The E-Myth Contractor – Book Review

Like the E-myth revisited from Michael Gerber this book is a must read for anyone running their own business. The big advantage of this book over the E-myth revisited is that it is more concise.
This books takes the best bits from the E-myth revisited and condenses them into an easy to read, thought provoking way of looking at a business. In essence, most people in small business spend all their time doing the work, rather than building systems that allow other people to do the work for them. As a result they struggle to achieve the success and happiness that they desire.

If you want a quick introduction to the methodology that is the E-myth then this is a great start. It will start you thinking about working on your business rather than in it.


Who the hell designed this?

I’ve ranted here before about stupid e-commerce systems that were designed by people who have NOT IDEA how real people actually buy stuff. Guess what? I’ve found yet another example.

 

So, I order something recently and everything appears to go swimmingly. I get an email saying that everything’s in progress and my order should take about 10 days. Yesterday I think – “Hey, where’s that widget I ordered? It’s been longer than 10 days”. So I return to the web site and check the status of my order and here’s what it says:

 

Order Status
Order Status Description

ORDER
Your Order has been entered and will be processed overnight.

ISSUE
Your Order has been processed and fulfillment is in progress.

REDEEMED
Your Order has been confirmed as fulfilled and will be delivered within 10 working days of the Order date.

REJECT
Your Order has been rejected due to insufficient details provided at the time of Order. Please submit your order again. You have been recredited for this Order.

RETURN
Your Order has been returned. You have been recredited for this Order.

RECREDIT
You have been recredited due to a cancelled Order.

 

Now reading this I’m sure most people would assume that I’ve made a mistake during ordering and thus the order has been rejected. Ok, so I go back and re-enter the order for the same item. Everything looks good, no errors. I receive an email confirming that I’ll receive my purchase in 10 days BUT this time I check the order status and guess what? My order has once again been rejected with the exactly the same text as you see above.

 

So I now place a call to the business to find out what the hell is going on. When I get through to the service representative I’m told that the text above actually means the order has been correctly processed. “Say what!” is my response. “Oh, we get a lot of complains about that message” say the service rep, “and we keep telling the IT people but they never do anything about it”. “So where the hell is what I’ve ordered if everything is as it is supposed to be?” I counter. “I’ll escalate the issue and hopefully……” replies the Service Rep.

 

I have no idea what I was told after because I switched off. Look, now call me an idiot (which I get a lot) but doesn’t this line:

 

Your Order has been rejected due to insufficient details provided at the time of Order. Please submit your order again.

 

Sorta suggest to you that there is problem with the order? Maybe the message is in Japanese rather than English and that’s why I don’t seem to be able to grasp it’s true meaning.

 

Who the hell designed this e-commerce system? Why am I told my order is rejected when it’s not? If lots of customers complain about something a smart business would probably change things so people wouldn’t complain. Don’t you think?

 

We need to start designing systems for the human being that actually use them. Gee whiz guys. What good is technology that doesn’t make things simpler and easier? I would think this is really simple stuff but clearly I’m in the minority because I see this sort of stupidity everywhere.

 

And, by the way, I’m still waiting for my order. Last time I order there.

Going to SMB Nation? Me too!

For many years I wanted to attend the SMBnation Conference presented by Harry Brelsford in Seattle. Why? Well, it appears to me to be the premier SBS/SMB event in the world and features an amazing collection of knowledgeable SBS’ers as well as many who are starting out in the business. With the upcoming release of SBS 2008 and EBS 2008 I reckon there is going to be plenty of great technical and business content.

 

As luck would have it, I’ve also been asked to do presentation on Sharepoint.  Here are the details:

 

GS1: Utilizing Sharepoint to improve your business
You can’t expect to sell Windows Sharepoint Services unless you are actually using it yourself. This presentation will take you through how an IT business like your can use Sharepoint inside your own business to improve productivity. The session will also look at how you can leverage your own internal Sharepoint experience and development to add value to existing customer relationships and attract new business.

This presentation will show you practical ways that you can start simply with Sharepoint and then grow your system to a CRM style solution for your business. You’ll receive practical tips on how to most effectively get your system up and running.

If you are planning on selling Sharepoint services then you must attend this session to discover what works and what doesn’t inside a business and how to leverage that knowledge to produce better business. (Monday 6th of October, 10.15-11.45am Bay Auditorium located on the third floor of the conference center)

 

So if you are coming along to SMBnation then come up and say “Hi” and let me know what you’re doing with Sharepoint inside your business and for your customers. If you get a chance to attend my session then I’d also really appreciate that and am pretty confident that you’ll get something out of it. Also, since I plan to be in Seattle from the 1st of October till the end of SMBnation, I’m more than happy to catch up outside SMBnation as well.

 

So if you’re planning to be in Seattle for SMBnation then I’d really love you to come along to my Sharepoint session. If you can’t and still want to catch up with me then just send me an email (director@ciaops.com) and I’ll make sure I arrange something.

Who needs an iPod?

Wow, I’ve just discovered a great way to listen to all your tunes using Windows Mesh. Simply use Mesh to sync a local folder with all your music to Mesh and then you can log into your account from any Internet browser and stream the audio directly over the net!

The above screen shot shows my Mesh desktop after I logged in using my browser. All I do to listen to my audio is simply select the Music folder, then change to media view and press play. Remember, all I need to listen to my music is a browser connected to the Internet.

You can currently store up to 5GB of data on Mesh and it can be any sort of data. It is interesting to consider that rather than simply being storage space Mesh actually has intelligence in determining what sort of data you have stored. How long will it be before you can preview your Word, Excel or even PDF document in Mesh? What other stuff could you do with data ‘intelligently’ in Mesh?

Just another benefit (and example of things to come) from ‘Cloud Computing’.

KB948109 SQL Server 2005 SP2 Security Upgrade Fails To Install

Man, being trying to install this on a server for while now and it keeps failing. The log reads:

 

SQL Server not responsive prior to running Repl post script procedure

 

So it turns out that if an SQL 2005 instance doesn’t use Windows Authentication for SQL login then the patch will fail to apply. How can you find out which instance is causing the problem? Use the management tools (or download the free Microsoft SQL Server Management Studio Express) and then try attaching to each instance individually using the Windows Authentication. Find one that doesn’t, then there’s your culprit.

Tech-ed SBS Preday Sydney

If you want to get up to speed with the latest SBS and EBS information from Microsoft and meet those actually using and testing the product then you really should be attending the SBS Pre-day at Teched Sydney.

 

Apart from that, for every attendee you also receive a FREE for sale copy of SBS 2008, which you can resell or use yourself. That is over $ 1,000 of value which is MORE than enough to cover the cost of entry into the SBS TechEd preday.

 

Aside from the free version of SBS 2008 and all the great information you’ll receive you’ll also get to network with the best and brightest SBS talent Australia has to offer. There’ll be MVP’s galore and a few other ‘celebrity’ SBS’ers.

 

I’ve already signed up, so if you are umming and ahhhing about attending then I can see no reason why you shouldn’t. To register go to:

 

http://www.microsoft.com.au/teched/pre_days.aspx

 

and join me in finding out what opportunities SBS 2008 and EBS 2008 will provide.

SharePoint database options for SBS 2008

So, you’re thinking that since you went out and purchased SBS 2008 Premium, which includes SQL Server 2008 on a second server, you’d like to use that to hold the content databases for Sharepoint v3. Remembering, this is all RC0,1 stuff, here’s my take.

 

After SBS 2008 is installed, SharePoint v3 will be configured to use SQL 2005 Embedded Edition on the first SBS 2008 server (no other option from what I see). Now, before you start adding data to SharePoint you can go into the SharePoint Central Administration and specify a new default database server. Next, you are going to have to migrate the existing Companyweb databases (from SQL 2005 Embedded) to the second server with SQL 2008. Alternatively, you are going to have to create new content databases for Companyweb. Why? I’ll assume you still want the SBS 2008 wizards to work and they work on http://companyweb. Thus, it is probably easier to simply shift or recreate the Companyweb databases than try and create a completely new application and make that Companyweb. Is only my guess.

 

But hang on, let’s have a think about this. You probably decided to go with SQL 2008 rather than SQL 2005 Embedded Edition for performance reasons but my guess is that any gains would be lost as you have to send and receive data between servers. Remember the Sharepoint Web site is on the first SBS 2008 box while the content database is on the second SBS 2008 box.

 

Ok, since Sharepoint is a free application you could install it on the second SBS 2008 (which has SQL 2008). That way you get the “performance” improvement of SQL 2008 and no loss of “performance” because of cross network traffic. Ah, yes but now Sharepoint won’t work with any of the inbuilt SBS 2008 wizards because it is a new instance. I’m sure you could rectify that but my guess it would be “unsupported”

 

So I question what “performance” improvement is expected from SQL 2008? I have not found anyone who can tell me whether SQL 2005 Standard is better than SQL 2005 Embedded or SQL 2008. Therefore, I’d say you are probably better staying with the standard Sharepoint v3 install on SBS 2008 using SQL 2005 Embedded Edition. So unless you are planning another use for SQL 2008 why do you need SBS 2008 Premium? There are legitimate reasons for SBS 2008 Premium but if you are just getting it for Sharepoint maybe there isn’t.