Tales from the Hop Inn

Ah, the digital nomad. Going from city to city, laptop and iPhone with hotspot in hand. This will be a short post, but that’s what Andrew and I are going to attempt this fall, a coast to coast trip from Las Vegas NV to Boston MA. The last character in this tale, a 2019 Airstream Globetrotter 27FB. We’ll have photos from the road, best practices, and some “plan B” stories as well I’m sure. The trip starts August 28, the planning and packing is happening now!

Keep track of the tales by following us on the web at hopinncoffee.com and social media to come.

Which TLD is Right for Me?

Reblogged from Andrew Rabbitt @ DNSimple

So you’ve decided to build your own website and are wondering which of the 286+ top level domains [TLDs] you should use. With so many options at your fingertips, the task of selecting one may seem daunting. You’ve been online and know that .COM, .NET, and .ORG are very popular. You’ve seen .EDU, and sometimes .BIZ and .INFO – but which TLD is right for your website?

Let’s talk about popular, new, special, and not-so-savory TLDs and how to choose your own.

.COM.NET, and .ORG

.COM was one of the first top level domains implemented back in January 1985. It’s original intention was for commercial entities, but today almost anyone can register a .COM domain. .COM is so ubiquitous that many people assume a website should end with .COM, and it’s typically the first TLD searched when registering a new TLD.

.COM made up 139 million of the 348.7 million domain registrations as of the fourth quarter of 2018 see report, and is by far the most popular TLD with almost 40% of the total domain market. The next leading registered domain for the same quarter was the country code TLD .CN (China) with 22.7 million registrations.

.NET is another TLD implemented back in January 1985. It was intended for internet companies. There are no restrictions on this domain, and it’s now a general purpose domain with a respectable 13.5 million registrations. Like .COM, anyone can register a .NET domain.

.ORG rounds out the initially available TLDs from January 1985. Of the big three, .ORG is the smallest with just over 10 million registrations. This TLD was intended for organizations and nonprofits, but – like .COM and .NET – has no restrictions. Anyone can register a .ORG domain.

Note: I excluded .GOV, .MIL, and .ARPA from this post, as they’re not available to the general public. However, these three were also part of the January 1985 TLD release.

You may gravitate to these, because they’re the oldest TLDs on the internet. But you have other options, some more popular than .NET and .ORG, others more exclusive. It’s 2019, and you can be successful with any TLD.

The next group of popular TLDs are country code TLDs – ccTLDs. The Internet Assigned Numbers Authority (IANA) has assigned a trustee for each ccTLD. That trustee is responsible for the policies and operation of the domain. Some ccTLDs have restrictions you should be aware of prior to registration. Examples of these restrictions include, but are not limited to:

  • Residency requirements for .EU domains
  • Can’t use names of cities in France in .FR domains
  • Must be a resident or have a company based in Japan for .JP domains

Some ccTLDs have gained support outside of the residents of their specific country. The .IO (British Indian Ocean Territory) domain, for example, is heavily used by tech innovators and startups. This ccTDLD offers a tech savvy, two character TLD that means something to many programming communities – I/O: Input/Output. Another ccTLD that’s open to everyone is the .ME (Montenegro) domain, which is typically used for personal pages.

Some popular generic top level domains, gTLDs, are targeted at specific groups of users:

  • .APP for applications
  • .DEV for developers
  • .BANK for financial institutions1
  • .INSURANCE for insurance companies1
  • .BLOG for blog sites
  • .PAGE for personal and informational pages
  • .INFO for informational pages
  • .PIZZA for pizza joints
  • .WORKS for our amazing comics howhttps.works and howhttp.works
  • .XYZ for everyone

Unpopular TLDs

While I would never tell anyone which TLDs to avoid, the below TLDs have been associated with SPAM and other shady dealings. According to Symantec, these domains are suspicious due to their use by hackers and scammers. While I won’t say you should avoid them, I will say you should do some research into them before committing.

  • .COUNTRY
  • .STREAM
  • .DOWNLOAD
  • .XIN
  • .GDN

Conclusion

At the end of the day the choice is yours. Some TLDs, like many ccTLDs, .BANK and .INSURANCE have restrictions. Unless you meet the requirements, it’s best to stick to more easily acquired TLDs.

Whether it’s a .IO, .APP, or .PAGE, DNSimple can help you buy your domain, connect it to your content, and operate it through records management. With over 286 domains to choose from, the opportunities are almost limitless. Visit DNSimple’s List of TLDS today to register your domain.

  1. Both the .BANK and .INSURANCE domains have special requirements. Information on these regulated TLDs can be found at fTLD Registry Services Inc 2

Sales and Marketing Go Hand-In-Hand

Be it either a one dollar product or a million dollar product, a healthy sales pipeline is key to the success of any sales person. Since 1999 I have worked in the fields of personal protection equipment, book publishing and distribution, food safety analytical test kits, data deduplication appliances, medical laboratory software, domain name services solutions, and consulting services. Over the years I have learned that focused and targeted marketing efforts can result in actionable leads for the sales team to convert to new business, thus growing revenue. This short blog post is going to focus on several marketing campaigns I was involved in that resulted in an increase in sales for my teams.

Back in my Bacou-Dalloz days I was tasked with increasing revenue for their emergency eyewash line. Emergency Eyewash is a product that is mandated by the Code of Federal Regulations – 29 CFR 1910.151(c) and acceptable equipment defined in ANSI Z358.1. The regulations state that works in areas where eyewash is required must be able to activate such devices within ten seconds of the hazard and the device must provide a minimum of fifteen minutes of washing capability per incident. 

While not all eyewash is made the same, all must meet the performance guidelines of ANSI Z358.1. This means that the products either need to be price sensitive or truly innovative in order to grow sales in a well-defined market where OSHA often dictates placement and companies are forced to install the products. 

Our solution was to target owners and corporate level team members of prospective clients with a laser focused campaign reminding them of the regulation and outlining the features of our truly innovative portable eyewash stations. We did this through the use of a rather expensive at the time promotion. We targeted 10,000 business owners and safety officers with a talking greeting card that, upon opening, said “If your workers can’t reach an eyewash station by the end of this ten second message you are in violation of emergency eyewash regulations.” Along with the card was an offer for a free plant evaluation and details about our eyewash stations.

This campaign was incredibly successful. To send over 10,000 cards at roughly seven dollars each (printing, postage, and handling) was a huge line item on the budget and one of the most expensive non-trade show campaigns we had done in emergency eyewash at the time, but it paid for itself in increased revenue and new business.

This campaign put actionable leads into the queue of the entire eyewash salesforce.

When I moved from protecting people to protecting the global food supply we again used laser focused marketing to target the right customers with truly innovative products. Very similar to emergency eyewash, mycotoxin testing is a regulated industry with the USDA and FDA mandating the testing of foodstuffs and establishing action levels for the various mycotoxins. The AlfaTest® Mycotoxin Testing System has been on the market for decades and is the industry leader when it comes to screening for this carcinogenic fungal byproduct. 

The goal of marketing is to provide sales with actionable leads in relevant industries. We accomplished this by attending industry events where food growers and food processors attend to make decisions. We also joined industry organizations relevant to the food and feed industry.

By leveraging trade shows and organizational memberships marketing was able to supply sales with a constant stream of actionable leads. 

Food safety, at the time, was a very print centric market. This meant that a well thought out advertising campaign could also educate possible users and generate additional sales leads. Working with the team we came up with an all-inclusive media plan that targeted the global food production and distribution supply where mycotoxin testing is critical.

In the end the efforts of marketing kept a steady stream of leads in the sales pipeline and allowed for growth of the product line even in an economic downturn. 

While consulting for a data deduplication company, before the word deduplication was common, we needed a way to reach possible customers to convert them to users. At the time everything was migrating to virtual tape libraries as cost for spinning disk was dropping to the point where it was competitive with magnetic tape. Virtual tape libraries with data deduplication, in theory, could put petabytes of data in a single storage array. 

The goal of marketing was to penetrate new market segments including healthcare and education. This was the mid-2000s and email marketing was all the rage. So to email marketing we turned to generate leads.

It worked and eventually the company was acquired by a large disk manufacturer.

This caused me to move to medical laboratory software – an area where tradeshows, events, and print advertising have maintained healthy sales pipelines for over 40 years. The marketing team sought out shows that focused on each major product line: anatomic pathology, clinical pathology, blood banking, molecular pathology, dermatopathology, cytology, etc. Events in these industries brought qualified leads to the table. One event in particular, AMP, brought leads that became sales for me personally. 

To summarize, every marketing department needs to find a strategy that works for the products for which they speak. Be it emergency eyewash and food safety where regulations guide purchase decisions to data deduplication where cost per byte stored is a factor or medical laboratory software were lab specific features and workflows rule the day; marketing must work with sales to establish and maintain a healthy sales pipeline. 


The Case for Business Insurance

If you own a home and carry a mortgage, chances are you have homeowners insurance. If you own a car and are licensed in any of the United States, except New Hampshire and Virginia, you must have automotive insurance. If you are a renter it’s a good idea to have renters insurance. Many people have either personal or employer-provided life insurance. In most cases, when issues happen, be it an automotive collision or a tree through the roof of a house, insurance is there to help recover costs and repair the damage. 

I own a home, own vehicles, get sick, and will eventually die. I also own a small business. I have homeowners insurance, car insurance, health insurance, a life insurance policy, and business insurance.

Every business owner should consider insuring their business, especially if it is a sole proprietorship or small company with few employees. A sole proprietor is the business and bears all the financial responsibility of the business – profit and loss. There are several types of policies that small businesses should consider.  

  • Professional Liability Insurance: Protects the business in the case of a lawsuit while performing services, even if no mistakes were made. Generally, these policies cover alleged negligence, defense costs, libel or slander, copyright infringement, independent contractors, claims and damages.
  • Commercial General Liability Insurance: Protects your business from another person or business’s claims of bodily injury, associated medical costs, and damage to property. These policies typically cover bodily injury, damage to third party property, advertising injury, electronic data liability, medical expenses, defense costs, and actions of full time and temporary staff.
  • Property Insurance: Protects your business assets including furniture and equipment as well as inventory and revenue.
  • Workmen’s Compensation Insurance: Protects the business by providing wage replacement and medical benefits to employees injured on the job usually in exchange for mandatory relinquishment of the employee’s right to sue.

We have a combo policy for our small business called a Business Owners Policy which includes General Liability, Property Liability, and Indemnity insurance. Specifically our policy covers:

  • Business Income: If something happens beyond our control that impacts our cash flow we can file a claim for that lost revenue.
  • Employee Dishonesty: If a member of our team causes financial harm, we can recover that through our insurance.
  • Medical expenses for injuries sustained while conducting business (1,000,000 per incident).
  • Personal and Advertising Injury (Slander and Libel).
  • Inventory and Operational Property (at our location and in transit, such as when we travel to conventions and events).
  • Damages to spaces other than our primary location where we conduct business, such as a hotel or exhibit hall where we are attending a trade show or event.
  • Employment / Fiduciary Liability back to 2012.
  • Building: While we have homeowners insurance, and operate out of our home, that policy will not cover our business – most will not. This policy protects our home against any claims resulting from our business operations.
  • Business Personal Property: Computers, Shelves, Displays, etc…
  • Electronic Data Processing: Our website. If our site goes down and causes us to lose revenue we can file a claim to recover not only the site but the sales lost during the outage.
  • Sudden Equipment Breakdown
  • Fine Arts: all the artwork we have commissioned over the years is insured at replacement cost.
  • Business Record.
  • Damage caused by sewer or drain backups.
  • Acts of Terrorism.

It’s a pretty extensive policy and only costs less than $100.00 per month. In my opinion, it is a good use of business capital. Any of the above would be far more damaging to the business than the deductible.

I would not drive my car without insurance. I will not operate my business without insurance. I hope never to have to make another claim against our policy, but I know that it’s there if I do.

If you are looking for a small business policy, contact me and I’ll put you in touch with our insurance agent.

Why Your Financial Institution Should Use a .BANK

Repost from https://blog.dnsimple.com/2018/12/why-use-bank/

Previously, we talked about why financial institutions partner with DNSimple to meet their .BANK domain hosting compliance needs in Why Financial Institutions Migrate their .BANK Domains to DNSimple.

In our second installment, we’ll go over why financial service providers – banks, investment firms, payment providers, and other verified financial institutions – should use a .BANK TLD. You’ll love the mix of branding, exclusivity, and security offered by a .BANK domain.

Exclusive branding

Internet users associate specific TLDs with expertise – .IO for technology companies, .INSURANCE for insurance providers, .EDU for schools, and .BANK for financial institutions. Using .BANK with your branch name provides a higher level of user confidence without needing to educate your audience, and the opportunity to brand yourself like never before.

It’s an exclusive name without exclusive costs. There’s also the added bonus of a premium domain name, and the security of multiple levels of verification. Using .BANK domains assures customers that their financial institutions are technically savvy, and serious about security, branding, and consumer trust.

Security

In our previous post, we talked in detail about the security requirements. Let’s talk a little more about why those matter.

A .BANK domain has certain requirements to ensure security. Of course, you could have a similar security level with a .COM, but that doesn’t mean you can always trust them. A .BANK has to undergo verification, and providers can’t have a .BANK without this rigorous process. These technical requirements are mandatory to protect financial institutions and their customers, and by using .BANK, the registry guarantees the provider adopts these techniques. A .BANK domain is a win/win for financial institutions and their clients.

Get started

.BANK DNS management through DNSimple provides financial institutions with the tools for secure online communication and dissemination of information. You’ll have increased cyber security protection, a global AnyCast network with real time DDoS defense, multi-factor authentication, and SSL security certificates.

DNSimple makes it easy, and less intimidating to set up and manage .BANK domains. We take care of everything for you, so you can take care of your clients.

Ready to get started? Get in touch with our Sales Director, Andrew, and we’ll get you up and running.

Have more questions? Visit our .BANK hosting page, or take a look at our previous post.

Creative Data Mining with zone.vision

Your DNS records reveal more about your company than you think, especially if you’re using cloud services.  To verify your identity, Microsoft, Google, Cisco, Atlassian, Docusign, Dropbox, SalesForce, and more use a TXT record to make sure you’re an administrator on a company domain.

As a sales engineer, you can use this information for those meetings where you’re headed in blind.  It happens!  Sometimes you don’t have enough discovery to really have a quality conversation with a customer.  Here’s some tricks to use https://zone.vision (from the folks at DNSimple) to see what DNS is announcing to the world. Continue reading “Creative Data Mining with zone.vision”

Products over the years…

Back in 1999 I accepted a position with Uvex Safety Eyewear as a marketing assistant. During my time we launched the Uvex Genesis line of polycarbonate safety spectacles. This product revolutionized the industry as it had all the adjustment features of other styles, replaceable lenses, and multi-material technology for comfort.
Why do I bring this up now? The products I’ve marketed in the past crop up everywhere in my day to day life. Every time I go to the oral hygienist for my cleanings they wear Uvex Genesis. Every time I go to Home Depot I see fend-all emergency eyewash – who could forget the Pure Flow 1000. I helped grow the fend-all product line over 10% in my first year as product marketing manager.
After leaving the world of personal protective equipment I moved into food safety. I also relocated my home to a place sixty miles from Uvex, or I would still be there today. Though VICAM I helped farmers, packers, regulators, shippers, and universities screen foodstuff for mycotoxins; the byproduct of fungal molds known to cause harm to humans and animals.
Every time I go to the grocery store I see the various brands that I know use the VICAM mycotoxin testing system to ensure that harmful levels of toxins don’t end up in the food supply. All tree nuts, ground nuts, corn, cereal grains, milk, wine, beer…all tested using VICAM to ensure the global food supply is free of dangerous levels of mycotoxins.
Ten years ago I relocated and again changed career paths to be closer to my new home. I accepted a position in the marketing group at Psyche Systems, where I worked with an awesome team to improve patient outcomes by providing physicians accurate and complete laboratory reports. Psyche develops software for medical laboratories hand in hand with doctors…doctors who I see on a regular basis use Psyche software.
Currently, I’m working with the team at DNSimple, who provides enterprise-class DNS management through automation. DNSimple allows you to buy, connect, and operate your domains at a professional level using powerful domain automation or their intuitive web-based application. Every time I visit a host of websites I take pride knowing they resolve with DNSimple, and that I’m contributing to the inner workings of the internet.
From safety eyewear, emergency eyewash, mycotoxin testing, and laboratory information systems to domain management tools I see the products I’ve marketed since leaving university almost on a daily basis. I am proud of the products I’ve worked with over the years. From protecting people through the best personal protective equipment, protecting the global food supply through mycotoxin testing, individual and community health through LIS software I’ve done much to improve people lives.
Now I am working to make people’s domain name management simple. I’m looking forward to 2019 with a renewed spirit and am setting myself up for a successful career path.

Adventures in a Ford Focus Electric

Back in July of 2017, I picked up a brand new Ford Focus Electric. This was the second brand new vehicle I ever bought – every other car had been used. There were some issues which reminded me why I don’t purchase brand new cars…but that’s a well-documented story and not what this post is about.

We’ve had the car for about a year and have been getting between 100 and 124 miles per charge just driving around town running errands. Armed with this data we thought it would be a fun idea to take the Focus EV out on a trip to Modesto, California and back (about 525 miles each way).

Our plan was simple, make our way out to Turlock, California over the weekend, do a customer site visit, and make our way back by Tuesday afternoon. It turns out that simple things, even well-planned, can lead to great adventures.

Our route was easy enough. We would start from the house with a full charge, hit the new EVGo Station in Baker, then the station at the Mall of Victorville, the free charger at the Honda dealership in Lancaster, then to the Walmart station in Bakersfield, overnight at the Holiday Inn in off the 99 with the fast charger, and finally to Turlock for our meeting the head home hitting different chargers along the route with an overnight to be determined along the way.

 

From Vegas to the World’s Tallest Thermometer was easy. We hit the Alien Fresh Jerky place and the Mad Greek while the car charged then made our way to Victorville.

   

Here is where our first issue came arose. We fought a massive headwind while going uphill the entire way, which depleted the battery around Barstow. This wasn’t a huge problem as there was a standard charger at the Mall of Barstow so we plugged in, had a picnic lunch then hit the Starbucks for coffee.

Next was the Mall of Victorville follow by the free charge at the Honda dealership where, while waiting for the car to charge, we ended up visiting the ‘Bark in the Park‘ going on and seeing lots of people and their dogs. After charging we headed up to Tehachapi for dinner (and a quick Level 2 Top Off) before making our way down the mountain to the Walmart in Bakersfield.

From there it was easy sailing to the Holiday Inn for our overnight. In the morning we discovered that the hotel had a lovely little train that did a 20 minute loop. Of course we took a ride.

Next day we made our way to Turlock and the Days Inn where they had a ChargePoint Level 2 charger for our second overnight.

Monday we did our session in Turlock then made our way south.

Instead of using the same route we took the 5 down to Tejon Pass and ended up having a picnic dinner in Santa Clarita while charging. We did an overnight in Lancaster, then made our way home the next day reversing the route we took the first day.

Overall some things we learned:

– Plan for elevation. Massive uphill climbs zap the battery range. This can be minimized by keeping the speed around 65 mph, but for every 1000 feet in increased elevation, we lost about 10% battery range. Of course, for every 1000 feet in elevation decrease we regained some of that range, I’d say about 7%.

– Plan to stop more often then you think. Due to the changes in elevation that we hadn’t considered we ended up stopping in both Barstow and Tehachapi for a couple of hours charging at the Level 2 stations. There are no Level 3 stations in these cities. We made the best of it by having our meals during these stops. Basically, the hills added these two unplanned for stops.

We changed our route home to avoid having to stop at any Level 2 chargers. It added 20 miles to the trip but saved three to four hours of charge time.

Stop to smell the roses. We saw some amazing things while charging.

I will do this again. Sacrament, San Francisco, Reno, all are possible… Even Seattle…