Lean Startup Machine Mexico City Review

I want to write a quick recap of the Lean Startup Machine Mexico City event. What I liked and what I didn’t like.

Just to give you a bit of background, the main goal of this weekend is to actively work on validating a startup business idea. The main tool is the Javelin Board and is worked on by a group of 4-5.

Javelin-ExperimentBoard

Last man standing

Last men standing

+ Networking
I met a ton of really interesting and awesome people, just to name a few:
@enortham
@KariCau
@Mario_Chavez
@solrac925

– Team
On the last day out of 5 starting members we were 2! Granted we were the only group where this happened. The main reason was that our team leader was only interested in a certain type of solution and once we rejected that, he lost interest.

+ Organization
The event was organized really well. They had material and all equipment necessary. Plus we got food every day which was a plus 🙂

– Workshops
The workshops were very poor. It was either a video or a short presentation without slides. The actual increase in knowledge (provided you read the book The Lean Startup by Eric Ries) after this weekend was close to 0 for me.

+ Experience
The lack of new knowledge was definitely made up by a lot of practice. I definitely learned how to validate an idea and more importantly I did experience this hands on. One memory I will take away is that ALL team’s initial ideas were rejected. This alone made this workshop a positive experience for me.

Knowledge gained

Here are the key things I learned

  • Every customer has a problem, but not every solution has a customer
  • People are willing to answer your questions if you ask
  • Define your customer segment, validate a problem that you expect before thinking about (or worse creating) a solution
  • The Javelin Board is more useful than it looks on first sight…
  • To validate an idea ask about past experiences/past pain. And not: could you imagine/future pain.

Advice for people planing to join a Lean Startup Machine Event

  1. Network as much as you can. Build relationships with great people. Everybody is open to talk to you, you just need to make the first step. I personally set goals for each day about who I want to meet.
  2. Pick a group that has a product idea that doesn’t exist yet. Any team with an existing product will have a very hard time making an extreme pivot and dropping all their past work.
  3. Pick a product that a lot of normal people could use. You will have to do customer interviews close to your event venue. If you pick a super niche product you won’t find any potential customers easily.
  4. Prepare your pitch and include a memorable product name.

Alright, that was my Lean Startup Machine Mexico City Review. I think this event provides decent experience on learning how to validate a new startup idea.

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Do you have a Mindset to be succesfull – PowerHouse Mastermind

PowerHouse Mastermind

powerhouse_mastermind_banner_240x400I am super pumped to announce my new opportunity: The PowerHouse Mastermind. The PowerHouse is an exclusive group for Online Entrepreneurs with existing experience in their starting phase. I hope to gather several likeminded and motivated people to push each other in their online business, keep each other accountable and just make this lonely path a bit less lonely.

Here are the cliff notes:

  • An exclusive group of internet entrepreneurs
  • A group of 4
  • Meet once a week online for 1.5h
  • First meeting Friday Aug 1 530 PM EST
  • Free

You can find all of the info including the application process over here.

A Mindset to be a successful online entrepreneur

But why all this extra work Michael?

I am glad you asked 🙂 You see I came to a realization: Being an entrepreneur is all about Mindset. It starts there and it ends there. No matter what how smart or gifted you are, if you have the right Mindset you can accomplish anything. I have very high standards for myself, and none of the internet business I started met those standards up to date. This got me thinking a lot: “I am a smart guy, hard worker and can do things others can’t, why are my businesses not skyrocketing?”

Do you feel your skills, motivation and passion deserve more success, more admiration? I hear you, welcome to the club.

In a recent email from Scott Britton, he very correctly observes: “The battle is usually 80% psychological, 20% strategy.” This really hits the nail on the head. No matter how much you know about a topic, no matter how many resources, if your mindset can not take advantage of your skills, you will never be outstanding.

But why are we so bad with our mindset? Have you ever set yourself a new years resolution only to give up days/weeks later? I certainly have.

The question here is: Why do so many people set goals only to fail immediately after? The answer to this in my opinion is: We were never taught. I posted this to my private Facebook wall and from the looks of it, I am not alone.

 

I do not know what the correct mindset is for me to be successful, I don’t know all the tools out there but what I do know is that the solution to a successful online business is starting and ending with my mindset. Join me on my journey to finding it in the PowerHouse Mastermind.

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WordPress Deploy – A million ways to deploy WordPress

I have used a lot of WordPress Deploy systems and tried a lot of ways do deploying WordPress. Some things I tried were not so smart, some of them outright stupid. There is really nothing worse than waiting 15 min for your WordPress site to deploy only to see that you missed a 10px margin. Puff 15 more minutes gone. I have been there. Or you are about to show a site to a client when you realize this tiny mistake that you have fixed locally but you didn’t deploy yet. Facepalm.

Before we talk about possible solutions, let us talk about what an optimal (magical) WordPress deployment system looks like. Our magic system should focus on:

  1. Time – Deploy almost immediately
  2. Ease of use – Be a single command
  3. Rollback – Should be reversible

There are definitely other criteria like time your production site is down or security or price and many more, but in my eyes Time, Ease of use and Rollback ability are the most important ones to me.

WordPress Deploy – What options do you have?

Old School WordPress Deploy – FTP and MYSQL export

The traditional way of deploying a WordPress site is using plain simple old school FTP and MYSQL. I will save myself beating an old horse to death and point you to the best resource out there:

Migrating WordPress Sites by @BillErickson

Pros:

  • Works on all hostings
  • Free

Cons:

  • Very Time consuming
  • Many errors possible
  • Rollback? What is that…

Plugin WordPress Deploy

A bit more advanced, but still super time consuming. The good part here is that it takes a way a lot of the error source from the manual old school WordPress deployment method plus on every time you make the manual transfer, you can keep the downloaded package and keep it as backup. This was my preferred solution for a long time.

The plugin I have used many times is: BackupBuddy

There are a ton of plugins that do this, to find other plugins to deploy use any of these keywords: clone, transfer, deploy, backup, migrate

Pros:

  • Works on all hostings
  • Manual errors almost eliminated
  • Save copy as Backup

Cons:

  • Price
  • Time consuming

WordPress Manager Plugin Deploy

Another option to deploy your site is to use one of the many WordPress Managers out there like ManageWPMainWP or InifiniteWP. There are many more out there, all of which I have only started to test yet, for a better overview, check out:

this blog.

Ps, one I will investigate soon is WordShell. A bit geeky, but right down my ally.

=== Update 27 Dec 2014

I did buy and try WordShell. I did really like their patch feature, meaning if you change/hack a plugin (which you shouldn’t), it will try and add your changes into the next version.

I had quite a hard time to get it to run the first time. Rollback did not work for me and some sites I could not setup. This wouldn’t have been a problem except that support was not responding after answering twice.

Summary: Stay away from it.

===

Pros:

  • Fast
  • Offer backup
  • Visual

Cons:

  • Price
  • Extra worker plugins
  • Connect to localhost isn’t easy
  • Work with mouse from dashboard

Version Control Deploy

Now we start talking. I hope you are using some version control (if not, check out this video series: Git Introduction). This is really handy to keep your files in sync and also deploying your files. You are left alone though when it comes to your database. Your options for the database are

Another plus of this method could be that you are on a host that supports and welcomes version control deployment, like WPEngine or SiteGround the big downside though is that you must have SSH access which is not always the case. There seems to be one solution though to deploy with GIT via FTP:  GIT-FTP

Pros:

  • Fast for files, slow for db
  • Free

Cons:

  • SSH access
  • DB needs special treatment
  • Learning curve

Deployment Frameworks and Scripts

We got there. All of these frameworks and scripts are not specifially tailored to WordPress. They all share one common thing, the ability to execute commands on a remote server. For this you need SSH and the ability to connect to your remote host via SSH. There are solutions with less flexibility like:

or you can tackle full blown deployment frameworks like

Pros:

  • Very fast
  • Easy to use (once setup)
  • backup
  • rollbacks (not for Grunt using WordPress Deploy)

Cons:

  • Learning curve to setup

WordPress Deployment without SSH

I want to touch on the options you have if you dont have SSH. If you need to deploy to a host without SSH, you can use any of the following methods

  • Old School Deployment (No risk no fun…)
  • WordPress Plugin Deployment
  • Deployment app like FTPloy
  • Command line GIT-FTP or Wordmove (or possibly WordShell)
  • ???? (what do you use that isn’t listed?)

What I currently use

Right now I am currently using Grunt and WordPress Deploy for all my deploying. The main disadvantage is that I dont have a rollback option. The good news is that on every deploy I get a backup of my db and of course I am using GIT to version control my code. For any hosting without SSH I still use good old BackupBuddy.

In the future I plan to checkout WordShell and want to invest some of my time into Fabric since I really like Python. Far down the road it would be really cool to have a solution that would do incremental db deployments. I feel like this should be possible seeing solutions from: http://blogvault.net/incremental-backups/https://vaultpress.com and https://wpstagecoach.com.

You made it until the end, you must be more geek than I am 🙂 Do you have a good method for deploying WordPress? If you have a good solution, pls share it in the comments.

Are you interested in WordPress Front End Development, check out this overview of WordPress Front End Developer Tools you could potential be using.

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How To – Listen to Podcast at 2x speed – Android

Podcasts are an outstanding source for finding new interesting technologies and ideas for work and life. What I love most about them though is that you can do it in moments where you literally have no other option, say in the car or metro or by walking your dogs.

Has it ever happened to you that you are listening to a podcast and you get bored or it just isn’t fast enough. I sure know this feeling. Podcasts very often have a fairly high signal to noise ratio and very often only a small part is interesting. Skipping parts is very tedious and somewhat negates the advantages of this hands free activity. Another favorite productivity hack of mine is how to speed up YouTube videos.

Listen to a podcast at 2x speed to the rescue

Enough intro, let me show you my setup to listen to Podcasts at 2x speed on Android. Here is what you will need:

DoggCatcher (Free/Premium/~ 3 USD)

Presto Sound Library Open Beta (~ 6 USD)

It isn’t quite straight forward what you have to do so setup your Podcast for 2x speed listening, so I will walk you through it.

Setup Listening to a Podcast at 2x speed

  1. Install DoggCatcher via Google Play Store
  2. Install Presto Sound Library Open Beta via Google Play Store
  3. On your Android device: Setup Custom variable audio speed in DoggCatcher
    Go to: DoggCatcher -> Settings -> Audio Player -> Variable Speed enabled and tick the box
  4. Setup your custom speed in  DoggCatcher -> Settings -> Audio Player ->Custom variable speed to 2.0
  5. Set your player to 2x speed

Setup Listening to a Podcast at 2x speed visual setup

  1. Install DoggCatcher via Google Play Store
  2. Install Presto Sound Library Open Beta via Google Play Store

Tips

  • If the variable play speed doesn’t show up, you may need to restart your phone
  • I personally prefer 1.8 speed. At 2.0 some guests on podcasts are a bit too fast for me while driving

Bonus Tip – Watch Videos at 2x speed

Here is a cool tool to watch Videos at 2x speed: http://www.enounce.com/ via @Koprowski

Edit: I have since written a separate tutorial on how to speed up YouTube videos.

This is it. Do you know of a better way to listen to a Podcast at 2x speed? Please share it in the comments. If you run into problems or this isn’t clear, feedback is welcome in the comments.

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WordPress Front End Developer Tools – WP Theme Tools

In this 3 part series I talk about WordPress Front End Developer tools. In particular some Front End Developer tools like Theme Frameworks and CSS Frameworks along with some general programmer tools like version control and code editors. This presentation does not intend to teach you how to use a particular tool but rather gives you an overview of the problem it may solve and illustrate that there is an existing solution. The idea is to send you on a journey to explore tools you may not know about. This presentation is primarily targets at beginning WordPress Developer, but also serves medium WPDev’s.

As seen on: schurpf.com | Link to YouTube | Subscribe to my channel

As seen on: schurpf.com | Link to YouTube | Subscribe to my channel

As seen on: schurpf.com | Link to YouTube | Subscribe to my channel

Links to all resources mentioned:

TextEditors/IDE

http://www.sublimetext.com/
http://www.vim.org/
http://notepad-plus-plus.org/
http://www.jetbrains.com/phpstorm/
http://komodoide.com/
http://macromates.com/
https://panic.com/coda/

Localhost

http://www.mamp.info/
http://serverpress.com/products/desktopserver/
http://www.wampserver.com/en/
https://www.apachefriends.org/index.html

Version Control

http://git-scm.com/
http://subversion.apache.org/

Theme Framework

http://my.studiopress.com/themes/genesis/
http://underscores.me/
http://roots.io/
https://github.com/viewportindustries/starkers
http://themble.com/bones/

Addition Jul 1 2014 via @Pioneer_Skieshttps://github.com/welaika/wordless

CSS Framework

http://getbootstrap.com/
http://foundation.zurb.com/

CSS Preprocessor

http://sass-lang.com/
http://lesscss.org/

Task Automator

http://gruntjs.com/
http://jmperezperez.com/gulp-js/

You can find an introduction to Grunt over at http://schurpf.com/5-steps-running-first-grunt-task-beginner-grunt-tutorial/

WordPress Deploy

https://www.npmjs.org/package/grunt-wordpress-deploy
http://capistranorb.com/
https://github.com/welaika/wordmove
https://github.com/git-ftp/git-ftp
http://ithemes.com/purchase/backupbuddy/

A more detailed discussion of available tools on WordPress Deployment can be found at http://schurpf.com/wordpress-deploy/.

Do you use a tool I didn’t mention, or do you disagree with what I say? I would love for you to share in the comments below.

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