Tag Archives: rebelmouse

Startups: The High of Creation, the Wizard of Oz

(Note: this is a rare guest post, the third in the right-year history of this blog. It was originally published in Medium as Why We Startup: the High of Creation and the Wonderful Wizard of Oz, written by Megan Berry, head of product @RebelMouse, my daughter. I’m reposting because it captures the thrill, and the work, of developing software.) 

Startup Magic

I first did magic when I was eleven. I made a lemon dance across a screen. It looked effortless but it took me countless hours. I debated the lemon’s smile; I finagled the dancing animation; I almost quit, but I did it. I put it on my site and watched it dance.

The (not currently) dancing lemon
The (not currently) dancing lemon

Just like the Wizard of Oz I had discovered the truth: magic requires a lot of hard work and a curtain. And there is no high like successfully pulling off magic.
So why do we throw our lives into startups, working long hours, fighting through daily failures and (mostly) not being paid enough? I don’t think it’s for some future payoff. Instead, we’re addicts seeking that next high.

You might think this high comes from having an idea. Certainly, there is joy in an idea. It can energize, inspire and push you to do great things. But it is fragile and could fall apart with one wrong word or bad day. The true startup addict knows that ideas are too fleeting for the high you’re really chasing.
The high comes from creating something out of nothing. Because, after all, what is more magic than that?

Magic in Programming

So, together, we work hard behind our curtain. We nurture our ideas into a plan. We start building, brick by brick. We change our plan. We build more. Halfway through we look at what we’re building and are sure everything is going wrong. We panic and then push harder. The last 10% seems to take as long as the previous 90%. Finally, we release. Our idea is live. It is all worth it.

All too soon the high is gone and we must start again. Looking for our next tweak, our next idea. Searching for our next creation high. Won’t you join us? We might even let you look behind the curtain.



No Let’s Not Have Meetings; Let’s Effing Do It

I love this quote:

“I remember a great quote from Paul Berry, former CTO of the Huffington Post, which went something like ‘Lets have an idea on Monday. Instead of having lots of meetings about that idea, lets just effing do that idea. By Wednesday we’ll have realised the flaw and iterated … and by Friday it’s either executed or almost done.’”

That’s from a post called Titanic vs speedboat: four tips for publishers in the digital age by @JamesHaycock in Brand Republic News. TheMouse

Paul is my son and now founder of Rebelmouse. And that quote is a perfect description of my take on entrepreneurship. Don’t spend too much time talking about it. Instead, do it, quickly, and then watch results and change it quickly too if it didn’t work. That’s good for most startups.

A related quote:

“Perfect is the enemy of Done.”

That one get’s attributed to multiple authors, going back to as far as Voltaire, also Jim Collins, and others. It’s one of my favorite quotes. And it means: “No, let’s not have a lot of meetings. Let’s just do it.” 

(Image: that’s the Rebelmouse logo)

How To Consolidate All Your Blog Posts From Different Sites to One Site

Problem: how do I consolidate my blogging into a single site? I post here on my main blog, but also on Up and Running, smbplans, gust.com, Huffington Post, Entrepreneur.com, SBA.gov, and elsewhere. For a while we had an employee building a database of links. 

Tim Berry blog post site

Solution: Take a look at blog.timberry.com. That site consolidates all my posts, pretty much in the order they come. And it happens automatically. I have the RSS feeds programmed into the site so that when a new blog post is published on any of them, it automatically shows up on my consolidated blog site (that’s shown in the illustration below).

That’s done with a new Rebelmouse feature that lets me take my rebelmouse site from www.rebelmouse.com/timsblogging/ and set that to be blog.timberry.com instead. Rebelmouse calls that powered sites, and here is the Mashable post yesterday that describes it. I can also set the page not to display the Rebelmouse-specific branding that I don’t want. For that I pay Rebelmouse $9.95 per month. (And please note the disclosure on my sidebar.)

Although Rebelmouse does a lot of different automatic feeds, like the classic Twitter and Facebook steams, in this case it’s just RSS, as shown below. What I love about this is how my new posts show up automatically. I just do the blogging and the site refreshes itself. 

Rebelmouse Setting RSS Feeds

7 Reasons I’m Loving Rebelmouse

I’m loving Rebelmouse* and if you’re running a business, and acknowledging the importance of social media, you will too. Its main benefit is pulling all of your favorite content into one simple and automatically updated, always, page. Your favorite content might be your favorite  or most relevant business content, for example, or simply your own.

But the best way to explain is with examples, so here are some real examples. These are not necessarily the best examples. They are just the ones I’ve done myself, for me or companies I work with, and integrated into my own online presence or those of these other companies.

  1. Sharing collected and curated content . Take a look at www.rebelmouse.com/tim/. That’s me there. It’s what I like, what I highlight, an automatic collection that updates every time I tweet, post to Facebook, or LinkedIn10 reasons you need Rebelmouse, or Google+, or post on one of the blogs I write for (including this one).Let me emphasize: it’s automatic. It’s collecting what I collect. For some more examples of the same thing, I collect the online presence of Eugene Social at www.rebelmouse.com/eugenesocial/; and for social media business plans at www.rebelmouse.com/smbplans/. For all of these various business pages, the content comes automatically. I set them up once, set them to record streams from the various social media platforms, and they are always up to date. So the ease of use is sensational.
  2. Rebelmouse embedded in WordPress siteCurated and collected items for the home page of a business site. It’s an automatic, always-updated home page. Using one of my businesses as an example again, take a look at the front page of my social media business plan site at smbplans.com. It looks almost like the pure rebelmouse version above, but with an important difference: it’s the front page of a complete website, with a main menu navigation to my pages on speaking, consulting, and so on.What this means in simple business terms is: easy, automatic, and always updating. When we tweet, our page updates. When we post, our page updates. I’m also doing this on my main personal site at TimBerry.com.

    I’m using a Rebelmouse WordPress plugin to do my sites. There are other options available, including embed code.

  3. Rebelmouse setting RSS feedsCollecting all my blog posts on multiple blogs. I blog in about half a dozen places, usually 5-10 posts per week, more than 3,000 since I started in 2007. You can see where on the sidebar on this blog. But more to the point, I have an automatic collection of all my blog posts, from eight different me-specific RSS feeds, at www.rebelmouse.com/timsblogging/. To put this in perspective, from 2008 to 2010 we had somebody at Palo Alto Software doing data entry into a database to keep track of my posts, for business reasons. Now we’ve got the RSS feeds set into the Rebelmouse page … the illustration here shows you a condensed (which explains tear marks) view of my settings for that page, which include RSS feeds to catch just my posts on the various major blogs. (And yes, you can’t read the details there, but I hope you get the idea).
  4. A customized front page for a blog. For our social media business plans site, smbplans.com, the front page of out blog is a Rebelmouse page, embedded in WordPress, set to display all of our recent blog posts at once, each as a tile … a lot like the illustration for point 2 above, except in that case, our user clicked the “blog” link and the tiles showing are exclusively our blog posts.
  5. A collected group affinity social media site. I have a Rebelmouse page set to collect my personal social media along with the streams of each of our five grown-up children. For those of you who follow those things, we have a Klout score or 306 between six people. Our family site is mostly Twitter now. We might add Facebook later. It’s much more for us than for public consumption, but in case you’re curious, that is at www.rebelmouse.com/berrys/
  6. Collecting related items for business planning. I’m working with friends on several new business plans. We set up a Rebelmouse page, shared it between ourselves, and from then on as we browse the web we have an easy instant click to put a new web page into our collection. We use it for background, competition, ideas, etc. I won’t she examples because these are for business plans: not strictly confidential, but hidden like needles in haystacks. And I want to leave them that way.
  7. Collecting ideas for future blog posts. If you’re curious, you could go to www.rebelmouse.com/timberry/ to see what I’m thinking of writing about in the near future. It’s not too different from my main public page, and it is public, but it’s focused on what I want to write.

And this was before an interesting new Rebelmouse navigation, announced today, to incorporate a new navigation menu into a Rebelmouse page. I posted about that on my smbplans.com blog.

*Disclosure: Bias. I’m involved with Rebelmouse. Google either Paul Berry or Megan Berry and you’ll see why. 

Rebelmouse: New Social Media Curation Site

Please join me in congratulating Paul Berry (@teamreboot on Twitter) on today’s launch of RebelMouse. Jay Yarow just called it “a combination of the biggest social publishing platforms on the web” in his post about it on Business Insider this morning, and I guess that’s a pretty good description. A picture is even better, so here’s the front page of my Rebelmouse site as it appears this morning:

The idea is that Rebelmouse is my curated content, meaning links, tweets, and updates I’ve made or liked or retweeted, so it’s automatically my site that reflects who I am in social media and what I like. I love it. 

Disclosure: Paul Berry is my son.