Why a Donation Button?

Eric wanted to share the following with you:

"One of our members contacted me today and asked if, rather than having a selection of price points for the different products, if I'd consider just putting up a donate button so loyal fans like YOU could donate to the collective projects operating under ericRHEA.com by clicking a single button.

I said, YES! If someone doesn't feel the pre-set prices adequately cover what they feel is a fair price for the value we're adding to their life, and they want to use the donate button instead, then I think that's a just request. I'll have it added to the site in the coming days and, well, we'll see what happens!"

So, we have a donate button now. Cool! :-)

100 Startup Tips for the Small Business Centurion

Having worked in a number of statups, Eric is keen to point out the relationship across business boundaries from ISVs to all sorts of other businesses. "It's important to explore the success drivers for another industry for one very simple reason: get prepared for when you need them."

The list below is cobbled fromhttp://blogs.jobdig.com/wwds/2009/07/04/happy-independence-day-to-all-independents-or-who-want-to-be/ . If you're self-employed (we note that a large number of you are:) ), then take this as a friendly reminder of all the things you have to keep on doing to remain competitive and on track.

If you're inclined to know how the items in the top100 list can spin out horribly wrong, then we suggest picking up a copy of Eric Rhea's Enterprise Gremlins as an important item in your must-read list. It is a fun filled book that spotlights real world trouble in the small business environment.

This selection from the top 100 list is the same that the ISV community also found interesting:

  • Speed reading

  • A must-read list

  • Get comfortable asking for advice and help

  • Present your startup idea to anyone who will listen

  • Get really, really good at concisely stating your business idea

  • Find a metaphor that works for your business idea

  • It is about leadership, not management

  • Love your prospects

  • Know what you are good at

  • Build your team

  • Storytellers needed

  • TIVO-Ability

  • To sell many, sell one

  • Your sales people don’t work for you

  • Be ready for luck

  • Never talk down,talk up

  • Communicate with your stakeholders often

  • Better to be OCD, than ADD

  • No one will like change, except you
  • These are ideas that don't just apply to a startup. Turn them inward and see what happens!

    What is Ankh Theory?

    You could look at Ankh Theory as a descriptive, logical system involving functions that Eric uses as a means to crib notes on complex system design. In his own words, "I came up with Ankh to help me model, and thereby understand, how more sophisticated systems might come together. I found it useful first in the business world, but then I realized that because the underlying notation were based on sound footing, that I could start drawing conclusions derived from use of the symbols themselves."

    "From there, it wasn't too long before I decided a book was in order to help me organize where the notation had started and how it had developed over time. Ankh is now one of my little research projects where I'm able to use pure Ankh script to come up with new ideas as a fun diversion in the wee hours of cold winter night."

    Hall pack

    Requirements: TGE 1.5.2
    Demo scene not included

    Original Sources Included: No

    One of the more common modeling tricks deals with how to recreate some of the fancier, big engine lighting in the small engine capabilities. While my approach here isn't elegant, it works. The windows are mesh entities whose textures you can swap out easily and can be used to replace your DTS structure windows with a little resizing. Carpets and other ornamental pieces are also missing in TGE, so I included a couple to get you going. Simply copy the shape to another directory and swap the texture out and you're off and rolling.


    Hanging Lamp Elements

    Shaded Light Strands

    Lighting friendly light strands

    Window Glass Object

    Broken Window


    Eric's Name Your Own Price scheme

    There are a number of companies experimenting with this concept of permitting their market to name their own price on their established, or fairly well known, product lines. In the spirit of the reason for the site, Eric has decided to enable a more flexible pricing strategy for the products that are available on the site. As part of the grand, global experiment: you name the price.

    The small catch is that the name your own pricing is valid for only a certain license type for the products. You can read the details of the catch here. The general deal is this. You can remix, share, and alter the work so long as attribution remains and you cannot use any of the products for outright commercial purposes.

    The reason for this is suppress troll sites that would seek to pirate the material and good nature of the site and use the brand for their own benefit, rather than benefiting the direct ER community. So commercial licenses are worked out on a per project basis and will require talking to Eric to ensure that a reasonable level of quality is attained for commercial marketing of brand materials.

    How it works

    You'll find that there are products listed on the main page of the site. Simply select from the drop down list of available prices what you're willing to pay for the item and click "Buy Now". It's that simple. If, for some reason, you're just not able to pay for the item (you're broke, unemployed, impoverished college student, an underfunded startup) then just click on the download link for the product you're interested in, which will be listed directly beneath the "Buy Now" button.

    Why you should pay something, if you can

    The money you pay goes into the general operating fund for the company, which then helps support a larger network of people. Money that flows into the site has always gone out to various contractors working on any number of projects that Eric is involved in. These are enriching opportunities for people across the globe and, in small steps, help make the world a slightly better place. So every transaction here blesses at least seven people, around the world. We're not a big outfit and we're pretty sure you can't get much smaller. Pay what you can, when you can. If you can't pay now, but can in a few weeks. Great! Just remember to come back and pay what you feel is just for the material, insight, and overall value that you received from our work.

    From there, we do more, and in the end, we all keep moving forward.

    Six general steps towards skill acquisition

    These are six general steps to acquire any particular skill. This is a snapshot of the core patterns I've found in books that deal in skill acquisition across a wide range of subject matter.

    1. Observe the skill to be learned as a whole
    2. Break the skill down into very small chunks and compress practices into a small amount of time
    3. Connect the bits together
    4. Get external feedback
    5. Revisit #2
    6. Take the incremental training and practice and combine into a whole

    Some further notes:

    Don't waste time doing aimless practice. You must be totally into the moment of learning the skill. The skill learning needs to be short, intense and repetitive in order to have your brain reinforce the correct pathways. You will lose the skill if you don't lose it--your brain will treat the skill as being less valued and reinforce those areas with something else.

    Seven more tips for blogging success

    In continuation of the eight tips for blogging success, here are a handful more in a handy list fashion.

    One core tip or thought:

    1. The success principles of a website apply to blogs.

    Six general tips:

    1. I've clearly articulated my blog's purpose.
    2. I've made a list of other bloggers and participate on their sites ("Join the crowd")
    3. I keep a list of what I do like about the other blogs
    4. I keep a list of what I don't like about the other blogs
    5. I read mainstream books on the subject of blogging and social media
    6. I don't overdo the social network connection ("Gluttony doesn't care for company")

    Eight general tips for blogging success

    1. Define what "success" means to you.

    These general tips are the seven patterns I've found in researching "generally successful" blogs. Note any of these can be short circuited by either changing the definition of success or by breaking a content article that the world cannot live without.

    Seven general tips:

    1. Identify the general theme that others can identify with
    2. Read other blogs regularly that deal with that theme
    3. Comment on those blogs, as well as your own.
    4. Network with other bloggers in this same domain (take conversations beyond the blog)
    5. Recruit ghost writers to help advance your cause
    6. Avoid obvious attempts at marketing, salesmanship, or poor promotion.
    7. Write frequently and often. Remember: The web rewards the novel, prolific and interesting, while the market rewards problem solvers.

    New to the site?

    Welcome to ericRHEA.com!

    Regardless of how you found the site, this Starting Guide will get you started to the many little things Eric likes to work on to keep busy. Now, it is quite likely that you rank yourself one of those folks who wonder why the internet needs another self-serving webpage dripping with personal bombast of just how awesome the author is. Well, it's the next logical step.

    It probably would be best to take you back to the origin of this particular site. In short, a few years ago Eric thought it would be a handy idea for his consultancy to have a website to help organize all the happenings that were going on. It started as a very small branch of the studio he was operating at the time and the general thought was, "it's where everything else goes that I can't figure out what to do with".

    Over time, as business came and went, and the consultancy began to grow, Eric realized that he needed a bit more muscle behind the domain. So, he revamped the design and tossed up all the technologies that he himself was familiar with, plus the ever expanding roster of projects that he and his staff worked on. One of the observations that Eric will be writing on in the future ties into this idea that companies, and this is notoriously true in certain media enterprises, are attempts by people to rebrand and distance themselves from their true past. Eric realized that if you have a legitimate, positive reputation, past, and present, then distancing seems kind of silly, doesn't it?

    As winter sapped away all the day light, Eric scaled back a bit on his worldly adventures to put more time into his website. This place. He realized, after many long thoughts, that he was going to have to evolve from a self-focused wares-hawking, consultancy growing capitalist to someone that found a way to help others have an improvement in their own lives.

    In his own words, "You know, it took me about two weeks of thinking about it to realize that self promotion that was and still is pretty hip on the net with LIONS/ONS and other SNSs were inherently evil, the kind of small business networking evil that crops up here and there. What benefit was there in these little cliques? None, frankly. Just a waste of time while everyone has a pissing contest over this that or the other. Instead, I realized that I could plead for cash to fund my projects while at the same time helping people out. That way I could move my projects forward, my staff would get paid and have more hours available for work, and most importantly, I'm helping to make the world a little bit better of a place."

    So, Eric began constructing a new website. One that would not only organize his interests, show the projects he and his staff were working on, but also provide resources to what he calls his "future friends". "I have no doubt", Eric tells me, "that in some point in the future I'll be running across some people whose lives will be impacted by the site. With a good deal of luck, it'll be for the better. So you can bet that I'll be putting a ton of safeguards in place to CMA. But really, it should be a great deal of fun. If at the end of the day just one person has a better day from something they found on the site and, in return, they find some way to barter, donate, give, or actually buy something we've worked on, then that'll be the realization of the ultimate golden rule: that there's no shame in making money, but you should improve the life of someone other than yourself in some small way."

    From here, we'll continue to post additional guides to the site as the full site comes online. The goal is to, over the natural course of time, post guides to the site that are of some relevance. Eric has mentioned his belief in "posts that matter" over and beyond posts that are frequent in nature. "Sure you can game the SEO system and go for the gold on your page display index. Why bother though? I've got more important things to work on right now. If we're putting up content that matters, then everything will work out just fine. And if we're not, then I'm on the wrong path with the whole concept. Something tells me I'm not."

    We couldn't agree more.