House 2.0 in TO

Written by Verne on July 24th, 2007

With all this thought about home offices and creating the ultimate creative working environment, I’m suddenly reminded of the concept of House 2.0. I originally read about it at, who originally read about it through Amit Gupta, and was intrigued at the idea of bringing entrepreneurs, freelancers, and today’s web 2.0-ers together under one roof to live and do their thang (as they say).

It would be a fully furnished place with rooms available to rent for brilliant people to build, run, and plug their creative endeavours in the presence of other brilliant people (and it naturally comes complete with a blog to document the creative antics of the housemates).

Think of it as the web 2.0 version of Big Brother. Without all the sex and cameras. And more creativity.

Anybody interested in bringing House 2.0 to Toronto?

Project: Home Office

Written by Verne on July 23rd, 2007

Five months ago I had a grueling debate with myself over what direction to take my career in. With a $40,000 piece of paper with my name on it, I was torn between taking the safe and traditional road, or the uncertain and risky (but inevitably more fun and rewarding) road. In the end, I took a leap. I jumped - eyes closed, arms flailing, and nothing but an anxious grin on my face.

I committed myself to running my business full-time.

Having never looked back since, I now plan ahead excitedly for the life of a true entrepreneur. First at bat: my home office.

Read the rest of this entry >

Branded comments

Written by Verne on July 22nd, 2007

It seems like everything we do these days has to be done strategically. Take commenting, for example. Looking at John Chow‘s top commentators list, this is what you see:

Branded commentsNotice anything? Of the 10 proud members of that exclusive list, only 2 have real names (Debo Hobo may count as an amusing third…), while the rest are strategically branded to give the maximum exposure to the commentators’ own blogs.

Do people develop commenting strategies to get to the top of these lists, or does being a top 10′er come as a convenient benefit from interacting immensely with the community? I applaud those in either category.

I don’t know about you, but when I comment, my name is Verne. Or should it be ‘creative marketing blog wants traffic’?

Update: Turns out John actually encourages this strategy! How evil. Check it out here.

I use OneNote to design

Written by Verne on July 21st, 2007

For those of you in the business of design, think about all the software you use. My personal list includes all of Adobe Creative Suite 3, EditPlus 2, and Microsoft Office OneNote.

Wait a sec…  did I just say OneNote?! Yes, I did!

If you’ve ever been in the situation where you needed to eye-drop a colour from somewhere, or make a measurement, or simply grab a snippet of something on your screen, you’ll understand the importance of your computer’s Print Screen function. But Print Screen is a hassle. After all, it prints the whole screen, leaving you to crop out the unecessary parts. That’s where OneNote comes in!

Among all the cool note-taking functionality OneNote offers, it also comes equipped with a nifty screen clipping function that allows you to take a screenshot of any part of your screen simply by clicking and dragging your cursor over the desired area (similar to how you would select an area in Photoshop). And voila – no cropping required! OneNote gives you the option to save the screenshot to your clipboard (ready to be pasted somewhere) or to place it into a new note within OneNote. It even comes handy with a keyboard shortcut (windows key + s… sorry Mac users)!

Microsoft Office OneNote screen clipping options

I personally love the convenience of being able to take custom-sized screenshots whether I’m using it within design, word processing, or even instant messaging (MSN lets you simply “paste” the image into the message box and then sends it as a file to your buddy).

Now I know not everyone owns or can afford a copy of OneNote. Nor would many of you even consider purchasing it for this functionality alone (it runs for $99.95 USD per license). So my question to you is: are there any other existing applications that offer this same screen clipping capability? Drop me a comment if you have any leads!

Avoid the headaches

Written by Verne on July 18th, 2007

The guys at FS have posted a great article on the 10 Essential Steps to Avoid Freelance Headaches. Don’t be fooled, their insight applies directly to entrepreneurs struggling to figure out where work ends and life begins on a day-to-day basis, too.

I was going to write an article on something similar, but this one hits the mark. #1 (find great clients), 6 (set aside designated time) and 10 (automate) are strategies I personally subscribe to. Check it out! It’ll help you save time, reclaim your life, and avoid the headaches.
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