Transcript of the live chat session that took place Thursday, October 29, 1998. These sessions are normally scheduled for 12 noon-1 PM Eastern Time every Thursday. Please note that the US is now on Standard Time. So in international terms, we are on at GMT -5.
These sessions are hosted by Richard Seltzer. If you would like to receive email reminders of our chat sessions, simply send a blank email message to email@example.com or go to http://groups.yahoo.com/group/businessonthewebchats and sign up there.
For transcripts of previous sessions and a list of future topics, click here .
For an article on how to make "business chat" work (based on this experience), click here .
Since the chat itself happens at a rapid pace, it's often difficult to note interesting facts in particular URLs as they appear on-line. Here's a place to take a more leisurely look. I've rearranged some of the pieces to try to capture the various threads of discussion (which sometimes get lost in the rush of live chat).
Please send email with your follow-on questions and comments, and suggestions for topics we should focus on in future sessions. So long as the volume of email responses is manageable, I'll post the most pertinent ones here for all to see.
Richard Seltzer -- All -- as you connect, please introduce yourselves and let us know your interests. That will help us get started quickly.
Bob Zwick -- Hello everyone, I'm Bob and independent consultant (11yrs.) in the Dallas Texas area.
Miki Dzugan -- Hello. This is Miki Dzugan, Internet marketing consultant for about three years under the business name of MarkNETing. Geographic location, St. Paul Minnesota.
Richard Seltzer -- Welcome, Tom Dadakis. Haven't "seen" you for a while. How are things going? What projects are you involved in now?
Tom Dadakis -- Hi my name is Tom Dadakis and have been commenting to Richard's chat's for 2 years now. Richard, sorry to here about your present circumstances but look at it as an opportunity. I too recently got caught by the Asian flu on Wall St and saw my whole dept slowly get eliminated. While I have worked as a consultant/contractor, I found that I spent a third of the time looking for new assignments for which there was no compensation. I recently secured another webmaster position. Most of my search was conducted online but this one came the old fashion way with a twist, a print classified found at careerpath.
Richard Seltzer -- Tom -- Interesting. Who is your new employer? What's the URL? Are you still in the New York area?
Richard Seltzer -- Welcome, Bob, Terry, and Barbara. Please introduce yourselves and let us know your interests.
Barbara -- Hi, my name is Barbara Hartley Seltzer and I'm a lurker, just listening for interesting information.
Tom Dadakis -- Yes still in NYC for a law firm.
Richard Seltzer -- Terry -- You sent me an email that mentioned an organization called "Maple Leaf." Can you explain what that is and what you do?
Bob Fleischer -- Bob Fleischer here. I'm a software engineer working in Systems Integration, mostly Internet applications, at Compaq (in the part formerly Digital). I'm not currently looking for a position, but it never hurts to know what the job market is like, especially since Compaq isn't done yet with "efficiency moves". I must admit, I've never worked independently and the thought scares me a bit. On the other hand, when I think back over more than two decades of frustration working in huge organizations, perhaps it isn't THAT scary!
Richard Seltzer -- Bob Fleischer -- I hope things work out well for you there. In my case, after about six months of limbo, it was probably more of a relief to get the package, and with 39-weeks severance, if I ever wanted to leap into independence, this is probably the time. I'd expect, though, that your skills must be in high demand at Compaq today -- they seem to value the services business, and Internet must be a pretty big chunk of that by now.
Carol Snyder -- Hi, Carol J. Snyder, snyderinfo, specializing in information web sites. Also webmaster of Boston Internet SIG.
Richard Seltzer -- All, the main motivation behind my having chosen the topic of "finding jobs and consulting work" is my own status -- off on my own now, after 19 years with Digital/Compaq. Based on the advice I've been getting here and by email, I put together a business description (trying to "package" and market the stuff that I've been used to doing for free). It's at http://www.samizdat.com/consult.html Suggestions/critiques welcome.
Richard Seltzer -- I'm looking at writing, speaking, and consulting as interrelated activities. I believe that experience and reputation in the one area should help promote business in the others. In the writing area, I do have my first "success" as an independent. I'll be writing a book for consumers about Internet shopping for Macmillan. My deadline is January 4. Naturally, I'm hoping to get advice and pointers by way of future chat sessions. If
you have thoughts about Internet shopping (as a consumer or as a vendor), please send me email firstname.lastname@example.org Richard Seltzer -- Realistically, until Jan. 4, I'm figuring I'll have to devote 4-5 days per week to the book, leaving me with just -2 days per week, plus all the many hours between 2 AM and 3 AM to do "consulting" work. So I'm looking for a few good customers to get started slowly, and build experience in this strange new "independent" role.
Here's the first part of Kaye's message: 1. By far some of the best
job search sites are (not surprisingly) local sources. Check local chapters/web
sites of national associations
like IABC (International Association of Business Communicators), PRSA (Public Relations Society of America), and specialized industry associations like NALFMA (National Association of Law Firm Marketing
Administrators) or AAM (Association for Accounting Marketing). In New York just today I was pointed to what may be the very best resource I have yet found...it's called Siliconalleyjobs.com (http://www.siliconalleyjobs.com) SUPER resource, and the recruiters who were linked into it each had an impressive number of relevant job listings.
Here's the second part of Kaye's message: 2. Software. I downloaded
a very neat little free program months ago to check how it worked and just
fell in love with it with its perky little personality. It's called "Wanted
Jobs", a Ziff-Davis product. (http://www.wantedjobs.com)
You can structure a variety of key-word searches (depending on various
talents you may have) and just run the search whenever you want. The software
goes out and grabs the jobs that match your criteria from ALL the big job
posting sites on the
web...Monster Board, etc. The only caution I would give is that I am in New York, and could easily work in CT or NJ as well. I learned not to put all the locations in after the first search. If you put a location in, it tends to give you a LOT of extraneous jobs just because they have the location state in it. Maybe I'm just not using it properly, though! :)
Here's the third part of Kaye's message: 3. Personal Assistants. I have
come across several relevant sites that have personal assistants, and I
have to agree with the person who said
it's the only way to go! Here are some:
Ron Rothenberg -- URL for
Ziff-Davis' Jobs Wanted 98 - http://www.zdnet.com/swlib/toolkits/findfast/jobs.html
Richard Seltzer -- Carol -- Do you know if there's an entry fee to go to that IT Consultants Expo?
Carol Snyder -- ITCC Conference-- FREE for 1 day pass to conf.
and expo for Nov. 19 IF send your resume
Otherwise, $100 BEFORE 10/31 and $165 after that Contract Professional is a good magazine
Ron Rothenberg -- Contract Professional Magazine - Walnut Street (either 125 or 145) Watertown, MA 02472 - http://www.cpuniverse.com/ - they have a mailing list, too.
Ron Rothenberg -- very useful magazine.
Richard Seltzer -- Ron -- neat idea. It's also an organization of pros...
Richard Seltzer -- Ron -- Do you know of particular conventions and conferences that do that well? Any in New England?
Ron Rothenberg -- there are a few internet/computer conferences coming up -- in mid-november and early december - I will check the web sites of the major conference sites -- DCI and IDG
Ron Rothenberg -- Sales Force Automation Conference - Boston - Dec 1-3 - DCI
Ron Rothenberg -- Microsoft Explorer Conference - Microsoft - Dec 1-3
Ron Rothenberg -- Internet Commerce Expo (ICE) - Boston March 22-25, 1999 - http://www.idg.com/products/events/
Ron Rothenberg -- Speaker's Bureaus - http://www.altavista.com/cgi-bin/query?pg=q&kl=XX&q=%22speaker*+bureau%22
Richard Seltzer -- Ron -- Yes, I need to try the speaker's bureau route. But I've been holding off on making those contacts until I have a good videotape of me presenting. I'm still waiting for one to arrive from Buenos Aires, where I spoke in September.
Bob Zwick -- Richard - keep in mind that the area of your expertise (Internet) is a topic that is affecting every aspect of life in the US. Don't limit your search for speaking engagements to High Tech events or corporations. Every industry, govt. agency, and small bussiness association can benefit from a tactfully targeted message on your topic.
Richard Seltzer -- Bob -- Interesting thought. I suspect that my best leverage into the non-high-tech world would be by way of a successful book. Let's hope my Internet shopping book turns out to be a winner. (The publisher plans to rush it through production. So I wouldn't be surprised if printed copies were available within a month of when I finish writing.)
Ron Rothenberg -- Amcity Publications (Boston Business Journal and 100s of other city business journals) sponsor local business conferences and are frequently looking for speakers. in Boston, the conference is co-sponsored by WBZ-AM Radio.
Carol Snyder -- You might want to look at Ed Taylor's Internet Marketing web site and find out about his "subscription" based email list (I think it's http://www.edtaylor.com (He was at the Small Business Expo in Boston last month)
Richard Seltzer -- Ron -- thanks for the good pointers. Thinking of conferences and your long-time involvement with real estate, I was contacted a while back about possibly speaking at the National Association of Buyers' Agents. Actually, they had me on the agenda to speak this fall, but neglected to tell me :-( Now I'm wondering about speaking at their next event, I believe in Feb. in Las Vegas. I don't get replies to my email, and am afraid that once again someone may have dropped the ball.
Ron Rothenberg -- i think it is still open - will speak to tom early later.
Tom Dadakis -- You know Richard, your skill in conducting or training others in how to conduct an online chat is something you should promote. In my previous gig as a web manager for a training dept; I would often point to your guide on conducting online chats. Maybe this could be another line of your consulting. Also theplace.com and contigo.com were looking for experienced moderators.
Richard Seltzer -- Tom -- Thanks for the chat-related pointers. I'll check their sites. One of the pieces I mention in my business description includes chat host and webcast host/interviewer.
Ron Rothenberg -- I have run mailing lists for conferences, trade associations and consumers, Tom
Bob Zwick -- Tom - my experiences with mailing lists have been with announcements, not marketing. Even there, it has been taxing to say the least. New anti-spam server software, disgruntled recipients ( who forgot they signed up), et al make it frustrating if not dangerous. There are outsourcing companies that do a respectable job (NOT SPAM) that I would recommend using.
Tom Dadakis -- Ron-re:emailing lists Did you find it like publishing a print newsletter, always looking for something to write about?
Ron Rothenberg -- no - as moderator of the mailng lists, much of what i wrote was reactive to questions and discussions by the list members. Ocassionally, I'd post an original article to start a new thread.
Richard Seltzer -- Tom -- How large a list are you talking about? If it's in the order of hundreds rather than thousands of recipients, it's relatively easy to just keep a distribution list as a text file and edit it by hand. You can send out some provocative messages to start discussion, have people email to you and then resend to the group the ones that feel right. That takes no software, but it could cost you about two hours a day (if it's a daily mailing). Doing it by hand, and only entering names on request helps you avoid any appearance of spamming. I've done that kind of thing for years, both inside Digital (when I was there) and on the public Internet.
Richard Seltzer -- Tom -- I, irrationally, dislike automatic mail distribution systems. I prefer the personal touch, even though it is time-consuming. I also prefer a moderated approach (with all the messages going through the editor/moderator) rather than anybody posting to anybody, which leads to lots of unnecessary email messages.
Ron Rothenberg -- By subscription is essential for lists. The largest list i have is 1200 people, but most are a few hundred people.
Richard Seltzer -- Tom -- The chat reminder list I have this this program now numbers about 450. At one point I had a list of 10,000 plus for my newsletter Internet-on-a-Disk. But that was simply getting out of control. I didn't have time to manage the list properly, and eventually I opted to focus on the Web and stop the email distribution, except for a small handful of people who really preferred getting it that way and were willing to pay a $10 setup fee.
Ron Rothenberg -- Tom - yes, majordomo is my favorite.
Tom Dadakis -- Ron-email
lists: I take it that you moderate a listserv/majordomo group.
Richard-emailing lists: I agree that a couple of hundred could be managed from a distribution list in the email program. What I was thinking about was using an email list as a marketing tool, similar to the one Dr. Ralph Wilson does or Seidman's Online letter. How much work is it to develop the content.
Richard Seltzer -- Tom -- Sounds like what you are really talking
about is an on-line publication, to be available over the Web as well as
distributed by email to those who request it. Posted lots of good content
on the Web and making sure it is well indexed is my favorite way of driving
traffic to a Web site.
Regarding content, you should try to get as much content as possible from your audience -- having them submit their contributions/comments etc. Maybe use chat or forum to gather raw content, then edit and polish the best for inclusion in your "publication". But if writing isn't something that comes naturally to you, you may well want to pay a writer (like myself :-) for regular contributions -- the kinds of contributions that are likely to generate interest and reactions.
Richard Seltzer -- Miki -- Sound like a good idea from the consultants' point of view (and I'd like to know of any such effort in the Boston area). But I wonder about it from the client side -- getting readership could be very difficult.
Bob Zwick -- Miki - I have the beginnings of a Consultants Coalition Web Page at http://www.cottagemicro.com/consult/ It's in the early stages and I am still looking for a few reliable consultants to partner with.
Miki Dzugan -- Bob, I will take a look at your page. The consultants I am partnering with so far are very experienced in the area of business strategic planning and corporate change. Our idea is to keep our group small and targeted at decision-makers.
Tom Dadakis -- Got to sign off. Tom Dadakis email@example.com
Richard Seltzer -- All, next week I have to attend a conference -- actually it's a future mapping session with Northeast Consulting here in Boston, dealing with E-Commerce, what it's likely to be like five years from now and how to get from here to there. So we'll skip next Thursday, and return to chat again on Thursday November 12. At that point, I'd like to start talking about various aspects of on-line shopping. Does that topic interest you folks, or do you have other suggestions?
Carol Snyder -- Yes, on-line shopping sounds like a great topic--especially
just in time for the holidays. :-)
Miki Dzugan -- Thank you for this opportunity to network with others, Richard. I really appreciate it. Bye to all, now.
Barbara -- Thanks again for an interesting discussion. Bye.
Richard Seltzer -- All -- before signing off please post your email and URL addresses (don't presume that the software captured that). Thanks again for joining us. Please come back in two weeks for the Internet shopping discussion -- Nov. 12, and please spread the word.
Carol Snyder -- firstname.lastname@example.org, http://www.snyderinfo.com
snyderinfo (Internet Consulting*Web Design)
Ron Rothenberg Ron Rothenberg, CFP, Homebase@world.std.com, Belmont, MA
Bob Fleischer -- Bob Fleischer, Robert.Fleischer@compaq.com (but friends can still send me mail at email@example.com!) http://www.tiac.net/users/rjf/
Previous transcripts and schedule of upcoming chats -- www.samizdat.com/chat.html
To connect to the chat room, go to www.samizdat.com/chat-intro.html
The full text of Richard Seltzer's books The Social Web, Take Charge of Your Web Site, Shop Online the Lazy Way, and The Way of the Web, plus more than a hundred related articles are available on CD ROM My Internet: a Personal View of Internet Business Opportunities.
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