Notes from the !gnite Social Media Conference

by Mike

The other day we were able to attend the !gnite Social Media Conference in Midland. There were some fantastic speakers and a very impressive turnout. I was able to scribble down some notes that may not make total sense to you, but you may find a nugget or two that you can use.

When fans aren’t enough: Developing a successful social media strategy to drive business growth by Paul Warren, ddm Marketing & Communications
Mostly covered tools to use, some interesting ones:

Social + Virtual Media Marketing for Small Business by Mark Johnson

Brian Solis – Engage (book)
“We are now part of the community we wish to inform.”
“Engage or die.”
“Uncover the voices that define and steer your markets.”

Clients think in a 3d world.
If they are comfortable writing, they will be a blogger. This is a powerful market.
Invite them to speak about what they do in your booth etc.

Keynote - Shannon Paul, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan

When building your team:

Content Creators & Analytics Readers

One dynamite panel, two digital tactics: Search engine optimization (SEO) & paid ads (SEM)

Erik Granning, Doner
Brian Ambrozy, Delightful Experiences and
Bobby Mercader,
Evelyn Chou, Electro-matic

Focus on creating a technically good website.

Get AdWords Certified for $50

Use long-tail keywords to lower CPC

Optimize for conversions.

SEO: The goal now is to increase the amount and quality of incoming keywords.

MAKE SURE YOUR LOCATION PROFILES ARE ACCURATE (foursquare, Google Places, Facebook and Bing)

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Hell’s Half Mile Website launched

by Mike

Hell's Half Mile LogoWe are getting nearer and nearer to the annual Hell’s Half Mile Film and Music Fest! It’s been a lot of work in a very short period of time, and there is a lot of work yet to be done, but please check out the site and let me know what you think. We can’t credit for the look, that was the work of 989 Design, who did a great job creating an identity that could be reused in the years to come.

I decided early this year that I wanted to support to the fest because I feel that this event promotes creativity in the area like no other event. I think that the key to real improvement in this area is a strong creative community.

The amount of time and money we have invested in this event is probably in the $2000 range, which is a big commitment for a very small web design company like MJ Media. We will also be submitting some of our code from this project to the Open Source community to benefit other similar events. I’m so happy with our work thus far.

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My new vacation response

by Mike

In just over a month I’ll be getting married and heading to Las Vegas with my bride. Now that I am the sole owner of this place, I’ll have to set up an out of office that doesn’t direct clients to contact my partner. Taking a cue from Josh Kopelman, I’ll be doing something very similar to this:

I am currently out of the office on vacation.

I know I’m supposed to say that I’ll have limited access to email and won’t be able to respond until I return — but that’s not true. My blackberry will be with me and I can respond if I need to. And I recognize that I’ll probably need to interrupt my vacation from time to time to deal with something urgent.

That said, I promised my wife that I am going to try to disconnect, get away and enjoy our vacation as much as possible. So, I’m going to experiment with something new. I’m going to leave the decision in your hands:

  • If your email truly is urgent and you need a response while I’m on vacation, please resend it to and I’ll try to respond to it promptly.
  • If you think someone else at First Round Capital might be able to help you, feel free to email my assistant, Fiona ( and she’ll try to point you in the right direction.

Otherwise, I’ll respond when I return…

Warm regards,

Now I’ll be putting my fate in your hands, and if you have ever been in a relationship, I think you’ll understand the need to unplug for a little bit. I’m also considering this post as fair warning. I’d get those projects to me soon or you’ll be out of luck. :-)

Have a great day!

Photo: M.Peinado

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The best way to update Magento via SSH

by Mike

When a client hires us to develop their website and it contains an ecommerce element, we typically take a close look at Magento. We like developing for Magento because it had an enormous amount of features and capabilities, and ends up with a much nicer result than what we have seen with many OScommerce and ZenCart solutions.

Recently, one of our development servers had a very old version of Magento on it, and before we could start development on a new extension for a client, we had to upgrade it.

This is the script that I use whenever I am upgrading Magento:

tar -zxvf magento-
cd magento
tar cf - . |(cd ..; tar xvf -)
chmod -R o+w media var
chmod o+w app/etc
rm -rf magento/ magento-

Let’s take a look at what is happening here.

First, we download the next newest version of Magento (click the “Release Archives” tab) and untar it. While theoretically Magento will cleanly upgrade from any old version to any new version, I’ve had the best luck when I don’t skip versions.

tar -zxvf magento-

Next, we do my favorite part. First go into the new magento directory, and then use tar to gather all of the files, retaining permissions and ownership information, and untar them into the root directory of the site.

cd magento
tar cf - . |(cd ..; tar xvf -)

Then we just have to set the directories that have to have write access.

chmod -R o+w media var
chmod o+w app/etc

And finally we cleanup the excess Magento directory and tar file.

rm -rf magento/ magento-

After you have run this, visit the home page of the site to allow it to go through the database upgrade process. I’ve received errors while trying to upgrade the database in the past. Usually these can be solved by deleting the file mentioned in the error.

Then, just like shampoo, you’ll want to repeat the process, changing the version numbers on all three lines until your site is at the most current stable version.

I can’t guarantee that this will solve all of your upgrade woe’s, but I can tell you that this has helped me limit my woes to just those caused by deprecated code.

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