Author Archives: Jawad Shuaib

Web 3.0 – What you may not know about the new web

Last week, a good friend Rahul asked if I would be interested in speaking at the EpCon conference at Waterloo, Canada. So after an all-nighter I ended up producing the following presentation.

It is a presentation on the current trends and forthcoming technologies revolutionizing the web.

The presentation went really well. The room was packed. And the delegates were unusually smart :) Thank you EpCon!

The Entrepreneurial Myth

I finished reading the The E-Myth Revisited: Why Most Small Businesses Don’t Work and What to Do About It, a book that emphasizes the need to build an organized business with a turn-key model at its core. Michael Gerber’s other books on the E-Myth convey the same message across: Great people have a vision of their lives that they practice emulating each and every day. I enjoyed reading the book so I am posting some edited notes from it, hope you enjoy:

The system is the solution – AT&T

A business that relies on discretion, “How do I motivate my people?” raises the constant question. “How do I keep them in the mood?” It is literally impossible to produce a consistent result in a business that depends on extraordinary people. No business can do it for long. And no extraordinary business tries to!

The question you need to keep asking yourself is: How can I give my customer the results he wants systematically rather than personally? Put another way: How can I create a business whose results are systems-dependent rather than people-dependent? A systems dependent rather than expert-dependent.

Every extraordinary business realizes that when you intentionally build your business around the skills of ordinary people, you will be forced to ask the difficult questions about how to produce a result without the extraordinary ones.

You will be forced to find a system that leverages your ordinary people to the point where they can produce extraordinary results over and over again.

If your business depends on you, you don’t own a business — you have a job. And it’s the worst job in the world because you’re working for a lunatic!

The Entrepreneurial Model looks at a business as if it were a product, sitting on a shelf and competing for the customer’s attention against a whole shelf of competing products (or businesses). Said another way, the Entrepreneurial Model has less to do with what’s done in a business and more to do with how it’s done. The commodity isn’t what’s important — the way it’s delivered is.

A business that looks orderly says to your customer that your people know what you’re doing. A business that looks orderly says to your customer that he can trust in the result delivered and assures your people that they can trust in their future with you.

Most companies organize around personalities rather than around functions. That is, around people rather than accountabilities or responsibilities.

Opt to build a systems-dependent business, not a people-dependent business.

Drive Strategy with Tactics Behind the Wheel

Here is a short summary of some notes I took while reading “Bottom up Marketing” by Al Ries and Jack Trout (authors of Positioning and Marketing Warfare). They discuss the need for driving strategic objectives based on the information collected and executed at a more tactical level.

“The best strategic plan is useless”, said Field Marshal Erwin Rommel, “if it cannot be executed tactically”.

In business you tend to see what you expect to see. Which is why top-down thinking is so dangerous? You tend to overlook any factors that aren’t related to the success of your strategy.

The VW Beetle was not the first small car on the market, of course. But it was the first car to occupy the “small” position in the mind. It made a virtue out of its size, while the others apologized for their small size by talking about “roominess”. The position VW took was tactically informed while others made decisions based on the market’s strategic landscape.

In business as in warfare, the safest strategy is rapid exploitation of the tactic. The trick is to move quickly if you’re going to move at all, and come down with a ton of bricks when you do.

The true nature of business today is outwitting, outflanking, and outfighting the competition. Marketing is war, where the enemy is your competitor and the ground to be won is the customer. The key point is that marketing battles are first won or lost at the tactical level, not at the strategic level.

How to Automatically Extract Key Terms from Articles

Yahoo Term Extraction API PHP Code

Yahoo! as a business isn’t doing so well. This, however, does not mean they are underperforming on all fronts. In fact, Yahoo! maintains an excellent support for developers. They have made powerful API’s available to the public. One such API is the Yahoo Term Extraction API. Developers, marketers and search engine optimizers can use this API to extract key terms from any web page or article. Yahoo Term Extraction algorithms will take care of all the intensive back-end calculations for you.

View my Demo Application.

I originally built this application using the file_get_contents function in PHP. But it is safer to use cURL in order to maintain the data integrity as well as bypass security constraints set up by hosting providers. I am making the code snippet available to everyone. Use the following PHP cURL code to extract keywords using the Yahoo Term Extraction Library:

View the Source Code

Make sure to grab your API key from the Yahoo Developer Network.

The Human Quest for Preeminence

darwin

I have been watching Heroes lately. I admire purpose driven people, and so find the show’s geneticist, Mohinder Suresh, quite intriguing. I have compiled a short essay elaborating his philosophy on the implications of Darwin’s natural selection on our everday life.

Watch the trailer.

Where does it come from, this quest? This need to solve life’s mysteries, when the simplest of questions can never be answered. Why are we here? What is the soul? Why do we dream? Perhaps we’d be better off not looking at all. Not doubting, not yearning. That’s not human nature. Not the human heart. That is not why we are here.

Evolution is an imperfect, and often violent process. Morality loses its meaning. The question of good and evil, reduced to one simple choice: Survive? Or perish?

When evolution selects its agents, it does so at a cost. It makes demands in exchange for singularity. And you may be asked to do something against your very nature. Suddenly, the change in your life that should have been wonderful, comes as a betrayal. It may seem cruel, but the goal is nothing short of self-preservation. Survival.

Some individuals, it is true, are more special. This is natural selection. It begins as a single individual born or hatched like every other member of their species. Anonymous. Seemingly ordinary. Except they’re not. They carry inside them the genetic code that will take their species to the next evolutionary rung. It’s destiny.

To everything there is a season, and a time to every purpose. The Earth spins at a thousand miles an hour as we desperately try to keep from being thrown off. Like the first blush in winter that signals a great migration. Is there any warning of their arrival? A sign, a single event that set this chain into motion? Was it a whisper in God’s ear? Survive. Adapt. Escape. And if we could mark our single moment in time, that first hint of a prophecy of approaching danger… would we have done anything differently? Could it have been stopped? Or was the die long ago cast?

The earth is large, large enough so you think you can hide from anything. From Fate, From God. If only you found a place far enough away. So you run… To the edge of the Earth, where all is safe again. Quiet and Warm. The Solace of salt air. The peace of danger left behind. The luxury of grief. And maybe, for a moment, you believe you have escaped.

This quest. This need to solve life’s mysteries. In the end, what does it matter when the human heart can only find meaning in the smallest of moments? Those moments are here. Among us. In the shadows. In the light. Everywhere. Do we even know yet?

SEO and Web 2.0 Apps Development Course at Humber College

Search Engine Optimization is an extremely useful skill for anyone involved in copy writing, online marketing or managing websites. Two years ago, I worked with Humber’s awesome staff to prepare course curriculums for the SEO and Web 2.0 Applications Development course.

So like last year, and the year before that, this year I will be teaching the Search Engine Optimization course at Humber College. Students will be learning everything from website conversion metrics, link building, and grey hat seo to keyword density, mod rewrites, and sitemaps. I also show students how to leverage social media sites and blogs to their advantage. So, if you’re in Toronto, be sure to sign-up and come listen to me for hours on end!! *exciting*

Furthermore, thanks to the efforts put forth by James, Humber is also offering a course on Web 2.0 Applications Development. I am particularly looking forward to teaching this one. Students will learn how to integrate custom Google Maps, RSS feeds, Flickr photos, and Twitter into their website. They will learn how to build Facebook applications with Facebook Markup Language, and various other useful mashups. If you’re in the field of digital media, this course will be well worth your time. Sign up today!

How To Display Random Twitter Updates From Your Account

twitter-status-code

A year ago, I would have spent the first two paragraphs explaining Twitter. Today, I see Tila Tequila using it. So I will spare you the time and get right to it.

I thought I write a post on how I display random twitter updates on the top right corner of this website. This website pulls in a random twitter status from my account each time the website is reloaded (press F5 to give it a shot!). You can easily plug in the following code snippet to make this functionality work for your website as well.

View the live version of the twitter updates.

Grab the code snippet right here.

I have commented the code, so have fun modifying it. Post a comment or shoot me an email if you have trouble with it.

The Physiology of Willpower: Linking Blood Glucose to Self-Control

Red Blood Cells

Glucose is the main source of energy for the human body. Glucose is a form of sugar that is produced when carbohydrates are digested. Glucose in the bloodstream is converted to the energy needed for the body to function properly.

Past research indicates that self-control relies on some sort of limited energy source. Blood glucose is one important part of the energy source of self-control. Acts of self-control deplete relatively large amounts of glucose. Self-control failures are more likely when glucose is low or cannot be mobilized effectively to the brain (i.e., when insulin is low or insensitive). Restoring glucose to a sufficient level typically improves self-control. Numerous self-control behaviors fit this pattern, including controlling attention, regulating emotions, quitting smoking, coping with stress, resisting impulsivity, and refraining from criminal and aggressive behavior. Alcohol reduces glucose throughout the brain and body and likewise impairs many forms of self-control. Furthermore, self-control failure is most likely during times of the day when glucose is used least effectively. Self-control thus appears highly susceptible to glucose. Self-control benefits numerous social and interpersonal processes. Glucose might therefore be related to a broad range of social behavior.

Go here to discover some good sources for Glucose in your diet.