How to Set Up a Company Blog

Following the launch of [Summer], my co-founders and I sat down to discuss our company blog – a place where we could post release notes, stories, tips, information about exciting startups, and anything else we would want to say to our amazing supporters.
 
Then we faced fundamental questions about setting up the blog – where and how we should do it?
 
Although I have basic knowledge of web development (as a Marketing guy), I felt that I wasn’t equipped enough to decide the best way to set up the blog. So I had to bug Oz, one of our engineers, to help me with it.
 
I also asked him to summarize the needed steps, so that all of you out there which are like me, could do it next time easily, and consider everything before you set one of your own:
 
The Requirements
 
  1. Customization – We wanted the blog to have the same look and feel as our website (and I expect you do too), which means the HTML and CSS need to be customized accordingly.
  2. Domain – One key issue was to have the blog on our own DNS, blog.getsummer.com.
  3. WYSIWYG (What you See Is What You Get) – In many cases (such as our own), the non-techies from the team might need to be the ones maintaining the blog and posts, so editing needed to be easy.

The Alternatives
 
  • WordPress.com – Theming at WordPress.com is hard, and regretfully not available in the free package.
  • Hosted WordPress – Again, theming is hard, and getting it hosted seems like a big headache.
  • Django Blog Engine – Since we are mostly a Django Shop, we considered using some of its existing engines, such as http://mezzanine.jupo.org/ but it turned to take too much work. Mezzanine can however be a great alternative if you want to control every little detail, and don’t mind getting your hands dirty.
  • Blogger – A valid option, however, Oz wasn’t pleased with the confusing template language (and we thought it best to avoid upsetting the engineer…).
  • Tumblr – Tumblr templating with HTML / CSS turned out be incredibly easy despite it being only one file to edit (which usually means it will be harder to maintain). Thanks to the simplicity of the Tumblr templating language, maintenance is actually quite simple. Tumblr also has an attractive admin interface that allows you to edit the template, setup Analytics, add a commenting system, and a custom domain. Although Tumblr’s WYSIWYG editor is probably not the best out there, it’s still good enough for our needs.

 

 
 
 
 
As you might have guessed, Tumblr won, and we started to implement the requirements (mentioned above).
 
Now, this is the important part (so pay attention and take notes!)
 
 
  1. Start off with the default theme since it’s pretty straight forward and easy to extend.
  2. If you are familiar with Mustache\Handlebars.js\Jinja2\Django templates it’s kinda similar, but without any real programmable logic. http://www.tumblr.com/docs/en/custom_themes is a great resource.
  3. Use {block:PermalinkPage}…{/block:PermalinkPage}where you want things that only appear on a post and not in the main feed.
  4. Add a few classes in the CSS to add predefined styles that you might want to incorporate into posts.
  5. Since the Tumblr editor doesn’t let you do much in the way of coloring or altering text, nor will it let you use thestyle=”..” attribute in your HTML – we use the class=”…” attribute and add these classes to the theme itself as a workaround.
  6. Analytics! – As a figures freak, I recommend never forgetting to track the visits to your blog.
  7. Simply add an Analtyics tracking code to the blog HTML (I recommend using a UA which is different from your website UA).
  8. DNS – Tumblr makes this pretty easy. Using your DNS provider’s admin interface, create a CNAME record calledblog.yourcompany.com and point it at domains.tumblr.com. Then, under Tumblr’s admin dashboard, check “Use a custom domain name” and enter “blog.yourcompany.com”. It will usually take around an hour for the DNS changes to propagate, so be patient.

 

 
If you find that you have the same blogging needs as we do, I recommend choosing Tumblr. It was surprisingly easy, and we are pleased with the results.
 
Visit our blog at blog.getsummer.com to see how it turned out – and as always, we welcome your feedback.
 
Tell us what you take into consideration while setting up your company blog, and how you chose the right platform for your needs.
 

 

Twizdom: How to Use Twitter for Daily Learning

Everyday, over 500 million users are on Twitter to connect with others, find out what’s trending, stalk their favorite celebs and air their dirty laundry… you know, the usual.
Up until recently, my daily Twitter routine consisted of just that, until I discovered Two Spanish Tweets.  Go figure, now there is a Twitter feed that teaches you Spanish!
After being inspired by my recent trip to Central and South America, I decided that I really wanted to learn Spanish. Upon discovering this feed, I realized that learning another language could be quick, easy, accessible and kinda trendy.
Everyone has things they would like to learn. Here are a few more Twitter feeds to turn your daily social media routine into a learning experience.
Spanish
Along with Two Spanish Tweets, there are two other accounts that are great for learning new words, sentences, and grammar tips (I recommend using all three).
Music
There are several websites for discovering new music, but rather than sift through articles about up and coming artists, I can find and listen to them them easily through quick links from NPR and The Line of Best Fit.
Math
I’ll admit this is an eccentricity of mine, and probably not for everyone. I see math as an endless journey, and there is always more to know. This PhD in mathematics shares some interesting and (mostly) understandable wisdom.
History
For adding a bit of flavor to your day, History Facts will inform you of interesting events that happened on the same date in previous years.
Random Facts
Not only is howstuffworks.com one of my favorite websites, but it’s one of the most fun Twitter accounts, with topics ranging anywhere from dance science to shark attacks.
Bonus! Amazing Soccer Stats
This is famous among soccer lovers (myself included), but on the off chance that you haven’t yet heard of it, it would be criminal not to share. Opta Sports gives incredible soccer facts, many of them are updated in real-time, making it the perfect feed to have handy as you watch a match.
@OptaJoe
By following these feeds, I’ve enriched not only my Twitter experience, but my general understanding of the world around me.
What are your thoughts? How have you benefitted from ‘twizdom’?
Let me know on @liordegani, Founder of SUMMER

Why I Founded [SUMMER]

On April this year, just around my birthday, me and my co-founders got the cheering message that we got into a Start-Up Accelerator program we applied to a short time before.
By that time our mobile app was running for a few months. We already knew most if its biggest problems, and had a pretty good understanding as to how to make it better and more successful.

So we decided to treat this news as a good sign from above. It was a time of new beginnings for us.
Our product was a location based, professional people discovery tool – So we set down and thought hard about the big problem we were trying to solve, and what it meant for us: What information do we want to discover about people, and more importantly, where can we discover such info?

We realized we discover people all the time, like everybody does, while wandering around the web – and the one thing missing for us is that information.
Although the web is packed with information, both social and contextual, getting the information in one piece, on-demand is almost impossible.
That’s where our long journey began (I guess around 3 weeks…):

Building an MVP that gives us the best information about (Professional) people we find interesting – and showing it to everyone we possibly could, which is a lot while being in an accelerator 🙂
This process was as if we were testing users, gathering feedback and A/B testing, trying to understand where exactly this product would fit, and to whom.  That might be one of the greatest parts of an accelerator – The fact that you’re surrounded by so many talented people, companies and mentors, every day, all day.

Time flew by, and we were trying 5 different products, all based on that simple but vital point – One place, On-demand, Meaningful data about people we find interesting.
Then, we got back to the first question we faced in the beginning of our journey – Where do we discover these interesting people? And the answer? that as well, was lying right in front of us, quietly, before: Everywhere we wander around the web. We are reading so much, everyday. We see names, wishing to expand our knowledge – but there is no way to do so.
So we thought – “No more copying and pasting, no more opening 10 tabs” – We’ll Summer it from now on (get it?).

Right away we started building Summer, an easy way to get information about people we read about online, within the page I’m in, with just one click. Not too long after (Thanks to Shlomi, our almighty CTO), we had our first version of Summer that recognized names wherever you are on the web and generate information about them, ready to release to our close circles.
Looking at it today, I have to admit that was an embarrassing version (Hey, but that’s the point isn’t it?).

The procedure went all over again, we got some great feedback (for real this time), worked hard on the user experience, and got to the day we wished for – Releasing our Beta, and publishing Summer to the Google Web Store.

This is a really exciting time for us, so I felt it would be a great chance to tell our personal story, and I’m sure it will become even more exciting as time passes.
 
It is also a great chance to introduce our amazing team:

@ohadfrankfurt @ShlomiBabluki @ozkatz100 and myself @liordegani

Check out Summer on the Google Web Store, on our Websitefacebook Page or Twitter.

We would love you to join our journey.

Mayer and Yahoo! – a Match Made in Heaven?

On July 24th 2000, the legendary football player Luis Figo shocked the world by moving from FC Barcelona to its rival club Real Madrid – Becoming the first “Galáctico” signing (in that era…).

These shocking moves are very rare and exciting in the football world, but they are even more exciting when they are happening the Technology world.

Few weeks ago, Marissa Mayer shocked the Technology world, leaving a high executive position at Google, becoming the CEO of Yahoo! .
Mayer, in deed a Galactico, held key roles in Google Search, Images, News, Maps, Gmail, and the list goes on – Which makes you wonder what will be the effect of her departure on Google, and even more – Where she will take Yahoo! .

Looking few similar moves, we can get some interesting insights:

Mark Hurd was the CEO, Chairman and President of Hewlett-Packardbetween the years 2005-2010, and was considered as a “Top Gun CEO”, getting HP revenues and stock rise high.
Few months after Hurd’s departure HP announced it would exit the Smartphone and Tablets Business (Remember that), and it contemplated making their PC division into a separate company.
Hurd in the meanwhile, became Oracle Co-President, which since then won a lawsuit against SAP, and acquired several big companies in a total amount of Billions of dollars.

And HP? They changed another CEO only few months later – Naming Meg Whitman as their new President CEO.
Meg, who have done an amazing job at eBay, (Taking the company from a $4 Million dollars company into a $8 Billion one), had a rough start at HP, when the company announcing a profit decline of 31% in the second quarter of 2012, with the growing popularity of Smartphones and Tablets. Remember?

As always, History teaches us any direction is optional – but i will take my stake: 
Marissa will take Yahoo! up high, making it much more social, implement strategies M&A, looking for new tech collaborations, and giving the company a much more engineering approach.

What do you think will be the end of this story?

Journalism is Dead

Journalism is Dead! Oh well, at least a major part of it.
Many believes Twitter or blogging in general won’t replace journalism. TC Columnist  Paul Carr once said:
 “While bloggers can own the first five minutes of any breaking story – a plane crash, a fire, a burglary – it’s always going to be the professional reporters who own the next five days, or five weeks.” 
And I must admit – He’s right. 
But while I’m not looking for an event’s full story on Twitter or a blog (perhaps the Criticism part of it) – 
I Am looking for the Real-Time journalism.

As a breaking story only lasts 5 minuets as Paul said, People reaction or response to any related to them lasts for good.

Getting the word of an Athlete, Singer or Politician was something an Interviewing Journalist might kill for.

“Just Tweeted about it”

That was exclusivity you were lucky to get as an interviewing media person, and something the “people” waited for, and had the patient to wait for hours or days.

I never finish an article about any famous (or less famous) person without reaching for his or her reaction.
sometimes I even want to hear his reaction regards the article itself…
And with over 32,000 verified accounts and Twitter (and hundreds of thousands of non verified) and hundreds of millions of total followers  – this mission just got so easier.

No more deceptive or partial information, no more delayed and irrelevant responses. 
Just a short tweet, which actually lasts much more than 5 minutes, days, weeks, or even months.

Have you ever thought how many Retweets Muhammad Ali would have received for Tweeting: “Float like a butterfly, sting like a bee”?

 

 

Red Devils! The Internet Version

World of Football (Soccer…) divided into two clear groups:
The ones which Man Utd is their life – and the ones who hates them so bad, they rather see them lose than their own team wins. You’ll never find anyone who sympathize the “Red Devils”…
I belong to the 2nd group.

The Internet “Red Devils” are Quora – Only in this case – I’m totally belong to the 1st group.
I find it so useful, helpful, and sometimes “just interesting”, so much that i condsiders Quora as if it’s my 2nd Search Engine. Actually, many times it’s the first.

But people, lots of people, hate it, or just don’t get it. What the hell is it good for?
They are not sure whether it is a Social Network, a “Smart” people platform, a community of experts, or just a simpel Q&A site.
I would say it’s a mix of all. A wonderful community where you can get answers so specific on a wide set of topics. And the top key is – First degree answers.

If you want to figure out what people think about a certain issue – that’s a great place to do so – people will share their personal knowledge, insights, and recommendations.
But it’s the only place you can get a direct, honest, and reliable response for almost anything:

One of many hard moments

What is it like to work for Bill Gates? Getting information on Foursquare’s future timeline from Dennis Crowley, or what does it feels like to be in an earthquake.

Quora is packed with the right features to maintain this incredible advantage – like a description mentioning why one answered the question, up voting to increase answer visibility, Answer wiki, making bad answers disappear, and anonymity.

The environment Quora gives – makes it “safe” for those people to respond and share.

There is one thing every soccer fan (both lovers and haters of Man Utd) will agree on – The Red devils are Winners. When they are about to lose – you know they will win.
Nobody knows how – They just do.

It might take some time, but The Internet Red Devils will become the ultimate winners.
And if you can’t beat them – you better vote them up…