,

but need good solutions. Whoever finds the winning solution gets the cash prize.


29. In the traditional stock photo industry, photographers would license their images to established companies, like Getty Images, and receive

fees whenever someone bought those photos. As a result, photographers could establish a passive income stream–say, $50 every time someone

bought a photo. iStockPhoto disrupted this system by letting amateur photographers, generally more concerned with getting their names out

than making money, sell their photos for $1 a pop. Legions of amateurs filled the site with cheap and, with numbers on their side, many highquality

photos. This changed the stock photo industry forever. Getty ended up buying it.

30. Yahoo-owned Flickr hosts hundreds of thousands of users who display their photography on the site. Many of these users let you use the

photo for free—with credit—via specific Creative Commons licenses. All you have to do is find the picture and credit it appropriately. Many

such Flickr users have excellent photographs, meaning that companies seeking to crowdsource that function have good prospects here.

Preventing Poverty

31. Yes, even the act of preventing downward mobility has been crowdsourced. The Modest Needs foundation has people with serious

financial emergencies write about their issues online. Readers then donate whatever amount of money they can afford until the person’s

“modest need” is met. The organization performs due diligence on the people in need, making the website legit and free of scammers.

Project Management

32. Smartsheet is a project collaboration tool with integrated crowdsourced labor. You use their software to collaborate with your remote team

on the project, and plug in labor wherever in the process you need it. The software has HR, IT, marketing, and product management features

integrated, kind of a one-stop shop for both collaboration and labor.

Protests and Causes

33. Got cause? CrowdVoice can help. By tracking protests around the world, it gives you a central place to find cutting-edge information about

your cause and what people are doing about it. CrowdVoice collates news, video, and social media information, so it saves you time and effort

in finding the crucial updates you need.


34. Help a Reporter Out (HARO) matches up experts and businesspeople with reporters to create a symbiotic source/PR relationship. You scan

your daily HAROs and see if there’s something you can comment on; reporter publishes or airs a story with your commentary in it. Bingo—

instant PR, without the legwork.

Quality Assurance (QA)

35. uTest offers on-demand, crowdsourced mobile, web, gaming, and desktop application testing. They offer usability, functional and load

testing, by nearly 38,000 testers in more than 170 countries. They offer custom quotes in advance, too, so you know exactly what you’re

getting into.

Scientific or Technical Problems

36. Familiar with RNA sequencing, chemical derivatives, or GUIs? Then you might be the kind of user that InnoCentive seeks out to solve

companies’ pressing technical problems. Geared at braniacs, and offering handsome prizes for the winning idea, InnoCentive lets companies

tap a global community of more than 200,000 users to solve the problems they can’t figure out internally. Those users, in turn, attempt to

tackle the problem for a prize. Companies select their winners—and gain a whole bunch of alternative solutions from non-winners in the


37. Like InnoCentive, Idea Connection taps the brains of engineers, scientists and other tech-oriented people to solve difficult problems.

Unlike InnoCentive, however, Idea Connection is facilitated, and keeps much of its information confidential. Companies come to the service

with their challenges, and Idea Connection acts as a middleman, seeking out input from users via collaborative intranets. Companies can

customize how much input they get and how much they pay; Idea Connection takes care of the rest. With that level of service, one wonder

about the size of the cut that Idea Connection takes vis-à-vis other crowdsourcing helpers.

38. There are more companies in this space. Consultant Nine Sigma also provides a high level of service, helping companies customize the

kinds of structures they need to support open innovation, as well as facilitating open innovation processes. Hypios is another company that

provides a platform to outsource your R&D.

Tedious Tasks

39. If your business involves QAing software or content, or perhaps transcribing, finding things online, tagging, or any of the other

miscellaneous tasks that come up in your business, there are a couple places that can help out.

40. Mechanical Turk, powered by, lets you splice up your task into minute pieces, enabling you to crowdsource those slices of

the project to hundreds of people at the same time. As a result, you’ll get your entire project done faster, because loads of Mechanical Turk

providers finish their own slices in the time span you allot. You can get a project that would have taken days done in hours or even minutes

this way.

41. CrowdFlower, formerly known as Dolores Labs, is a similar service. It harnesses its millions of users to take on parsed sections of bigger

projects, many of the same nature as Mechanical Turk’s. Indeed, CrowdFlower sources people through Mechanical Turk (and several other

places). They can also help with custom projects for small businesses, as well as enterprise-level crowdsourcing projects.


42. Starting at 5 cents per word, you can have your content translated by a crowd of 1,200 translators around the world on MyGengo. The

Japanese company offers translation in 11 languages. The site’s simple, intuitive interface and pay model make human translation almost as

easy as plugging something into a machine translator—but with more accuracy, of course.


43. Zipcar is pretty well-known as an easy way to rent a car by the hour, but there are other services that make sense. Car2Go is Austin’s

answer to Zipcar; RelayRides takes the community aspect one step further by letting you rent from independent car owners, by the hour or by

the day. They’re only in Boston and San Francisco so far, but will hopefully spread to new cities soon.


44. Poptent crowdsources commercials, virals, how-tos and all of the other video needs today’s companies have. Basically a social network for

people who make videos, Poptent gathers assignments by mostly Fortune 500 hundred companies, lists them on its site, and Poptent members

create videos with the given content and creative brief. After users finish the assignments, the company picks their favorite and pays.

45. Tongal’s tagline is “where the best ideas meet the best filmmakers,” and that pretty much sums up the collaborative videomaking contest

website. If you want an ad, you put up your project and prize, and let the masses compete. Users can also be paid based on the number of

times people download their videos, so all is not lost, even if a user loses a contest.

Waste Disposal

46. If you have something you want to get rid of, chances are someone in TerraCycle’s crowd is willing to do it for you. They specialize in

both recyclables and “upcyclables,” things that you don’t want, but someone else can use. eCycler is another crowdsourcer that focuses solely

on recyclables; Freecycle, on the other hand, is the ideal place to dispose of and pick up things to upcycle.


47. If you need a press release in an hour, content on the quick, translation, or proofreading/editing, has officially parsed the single

human being formerly known as the writer into an anonymous online crowd of college students, stay-at-home parents, unemployed people,

and anyone else seeking a quick job fix. It’s quick, because guarantees a 24-hour turnaround time; the proofreaders and other service

providers are sourced through sister site They attract these users in part through quick assignments and guaranteed next-day

pay. Sadly, automates the personal communication that generally makes writers more effective to a client, and it doesn’t let you use the

same writer twice.

48. takes an interesting slant on niche writing. For $25, you can get a letter—any letter—written in 24 hours. We’re talking

letters of acceptance, resignation, hypothecation, rejection, and anything else you can dream up. In a nod to the former glory days of copyright,

LetterRep pays writers again if existing letters get purchased more than once. (via Business Pundit)

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