Posts Tagged ‘self-employed’

Vertical search with humans behind it

Thursday, November 1st, 2007

Ask Jim logoI occassionally blog for SelfEmployed.com, and in writing a post for that site today I came across a search engine for the Small Business market – AskJim.biz. It’s a vertical search engine that has a database of articles about small business issues behind it. The site was conceived of by Jim Blasingame, and the articles are written by a group of experts (Jim’s “Brain Trust”). I didn’t use the site indepth, but I ran a couple of sample queries and compared the results from AskJim vs. Google. AskJim was better.

 This is an interesting business model for vertical search – a niche search engine that really isn’t a search engine at all, but has a giant database of trusted articles behind it, powering it and providing relevant results. This could be a helpful solution to folks in the small business market who are suffering from search engine fatigue. It will be interesting to see if this model will work in other markets.

Good + Fast + Cheap

Wednesday, October 31st, 2007

There are so many good things about starting a company. The freedom. The independence. The creativity that it brings out in me. The amazing things that I’m learning. But the one thing that is so incredibly frustrating is that I have to rely on part-time contractors to get anything done.

The last job that I was at, I worked with an incredible team of people. Technically, I guess they worked for me, but each of them was so good at what they all did that I really considered us to be a team with myself at the helm, giving directions and making sure that the company, the development, the product – that everything was moving in the right direction. Quickly. Efficiently. FAST.

Now, I am a solo act. I am still working as quickly as I ever have – probably more so because I’ve upped the amount I’m working to approximately 15 hours per day (all the statistics about how much you work when you’re self-employed are right, it turns out). But no matter how quickly I work, I am always waiting for someone else to get something done.

Let me be really quick to say that I am not blaming anyone for this situation – I am still working with an amazing group of people. It’s just that they are only contracted to work some (small) number of hours per month. I mean, I work more hours PER DAY than each of them work per month. This is the way it has to be, but it really tests my patience.

According to Chris, this situation is attributable to the Good Fast Cheap theory of business. OK, I don’t think that Good Fast Cheap is technically a business theory, I think it’s more a concept that designers use when working for clients to try to help them understand how they work, but it’s a reality with my company so far. Chris’ claim (and I think he’s right) is that you can pick two of the three – Good, Fast, Cheap – but you will have to forgo the third. In my case, I have picked good and cheap, but I have to let go of FAST.

This is really too bad, because fast is one of my favorites.