Get an online personal assistant, it will make your life easier

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The shorter version:
Checkout Online Personal Assistant. I recommend it, it’s saved me time and made my life easier. Best part is you can use it from wherever…
Try it, tell Ed you got there from here, and he’ll treat you nice ;-)

The longer version:
OK, so I’m the first to admit that I often find myself with too many balls to juggle. I find that having more to do actually makes me more productive and when I get in the zone, things happen and it feels good.

However, when you’re starting a business, or working on something important to you, and you decide that it is the highest priority in your life, then other things slip down the priority order, and they simply don’t get done.

Cases in point:

  1. I’ve needed to get a UK drivers license for at least 3 years now
  2. I’ve needed to renew my South African passport for over a year now
  3. I’ve been serious about taking up Kendo, or a Japanese Sword Art, for at least 18 months
  4. I’ve needed to sort out health insurance for a long long long time
  5. I wanted to organise a birthday bash for myself this year, for precisely the reason why it didn’t happen last year

I think you get the picture…. Basically you keep your life together somehow until something threatens to break, then you mend it so it doesn’t break in the short term, then you go back to being focussed. I know not everyone is like that, but I am, hence this post! ;-)

Anyways, I’m not really into recommending or plugging services that I don’t have a lot of exposure to, mainly ‘cos I get too many emails so it’s hard to decide whom to spend an hour for getting to know a service, and also ‘cos people don’t really read my blog for that reason ;-) I’m not Scoble or Arrington or Kirkpatrick, and neither do I want to be.

Back to the point – a while ago my friend Ed setup a service called Online Personal Assistant, and after a bit of nudging I decided to give it a try. My @Inbox was overflowing, and I really just needed to clear some stuff that was important, but not that important it could go above Kindo.

So I sent a list of stuff to my personal assistant Kevin:

  1. Book Geek BBQ venue for summer in London
  2. Book karting venue for my birthday delebration
  3. Book bowling venue for my birthday celebration
  4. Find me health insurance
  5. Find me Tai Chi schools close to where I live
  6. Find me Kendo schools close to where I live

As you can see, they’re all time intensive tasks that would mean me spending a few hours online for each one, at some point, getting to a place where I can make a decision and then do some actions… Getting my passport and drivers license require me to be somewhere in person, so I needed to do that.

Where we are now is that Ed’s team (thanks Kevin!) has spent about 9 hours doing all that stuff for me, for which I’ll pay an hourly rate. Everything is documented and tracked in an online workspace (not Basecamp), and I’m happy with the results. I have a few things to tie down now, but basically all the research is done, and all it requires is another booking, or an action on my part.

Bottom line – I’ve saved 9 hours of my time (which I value more than what I’ll pay for it), thereby enabling me to focus on things more important to me now, so as far as I’m concerned I’m a happy biologist.

I happily recommend the service, and am going to continue to use it.

Intruders.tv interview on Kindo (about scale/product/marketing/revenue)

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Was at Open Coffee last week (looking for developers), and did this interview with Vincent and Eugene from Intruders.tv on Kindo. Talked about how we’ve tackled some of the usual web app issues like scaling our userbase, internationalisation, product dev, marketing tricks, revenue generation….
_ Intruders.tv interview on Kindo.com

Kindo.com is a “new take on the traditional family tree”. In this interview, we sit down with Gareth Knight to talk about Kindo and their user acquisition strategy. Gareth shares with us his experience of attracting users to the site and the effectiveness of strategies such as blogging, Google AdWords and PR.

If you’re building a webapp, could be useful ;-)

Ariadne Capital : Entrepreneur Manifesto

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Found this reading the London paper City A.M:
Ariadne Capital : Entrepreneur Manifesto.

… That Leaders are those people who create trust in society and their businesses, and that trust is efficient. Success is forged through competition and human greatness is possible precisely because people are not the same and they have the option to choose whether they want to lead or follow….

Pretty interesting reading if you’re an entrepreneur – any thoughts? ;-)

Test your Web design in different browsers with Browsershots

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Pretty cool utility ;-)
_ Test your Web design in different browsers – Browsershots

Browsershots makes screenshots of your Web design in different browsers. It is a free open-source online service created by Johann C. Rocholl. When you submit your Web address, it will be added to the job queue. A number of distributed computers will open your Web site in their browser. Then they will make screenshots and upload them to the central server here.

Hat tip to Steve, who finally has a blog, dammit!

Lions at the gate: Microsoft vs Yahoo

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If you’re interested in the inner workings of internet capitalism, then this should give you some good insight into how the system works…

_ Microsoft-Yahoo, Version 2.0

Every day it looks more likely that Yahoo! (YHOO) co-founders Jerry Yang and David Filo will lose control of the company they built into the Net’s first iconic brand. Days after they appeared to have dodged an unsolicited $47.5 billion acquisition bid from Microsoft, raider Carl Icahn began buying millions of Yahoo shares, building up a 4.3% stake.

On May 15 he announced plans to replace Yahoo’s board in hopes of getting the company back to the negotiating table with Microsoft. Apparently with some success: On May 18, Microsoft signaled renewed interest in Yahoo by jumping back in with a fresh proposal that involves, as one option, taking over Yahoo’s search-advertising business

My take, it’s gonna happen – there’s too much to be gained from it, for it not to happen. Guess the question is in what form and when.

Welcome to the Kindo Family, Denmark!

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Kindo is now in 15 languages… ;-)
_ Gratis stamtræ på Kindo – Welcome to the Family, Denmark!

Kindo just launched in Danish! Our last name research pages for Denmark have been live for quite some time now, and finally we have launched Kindo in Danish! It should soon be available via http://kindo.dk as well.

Danish home pageThe new language was made possible by Aske and Brian who have translated the whole website voluntarily. Thanks a lot for your help guys! Especially Aske has worked incredibly hard on this; and amazingly fast as well.

The new Danish version takes our language toll to 15! The Kindo family is spreading the globe ;-)