Such end! And moving on…

A few days ago we cleared out the place and closed the door. Other than the scavengers for cheap stuff not much people really cared or noticed apparently. A few came by but from what they said they were more concerned for themselves having to find a new meeting place than that they actually cared about WifiTea or what would happen next.

All the more reason to remove those people from our lives – Or at least mine. I’m a bit sensitive for such things I’ve discovered ๐Ÿ™‚
So, here is the final shot of the building. We earned a bunch of euros from the inventory and furniture. Which goes into paying the remainder of the rent and bank loan. And that’s the end of it.

wifitea-end

Moving on, we made a announcement to the hotel owner inquiring about room availability for October. So that’s going to happen. According to the hotel we want to stay at at first there will be rooms available. So we can book our tickets for October this year. yay o/.

Check out the place here. I’ll be posting some pics and stuff once I get there ๐Ÿ™‚ Maybe even film it. I’ve got my shoulder mount for my camera after-all. Who knows.

2 weeks till the end

final-sale
Sometime last week a bunch of people came in to announce they had just rented the place, starting next month if it were up to them. The next day or so our landlord came by and told us pretty much the same, but not after trying to have us pay rent for the new renters for a month or two… Yea, that didn’t happen.

But, we did agree to finish things up around March 1. Which means the end is in sight. As you can see in the picture above we put up a ton of signs announcing our final sale. Somehow the works “Laatste (Last) week” attracts even more cheapskates. And they all buy something, yay! We’ve never made so much money with the damn business.

More importantly though, moving to the Philippines is becoming a near-future event now.
Maybe sometime around September / October. Instead of March next year ๐Ÿ™‚

Manage your financials

PiggybankWhen moving to another country with the intention of never going back a number of things will change for you regarding how you manage your money. Especially if you have an income stream and accounts with payment processors. The main obstacle you’ll find, or as I found, was to find a bank which will have you as their customer.
Many local banks simply do not offer the flexibility or products that a traveller needs. I did a bunch of research and had a financial advisor take a look at the options.

This page outlines my findings and some things I’ve learned on how to manage your income stream.

I hate this weather and closing up shop

Wind, wind, rain, more wind, f*cking rain, more wind and endless grey sky for weeks.
It makes me sad.

dutch-weather

That’s no way to start the new year… Or is it.

Anyway, today we did the latest sum on income and it gets more depressing every day. So we decided to push the closing date up 1 month.
We’re closing our business on February 1st. Huzzah! That means just over 2 weeks of ‘work’. Before we can start selling off assets and convince the bank that we are going to continue to pay off our loan.

We’ll be making and updating an inventory with prices for everything we want to get rid off and will start selling the big items such as tables, chairs and the coffeemaker in February. Like a huge garage sale – Except not from a garage.

So, you want 55 chairs? A dining table perhaps? Or a laser color printer? Get in touch if you’re in the Amsterdam area ๐Ÿ™‚

Once that mess has been cleared up we can focus more on moving to the philippines and getting some things done. Like save up a bunch of money. Buy the first travel supplies. Buy a new passport, that sort of stuff. ๐Ÿ™‚

Trying to figure out money management

bankIn the hellish financial world it turns out that you can’t just pack up and move to a new country and carry on.
Why would people be able to do that? That’s way too logical and simple. It makes no sense at all.

So, I called my bank – Or rather, I had them call me. Asked about the Expat Services they offer on their site and they had no clue what that even meant. Right now I’m kinda shopping around for a bank that will handle my ‘boatloads’ of money. Which is not as easy as it should be.

Read more about my findings on how to manage your financials while travelling here.

A wedge to give an edge

caught-youWhat happens when products are divided in a free (lite) version and a premium paid version. They are pushed apart to give people a clear picture of what makes it worth to buy the premium version. Want more features? Buy Premium. Want faster or more involved customer support? Buy premium. The free version becomes a tool to sell copies of the premium version and things are generally good. But a fine balance of which feature goes in which product must be maintained.

Development continues and ever so slightly the free and premium products drift closer and closer together. To a point where they’re not all that different anymore…
That’s where AdRotate for WordPress is at now I think. AdRotate has sort of lost it’s balance and it killed the momentum of the past few months.

Over the past year or so AdRotate Pro was quite different from the free version and offered a lot of extras. More recently some essential features got added or redone to make both plugins better but it also caused the 2 plugins to get on equal footing. That’s not to say that AdRotate Pro offers nothing over the free version. But the gap has shrunk a bit.

Time to refocus and wedge them further apart. Bring the edge back.

If you’re curious what may be added to AdRotate check out the AdRotate website or in particular the Development page.

Reset my focus

I’ve sort of decided, like I did a few years ago, to detach from the wordpress.org forums.
Why? I’ve noticed that ever since I started listening to the larger part of the community that uses AdRotate my focus has been blurred and motivation and energy has been drained. A telltale sign that things are headed the wrong way and a change, or reset rather, is needed.

TL;DR

I’m going to bring back the edge AdRotate Pro needs to have. Add interesting features to bring back said edge. Multiple extensive features are planned or being added soon. Follow the development page for more information. Ignore external input a bit more to regain focus and energy.

Responsive stuff is a bitch!

responsive-web-designOver the past days I’ve been working nearly 12 hours a day to test, troubleshoot, tweak and optimize AdRotate to make responsive ads work better. Better group output, better CSS output, fixing some bugs along the way. I’m getting tired of this nonsense. The code is good, why can’t it just work… It’s so tedious.
Lots of people provide good feedback now – Where were you before, when I asked for testers? – Oh yea, 2 reported in, took the beta and disappeared…

Anyway, I can actually make some progress to improve groups and blocks quite a bit. Which is good. But it’s slow, and every few hours someone else chimes in with yet another thingy his theme screws up. Or whatever plugin appears to interfere. A whole bunch of you simply do it wrong. Which is to be expected. It’s not all my fault – yay! But it takes so long to figure stuff out on a per person basis. I’m loosing focus a lot too, making it a slow progress. ๐Ÿ™
Hopefully I can finish this up by the end of the week… Get back to my preferred pace.

The person who invented responsive design should be punched in the shin!

There I said it! Get hurt!

Stop ruining the market!

118-1-thumblgEarlier this week I apparently received an email from some guy – I had to search far and deep in my spam box.
I did find it though, and I had decided it was spam based on 2 words; “India” and “developer”.

Today they had the audacity to call me on the phone – Keep in mind, I don’t have a business phone.
My phone number is listed nowhere on my site and the only means to easily contact me is Email, Twitter or Skype. But of all things they figured out how to call me on the phone.

For the first 10 seconds I was trying to figure out what the hell was going on with the line because the signal was so bad. But they wanted to help me with my clients.
If I would be so kind to share my user database so they could fix up sites and develop mobile apps. Never heard of client privacy? Geez…

Then the guy continued to press on, claiming he did in fact deliver quality software and that he was awesome at what he did and that I couldn’t go on without his services because he would create great and awesome mobile apps for my clients.

Fine, I don’t care! Developing full apps for โ‚ฌ13 an hour in under a day is a sham! Go away and don’t talk to me again, ever!

He also tried to convince me of his worth by not listening at all to what I had to say so I repeatedly had to cut him off telling him I didn’t want him calling me and that I didn’t need him or his services. He simply didn’t understand. No wonder, his english was so bad. Typical…

That’s right, I’m a bit prejudiced. And with good reason.

Who am I talking about?

Russians, Pakistani, Indians? (People from India) and people from some other countries in that region are ruining the market of web and software development.
Also a lot of them are housed in Eastern Europe.

Why does that affect me and you?

Well, other than them bothering me on the phone and via email, where do I start… ๐Ÿ™
All the below examples I’ve seen time and time again over the past 2-3 years.

1. People who have used those noobs are often ripped off, so they won’t easily trust another developer (me). I have to work really hard to earn the trust of such a customer.

Client: The other guy said he’ll do it for $500! But he took our money and never came back online.
Me: Very unfortunate. But I’ll need at least a partial payment upfront – That’s a risk you’re going to have to take.
Client: Right, but how do I know if I can trust you.

2. Compared to those low-income countries, my prices seem through the roof. Their living standards are so low that they can live of a $10/hr wage, that simply won’t work in developed countries.

Me: That’ll cost โ‚ฌ90, assuming 2 hours. It’ll probably take a bit less time and if so you’re billed less of course.
Client: Too expensive for me. This Russian guy does it for $25.

3. Some people haven’t found out yet it’s a big sham over there. So they say I’m too expensive and go to the cheap guys.
Sometimes, a month or so later they come back, $300 out of pocket because of reason #1 and I’m stuck with the mess the other dev left in his wake.

Me: That’ll be $325.
Client: The other guy can do it for $75! I’ll use him.

One month later

Client: He ripped me off for $200 now my budget is in half, can you still do it?
Me: Sure, but not for $200 if you want quality.

And then there is the poor english and annoying usage of useless words.
If I got a Euro for every time they say “Kindly provide…”, “kindly tell me…” or other such nonsense I’d be rich.
I know they’re just trying to be polite, but it’s stupid.

What to do about it?

Stop using such developers.
Stop using their software, plugins, themes, anything.
Stop shying away from spending a bit more money.

And until they shape up and get equal with the rest of the world they’re not worth your attention or money!

Such accusations

Yea one of those days again I guess. This is a special kind of idiot – Worth a mockery or 2.
I’m not sure what kind of grudge this guy has but for the sake of decency I won’t name him. Actually I don’t have to anonymize much, as this guy is too lame to even use his name in emails. Or any salutation of that matter.

From my contact form – Yesterday;

Subject: I want to buy your install service

I want to have you login to my wordpress and set up a very simple ad
display. How much in US dollars in the small service? I do not use PayPal.
How do you accept payment?

Allright, looks like business as usual. So after a few hours I reply;

Thanks for your interest in my services.
You can convert the prices on sites like www.xe.com.

Payments go mainly via Paypal, if you choose Paypal Express you can use your credit card without an account.

To which he replies;

My site is http://www.example.com/
I would like the ads to look something like this site http://example2.com/

Could you login and do this pretty quickly?

Quickly followed by:

Do you expect payment upfront?

Well of course, so this morning in good spirits I replied;

Indeed you need to pick a service first – http://www.adrotateplugin.com/installations/

I took a look at both sites, theyโ€™re vastly different. Youโ€™re gonna be a bit more specific about where the ads should show up.
This can be discussed in the setup ticket youโ€™ll get after you bought a installation package.

So far so good. But it turns ugly now –
He replies in 2 separate emails:

what idiot would pay a stranger in Europe before the job is done, good luck on that one

and;

yeah, they are vastly different because I do not have AdRotate yet, they are both WordPress, however, and if you think they are vastly different then you are a scam artist

Erm, ok… Misunderstanding perhaps? But feeling attacked I reply;

What is that even supposed to mean –

If you buy something form Amazon or Ebay or any online service you also pay a stranger.

The sites use very different themes, so of course they are different and can not be copied.
Why does asking for more specific information make me [a] scam artistโ€ฆ That makes no sense at all.

Perhaps you should find some other developer who will put up with your nonsense.

Within minutes I receive this reply:

you are a service, not a physical good bought on Amazon, no one in their right mind would engage an anonymous creepy web developer, pay them first, and hope for the bets, wake up

Suddenly I’m creepy… The plot thickens.

My last futile attempt to salvage this thing;

At least the creepy developer knows how to behave in emails.
Luckily I have many happy and satisfied customers from all over the world.

If you do not wish to do business with me thatโ€™s fine. Good luck with installing AdRotate on your own!
I do not wish to receive further emails from you unless you want me to help you out with AdRotate in a decent manner.

But alas, nothing to salvage ๐Ÿ™
The guy makes up some more stupid accusations and I decide to leave it at that.

You guys in tech are in left field, in a bubble, you have no clue about customer service yet you run a customer service business,

What a waste of time. Slightly amusing though, thinking back on it. ๐Ÿ˜‰

Customers are awesome!

ApprovedRecently I had a realisation – And I think it’s suiting to close the year writing about it.
Making popular products creates a lot of changes in ones life. Once the user base passes 100000 users the awesome power I have over the internet starts to dawn… One update and I can delete/ruin/change up to 100000 websites ;).
But also, one update and thousands of people will be happy with the new features or bug fixes I bring to their sites. That’s right.

Suddenly there are days I don’t have time to work on my products because there is too much email and forum posts. Support tickets, more email. People on Skype, thinking they have exclusive rights to my time. Emails, Twitter and more emails.

And after a while of that, the difference in numbers becomes even more apparent.

There are so many of you, and only one of me.

That’s fun and all, selling software and services online. Nearly 2000 paying customers in some form or another and a whole lot more users of my free products over the last 12 months. Great. Hundreds of downloads everyday. Better yet, several sales every day. And then the true meaning sinks in;

My products are awesome!

Of course I’m talking about AdRotate for WordPress and all it’s related services. Of course I’m talking about OmniCard for WooCommerce. And of course I’m talking about you.

My customers are also awesome!

Yes, that may be you!

Let’s see what 2014 brings…