Sandvox 2.0 Makes Push-Button Publishing Even Easier

Karelia Software released Sandvox 2.0 Tuesday, a major upgrade to its website building software for the Mac. I had a chance to get a walkthrough of the new release from Dan Wood, president of Karelia Software, and the new capabilities are impressive.

Fill Revenue Gaps With Alternative Income Streams

As a freelance online community consultant, I spend a lot of time thinking about ways to stabilize my income to reduce the ups and downs that come with having my own business. The most obvious solution is to manage your pipeline to make sure that you have new projects to replace the ones that are completing, but it’s also a good idea to have alternative income streams to complement your main client work and fill in any gaps.

Smashwords: Vanity Publishing or Innovative Content Delivery?

swlogoNot too long ago, I posted about BookGlutton, a service which allowed for online collaborative reading. You could also upload your own work, but that wasn’t the main focus of the site. Smashwords, on the other hand, is a web site devoted to self-publishing. It doesn’t lend itself to collaboration, necessarily, but it does present another possible method of content delivery, and for web workers looking for another revenue stream, it may provide an avenue for monetizing your content.

For me, it also raises the age-old question: is self-publishing really just a form of vanity publishing, along with all the negative connotations that implies?

It’s a thorny question, and one that takes on new significance as we slowly but surely move away from print media towards online publishing. I went to school for writing, and had it drilled into me pretty much every day that unless it was someone else’s name on the masthead of the journal or press I was publishing with, I wasn’t accomplishing anything.

Online, however, many of the most successful professionals are self-published, and self-made. Darren Rowse, Guy Kawasaki and Om Malik Richard MacManus come to mind. They are dealing primarily in the medium of the blog, however. The stigma associated with self-publishing doesn’t seem to have entirely disappeared when it comes to books. Read More about Smashwords: Vanity Publishing or Innovative Content Delivery?

Brothers In Arms for iPhone/iPod Touch

In the course of playing and reviewing a number of iPhone games, I realize I’ve come to expect, and even allow for, certain shortcomings. I expect lag in a graphics-intensive game. I expect buggy controls that feel less than intuitive. I expect omissions that are promised to be fulfilled in later updates. All of which is why Brothers in Arms: Hour of Heroes ($9.99) caught me off guard. The new shooter from the prolific gameloft (iDP) studio is a polished, pleasurable gaming experience that lacks a lot of the usual iPhone platform caveats users have unfortunately learned to live with.

The game belongs to the Brothers in Arms franchise, which began with Gearbox Software’s 2005 title Road to Hill 30. The Brothers in Arms series is set in WWII, and console and PC versions feature first-person shooter gameplay mechanics. Hour of Heroes, developed, by gameloft, who also brought the series to the Nintendo DS, is a third-person over-the-shoulder shooter and finally escapes the single-track, limited character control found in similar games like Star Wars: The Force Unleashed.
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WEBook: Book Publishing By the Masses

WEbookThere’s a new Web publishing tool on the block that seeks to deliver on the convergence promise between “blogging, social networking, and…American Idol!” So says Sue Heilbronner, president of WEbook that makes its debut today. I spoke with Heilbronner and Melissa Jones, the site’s content manager, and I asked questions from the point of view of someone who has written and published seven books to-date.

So what is WEbook, really?
From what I understood so far, it is a collaborative tool for writing books. You can create a book project, invite anyone to co-author with you – including an open invitation to the entire WEBook community – invite feedback from others including the community, and then submit for consideration to be published by WEBook in either print-on-demand, e-books, audiobooks or all of the above. The community votes on a submitted manuscript (the American Idol portion of the site) through a 1-5 rating system.

The first published book from WEBook’s Alpha phase is titled Pandora, an international terrorism thriller composed by 17 writers.

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Peter’s Principle: Absolute Openness

Fortune magazine recently ran a feature on PayPal alumni that includes folks like Slide CEO & Founder Max Levchin, the YouTube boys and David Sacks of Geni.
The star of the story, however is Peter Thiel, co-founder and former CEO of PayPal and now a hedge fund investor non-pariel, who manages billions of dollars and is an ultimate contrarian. His investments include Facebook (stake worth over a billion dollars), LinkedIn and Slide. Amusing as it might be, the story has one nugget of information that most start-up founders should at least attempt to copy.

His hallmark management MO at PayPal (at least, pre-IPO) was the all-hands open-book session. Customer logs, revenue flow, fraud losses, burn rate: He’d display it all for every employee to see. This access to information, coupled with the lack of offices, created a flat structure where any idea could win the day.

Also watch my video interviews with Max Levchin and David Sacks, on the GigaOM.TV website.