Zero To One is a great book that pulls no punches, the basic premise of it is, when creating a startup, to really make a difference:
Be 10 times better than the competition
Obviously it’s up to you what you do, some business models are just about scratching some of the existing market rather than creating a new one and that’s fine, but this definitely echoes a recent project I was late to market for, which definitely wasn’t first and was only objectively 3-4 times better than the competition 😉
It was a fun read and a great way of thinking about things, I definitely recommend this for anyone entrepreneurial!
I’m not sure if it’s because I don’t drink, or because I stayed in the completely wrong area of Hong Kong, but my week here was not as fun as I had expected and super expensive. A lot of my friends completely love Hong Kong, I’ve friends that were born and raised here then moved to the UK, friends from the UK that moved out to Hong Kong to live for a few years and then I know other nomads that love travelling here. So there must be something about it that’s awesome. I was hoping for a super fun, sexy, James Bond Bottoms Up club vibe, but what I found was basically a super corporate, concrete city reminiscent of 80s London with the price tag twice that of 21st Century London!
One (two really..) of the awesome things about Hong Kong is the parks, it’s super cool to be walking around a beautiful woodland scene to see massive skyscrapers poking out from behind the trees, a hybrid of metropolitan city life and artificial countryside. There’s also lots of interesting things to find, like the teapot museum and a massive aviary that was definitely modelled after Jurassic Park 3’s Pterodactyl pen!
Hong Kong Park
Hong Kong Park has a kick ass Olympic village thing in it, as well as more plants and wildlife, and of course more skyscrapers to see!
Hong Kong’s Dirty Little Secret
Most people in Hong Kong seem to have live in nannys that work Sunday evening through to Sunday morning, living in their employees home, this work force is mainly formed of Filipino and Indonesian girls making about $300 a month. On Sunday’s they have nothing to do and no where to go, so they take to the streets to chill out, eat and have fun during their time off, as such a lot of Hong Kong’s roads close down to accommodate them whilst they practice modelling, learn dance routines or play on their phones. They seem quite happy, and arguably are doing better than my friends back in the UK, the girl I met saved pretty much her entire pay check, which was posted back home to Indonesia. I don’t know many people in the UK saving $300 a month, most are juggling debt.
Hong Kong Harbour
Hong Kong’s biggest feature is it’s harbour, which is pretty awesome! There are old school Junks taking tourist trips around it, really cheap ferries that will take you from one side to the other and light shows across all the buildings!
Man Mo Temple
Because no trip to any country is complete with out a trip to a place of worship, I visited the Man Mo Temple! It was pretty cool, full of lots of smoke and incense with a great vibe.
Food In Hong Kong
I made a huge mistake over January, which was to do a bulking cycle at the gym, this meant I got to eat lots of meat in Hong Kong, which was great, but put on a bit of weight I’m now back to cutting. After this last 6 months of weight lifting I’ve now learned as a type 2 diabetic I should never bulk, I should recomp or cut until I’m shredded. Bulking isn’t good for my health!
Just before Christmas I needed to leave Thailand on a visa run as I’d done my 30 day VOA + Extension so after much humming and harring, as I didn’t really want to leave, the day before I booked a weekend in Singapore! It was pretty awesome.
The first thing I noticed though, getting a taxi was impossible. Very few taxi ranks and even when there were, the taxis came and immediately picked up someone who used Grab Taxi, then departed. This actually resulted in quite a few heated arguments between people in the taxi queues and the Grab Taxi users! Fortunately I’m smart and worked it out! Unfortunately I cheaped out and bought a data only SIM card on arrival so couldn’t activate Grab Taxi as I didn’t have an actual Singapore number. Idiot.
Buddha Tooth Relic Temple and Museum
The Buddha Tooth Relic Temple and Museum was undoubtedly the highlight of Singapore. There’s always something interesting about visiting old places of worship, especially ones still in use. The air of reverence they carry is intriguing.
Full of incense and awesome statues, it spanned several floors including one with the Buddha Tooth relic.
Chinatown was suitably awesome. Even more so because I accidentally left my iPhone 6s+ on the table at a street restaurant and when I went back to get it, 30 minutes later, the waiter had rescued it for me!
I know, that shirt, awesome isn’t it! Clarke Quay was nice, I like walking so got to walk along the river and around the harbour.
Gardens By The Bay
The Gardens By The Bay was amazeballs. But we went there too late at night so all the inside stuff was closed, leaving us just the outdoor stuff. Which was still amazing. I want to go back next Christmas because I didn’t see any otters!!
Orchard Road is the shopping street, so I decided to get myself a Playstation 4 as it’s a bit more traveller friendly than the XBox One. The Christmas lights were a lot of fun and the food was epic. Singapore is expensive but it’s a fun weekend getaway!
Ready to get your WordPress site up and running in minutes? Even if you don’t have a business plan, even if you don’t have a professional UK web design & development firm on payroll, it’s better to start sooner rather than later. You can increase your income by having more value and now is the time to learn WordPress and kickstart your online life.
Set Up Your Hosting Account
Your hosting account is where your websites will live, so before we get started with WordPress we need to get you up and running with a host!
The host I personally use is Bluehost and I will walk you creating your hosting account and then building your first WordPress site. Hold on tight for the ride.
Bluehost is a proven company, trusted by millions of customers, they have been around for years and are here to stay.
Fanatical customer service. Bluehost are located in the US and offer 24/7 support with real people, they will answer the phone to solve your problem fast.
You can host up to 100 WordPress sites and domains on your account!
As a trusted VIP partner of Bluehost, I can pass on my great rates to you.
Bluehost have are one of the highest performing hosts in the industry, guaranteeing your site will he available and fast!
Automated backups! Forget everything else, the peace of mind knowing there is a backup of your site is worth a fortune! Most hosts do not have this.
CLICK HERE to claim your free domain and signup for hosting with Bluehost, and then follow the steps below and the video! Lets start your business today, together.
Bluehost Step 1
Click here to visit Bluehost, then Click the green ‘get started now‘ button.
Bluehost Step 2
Choose your hosting plan. I recommend the most popular ‘plus‘ plan as it means you can host unlimited websites.
Bluehost Step 3
When you sign up to Bluehost you get a free domain for your first website, pick the domain you want to go with here! If you can’t think of one, don’t worry, just choose anything, at this stage if you don’t already have a plan just getting the experience will open up new doors to having your own online business. Now is the time to start!
Bluehost Step 4
Account creation time, enter your name, address, choose your package information (I recommend the backup plan!) Then enter your credit card details for payment.
Bluehost Step 5
Boom, Congratulations taking action. We’ve done it together. You now have signed up for your Bluehost hosting plan.
Bluehost Step 6
Now choose a secure password for your Bluehost hosting account. Watch out for the rules though, it will need a lowercase letter, an uppercase letter, a number and a special character, e.g. Hunter36! (but don’t use that one, that’s mine! 😉 After you have set your password you can log in to your Bluehost account using the domain name you chose earlier as your username!
Bluehost Step 6
Ok, this is where the magic happens. Find the ‘Install WordPress’ button like I’ve highlighted in red below and click it!
On this page simply choose the free option, the green button that says ‘Install‘. Then choose the domain you want to install WordPress with. You’ve probably only got one domain at this stage, so that part is easy!
Bluehost Step 7
Now we need to configure the site. Expand the advanced options tab and choose a site title, a username and a password, then wait a minute or so for WordPress to be installed.
Bluehost Step 8
Wowee, ok we have WordPress installed, running and available on your new domain, and this probably took less than 5 minutes! You’re up and running and this is the start of your new online business. From small acorns grow tall oak trees after all! Now you have a website it is time to log in via the Admin Login button and start writing posts, pages and choosing your theme!
The entire purpose of my European rail adventure was to head down to Barcelona, Spain, to live in one of Chris Reynold’s Entrepreneur Houses for 4 months, get some serious work done and get a handle on my type 2 diabetes situation.
The premise was simple, at any time 10-15 entrepreneurs were living together as a social and work collective, with regular organised dinners, social events (beach trips, running of the bulls, etc), co-working and most importantly masterminds. It was absolutely amazing to be able to drop in to a new city (and country) and be given the keys to an affordable apartment as well as an instant social circle of amazing likeminded individuals who have now become friends for life.
I’d been hearing about Chris’ Barcelona project since I arrived in Chiang Mai for Christmas. Some very successful friends of mine were talking about their plans for the summer and mentioned it so I had a chat with Chris over email and paid him remotely whilst I was still in Phuket! Chris gave me an address to meet him at and then 6 or so weeks later I turned up, bags in hand!
People came and went, Chris (the organiser), myself and one other were there the longest, some people stayed for one month, others 2, and it was fascinating to keep meeting new people, grow with them, socialise with them and help them with their very unique business problems as well as get feedback on mine.
Everyone knows I can be bought for the price of a cup of coffee and one of the highlights for me was at the very end with a sit down with a new friend for a consultation for turning their business model in to a SaaS which resulted in my amazing (but messy :D) flatmate of 4 months becoming their new CTO. (Don’t fuck it up please or I’ll look bad!!)
Some people came to slog out work, working on existing businesses or launching new ideas. Some new ideas succeeded, others failed quickly, sometimes a pivot turned a failure in to a success. Not every idea can work and not every idea can get results within a matter of days, but its amazing to see that happen from the side lines, especially when your friend has been working so hard on it.
Others came more to chill out as they’ed already built a successful business and now wanted to test out travelling whilst running it, which was great as I was able to join them for mini shopping trips and sneaky lunches whilst we chatted about love, life, business and the world.
Whilst I and a few others created a similar experience to this in Phuket, brain storming and co-working together after training, this was the first time I’ve ever done anything full on like this and I think that to maintain what I’m doing, and grow both as a person and with respect to business, I need to have an experience like this at least once a year. Fortunately I have found something similar for the moment in Bangkok but I definitely want to join up with Chris in South America at some point though maybe 2017..
Not many people understand the importance of masterminds and when I went to DNX Global I sat in a conference hall full of people who had never even heard of them. Essentially it’s a regular brain storming session with people around your business ideas and problems to get feedback and critique. I’d been doing them back in England for the past 4 years with my entrepreneur friends, all be it loosely, as we’d been operating similar businesses with similar problems. One of the great things about Chris’ Entrepreneur House experience was he did it in a more formalised way.
Each Wednesday everyone would meet together and have a meeting where something creative would be posed as a brain storm puzzle or teaser to get us in a creative mood. One time someone posed the question “You have 2 weeks to create a new business model to raise $50k, what would you do?” as I’d been pondering this very question for the past 10 years most of my answers would have landed me a few years in the Bangkok Hilton but everyone else’s answers were really awesome.
After the creative start, 2-3 of us would then spend an hour in the hot seat, doing a show and tell presentation on their business in general and the problem they need help with. Everyone would then give feedback and offer assistance.
The unexpected reason this was amazing was because everyone was coming from different backgrounds and experiences. When I’d done this kind of thing before everyone was well versed in IT to some extent, either as a business owner, a coder or a sys admin. This time we had people from the catering industry, people running contractor agencies, ecommerce wizards, the range of expertise was incredibly diverse which meant new insights to old problems could be found quite easily.
I ended up doing 3 mastermind sessions. mostly asking for critique on ideas I had for my businesses and got a lot of value out of it. My last session came across a little self absorbed as it was more about personal development rather than business and I worded the question wrong but I still got amazing feedback essentially saying I should give back in some way, so I’m now mentoring someone my Bangkok personal trainer for 1 hour each day, helping them with their online business as well as get their physical business off the ground.
In Phuket when I was diagnosed with type 2 diabetes I was super lethargic the entire time and unable to train or go to the gym so I bought a Fitbit Surge and tried to do some walking each day. When I arrived in Barcelona I was feeling pretty good and joined a gym, only to decide I hated it. For whatever reason I wasn’t enjoying it so I broke out the Fitbit again and took to the streets.
Barcelona is one of the most amazing cities to walk around, there are tons of winding little alleyways, as well as the sea front on one side, the hills and Olympic park of Montjuïc on another and then the mountain range of Tibidabo. I started just walking around to get my 10,000 steps a day in, then started getting adventurous, exploring everywhere I could and the more I explored, the more Fitbit awards I achieved, motivating me to walk further each day. My record for Barcelona was 55,000 steps, when I decided to walk round the entire of the city (roughly) by the time I got back to my apartment I’d basically done a marathon, so I carried on walking around town until I’d hit 26.4 miles. A week later we went to Montserrat where we hit over 200 floors climbed whilst we went hiking around the mountain and monastery. Barcelona, for walking, is amazing and I became a massive Fitbit addict, adding a Charge HR to the line up!
Looking at my blog you can see that I spent 2-3 weeks drinking, smoking and eating junk as I travelled from Oslo through to Barcelona. Terrible behaviour for a recently diagnosed T2 diabetic to have but it was a last hurrah. As soon as I arrived in Barcelona, I stopped drinking, stopped smoking, switched up my diet to a calorie counted ketogenic diet, booked my self in to visit an endocrinologist and came off my medication. Because Chris was doing all the organisational work and most of my income being passive I was able to invest time in to my health, which was the entire purpose of this 4 month period.
The keto diet took some getting used to and I had to supplement for the first 3 months with potassium and magnesium, else I’d feel fatigued. This is due to an electrolyte imbalance occurring due to excessive peeing. Eventually this did sort itself out and now I just eat the occasional processed sausage.
What was great about the diet was that it made my cost of living really cheap. Spinach, chicken, broccoli, minced beef and butter costs peanuts so my daily spend was tiny and there was plenty of room for variety!
On the 11th June 2015 when I met my endocrinologist, my hba1c was 6.4% or 46mmol/mol. I’d also received some liver damage due to the 2-3 weeks of drinking, my AST was 118U/L and my ALT 69U/L they should both be less than 40 and 46 respectively!
After 3 months of clean living and exercise, I’d lost all of the weight I’d put on during the rail trip going from 83kg to 76kg but then put 4kg back on after I gave up nicotine patches!! Going back to 80kg.
The next round of bloodwork was done on the 29th September 2015. My hba1c was down to 4.6% or 27mmol/mol and my AST and ALT were down to 17U/L and 13U/L respectively. My hba1c was amazing and my liver was back to perfectly healthy! Whilst I definitely wasn’t cured, I was in much better shape looking after myself properly than I had expected!
Due to the nurturing from the Entrepreneur House, over the summer my passive income projects exploded, killing it with the old affiliate stuff I was phasing out and releasing 1 new brand and 3 new physical products.
A lot of work was done on Amazooka in the 4 months I was in Barcelona, both from a development point of view and from a systems point of view, creating something genuinely unique that can expand massively, helping Amazon sellers get to grips with what they are doing! Whilst there was some drama around the marketing and unexpected launch of Amazooka, because of the way the situation was handled, I was let back in to the Dynamite Circle and built some fantastic relationships with people running other Amazon related SaaS tools, all of which inspired me to return to Thailand, moving to Bangkok, to grow Amazooka and take it to the next level. I have to say a massive thank you to everyone in the Entrepreneur House with me at that time, as with out you guys I would have cracked up completely during this!
You are the average of the five people you spend the most time with.
It’s impossible to directly quantify how beneficial being in surrounded by so many entrepreneurs was but it is obvious that I got more value out the experience than I paid for. A few people were turned off by the price of the Entrepreneur House, saying they could live in the same location for less. The value of Chris’ Entrepreneur House isn’t the brick and mortar flat you live in and the bed you sleep in though, it’s having access to other, successful, like minded individuals. The price presents itself as a barrier to entry so you are living and working with people successful enough to afford it, people who’s behaviour, knowledge, work ethic and input to your own business will be inherently valuable. If you’re the average of the five people you spend the most time with, what do you think you’ll be like after spending time with 15 amazing, motivated, inspirational entrepreneurs?
You don’t get to do what you want by doing something else.
Whatever goal you’re working towards, you’ll be able to achieve it in the Entrepreneur House. I gave up a bunch of vices, lost even more weight, completely got a handle on my diabetes, and totally dominated across all 3 of my business ventures. I smashed every single goal I had set myself thoroughly and so did everyone else around me.
Vicky Cristina Barcelona
I’ve been wanting to watch Vicky Cristina Barcelona for a while as Scarlett Johansson is dead sexy and one of my good friends back in Brighton switched me on to how awesome Woody Allen films can be. During the summer on of my friends from the UK who became a nomad, primarily based in South America, came to visit, so we decided to follow up from what I’d started in France, watch Vicky Cristina Barcelona and then visit as many places in the area that had appeared in the movie as we possibly could! It worked out quite well as it involved a lot of walking, a lot of sight seeing, we both lost weight and we also both got a lot of work done.
Barcelona Museum of Contemporary Art
We bought a Barcelona Museum passport, which let us go in to all the museums at a discount price! I am not very good at museums, but I like them. Mostly I just walk around and take pictures of cool stuff. I can’t remember which one specifically was Barcelona Museum of Contemporary Art but they were all pretty awesome!
You can visit Casa Milà during either the day or the night. As we were in full tourist mode we opted for both, which was a shame. Whilst the day was interesting, when we went during the night we had to be part of a guided tour, which just took us through all the stuff we’d previously seen earlier that day at a snails pace. The perk of the night tour though was the lit up roof which had a 20 minute light show which was amazing.
Les Rambles was kind of cheating, as I lived next to it, so didn’t have to walk more than 10m from my flat to find it. It’s a horrible place. During the day it’s full of tourists that get in your way and during the night its full of drug dealers and prostitutes. Whilst I have nothing against drug dealers and prostitutes, they are very in your face, and most of us were in some way straight up sexually assaulted whilst walking through. I got my junk grabbed plenty of times and watched 2 fugly tranny hookers attack an old guy who refused their advances whilst walking back. There are legitimate places to go if you want that kind of thing in Spain so the last thing you want is a street walker anywhere near you. The dealers are also super persistent shouting at you, Coke, Marijuana, Beer, repeatedly. Barcelona was voted the filthiest city in Europe, so now they clean the streets with pressure hoses twice daily. After all the cities I’ve been to, and all I’ve witnessed, Barcelona is still filthy.
Parc de Montjuïc
Montjuic is a pretty cool place, theres the remains of the Barcelona Olympic Park, a huge forte, loads of hills to walk around, restaurants, cafes, parks, this was one of my favourite spots and it was only a 10 minute walk from my flat to get in to the heart of. I took great pleasure introducing my friends to it when they came for walks with me as they had no idea!
Park Güell was pretty awesome, but the graffiti and everything else in the area showed how much the locals hated the tourists. It was good go see more of Gaudi’s art in a different manner.
Church of San Felipe Neri
This place was bombed during one of the wars, and you can see bullet marks all over the walls. It’s also full of teenagers making out 😮
What can be said about the Sagrada Família that everyone doesn’t already know? It looks amazing, it’s taken way too long to complete but it’s getting there! It’s a mecca for tourists and rammed with people non stop. It was awesome!
Tibidabo is an awesome place full of fun. It’s in a mountain range and you can see if from where ever you are in Barcelona because it’s so high up! As such is offers amazing views of the city. There’s a tram and a funicular to take you to the top, which was great fun (the clue is in the name!) and when you get there theres an awesome little amusement park too. I walked there from the sea front several times and did some great day trips with my friends.
Hotel Casa Fuster
We didn’t actually go inside the Hotel, but we walked past it and it looked nice. I’m sure it’s lovely ..
Museu Nacional d’Art de Catalunya
This museum was awesome!
Els Quatre Gats
Els Quatre Gats is a nice, but slightly overrated restaurant, originally opened in 1897! The food was delicious.
Taller de Tapas
Taller de Tapas is a chain of tapas restaurants and featured at the end of the film, I think! I’m not sure if we got the right one, but we think we did! The food was pretty tasty!
I spent 4 months in the Barcelona Entrepreneur House operated by Chris Reynolds, in that time I made more amazing friends than I ever hoped to, sharing some awesome experiences with all of them, getting help and support whenever I hit a snag and hopefully helping out a few of the people I met myself. Inspired by Chris I created a Digital Nomad House project, Amazooka blew up (in a good way) my physical product business doubled in size and I got a grip on my health, with a bit of paper saying I’m just as healthy as a normal person 😀 (Oh, and I was well within budget too!)
I really can’t gush enough about how fucking awesome every day was to be completely frank about things.
As a beginner to Google Adwords, who was blowing $100+ a day and making no sales (serious) this book was an eye opener.
In theory Adwords is easy, choose keywords, create advert, throw money at problem, profit, but the reality wasn’t quite like that for me. This book explained exactly why, what I was doing wrong and how to make it right.
I was expecting the Ultimate Guide To Google Adwords to be extremely dry, but instead it was full of fascinating commentary like how to crowd source the best brand name or tagline quickly, by simply by creating Adverts for each one and seeing which gets the most clicks!
As well as describing a sound strategy for creating, and maintaining PPC campaigns, interesting business takeaways such as mentioned above, the book also delves in to the pros and cons of outsourcing your advertising to 3rd parties and what to watch out for.
Whilst I haven’t resumed advertising with Google Adwords yet, I will be doing so in the immediate future and I will be using the techniques this book describes!
Paris is undeniably one of my most favourite cities. It’s nice.
As I travelled round Europe I used the Stay.com app to help me find my way, which is single handedly the best app you can get for your phone, other than Google Maps and some others. One of the awesome lists of things to do for Paris was a list of places from films! This was good as it kept me very entertained, I got to do a lot of walking and I had to get to grips with the underground system which was hilariously easy. Like most underground systems, it put the London underground to shame.
The Eiffel Tower
The Eiffel Tower was pretty tall and had a tennis ball hanging from the centre, which was nice. I didn’t go up it though due to a crippling fear of heights.
The Louvre, as featured in the Da Vinci Code, is cool. One of my favourite things is ancient civilisations, particularly Egypt and Mesopotamia and the Louvre is totally full of stuff relating to this.
Food In Paris
Carbs carbs carbs carbs steak carbs. It was all good, lots of foie gras, which is definitely becoming a trend now I’m back in this region. Whether it was the real thing I’ve no idea, a lot of people advertise duck pate as fois gras nowaddays.
Google’s been shit for quite a while now but today I’m finally sick of it, so switching.
Do they think I typed out the word barcelona for my health or something? Or maybe I’m using the Internet wrong (does the Internet actually come with a manual?). So they just decided, again, to drop one of the words I’m searching for, that give my search context, from the first results they provide. Ok, I could quote it. OR .. if I actually wanted matches that dont contain the word Barcelona i could prefix it with a – sign, so fuck that as an excuse.
Where as Bing actually gives me results that match what I’m searching for.
I don’t really have a choice in this matter, Google just flat out doesn’t work as a search engine any more with out jumping through extra unnecessary hoops that actually make it harder to use.
It’s one thing to try and make using search engines easier or more natural, it’s another thing to assume your users are so dumb that the right thing to do is discard 50% of the fucking characters they enter.
I launched a new product on Amazon recently that had taken a LOOONG time to develop and since day one of conception my plan was always to do a Zonblast with it and see what performance was like. So earlier this month, I did.
To give you some context, the new product I’m launching is a super competitive pharmaceutical with 55,000 products being returned for the exact match product name.
I did a 4 wave Zonblast, on Saturday 28th, Sunday 29th, Monday 30th August and Tuesday 1st September, giving away 75 coupons each day. The product usually retails at $34.99 and we provided coupons so it was available at $1.99
I use Amazooka to graph my products so I have quantifiable results to show! The Best Seller Rank immediately shot up, from around 28,000 to 1,000, then hovered between 1,000 – 2,000 for a few days before slowly starting to drop off. Proof BSR is more concerned with the number of items sold rather than the price of those items.
All our keywords spiked, 4 days after we started, on Tuesday 1st September, which is super interesting. That’s quite the delay and I’m going to make the assumption that keyword ranking is still tied more to the amount of money you’re bringing in for Amazon rather than the number of units you’re selling.
After the give away our current sales volume for this product is higher than before, increasing from 3-4 units a day to 7-10, for the moment. The overall trend is the product is slowly dropping though.
The Dangers Of Zonblast
Something we noticed earlier this week, a seller called IWentPrime had appeared on our listing, selling our product, with a couple of units in stock. After looking at the other products they sold it was pretty obvious they were buying up cheap products from Zonblasts, for $1-2, then getting them in to FBA and competing with the original product owners. Judging by the variety of products they had available, it’s probably an extremely profitable business model
I think that a Zonblast, in a way less competitive niche, will get you to the top and keep you there, after giving away a reasonable number of products.
Despite the huge rankings increase for both BSR and keywords, we didn’t get anywhere near the top, but sales have increased. Only time will tell whether we keep the new sales volume up and if rankings actually stabalise.
The total cost of the Zonblast was $717 + $3000 in product cost, so $3717.
I think that $3717 would have been MUCH better spent running Amazon PPC adverts to the max, at a loss, to drive continuous sales and A/B test sales copy and images to try and increase conversions, which is exactly what I’m going to do with my next product 😀
Please feel free to ask any questions or get me to expand on any details!
I’ve been using Bitcasa as a cloud backup solution as I work for about 16 months now. Initially they were great, I’d synced about 260gb of photos and work data to them before I left the UK and everything was running smoothly. I felt secure that my laptop backups were working and my data was safe in case of user error or laptop theft.
Then Bitcasa deleted all the data I’d backed up in November 2014 as they were re-architecting their backend.
I gave them the benefit of the doubt and then whilst in Asia spent a good 4 or so months backing up my data, contacting support reporting issues, working with new client versions as they fixed bugs and rebooting my laptop, a lot. I don’t think Bitcasa became a working backup solution for me until February/March 2015, then I relaxed again.
Recently I’ve noticed my laptop fans have been spinning up like crazy and the laptop getting super hot whilst I’m doing non-cpu intensive tasks, so I had a look at the Activity Monitor.
I can’t deal with this any more
After contacting Bitcasa again they put me on another reinstall/reboot support cycle and I really can’t be bothered. So I looked around.
As I was browsing for WordPress themes I saw Envato had put together a Creative Bundle for the Mac, that included Arq Backup and the value was awesome, $39 for $1500 worth of software so I decided to buy it and try Arq out. It’s been amazing.
Arq offers many different backup destination options, including Google Drive, Amazon S3/Glacier etc but also SFTP to your own remote server. I’ve several of them including a dedicated backup server with TBs of free space so using that was a no brainer.
Here in Spain I have pretty fast 50mb/s Internet and about 290GB of data I need to back up, it took roughly a week to do in total, what with pausing the back up, suspending my laptop and even rebooting it. But you know what? Arq has been 100% rock solid stable the entire time, using minimal CPU and just working away in the background with out disturbing me. Amazing.
The killer though, is rather than spiking my CPU to 100% and making my laptop unusable every hour when it does a new backup sync, it just sits their doing its thing. A new sync only takes a minute, as you can see from the screenshot from the results of the backup that kicked off at 12:00 earlier today.
Bitcasa has actually been disabled for over a month due to the fact with it running I’m unable to actually do any work to generate new artifacts that require a backup. It’s shit. And their behaviour last November is just the icing on the cake. I’m ok with giving people a chance, but as the adage goes
Fool me once, shame on you, fool me twice, shame on me.
Backup solutions should be easy to configure and then just work, forever. It’s early days and my backups are now only on a raid array, on my infrastructure, rather than scattered across multiple different servers in a cloud infrastructure as Bitcasa offered, but I have working, versioned online backups again to go with the external HDD backups that I seemingly do only once every 2 months.
You know what’s better than cloud backup storage providor that doesn’t work properly and happily deletes your data? Arq.