All posts by stefan

watercolor-watermelon-surfboard

Watermelon Surfboard – Using My Imagination

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Yep, I have a watermelon surfboard. Well, err, at least I did. I was chopping up this delicious seedless watermelon for Sydney yesterday and somehow got to this slice. The only thing I could think of, besides eating it, was I want to take this out in some glassy waist high waves and do some turns.

This watercolor shot is my favorite. Click on it for a HUGE version for your wall. Great art :-)

tax-the-corporations2

Corporate Tax Rates and Stereotypes

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I was reading the New York Times this morning and noticed a headline indicating the Obama is going to suggest a 28% standard tax rate for Corporations instead of the current 35% (2011). To me, this would be great! I am the sole owner of a corporation and pay out the wazoo in taxes. I pay the 35% corporate tax rate and then pay personal taxes on the dollar amount that I distribute to myself at the end of the year. Essentially, I feel like I am getting double taxed.

So, as I am reading this article from a liberal standpoint, I notice the imagery the media is using to depict Corporate America. It is a factory with a foremen walking through a designated walkway between machines and factory workers. Sure, it is a great choice of stock imagery because it is a factory! Everyone knows factories are corporations, right? Well, I say wrong.

I am not a giant corporation, I am just one person. I have a team that works with me, but they all work as 1099 contractors but I am still in the 35% tax bracket just like the one in the factory above.

Well, how are we supposed to handle taxes for corporations like mine? Am I supposed to get taxed the same way giant corporations are being taxed? I don’t get it. Tax should be based on income, not how you structure your business.

Tax Help for a Small Business

google-1

Google and Scraper Sites – Report and Pray

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It absolutely blows my mind that the brains at Google can figure out how to become billionaires through a complicated algorithm and bid based advertising system but they can’t figure out how to differentiate an original website from a scraper site! Come on people, just run a WhoIs and cross reference which URL was registered first. Reference your cache! Reference Archive.org and the WayBackMachine!!. Do something!

The Google is a big bad company bandwagon is rolling steady, but I’m not on it. Sure, it hurts when you battle a glitch in their system (not detecting scraper sites) that is hurting you financially, but it is because of Google in the first place that I am a business owner working for myself. It’s the scraper sites and the copycats that are the big bad enemy. They’re lazy fucks capitalizing on someone else’s hard work. Owners of scraper sites are thieves and liars. Scrapers and copycats are the gypsy thieves of the Internet.

If you are battling a scraper site(s) like I am, there isn’t much you can do. A few of my sites have been scraped completely word for word and dropped out of the Google SERPS, and then came back, and were then scraped again by the same company/person/thief/gypsy and then dropped out again.

Recently, I have been in a constant battle with scrapers and php injections. Man, what a pain in the ass. I guess it comes with the territory, but I don’t like it.

Here are a few ways you can try to help your scraped blog/website by reporting it;

Sean Singleton Web Designer

BUYER BEWARE – Sean Singleton and Guaranteed Freshness Web Design Ripped Me Off

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I really can’t believe that it came down to this. I am making a post on my personal blog about a new designer that I started to work with back in June of 2011 because, after I paid him, he stopped communicating with me. He didn’t return phone calls, text messages or emails. Ultimately, after four weeks of no response communication from him, I filed a complaint with PayPal (I paid him in advance for his web design work) and am making this post so that anyone doing searches for Sean Singleton will see how he treats his clients after he gets paid.

September 28, 2011 Unanswered Correspondence

Sean Singleton

Will you please give me an update on where you are with client design and/or delivery dates.

Thanks

October 3, 2011 Unanswered Correspondence

Sean Singleton

I at least some sort of response from you.

You said you would have something for me at the beginning of last week
so I emailed you when I didn’t see it. I’m not putting pressure on
you, but I need some sort of communication from you regarding where
you are with the design on this project so we can get a build out
started and I can keep the clients expectations set properly.

Thanks and please hit me up with some info.

Thanks

October 3, 2011 Unanswered Correspondence

Sean Singleton

I am relying on you to do this design and work and I pre-paid you for
it! If you’re not able to work on this project, please just let me
know and send me money via paypal so I can afford to pay someone else
to finish what you started. I now have a client that is pushing me to
get this done and you went MIA on me.

I would like to keep working with you on this but need to hear from you.

Thanks

October 10, 2011 Unanswered Correspondence

Sean

Are these emails getting to you? I’m now trying the email on your
website since I haven’t gotten a response from you in two weeks at
your gmail address.

The above correspondence with Guaranteed Freshness and Sean Singleton only represent my emails to him, not my repeated phone calls or text messages.

Look, I work with 1099 and independent contractors all the time in my business. Most of my design work is done through outsourcing in the United States and I keep 99% of my important SEO and business building tactics in office at Reardon Corporation. I understand people get too busy and drop the ball, but you should never be too busy to communicate that you are too busy. Worst case scenario, you tell someone that you bit off more than you can chew with this project and you need to divy up the hours you worked and refund the rest. But come on, the silent treatment AND keeping all the money you were paid in advance to complete the job?. That is just a weak move.

Sean Singleton, if you read this post about you and your web design business, I welcome you to communicate with me about how we can fix this situation. I have already hired another designer to take over your web design project and need to pay them with the money that I paid you to complete the project in our contract.

Guaranteed Freshness Web Design

Guaranteed Freshness Web Design

New Pandora and Social Sites Are Eerily Similar to Facebook

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As a Pandora One member, I get to check out the new Pandora website ahead of the pack. I gladly took a test drive today, and guess what; It looks just like the FaceBook user interface. Now, I’m not bashing on Pandora because I love what they have done for me, and everyone else that got sick of having to change their music library every time a new technology came out (CD, DVDs, iPods). Most of the music I listen to is music that I have purchased at one time or another, but have no idea where it is after lost hard drives, stolen computers and scratched CD’s.

With that little disclaimer, back to the reason for this blog post. I think all of the new social media sites out there are looking very similar to facebook. Social media is taking the logical evolution to a segmented industry. Much like nearly every business out there like advertising, plumbing and building, if you find a specialty within the big picture you can build yourself a great niche business.

The way I see it, all the business’s out there that saw the success of social media with FaceBook are now trying to create a niche in their industry. Pandora is just like them…creating their own social network on the new Pandora One website.

Have a look for yourself and tell me if it looks anything like facebook to you.

New Pandora Looks Like Facebook

New Pandora Looks Like Facebook