Business, Life

Outsourcing Life (or at least the stuff you hate to do)

Ever since reading Tim FerrisThe 4-Hour Work Week I’ve been intrigued by the idea of outsourcing projects to an overseas virtual assistant. However, like most people I was skeptical that it could be as easy and hassle free as Tim makes it sound.

I’ve been waiting for the perfect project to send to the other side of the world to test the concept.  A couple of weeks ago, just the right project was sitting on my to do list.  I had an hour long phone interview that I needed a transcription of.  This seemed like the perfect test for an overseas assistant so I started by contacting AskSunday, the folks that Tim endorses.  Unfortunately, they require you to sign up for one of their plans and wouldn’t just tackle a single project for me. 

After a little research on Google I found a company in India called Patodia Inc.  On their home page they say their "ultimate objective is ‘Client Satisfaction’ therefore, if
any client is dissatisfied with the work, Patodia Inc returns the
payment or doesn‚Äôt charge the client for the work done."  It seemed like I didn’t have much to lose, so I decided to give overseas outsourcing a try.

The owner Prakash Patodia was easy to reach.  He gave me a very reasonable quote via email, happily had a sample prepared for me and his team completed the final project to my satisfaction in less than 48 hours…at a fraction of the cost of what an American company would have charged for the same work.

The possibilities for utilizing this affordable workforce are limitless. In a recent post Seth Godin gave several examples of how a business could utilize oversees assistance to provide a better customer experience.

If you’ve got things you know would enhance your customer’s experience that you don’t enjoy doing or you would do if you "just had the time"…why not give Prakash a call…chances are he can help you.

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Adventure, Health, Life

Amy finishes her first half marathon

So this is a little off topic for my blog…but I’m really proud…and its my blog so I can do what I like.

My wife Amy just completed the Country Music Half Marathon in Nashville.  Six months ago she was watching PBS and saw a NOVA special about a group of non-athletes who trained for the Boston Marathon.  She was so inspired by this that she decided she wanted to run a marathon.

Amy started a training program and here we are less than six months later in Nashville.  She finished in 3 hours, 12 minutes.  This was 20 seconds per mile under her training pace!

Here’s a video of her crossing the finish line.¬† Needless to say I was in tears.

She’s got another half marathon planned in a few months in Colorado Springs and she’s already registered for the full marathon at the Rock and Roll Marathon in San Antonio in November.

I’m proud of you Amy!

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Business, Life

Why the New Apple TV could change EVERYTHING!

I just finished watching Steve Jobs’ Macworld 2008 Keynote.  In the address Steve announces the launch of movie rentals on the Apple TV.  I believe that Apple is about to do the same thing to TV with the Apple TV that they’ve done to radio with the iPod.

Apple_tvWhat excites most people about the new Apple TV (and why I think people will go out and buy one) is the addition of movie rentals.  Now, from the comfort of your living room, you can rent HD movies with 5.1 Digital Surround, watch HD TV shows on your own schedule (who needs a TiVo?), browse YouTube Videos…and of course listen to anything in your iTunes library. All of this for less than the cost of either a BluRay or HD DVD Player.  The Apple TV costs only $229 for the basic model that stores 50 hours of video (they also offer a $329 version that will store 200 hours).

So why does this change everything?  The feature that most people are overlooking but I believe is the most disruptive is the Apple TV’s video podcast access…in the living room…on the TV…in High Definition. What used to be the realm of 2 inch iPod screens is now going to be available in HD on your TV. This allows podcast producers around the world to compete directly with Broadcast/Cable/Satellite TV all at no cost to the end user.  For only the cost of a HD digital video camera and some basic video editing software anyone will be able create their own on demand HDTV channel and offer it to millions of people across the globe…right there next to the big boys. 

In the past high production costs and limited distribution channels meant well funded studios were
the only ones who could produce and distribute content…drastically reduced
production costs combined with global distribution over the internet have the potential to shift the power of content production to the masses…and that changes everything…just ask NBC.

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