jpuopolo.com

Blog and place for general Musings of Joseph Puopolo


Sometimes you fail. It has been a year. A whole year since my last episode. You start these things with the best intentions then life sometimes gets in the way. Whether it be running a few companies, building a new house or chasing 2 kids under 5, something had to give and it was the show. Fast forward a year,  things are more settled with me on a number of fronts and my little girl started a show with my help and then encouraged me to go back to mine. I wanted to share some of my learnings around helping to create a web show or video blog 4 Tips to Set up a Video BlogI wanted to share 4 Tips to Set up a Video Blog It has been a while since I have posted, but here is my latest. I am changing up the format of my posts and don’t less driven based upon interviews. My first post back is sharing what I have learned for setting up your own video blog or web show. Posted by The Anything Show on Tuesday, June 14,...

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Joseph sits down with Ben Parr to discuss Apple, Apple’s Cash hoard, the Apple Car? Social media, inspiration for his book, inequity in tech. Check out his new book on Amazon – one of many shameless plugs 🙂 Joseph learns a valuable lesson that you should never upload a podcast on unreliable Hotel Wifi as it took him nearly a week of failed attempts....

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Marketing Automation is becoming a premium for small and large organizations. Over the past 15 years there has been increased pressure to squeeze the most one can out of their marketing dollars. Typically this falls into two camps, the actual money spent on marketing initiatives and the money spent towards the headcount to administer them. The marketing automation dilemma You essentially have a back and forth issue. You don’t want to strip headcount too badly, because it will be difficult to administer campaigns, but you want to maximize the amount you spend on external campaigns that drive people back to your site and drive interest. The first step to solving this dilemma So now you recognize you have this dilemma and the question of how to make strides to maximizing my headcount and at the same time spend money on initiatives that will drive revenue, retention, sign-ups or whatever your key success metrics are. What are the next steps? Strip away non-value additive activities via automation Busy work is the bane of anyone’s existence, but it should also be the first thing in your organization you look to remedy. Physically handling mailing items, stuffing envelopes, or even spending the time managing 3rd parties to do this isn’t additive. In many cases manual interactions not only increase the time that you spend doing other things, but also increase the chance of errors. The irony of introducing more manual work is that it introduces more errors that may require further work to manage. At the end of the day, outsourcing these operations to a 3rd party is crucial to improve efficiency. It improves efficiency for a number of reasons: You won’t ever be able to do something as effectively as a specialized shop – Typically if you are printing and stuffing envelopes, your cost per impression is much higher than a 3rd party shop. You have to consider the time for anyone babysitting the exercise of printing and mailing Print on demand vs. Inventory – One of the essential problems with all in house marketing activities is that you have to print extra and warehouse those extra pieces. Initiate from your systems rather than a spreadsheet – If you have systems for managing people and operations, then why are you exporting to a spreadsheet and manually hand holding the process to completion. It wastes time, while you could automate the entire process. Enter a Print & Mail API  A print and mail API is the perfect solution to move manual tasks off of the plate of marketers and just making sure things “happen” on their own automatically.  There are many marketing professionals that...

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Over a year ago, Printchomp started working on our API. As we brought on thousands of printers we started to have developers reach out to us and ask how they could leverage this network. We quickly obliged them and started building our Print API. If you want to skip the article and get started using the Printchomp Print API go here. Declan Whelan was the primary architect of our API. He wanted to make sure that not only external users could consume it, but our own internal development would be tied to our API infrastructure. This also changed the way we approached our own development of the API as we became primary consumers of it. We built it based upon a number of principles. 1. Scalability – Because we had 1000s of printers and many developers wanting to integrate we needed to make sure it would scale. Scalability meant a number of things. The ability of our printers to handle the load, the ability of external developers to ping our platform as needed as their apps scaled. Additionally scalability is crucial for offerings where we offering Direct Mail integration with our platform. We wanted to make sure if a person initiated a direct mail campaign from our platform it would scale both from a technology and pricing perspective. 2. Flexibility – When looking at the Print API landscape we noticed a few things and this was immediately validated by some of our early customers. When we had people approach us about the lack of customizable products. Because our printer base is so strong, we can literally offer any product under the sun, and customize it for any developer. This gives us a lot of ability to really help solve problems and not just offer a cookie cutter solution. We have the ability to spin up new products for you to order via API in less than 30 minutes if needed. Listen a little bit more about our product selection. One thing that we offer that is unique is multiple pick-pack and ship facilities across North America. That way we can find the best way to distribute based upon price and turnaround time. We can either adopt a print on demand approach or stockpile at our facilities and deplete if there is a fixed demand. 3. Monetization – Most people looking for a Print API are looking for either two principal things, either automation to reduce costs or monetize their digital assets in some way. We wanted to offer a variety of ways for people to monetize their app and providing value within their own ecosystem. So please, if you want to...

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Joseph sits down with Jeremy Bell to discuss Teehan and Lax, Design, his startup Wattage and the future of the consumer electronics industry. It was interesting getting his perspective on Teehan given that he was a partner with the firm for 6 years.  

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Welcome everyone to The Anything Show In our first interview we discuss a number of things with Charles Mire of Structur3d printing,  including 3D Printing, getting traction on Kickstarter, entrepreneurship and family, getting traction, customer feedback loops, and the Waterloo region tech...

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Over the past year I have been horrible about blogging. In fact after writing 50+ articles in a year, I went to virtually nil. What happened? It was all going so well. Well, life happened. Between building a business, helping my wife start her business, having a new baby, moving to a new home, traveling, trying to stay in shape etc. etc. I haven’t been on the ball. This is no excuse, because others seem to do it, but something I need to fix. I recently completed some personal projects and now am going to make some time for more blogging. Not necessarily for other people, but for myself. I found it to be a wonderfully cathartic exercise that I miss out on. Here are some updates that I will be sharing News on Printchomp – There is so much goodness going on that I need to do a better job sharing how awesome our team is and how much we are growing. Lots of news on this coming soon! Community News – Last year, I wrote my then last blog article on Why I moved back to the Waterloo Region. I have been kindly asked by Kara Swisher to contribute to her new kick-ass blog Re/code. You can expect for me to do a killer update on all the goodness going on with startups near me and the entire scene Startup lessons learned – Over the past 2 years with Printchomp and interacting with other startups, I have learned so much. After having a series of dinners with friends and colleagues namely ones with Scott Oldford and Alkarim Nasser, I realized that if I don’t share these lessons, I think I am missing out on the opportunity to crystallize them in my head and more importantly share them with others. I had an amazing trip to San Francisco a couple months ago and was so neglectful not to share all the cool people I got to meet with. Nope I won’t review your product – I am still getting regular requests to review new products. Unless it is something I stumble upon myself and is absolutely amazing I probably won’t write about it. I won’t do fake sponsored blogs either, unless what you are shilling is absolutely amazing and you’ll give me one (or have a truck full of cash show up). Trends – Being head down in my startup I am seeing a lot of cool technology trends, more importantly potholes and things to avoid. I’m going to try to share this stuff because there are some amazing things going on. Video Studio – I’m happy to...

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Over the past week, there has been lots of news about the uncertain future of BlackBerry, the impact of it shedding jobs and speculation about the impact to the community and the tech future of Waterloo Region. I couldn’t help but reflect back on why I returned to this area. Nearly two years ago, as I sat in gridlock in Toronto struggling to pick up my daughter from day care on time, I had a revelation. I couldn’t scale a business and a family in Toronto, given that both my wife and I were busy professionals. I loved Toronto for many reasons but ultimately couldn’t reconcile spending 20 hours on the road each week instead of spending that time with family, my business or taking care of myself. Once we made the decision, we knew what we had to do. We loved our urban lifestyle, but it was time to return to our hometown to achieve a better work/life balance. I spent the first 25 years of my life living in Waterloo Region. I went to high school in Waterloo and drove past Research In Motion (now BlackBerry) when it only had one building (not a sprawling campus). Before even starting school, I was able to go to computer camp and learn from some great minds showing off the first iterations of a GUI in the early 80s. I got my first computer when I was five years old and didn’t look back. I progressed through school, and ultimately attended both University of Waterloo andWilfrid Laurier University. Upon reflection, I don’t think I realized how much this area had to offer to others and myself. The plain reality is that there is a significant talent pool and two internationally recognized universities creating high-quality engineers, programs and business grads. Historically, it has been a hotbed for technology in Canada, and that has only increased as more startups flock to the community. It has reached a point of critical mass in the past 5 years. In June of 2012, I founded my company Printchomp. One of the first decisions I made was to base my company in Waterloo Region. I did so because I saw huge opportunity in the area. When people hear the word “startup,” they automatically seem to think of Silicon Valley in California, but as much as I love the Valley, I realized the benefits of being in Waterloo Region. There is an amazing wealth of talent coming out of University of Waterloo, Wilfrid Laurier University and Conestoga College. This is a huge boon to companies looking to grow. The University of Waterloo co-op program is one of the most aggressive for placing quality...

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Well my cute daughter Anna is running around with our generation one iPad. Since the tech is relatively new there are no hard and fast rules for managing your child’s iPad usage. We have tried to figure it out as we have gone along, but finding quality apps is always a challenge. It is a challenge because you want to find something interative and can teach you something instead of just mindless drivel. She is now 2.5 and now these are her favorites that we totally approve. As a result here are our recommendations for Apps Endless Alphabet – This is a fantastic app for increasing your child’s vocabulary and getting them to start spelling and sounding out letters. Download Endless Alphabet           Toca Boca Kitchen/Doctor/Hair Salon – Toca Boca produces some fun games for kids. These three are our favorites. Download Toca Boca Kitchen / Doctor and Hair Salon  Princess Fairy Tale Maker – Don’t let the name fool you. This is a fun little app for creating visual stories with your kid increasing their imagination. Duck Duck Moose is a great studio for kids games. Download Princess Fairy Tale Maker. Download Princess Fairy Tale Maker   Recommendations on Youtube Peppa Pig – While this is not limited to just the web it is a great show that has been adapted for countless languages. Mother Goose Club It is a great series of unique songs, very friendly and catchy. I still can’t get the Dinosaur stop song out of my...

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