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Thinking About Webinar Software

About a month ago I went in a quest to find the perfect webinar software. I create a spreadsheet and everything1.

But at CEX, I had a great conversation with Luria Petrucci of Live Stream Pros and I asked her, “What do you think is the best way to run a webinar?”

Now before I tell you what she said2, I want to tell you how I’ve been doing it:

  1. Create a new landing page in ConvertKit associated with the webinar
  2. Create the calendar invite, Thank You page, and reminder/follow-up emails manually.
  3. Create a new Live Stream on YouTube for the “webinar” link
  4. Use eCamm Live to run the webinar.

Now the things I like about this process:

  1. eCamm Live
  2. The fact that YouTube is free

I don’t like anything else, really. That’s why I was looking at other solutions.

OK OK but what did Luria say?

She said she likes Zoom.

Just plain old Zoom meetings, not even the “webinar” plan.


Because she likes the interaction. She likes that you can unmute people and have them participate. That you can see everyone.

It forms a better connection.

And you know what? Everyone knows Zoom.

Zoom creates a calendar invite.

You don’t need to set up a bunch of things.

So I’m in.

For my next few webinars, I’m using Zoom.

…it won’t be that simple though. I still want to use ConvertKit. Which means I need to automate.

I’m covering that for members, and adding it to my Automations Library soon.

  1. You can get it by becoming a member. ?
  2. In true YouTube fashion ?

Trying Out Due for Important Reminders

I’m experimenting with the Due app for iOS. What makes it interesting is the persistent reminders — which will repeat until you mark the task complete.

I started using it for crucial medications for my kids (usually amoxicillin, the miracle drug that apparently cures most common kid ailments), and decided to expand it to things I want to make sure I do.

I want to try to use it judiciously. Right now I have 3 task managers:

  1. Things 3 for projects and most business related tasks
  2. Reminders for most home/family relates tasks, shopping lists, and anything my wife and I need to share
  3. And now Due for nagging reminders.

We’ll see how it goes. If it works well for a limited set of tasks, I can see myself use it for forcing certain habits, like working out, writing, journaling, or anything else I really want to make sure I do.


Trying Out Ivory (and General Thoughts on Mastodon)

When I left Twitter last week, it wasn’t on a whim. I had been considering it for a long time…like middle of the pandemic long.

As people jumped ship from Twitter, Mastodon seemed to be the clear front-runner for replacing Twitter.

I’m hesitant at best, but Tapbots (from the makers of the incomparable Tweetbot), have put out a Mastodon client called Ivory, and I’ve decided to give it t try for a bit.

The app is really, really nice! It has most of the things I love about Tweetbot already, without the ridiculous API limitations that Twitter started to impose over the last 6-7 years.

Something especially nice is how it “consolidates” the Fediverse, abstracting away the server names from the usernames1.

One of the most frustrating interactions is that when you want to follow someone on a different server2, you need to copy their username and paste it into your server’s search.

If I keep using Mastodon, it will through this app. It’s big if though.

I Don’t Really Want to Replace Twitter

Part of the reason I left Twitter is how aggravating trends, tweets, and interactions were. That’s not a platform problem, that’s a people problem.

Jason Snell has pointed this out on Upgrade, and on Connected last week, Federico Viticci said there’s a faction of Mastodon users who are trying to make “people from the bird site” unwelcome3.

The point being, Mastodon doesn’t fix people. There will always be cowardly jerks who hide behind a keyboard, using social media to be mean because there are very few real consequences for them.

I spent years carefully curating what I saw I Twitter. It came crumbling down with the end of third-party apps and forcing the “Home” feed over the “Following” feed.

I don’t have the energy or the inclination to do that again on Mastodon.

I’m very happy interacting on LinkedIn, which feels like less of a firehouse, at least today, more of a place for honest to goodness helpful interactions.

  1. I once said Mastodon is like if you and your friends agree to go see a movie, and show up at different times and in different theaters. I stand by that. ?
  2. Something I didn’t even know you could do until my friend Brian told me ?
  3. He didn’t put it exactly like that, but that’s the impression I get. ?

Trying Out Reader by Readwise

You probably know by this point that I love apps and trying new tools. So even though I was pretty happy with Feedbin as my RSS service, earlier this month I went on an RSS service sojourn to Inoreader…mostly because of their support for syncing YouTube subscriptions.

I call it a sojourn because the same week I switched, I got invited to a private beta of Readwise’s long-awaited reading app, Reader.

The “Unseen Feeds” view

To call Reader an RSS service would be a gross understatement though. It’s a library for everything you read: RSS, PDFs, Emails, Tweets, and even ebooks (though definitely still prefer my Kindle Scribe for that).

YouTube video with transcript

It will also transcribe YouTube videos in-app.

All of this is in the service of being able to highlight, save, and tag anything you read. And I love it.

It’s still a beta app1, so it’s a little rough around the edges, but it’s such a fantastic experience that I’m confident in saying I’m all in.

Here’s what I like:

  • The ability to easily import basically anything I read, and highlight it
  • Tagging and organizing highlights
  • Creating views for the types of content I want to consume. I can, for example, create a “personal” and “business” view.
  • The daily digests so I don’t miss anything.
  • The app (especially swipes) is really customizable for a beta.
  • SO many keyboard shortcuts!

Here’s what I’d like to see improved:

  • Viewing emails is still a little rough. They (rightfully) focused on the text parser for easy highlights, but as a result, if I want to view a properly formatted email, I have to hope they include a web link2.
  • On a similar note, I’d like to access an email archive…which may actually be the case. Since I’m in the app for just over a week, I haven’t had much opportunity to see if all sent emails are archived.
  • The ability to sort feeds by source. This one is the biggest pain point for me. I usually end up marking all new articles from a source as read if I’m uninterested. I’d like to be able to glance at all new articles from a single source quickly.
  • In the iOS app, I want to be able to set the default behavior to opening links in Safari. Right now they open in the web viewer, and then I need to open them in Safari from there. I understand why — they want you to save articles in the app so you can highlight them — but one less step to open in-browser would be great.

Ultimately, I love how polished Reader is for a freshly-minted public beta. The team is super responsive, the iterations are super fast.

Highlights from Cocktails with Suderman

I can’t wait to see where this app is in 2-3 months.

  1. It just entered public beta. Join here ?
  2. Thankfully, most do. ?
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Considering a Different Calendar App

My long-time favorite calendar app1, Fantastic, is raising its prices come January from $40/year to $60/year.

Now, $40/year is already steep for a calendar app, but I love their natural language processor, the calendar sets, the 2-week view, and the widgets.

I’ve also defended charging for good software. But $60/year feels like they are trying to move into a new type of customer. For example, they’ve added scheduling features that are supposed to compete with Calendly (but definitely don’t).

All of this is to say, unless they reverse course, come March, I’ll be using a new calendar app2.

My requirements are probably more than what most people need, which is why I’ve happily paid for Fantastical these past several years. They:

  1. Natural language input
  2. Calendar sets, or an easy way to display specific calendars
  3. Focus mode support
  4. Widgets on iOS

A 2-week view would be very nice to have, but I can live without it.

The apps I’m going to try out are:

  1. Apple’s native Calendar app, though Calendar Sets are a bit of a must-have for me
  2. BusyCal, which I’ve tried and didn’t like
  3. Outlook, which I’ve heard great things about.

If you’re a macOS/iOS user and have a calendar app you love, sound off in the comments. I’m game for pretty much anything right now.

  1. Well, their parent company, Flexibits ?
  2. The caveat here is if they create a plan without scheduling, OR if they make their schedule an actual Calendly competitor. ?

On Buying Jeans and App Subscriptions

It seems that increasingly, more software companies are moving to a subscription model, where instead of paying once to own the software (or app), you pay monthly, or annually, to keep using it at the latest features. Adobe was perhaps one of the first major companies to do it with Creative Cloud. Now we see it in WordPress plugins, and increasingly, iOS apps. Fantastical did it this year, and this week Deliveries announced they are moving to subscription.

But before I tell you why this is a good thing, I want to tell you about buying jeans.

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Build Your Website Toolkit Cheaply on Black Friday

Black Friday, Cyber Monday, and apparently the weeks before and after, nowadays, are a great time for you to pick up TVs, Appliances, and…software? Indeed, lots of online companies offer great deals (some even lifetime) around Black Friday. This can be very good for your business. Here’s a great toolkit you can make for cheap, thanks to Black Friday deals.

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Thoughts on Buffer Pro after 1 Month

Moving into 2017 I knew I needed to do more to increase engagement on social media for both WP in One Month & How I Built It. Simply promoting isn’t a great strategy; while I convert most listeners and students through my personal Twitter, I want change that. I tried doing it manually for a while, but it was too time consuming. After toying with the idea, I decided to upgrade to Buffer Pro for a year to see if it would help me while also saving time. About a month in, I have some thoughts.

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Solve Actual Problems

Imagine you are taking a test. You are presented with several word problems and are instructed to pick one to solve. Instead what you do is write your own problem – one that you think is a good one to solve, and answer that one. You’re so confident that the teacher will be impressed because you thought of it and you love it and you think it’s a great solution. But when you get the test back, it has a big red F on it. How could that be? Your solution is sound and well thought out. You were invested in it! The teacher explains that while the solution seems like a good one, you didn’t solve any of the problems he asked you to solve. You made up your own based on what you believe. This is a bad way to take tests. But this happens all the time with new products or services. I will come up with an idea I think is great, sink time and money into it, and ultimately it will fail. The reason is I’m trying to solve problems people don’t think they have. The key to a successful product or service is to solve actual problems.

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My Everyday Things, Part 1: Workflow

Recently I started following Everyday Carry, a blog dedicated to showcasing the items that people must have on an everyday basis. I decided that in an effort to blog more, I would do a short, 3 part series on the stuff I use everyday. The series will be broken up into 3 parts: today’s installment is Workflow, then Carry/Misc, then Home Setup. Let’s jump in!

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