Looking for excuses


I like looking for excuses.

They are so easy to find and yet so hard to avoid.

Simple or complex they are all similar as they support my wish for success and fear of failure. If my email, phone call, skype chat is less than 100% then success is not assured and failure will come knocking. Better I find some facet that is not quite perfect or some semi-plausible reason to avoid doing something risky. True, I can work on that excuse and that does give some sense of progress but in reality all I did was put up a barrier then I took it down to replace it with another one.

Popular excuses are:

  • Wrong time of day, need to wait until a suitable time
  • My message is not perfect, what am I trying to say?
  • Someone else phoned in, I need to deal with that first (Clean Plate Syndrome)
  • I lacking knowledge, better read some more marketing/sales/business books

Pretty much anything that allows me to switch focus from the crunch moments in business to the comfort of the assured and familar.

Todays excuse is:

“It’s April the 1st, so no-one will take me seriously”

Better write a blog post…



01. April 2015 by Stuart Mains
Categories: Blog, Business | Comments Off on Looking for excuses

When is a Cloud not a Cloud?

Picture of an external hard drive with a cloud symbol crossed out.

A single storage device is not a Cloud!

When it’s a “My Cloud”.

I am talking about the WD “My Cloud” device range, devices that connect to your network and give you access to your files via an app. The devices themselves are nothing new, just hard drives with network connections that allow for the simple file sharing. What is new is the “access anywhere” aspect via an app. An easy method to let you to get at your files from outside your network, bypassing the need for playing around with your router.

In the last couple of weeks, I have had a couple of customers enquire about such devices. In one case, a customer believed that their “My Cloud” device was backing up to a cloud service. Something I found quite interesting and surprising when they mentioned there was no monthly fee. Further investigation revealed that their “My Cloud” was just a hard drive with a network connection with no link to a data cloud other than its name and an app.

The name had given the customer the false assumption, reinforced by an ill-informed sales person, of an additional layer of backup security. An assumption that proved to be not only incorrect but dangerous. Dangerous, as the device they bought was a single-point-of-failure. A single location for all their company data that if damaged by power-cut, cup of coffee or errant pet would potentially bring the company to its knees. At best, a few days of strife in salvaging the data and at worst the loss of all their data.

So a word of warning, if a product is trying to tell you that it’s your “own personal cloud” and there is no monthly fee, be sure to read the fine print as you may just have just bought some vapour instead.

Tip: When it comes to data backups never assume, always test.

29. January 2015 by Stuart Mains
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Dual Security Anti-Virus & Anti-Malware

A few years ago you would install your Anti-Virus software and notice that your computer would perform at reduced speed (or to a snails pace if it was Norton).

However, most systems built in the last couple of years can easily handle running two security systems without any noticable drop in performance.

The result, is that I can now strongly recommend have twin protection in the form of a primary (Anti-Virus) and secondary (Anti-Malware) protection.

For example, your primary system could be AVG Internet Security with the secondary being Malwarebytes (or even a tertiary of Hitman Pro).

Although there is a cost to this, the advantage of better all-round protection far outweighs the cost of virus removal or the dreaded full system restore (better check those backups).

Especially when the flavour of viruses at the moment can potentially lock down your system and encrypt your data forcing you to pay for its recovery.

If you have any questions that you would like to see answered here, please get in touch.

22. July 2014 by Stuart Mains
Categories: Blog, Business | Tags: , , , , , , | Comments Off on Dual Security Anti-Virus & Anti-Malware

Hyperion @ Govanhill Baths

L1Just thought I would put up a quick post about my acting talents being put to use in a new show called Hyperion at the Govanhill Baths from the 24th to 28th of June 2014.

For more details, check out the website – www.hyperionshow.com

22. June 2014 by Stuart Mains
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Not a fan of Mondays

Yes, I am happy to announce it. I am not a fan of Mondays but possibly for different reasons than most.

If you asked most people why they hated Mondays, the general response would be that “They have to go back to work.” (typically from a wonderful weekend of sleeping in and not working. From my own perspective, I do not actually “Work” in the normal sense being a small business owner. Hence, I cannot leave my “Work” at the office on a Friday at 5pm and go home as I am always working and the responsibilities of the business do not fall to someone else.

I don’t like Monday for the fact that it is recovery day, a day where people are not operating at full working capacity and typically catching up on work. A day that I have found from past experience where no-one wishes to talk about new projects or pushing any current project forward. It is a “Leave me alone, I am not happy that I am working yet I am at work day” that is used in general as a break-in day for the rest of the week.

Tuesday is when the week actually starts, with Monday just being a holding day to catch up on an already up-to-date workload as like I said before I never stop “Working”.

02. June 2014 by Stuart Mains
Categories: Business | Tags: , , , | Comments Off on Not a fan of Mondays

Interesting Post from Seth Godin’s Blog

“How do I get rid of the fear?”

Alas, this is the wrong question.

The only way to get rid of the fear is to stop doing things that might not work, to stop putting yourself out there, to stop doing work that matters.

No, the right question is, “How do I dance with the fear?”

Fear is not the enemy. Paralysis is the enemy.

This is interesting as many years ago, before I started my own business, I attended a start-up business event.

At this event there was a panel of business experts performing a Q&A.

As I had not yet started my business my question was “How do you manage the fear of failure?” to which the general response was “Just ignore it”.

However, Seth’s answer would have been slightly more helpful and inspiring. :)

Original Post

06. May 2014 by Stuart Mains
Categories: Business | Tags: , , , | Comments Off on Interesting Post from Seth Godin’s Blog

New layout

I have been hunting for a clear business blog layout.

Most of the fun of WordPress themes are the fact that the good ones expensive and the few decent free templates are never ready to go out of the box.

However, I have settled on this clean look Ari theme which will hopefully allow me to focus on the content :)

01. May 2014 by Stuart Mains
Categories: Blog | Comments Off on New layout

Company name: SEO friendly or People friendly

A customer visited me this morning to discuss a new online shop venture. Pretty straightforward and nothing too unexpected until the company name vs the domain name issue arose.

The customer had spent some serious time looking for a cool and available company / domain name. He had found one that was a mix of words that would not go together normally and hence was available. From a brand point of view it was a good name, short and memorably but when the conversation turned to SEO (Search Engine Optimisation) it was definitely not SEO-friendly. Without boring you with the details, the remainder of the conversation was the debate between SEO friendly or People friendly.

Now, brand names are a massive series of blog posts in themselves, so I will just stick with the SEO viewpoint. The bottom line is that the wackier the domain name the harder the SEO becomes. The factor that you have to take into considering is the customers rather than the search engines. If you sell ice-cream in Glasgow then the best domain name for SEO is icecreamglasgow.com of that there is no question. However, from a customer viewpoint that company name is pretty meaningless. You may be the most innovative and fun ice cream company in Glasgow but the domain name does not say that and is hence pretty forgettable. So if people are searching for ice cream in Glasgow they are likely to find you but if you are trying to get people to associate with your brand then that is a terrible company name. With the inverse, if you still sell ice cream in Glasgow but call yourself CreamandScream.com (though that does sound like a porn site :) ) then people are more likely to remember the company brand name due to its uniqueness and memorable qualities.

In terms of what is best for your company, it is a question of advertising, marketing and where your customers are finding you. If you want to go down the easy route and focus solely on search traffic then your best bet is a company name / domain name that is as close to the SEO keyphrase as possible. This will make your SEO campaign easier as long as you are not too fussed with the brand name. If you advertise anywhere else to get customers (radio, TV, back of buses, etc) then a brand name makes more sense. As you already driving traffic to your site with your memorable brand name. It will make your SEO a little harder but you can incorporate all your companies zaniness into a notable and memorable domain name.

Company names / domain names are one of the first hurdles to overcome with a start-up company and need to be properly thought of. However, if you put the effort in you will find that the company name does not have to be perfect just suitable and worst case you can always re-brand.

p.s. I will not be giving out the company name of the customer unless there is monumental pressure to :)

26. October 2012 by Stuart Mains
Categories: Business, Internet | Comments Off on Company name: SEO friendly or People friendly

Is market saturation a thing of the past?

I was watching TV recently and saw yet another advert for a dating website.

Now, surely the market is saturated with dating websites with everything from uniformdating.com to mysinglefriend.com and everything in between. But then I thought, “is there such a thing as market saturation now?” as the marketplace has evolved from the highstreet.

With explosion of the internet has come the explosion of choice. The result is that people are more focused on finding a service that is tailored for them rather than the masses. For example, I just did a search for red head dating and found a number of websites offering that service. Instead of joining a generic dating website and searching for red heads, I can join a red head dating website.

So the question remains and the answer is looking more like “yes” than “no”. In a world where you can spend seconds and find multiple choices even multiple refined choices there is no saturation. As long as the services offered have some level of difference or unique selling points then there can be no saturation.

However, it is also possible to become too unique and find yourself with such a small demographic that it might not be profitable. Red head dating is a good choice but Tall-Red Head-Engineer dating might not be successful.

05. April 2012 by Stuart Mains
Categories: Business | Tags: , , , | Comments Off on Is market saturation a thing of the past?

A question of trust

A semi-interesting event occured when I was pulling out of the driveway. A gentleman waved me down looking for directions which was quite odd as he was on foot and holding a smartphone.

He asked where a certain organisaton was and already had the full address. But surely with the full address it would not be a problem? I thought. He was only 20 doors up from the location and the street doors were clearly marked and surprisingly were in ascending order. What is the issue? was the second thought and then it became apparent that he had entered the address into his smartphone GPS and the arrow was pointing at the end of the street. This is not uncommon as budget GPS software tends only to direct you to the postcode not the house number. They trust that once you get into the area you can count and find the address you are looking for and that is a fair enough assumption.

Now the gentleman had the address (which he entered into his smartphone) and his eyes / awareness of the surroundings and the funny thing was that he trusted the smartphone more than this awareness.

Which is a potential issue in the future as the makers of gadgets do not take the trust of the user into account. Quite the opposite, they rely on the user to use their own judgement. Though from the numerous people who have driven into rivers or up one way streets all because the sat-nav said so, it seems clear that people are placing a bit too much trust in their device.

Use your common sense and remember that the manufacturers of gadgets have already assumed you have it already.

12. March 2012 by Stuart Mains
Categories: Technology | Tags: , , , , | Comments Off on A question of trust

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