EllisLab, Your Brand & Your Business

by Jonathan Longnecker in Business, ExpressionEngine, Personal

For those of you in the ExpressionEngine universe there was a lot of “hot drama” the beginning of this week. Brand new websites, sweeping licensing and support policy changes, taking down the whole Pro Network without any prior notice. I'm not going to try to analyze anything that EllisLab is doing because quite frankly their business is their business (see what I did there - you know you giggled).

However, I do think that this whole situation sheds light on the importance of building your own brand and not basing your business entirely on top of someone else's.

Your Brand

We've worked hard at FortySeven Media to create a brand that stands on it's own regardless of the CMS we use. We write on this blog, go to conferences, do silly web video shows, and all kinds of other projects that don't make money, but help build our brand. We also do great work for our clients and they spread the word.

And while we love ExpressionEngine, we don't just do EE development - we bring branding, design, marketing and consulting to the table as well. The technology is just a means to the end of an amazing final product for our customers. It's tempting to piggy back off of something like EE's success and build your business solely around it, but you have no control if they make drastic changes.

If the news this week is pulling the legs out from under you, maybe it's time to step back and focus more on your brand and how you're different from all those other EE shops.

But that's not the whole story. Because while our brand doesn't live or die by ExpressionEngine and web design work, a good chunk of our income does.

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You can build a business or you can build a prison.

by Nate Croft in Business

Many of you that are reading this blog own your own companies, or are working for yourself in some form or fashion. Most likely we share a common dream, the freedom of working for ourselves! We serve no master, take no orders, and wear no pants! Ok, maybe we wear pants. Maybe. We started out on this journey full of ambition and with the highest of hopes. We, my friends, are free to shape our own destiny.

What do we do with all this freedom? Well, most of us make shackles.

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Requiring an On-Site Kick Off Meeting for New Clients

by Jonathan Longnecker in Business

Recently we’ve been pondering a new requirement for large web jobs with FortySeven Media: face to face time.

I know, we keep talking about how the internet has made the world flat and we can work with anyone from anywhere and that’s very true. But lately we’ve been wondering if it’s such a good thing to cut ourselves off so cleanly from human interaction.

They’ll get to understand you, what you believe in, your humor and all sorts of other subtleties that don’t come across in an email.

We see a couple of benefits to working on-site with a new client for a day or so when kicking off the project:

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Institute a Company Day!

by Jonathan Longnecker in Business

Let’s face it - between client work, social media, email and the zillion other things we need to do it’s easy to get stuck in a grind. Nate and I noticed a couple of years ago that we were so busy with everything else that we were neglecting our business.

Right, that makes sense. You're spending too much time working, but you're neglecting your business?

No, see what I mean is that we weren’t taking the time to plan, grow and market the way that we should. If all you do is the work that comes in your door you don’t get a lot of say in where you’re going. In fact, you’re probably just stuck in the house.

So we instituted FortySeven Media Mondays! Once a week Nate and I get together, plot and plan and take a look at the big picture of our company and where we want to go.

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Live Kick Awesome Show at Converge Florida this October

by Jonathan Longnecker in Business, Kick Awesome Show

Converge FL
R2D2 Loves You

It's no secret we love the Converge conferences. And wouldn't you know it, there's another one coming to Florida in just a few months! We had the honor of doing a live Kick Awesome Show at the last Converge conference and we've been invited back along with live tapings of Bizcraft and the Non-Breaking Space Show.

So! If you want to attend one of the best web conferences around and see some awesome live shows go and get registered for Converge Florida October 4th -5th 2012. Tickets go on sale August 1st for $200. We'll see you there.

Register for Converge Florida

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How We Built a Recurring Billing Video Training Site with ExpressionEngine, Membrr, Vimeo & Stripe

by Jonathan Longnecker in Design, Business, ExpressionEngine

We’ve had a few people ask us how in the world we built Kicktastic, our video business training project, so we thought we’d tell you.

Real quick - what is Kicktastic?

Kicktastic is unconventional video training for gutsy businesses. Every month you'll get fresh content in the form of a main topic video, transcript and resources, and related video tips. We'll be interviewing the smartest minds in the business and refining it down into info packed, entertaining videos that don't waste your time. Plus, each video has its own discussion thread below so members can ask questions, share their stories and help each other out.

Pretty straightforward, right? Well, not so much. If you’ve ever tried to build a video training platform that takes recurring payments, and do this for under $1,000 in expenses (minus the time to build/design of course) things get a little nutty. Let’s look at each piece.

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An Obstacle Illusion

by Nate Croft in Design

Frustration is part of many of our lives. We can't get what we want, or get it when we want it. We blame anything and everything but it remains. There's something else at work.

It seems that there's always something between me and a goal I've set. The road to my goal is often laid out as a one laned road and inevitably, some large and slow moving thing gets in my way. I fuss and fume and make a stink but nothing changes. That gigantic thing ahead of me just keeps chugging along at 1 mile per hour.

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Kicktastic - Unconventional Video Training for Gutsy Businesses

by Jonathan Longnecker in Business

We're so excited to announce the official launch of Kicktastic!.

Why did we make it?

  1. Running a business is really hard. There's no way you and I can know everything there is to know about it in and of ourselves.
  2. Most business training is long, boring and one sided. We wanted to change that.
  3. You need to make more money.

What is Kicktastic?

Kicktastic is unconventional video training for gutsy businesses. Every month you'll get fresh content in the form of a main topic video, transcript and resources, and related video tips. We'll be interviewing the smartest minds in the business and refining it down into info packed, entertaining videos that don't waste your time. Plus, each video has its own discussion thread below so members can ask questions, share their stories and help each other out.

The first video series is by us, and it's called Branding, Attention & the Power of Video. You'll see how we've branded, marketed and used video to increase our profit over 50%!

This is obviously a lot of work, so it won't be free, but you'll have access to all the videos, books, transcripts and everything else we create for you as long as you're a member. The entrie site is responsive as well, so you can train on the go!

Interested? It's time to level up your business powers. Let's do this!

Learn More About Kicktastic

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Don’t Be Scared, Change Things Up

by Jonathan Longnecker in Business, Personal

Jon Yelling
Vanquish the foe of fear. WIth your kids's super hero mask.

We’re currently doing some “interior” work on FortySeven Media - changing very fundamental things about how we work, collaborate and make money. We’ve basically done the same thing for quite a few years. Everything’s going ok. Why upend everything?

Because things were feeling too safe. We weren’t challenging ourselves nearly as much as we used to. And while incremental updates to processes and tools and contracts are fine, we got to a point where it was time to start fresh.

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Adam Savage: Why We Make

by Jonathan Longnecker in Design, Business, Personal

Inpiring talk by Adam Savage's talk at Maker Faire Bay Area 2012. He tells a great story about his Indiana Jones hat, how he got started building his obsessions, and why makers should embrace the things that they have no choice but to make.

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Banana Pianos, Play Doh Controllers & Fun: MaKey MaKey

by Jonathan Longnecker in Design, Personal

Have you ever wanted to turn Play Doh into an old school NES controller? Or use your stairs as a piano? MaKey MaKey is for you. It's a simple circut board that plugs into your Computer via USB and uses alligator clips to pass the signal to your keyboard keys. Not only do I want one, but I think it opens up a world of possiblities for my kids to learn, make and create.

Currently MaKey MaKey is on Kickstarter and has blown way past their initial pledge goal so if you want one of these I'd suggest you do it fast before they have to cut it off. But seriously - banana piano!!

Back it on Kickstarter

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Why We Loved ConvergeSE 2012

by Jonathan Longnecker in Design, Business, Personal

Converge SE 2012
Hello awesome robotic dinosaur of destruction!

Nate and I had the pleasure of attending (and speaking) at ConvergeSE a few weeks ago, and while it's a little late for one of those “I take meticulous notes from every speaker and put them in one massive blog post” deals, I had to let everyone know what a great time we had.

Let's get this out of the way: ConvergeSE was by far the best conference we've been to. The talks were great, the workshops covered all sorts of interesting topics, but that paled in comparison to the people we met and the conversations that were had throughout the conference.

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Handy Shortcut - Email A Link With A Key Command

by Nate Croft in Tutorials

When you find a cool site and want to send it to someone, here is a handy key command to know:


This will open mail and put the title of the Page as the subject and the URL in the body of the message. It is very convenient.

You can also set it up to use Gmail or other mail service by setting it as your default account inside Mail.

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Join us for a Live Kick Awesome Show before ConvergeSE

by Jonathan Longnecker in Kick Awesome Show

Converge SE 2012
Hello awesome robotic dinosaur of destruction!

You read that one right. Nate and I are bringing the Kick Awesome Show live to the ConvergeSE folks. If you're in town early (Thursday the 26th) and want to come hang out, watch us be goofy on stage, interview some of the speakers, eat some food, drink some drink, – you know – have some fun – come to the IT-oLogy center at 6:00pm.

More Details

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Paper for iPad

by Jonathan Longnecker in Design, Sketches, Personal

If you're tired of going all analog on your Moleskine notebook and want to embrace the new hotness, check out Paper for iPad. It's a free app with several brush types availble for in-app purchase, and it looks like it's a ton of fun to use. I have a lowly iPad 1, but if you managed to snag an iPad 3 with the massively hi-res display Paper will be sure to please. Oh, you might want to pick up a stylus, too.

Paper is free on the App Store.

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