I recently gave a talk at the City Business Library on how to get your software to work for you (rather than the other way around!) and one of the key parts of my talk covered how much amazing quality free software there now is available.
More and more professional web apps are attracting users by offering a free entry level package allowing the small business user access to a subset of features, or limited usage. Because these sites hope to turn you not a paying customer one day, you also get a professional level of service, unlike the "made in a bedroom" class of apps that have sketchy support at best.
It was quite difficult to pick my top 5 and I'm sure I'll keep adding to the list as new apps come on the market. The notable similarity between all of these apps is that they all do only one thing, and do it well.
This week I'd like to start by extolling the virtues of MailChimp - the essential app for maintaining a mailing list. MailChimp includes easy to use interfaces to do all the things you'd expect:
MailChimp is free to use for up to 12,000 emails a month if your mailing list is under 2,000 users. Above that a monthly charge applies, but, like with all the free software options that I'll be writing about, hopefully by the time your list gets that big you'll be making enough money to afford it!
Last Tuesday I went to my first ever TEDx event.
I'd seen (and loved) the TED videos online, but I only found out about the local TEDx franchise about 9 months ago. (If you haven't heard about it, you can find out more info at http://www.ted.com/tedx.)
TEDxRussellSquare was run by the lovely Lisa Jacob and a team of enthusiastic volunteers (pictured above, Lisa centre), who ensured that the day went swimmingly.
The attendees were all very special too and there was a great atmosphere at the event. Speakers and topics were very varied, but all thought-provoking.
I was lucky enough to be able to speak (video pending...) but my favourite thing was writing on the posters on the walls, made by the volunteers.
You can read more about the event on the official blog. We're all hoping Lisa will organise another one soon!
Last week I was on the other side of the microphone, being interviewed by the lovely Viv Oyulu over at Dream Corner.
Viv has worked in many careers but discovered her true calling as a radio host when she was 40. You can read her very touching story in the Telegraph about her: http://www.dreamcorner.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/media/viv-oyolu-in-the-sunday-telegraph.pdf
Viv is a great host and very relaxing to chat to. You can hear the interview in full below.
Managing Director of Softwire, technology and backgammon presenter. Plus a little bit of new music radio.