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I wanted to extend an offer I made on my Marketing for Mavens blog to a larger audience. The other day I was inspired by the idea that there are probably thousands of people out there with web development, web design, and web marketing questions but have no idea where to go to have them answered. Yes, there are forums out there for this sort of thing but sometimes you just want to have a conversation with someone. Over the years, I have learned a lot from the different communities out there and it time for me to give back.

I have decided that I’m going to donate an hour of each day to helping people with their web related questions. I setup a form that people can use to fill out a quick description of their question and how they would like to be contacted. I can’t make any promises that I’ll be able to answer every question but at the very least I can probably point you in the right direction. If you have a question, then please feel free to submit it to me. Thank you!

Ruby on Rails has taken a beating lately with all the down time occurring on Twitter. The Twitter developers have openly stated that Rails isn’t to blame but it hasn’t stopped all the FUD that has been posted.

I have never personally run into any of the scaling problems that have been blamed on Rails but I’ve also never built an application that receives the amount of use that Twitter does. So this has me wondering, where is all the support from the Rails community? 37signals has built several successful Rails apps and there are many others out there. It would be a shame if this pushes people away from a very good web development platform. Any Rails developers out there want to comment on this. Let’s get some positive comments and success stories out there!

This is shocking and sad. Words can’t even describe how pathetic we are as a society for something like this to happen on a busy street in the US. I’d like to think this an isolated incident but seeing how many people saw this event happen and watched this man lie in the road without doing anything makes me sick. Maybe this is one of those “group think” incidents where everyone looks at each other waiting for the other person to respond or maybe we no longer have any regard for anyone but ourselves. Very sad and disturbing.

One of the problems with web marketing is that thousands of dollars are spent to bring in new visitors but only a small percentage of this is used to retain and nurture these visitors once they come to your sites.

One reason is the difficulty in building and targeting pinpoint messages, promotions, and campaigns to web visitors. Companies tend to focus all of their effort on getting the company message out to the public. The problem is “the public” is a very broad group so the content is watered down for consumption by the masses. This is not what most of your visitors are interested in.

Another reason is how difficult it can be to manage, maintain, and update content for individual web visitors. The people in the company who would best manage this content don’t have the tools and resources to access the web site and track how well campaigns and promotions are doing. Instead, they must fill out a web request form to get added to the queue. On the other hand, the web team is busy creating new pages for a product launches, managing Google Adwords campaigns, or analyzing web site statistics. They have tools that assist them in managing all of these tasks but they don’t have a tool for efficiently managing campaigns that are targeted to individuals.

A third reason is how easy it is to setup a Google Adwords campaign, show how many click-throughs your site is receiving, and stop there. You can get your ads out to the masses in just a few minutes. Then, every few weeks, you justify this spending because you can see the results in real time using the web interface or through nicely printed reports. This is great but it’s only half the battle. Wouldn’t it make more sense to take all of this great traffic you are getting from Google Adwords or search and continue to assist your visitors in finding what they want once they’re on your site?

This is why I built Marketing for Mavens. It’s a unique web application which puts the power of marketing to web visitors into the hands of those who are most capable of maintaining these campaigns. The web team can choose to keep control over the content management of the campaigns or give access to people in marketing programs or other groups within the company to handle this themselves. In addition, Marketing for Mavens tracks and tags each individual based on the pages they visit so now your company can ensure that your campaigns are matched up with right person at the right time. With Marketing for Mavens you know who your top visitors are and you can customize your messaging to them leading to quicker sales and improved visitor satisfaction.

If you are curious as to how this works please feel free to check out the demo. Marketing for Mavens is scheduled to launch a beta release in June so please sign up if you are interested in taking part.

I came across this blog post by Jonathan Fields today. It provides some insight into how Jet Blue is using Twitter to build stronger relationships with its customers. It’s amazing to see how one individual in a large organization can make such an impact by using a simple tool such as Twitter. What isn’t surprising to me is that Jet Blue would go to these lengths to this level of service.

I’ve always had good experiences with Jet Blue even when things haven’t gone quite right. Back in September, I flew across the country with my 18 month old daughter. When we landed at 10pm, we were disappointed to see that they had broken the handle off her stroller. We notified a person at the gate who apologized and directed us to customer service. At customer service, we were given the option to use one of their brand new stroller or purchase a new one which they would obviously pay for. Since it was so late, we decided to use their stroller and purchase a new one when we got home. Despite how difficult this situation could have been, Jet Blue made it as simple as possible for us by dealing with the problem quickly and efficiently.

Have you ever watched a 2 year old build a puzzle? My daughter just turned 2 and she loves doing 24 piece puzzles. What fascinates me is how well she is able to put them together despite not understanding some of the basics of puzzle building, such as border pieces have a solid edge and therefore only go on the outside of the puzzle.

As adults, we have deeply ingrained processes for solving puzzles. I put the picture of the box in front of me and start with the border and work toward the center. This isn’t the case for my daughter, and I’m guessing most 2 year olds. She usually starts with any 2 pieces she can get together and builds out from there. She never looks at the box and usually doesn’t look at the picture on the puzzle pieces. From my experience doing puzzles with her, it appears she is looking at the shape formed by the edge of the puzzle pieces to put the puzzle together. She is often hunting for pieces that have the same edge as the space she is trying to fill. As you can imagine, it isn’t a simple approach, but it’s one that works quite well for her. She is very good at putting a puzzle together.

What I love about doing puzzles with my daughter is that it opens my mind to new perspectives. It’s not that her approach is better but it’s what works best for her right now. Over time, she’ll find better formulas and adjust her approach to puzzle building. For me, I’m going to watch and learn from her on how to keep an open mind because it is not just puzzle building but almost every aspect of my life where I can learn more by keeping an open mind to new perspectives.

I’m looking for someone who can help with retrieving a JSON file created by Rails and using JavaScrtipt to parse the information into a web page. I have been searching everywhere on the web on how to do this but I can’t seem to get it to work which is very frustrating considering each tutorial talks about how easy JSON is. The file output by Rails looks fine but I keep getting an invalid label error. I’ve found multiple sites which explains the problem but none which show how to fix it when you are adding a .js file dynamically. Any help would be greatly appreciated.

Need money help?

It’s funny how life works sometimes. Six months ago I never would have imagined I’d be reading “Rich dad, Poor Dad” by Robert Kiyosaki, but several unrelated paths have converged over the past few weeks to bring this book to my attention. I’m very glad they did. Although I haven’t had the time to implement many of these ideas (nor have I completed the book just yet), I’m very thankful for the new perspective Mr. Kiyosaki has given me on money. Now I can begin focusing my attention on building assets and wasting less of it on liabilities. It’s interesting how obvious some of these ideas can be once they’re explained. Unfortunately, most of us are never taught, especially in the US, how to pay ourselves first and use our money wisely.

The web application I’ve been building, Marketing for Mavens, has taken another giant step forward as it is now up and running on the hosting server. I’ve noticed some additional bugs after the migration that need to be resolved but overall it is looking very good. By the end of the week, I should have it integrated into marketingformavens.com so you can see what it looks like from a “citizen” perspective.

Recently, I talked about a new web app I’ve been building for the past month and half, Marketing for Mavens. I wanted to provide you with a quick update (more details are available on the Marketing for Mavens blog). I’ve never been able to get my ideas translated into code so quickly and I have the Ruby on Rails framework to thank for that along with Rails community.

Anyway, I’ve been making some significant progress and I hope to have the beta available in May. For those unfamiliar with Marketing for Mavens, it’s a web application which combines content management with web analytics to give you the power to distribute custom web content to your visitors based on how they use your web site. It isn’t meant to be a full-blown content management system or web analytics package. It is purely for storing and distributing custom content. Statistics and trends are recorded for each visitor (called citizens) so you know who your top prospects are. In return, your citizens receive content which helps them better find the information they need. The goal, reduce the amount of “be everything to all people” content and increase the communication with your visitors. If you’re interested in learning more please check out the blog.