Mobile app empire, podcast microphones, doctor to entrepreneur, and more

Oahu Online Entrepreneurs keeps growing. We had a whopping 17 people RSVP, and more people as walk-ins.  As usual, the discussion spanned a wide range of topics, from mobile apps to t-shirts.

Mobile app business

Instagram’s $1 billion sale to Facebook put mobile apps in the headlines. How do you get in on the action, if you can’t code?

How to build an app empire – An extensive guest post on the Four Hour Workweek blog about how to start a mobile app business, even if you’re not a programmer. The solution is to outsource. Our members said India was a popular place. However, many praised the work ethic of Russian developers and those in Eastern Europe.

Podcasting microphones

Our co-organizer Hugh revealed that traffic to his website jumped by 40% when he started a podcast.

Good audio equipment is a must. Hugh bought the Blue Yeti mic.  Below is a video from his blog.  You can hear the mic in action.

The mic I have is the Editors Keys SL-150.  You can hear it in this video I made for my site

Both mics sound good, so you can’t go wrong with either one. The Yeti is more versatile: you can change from recording one person, to two people on opposite sides of the mic, the whole room, etc. The disadvantage is that it’s big and unwieldy.

The SL-150 is smaller and more compact. There are no dials or controls. Just plug it in and start talking. If you want a simple setup, it’s perfect. If you want more manual control, you should get another microphone.

Size does matter. Microphones with larger diaphragms are more sensitive and pick your voice better.

Podcast hosting

While you could store audio files on your web hosting account, it is not recommended. Audio is a resource-hog, so a popular episode of your podcast that gets downloaded too many times could crash your site (even if your web host promises “unlimited bandwidth”). Better to prepare for success.

The solution is to keep your files with a podcast host. They only charge you for how much you upload each month. Your total storage and number of user downloads is unlimited. Libsyn and Blubrry are good options. I’ve heard they also make it easy to set up your RSS feed properly and submit your podcast to iTunes.

CHEAP option. Hugh found that Amazon Web Services has an AWS Free Usage Tier. In particular, he puts his podcasts on Amazon Simple Storage (a.k.a. “Amazon S3). The upside is that it’s free for the first 5GB. No fixed monthly fees, you only pay according to usage, which is pennies. The downside is that AWS is meant for programmers, so the interface isn’t as user-friendly as Libsyn or Blubrry.

Converting videos from your camcorder for YouTube

I just bought a new video camera (Sony HDR-CX160). However, most camcorders record in .mts (AVCHD) format, which is high quality but not compatible with YouTube and video editing software.

Hugh tipped me off to HandBrake, a free video conversion program. I read some tutorials and watched instructional videos. Eventually, I figured out how to get a video off my camera and use HandBrake to convert it into a YouTube-friendly format. To help out you guys, I created a video tutorial to show what settings I used. To see it clearly, click on the little gear icon in the lower-right, select 720p HD, and go full-screen.

Doctor to entrepreneur

One member in our group talked about the huge opportunities in helping medical professionals to be more efficient and business-savvy. I dug up some resources in this field. The obstacles he mentioned here complacency, since doctors are already well-paid, so they aren’t as motivated to hone their commercial skills.

What’s up with these docs? – An article about doctors who started their own businesses.

The Entrepreneurial M.D. – This blog’s slogan is, “Where physicians become entrepreneurs.”

Creative writing

I can’t remember where I read this, but someone once said, “The customer has to buy into you before they’ll ever buy your products.” Creative writing can be a big advantage in crafting your own “hero’s journey” story to use in your sales pitches, the About page on your website, etc. When customers see how you struggled, faced challenges, and succeeded, it makes it easier for them to connect with you as a person.

A good example of this is The End of an Era, about a female entrepreneur and how she overcame obstacles in the male-dominated tech world.

Self Editing for Fiction Writers – Easily one of the best books I’ve read on making your writing better. Written by editors who have seen tons of manuscripts. They know what works and doesn’t work in storytelling. I applied a lot of their techniques in my travel blog, Marcus Goes Global.

T-shirt business

Some new members were looking into the possibilities of setting up an online t-shirt business. That reminded me of this great case study in Inc. magazine.

The customer is the company: how Threadless uses crowdsourcing – Imagine a t-shirt company that doesn’t do marketing, sales, retail distribution, or even design! That’s Threadless. Customers do all the work, and pay for the privilege. One of the most interesting business models I’ve come across.

Photo: Geocaching on a smartphone. Johan Larsson / Flickr.