The Hot Iron

A journal on business, technology and occasional diversions by Mike Maddaloni

Friday, April 11, 2014

What I Learned This Week For April 11 2014

photo of jewelry store sign

With the warmer temperatures here in Chicago, I may have been distracted a bit, so I am not sure if I missed anything this week as I was trying to smell the few flowers that were out there. Still there was things I learned that were beneficial to me, and they may be the same for you too.

  • Just because it is your line of work or industry doesn’t mean you can spell it properly – see the photo above. Maybe that is why there are so many acronyms in technology?
  • If you require me to create a login and password in order to leave a comment on your blog, forget it. Most of the blogs I read are either small enough where they can moderate the few posts they receive or are large enough where they can have someone to manage comments. It’s too easy to throw up a login, and surely there will always be comment spam, but spammers can create a login too.
  • Politicians in Chicago are still moving forward with a plastic grocery bag ban as apparently they are the dominant content of litter throughout the city, and there’s also environmental concerns as these bags are made from petroleum. For myself, this will not be a good thing, as I use these bags as trash bags in the home and in the car. So once they are banned, I will then need to buy small plastic garbage bags.
  • While I was making the odiogo logo more prominent on The Hot Iron as I mentioned in my last post, I also did a little clean-up and made room to add a Crafted in Chicago button to the site. Created by one of the minds behind CentUp I thought I would show my solidarity to my community.
  • Continuing on the Chicago thread, I saw this site proposing a potential redesign of Chicago’s transit system. Where some routes make sense, with shifts in working from home more prevalent, it would be interesting to see if it makes more sense to “wire” the city with Internet access rather than transit routes.
  • My lovely wife went to Minneapolis over the weekend and all I could think of was the theme to the Mary Tyler Moore show as covered by Husker Du back in the 80’s. In the video embedded below, or linked to here on YouTube, the opening of it is the band crossing the street and the same spot where Mary throws her hat up in the air. Granted many of those reading this have no idea what I am talking about, but watch one episode of the show then this video and it will make complete sense.


This is from The Hot Iron, a journal on business and technology by Mike Maddaloni.


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Posted by Mike Maddaloni on 04/11/14 at 09:14 AM
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Tuesday, April 08, 2014

Odiogo Reads The Hot Iron To You

odiogo logoWhere most of you reading this post from The Hot Iron blog are looking at the text on various computing devices, and a few of you may be using screen reading software to convert the words on the screen to speech, did you know anyone reading could have this and every other post read to you?

For years, going back as far as the earliest posts, the ability to listen to my blog posts has existed, but for some reason I didn’t promote is much as I should have. As there’s no time like the present, allow me to introduce to you The Hot Iron read to you by odiogo.

Odiogo is a service that converts text to speech into an audio file and distributes the files in MP3 format. You can bookmark this page and listen to the audio for the last 10 posts. There is also an RSS feed which you can subscribe to in your favorite RSS feed reader and podcast player.

Odiogo started as a free service, changing to a paid service model last year with an exception to non-commericial blogs. As I have yet to be able to retire to the Cayman Islands from the money I (don’t) make here, I have been able to keep the transcription of these posts, as everything else here, free.

Odiogo uses a digital voice to read posts. One major reason why I added it was because it was able to convert “Maddaloni” very well! Typically an audio version of a podcast is available within an hour or so of when it was posted to the site.

Along with writing this post, I have made the link to the odiogo page much more prominent in the sidebar of the site. I also invite you to listen to one of the audio transcriptions and let me know what you think of it. Have you already added it to your podcast app? Will you never listen to it again? Feel free to share your opinion in the comments below.


This is from The Hot Iron, a journal on business and technology by Mike Maddaloni.


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Posted by Mike Maddaloni on 04/08/14 at 09:09 PM
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Friday, April 04, 2014

What I Learned This Week For April 4 2014

photo of Chicago’s Gold Coast

As I was compiling and typing up my new wisdom for the week, the picture above was the view in front of me.

  • When you learn something in the presence of someone else who asks if it will be in your next blog post, it may be a good idea to actually include it. So a carryover from last week was how much more I learned about the Chicago Pedway, a series of tunnels that connect buildings in the Loop, and ways of accessing them that aren’t all that clear.
  • After calculating what I thought was the percentage increase of traffic to a Web app, and getting a value that looked completely wrong, I learned the proper way to calculate percentage of increase.
  • A “regular” yoga class goes at a much faster pace than an introductory course. And I am happy with that.
  • Has the selfie jumped the shark? After it was uncovered that David “Big Papi” Ortiz of the World Champion Boston Red Sox is a paid social media ambassador for mobile behemoth Samsung, and they were accused of staging the selfie Ortiz took with President Obama at the White House earlier this week, I couldn’t help but laugh. Granted I am a huge fan of Papi and the Sox, and thought of the irony of when Obama took a selfie at Nelson Mandela’s memorial service. If you read the linked article here, it is from the Boston Globe, who is now owned by the majority owner of the Sox. Talk about a win-win situation.
  • I finally had a hamburger at Chicago’s Rockit Bar and Grill, who is famous for their burgers. I got the Locavore burger cooked medium rare, and it actually came medium rare. I usually get burgers medium rare as I like them medium and most places overcook them. Now that I have been to the summit, I now have to return.
  • I got an email from Apple about in-app purchases made by kids on iPhones and iPads without their parents’ knowledge, and it also mentioned parental controls available in the operating system iOS. For someone as technical as I am, and knowing many people who use and love the iPhone are not, these are not exactly intuitive. One thing missing is locking out the kids from use as exists with Windows for the Surface tablets.
  • I got a postcard from a local Chicago university conducting a study on kids and sleep, and it asked for kids to participate who did not sleep much or showed signs of “fatigue (feeling tired a lot).” I was surprised they needed to define what fatigue means, then again as they are researchers, I am sure it was included based on empirical experience.
  • The only video I saw this week that wasn’t work related was a sad story. It was a human interest news story of a Dad dying of cancer who walked his 11-year old daughter down the ‘aisle’ as most likely he wouldn’t live long enough to do it when she got married. The video is embedded below or you can watch it on the link above, and be forewarned, it will make you cry.


This is from The Hot Iron, a journal on business and technology by Mike Maddaloni.


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Posted by Mike Maddaloni on 04/04/14 at 09:41 PM
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Sunday, March 30, 2014

What I Learned This Week For March 28 2014

photo of art from India

This past week was the first time that I learned something new in the presence of someone and they asked me if it would make my next blog post of what I learned. Sometimes it’s nice when the real world collides with the virtual world.

  • A colleague from India gave me the box pictured above. It could be used as a pencil holder or a even a phone cradle, but I plan on putting nothing into it and admiring it for its own beauty. Thanks Sanam!
  • Earlier this week the conductor a Chicago Transit Authority Blue Line subway train fell asleep at the controls as it pulled into the O’Hare Airport stop and the train plowed past the end of the recessed track and went up the stairs of the station. Yet the media calls it a derailment. Watch the video of the accident in the link to the article, or view (and save!) the animated GIF of it and determine for yourself if it is merely a derailment.
  • After finally completing 4 consecutive weeks of Intro to Yoga classes at Tejas Yoga, I feel I have learned enough to take on the “foundation” level of yoga classes. Thanks to my instructor Zach for leading me on the start of my yoga journey. Namaste.
  • After less than a week owning the Frozen DVD, it has already been used as a disciplinary consequence for poor behavior exhibited by my little ones. The soundtrack to the movie was also bundled with this. Early indicators have shown it to be reasonably successful.
  • Tickets for Lollapalooza went on sale this week, but I decided to pass on it and am planning to attend Riot Fest instead.
  • A couple of weeks and a couple of updates later, the Starbucks mobile app is still offering what I consider an awkward user experience for its much-touted tipping feature. Rather than setting an automatic amount to tip after a purchase, or make it work much seamless, several seconds after you have your app scanned, you are prompted to add a tip to the purchase. This several seconds seems like an eternity and, as has happened with me a couple of times already, I have already put my phone away by that point and did not tip my barista. Plus the “shake to pay” feature doesn’t seem to bring up my barcode to scan every time. I hope these will be fixed soon.
  • I have been noodling on something I am calling “cultural experience,” or CX, when it comes to technology and not only the experience of using it, but how the use of it is influenced by the culture of the community and vice versa. Chances are I am not the only one thinking about this, and there may be others out there thinking and writing on it, and I need to start putting some of this down in Word and go somewhere with it.
  • My thougths go out to my fellow NFL AFC East brethren in western New York, as this has been a rough week for Buffalo Bills fans. First, original owner Ralph Wilson passed away. Wilson was adamant at keeping the team in the Buffalo area, and the team is contractually tied to its stadium, named after Wilson, for at least the next decade. It was also announced that former quarterback and NFL Hall of Famer Jim Kelly was supposed to undergo surgery for oral cancer, then it was decided to treat it rather than operate. Kelly was a phenominal athlete, and I have vivid memories of seeing him kick the Patriots’ butt up and down the field for years. In later years he was a businessman and philanthropist, and has achieved probably as much off the field as well.
  • I learned how to articulate the difference between writing and editing, as I taught it to my 5-year old as she has been working on writing her first book. In Kindergarten.
  • In the course of researching the service Visual.ly I was looking at examples of the creative videos and infographics they have produced and found this great video example of 29 Ways to Stay Creative. I have embedded the video below or you can follow the previous link to watch it in a browser. My favorite way is the very last one – it is worth the less than 2 minutes to watch this.


This is from The Hot Iron, a journal on business and technology by Mike Maddaloni.


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Posted by Mike Maddaloni on 03/30/14 at 11:58 AM
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Thursday, March 27, 2014

Why I Registered A .UNO Domain Name

photo of Pizzeria Uno signSo I got me a dotUNO domain name. And some of you, reading that sentence, are probably wondering what I am talking about. I mentioned in a previous post I was going to be writing about generic top-level domain names – and I will – but in the meantime I felt it more important to talk about this new addition to my digital identity.

The domain name is maddaloni.uno.

The .UNO domain name extension, commonly referred to as a generic top-level domain or gTLD, was just recently released as part of a mass expansion of extensions to join the likes of .COM, .N ET, .ORG and others. As the word “uno” means “one” in Spanish, Italian and other languages, it is targeted towards to businesses and entities – including individuals – to use for a unique domain name for their presence and branding on the Internet targeting those who speak those languages.

So why did I register maddaloni.uno? The reasons are many, and I’ll start with the base which are more qualifying for the gTLD.

  • I am a second-generation Italian-American and my ancestry is 100% Italian
  • My surname, Maddaloni, is Italian
  • I have had these qualities for all of my life, which has at least gone for 40 years.
  • My wife and children also have this same surname, carrying it along for another generation
  • I do know some Italian, and especially know when I am being insulted in Italian

Though I did not have to apply or provide these qualifications, I am proud to present them here. Where all of this is well and good, what am I going to do with the domain name you may ask? Where I am still developing the high-level and detailed personal branding plan, in general I will be using it for identifying me on the Web. As an interim step, I am pointing the domain name to this very blog.

Size Matters

There are many gTLDs on the marketplace today, and this list from Name.com shows many of the gTLDs. If you look at this list, you will see extensions of varying sizes. What I like about .UNO is that it is short – only 3 letters – and easy to spell. As .UNO will be competing primarily with the “Big 3” of .COM, .NET and .ORG primarily, it is unique enough and should not bring confusion like, for example, a .CO domain name (known as a country-code TLD or ccTLD as it is for Columbia) as many may add an “M” to a .CO.

This is not to say that nobody will register or use a longer domain name, but many have been out there for years, like .MUSEUM, .AERO and .JOBS. How many of these have you ever seen or typed? I have probably seen 3 or 4 uses of a .JOBS domain name – one that comes to mind is hyatt.jobs for the eponymous hotel chain. In general I am bearish on the widespread usage of some of the longer gTLDs, but only time will tell how successful they will be.

Congrats on the Launch of .UNO

With the launch of .UNO I am proud to say congratulations to Shaul Jolles, the CEO of Dot Latin, LLC, the company behind .UNO. He is also the co-founder and co-owner of OfficePort, the facility that I worked from for many years and continue to use as my workspace away from home. His hard work and leadership has paid off in his firm being awarded the opportunity to launch .UNO, and though I registered the domain name like everyone else, I am thrilled for his success. #FFL

Capise?

Does .UNO or what I talked about here make sense to you? Do you think maddaloni.uno will be unique and successful as part of my personal brand on the Internet? I welcome your thoughts and questions in the comments to this post.


This is from The Hot Iron, a journal on business and technology by Mike Maddaloni.


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Posted by Mike Maddaloni on 03/27/14 at 03:11 PM
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Tuesday, March 25, 2014

What I Learned This Week For March 21 2014

Last week was a productive and fact-finding week, and as transcribed from an index card of all things, here’s what I have added to my learned knowledge.

  • image of B2B Marketing Confessions Audible coverMy good friend and fellow former Boston Jaycees board member John J. Wall has released an audiobook version of his runaway best-selling marketing book, B2B Marketing Confessions, which you can get through Amazon, iTunes or Audible. John reads the book himself, and if you’re wondering what he sounds like you can hear him weekly on his marketing podcast, Marketing Over Coffee. Though I am long overdue on writing about this great book, it is a tactical trailbook for not only marketing but overall business.
  • Speaking of Amazon, they are raising the price for their Amazon Prime service, which includes everything from free 2-day shipping of most items to free movies on demand, from US$79 to US$99. Knowing that I have spent that much extra for some crappy drinks at crappy bars in Chicago over the years, it’s a no-brainer I am sticking with it.
  • I got together with an old friend and colleague whom I worked with early on in my career, for me it was 1 year after college and it was right after for her. In thinking back on catching up, sharing stories about consulting projects and the people we worked with, I realized how “foundational” that experience was for me, both in my growth as a professional and as a person. And to imagine it was a time before everyone had cellphones and email.
  • Needing to demo a mobile app to remote users, I learned from colleagues about Reflector, software you can run on a PC or Mac where you can “mirror” your iPhone on the computer using the built-in AirPlay service. Note I had to run this from home as I ran into issues with my work wireless network and n`ot being able to launch AirPlay, but otherwise it was a great way to get the iPhone on my PC screen, then use remote meeting software to present it.
  • It’s one thing to survey customers, it’s very much another to bring them into the same room with you and talk with them in person. I know I need to do much more of the latter.
  • As I was going through my storage unit, I realized I would rather have a picture of me with a famous person than to have their autograph.
  • I finally saw the movie Frozen when the DVD arrives at our home, much to the delight of my daughters. It is a nice story with some amazing animation, though I have to admit I am more of a Tangled fan.
  • A video on Chicago from the 1940’s surfaced at an estate sale in the city and the lucky buyer digitized it and uploaded it to his Vimeo account for all to watch and where you can see it if you can’t see the embedded video below.


This is from The Hot Iron, a journal on business and technology by Mike Maddaloni.


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Posted by Mike Maddaloni on 03/25/14 at 10:27 PM
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Monday, March 24, 2014

Results Of My February Blog Post Topic Exercise #28d28bt

photo of notes from 28 days 28 blog posts

Back in February I talked about an online course I was taking on “unprocrastination” and one of the exercises was to create a new habit and stick with it for a month. The habit I chose was to come up with a potential blog topic for The Hot Iron every day for the month. If I thought of more than one in a day, then I would log them as well, but as an extra, not for the next day.

Now that we are at the end of March, you may be able to guess how well the course was for me overall! But I did stick to the habit, and as shown in the accompanying photo, I did log the topics. I was tweeting them with the hashtag #28d28bt but I found I was not able to find them all when I did a search on the hashtag – not sure why, so I curtailed the tweeting after a few days.

A List Of Ideas

At the end of February I had a list of 35 potential blog topics, or ideas. And they are just that – ideas. It will not be until I write a topic around it that it becomes a tangible blog post.

This is why I have chosen to share them here. Even if someone else takes the idea, they wouldn’t write the same thing as me. And I have to be honest, not everything I have written about has been a purely unique idea, though they have expressed my point of view which is certainly unique.

Here’s the list by day, and concluded with 7 extra ones.

  1. What is a gTLD and Why Should You Care?
  2. GiveBackBox Makes Donating Excess Easy
  3. Fever is my #RSS Reader of Choice and Here’s Why
  4. Nothing is Forever
  5. CentUp Offers Unique Profit Model For Bloggers
  6. OwnCloud Gives You Control Of Your Data With Style
  7. Rivet News Radio Offers Local News By Mobile App
  8. Odiogo Still Reads The Hot Iron To You
  9. My File Backup Strategy
  10. The Project I Didn’t Politically Work On
  11. Being Removed From It All And Thrown Back In
  12. We Spend Most Of Our Time Around Our Work
  13. How The Web Once Gave Me An Attitude Adjustment At Atlanta Airport
  14. Few Apps Leverage Promotional Opportunity With App Store Update Description
  15. High Demand For Winter Indoor Kids Play In Chicago
  16. Phone.com Is My Home Phone Service And More
  17. Why Don’t You Carry Business Cards?
  18. Everything I Learned About Management and Leadership I Learned Working In College Radio
  19. Hailo Taxi App Gets Me Around With No Worries
  20. 2 Things To Consider Before You Start Blogging
  21. Do We Need Better Stock Photos Of People Or None At All?
  22. Discover Offers App-Based Card Freeze For Better Security
  23. My College Internship Experience And Why I Don’t Care I Didn’t Get Paid For It
  24. Results of 28 Days 28 Blog Posts #28d28bt
  25. When The App Doesn’t Do It All For Complete Customer Experience
  26. Don’t Get Used To A Desk
  27. Procrastination And The Course On It I Am Catching Up On
  28. Have You Googled Yourself Lately?

Over the course of the month, I came up with 7 additional ideas.

  1. Cardmunch App Working Again And I Am Cautious On Its Use
  2. Dryv Dry Cleaning And Laundry Delivery Service Is What I’ve Needed
  3. When Is The Last Time You Exported Your Connections From LinkedIn?
  4. 5 Blog Post Topics from 2007 That Still Matter Today
  5. 3 Things Microsoft’s New CEO Must Do To Win With Mobile
  6. My Next Daily Activity Of One Task A Day for March #31d31t
  7. Build Web Content Management Systems Since 1997

Off To The Races – Both Sprints and Marathons

Looking back at the list, I feel I have a good set of ideas to work from not only in the near term but over the course of the year. Some of the ideas I have already used, and regular readers of The Hot Iron may recognize them. This is not to say this is all I will write about, but if I am every short for inspiration or simply want to use something good I already thought of, I will refer to this blog post. I like it so much I may do it next February as well, but I don’t want to get ahead of myself.

I welcome not only your thoughts and comments on this endeavor, but on the ideas I came up with and if you are interested in me writing on something. Don’t be shy – really.


This is from The Hot Iron, a journal on business and technology by Mike Maddaloni.


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Posted by Mike Maddaloni on 03/24/14 at 09:57 PM
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Friday, March 21, 2014

What I Learned This Week For March 14 2014

screenshot of the CentUp newsletter

Though today is March 21, 2014, I am finally publishing what I learned for the previous week. Just as I was about to pass on the list from last week and focus on this week to be current, I get the latest newsletter from CentUp, which featured several items from the last few What I Learned posts! Needless to say this piqued my interest in finally typing up last week’s list. And the ego stroke wasn’t bad either.

  • The Pringles brand of potato “crisps” is now owned by cereal giant Kellogg’s and has been since 2012. Is it only a matter of time when the Pringles breakfast cereal comes out?
  • I pre-ordered a domain name with one of the new global top-level domain names (gTLD). I won’t say what it is as I don’t want to jinx it in case others registered it. But if I get it, it will be put to major use.
  • I don’t know who Victoria Carpenter is, but I have no idea why or how she is liking my Facebook status as being “so cute” over and over and over again, especially as I quit Facebook over a year ago. Yes, I realize it is spam, and it’s clearly not working.
  • A new app was announced to pay for parking meters in Chicago. Where it will offer the convenience of adding more time to your parking from the app remotely (aka not running back to the car), I can only imagine the problems that will come from this. Currently in Chicago you buy a paper receipt to put on your dashboard for your time to park. Even with this “foolproof” system, many parking tickets are issued to people who have paid for parking – I know some personally. The only way to fight it is to go to court. I have no idea what the app or software that the meter checkers will use, but I can only see more headaches for parkers.
  • Most people do not know how to take a screenshot or screen capture from an iPhone, let alone a PC or a Mac.
  • Despite what Dr. Seuss wrote in his first children’s book, “And to Think That I Saw It on Mulberry Street,” Bliss Street does not intersect with Mulberry. I know, as I used to live near THE Mulberry Street in Springfield, MA.
  • The domain name digital.com is up for auction. It’s last major use was as the primary domain name for Digital Electronics Corporation, or DEC for short, the former mini-computer and PC manufacturer based in Maynard, MA. As someone whose first mini-computer was a DEC PDP/11 and grew up knowing many people who worked for DEC, it is sad to see it for sale. At an opening bid of US$100,000 I am not sad enough to buy it myself.
  • I have been asked to be part of a career-mentoring group for a trade organization in Chicago. The group is one of several “pillars” the group is building to work with young people starting in their careers. I am excited to get started with it and will surely report more on it soon.
  • The week before I mentioned my good friend Andrew Cornelius who is a talented actor, comedian and improviser. He has created a new demo reel of his work, and present it for your viewing pleasure. I would have included it in the last installment, but it was trumped by the Name.com video featuring me. There’s that ego again.


This is from The Hot Iron, a journal on business and technology by Mike Maddaloni.


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Posted by Mike Maddaloni on 03/21/14 at 07:50 AM
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Friday, March 07, 2014

What I Learned This Week For March 7 2014

photo of Mardi Gras mask

Rather than showing a scribbled sticky note with my learned knowledge for the week, I decided to show my decoration for Mardi Gras.

  • A color photo of a new air filter for my car is not going to compel me any further to have it replaced when all I wanted today is an oil change.
  • Watching the Stadium Series game played at Chicago’s Soldier Field, the home of football’s Bears, between hockey’s Chicago Blackhawks and the Pittsburgh Penguins was a lot of fun, even as I was watching it on TV. With the snow falling, it gave me a déjà vu moment to a few years ago when Boston University played Boston College at Fenway Park a week after the pro-hockey game there. In this case, I was there in stands at Fenway for this amazing experience.
  • If you find yourself in New York City and need a good laugh, check out my friend Andrew Cornelius’ Web site to see when he is next performing.
  • In the process of troubleshooting a technical problem with my podcast app on my mobile device, I unsubscribed to all 6 of the podcasts I had in my queue. Rather than resubscribe at once, I decided to subscribe as I had time to listen to something new. First I subscribed to No Agenda and after several weeks I finally subscribed to another, The Voicemail. Not sure when I’ll get back to 6 or what my number will be.
  • I almost snorted my coffee out of my nose the other morning when reading my favorite Web comic, Questionable Content when Angus called out Faye for saying ‘wicked.’ The comic takes place in Northampton, MA, not far from where I grew up and a tell-tale sign of a “Masshole” is if they say wicked a lot.
  • Life won’t be the same in my house after the DVD for the movie Frozen comes out on March 18.
  • Not a meeting goes by where someone is saying they are looking at something from their ‘perspective’ or that of their team or function. But who is looking at the big picture?
  • Not a day goes by when I am not telling someone about the blog Leadership Freak by Dan Rockwell. Each day he posts extremely usable prose on leadership, all under 300 words. There’s no reason why you shouldn’t subscribe to it by email or RSS. Special thanks to Dr. Dietmar Schloesser for being the source of knowledge on this great blog.
  • Tickets are now for sale for the Spring Benefit for Chicago’s South Loop Elementary School on Friday, May 16 at 6pm at the Hyatt Chicago Magnificent Mile. This year marks the silver anniversary of the school, and the red carpet will be rolled out for all who wish to have a great time while supporting this great community school.
  • In preparation for their activities at the South by Southwest Interactive Conference in Austin, Texas which starts today, my friends a Name.com wanted to show how they will promote small businesses at the conference, so they used me as an example. Jared, their social media director, is an amazing actor and video producer as well as keenly in tune with the needs of their community and made this awesome video which is embedded below or you can watch on the Name.com channel on YouTube. And when I say friends, I mean it – it is because of a personal connection that I learned about Name.com over 6 years ago and their team applies the personal touch, plus strong business and technical acumen, to all they do. And I am not just saying this because Jared pronounced Maddaloni correctly.


This is from The Hot Iron, a journal on business and technology by Mike Maddaloni.


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Posted by Mike Maddaloni on 03/07/14 at 01:00 AM
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Wednesday, March 05, 2014

CentUp Offers A Unique Profit Model For Writers

How much would you pay to read this blog post?

CentUp logo

Ok, I hope you are still with me and not rolling on the floor in laughter. In all seriousness, I am asking the question – how much would you pay to read this blog post, or any blog post for that matter, here on The Hot Iron? No, I am not going to put up a paywall and start charging people to read here as I don’t believe in such a thing.

As it takes time to come up with ideas, write them, edit them, come up with some original visual to go with them and post them to the site, that time is some value to me. That being said, I do not do this for direct financial gain. Where I do enjoy doing so, getting a little something in return can’t hurt. And for good measure, how about help a charity in the process?

What I just described in the last few sentences is the idea behind CentUp, a service which has been around for almost a year, which provides a button – similar to a social sharing button – where you can contribute a few cents to a few dollars to a content writer directly on their site. If you scroll to the bottom of this post at The Hot Iron you will see a CentUp button below the row of social media sharing buttons, so I can speak to CentUp with first-hand experience.

Click a Button, Help a Writer and a Charity

The end-user experience of CentUp is very straightforward, and its elegance comes from its simplicity, as you can see in the embedded Vine video above. If you cannot see the video, you can view the video of me pressing the CentUp button at Vine. You simply click on the CentUp button on a Web page or blog post that you would like to give to (or pay to or contribute to or whatever term you deem appropriate). Half of whatever amount you choose will go to the publisher, and half goes to a charity selected by the publisher from a list of charities affiliated with CentUp.

To use the button, you need an account with CentUp. If you click on the button and don’t have an account, you can sign-up on their Web site, put funds in your account, then log in and contribute. As I have the button on my site, I have an account with CentUp, and whenever I see the button and providing I liked what I read, I will give at least 10 cents to a publisher. If you’re thinking, “not another account to setup,” read on as you’ll learn more of the value a CentUp account delivers.

All clicks of the CentUp button on The Hot Iron are shared between myself and the Women With Drive Foundation, a great organization who provides women with transportation means to get to their jobs. I truly did not do them justice with that boiled-down description and I encourage you to visit their Web site for more information. There are a number of charities that content publishers can choose from and this list has expanded over the last year I have used CentUp.

The Point Is Not Early Retirement

By so far earning under a dollar per blog post, I am not considering CentUp part of my overall retirement strategy. But that is not why I use CentUp. First and foremost, I believe there is plenty of content out there on the Internet that is of value. This includes blogs, news sites, and Web sites in general. That being said, I or anyone else is not going to go through the process of registering for every site out there and paying some amount of money for content of what quality I really don’t know until I explore and read it.

In other words, if I read something and find value in it, I can offer payment for it, a true value-for-value model.

CentUp offers a one-stop payment method for Web content. I don’t need all of those accounts and logins and passwords, and sharing my credit card information all over the place. I also don’t need large sums of money to register for varying content. If I like something, I can give them a little bit of money. If it is good content, many people will do that. Right next to the button is how much money has been given so far, which is a transparent way to see how potentially popular and relevant the content may be. CentUp is a simple model that makes sense, and one I have embraced.

There is no fee to join, and adding the button to your blog or site is technically straightforward. You can tag an entire site or individual pages or posts on a blog. Again I am not doing CentUp the best justice they deserve, and I encourage you to explore the CentUp site for more information and if you have any questions on it conceptually or technically.

Unique Community of Content

There are several dozen sites now using CentUp and that number grows whenever I check back on the site. CentUp has taken advantage of this collection of content and has built a community of writers and publishers, including a newsletter of curated content on a regular basis. I have now started to subscribe to many of their RSS feeds of these blogs and sites to read their content directly. They recently added a reader app to their site within your account, but I still prefer my RSS reader for aggregating all of my content.

Do you use CentUp? Have I piqued your interest in it? Would you avoid it like I avoid Facebook? Share your thoughts in the comments below, and feel free to ask any questions you may have about CentUp as I may be able to help, or someone from CentUp may even respond themselves as they are readers as well.


This is from The Hot Iron, a journal on business and technology by Mike Maddaloni.


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Posted by Mike Maddaloni on 03/05/14 at 11:54 PM
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The Hot Iron strives to present unique content and perspective on business, technology and other topics by Mike Maddaloni, a Web and business strategist based in Chicago.

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