<!–:en–>Interview with Companisto GmbH<!–:–><!–:de–>Interview mit Companisto GmbH<!–:–><!–:ru–>Интервью с Companisto GmbH (Russian)<!–:–><!–:ro–>Interviu cu Companisto GmbH<!–:–>

Companisto is the fastest-growing crowd investing platform in Europe. English-Team had the opportunity to talk to Kai Lehmann, Head of Communications at Companisto GmbH.

English-Team:The name Companisto is an interesting invented word. I assume that it is based on the English word “company”?

Companisto:Exactly. On the one hand it reminds us of company, on the other, of companion – because the micro investors who invest in startups – we call them Companisten – certainly become an active part of startups. Not only do they guarantee investment, they are also on hand for input and get involved as supporters of the company, for example in the comment section on the Companisto platform.

Companisto is a crowd investing platform where startup businesses only have one contractual partner, namely Companisto.

English-Team:
What advantages does Companisto have over other portals such as Seedmatch.de?

Companisto:

An overview of Companisto’s advantages and innovations:

  • No minimum investment amount: Everyone can participate
  • Investors benefit in addition to profit sharing, in particular if the startup is also sold (exit proceeds)
  • Longer contract periods to protect investors: For this reason profit participation has good initial prospects
  • Companisto is VC compatible: In contrast to other providers, Companisto Crowd Investing has been tailored specifically to the needs of major investors
  • There are no high minimum investment amounts at Companisto. Investments are possible from as little as 5.00 euros. This is worth it even for instant startups as the bigger the fan base, the more successful the business is. As a result, with the Companisto model there are no administrative costs for the startup. In this respect it makes no difference whether 200 or 2000 investors participate because in any case, the startup has only one single contractual partner with Companisto.

Startups gain “true” multipliers. Companisto also enables young, web-minded, well-connected people to be involved in startups. It is exactly these people, well acquainted with social networking, who are the ideal multipliers. They provide a valuable contribution to the success of startups by their strong communication behavior. Due to the high minimum investment amounts of other providers, this target group has up to now been completely excluded from investing in startups – to the detriment of startups.

Companisto´s participation model has been specifically designed in consultation with venture capital companies so that nothing stands in the way of follow-on investment by VC companies or angel investors after crowd investing at Companisto.

You have already said that the decisive difference from all other crowd investing models is that at Companisto the startup only enters into one contract: Companisto is its only contractual partner. In contrast, micro investors have exclusive contracts with Companisto. This contractual bundling of micro investors by Companisto has enormous benefits for startups.

Due to investor bundling the funded businesses have no administrative costs. Startups therefore only have to make one tax declaration at the end of the year, since Companisto is only a silent partner. However with other providers the startup has to make up to two hundred tax declarations every year because the startup has to enter into an individual participation contract with every micro investor.

The ´VC compatible´ Companisto participation model speaks for itself: Startups at Companisto only have one contractual partner and therefore retain a streamlined and clear participation structure – this is a prerequisite for all follow-on financing by VC companies. At the same time, the Companisto bundling model enables the startup to gain a large number of valuable supporters.

How long does it take for an investor to set up his investor contract at Companisto? The investor receives his participation contract immediately after sending the share purchase by email, together with the share certificate, terms and conditions, and notice of cancellation. You become a “Companist” in a matter of seconds.

English-Team:How much do investors invest on average?

Companisto:That depends on the startup. At Companisto itself, investors have contributed about 220 euros on average; for the Charité spin-off doxter it was about 230 Euros. In any case it is evident that a whole new class of investors has been reached, especially young, web-minded people, and also many women. This pleases us a lot.

English-Team:How long are the investment periods?

Companisto:That is another very important aspect. Companisto participation contracts last from eight to ten years. Investors also benefit from profits during this period. Investors should be aware that the contract duration with the startup lasts as long as possible. This is because in general young businesses make no profits in the initial years; rather they invest every euro in its continuing growth. Profits are paid out to shareholders only after these years of growth. If participation ends before this time, investors no longer share in the profits. Profit participation therefore becomes lucrative above all through long contract periods. We recommend at least eight years. In contrast to other crowd investing platforms, at Companisto investors also share in the proceeds when a company is sold to a major investor (so-called exit). An exit occurs typically between three and seven years after the business startup. Micro investors should therefore pay attention to the long participation contract periods and their exit participation. Why should they be worse off than major investors?

English-Team:Can foreign investors also be “Companisten”?

Companisto:At the moment German residency is required.

English-Team:How many startups has Companisto already funded successfully and how many will there be by the end of 2013?

Companisto:Companisto was launched at the beginning of June 2012. Since then we have been able to pay out shares of 100,000 euros each for two startups – doxter and uns. A total of 245,000 euros has already been invested by more than 1,000 investors. At present, you can participate in ePortrait, a startup which enables you to create biometric photos quickly, easily and above all cheaply via webcam. Plus you can take as many photos as you like to use for your identity card for the coming years. It would be difficult to make a prediction for the end of 2013. We will significantly increase our numbers. The best thing would be to check the website regularly www.companisto.de and get an overview of the startups.

English-Team:What does Companisto do to promote the portal and its concept?

Companisto:In theory, social media allows us to reach nearly everybody. Facebook, Twitter, Google and Xing are essential and our homepage gives detailed information too. We are also happy of course to give interviews to raise awareness about crowd investing itself and to promote Companisto and “our” startups.

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Interview with LOVOO founder Alexander Friede

LOVOO is by far the most popular and innovative flirt iOS and Android app worldwide. It combines state of the art mobile technologies with sexy and gripping language. Today we are talking to Alexander Friede, the CEO and founder of LOVOO GmbH.

English-Team:
Alexander, LOVOO started out in August 2011 as Kiss2Go. Why did you change the name to LOVOO?

Alexander Friede:
Kiss2go started in August 2011. In September 2011 we were warned by a Berlin radio station that had secured the rights to the word “Kiss”. Although we were in negotiations with the radio station and had also filed a counter-action, we looked for an alternative name for our startup as plan B. As it was also shortly before our first TV advertising campaign and a temporary injunction by the radio station had cost us a great amount of money and trouble, we decided to use the new name LOVOO and reorganized the entire branding within a few days.

English-Team:
How is the name “LOVOO” pronounced and who came up with it?

Alexander Friede:
We wanted the name to sound like “love” and to be pronounced with a soft “o-u” vowel sound at the end. For this reason we added the advertising slogan – LOVOO – SO FLIRTEST DU – which makes it easier for people to get the pronunciation correct.

People are really familiar with both gOOgle and yahOO and also our competitor BadOO. In reality, many people simply say LOVO with the stress on the “o”. Ironically, many people write it incorrectly, as it actually is pronounced: LAVOO or LAVUU. Nowadays we leave it up to each person to say it as he likes and we have optimized our keywords for search engines to include all possible spellings.

I can´t say exactly who really had the idea. Even before we named our project Kiss2Go we had long lists of suggestions for different names. On one of the lists which we looked at again in September 2011 while looking for a new name we found a similar suggestion. Especially at the startup you have to take care that the name isn´t being used for similar projects or that there is a danger of confusion from phonetic similarities.

This name also had to be available at the most important domains and of course a wordmark must also not be registered with this or a similarly sounding name. All these things led to an evaluation of every different combination of letters. In the process there were even completely crazy names, for example, LAVUUU. In the end LOVOO was chosen; many successful startups use 5 letters and LOVOO finally won after a vote by all concerned parties.

English-Team:
In how many languages is LOVOO available?

Alexander Friede:
LOVOO is available worldwide and has already been localized in English, Czech and Turkish.  More languages from strategically important regions are to follow shortly.

English-Team:
Have you any idea how many German users communicate in English with users from other countries?

Alexander Friede:
The number of English speaking users is still very small at the moment. However we are currently developing a tracking device for such statistics to be produced in the future.  But as we are a location-based app, most users predominantly view users near to their homes. Users must therefore actively search for users from other countries.

English-Team:
Why did you decide to offer regional versions in Czech and Turkish first of all? Why didn´t you begin with Polish or Spanish for example?

Alexander Friede:
For a German company based in Germany it is very difficult to capture a foreign market.  It is important to establish partnerships with local companies and if possible to have a local representative too who is familiar with the local market conditions and has already established a good network of contacts, for example with the press and media. We have already found such partners in the Czech Republic and in Turkey.

English-Team:
Which LOVOO app is more popular, iOS or Android?

Alexander Friede:
At the beginning the iOS LOVOO apps were much more popular than the Android versions. However, in the past few months Android has increased its market share tremendously and in some countries our LOVOO Android apps are now more popular than the iOS versions. One of the reasons for this development is the fact that there is large number of new mobile devices that run on Android as opposed to iOS or Windows Phone.

English for Winners Training 2013

Dear [FRIEND], how serious are you about improving your English? Are you really serious or do you just prefer to dilly dally around? If you are indeed serious, you need to attend our English For Winners Training in 2013 in Leipzig, Germany. The workshop is the most important event in the ESL industry (English as a Second Language) because you will meet the top performers from around the world. Those are people who have made up their minds to become winners through learning to speak English like native speakers.

Who will be your trainer? Me, Torsten Daerr. You will benefit from my experience as an English trainer and Internet business person. At the end of the training online slots seminar you receive the internationally recognized English For Winners Certificate and your personal English For Winners T-Shirt. You can use the English For Winners Certificate to get a new job, negotiate a salary increase and you can show it your friends and family. In the English For Winners workshop you will learn a lot of things such Betsson valittiin parhaaksi “ Sportsbook Operator of the Year” kategoriassa 23. as how to learn English like a winner, how to effectively prepare for an English language exam and how to integrate English into your daily routines.

Sound interesting? Then you should hurry. Each workshop is for a maximum of 10 winners only and places are filling up quickly. If you book your EFW workshop now, you”ll get a whopping 20% discount. So act like a real winner and book now by clicking here:

Ah, you first want know what you”ll get for your hard earned cash? Sure, here is a rundown of the key workshop”s key features and contents:

Interview with Holly Human

Philippa Holly Human is a British ESL teacher and translator who lives and works in Barbate, Cadiz. I met Holly on proz.com when I was looking for a translator. Today we are talking to Holly to find out what she thinks about the ESL industry in Spain and what she likes about her two jobs.

English-Team:
Holly, the first thing that struck me about you when I met you on proz.com was your name. Holly Human. This sounds so divine, a bit a like ‘holy human’. Do you like your name?

Holly:
When I was younger, I wasn’t sure if I liked my name. It definitely is an original name. ‘Human’ is quite an unusual surname. Many generations back in the family you can find the surname ´Hewman´ meaning woodcutter and it seems that at some point the spelling changed. Now I really like my name. It’s unique and always leads to interesting comments!

English-Team:
So where is your family from?

Holly:
My family is from the UK. I was born in London and lived there until I went to university in Exeter, but I have lived in Spain for the past seven years.

English-Team:
Where in Spain do you live?

Holly:
Until this summer I was living in Badajoz, Extremadura, close to the Portuguese border. I am now living in Barbate, a coastal town in the province of Cadiz. I have also lived in Seville and Madrid for short periods of time.

English-Team:
The climate and living conditions must be great in Barbate?

Holly:
Yes, Barbate is a great place to live. It has beautiful beaches and a good climate too. The people are friendly and the town is small enough to be able to walk everywhere. However, if you need to go to a big shopping centre or to the cinema you do have to travel out of town a little.

English-Team:
It must be the ideal place for companies that provide ESL services. You work as a ESL trainer and translator. Who are your customers?

Holly:
Spain in general is a great place for ESL trainers. There is an increasing demand for English teaching in schools, private academies, companies and individual classes. As an ESL trainer I focus mainly on small groups of young learners, individual classes and company classes. I also work as a translator, with experience in German – English and Spanish – English general translations.

English-Team:
What do you like more — teaching or translating and why?

Holly:
Both teaching and translating have different aspects that I enjoy. Teaching allows me to work face-to-face with all kinds of people, of all ages. It’s very varied and I enjoy that. With regard to translating, it is a very flexible job and can be done from almost anywhere. I find languages fascinating, the way they are used and how they evolve, and both jobs challenge me to delve deeper into the subject of language and how we communicate.

English-Team:
Do you also provide online English training and tuition?

Holly:
No, not at the moment. It’s something I might consider in the future though.

English-Team:
What language do you speak in the classroom? Do you always stick to English or do you also sometimes give explanations in Spanish?

Holly:
With young learners I always try to stick to English. It’s surprising how quickly they learn when they are constantly exposed to the language with games, pictures, songs etc. At this level no explanations are normally needed, so I would only use Spanish in exceptional circumstances, for example if a child was upset or misbehaving. With other learners I use English as far as possible but it depends on their level of English. If grammar explanations are needed for example, it may be possible to stick to English but sometimes Spanish is necessary with lower level learners.

English-Team:
So you are bilingual and give explanations on any topic in Spanish?

Holly:
No, I’m not bilingual but after 7 years of living in Spain I can communicate in the language fairly fluently. Of course, in an ESL class I will always try to give explanations in English first but sometimes Spanish is necessary.

English-Team:
What would you say are the most commonly made mistakes by Spanish speakers when it comes to learning and speaking English?

Holly:
In my experience some of the most common mistakes are subject omission and word order. In Spanish the subject of the verb is often not required so this is understandable. Using false friends is another common mistake, for example compromiso/compromise or actualmente/actually which have completely different meanings.

English-Team:
You translate texts and websites from German and Spanish into English. When and where did you learn German?

Holly:
My grandmother was born in Germany so I have always been interested in the language. After learning German at high school I went on to study it at university and spent my year abroad in Innsbruck, Austria. Three years ago I went on honeymoon to Germany and Austria and spent two weeks travelling around different places including Munich, Lake Constance, Innsbruck and Salzburg. It was a wonderful trip and definitely one to be repeated!

How to find lost orders in Drupal Ubercart Shop?

Sometimes a Ubercart customer will ask for their order because they have not received their product. In this case you need to find the order or the customer or both in your Ubercart store. Below you can watch a short video by Zfort Group that shows to find lost orders in Drupal Ubercart: How to find lost orders in Drupal Ubercart Store? If you more questions regarding Drupal Ubercart, please post them here on the blog.

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Interview with Alexander Lanin of Zfort Group

For anyone looking for a company that provides excellent IT and web development services I can only recommend Zfort Group. Below you will find an interview with Alexander Lanin, who is responsible for a variety of projects such as the rebuilding of english-test.net

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Alex Lanin, Nataly and Torsten Daerr, Dmitry Chekalin (Zfort Group CEO), Serge Andreyev (Project manager for English-Team), and Roman Shekin (Zfort Group COO)

Alex Lanin, Nataly and Torsten Daerr, Dmitry Chekalin (Zfort Group CEO), Serge Andreyev (Project manager on English-Test.net), and Roman Shekin (Zfort Group COO)

English-Team:

Alexander, what is your position at Zfort?

Alex Lanin:

Currently I work as Marketing Director.

English-Team:

You graduated from Kharkov State University. What did you study?

Alex Lanin:

Arts primarily: English and French languages, literature, sociology, psychology, history, economics, etc.

English-Team:

Please tell us more about the name Zfort. What does it mean?

Alex Lanin:

Back in 2000 when the company was started, we did a lot of 3D design projects. In the coordinates system there are 3 dimensions: X, Y and Z. So we added the letter ‘Z’ that stands for the 3rd dimension to the word ‘Fort’ which represents the stability and strength of our firm. The word ‘Group’ means that we value each and every member of our team – we are a group, everyone is equal, there are no super-stars at the front and a maintenance-team in the back, and everyone is getting full credit for their contribution to the company’s success.

English-Team:

How did you get your job at Zfort? What do you like most about working wih Zfort?

Alex Lanin:

I’ve always loved the Internet and the Web, especially web-design. I did the first simple website when I was back in high-school. Then I worked as a free-lance web designer and project manager, had a couple of friends who did the programming, so we created several projects for the local market: I was looking for the customers, did the whole ‘marketing’ stuff, business-cards, our own website’s design, online promotion, and so on. Apart from the money I was making from the free-lance activity, it became clear what exactly I’d like to do after university. So right after the finals in mid-Summer I composed my CV and sent it to several IT companies in my hometown, Kharkov. It didn’t take too long until Zfort responded to my job application – Zfort had the position of the Design Manager whose task it was to distribute and supervise the design and front-end, and manage small and mid-size web projects which was perfect for me to start a career in a proper IT firm. Zfort had about 25-30 people when I joined it.

English-Team:

How many people work at your company currently?

Alex Lanin:

Little bit over 140.

English-Team:

What exactly does Zfort do?

Alex Lanin:

Zfort Group is an IT Outsourcing company providing full-cycle web development, consulting and outstaffing solutions. By web development I mean the whole range of projects that are related to the web: websites and web applications, mobile apps, desktop apps with a web-interface, flash games and animation, and so on.

English-Team:

Who are your clients and where are they from?

Alex Lanin:

Our clients are mostly web studios, marketing agencies, or startups from the UK, Western Europe and the US. We help them to assemble dedicated teams of specialists (offshore development/dedicated teams) who work full-time on our clients’ projects.

Let’s say you are a webdesign or consulting agency based in London and you have sales, marketing, account managers and business analytics in the office who deal with your clients personally on a day-to-day basis. Then you need someone to handle the projects’ design and development, and preferably someone should also manage that technical team. Zfort can hire suitable people and manage them, and moreover take care of all organizational questions related to the hiring process, accounting, taxes, giving new people workspace, ensuring quality-control, data security, etc. We can discuss hiring and assembling teams for almost any kind of IT-related task: from Data Mining to Artificial Intelligence development.

English-Team:

Zfort is located in Kharkov, the eastern part of Ukraine, near Russia. How do you find clients from the USA, the UK and western Europe?

Alex Lanin:

8-10 years ago the biggest source of new projects were freelance websites where companies like ours could bid on projects that were put there by foreign customers.

Today such websites are mostly occupied by individual freelancers and customers with smaller low cost projects.

To us the keystone of new businesses are recommendations. We care a lot about our customers and they are happy to recommend our services to their friends and partners. And of course we use all possible methods of traditional marketing and sales: visiting exhibitions, promoting our website www.zfort.com so potential clients come and contact us through it, putting up online ads, and so on. But again – the keystone is good relationships with our clients who recommend our services – and it’s one of the hardest ‘marketing methods’ (if you may call it that) because it’s not about doing our job at an ‘OK’ level – it’s about doing our job at the ‘Wow!’ level, at the ‘I-will-not-be-embarrassed-if-I-recommend-these-guys-to-my-friends’ level.

English-Team:

What languages does the Zfort staff speak?

Alex Lanin:

English is used for work mostly. For internal communication almost everyone speaks Russian, though many people know Ukrainian. Apart from that some people know French, German, Polish and a number of other languages – but I’m just now aware of that. I should ask our HR people to do a survey and send you an update later on.

English-Team:

What awards and certificates has Zfort earned?

Alex Lanin:

A lot of awards won by the projects we’ve worked on don’t belong to us directly – because we are an outsourcing company lots of awards can be seen on our clients’ websites. Some of the awards can be seen on our ‘About Us’ page http://www.zfort.com/about-us – it includes FWA, IW Best of the show, and some other famous ones. But we do have received several awards and certificates as Zfort Group as well: 1st place in the competition ‘Best Employer 2011′ held by nation-wide organization of Ukrainian developers made us the best IT company you can work at in our city. We also have certificates for our charity activity, got the prize as one of the friendliest IT companies towards bicycle riders (we got parking spaces for bikes and a shower). There are more, but I don’t want to brag too much :) .

English-Team:

What is the average age of the Zfort team?

Alex Lanin:

Most are 20-30 years old, some are 30-40, there are a few who are younger or older. 

English-Team:

Speaking of teams. You told me that Zfort even has their own football team. Do you play in any league?

Alex Lanin:

Correct, there is a city wide mini football championship ‘IT-League’ among other IT companies that has been going on for several years. We got the 1st place in it once, and let other companies to win several times so they can taste the champagne from the prize cup as well. One of our Delivery Directors – Denis Bratchuk – is our team’s captain, and our CEO, – Dmitry Chekalin – won several awards as the best forward player.

English-Team:

And what about the Zfort rock band? How did you start it?

Alex Lanin:

It started long ago, when I joined Zfort in 2007 it already existed. Since then new members came, old ones left. A couple of years ago we picked the name ‘ZZ-fort’ (by ZZ Top) for the band, and we even have our own logo. Now there are 6 regular members: drums (Vladimir Borei, Project manager), keys (me), base (Michael Adamenko, front-end developer), acoustic guitar (Konstantin Samorodov, back-end developer), lead guitar (Denis Bratchuk, delivery director), and lead vocals (Igor Kochergin, back-end developer). We play for fun (you can call it team building exercises) and sometimes at the famous Zfort’s parties. In our new office there is a whole room for us where we keep all instruments and rehearse.

English-Team:

Let’s talk about business again. As far as I know Zfort was founded in 2000 by one person. Now you have more than 140 staff. How have you been able to grow so fast?

Alex Lanin:

You can see the graph below: up until 2007-2008 the growth was stable, but you wouldn’t call it ‘fast’. Starting from 2008 we began to grow much faster. You know, that sometimes businesses don’t have a lack of contracts, but a lack of resources to work on them. This issue is very common in the IT world: new employees are being hunted by HRs maybe even harder than new customers by Sales. We also realized, that without certain organizational company wide changes, the potential of our business development was very limited. I remember declining very nice contacts because there were periods we couldn’t take any single project or hire anyone for 3-4 months. One result of those organizational changes was the launch of our HR Brand campaign. HR Brand is simply the reputation (or the “brand” in its full meaning) of the company as Employer on the local market. Companies with good HR brand attract new employees easier compared to companies without HR brand. HR-branding includes a lot of different components, internal changes in the company and external activities, all aimed at turning the company into the place where people want to work at. Our optimistic goal is to double in size in a couple of years.

zfort team growth

zfort team growth

Please also read How googley is Zfort Group?

How fast does Google index new pages?

Anyone running a website wants their pages to be found through Google. For that to happen, Google must first index those pages. Although Google’s search and index algorithm is very complex it follows a few basic principles. One of them is that Google indexes any page that has a back link from a page that has already been indexed.

For instance, if you add a new entry to your blog and then post the URL of that blog entry on a forum which is already well indexed by Google, Google follows that link and indexes your new blog entry too. Here is an example: Earlier today I wrote this blog post: Commerzbank/Dresdner Bank BIC Problem, then wrote a short forum post and inserted a backlink to that post entry here: Commerzbank Customer Service Problem and after a few minutes got the following results page when googling the term ‘commerzbank customer service’:

Commerzbank Customer Service

Commerzbank Customer Service

As you can see, my forum past came up in the top search results and my blog post was also indexed by Google which you can check by putting just any phrase contained in the article into quotation marks and googling it:

Commerzbank Dresdner Bank BIC Problem

Commerzbank Dresdner Bank BIC Problem

This means that somebody who has the same problem with Commerzbank like me, can find my forum and blog posts through Google and we can share experiences and maybe come up with a solution together.

Can you make a living blogging?

You know what a blog is, don’t you? Yes, it’s a fairly new term made up of the words ‘web’ and ‘log’. So it’s more or less an electronic diary whose entries are available to anyone online. There are tens of thousands of blogs about any type of topic and they are all free to read, respond to and even copy and change. And still you can earn a living through blogging. Anyone can. Provided you understand and follow a few principles. There are a number of categories you can put people into when it comes to the way they produce or consume information. The first category most people fall into is that group of people who most of the time consume information but produce little.

In other words, about 80% of all Internet users only read blog entries but don’t create any themselves. The second category of people are those who share quite a lot of information most of which how ever is trivial and rather personal. Those are the people who spend lots of time on social networks such as Facebook, Google Plus or Twitter. They talk about their hobbies and free time activities and their messages and posts are rather superficial. They also don’t have their own blog so with every piece of information they share they promote the platform they are using. What is Facebook’s most effective advertising tool? It’s active user base of course. So when you use Facebook a lot, you promote Facebook but not your own brand or website. You will also not make any money by using Facebook no matter how much time you spend on it.

Then there is the category of people who produce most the content available on the Internet. Those can be professional journalists as well as bloggers or forum users. About 20% of all Internet users create about 80% of all Internet content. And out of the 20% of ‘content creators’ about 5% earn a living blogging. The fascinating fact is that you or anyone can belong to those 5%. Of course the vast majority of people will never become bloggers because they are not willing to change their way of thinking. They simply can’t process the thought that they are able to make a living by running a blog. Their mind instantly jumps to the ‘no can do’ part of their brain. They come up with all the reasons why can’t earn a living online instead of thinking about reasons why they can.

At this point many of you will say: “But I don’t think my thoughts and ideas are good enough for me to earn a living”. Well, if you skills and experiences weren’t sufficient to earn a living you wouldn’t be able to have and keep a job. What are you doing for a living right now? Why do you think your skills and abilities are good enough to earn a living through a regular job but not through your own blog?

When you google the phrase “earning a living blogging” you get a lot of pages and articles that talk about ‘traffic techniques’, ‘guest blogging’, ‘conversion rates’, ‘CPC Networks’, ‘CPM Networks’, ‘affiliate programs’, ‘shared hosting’, ‘Google Analytics’, ‘bounce rate’, Google Adsense’, ‘domain registration’, ‘WordPress configuration’, ‘SEO strategies’, ‘social media marketing’, etc. All those things might be important but guess what? They are by far not as possible as some very basic principles which are not covered on those pages.

At the core of those principles is the ‘law of increasing returns’. This law says that when you invest your time and thought power into a project, it sooner or later pays off and the earnings are greater than your investment. Of course the law of increasing returns also applies to blogging. If you share your ideas, thoughts, suggestions, experiences, problems, etc. with others through your blog, you will get paid for that some way or another. And your income will be big enough to live off of your blogging activities.

Another basic principle is that the most valuable and important asset to any business or system are thoughts and ideas. You can have the best blogging software program or platform in the world — if you don’t fill it with interesting and valuable information, it’s like a huge empty container. A lot of people will tell that for any website or blog owner SEO (search engine optimization) is crucial. I totally agree with that. Yes, it is true, you write your blog for others to read. You can send your blog’s links to your friends via email or post them on Facebook and Twitter but unless you have thousands of influential friends, you won’t be able to earn a living through this strategy. You want to attract and keep a lot of readers worldwide. You want to your blog to be read and promoted by people you don’t even know yet or will never get to know. That’s why you need the help of Google and other search engines like Microsoft’s Bing. Most so called specialists will tell you that you have to do a lot of technical stuff like ‘content optimization techniques’, ‘inbound linking’, ‘link exchange’, ‘keyword tweaking’, ‘conversation oriented link building’, and on and on.

The more you read about this stuff the less you understand. At least at the beginning. My advice is this: If you start running your blog, read as little about all the technical questions as you need. Focus on the core: your thoughts and ideas. They are unique. They are the raw material for your success. The technical stuff is the container, the packaging of your ideas. Yes, you do need the container but you can build and refine it later. The most important blogging activities don’t happen within that container. They happen inside your head.

Of all the many SEO methods and techniques there is one that accounts for about 90% of your success and most ‘experts’ don’t even mention it. The single most powerful SEO factor is your blog’s content, your information, experiences, ideas, thoughts, interviews, questions, photos, videos, stats, study cases, comments, reports, articles, posts, poems, songs, essays, discussions, projects, etc. Don’t worry about Google. Google is sophisticated and clever enough to detect and index good content no matter how well you have twisted your site ‘under the hood’. What really counts is the stuff your blog entries are made of.

Commerzbank/Dresdner Bank BIC Problem (deutsch)

Im Januar 2009 hat die Commerzbank die Dresdnder Bank übernommen. Die Übernahme war ein langer und schwieriger Prozess, der offensichtlich nicht ganz reibungslos verlaufen ist. Ich bin seit 1995 Kunde der Dresdner Bank/Commerzbank. Seit 2004 erhalte ich regelmäßig Überweisungen aus dem Ausland, 99% davon sind von Goolge.

Seit April 2012 warte ich auf eine Zahlung von der LOVOO GmbH. Ich kenne die LOVOO Geschäftsführer persönlich und wir haben ein sehr gutes Verhältnis. LOVOO kann mir deshalb nicht zahlen, weil mein Commerzbank Girokonto noch die alte BIC der Dresdner Bank verwendet. Am 21. Juli hat Google Irland mir einen Betrag geschickt, der bis jetzt noch nicht auf meinem Konto angekommen ist:

No Google Payment

No Google Payment

Meine Commerzbank Beraterin meint, es sei Zufall, dass ich fast zur gleichen Zeit zwei Zahlungen aus dem Ausland nicht erhalten kann. Mit der Commerzbank BIC würde alles stimmen. Hier ein Auszug aus der email, die ich von ihr bekommen habe:

“Hallo Herr Daerr, alte Konten von der Dresdner Bank haben die alte Bankleitzahl und den BIC Code ungeändert. Wenn Sie den von der Commerzbank nehmen, kann es auf einem falschen Konto landen, da es die Nummern noch mal gibt. Wenn es Änderungen gibt, bekommen die Kunden das mitgeteilt.”

Und weiter schreibt sie: “Hallo Herr Daerr,

unser Code lautet immernoch DRESDEFF860. Bisher hat das bei allen Kunden geklappt und ich habe einige Firmen, die nur Auslandsgeschäfte machen. Ihr Kunde soll sich bitte an seine Bank wenden, ich kann Ihnen leider kein anderen Code nennen.”

Hier ist ihre Antwort zum Thema Google Zahlung: “Hallo Herr Daerr,

Nachforschungen sind immer durch den Auftraggeber zu starten. Google Irland muß bei seiner Bank nachfragen.”

Google hat seinen Zahlungsverkehr fast 100%ig automatisiert und ich glaube nicht, dass nach mehr 100 Zahlungen an mich, plötzlich ein Fehler bei Google aufgetreten ist. Was mich besonders an der Haltung meiner Commerzbank Beraterin stört, ist dass sie sagt, dass die Zahlungen bei allen Kunden geklappt haben. Mit anderen Worten: Alle anderen Kunden sind schlau, nur ich bin dumm.

Mal sehen, wie sich die Situation entwickelt. Früher oder später werde ich beide Zahlungen erhalten und dann bin ich vor allem um eine wichtige Erfahrung reicher.

August/September Blog Entries

Here is an overview of the blog entries I’m planning to post during the remainder of August and maybe the beginning of September:Nobis Kato

  • web development tasks for the remainder of 2012 (carried out by Zfort Group)
  • Chrome problem (Google Chrome stopped working a couple of weeks which is very annoying):

    Google Chrome Browser Problem

    Google Chrome Browser Problem

  • LOVOO translation update (We have been editing and improving LOVOO’s current English version of their Android and iOS apps and we are also going to offer them a Russian version of their LOVOO apps.)
  • New ideas on how to run government funded English courses (English-Team is conducting a number of English For Winners courses in Germany during the remainder of 2012 and we want to improve our delivery again.)
  • An article on SEO and developments in Ukraine (When you google the term ‘associations with Ukraine’ one of our forum threads comes up on top: Associations with Ukraineand there have been quite some interesting developments in Ukraine for the past couple of years. For example, I’m writing this blog entry from an apartment in Koktebel’, less than 300 meters away from the Black Sea shore.)
  • We possible will have a new client who wants us to organize and manage their Adsense activities (It’s a German start up company that is going to open an online store dealing with electronic devices and gadgets. The name of the company is made of the two German words for ‘consume’ and ‘factory’ — KonsumFabrik GmbH Leipzig.)
  • Another article on the differences between grammar rules and grammar patterns (A Canadian language specialist has recently started a forum thread on the differences between your native language and English as a second language raising the question of how to learn English grammar: Differences between English and one’s native language
  • Google Plus vs. Facebook (Which of the two big social networks do you prefer and why? How is Google Plus different to Facebook and what do they have in common?)
  • Why you should have your own blog and how to write and promote it. (Running your own blog has many benefits for your personal as well as your professional development. In this article we will cover how you can set up your blog, what to write and how often and how to make sure your blog articles are read by as many people as possible.)

Nobis Luna