What is an EC2 micro instance useful for? Is it too small to be useful?

I can think of 4 things:

  1. service monitoring,
  2. small personal projects,
  3. low-volume but high-uptime services, like DNS secondaries,
  4. experimenting cheaply with distributed architectures.

There have been times in the past where I've avoided EC2 for those because I couldn't justify the cost of their regular servers. I'd either use some service that offered smaller, cheaper boxes or just put multiple things on one box.

Really, I wish they'd added one size smaller than micro; RackSpace cloud offers a 256 MB machine at an even lower price, and that's all I need for a DNS secondary and backup mail exchanger for my personal domains.

What are some alternatives to Facebook Causes that generate more grassroots engagement?

Grassroots engagement is all about making the cause or project personal to you. This also means making how you engage your friends and family very personal too. We've found that just using social media to do grassroots fundraising doesn't go as far as using personal emails or face-to-face engagement.

In order to get more response, I'd recommend a few things:

  • Find one cause that you are passionate about
  • Help your network understand why your are passionate about it
  • Give them continuous updates — more than just one off communications
  • Help them understand what their engagement or donation will do

How is sunset measured?

From http://www.howtodothings.com/com… :

Sunrise and sunset is said to happen when the geometric zenith distance  of the sun is approximate to 90°. Mathematically, that meant that the  center of the sun is geometrically 50 arc minutes below a parallel  plane. At sea level with a smooth, clear horizon under usual atmospheric  circumstances, the higher appendage of the sun will appear to hide in  the horizon. The 50-arc minute geometric slump is determined from  getting the sum of the mean evident radius of the sun and the average  quantity of atmospheric refraction at the horizon.

To measure the sun's angle between horizon, you can use a sextant:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sex…

I'm looking for good B2B sales deck examples. Any suggestions?

There is one that I know of.

It’s not just good.

It’s the greatest sales deck the world has ever seen.

Not my words, but those of Andy Raskin – a strategic story-teller for venture-backed companies in Silicon Valley.

The deck Andy hailed as being the greatest ever came from Zuora, they build SaaS applications for subscription management.

Andy Raskin had no connection to Zuora whatsoever at the time. Their sales deck hadn’t been put together to be the greatest ever but apparently they totally nailed it.

You can get your hands on it here.

You could argue sales decks are specific to the value a product or service creates. That is true, of course. That doesn’t mean there can’t be conceptual elements that make a sales pitch undeniably great.

This Zuora sales pitch is great for getting to those key elements.

Let in inspire you to make your own greatest sales pitch the world has ever seen.


#1 Name a Big, Relevant Change in the World

Here’s the first slide of Zuora’s sales deck

Remember how most pitch advice tells you to start with the problem?

This is similar but there’s a difference.

People don’t like being told they have a problem. It puts them on the defence. Change is a concept that resonates more. There’s a change in the world and you are handing them the opportunity to be a part of it. And to make the most out of it.

Buyers are increasingly choose recurring service payments over outright purchases. It’s the beginning of a story. One you can be part of.

#2 Show There’ll Be Winners and Losers

All great stories have winners and losers.

Prospects suffer from two contradictory things. Risk aversion and FOMO.

Risk aversion in that they’re first intention to avoid loss is to stick to the status quo.

Demonstrate how the change at hand will create winners and losers. And how sticking to the status quo will make them losers.

Going with the change will make you a winner. Ignoring the change will kill you.

The common thread is clear by now: winners adopt subscriptions models like Zuora does.

#3 Tease the Promised Land

By now the prospect is likely on the edge of his seat. Don’t make the mistake to jump the gun and go straight into the details of your offering.

The context where you fit in beautifully should be on point first.

Sketch a vision of the heaven-like circumstances you’ll prospect will live in when to decide to go with you.

This Promised Land should be equally desirable and difficult to achieve. It should be clear that it is you that will help overcome the difficulties. Your reason of existence.

Don’t make the mistake of confusing the Promised Land with your product. The Promised Land is a future state your product will help the prospect get to.

#4 Introduce Features as “Magic Gifts” for Overcoming Obstacles to the Promised Land

Your product is the magic gift that will help your prospect achieve the Promised Land. The lightsaber helping Luke Skywalker defeat the Empire. The Harry Potter to a Voldemort-free land of wizardry.

#5. Present Evidence that You Can Make the Story Come True

Assure the prospect that you can come through on your promise of getting him to the new world.

The road to the Promised Land will be littered with obstacles and your prospect wants to know if you’re up for the task.

The best way to do this is with customer success stories your prospect can relate with.


All credits of this post go to Zuora and Andy Raskin.

Why do we need Quora?

Perspectives.

If I write a Wikipedia article I have to make sure I am not taking sides and I should be neutral. Whilst on Quora, I can add my personal views based on my experience of the topic and not worry about having an opinion on something. Similarly, I can specifically ask someone for their personal opinion on something.

Wikipedia is useful for its own reasons while Quora is for its own. Except for their underlying objective of spreading and accumulating knowledge, they're two fundamentally different websites.

How were geographical boundaries set/determined for ZIP codes?

ZIP code boundaries come in all shapes and sizes and are developed to increase mail delivery efficiency. Several of these factors that are considered in efficiency are mail volume, size of the delivery area, geographic location, and topography. ZIP codes are not necessarily defined by community perceived boundaries or municipal boundaries.
For these listed reasons, boundaries are subject to frequent changes as the United States of America continually grows. Rural areas that experience a large
influx of population and growth may be subject to ZIP code boundary changes.  Also, areas that experience delivery growth may need to adjust the ZIP code
boundaries to help the USPS deliver mail more efficiently.
With the help of  locals and others who are familiar with changes, the USPS does allow and  respect requests for boundary changes. As these changes occur on a  regular basis, we offer monthly and quarterly updates to changes made to  ZIP code boundaries to keep our customers up to date.
Many ZIP code  boundaries are drawn contrary to what many would intuitively think. The  ZIP code 85254 is the ZIP code for Scottsdale, Arizona. However, many of  the recipients of this ZIP code live in Phoenix. Therefore, it is
important to have and consult the correct data for ZIP codes.

When will whitespace devices be on the market?

The entire concept behind whitespace devices is to have a database dictate which channels these devices can operate on.

In fact, the FCC officially appointed nine conditional whitespace database administrators yesterday (1/26/11) http://www.fcc.gov/Daily_Release…

Now it's up to these administrators, the FCC and the wireless industry to:
a. Create FCC approved database(s)
b. Create devices compliant with these database(s) and FCC standards

Being that it takes wireless radio manufacturers anywhere from 12-18 months to come up with a market-ready radio for new technologies, early-mid 2012 seems like the earliest timeline for whitespace device to start circulating in the market.