Genie Unpacking, expect more Time Lapse

Over the last months, I backed three projects at Kickstarter. Overall, I've been so excited about the projects and couldn't wait for the product to arrive. Today, one of the projects I backed came through, and a package out of Hong Kong was delivered.

But first, here are the three projects I backed:

  1. The Genie - Motion control time lapse device
  2. The Kick - A pocket size lightning studio for photo & video
  3. NanoLight - The world's most energy efficient lightbulb!

Genie - Motion Control Time Lapse Device

If you read my blog on a regular basis, you know I have lost my heart, and a lot of time to photography. You can see some of my best pictures at

So naturally, I was drawn to some great photography gear projects on Kickstarter, like the Genie. And who wouldn't want to be able to make great time lapse video's of a series of photo's? My first attempt ever was a project I could have used the genie, the Equinox at Chichen Itza Mexico. And just check out the appealing video of the Genie by the team of Syrp.

A simple, affordable and extremely easy to use device used for motion control and image capture for Time Lapse Photography + more. The Genie is an all-in-one device used to combine image capture with motion control, capable of either panning or linear movement that’s commonly used in Time Lapse Photography. Simply attach your camera to the top of the Genie, plug it in, and program it to move and shoot to your desired needs.

I hope I can soon be able to start with more time lapse photo series, and make some interesting video's!

Genie Unpacking

So today, I took the special moment to unpack the Genie, and document the moment...(BTW,  as part of the backing of the project, my name got printed on the box, see picture below)

Syrp Genie in a BoxName mentioned on the Box of the GenieGenie by Syrp Genie in the Box by SyrpThe Genie all unpacked

Focus and Getting Up Early

For the last 5 weeks, I've followed the advice of Peter Shankman, who described why you need to get up early, and how to do it. Ever since my family left for The Netherlands to spend the summer, I had big plans to refocus my life on projects, educating myself and exercise. Peter describes a simple plan how to gt up real early, and get more things done than many of us even before nine.

How To Get Up Early

Peter gives you 6 tips to help you getting up out of bed, even before the rooster is up:

  1. Drink a glass of water, right after you woke up
  2. You need to get up to shut down the alarm clock
  3. Feed something/ Somebody
  4. Just do it!
  5. Move out of the bedroom
  6. Go to bed early

I encourage you to read Peters post, as he gives many more tips and reasons why the early bird catches the worm.


In the last couple of weeks, since I've been home alone, I've made it an effort to get up early, and do stuff. However, I failed to get really productive, as the stuff I was doing lacked focus. Here is where I failed...:

  1. Undefined goals
  2. No to do list
  3. To much distraction
  4. Wasting time

Let me break down where I failed in each and every one of these four factors; and at the same time take the opportunity to explain what I will do differently moving forward to make sure I use the extra time early in the morning productively!

Undefined goals

Although I have a list of projects I'm working on, I lack clear goals to get accomplished week-week. The end goal for the project in my mind is well outlined, but how to get there is not well written down, which makes it more difficult to get things actually done. Even if the end goal is clear, I would still need to break up the process of how to get there in smaller steps.

What will I change: Break up every project into smaller steps, so I can outline the goals on a weekly basis, with clearly defined outcomes. What would success look like at the end of the task?

No to do list

Waking up early is only effective if you have a clear to do list. Waking up at 5.30 is no fun if you are tired, and without a to do list, you start to wander around and pick up unimportant tasks to give yourself a sense of purpose. Hey, you woke up at 5.30, got out of bed, and got stuff done, right..! You can be proud of yourself. Not!

The unimportant stuff you just wasted your early time on can hardly give you a sense of purpose. You should have been focussed on the stuff that matters! You should have been working on the projects which push you forward, not stuff that doesn't matter.

What will I change: Making a to do list at night before you go to sleep for the next day is the solution. You wake up, and you have a prioritized list of tasks to hit of your to do list. No more thinking early in the morning, start scraping one-by-one of your list.

To much distraction

I like to stay on top of the news. Waking up early, usually gives me the opportunity to get on top of what happened during the hours while I was sleeping. Switching on CNBC for the latest stock and market news, firing up my browser with Techmeme as the starting page used to be my routine. Wrong..! You instantly gets distracted by the news of the day, which does not matter to a great extend tomorrow, let alone the next week!

Don't get me wrong, I do believe it is important to know whats going on in the world, to be on top of the latest technologies, which companies are working together, or are in a fight about some patents. However, you will have time to catch up on the real important news as soon as you have scraped off your first 4-5 to do's from your list.

What will I change: This one is rather simple to solve for. Not putting the TV on is a first step. The news is interesting, but even breaking news is not going to change your direct life, unless something happens in your direct neighborhood. And what is breaking news these days, is actually a big attention grabbing headline which is forgotten tomorrow!

Wasting time

All of the three above here, result in wasting too much of my precious time I gained by waking up. With my family in The Netherlands, early mornings is the perfect time to video call them through Skype. However, due to my failure on the first three points here, I usually waste too much time already to get things done, that I always have a sense of urgency when I actually should be spending quality time with the people I love the most.

Even if you have a full program in the morning, there still should be time to spend time with your family. The time you spend with them is time you will never get back! Wasting time in the morning will come at the expense of the time I would be able to spend with my family. This has got to change!

What will I change: having a to do list, with clear action items and the end goal written down broken out in small bite size steps, will help me to get things done without wasting so much time. A couple of other actions I would need to do are; close outlook and other distractions like Tweetdeck.  Switch off the alert functionality on my iPhone, so it stops buzzing every time I get a message.

Fall of the Grid

I will make sure I have designated time set out to follow up with the people I need & want to talk with. Don't worry, I won't fall of the grid and disappear...Facebook, Twitter or email will not be banned from my life, just only used in a controlled way which won't interfere with what is really important, Family and Friends, Myself, Work and Projects. In that order..!

Making Some Changes

Today, I tweeted:

Yep, I cut off all my hair, well, almost all! WTF I hear you thinking, why would you do that?

Did I really just cut off all my hair?

Did I really just cut off all my hair?

Hair cut off, what have you done..?!? Why would you do that

Hair cut off, what have you done..?!? Why would you do that

Don't worry...I've got it covered, I have an idea!

Don't worry...I've got it covered, I have an idea! It's radical!

An Idea you say... And you think I believe that is going to work..?

An Idea you say... And you think I believe that is going to work..?

I really don't care what you think, I KNOW it's going to work...

I really don't care what you think, I KNOW it's going to work...

You really think so... I'm skeptical, tell me more..

You really think so... I'm skeptical, tell me more..

You really think I'm that stupid that I will post my idea here..? You will see...!

You really think I'm that stupid that I will post my idea here..? You will see...!

I'm locking myself up for a couple of weeks, and we will see where I land

I'm locking myself up for a couple of weeks, and we will see where I land...

Sounds good. Since you are so determined, I will not bother you much the coming weeks

Sounds good. Since you are so determined, I will not bother you much the coming weeks

Oh Sh*t, now I need to get going, switch off Facebook & Twitter, head down and work

Oh Sh*t, now I need to get going, switch off Facebook & Twitter, head down and work

Radical Moves, for Radical Ideas

So, a radical move to start something new. I have been sitting on a number of ideas for a couple of years now. I come to the realization that a good idea is not good without execution. Execution is key, which is where I'm going to make some radical changes. Cutting my hair is the first of one of these radical changes, which will push me to execute much more effective, hopefully!

No, I still like to talk with you, I'm just working

I'm switching of Twitter for a while. I like to interact with people on Twitter, but tend to think I waste to much time chatting. Instead, I will spend the time executing on my ideas.

With all those tweets, I tend to click on a lot of links to read articles. And, although I like to get smarter from all the articles I read, where I have my own opinion, it comes at a cost; time not spend on execution. So, Internet off, head down and work.

Coming Two Weeks

For the coming two weeks, I will interact less, be focussed on execution and come out of the other end with more radical ideas. Don't ask me just yet, as I will not tell anyways.

Time spend on free advice

I will respond to email, but don't expect to get free advice anymore. I got too many requests for help lately, but will be much more rigorously where I spend my time. So if you are a company, even when you are a poor startup, expect to pay for the time I invest advising you on SEO.

It's a real easy trade; I spend time on your company, which, as a consequence, I cannot spend on my family or my own project anymore. So if I decide to take you up on those questions, expect to get into a formal consultant contract with an hourly rate which is quite steep! And my rates are not negotiable!

End Goal

With a clear end goal in mind, I hope I can accomplish my objective and report back in a couple of weeks whats going on! Stay tuned...


Public Speaking Confessions

Six years ago, when I moved to the US when working for eBay, I set myself two goals: 1) Build up a network of people in my industry,Internet Marketing 2) Get more comfortable with speaking in public. Now looking back, I'm happy to say that I made good progress on both of these goals!

SEO Networking in the USA

Over the last 6 years, I managed to meet a lot of people. It is not a coincident as I made an effort every time I was at a conference. As I described in a recent interview with Aimclear:

One of the efforts I always found important is to build a broad network and connect with people who at least understand what I’m talking about on what I do on a daily basis. The first conference I went in the US was SMX Advanced in Seattle in 2006. First night I met with my friend Scott Polk (now at ObsidianEdge) and Scott Skurnick (now at Sears), both at Edmunds at the time. We still keep in touch and get together when we attend the same conferences.

Even to this day, when I go to a conference, I have a goal to meet new people. And not only meet them, but also stay in touch and check in after the conference. You never know who you can help in the future, or introduce people to each other!

Presenting at SMX Sydney

Speaking in Public

Meeting new people is easier when you are one of the speakers. Not that I see myself as a Rock Star on the speaker circuit, but it's a simpler opening to approach people and ask questions. In the last 3 years, I spoke at several small or large conferences, but the funny thing is, I'm still nervous before I speak.

Just recently I started to read the book Confessions of a Public Speaker, in which Scott Berkun tells all kind of stories what he has experienced travelling the world for speaking performances. Already on page 8, Scott brings in a great perspective out of Dale Carnegie's Public Speaking for Success:

Good speakers usually find when they finish that there have been four versions of the speech: the one they delivered, the one they prepared, the one the newspapers say was delivered, and the one on the way home they wish they had delivered.

For me, I think it's important the audience thought it was worth it to spend their time listening what I have to say at that moment. As long as the audience didn't feel cheated out of 20 minutes or 3 hours of their life, I would say only then I'm satisfied! Which is at the same time, my biggest fear, and I always feel insecure after the session I was speaking at and I'm dying to get feedback from people in the audience. Feedback which would make me better in what I've just delivered.

Speaking at BlueGlass Tampa in 2011

Dennis GoedegebuureGreg Boser (moderator) and William Sears
Foto sourced: BlueGlass

Learn from your Audience

The two best public speaking events I learned a lot from, where not even in the SEO industry. Last year I spoke at the EVO conference (see my post about speaking at EVO 2011 here), where I did a 3 hour SEO workshop for Bloggers. Just 2 weeks ago, I did a similar updated session at the SNAP conference (download a PDF of my presentation here). Three hours, I spoke about what I'm passioned about: Search Marketing, SEO & Blogging! You can read how the audience has experienced the 3 hours presentation here. And trust me, holding the attention of an audience for 3 hours, is really hard!

Presenting at SNAP conference 2012

Presenting at SNAP conference 2012

Photo by Kendra from My Insanity

At the SNAP conference I reconnected with bloggers who sat through the 3 hours SEO workshop at EVO. Asking if they implemented any of the best practices and what happened with their traffic, I was pleased to learn that all of them had significantly grown their traffic. I even got to hear of one website which had grown from 8-9K visitors a months last year, to more than 100K per months right now! I wished I could take credit for this growth, but unfortunately I have only helped the search engines to find the content on these websites easier than before.

My Public Speaking Confessions

The women I spoke at SNAP are so much more successful in Blogging then I am. I'm using this site to rant, publish ideas, news what is happening in San Francisco, and here and there a lost photo. nothing really structured or on one topic. Next to that, I hardly am making enough time to really build out the site, because I simply have way more other stuff to do.

Speaking with people who run a successful site with more than 2 million visitors a months, inspired me to think about new projects. Since I will have some time over the summer, I will start to prepare a new project inspired by the success of all the creative bloggers at EVO & SNAP. More to come!

Oh, and last thing: EVO & SNAP, THANK YOU for the inspiration and the opportunity to for me to learn from you all!



Poems a Thousand Times

Some time ago, I bought a site from somebody for a small amount of money. It’s a poetry website, for which I thought I would have plenty of time to build it out, redesign and make it a good running website. Now two and a half years later, I managed just a few things on the list of to do’s, which stands between me and my success in the poetry business.

One small milestone is that the site now has more than a thousand poems in it’s database. Just last week the number of poems broke through the magic number of 1,000.


If only I had more time to work on a couple of side projects, then I would be able to retire sooner than my current plan!

Moustache Grooming Fun

Just one more day to get as many donations as possible for Movember 2009. We did alright, collecting $365 so far, but we can still hit the higher numbers in just one day. So if you read this, get your credit card out of your wallet, or use your Paypal account, and donate at least $1 for Cancer research. It will benefit men’s health in general! Donate here!

Growing a Beard

Today we had a lot of fun grooming my beard to a nice looking moustache. I had the full beard growing for at least 3 weeks, so it was pretty tough to get the hair off my cheeks. Here are some shots just before grooming.


Just after a week, it started to itch really bad. At that point I had to go beyond myself to not start shaving every morning. After another week, it was ok. No itching anymore, but only if you touched your face a lot, your skin would start to burn from the hairs pointing into it.


Some people in the office had trouble recognizing me with the shorter hair and the beard at the same time. I will make it up going back to my old look after November 30th. As long as people will donate to our cause!

Moustache Grooming Fun

I finally got around trying my hair clipper I bought on eBay. It was tough to go through the long facial hair which had grown over the last 3.5 weeks on my cheeks. But at the same time, I started to feel naked in my face… Now I get it why some men keep their beards. It’s nice and comfy warm…


After the grooming, we had a big laugh. I felt like a truck driver, and almost I started to shave the sides of my moustache off. But then I reminded myself, this is for getting as many donations as possible, so shaving it off right now, won’t get more money in.


So please donate some more money! At least I will know I have not done this without any pay off!


I even went out for dinner with this facial hair showing off the ridiculous moustache on my upper lip.


One Day of Coding

Martin Luther King day, wonderful weather outside in San Francisco. I can hear the coco bongo’s in Dolores park through my open window. Not for me today, I stay inside… Not that I’m afraid for the UV, it’s more that I finally found some time to work on a project I had in mind for a long time. ShopTwits!

Somewhere in November StockTwits was launched, and I instantly liked the service. It got me thinking right away, what can I do with product conversations on Twitter? Right, there is a lot of money to be made from affiliate programs, and so far I don’t get any of it! That can change with just a little bid of effort… Back then I registered the domain, next to Some other domains were already registered, so I knew that there were some other people who had the same idea!

But damn, I had not enough time! Like I already once burned my nose of inactivity on a good idea, I almost was the fool who was fooled twice; not executing on a good idea. A good idea is not a good idea without execution!With Twitter, you can not stall the development for another moment it is convenient to you. With Twitter you can be too late if you wait just 12 hours! And until today, I again waited almost 2 months!

So what is ShopTwits? On ShopTwits you can discuss, review and enjoy all kinds of products. For now, we only source the talks and discussions from Twitter, but there is more in the pipeline.

Stay tuned for ShopTwits… It might be the next revolution in shopping!