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Thursday, January 12, 2006

Review Site
Our review site hasbeen on my mind a lot these days.

I think we're going to completely change it. Create something more democratic, where people can vote for the verdict score and post their thoughts as mini-reviews. We could then let people "vote" for what reviews they like the best and that's how they'd be ordered.

We just have to get moving!!!!

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Tuesday, January 10, 2006

Amazon Annoyance! Please Help Confirm
Search for "anime" at Amazon.com.

I tried it and most of the top results were for hentai.

Can you please try and post whether you get the same results?

If this is the case for everyone, they're definitely getting a letter from me. Enough people already equate anime to hentai. We don't need Amazon confirming this!

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Commonsense Deficiencies
Occasionally I like to offer businesses I come across some free, commonsense advice. Unfortunately, this advice often goes unheeded...Here are two quick anecdotes:

(1) Soup Take-Out Place:

There's a soup place my co-workers and I frequent. They make really tasty soup to go. Annoyin gly, when they bag and hand you your order, they never include a spoon in the bag! They'll include napkins, but you have to go to the corner to get the spoon.

As a result, I often forget to take the spoon on my way out (and I'm not the only one).

I casually mentioned this small deficiency to the cashier one day. She said it was "too time consuming" to include a spoon in each bag.

Huh? I really hate excuses, but this wasn't even a good one! They have time to include napkins and bread but not spoons?

(2) Smoothie Place:

I grabbed a smoothie a few days ago. Right after my order, the cashier reads from a script and asks me if I want to buy a gift card with that.

I smiled at her and said in my smug tone: "Be honest...has anyone EVER just up and sudden decided to order a smoothie gift card when you asked them that?"

Don't get me wrong, I've bought gift cards before. But never on a whim and certainly not after placing my entire order.

Anyway, after hearing my question, the cashier looked down and fidgeted. "Not really...but it never hurts to ask!"

So not only does this question hurt the business' reputation, turning cashiers into annoying salespeople, it doesn't even work! It's lose-lose. Again, excuses.

As much as I like to poke fun at others, we definitely have commonsense problems around here that need solving. The only difference is that we'll never make excuses or pretend they don't exist.

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Monday, January 9, 2006

Feedback and Positive Reinforcement
Quick side note, I'm really happy I forced myself to learn programming a few winters ago. It's been such a cool skill, though I'm nowhere near guru level (i.e. Justin's level).

Anyway, psychologically, we all need constant feedback to get anything done. Like exercise, for example. People stop working out when they hit a plateau, when they stop seeing improvement that aligns with their bench presses.

With this in mind, I did some code crunching tonight and now affiliates of Art of Otaku can see, in real-time, how many clicks they're sending to our site.

While affiliates can't control how many sales they refer, they CAN control how many clicks they give us. So they can now experiment with new ways to try and get those click #'s up.

More clicks = more sales = more commissions. Very simple equation.

I've always tried to incorporate feedback into every part of this network. But do you have any other ideas?

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Saturday, January 7, 2006

Anime Insider?
Been talking to the fine folks at Anime Insider magazine. Hopefully they'll review Art of Otaku for us. Also talking about maybe trading ads on theOtaku for ads in their magazine (though this might be a long shot).

I need to work out the economics, but we might also be buying advertising with them; they can give a pretty good rate. The ad would have to refer 30-40 Art of Otaku sales to break-even though.

Hm...what do you think of Anime Insider? I have a few issues...pretty great magazine! Any other good magazines you recommend?

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Friday, January 6, 2006

Art of Otaku CD Issue Fixed
Everyone who orders Art of Otaku on CD now gets a free backup, ultra-thick jewel case.

I know we didn't have to do this, but it's a darned cool way to settle my conscience that some people might get a cracked slim case in the mail.

Also, just to clarify some things in my previous post...I'm not sure why it's circulating that I'm not an anime fan. While I'm not a 10 on a 1-10 scale, I'd put myself around an 8. The only person I'd rate a 10 would probably be this dude.

I've seen probably a thousand episodes of anime, 50+ movies, was the most popular article writer on articles.theOtaku.com, and even stood in a long line to see Howl's Moving Castle's North American debut.

To be honest, when I first started theOtaku many many years ago, I didn't know a whole lot about the subject. I had actually come from running a very popular gaming site. But it quickly grew on me and now I'm hooked.

(Maybe if I spoke Japanese I could even approach Gail's level ;-)).

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Thursday, January 5, 2006

   Questions Answered
Whew, received a lot of questions today. Here are my answers...

AzureWolf On: What I do in my free time

I actually have a day job. I work at a sexy advertising agency. It's a nice industry. When I come home, I usually go to the gym and then either read, watch a movie, or go out with a friend or two.

I work on the site late, late in the evening, usually from 10 - 1/2 AM.

CosmicSailor: Student information.

I actually have to update that. I graduated last year from college. I was an honors student in business with a triple concentration.

As mentioned before, I now work at an advertising agency during the day.

The Dazzling Snow Fox: Future Plans

theOtaku will be more of an evolutionary upgrade. We'll fix some nagging concerns, migrate portfolios from myOtaku there, and so on.

myOtaku will completely change. It'll be a more open platform and will be less about blogging. We'll still have blogs on myOtaku, but that won't be the focus. The focus will be on making a central page for you to "introduce yourself" to your audience, so to speak.

What role does it play in my life?
The same role as all my web productions I've had in the last 8 years. The network is a major part of my life, it's a release for all my creative/entrepreneurial energies.

Sure it'd be nice to have a huge company one day with offices, etc. But I'm far more interested in just creating very cool and amazing things.

The Sparkling Milky Cat On: Love Interest

Oh our Art of Otaku artists will always be #1 in my heart (except for you of course, since you have a spot reserved in your fiance's heart).

Linkin Park On: (Too Many to List Here)

1. Where is the myOtaku update?

That and theOtaku are the next two projects I'm tackling. I have a bunch of excuses for their delays, but it's better just to break inertia and start showing results. I really dislike excuses.

Also, it shouldn't be implied that Art of Otaku detracted from said upgrades at all. That simply wasn't the case, thanks to a wonderful effort by our artists and the way I managed the project.

2. How Much Money Has Art of Otaku Made and How Much Have The Artists Made?

I really don't like to get into the monetary aspects of the project, since that was honestly never a huge issue. All we wanted to do was create something very different and cool using our community.

We had so many risks. Our artists risked a LOT of their hard working in the blind faith that I could deliver an elegant finished product. And we all risked a lot because we had no idea whether or not anyone would actually buy the thing. It took 6 months to produce.

Remember, this was the first time we ever tried to sell anything on theOtaku. A flop was a huge possibility.

The fact Art of Otaku came out well was my most important metric for success. That it sold all right is a nice bonus, though we could still do a heck of a lot better.

3. Other questions...

As I said, we haven't updated theOtaku in a long time. Over a year. We have some work to do.

As for your question suggesting I'm a money-hungry vampire of sorts and that I should hand over the network to a passionate anime fan instead...


Other than the silly insult, which isn't really grounded in anything, your question is akin to telling the President of Toys R Us:

"My little brother likes toys more than you, you should resign and let him run the company instead!"

This network is an incredibly complex animal. It's difficult for someone outside to see this, looking in, but it is. I wouldn't wish anyone my job of running it! (Nor would I even let them without a fight!)

John On: Giving Thumbs Up All Day

Let's just say I always win at thumb-wars...

*Waves* that's all folks. Thanks for your questions. Until next time.

Comments (5) | Permalink

Wednesday, January 4, 2006

Ask Adam
Ever wanted to ask me a question about the network/personal stuff/etc. but never got a chance? Just post in the comments area. I'll answer as many as I can in my next post.
Comments (6) | Permalink

Sunday, January 1, 2006

Using Time Wisely
Time management is a subject that's always interested me. I've read extensively on it and have tried to practice the tips preached by so-called experts. Most of the time the tips haven't really led to anything tangible though.

Anyway, I was thinking about how to spend my time for 2006 and came up with a very useful list.

Basically, I asked myself: What types of things could never be a waste of time. My reasoning was, if I ever found myself lacking something to do, I could just fall back on one of the items on this list.

So without further ado, here it is:

1. Exercising

Exercise is one of the best investments you could ever make in terms of time. It pays you back many times over.

2. Reading quality works
3. Watching quality movies

Often I'll be reading something or watching a good movie and it'll spark a train of thought that'll inspire me to do something interesting. For example, I thought of the idea for Art of Otaku while watching a movie.

4. Learning a skill

I learned how to juggle one afternoon. Now I can juggle forever.

5. Doing something helpful to someone else

I don't think anyone could say this isn't worthwhile to do with your time.

6. Reflecting or taking a short break

You can only actively stuff for so long before getting burnt out. I take breaks on occassion and just sit around or play some mindless video game. I make sure I don't play for too long though (this is key!)

7. Eating a healthy meal

Same as exercise. You'll thank yourself later.

8. Creating something of value

This is related to my network duties, but can also be writing this blog post :).

9. Spending time with friends or family

Humans are social animals. There's no faster path to misery than always being by yourself.

10. Cleaning or decorating or improving your environment.

This one always helps make me feel better. It's instant gratification to improve your environment and makes you more productive in the future.

I know if I don't clean my apartment, I end up feeling really sluggish/lazy/gross, which affects how I spend my day.

Hope this list helped! If you have any other ideas, just post them here.

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Saturday, December 31, 2005

Goals Defined

* The goal of myOtaku.com is to be a platform for people to learn more about its members. For it to be a members' online portal into their life.

* The goal of Art of Otaku is to make customers thrilled with their purchase and to teach them how to draw anime better.

* The goal of theOtaku is...
-> Main Page: To entertain visitors, give them quick links around the network, and to inform them of anime news.
-> Submission Sites: To make it easy and >useful< for people to submit their fandom and to make it easy and >fun< for visitors to find quality fandom on topics they're passionate about.
-> Hubs: To entertain visitors with as much derivative content of their favorite anime as possible.

* The goal of OtakuBoards: I'll let James take this. But if I had to venture, I'd say to give visitors a high quality and respectful discussion environment to entertain and spur thought.

* The goal of Velegant Web Hosting: To give users personal support, great uptime, and an elegant hosting environment, so they can focus on building their sites.

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