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Archives for: April 2014

There were 13 posts published in April 2014.

10 Tips to Increase Your Email Deliverability

Email marketing is an art. It relies on trial and error, it requires practice and continuous testing, and thrives on clean lists, simple content. Effective email marketing requires that you listen and engage with your audience. It depends on the ability to track the results that help you fine-tune future campaigns to increase engagement.

With a $40 return on every $1 invested, according to the DMA in 2013, it’s too good a deal to pass up.

It’s essential to remember that the best content in the world, the best customers on your list, and the soundest metrics are worth next to nothing if your email doesn’t get to the inbox.

Below are ten tips to help you be successful in getting the most out of your email marketing efforts:


Tip 1: Keep lists clean

Create a list based on people who have clearly expressed an interest in receiving emails from you - not just people who saw you at a trade show and gave you a business card or someone who bought something on your website. Make sure that when they give you their email address, your contacts understand that they’ll be receiving emails from you… and what the content of those emails will be.

When you have proper consent and people are expecting to receive emails from you, success rates for deliverability go way up.


Tip 2: Keep lists current

Send a campaign at least once per month to make sure your list is up to date. The longer you wait, the worse off your results will be. In fact, the longest you should allow a list to go dormant is 6 months.

People change, addresses change, companies change. Sending to an old list may cause a large portion of the emails you’re sending to bounce - which can harm your reputation as a sender and might even cause your domain to get blacklisted. If you are blacklisted, it is best to find out why and resolve it before continuing with your email marketing efforts.


Tip 3: Win them back

You have a few options to win back clients who haven’t engaged via email with you recently:
● Create a group of people who haven’t opened a campaign in a while (the 5 past campaigns you’ve sent, or last 3 months) and pause sending to them until you can send them a campaign with highly targeted information taken from links they’d previously clicked on or driven by recent purchases.
● Create a specific campaign asking them if they want to continue receiving your emails.
● Inform them that since the weekly email hasn’t been read, that you’re going to move them to your monthly campaign.

People lose interest in newsletters for a variety of reasons - loss of interest in the topics, change in needs, new priorities. While you should never lose contact with people that matter, you should also make sure that you’re sending them topics that interest them, at a frequency that makes sense. Otherwise, you’re just carrying around dead weight for no reason and it’s hurting your delivery.


Tip 4: Have an online presence

Stop using your Gmail address to promote your brand: buy your own domain, build your website. Include an email signup form on your homepage to help populate your list. Be vocal on social media - choose two or three to start and constantly push out what inspires you, motivates you; ask questions; start a blog, offer advice and share your expertise.

When you send an email with your domain name in the email address you send from, and include the name of a person as well as the name of the business, you’re more likely to be recognized… and are improving your odds at getting your email opened. The more channels you offer for people to engage with you, the more opportunity you give them to engage.


Tip 5: Develop engaging content

Personalize emails when you can. Keep content simple, aim for brevity and exercise balance of text and images. The gist of your emails should be understood even if images aren’t seen.

To help boost your open rates, you should also consider segmenting your list so you can be more razor-like in personalizing your content to a more specialized audience. Whether your email is all text or all images, unbalanced content causes red flags.


Tip 6: Test, test, test!

Find out when the most people open your emails: try sending your campaign at different times on the same day every week, then different days of the week. Increase or decrease your frequency, but give your contacts the option to manage how often they receive your emails. Change the layout of the campaigns - use heatmaps to see where people click. Create a group of the people who didn’t open your latest email and change the subject - compare which email performs better.

Trial and error is very valuable when it comes to honing your skills as an email-marketing guru. Different industries will have different times at which they perform better - and maybe you have more customers in a different time zone than you thought - it isn’t 8 AM everywhere at the same time.


Tip 7: Track performance over time

After you send an email marketing campaign, look at the reports and check your results:
● Open rates: Open rates are calculated by (people who display the images + people who click on a link) divided by the total number sent.
● Click rates: Click rates are calculated by (people who clicked on a link) divided by the total number of opens.
● Unsubscribes: people who clicked on the “Unsubscribe” link in your email.
● Complaints: The number of people who flagged your email as “Spam”

Gaining a window into your campaign’s open rates and click-through rates will help with tracking growth and success over time. This data helps you to get insights into what content and subject lines are successful and how to improve your approach. Make sure you stay in line with what you promised and what you’re delivering by keeping an eye on Unsubscribes, but bear in mind that people will unsubscribe over time. While it’s possible that people will flag you as spam (especially if you haven’t sent them an email in awhile,) if too many do so, your domain may get blacklisted, so keep a close eye, and build your list using express consent.


Tip 8: Use an Email Service Provider (ESP)

Try different options. Stick with the one that fits best with what you want to do, and is within your budget.

By signing up to an email-marketing provider, you instantly gain years of experience, deliverability history and expertise. ESPs help with monitoring your email deliverability, bounce-backs and ensuring your compliance with anti-spam regulations so you can stay out of trouble. When you send your email campaign through an ESP, they should provide you with an easy way to include a standard opt-out and global opt-out link, as well. If you have no design experience, ESPs can help by providing templates to make email campaigns look professional.


Tip 9: Keep it simple!

Stick to HTML the way it was written in 1999 or use templates provided by your trustworthy email service provider.

There can be many views of the same email. Gmail, Outlook, Yahoo, et cetera, may all display your email differently. Added to that, complex emails with JavaScript, fancy HTML code, and attachments might raise a red flag.


Tip 10: Avoid being flagged as Spam

Choose your words carefully. Words such as “free,” “great offer,” or “special promotion” can hit the radar of content filters. To avoid being blocked, regularly review online lists of “Words to avoid in emails.” Lastly, watch your use of the exclamation point, shouting with ALL CAPS, poor spelling and don’t replace letters by an alphanumeric equivalent (sometimes referred to as “leet speak”.)

Some words trip SPAM filters into high gear - mostly things to do with gambling, adult content and offers that are just too good to be true. Too many exclamation points are scary, shouting is just plain rude, and no one understands tweens who contract words mixed in with bizarre characters anyways, so why should SPAM filters put up with it?

Never underestimate the power of email marketing. While social media is getting a lot of buzz right now, not everyone is always logged into Facebook, Twitter, or Google+. Most people constantly check their emails, even when they are not at their computers. Meet people where they’re at and have fun doing it!



10 Ways Digital Currency Could Survive and Succeed

With all the recent news around Bitcoin and Mt. Gox, what do you think the future really holds for digital currency and why?

The following answers are provided by the Young Entrepreneur Council (YEC), an invite-only organization comprised of the world’s most promising young entrepreneurs. In partnership with Citi, YEC recently launched StartupCollective, a free virtual mentorship program that helps millions of entrepreneurs start and grow businesses.


1. Bitcoin Will Continue the Cycle

You’re going to see a pattern in any new technology. Invention, early adoption, media misinformation, speculation, bubble, deflation, then traction. Bitcoin is like the Internet in the mid-’90s: misunderstood by most. Heavy speculation of the Internet resulted in the dot-com bust, and it wasn’t until after the bust that it became what it is today. Bitcoin is going through the same cycle.


2. Setbacks Won’t Last

As is true at the front end of every technological curve, there are significant segments of the community that foretell doom for the new technology. Whether it’s because naysayers do not see the big picture or because they’re financially tied to the existing system, time, and technology are not on their side. The current safety setbacks are just that — setbacks. They won’t last.
Brennan White Watchtower


3. People Should Let It Run Its Course

Right now, Bitcoin is in a sensationalist phase. People are either hyping it up or hoping it will fail. People should let it run its course. The media has influenced its adoption by mainstream companies and countries. Now there are conventional investors and large corporations behind Bitcoin, so it’s doubtful it will be made illegal. Exchangers will probably face forced regulation compliance.
Gideon KimbrellInList Inc


4. Bitcoin May Fade Entirely

Unless security features can be greatly improved and the suspension of transactions can be ceased, you may eventually see virtual currencies fade entirely.
Andrew SchrageMoney Crashers Personal Finance




5. There Will Be More Trial and Error

With Bitcoin heists reaching into the hundreds of millions, it’s going to take continuous evolution for this type of currency to gain true stability.
Sam SaxtonSalter Spiral Stair and Mylen Stairs




6. Digital Currency Will Move Global Commerce Forward

Every time I hear about Bitcoin’s troubles, I’m tempted to point back to the first experiments with paper currency hundreds of years ago in China. They went horribly; it took several tries to create a paper currency people could actually use. Digital currencies will require the same trial and error to become established, but they are a necessary technology for moving global commerce forward.
Thursday Bram Hyper Modern Consulting


7. Bitcoin Will Allow Mobile Payments

We have a lot to figure out before digital currency replaces traditional currency, but it’s definitely inevitable. I think the first things to nail down are mobile payments and security. Progress is already underway, and a full digital currency is what will come from that progress.
Chuck Reynolds Levers


8. Bitcoin Will Pave the Way for Cryptocurrencies

The issues with Mt. Gox are only a bump in the road for Bitcoin. The future might be rocky, but I feel that it will keep growing rapidly and pave the way for other cryptocurrencies. While they may not prove to be the absolute future of currency in the world, I do believe that within a lifetime, we’ll see it become widely used and a staple in conversations about finance and economy.
Daniel Wesley,


9. Digital Payments Will Continue to Grow

Digital payments have been around for the past decade. Companies, such as PayPal and Square, make it easy to incorporate a digital payment solution into your business, but these services come with transaction processing fees. In contrast, there is no business or central authority that controls Bitcoin. There are no fees for large transactions or negligible fees for small transactions.
Björn Stansvik MentorMate


10. Bitcoin Is Experiencing Growing Pains

Things like this tend to happen in the early days of technology, as people are just starting to understand how to manage it effectively. Didn’t you feel any sort of growing pains when you started your first company before eventually taking off? Most likely you did, and that’s the exact same thing going on with Bitcoin.
Andy KaruzaBrandbuddee


Why Business Continuity Planning Is Critical For Your Business

Disaster often strikes without warning. On August 2, 2013, a hardware failure on a Utah based data center resulted in more than 5 million websites across the world affected by a server outage. Endurance International Group, the company that operated the data center was a partner to a number of leading web hosting companies like Blue Host, HostGator and HostMonster. So was data lost? No. All the leading web hosting companies store their client data on multiple data centers across the world so that a failure in one or even multiple centers at the same time still keeps customer data safe.

Business Continuity Planning is a critical process for every organization to ensure that their loss in business is kept at a minimum due to server outages or any other form of disasters. According to an article on the ExpertIP blog, a study found that 43% of companies who faced a “major loss” of computer records were immediately put out of business while another 51% shut doors within two years of a major disaster striking.

Given the potential consequences, businesses need to take business continuity and disaster recovery seriously. There are three important elements with respect to business continuity planning (BCP) – resiliency, recovery and contingency. Resiliency ensures that operations continue to run even during outages and during the immediate aftermath of a disaster. Recovery is the process of quickly and effectively bringing failed systems back into operation mode, and contingency is the process of setting up alternate systems that can take the place of the default systems in case the resiliency and recovery process do not work as planned.

With growing awareness about disasters and the consequences they have on business, more and more client businesses are today keen on partnering only with organizations that have robust BCP processes in place. In a way then, BCP is not only a measure of your operational preparedness during times of crisis, but it is also a critical selling point for your business.

There are a number of standards available across the world today that can help you benchmark your BCP preparedness. This includes the ISO 22301:2012, BS 25999, ASIS/BSI BCM.01.2010 and HB 292-2006. By getting certified through these standards, your business can sell the disaster preparedness of your company as a factor to consider for potential clients.

Despite the potential consequences of a disaster, awareness about BCP remains low. One primary reason is that businesses see disasters as a rare occurrence and because the financial implications due to such disasters can often be recovered through insurance, it is not given sufficient thought. However, this line of thought completely misses the point that the impact from such disasters are more on the credibility of the business and the trust that customers have on the business, rather than on the financial blow itself. Consequently, BCP is mainly about ensuring that the trust placed on your business by your customers are not hit.

Has your business got a continuity plan in place? Tell us your strategies in the comments below.


Why Application Operations are Needed in the Dynamic Data Center and the Cloud

Massive changes are occurring as to how applications are built, deployed and run.

The benefits of these changes are:

  1. Dramatically increased responsiveness to the business (business agility)
  2. Increased operational flexibility, and
  3. Reduced operating costs.

The environments into which these applications are deployed are also undergoing a fundamental change. Virtualized environments offer increased operational agility, which translates into a more responsive IT Operations organization. Cloud Computing offers application owners a complete outsourced alternative to internal data center execution environments. IT organizations are in turn responding to public cloud with IT as Service initiatives.

Taken together, these changes replace a monolithic, dedicated application environment that did not change very quickly with a distributed, shared, and rapidly changing environment that creates new application performance management challenges.

This paper lists and addresses those challenges for IT Operations.

First generation APM solutions were built around a set of assumptions that are in many cases no longer true today.

  1. These solutions assumed that the application was going to be built or bought, then run inside the firewalls of the enterprise data center.
  2. They assumed that applications were going to be built in Java or .NET, which were for a while the dominant development environments used by developers.
  3. They assumed that the average application would only get enhanced once, or at most, twice a year.
  4. Finally, many first generation APM solutions completely ignore the fact that, in most enterprises, 80% of the applications are purchased commercial applications and not custom developed by the enterprise themselves’.

In fact, all of the above assumptions are being invalidated in modern enterprise environments. The dynamics listed below are combining to create an entirely new and different enterprise computing environment which must be addressed by entirely new application performance management tools. This new enterprise computing environment is depicted in the diagram below, and described in detail in the following white paper.



Do Small Businesses Have A Need For ERP?

Enterprise Resource Planning, or ERP as it is commonly called, has been an enterprise-level product for several years. This is not very surprising considering that an average ERP deployment costs anywhere between $100,000 to $750,000 – not accounting for the under 50% deployment success rate and the several months it takes to get there.

Given the costs and uncertainties involved, small and medium businesses have traditionally stayed out of ERP adoption. But is that a good idea? Not any more. A recent study conducted by CompTIA found that nearly 75% of businesses with less than 100 employees today have successfully deployed business optimization tools at their workplace.

Given the rapid proliferation of such technology among small businesses, you could be seriously losing your competitive edge by not adopting ERP yourself. But is it really worth spending $100,000 on a tool that may not be offering ROI in the immediate future? A Gartner study conducted last year showed that most of the small and medium businesses adopting ERP are doing it on the cloud.

Unlike traditional ERP systems that are deployed on the client’s servers, cloud ERP is operated over a third party server through an Internet connection. Also, unlike the awfully high capital costs needed for deploying traditional ERP systems, cloud ERP tools may be accessed through extremely nominal monthly subscription costs. These are factors that make cloud ERP extremely attractive. No surprise then that hosted cloud ERP solutions like Oracle JD Edwards or one from Netsuite or its partners have seen terrific proliferation in recent times.

So how exactly does an ERP system help a small business? As the name suggests, ERP helps businesses in the planning and optimization of their resources. This resource could be inventory, manpower, money, or even customer relationship. With an ERP system, it is possible to maintain data consistency within an organization. This way, every time your purchasing manager makes an additional order of supplies, the ERP dashboard immediately reflects the changes in inventory and budget so that other teams such as Finance, Sales, and Manufacturing may immediately be appraised of the updated finance and inventory status.

Another major advantage with ERP is automation of crucial resource replenishment tasks. In a traditional setup, the inventory manager is responsible for keeping track of the various inventory levels and he/she is responsible for sending new purchase orders when the inventory levels fall below a threshold. An ERP system may be configured to integrate your business processes with that of your suppliers so that decisions to send new purchase orders may be automated. This eliminates human error and reduces the turnover time; thus improving operational efficiency.

Given the growing popularity of cloud ERP, small businesses may no longer have the luxury of avoiding its deployment. If you are a bootstrapped business owner, it is highly recommended that you implement cloud ERP systems to not only ensure higher optimization of your resources, but also to bring about better efficiency in your business processes. What are your thoughts on this? Tell us in the comments below.



6 Monitoring Capabilities Ops Needs to Consider in Virtualized and Cloud Environments

Application Performance Management (APM) have existed in their modern form since 1996, when Wily founded the business of monitoring custom developed Java applications in production. Today, many people still think of APM as just a solution for these custom developed applications.


It is true that Agile Development and DevOps have fueled the need for more monitoring by APM solutions of custom developed applications, but these solutions only focus upon one part of the problem – issues with the code in production.


Traditional developer focused APM tools (let’s call these DevOps focused tools,) focus just upon the code and upon helping the developer supporting custom code in production find issues with that code. There is a requirement for a new and different set of APM solutions that is not limited to just code problems and developers as the audience. This requirement is for APM solutions to work for every application and that help the Operations team support every application in production.


This paper lists and addresses all requirements for a Operational focused APM solution.


This new category of APM solutions is called the Application Operations or AppOps category of APM solutions, and it focused upon the Operations staff that is responsible for supporting every application (physical, virtual or cloud,) running across every operating system (Windows or Linux), and every source of application (purchased or custom developed.) The key attributes of an AppOps focused APM solutions are:


1. Real-Time and Comprehensive Data Collection

Any tool that your Operations team uses needs to be able to monitor and capture data from every application, all the time. Without that, you’re likely going to be stitching multiple tools together, prohibiting your team from understanding how their applications perform in context with each other.


2. Continuous, End-to-End Measurement of Application Response Time

Operations teams in the virtualized world are now responsible for multiple applications running simultaneously on a shared set of infrastructure. Because of this newfound and complex responsibility, Operations now needs a tool that measures an applications response time across every applications system, the key metric that both IT and business can relate to (no matter how the app was developed.)


3. Dynamic Discovery of Applications and their Topology

Time is money, as they say. Because of how often new applications are added into virtualized ecosystems, it’s necessary that Operations has a tool that auto-discovers new applications, names them, and maps their topology without a team member lifting a finger.


4. Deterministic Root Cause Analysis (opposed to inferred root cause)

Deterministic Root Cause is the only method that works for both resource utilization based issues and issues caused by changes in configuration, promising Operations teams immediate answers to the question of what issue, in the infrastructure, is causing the application performance issue.


5. Broad Application Platform Support

Code-level monitoring tools can only monitor custom-built apps, which represent 20% of all apps. AppFirst provides insight into both custom apps and packaged apps, which represent 80% of the application market.


6. Zero Initial and Ongoing Configuration

Modern cloud and virtualized environments are simply too dynamic and potentially distributed for approaches that require heavy configuration and customization to work. Therefore, it’s essential that Operations teams have a solution that works out-of-the-box with zero upfront and ongoing configurations as apps are changed and added.



The Pains of a Startup Growing Up

It’s an unfortunate reality that less than 50 percent of small business startups make it to four years, according to But it’s reality nonetheless, and everyone is striving to make it as one of the few still standing. Your sweat equity is beginning to take shape and now the problem isn’t finding business, but rather managing the influx of customers who want to buy from you. Of course you’ll have your own unique experiences, but here are some tips to help you prepare for the shift.

Invest in Improvements

Your efforts have been directed to getting your products and services to the market before competitors can cut you off. “Now it’s time to streamline your internal processes and become a lean operating machine,” says the Huffington Post. Review every operational detail to find and eliminate inefficiencies. Ask yourself: Can it be done better? How? Remember, investors like to see a culture of continual improvement.

Research the available cloud-based applications that can ease the work in the administrative areas. Move your customer management into the cloud with a product such as Zoho CRM. Implement cloud-based accounting tools from Intuit, such as invoicing and paycheck calculators. The easier you make the administrative work, the better able you’ll be to deal with large-scale hiring and growth, should that be in your future.

Teams, Not Islands of Expertise

Startups often take on a flat structure with everyone gathered around the person with the vision. As you move into the growth phase that requires you to present your self to investors and other companies, you’ll need to show that you have an organizational structure in place. People want to know who is in charge. Who sets the direction? Who will be responsible for managing the venture funds? More structure, not less, makes people on the outside looking in, more comfortable.


Fill in the Skills Gaps

As you put more structure around your company, identify the areas in which you have a lack of skilled people. Hire contract specialists for those roles until you can afford to hire full time employees. Positions like public relations, human resources, web development and bookkeeping can all be outsourced, giving your staff more time to focus on production, marketing and support, as Entrepreneur notes.


Have a Clear Focus and Minimize Distractions

During the early phases of a startup, operations managers test processes to see what works and what doesn’t. Experimentation was the norm until separate products and services began taking shape as one. As your company matures, it’s crucial to focus on the core products, as Chaotic Flow explains. Set priorities, educate the staff, and give them the support to stay focused. When you have become a stable company with clear products and services, you can once again experiment out of an organized R&D department.


How Being Data Driven Helps in Your Content Marketing Efforts

Content marketing is the preferred mode of marketing for many businesses these days. Not only is it very cost-effective when compared to traditional forms of marketing, but also allows brands to use the power of the Internet to increase their market base. Moreover, content marketing, unlike many other forms of online marketing, is still considered trustworthy by consumers leading to brands making a beeline towards content marketing firms.

However, many brands are unable to use content marketing effectively, as they don’t know how their campaigns are faring or why and what they must change. This is why brands need to practice data-driven content marketing and not just content marketing.

Track the performance of your content marketing efforts

There is no point in having marketing campaigns if you have no idea how well they are performing. Yes, content marketing campaigns are much cheaper than traditional marketing campaigns but that doesn’t mean you can run them forever even when they are not giving you any results. This is a rookie mistake in content marketing and unfortunately it is committed by many brands. They create and launch content marketing campaigns without checking up on them.

Without tracking any data and without any metrics analysis, they may have no idea if their content marketing campaigns are meeting targets and goals set for them. Without using data analytics to track content marketing, there is no way to know if the content marketing efforts of a brand are actually worth the investment, time, and effort that has gone into the campaign.

Is your content reaching the intended audience?

Brands turn to content marketing to help them reach out to and attract their ideal or target audience. Once brands figure out the kind of people or the demographics that they think will benefit from their products and services, they try and create content and marketing campaigns to gain visibility among their ideal audience. Smart brands and content marketers use data analytics methods to track their content marketing campaigns to see if they are actually reaching out to the intended people or not.

With data analytics, you can actually figure out how people are interacting as well as reacting with your content and marketing campaigns. This will allow you to understand what you are doing right and the areas that you can improve upon. With proper data analytics processes, you will be able to change your content marketing campaigns to make them more effective.

Content marketing is also one of the most important ways to attract more prospects. Choosing prospects is very tricky, as they need to be in tune with your brand. They must also understand your business and marketing philosophies to be truly beneficial to your brand. If you are not using a data-driven approach to content marketing, how can you find out if your brand is attracting the right kind of prospects that will actually help your brand and not harm it? Moreover, the content marketing landscape and consumer tastes are ever changing and your campaigns need to adapt to them as quickly as possible. With no data analytics, you will never know when the changes occur and how they are affecting your campaigns.

You can improve your content marketing campaigns

Apart from getting the ideal prospects and consumers for your brand, content marketing also helps brands improve their visibility. Another, and probably the ultimate goal of content marketing, is to increase sales for the company. This is the ultimate and long-term goal of any marketing campaign. Data from tracking campaigns and analysis of this collected data can help you understand if casual visitors are being converted into customers and if not, then what is blocking the sales funnel.

With the right data you can improve your campaigns to convert casual readers of your content into paying customers without having to blatantly express that you want them to buy your products. Data analytics can also give you the entire and detailed view of the purchasing or conversion funnel to see how much time it takes for visitors to convert and at what phases they are spending the most time. This will help you understand what is stopping people from converting and how you can change your content marketing campaigns to nudge causal visitors in the right direction.




How 3D Modeling Changed Online Gaming

When video games were created in 1952, A.S. Douglas programmed a code that we now know as the first video game. He was writing a paper for his PhD at the University of Cambridge on human and computer interaction, and he is credited with creating the first graphical computer game, which is a computerized version of Tic-Tac-Toe coded on an EDSAC vacuum-tube computer with a cathode ray tube display.

The first actual video game was created in 1958 by William Higinbotham, and was called Tennis For Two. In 1962, Spacewar! was invented by Steve Russell and was the first game made for computer use.

The video game industry greatly improved in the 1990s when 3D graphic cards were included in video games and became standard for the visual presentation. This was applied to RPG games, puzzle games, and online casino games, examples of which you can find on Today, the video game industry is a multi-billion business with hundreds of consoles, thousands of games, and millions of players.

3D modeling has become a selling point for gamers everywhere. With 3D modeling, a three-dimensional surface of an object is processed through ‘3D rendering’ to display it as a two-dimensional image. The process of 3D modeling is done using specialized software.

Simply put, 3D rendering is similar to how photographers develop and print their photos, except in 3D modeling for games, the models the artist uses are mathematical representations of surfaces and points, or polygons and vertices. It sounds complicated, but fortunately for gamers, what they see is the final result: the game rendered in the most realistic way possible.

3D Rendering

The art of 3D modeling for games is a complicated process. Artists use real-time rendering, where images must be rendered at a fast pace. Since games cannot be predicted due to the actions of the player in the game environments, artists must use what is called real-time rendering to keep up with the game as it unfolds. Because of this, 18-20 frames per second must be rendered to avoid choppiness on the screen.

Of course, it is impossible to keep up with the number of players around the world and the infinite number of possibilities that could happen in a game. Because of this, artists use dedicated graphics software or GPUs to pre-compile as much information as possible and ‘bake’ them into the game to make rendering faster.

There are three major types of rendering used. The scanline method is preferred for video games because of its speed. Instead of rendering pixel by pixel, scanline renders polygon by polygon, making the process faster. Scanline rendering can achieve up to 60 frames per second on a high-end graphics card.


The biggest advantage of 3D modeling in games is that it has greatly improved graphics, making people, props, and locations look as realistic as possible. This improvement has made 3D gaming more enjoyable for players.

For artists, it allows greater expression because 3D modeling can be viewed from all angles and can accurately portray real colors, features, and shapes. 3D modeling for games has greatly improved the industry. Now, players can feel that they are part of the game, thanks to the highly realistic graphics artists have made. With 3D modeling, life, at least in games, just got better.


Reasons Investors Don't Support Your Crowdfunding Campaign

So you’ve recently started your crowdfunding campaign, congratulations! You’ve done your homework, all the business plan fields are filled in, and you’ve sent out your first mailing, but no ones investing. Why not? Here are some reasons investors don’t get on board.



Investors want to be sure they can trust you. Make sure you have a personal, well-developed profile that inspires trust and a personal connection. Don’t be afraid to mention you’re a “proud father of two sons,” but don’t forget to mention you’ve done some pretty hefty work as a marketing manager in the field you’re currently crowdfunding for. Starting off in a field you don’t have any experience in? Make sure to mention the team that does have the experience and how you’re going to lead them to success.


This didn’t work? Always make sure people can contact you directly via e-mail or phone. Answer questions immediately and work on the relationship you have with your funders. Both during and after the campaign, investors want to be involved. Ignore them, and they’ll ignore you.


Your pitch video

You video clearly explains the product and in addition, it has a great animation about the revenue model and scalability. In fact, the entire pitch video is animated so it looks playful and smooth. To bad, because animation isn’t what gets you funded, you are what gets you funded.


It’s perfectly fine to animate part of the video or the entire video if appropriate, but make sure you introduce yourself. Include not only the product or business plan, but also the incentive that investors can expect. Selling equity? Mention the expected value increase of the shares and possible dividends. Crowdfunding an actual product? Mention the extras they’ll get if they up their investment from $20 to $40. The video shouldn’t be about explaining your plan; it should be about involving them.


No clear vision on company development

It’s great that you’re developing the next big app, but an app doesn’t define company. A lack of vision concerning company development is alarming to investors because they’re usually in for the long haul. If they invest in your company by lending you money, buying equity or buying your product they’ll receive after three months, they will want to know you’re capable of keeping alive your company for an extended period of time. Make sure you’re capable of clearly communicating what kind of company you want to initiate, what you want to achieve and how you’re going to achieve it.


Lacking input from the entrepreneur’s side

If you want people to invest, you’ll have to make sure they believe in you and your plan. How are you going to show you plan is worth believing in if you didn’t invest yourself? Make clear what amount of money, time, and resources (working places, material, office supplies) you’ve made available for you company.  Did someone you know and not you make the investment? Show your investors that even when you don’t have the means to do it yourself, you have the skill to convince and arrange other people to do it for you.


Asking for too much money

As a good entrepreneur you’re well aware you’ll make mistakes and they’ll cost you money. So just to be sure, you’re trying to gather $100K instead of $50K? Think again. Asking for too much money only shows that you don’t have a clear plan outlined on which you can base you expenses. So asking for too much money, only signals you don’t know what you’re doing.


Is it wrong to ask for more? No, but be reasonable. An increase of you capital goal to 100% in case you make a mistake is not a good sign; try to keep the extra capital around 10%. There is no exact percentage that all investors agree upon, and while some say 10% is too little, others claim it is too much. The point is you show investors you’ve thought about additional costs, and you have a tight grip on your wallet and a clear view on what you plan is going to cost them.


Want investors? Be in control!

Show that you have a grip on your company’s development and make it plausible that you can give your investor a decent return on their investment, in whatever form. Be concrete and enthusiastic, and assume you’ll make mistakes. Acknowledge and chart the risks and show your investors how you’re going to deal with those risks. The focus of your story should be on the relationship you and your investors are building.