Thursday, January 31, 2013

iScripts Reviews

Good Guy Greg - Thinks your software is a good fit for his startup tries the demo before he buys just to make sure
The title this post is called iScripts reviews because I want to take a moment to address some of the reviews that we've gotten from across the Internet. Honestly, I don't think that they are quite a big deal (1000s of software sold and 10 bad reviews? You can't please everyone all the time, right?), but every bad review deserves a response. makes great software. Our software is mature, it has gone through several iterations, and I'm very proud of it. I'm not ashamed to say that we sell quite a few copies of each of our software offerings every month. We've been selling so many recently however, that a few negative reviews have popped up about our company.

Firstly, I would say that the most common complaint we get is regarding the 30 day money-back guarantee.  We are happy to provide you with the software for 30 days to try it out on your own server. Since we are installing our software onto your server environment, we cannot tell exactly how our software will behave. Therefore, we are happy to refund your money in full just for giving us the chance to be your solution, even if it doesn't work out with your server plan.

One thing that people do not realize is that the refund is not come instantly. Since our software is completely 100% open source, you must agree to no longer use the software and delete in full from your server in order to receive the refund. After all, you can't return any product back to a retail store without giving them the actual product back, right? In the past, we have had people who have demanded a refund while still using our software on their server. To prevent this from happening, we have put this agreement in place.

Secondly, we have a lot of complaints about not being able to install the software. I'm happy to come right out and say it, we want you to use our software. thrives when we have many working software versions out there, all making money on their own. If you have problems installing software, please feel free to contact us and we will help you install it for free.

Lastly, some former customers have complained that her software is of poor quality. As I said above, our software is of the highest quality. was founded in 2003 and some of our initial releases are still popular today. Tens of thousands of development hours have gone into our products. Although our software was built for general audience in mind, many startups have used this product as their springboard to future success. They've used our software as their first stepping stone and have either customized software to be a perfect solution for their market or they have grown up to more sophisticated and costly software. Either way we are happy to support our solution unconditionally for one year with its basic purchase.

If you have any questions, please feel free to contact us and let us tell you in person how proud we are all products.

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

My life without the internet

willywonka - Please, Jon, Write another blog post about how much you love the internet
A thought occurred to me today. I guess it's a little cliché, but truly what would I do without the Internet?

I'm employed by PHP development house that obviously could not exist without the Internet. I buy and sell things on a variety of websites including, eBay,, as well as a variety of  brick-and-mortar establishment websites. I manage my money on All these things in my eyes are integral parts of my life.  I cannot imagine living without the tool that is the Internet.

I know that life existed before the Internet of course, but if I had to give up the interconnectedness that allows me to be a better consumer, a better father, and a better overall person - I don't think I could.

Now this is the part of the blog where I say how great social media is, but this is only a very small part of how I use the Internet. Aside from this blog, my Facebook profile and other social networks have very limited functionality when it comes to the entire scope of the Internet. It's really not all that useful to me. It's kind of just a time waster.

So the question of the day: can you imagine your own life without the Internet?

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Stop your project from coming off the rails... before it starts

Success Kid - huge development project from client finishes on time and within budget
We live in a global economy. While many people try very hard to locally source the things that they buy, nearly everything that is purchased comes from another country. Our clothing and shoes are designed in one place and produced in another. Our produce is grown south of the equator. And the cars that we drive to and from work every day are often the collaborations of more than one automaker.

How does this benefit your startup? You can take advantage of offshore programmers that can code PHP as well as any seasoned veteran in country. The thing that many people do not realize about programming is that what it is an American on the keyboard typing the lines of code or an Indian national, both can achieve the same results.

Right about now I'm sure there are lots of alarms going off in your head. But Jon, you say, what about communicating with them? What if they don't understand me?

As with any employee, the key to working with a programmer is communication. If they do not understand you they will never build what you want them to build. This goes for Americans, Canadians, Russians, Indians - you name it. If you can safely assume that the programmer will understand you, the next question that arises is, "if there are two programmers of equal skill, why should I hire the more expensive one?"

I've heard many answers to this question, but none of them made sense. One person told me that he wanted to speak to his programmers during daylight hours. Another told me that he wanted to be able to look over his programmers shoulder as he was coding. I just laughed at that last one. I have never met a programmer who would allow any of his clients to give him up-to-the-minute direction on his efforts. Does the auto mechanic let you look over your shoulder as he works on your engine? I seriously doubt that.

As with any project, whether you're building a new bathroom, having your car worked on, or building website, everything hinges on the project manager. If you have a good project manager, he will take responsibility for making sure that your project is exactly as you asked for it. It is his job to manage the resources who are creating the project and deliver a finished project. At, I am one of those people. My job is to take the request whether verbally or written or scribbled on a napkin and turn that into a startup.This is the benefit of working with, we are a hybrid company. US project management with technical experts in southern India.

Of course I wasn't always as good at this as I am now. There was an entire learning period that anyone goes through whenever they are new to something. This is called the learning curve and the learning curve for creating startups is sharp. If there is an error, someone has to pay for it whether it's the client, the business, or the poor guy who has to stay up late coding it the day before the deadline.

In summary, clear communication to the person who is developing your website will get you exactly what you asked for, and if you are specific enough with your requests you can take advantage of reduced development rate from an offshore developer.

Monday, January 28, 2013

Start a business while keeping your job

Business Cat - launching new startup four of nine lives gone after hiring wrong developer to code site
I saw a five hour energy commercial yesterday that said that if only you took five hour energy, you would have more time and energy for self-improvement. At first I was intrigued, but then I thought about it a little bit further. Does this five hour energy thing create five more hours a day? A 29 hour day? Craziness!

This is not the first post in which I will say that starting a new venture will take a lot of time, nor will it be the last. There are lots of good intentioned people who start businesses, especially Internet startups, and let them waste into nothing because they simply don't have the time during the day to give it the proper amount of attention. Life gets in the way.

This brings me to the main point, which is if you have a day job and you need to spend 40 hours a week earning a paycheck, it will be extremely difficult for you to run a business successfully. I don't know about you, but I'm very crabby if I do not get my eight hours of sleep every night. On a weekday this leaves exactly 8 hours to take care of my son, drive to work and back, speak to my significant other about her day, eat breakfast and dinner, and maybe watch a little TV if I can. This doesn't leave a whole lot of time for doing all the things that a business owner would need to do.

I've read a few business books about being an entrepreneur. A lot of them address this problem with a solution that you should quit your job if you want to start a business. I don't know about you, but not all of us have that sort of liquidity or flexibility to do so.

So what's my solution? It's almost exactly like blogging, actually. Just do a little bit everyday. Give it 15 minutes during the days you have to be at work, and an hour on your day off. Keeping the momentum up will allow you to make small progress until you feel comfortable or getting the sort of revenue that you need to go out on your own...

Sunday, January 27, 2013

What to expect when getting custom development

Advice Yoda Gives - your detailed list of requirements you must give to me
It's entirely possible to start a new Internet company without knowing a single line of code. It's very commonly said that managers hire people who are better than they are.  This is especially true when it comes to specialized tasks and skillsets.

So I'm going to share with you the key to getting a quality site created from a dedicated developer. This is not really secret, but I feel that it needs to be said more often, especially by us  industry folk:

Be as specific as you possibly can when communicating your expectations for your startup to your development team. You can never be too detailed.

That's it. I know, kind of a letdown. But it's true! If you've chosen a quality developer either in your country of origin or "offshore",  and he is properly skilled in his trade, he will very much appreciate the fact that you are sparing no time in telling him exactly what you want.  I often tell my clients and prospects over and over again that they cannot be too detailed in their descriptions of what they are looking for. After all, the better I understand their expectations, the better chance I can deliver exactly what they want. All developers want to deliver perfection every time. If yours doesn't, give me a call.

Saturday, January 26, 2013

The two types of startups

Prepare yourself - prepare yourself starting a business is a huge pain in the ass
What many people do not realize is that there is more than one type of startup. This post is going to touch on the differentiation between the two main types of Internet startups; commercial startups and web treasures.

When many people decide they want to start their own Internet company or startup, they are mostly talking about commercial startups. They want to put up a website that is focused around a specific business plan and generate revenue. I have been this type of entrepreneur many, many times. Often, this type of person is looking to get away from their 9-to-5 job, live the 4-hour work week, so on and so forth.

Quick side note: If you think you have what it takes, I actually recommend going forward and trying to start your own business. It's not easy in the least bit. It takes an awful lot of sacrifice just like any new business does. As a matter fact, there are many of us who are not the entrepreneur type for one reason or another but this is a topic for another time.

The second type of startup is what I like to refer to as a web treasure.  Now I did not coin the idea of a web treasure nor did I come up with the term.  I first read about this idea in another blog post, but I googled it and I cannot find the term or the author. If you do happen to find it, please feel free to comment to below so I can credit the person.

A web treasure is a site that is extremely valuable to the Internet as a whole. is a web treasure. eBay is a web treasure.  Pinterest is a web treasure. Even though these types of sites don't initially start out as revenue-generating or even commercially viable, their use on the Internet separates them from the rest of the shopping carts selling any type of good or product. These are sites that endeavor to be more than just simple websites.

I've worked with a couple of projects that endeavored to be web treasures, although they are rare. One of my favorite clients wanted to start a bartering site for vegetables grown in home gardens. Each of the members on the site could trade their extra produce (I know I always get extra tomatoes every year...) for items that they could not grow.

Another my favorite clients want to start a site that would enable teachers to trade each other's private classroom libraries.  Since each teacher accumulates a series of books for their library for a specific range of reading level, his site word be a tremendous resource for teachers looking to get more books for their students.

The question today is this; for your startup, do you want to build the web treasure or a commercial startup? Identifying which of these your startup falls under will help you identify your short-term goals and draw your roadmap for success.

Friday, January 25, 2013

Restarting the startup blog!

All the things - restart all the startup blogsI'm restarting the startup blog! There are many things that I think anyone who is either thinking about starting their own internet company or has already made the leap for the first time could learn from my time at and my own side ventures.

Who am I? I'm Jon, the sales and project manager at Armia Systems, I've managed over 200 individual startups based on our software platforms in the last three years. I've seen many good and bad ideas come and go, and I'm proud to say that many of them were my own!

Preview of coming attractions:  how-tos, explanations, highlights of interesting things from across the web, a peek inside the development process, and spotlighting of new startups going up!

Please feel free to comment and message me for anything. Since this is a commercially-focused blog, I'm happy to help you vet your startup idea and even work on getting you a fixed-price quote for making it happen.

Here's to making it happen in 2013.