Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Facebook/YouTube: An Employer's Candygram of Data for the Digital World

First:
Now that I'm floating randomly in webspace having posted all the different subjects I initially wished to cover, I figured for the first post I'd post a discussion. This topic applies to most college students and all employees in general as more of the already established workforce begins to join services like facebook and myspace as they are being offered more freely.

Facebook/YouTube: An Employer's Candygram of Data for the Digital World
One of the few things that sickens me about the current trend of research into employees is how personal the employers feel they need to go these days into understanding who their employees are on and off the job.

First, let me say, yes, I believe some of this information can be helpful into determining the character of the employee but, really, if the employee isn't working at the time of the action and is not breaking any laws should employers be able to use it against the employee in terms of job selection or retainment?

As a college student, and son of an overprotective mother, I have heard scores of stories about college students losing their opportunities at fortune 100 companies simply by posting a shot of them performing some odd activity on facebook or because a video was posted of them doing something against the "character" of the organization.

How does the kegstand an excessive partier did on his 21st birthday or the seductive clothing a girl wore to a local club affect their job performance in any way?

As the limits of our current technology are constantly being pushed against and new advancements in technology shift that very limit where are we to draw the line?

Please, I'm curious to your opinions in the matter.

Letting the World Know

This last step is for after the programming and testing has been completed.

At this point the site has been launched and you're sitting in front of your computer drooling over every hit your site gets more anxious than you've ever been before.

Sit back, stop acting like a fool, and let's get to work.

Search Engine Submission
Google Adsense
Link Exchanges? (Bah)
Newspaper Advertising



Search Engine Submission
Well, before your site can be placed in a search engine it will have to be indexed by a "Spider." What a spider does is that it jumps from page to page grabbing all the links and adding those pages to its index while also checking them for links. It is assumed that most of the pages on the web are linked by at least one other page in that sense.

However, in the event you have a new site it may be awhile before your link is posted anywhere, and while "spiders" are notorious for finding websites you may want to just list the page yourself. There are several tools out there to do just that and, while I could go find them for you, I'll be a tech-elitist and tell you to just go google "search engine submission."

Alternatively, you can visit the search engines yourself and do each by hand but this can be a bit troublesome because it takes quite awhile.

*You may want to ask your html designer or programmer (if they are the same person) if they were sure to include "Metatags" in the HTML. These "Metatags" are used to help the search engine list your page because they include a description of your site, keywords, and the proper site title.*


Google Adsense
The gist of this service is that Google takes your money and throws your site on a similar website to your own which people may click or not. Rinse and repeat.

The biggest problem with this sort of service is that many of the people clicking may not end up buying your product so each visit is costing you money. It's really up to you if you want to use this service or not but be prepared to fork out some cash.

https://www.google.com/adsense/


Link Exchanges? (Bah)
I'm not going to say much about link exchanges because I believe them to be tacky and make your site look less professional but they do serve some purpose.

The way google generally ranks your site is by how many other sites are linked to it (its e-popularity) among other things.

By people linking to your site it makes your site look like there is a lot of e-buzz related to it.

Use at your own caution and try to make sure your exchanges are relevant to your content and not a competitor's site.


Newspaper Advertising
One last way I'll discuss, although there are many other options out there, is the use of newspaper advertising.

With this method you can let others know about your site at a small cost (depending upon the newspaper).

For example, if you had a site for college students it wouldn't be a bad idea to send in your site information and an advertisement to local school papers to get the students' attention.

I personally think that for an online site this doesn't work as well as the internet methods of advertising simply because you force the user to type in the website address himself but it does show a level of professionalism and if your ad is good enough I don't see any reason why it wouldn't work.



Generally, at this point you have to find new creative ways to let users know about your site without compromising your professionalism. There are tons of ways to do this and I suggest you put a marketing major (and perhaps an information design and corporate communications major) on a short leash for a little while as soon as you're done developing and let them go to town on it.

Well, I hope I've been semi-helpful to the lot of y'all and if you have any questions feel free to post. (I'll try to get back to you but I don't have any time to work on website ideas if that's what your comment is about because I'm too busy trying to find work for after I graduate)

Thanks!

-Tim

Breaking the Site

Alright, so now you're probably wondering what I mean by "Breaking the Site..."

It's simple! You need to make sure your site's functionality works 99% or so (I threw that out randomly so don't take it to heart too much) of the time.

Why?
Well, your site's functionality shows how much effort you took toward creating a professional site and any broken pieces will hurt your reputation among your visitors one way or another.

I mean, honestly, would you trust your credit card information to a site that constantly had errors with its code? I sure as heck wouldn't.

So how do you "break the site"
There are several methods of breaking the site... Two of the biggest are functional and performance testing.

Functional Testing
Functional testing is a process where you go through all the functions and make sure they all work well. This can be troublesomely long if the site is huge but still is fairly important if you want to make sure your site is well developed. In the event there is a problem you send the programmer what you did up to that point and the actual error returned.

Performance Testing
This is a bit more fun to do but, unless you work for a large company, you will probably never have a chance to access the tools ($$$$$) required to do some of this work. Looking at your logs, however, I guess, can show you some performance information like the number of users on your site and then you can compare that to error log.

What performance testing is, however, is scripting the functionality of well known processes (like logging in) and then, after you parameterize your variables, hitting the site with a predetermined amount of users over an extended period of time.

This can show you problems with the memory, system usage, and so on.

Again, you probably don't need to know any of this for your e-business but it's good to know what types of well known and performed testing are out there.


So break it and then fix it.

-Tim

Building Website Anticipation

Building Website Anticipation:

Alright, so you are waiting on your lazy programmer (I'm a programmer so I can say stuff like that) and you want to begin the process of getting anticipation among your target audience.

First, what is the right time to begin this process?
There really is never a right time per se but you can generally get a good idea of when by determining how long it would take for people to properly get excited about your product (is it brand new and hard to grasp?) and how along is your programmer toward creating the site.

If your programmer is just starting his work on the website, I'd wait a bit before you let this information out to the general public. The last thing you need is to open with competitors already in the market (although I'd hope you'd have such a great site it wouldn't be a problem but who knows).

Second, what are some ways of letting people know?
Word of mouth, at least according to my marketing research from my biggest business class at Bentley, is the best way to let others know about your site. People trust people more than they do adverts and big signs (if you can buy one of those planes with the tailing message though they are pretty cool none the less).

Other ways include forums on the internet, social networking sites, and a plethora of other options.

Example: Let's say I wanted to create a site aimed at college students... I'd post flyers on facebook.com, visit college student web forums, and encourage my friends to tell their friends about the upcoming site. By the time I launched there would already be some brand recollection so the likelihood they'd at least try the site increases by a pretty good amount.


-Tim

Connecting the Dots

Now that you've assembled your team and you've built the user interface (and I'm sure the programmer is working on the code to manage the data) you'll need to bring the lot of your work together.

At this point in the process there isn't really much you, as the creator of the site, can do besides wait for the site to reach completion.

You can prepare yourself for several things to come, however:

These things will be discussed in the next three entries...
After this, I won't really have much to write about in terms of e-business creation so I'll randomly post about technology afterwards (which can be fun too albeit not as fun as web design!)

Building Website Anticipation
Breaking the Site
Letting the World Know

Building Website Anticipation

Alright, so you want to build anticipation?
You need to slowly let out the word on your website to get others excited.
But when is the right time to do this?
Stay tuned.


Breaking the Site

One of the biggest problems to customer retention on a website is the professionalism of the website. Every time the user encounters an error, whether a missing page or a bad query response, they will take it against your professionalism and their trust with you.


Letting the World Know

If you build it, they won't know about it and won't come.
If you yell around about it... they'll probably stick their heads around eventually.


So here come the posts... One after another... machine gun blogging style.

-Tim

Sunday, November 26, 2006

Lots of Posts on the Way

(Error with the picture so removed)

Howdy y'all,
I haven't been posting at all recently because I was spending Thanksgiving with some friends in Canada so I didn't have access to technology.

To make up for it, I plan on posting an insane amount of blog posts to make it look like I've been hard at work recently.

Here is a picture of the lot of us at banquet for my fraternity a week ago yesterday minus one roommate. I'd post a picture of us at Niagra but my camera took a turn for the worst midway through the trip.

Enjoy them, they'll be up by tomorrow.

-Tim

Friday, November 17, 2006

User Interface, Keyword: User

Alright, so you've assembled your team and feel ready for creating your website.

What's next?

Well you need to design some form of user interface. You'll need to design this to be geared toward the user him/herself so you should probably get some opinions from friends of yours without stake in the project about what would make their experience better.

You'll also need to know what items of your website you'd like to include to make your website work. This is why determining the revenue generation method generally comes before designing; you need to know what items you'll have on your page before you make it look and work well.

This step occurs even before programming because the programming behind the website will be used for several different actions that are performed via the user interface. It's important that the programmer explain the different types of items he'll need but mostly the user interface is just the eye level look for the website.

The next few posts will be about actions that all occur generally at the same time because while hiring a website designer with usability knowledge may help enhance your website it's a judgment call you have to make. Generally, most website programmer have at least a decent amount of experience in regards to website design. They may lack the usability aspect of it, however, so you may want to get a better understanding of their skillset before you determine if you'd like to use them or not.

What did I skip?
I skipped the idea that a website must be mapped out and the different functions of the website must be determined. I assumed that before you even began writing code or considering the idea of the user interface you would figure you'd need this already and do it yourself.

You see, the programmer will determine how he will make the functions work, it's your job to determine which functions are needed.

Don't worry too much about the coding, that's what code monkeys like me are there for.

-Tim

Sunday, November 12, 2006

Bunny Supports?


Well, it seems an online celebrity has decided to support my cause.

Thanks for the picture Bunny.

Bunny: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ivjuh27OUSA

-Tim

Thursday, November 09, 2006

Making Money at Other People's Expense


So now it's time to get to the aspect of e-commerce that most people, including myself, find to be the most interesting of subjects... Money!

(Original photo found on the stock.xchng website and is royalty free *very useful site for web designers*)

Alright, so you have your team assembled and are almost ready to begin the actually design and coding of the website when suddenly you realize you forgot something... What's the point of creating an e-commerce website if the only movement of money is away from your bank account and not into it.

Now there are several ways to make money on the web (and probably more than this list here I just have no knowledge of them, feel free to comment them in):

These include:
  • Partnerships
  • Targeted Ad Based Revenue
  • Misc Ad Based Revenue
  • Selling of User Information
  • Selling a Product
  • Getting Commission for a Product
Each has positive and negative impacts on your user's experience... sometimes, actually, helping some users' experiences while, other times, hurting it.

I'm going to step through each one at this point:

Partnerships:
This is probably one of the best methods of revenue generation.
You have to make sure the partnerships benefit the user in some way (or at least don't interfere with their experience) but if you are able to accomplish that it's an easy stream of revenue.

What exactly is a partnership?

A partnership is where two companies come together for some form of mutual benefit. Such as if a recruiting site partnered with a resume building one to enhance the user's experience. Now not all partnerships generate revenue, in fact, many are based solely on the idea that they will send more visitors to both websites or at least give the user's a form of content they normally would have to look elsewhere increasing retention rates.

How Can you Make Money with Partnerships?
I would say the easiest way to make money with partnerships is by getting a partner who is less well known than yourself and offering them the ability to offer their services at a fee to you. They, assuming the use of their services will generate them revenue, may decide that they end up making a higher end profit by increasing their visits even at the expense of a nominal fee.

What's Wrong with Partnerships?
Well, partnerships usually offer some form of service to the users that you normally don't provide. This is fine when it comes to offering a resume building utility to a website but if the partnership has to do with some form of tangible item the user may believe your bias toward your partner affects your ability to show a fair view on the quality of the good. Not all users are like this, however, but the problem still exists out there.

Targeted Ad Based Revenue:
The whole idea behind targeted ad based revenue is that the user sees the ad but the ad is designed to benefit the user because it is targeted toward his/her needs. An example of this would be the use of google's adsense program.

I'm not going to get too long winded about how this program works other than it requires users to click the ad to generate revenue.

Ads, no matter if they are targeted to users or not, can be fairly annoying and make a website look less professional.

The real risk here is that you turn away a lot of users simply because they believe the site looks tacky while putting all your hope in some ad that may not even return a cent to you.

(Not to mention sometimes your competitors appear right in the ad space!)

Misc Ad Based Revenue:
This is the worst kind of ad revenue available, in my opinion.

What is it? Well, misc ad based revenue includes ads which have no connection to your content at all.

Why is it bad? Well, the users to the site, for one, aren't going to click on some random flashing ad for something they don't even need. Besides that, the ads often look tacky and take away from the professional look of the website.

Other forms of misc ad based revenue: Advertising cookies, popups, and other annoying devices.

Screw yourself over, use these ads.

Selling of User Information:
Well, this can either become an ethical concern or not. Basically, you'll need a privacy policy stating which information is sold. These are generally generic but if you want your lawyer to write it up for official concerns, go for it, it's your money not mine.

Next, you won't want to sell any user information that generally is confidential... People dislike finding out their address is now available to spam bots all over the web, or so I've heard.

When is it alright to do this? Let's say you have statistics a school could find useful about users who create resumes on your site. Perhaps the career center of that school may be willing to purchase this for a nominal fee.

Just be careful, when it comes to ethics, you need your users to believe you are at least decently ethical if you want to succeed. Otherwise they won't trust you and your retention rate will drop dramatically.

Selling a Product:
If you have something to sell, go for it.

If that's one of your biggest revenue returning items, you better market your site well and make sure the user's understand your product pretty well, as well.

There is no point on wasting bandwidth on users who have no intention of buying your product or are tricked into coming to your site.

Be wary, however, users generally will understand you have a bias toward your product and may not trust you up front. The more professional you look and whatever verifications you can make toward your legitimacy the more productive this method of selling will be.

Getting Commission for a Product:
Alright, this is almost exactly the same as selling your own product, however, in this case users, most of the time if they understand what is going on, will understand you have a bias to make sales at their expense.

Unlike selling your own product, however, the users may be more likely to trust whatever site you are partnered with to sell items (like Amazon.com partnerships) and may be more likely to purchase the item.

These tend to be more supplementary and less likely to be the main draw of a website because the users know where to get the items most of the time without your help.

Revenue
Generally, make sure you have some form of revenue generation in the works before you create the site. Also plan with the user in mind and understand how s/he may react to this form of revenue generation.

The best web developers know that the user's experience on your site is probably the most important aspect of developing and maintaining a strong website. If the users leave after one visit, there is no loyalty to your site.


-Tim

Picking a Programmer

So you have a great idea, rallied the troops, and are almost ready to consider developing the site.

Before you even begin that step you'll probably want to have a programmer there to understand exactly what you're planning on building. I believe that in the software development life cycle programmers should be, along with anyone you plan on testing the site with, an integral part of the development team. By giving the programmer an understanding of the processes you plan on implementing he can ask questions and help to develop the website to best fit your needs.

Now there are several ways you can recruit a programmer. They probably all are pretty bad but since you know nothing about programming (or you'd be doing it yourself) you have to at least give them a chance. That's not to say all of the candidates you'd find to fill the programming job will lack the experience to develop a well built database management system (which you'll want for an e-commerce site) but that they haven't experienced most of the pitfalls which come through trial and error via years of work experience in the corporate world.

Alright, anyhow, so here are the few ways I thought of to recruit a programmer:

1. Make Friends

Being a programmer myself, which is well known to many of my close friends, I've been asked scores of times about whether I will develop some website for them for the fee of splitting the future revenue (this is where shoving gold down throats is necessary, coding a good database management system takes time and a rather large amount of effort). Most of the time I've just explained why I don't think the idea would work, they ignore my complaints, and continue to bug me for a couple weeks until they realize I have no intention of changing my mind.

However, if a good idea came along or if they explained how they planned on generating their revenue and increasing customer retention perhaps I would join them on their e-commerce crusade.

2. Hire a Programmer
There are plenty of ways to hire a programmer these days, whether through classifieds (like craigslist) or by just asking around on the internet on a programming forum.

Without getting into their skill level, you put an awful lot of trust into someone you'll probably never meet in person so be cautious with how you plan on paying them. I suggest perhaps using a third party service to hold onto the money until both sides agree the job was done. I mean, can you really trust anyone on the internet?

And besides that, I've heard horror stories of inflated prices, long delays on programming, and negotiation tactics like nibbling and escalating demands from almost every friend of mine who has hired an outside programmer. If people don't have any interest in your future services or business be wary of how they'll treat you.

Skill, it matters:
The real issue you, as the e-commerce website brainchild, should care about shouldn't be solely on the idea of money (although it should matter to a degree). The real issue that should be at hand should be whether the programmer has the skill to develop the website in such a way that the code is easily readable, secure, without waste, and functional.

Easily Read:
If you look at every successful website on the internet you'll see that they changed the code behind their systems hundreds of times. The importance that the code is easily readable is that future programmers will have to look through the code to determine what is going on and you don't want them to have to waste time rewriting code. I won't go into too much detail in this area, I understand as a non-programmer it's hard to tell if the code is readable or not, but you should look out for a few things:
  • Whether or not the programmer labels his/her variables in a descriptive manner (variables hold data... ex: $phpVariableName = 2;)
  • Whether s/he uses comments in his/her code (Words that describe what's going on)
  • How messy things look in the code (the code of the best programmers I've met can, mostly, unless they are forced to write dirty code for a lack of alternatives, be read off as if it were in English it's so well written)
Secure:
Worst case scenario: you develop a great website for users to sign up, login, put some of their personal information into, and work around with whatever content you offer... suddenly, h4x0r King Rufio decides that he plans on stealing all of their personal data for his devious uses. In a matter of minutes your database is broken into, the information (including passwords which are hopefully hashed) are in his hands, and you have a negative publicity bomb on your hands that, if you're ethical, will go off within the next few business days.

How do you avoid it? You really can't, you have to trust that the developer knows how to build secure code. That means checking any input that goes against the database for SQL injections, encrypting your passwords, and just generally understanding every type of attack they can throw at you. Without advocating hacking, I believe that every good programmer should understand the different types of attacks in order to better protect himself from them. This material is widely available on the web and is only a search away. Know the enemy to know how to defeat him.

Without Waste:
If you do manage to create a monster of a site that is visited often, you better hope this programmer decided to minimize his/her calls to the database, worked to develop concise code which doesn't strain the server, and just generally understands how calls to the server and the client work enough to avoid future problems in this regards.

This reminds me of a college dating site put up on the web by some Bentley students back in the day. I was curious about it, being that they emailed me 100 times because I was on some mailing list of a club they belonged to, so I took a gander at it. Every picture of the students posted was, not only oddly resized to fit into the picture block, but was a 1 mb picture with only the width and the height attributes keeping it in the location. That means that every time someone loaded the page with, let's say, 20 people on it 20 mbs had to be downloaded by the end user. This, in turn, causes a huge strain on their bandwidth which probably was capped by the middle of the month (although it was never popular so I doubt they ever had a problem haha).

Functional:
Another big issue is the idea that the website is functional or not. I've probably already bored you with the last three items so I'll be as brief as I can with this one. If someone comes to your site, clicks a link, and they get an error message they generally will become annoyed and are less likely to come back to the site. Simple, eh?

Generally Speaking:
It's probably best to interview your programmer to see how well of a coder they have been in the past. Some sites, which I don't recall the addresses at this point in time, have programmers rated depending upon past jobs they've done. Perhaps that's one of the better ways to determine if the programmer is, indeed, a quality programmer or not. Personally, I think you should stick with your friends if at all possible. It's much easier to get them involved in the decision making process and keeps you from the headache of figuring out if this programmer is legit or just another guy trying to take as much money from you as he can by bogging you down with Geek-Speak.

Next, I'll go over something fairly more interesting... Revenue structure.
You won't survive long on the internet without one.

-Tim

Friday, November 03, 2006

Stuffing Gold Down People's Throats

Alright, so you have this great idea now and believe, instantly, that it's a goldmine. However, you probably aren't a jack-of-all-trades and will otherwise be unable to develop the website without a little help from others.

First, let me note that there are two points in an e-commerce website develop process that you really need to convince people to join your cause, in my opinion.
1. When you're starting it.
2. When you need to get the word out for people to join (an ongoing process).

Ok, so, again, you have your idea and go up to your friends to tell them about it and try and convince them to help you. Most of the time, they will tell you your idea is horrid, they believe in you, but they don't think anything will ever come of it.

Let me tell you about my freshman year. I spent a good while thinking about a way to build an e-commerce site, after having my initial site which worked well but ended up failing, and came up with the idea to create an online bookstore like site where users could trade their college books. I developed the website design and was almost ready to develop the code. It was at this point I made the biggest mistake of my freshman year (or at least the biggest I will admit here, I kid) which was that I began asking family and friends about it.

See, it wasn't bad that I was asking, per se, but I was unprepared for the resistance they put up. My own father, a grouch of a man at times but I love him dearly, was the first to tell me not to quit my day job or get any big ideas out of it (I reckon he also tells me I should shave my head whenever I go to get haircuts and I have a bumpy head so perhaps I should have used caution anyhow!). My friends were no different; they couldn't see any form of use out of the website so they also killed the idea. By the time I was ready to code it I was so sickened by the site, I too began thinking it was a bad idea.

At this point let me point out that a friend of a friend actually ended up creating the site (he never heard about my idea no worries) a couple years later and I felt like a complete fool. I reckon my design skills were not up to par at the time either so I'd have probably failed but I'd rather fail myself than not try at all. Anyhow, the site he created is called I Beat My Bookstore. Good luck with that Jack!

So again, you really have to get ready for a lot of criticism from friends unless your idea is so groundbreaking that they will accept it on the spot (which hardly happens).

A couple ways you can convince your idea to family and friends, in an effort to get them to invest or at least help out in some way, is to simply believe in what you're saying. If you're telling them that what they think is crap is really gold then get them to believe that it is, indeed, gold. I mean, if they are your friends, I reckon they'll at least meet up with you for a little while to discuss it.

You need people to develop a website once you have your idea. While I believe I could probably create a website alone, you also need people to support you and encourage you to develop it. It takes a lot of time and effort to make a good looking, well working website you'll need all the help you can get.

I know this post was more of a drowning out of why you should do something but, honestly, you'll thank me later if you take heart this advice to get others to help you from the get-go.

Next we'll be talking about how to pick the best web developer for your site. This is a problem because, generally, a lot of non-programmers can't tell the difference between a good programmer and a bad programmer. If you're dealing with user information or money you'll want a good programmer, it'll avoid a lot of problems in the future. If you're not, you'll still want a good programmer to avoid maintenance costs and bandwidth waste.

-Tim

Babysteps, Breaking the Ground

Howdy,

I reckon, the biggest problem a good e-commerce business creator has is first, in my experience, to find a good idea of what to create. Trust me, I've spent countless nights tugging on my hair thinking of ideas and have finally come to the realization that the easiest way to discover a good idea is to first discover a bad process. I mean you can develop something groundbreaking, like the invention of blogging, but we all can't be millionares off the bat!

What's a bad process?
I'd say it's something that you realize could be improved upon. Most people see bad processes every day but don't give them a second thought. Let's say you were sitting in front of the fridge and thought to yourself, "golly, I reckon, it'd be much easier to get ice in my cup if I didn't have to do all the work myself with an ice tray," and viola! You invent a ice machine door thing-a-ma-bob (it probably has a very fancy name but I have no idea nor do I care enough to search for what it is).

It's the same with the internet, let's say you need something but can't find it anywhere. Well, instead of moaning about it to your friends and family, why not create a system that helps other users do the same thing? From there, it's all about developing your user interface, developing the code behind the site, and then marketing it well. Yeah, there are also other areas of interest, accounting and the likes but let the accounting majors (your friends perhaps?) worry about that stuff, we're talking about the fun stuff here (mind you, I'm a CIS major so I have a biased view on what is fun).

After you come up with your idea I suppose you could patent it. However, it takes quite a bit of time before your patent will be awarded and, by that time, people will probably have copied you and I doubt it would hold up well in court.

I'd say just be the first out there delivering this and do it best.

One quick thing to note is you probably will fail a lot of the time. People are fickle and most of the time they need to be slowly made to understand why they actually need your website. Look at what happened with Facebook, by the time it reached even Bentley it was so well known and so many people were already waiting patiently to join that the first day hundreds signed up and more slowly continued to do so.

Had Facebook just opened up to the public right away, I'm sure many people would have joined, but for a social site that depends on college students, especially those in your own school, to provide content the buzz would never have become as large as it did, in my opinion.

That's all I have to say about generating an idea next you have to force it down people's throats! (Which a lot less fun than I just made it sound.)

-Tim

Timothy Charles Lovett, An Introduction



I bet you're wondering several things right yet. Namely, who is this charming individual who is about to bring you through a blogging adventure of sorts. Well, I suppose it's my job to lay down exactly that.

To put it simply the name is Tim Lovett, but, I reckon, if you comment you can call me whatever you want (preferably be nice). I'm from Longmeadow, MA which is part of "Western MA." It's the birthplace of Staind, that new host from TRL, and Bridget Moynahan (my babysitter at one point)... and, of course, Tim Lovett.

I currently attend Bentley College and will be graduating in the Spring of next year (2007). Bentley is a great school with many opportunities in the business world (/end plug). I'm a Computer Information Systems (CIS) major myself. It's an awesome major because it gives you an understanding of the different technological aspects you may encounter in the corporate world.

I guess I became a CIS major simply because I'm addicted to computers. I mean if you look back on it all I guess you can blame the AOL Pay-Per-Hour days from back yonder. Let's just say I was "a/s/l"ing and meeting online friends quite a bit as a kid. It became a problem when my mother came into my room, opened my drawer with my life savings at the time ($200), and quickly removed it all explaining to me that the bill for that month was somewhere above $200 and that I would be on computer probation for awhile. I reckon, I cried for a little bit when that happened because I had every intention of buying a night vision monoscope with that money when I had $300 (no worries, I eventually bought it).

Ever since then I've been happily addicted to the internet. Although I don't do it all the time, mind you, I'd go insane. I like playing bocce in the rain, going out in Boston, hiking, whitewater rafting, snowboarding, and any other non-stereotypical CIS major activities (come on you CIS majors know what I mean, a good portion of people seem to think we live on the internet).

I guess this gets me to why I applied for this position. The reason why I applied is that I really want to build my own user-content driven website and, I reckon, by meeting the lot of them over at Digg.com and getting a chance to understand how their business functions from an internal point of view and what drove them into doing this sort of work I can better my own abilities. Oh, and my website, when I get around to launching it, will be groundbreaking!

I mean, let me be honest, I only have this year left until I enter the corporate world and I'd like an opportunity to get something on the side going before then. I have every intention of working at a company as soon as I graduate, I just want something to keep me busy when I'm off of work and get me excited about on a daily basis.

As for this blog though, I have some great ideas of how I will rope you in. Namely, I'll be talking about the different steps towards developing an e-commerce website and the different aspects that must be put into consideration before you release the site to the web. I've started an online company before (which failed miserably haha) so I have a generally good idea about how to do such (it was my idea not inabilities or so I say). I'm also a relatively good programmer in regards to developing database management systems (DBMS) and in regards to developing secure code so it should be fun.

Don't worry I won't bore the lot of y'all down with code talk. The blog will be more from a business aspect of it all rather than a technological one.

Anyhow, that's the gist of who I am and what I'm here to say.

If you want any more information, I'll gladly provide it, just leave a comment.

-Tim