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Comments and Suggestions Thread, Replies to my blog post in EduGeek Stuff; ...
  1. #1

    Dos_Box's Avatar
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    Replies to my blog post

    I've had a few PMs to my early morning blog post here:
    http://www.edugeek.net/forums/blogs/...e-go-here.html

    To quote some Marillion lyrics from their song 'White Russian'.


    Where do we go from here, where do we go from here
    The more I see, the more I hear, the more I find fewer answers
    I close my mind, I shout it out but you know it's getting harder
    To calm down, to reason out, to come to terms with what it's all about
    I'm uptight, can't sleep at night, I can't pretend everything's all right
    My ideals, my sanity, they seem to be deserting me
    But to stand up and fight I know we have six million reasons

    It's not quite as bad as all of that, but since Ric, Shaun, and I sat down after BETT we knew one thing. This year is the one where EduGeek goes through the roof. We've seen evidence of this with not only our Google stats, the Alexa ranking amd our rapidly increasing members list. The problem is now where to take it. I have always listened to what other peoples opinions are in such matters as, I an fond of saying 'When you've trod in dog poo you sometimes need to have someone else point it out to you!'.

    We are at a crossroads now, and it's taking a great deal of thought to ensure we get things right. Here are a few things that I'm currently pondering:

    1. More and more EdUgeek members are from outside of education and are based in teh private sector. I've no probelem at all with this as our technical forums are possible some oth ebes there are on the net, especially for providing solutions to higher end non-home based technical problems. SO do we create a seperate 'BusinessGeek' site and share the same technical databases, after all, problems are problems! Then create seperate forums to deal with particular issues faced by businesses? The same could go for the NHS. A MedicalGeek site perhaps? These members are already posting on the forums and their problems are the same as ours, but they have special issues that need their own spaces to discuss.

    2. Funding is now getting an issue. We currently make plenty enough to run the site day to day, but we need to ensure our ethos of providing free conferences, offsetting your costs etc still continues, as as we get bigger so do the costs.BETT set us back about 10k and with daiky runnign costs of around £300 to feed, transport and meet other costs for the volunteers on the stand and provide free pizza
    We still need to raise funds and there is no way that we are going to follow the 'get rich quick' schemes that land in my inbox on an almost daily basis, so we have to explore other avenues.
    I am looking at running EduGeek full time by later this year, but more on this at a later date I think

    Anyway, if you have any thoughts of what we should be doing that we are not, or what we are doing that you dissaprove of than please let me know. We have a lot to do this year and we have to ensure we get it right first time.
    Saying that they could not post replies or comments. So if you have something to say or add please do so here.

  2. #2

    SimpleSi's Avatar
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    I like Edugeek for the forums

    I thought the conference last year was good for meeting up with people but I rate the benefit/enjoyment ratio of Edugeek to be 80% to forums - 20% to conferences.

    I rate Edugeek at BETT at zero (that's it significance/use to me)

    regards

    Simon

  3. #3

    witch's Avatar
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    Me too, the forums are where it's at for me.
    I like the idea of conferences etc but for the forseeable future I am not going to get to them unless they are a lot nearer!
    I think you could have separate areas for different geeks - but the name edugeek could after all represent the education of geeks like us so it could stay as an overarching title for all the various groups, with many being available to all.

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    Dos_Box's Avatar
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    @Simon

    BETT Is a stange one. Whilst we do get to meet (this year at least) many hundreds of our members, primarily for us we are there to provide the function of being the official help point and secondly we get to meet the rest of the industry and raise our profile with them, and the thing most people don't realise is that it's DAMNED HARD WORK!!

  5. #5

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    Quote Originally Posted by witch View Post
    Me too, the forums are where it's at for me.
    I like the idea of conferences etc but for the forseeable future I am not going to get to them unless they are a lot nearer!
    I think you could have separate areas for different geeks - but the name edugeek could after all represent the education of geeks like us so it could stay as an overarching title for all the various groups, with many being available to all.

    We have tried (we really have) to get a conf oransied for the SW, but things dragged on and on last year with it and we then had to focus on BETT.
    Confs thake a lot of organising, and if people on various regions want to organise on then fine, liase with me and we'll see what e can do about funding. An average conference will set us back about £5000 depending on numbers, and to be frank I'm not just going to wire the money to just anyone who wants to organise one. I'm toying with the idea of having a conf near Salisbury possibly in teh late summer which will be accessable for those in the SW and those in London. ANyway, I shall look more at that after the May conf.

  6. #6

    Little-Miss's Avatar
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    Im with Witch. LOVE Edugeek, would be lost without it!

    Conferences...if they were closer i'd go.

    Please excuse my ignorance...and im not being funny here.

    Is your ('your' being Edugeek) presence at BETT to raise your profile within Education and to gain more sponsers?

  7. #7

    witch's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dos_Box View Post
    We have tried (we really have) to get a conf oransied for the SW, but things dragged on and on last year with it and we then had to focus on BETT.
    Confs thake a lot of organising, and if people on various regions want to organise on then fine, liase with me and we'll see what e can do about funding. An average conference will set us back about £5000 depending on numbers, and to be frank I'm not just going to wire the money to just anyone who wants to organise one. I'm toying with the idea of having a conf near Salisbury possibly in teh late summer which will be accessable for those in the SW and those in London. ANyway, I shall look more at that after the May conf.
    Wasn't blaming you, sweetie!! I know that there aren't enough of us down this way (I do my best on the recruitment front) to make it economically viable.
    The numbers nearer me are slowly increasing, and I am sure we will get there in the end.
    Mind you, staying anonymous sounds quite good to me

  8. #8

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    EduGeek at BETT is a service. The same way that members help each other here on the forums the tech help point at BETT is to try and helps as many people as we can. It can be improved and I know the folks running it next year have lots of ideas.

    The impact that the help point at BETT has on existing members is minimal, but the impact it can have on schools in general is quite high.

    MediGeek ... perhaps not. Remember that there are quite a number of large contracts within the medical arena so there are usually things in place to deal with problems and some of our work that is R&D is likely to be irrelevant to many places.

    BizGeek ... probably has some milage, but there are already services in place (some quite expensive) that can help with this and you would be competing with them.

    In all likelihood the tech forums can stay the same and the other forums might split into specialist areas, biz / health / clubs / home.

    Then again ... see what Sir Alan or the folks at Dragons' Den think.

  9. #9

    witch's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by GrumbleDook View Post

    MediGeek ... perhaps not. Remember that there are quite a number of large contracts within the medical arena so there are usually things in place to deal with problems and some of our work that is R&D is likely to be irrelevant to many places.
    I don't know about that; My brother-in-law (mrwITchbro?) works at the local hospital as an IT tech and he comes across pretty much the same problems as we do in education, right down to the attitude of the people using the systems. He has said that he uses edugeek at times, so people like him could find a medigeek area very useful

  10. #10
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    The fact that this forum is about what I do, i.e. work in a school, is what keeps me here and not anywhere else. There is value in having technical expertise from outside of education certainly, but talking with people who understand the situations I come across in my job is invaluable.

    I understand the position with BETT and again that has it's value. Conferences? Mm undecided about those since I haven't been to one. I like Witch's idea of education for geeks, so perhaps separate sites with some shared areas?

  11. #11

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    Seeing people at BETT was nice, mabey we could just do a meetup when someone else is doing a conference somewhere? One of the icthub ones?

  12. #12

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    Mmm you know I think that there is mileage in medi and biz sectors.
    I know that there are resources out there already but I can't bring anything to mind that is quite like Edugeek for those areas and although it would be competing against those resources, it would have a unique angle.
    How is it envisaged that it will be run? Each sector has a very different culture that goes with it so I would think it would need a group of admins that is experienced in each field (plus would it be too much for the current admins to take on as well?).

    For me, as well, the site is about the forums. That is perhaps because I have been unable to attend conferences so far (and sadly again this year) but I can see the benefit of them and it is important that they continue. I really like the idea of regional conferences if they are viable, I would definitely be more able to attend confs if they were closer and would offer any help I could to organise.

  13. #13

    SYNACK's Avatar
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    Just a few random ideas that I have had on these subjects, they may be good or rubbish but hopefully they can spur some debate if nothing else.

    The first point about diversification is a good one and I do think that it could be done without causing issues if it was setup right. If you followed the same model as already exists for the reigonal forums and added a more generic domain name to specify which one you were after. They would still link to the same forums but the more education ones would appear under education tabs in the forums section for the generic site and not be default as they are for those that come right to edugeek. It would just require another set of tabs and a module that changed the logo to acomplish this.


    On to the second point about raising money. I have a few ideas on this front that may or may not be feasible.

    First off some of the groups that are after the database may have goals that are achivable without endangering the users. For example Edugeek itself could have a section for optional polls or surveys/focus groups that is managed directly by the edugeek staff. The external company comes to you with their questions and these are allocated to random or targeted users which could simply see an additional link (where the reigonal headers are now) to alert them that they can optionally help the site out by answering a few questions. No data apart from the question answers changes hands and everyone is happy.

    Product testing could also be another winner, if someone wants to try a device out in an educational environment for comments and to test its robustness they could come to edugeek, provide 5 units that are shipped out to volunteering schools to be used for a couple of months. Users that wanted to try out this stuff would have to sign up and be screened but I think that this could be a useful service to some companies.

    Idea number three is a paid for suppliers index, a small fee is paid by each supplier that wants to be listed on the index (this is a seporate cheaper thing than site sponsers) and they can be searched and feedback provided by members.

    Idea number four is more time consuming and probably not viable but adding a seporate wiki to group author a book about the best ways to set up a school network and its impacts and challanges could possibly make some cash in a printed form.

    A rehashed idea from the past which may or may not be feasible now is EG certification for software. A fee is paid by the software company and volunteers run through a series of tests with it on their networks to see how much it irritates them. If it works well then it gets certed otherwise not. If nothing else it would be a good way for the company to get feedback on their software from actual users.

    Rehashed idea two is a current work in progress as far as I can tell, the EG magazine - subscriptions, advertising etc depending on how well it goes and how stable it was release and content wise.

    The 'I just had too say it' idea is open a Edugeek store, it has to be well planned and though out by now and given the anticipation and extended period of suspense I imagine that it would provide a rather large and quick cash injection at least for the first few months.

  14. 3 Thanks to SYNACK:

    ICTNUT (18th February 2009), SteveMC (16th February 2009), vikpaw (15th February 2009)

  15. #14

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    Arrow

    Quote Originally Posted by SimpleSi View Post
    I rate Edugeek at BETT at zero (that's it significance/use to me)


    Well it does wonders for promoting the site, and gives an opportunity for existing members to come and meet eachother. Also, sponsors and potential sponsors are able to see what we do and can lead to more sponsorship. All in all, it adds to the community and it's popularity and inevitably you will benefit from that even if it's indirectly through a wider user base.

    @DB - I can see that we are reaching an event horizon of sorts and rapidly reaching critical mass (if we haven't already).

    Setting up BusinessGeek / MediGeek feels a bit like selling out, and i really don't want to see you worn out and spread too thin managing 3 or more sites. Plus i'd be scared of dilution and the risk of losing info / expertise to the 'other' forums. I think we should just wait and see on that one how things grow and the demand. If we take that route the central DB has to stay the same so we can still share the knowledge across the different business sectors. Surely with BSF, PFI [add whichever acronym fits], all the business sectors are slowly merging together and we'll end up with just GEEK

    The primary focus has always been an excellent free unbiased service to educational users and that has to be foremost in our minds and for that to continue i can understand the need for more revenue streams.

    Have you considered affiliate marketing? Not pay per click, but a simple fixed percent of sales. We all i'm sure order online, either for work or personal use and there are myriad sites out there that offer real hard cash. e.g. if i buy through my own affiliate link for PCWorld i earn 2.5% of the item price; similarly Maplins 5%, Currys 4%, Dixons 3%, John Lewis, Amazon 5%, firebox / iwoot 15%, pcnextday, misco, simply computers, namesco, virgin, plusnet (domain names, broadband etc...) etc., all offer similar deals. sometimes a fixed price say £50 for a broadband contract.

    I personally make a fair bit of pocket money out of it, but even at £1 per month, multiply that by 6000 (25% of membership spending double what i do) = £6000 per month. or is that still too little?

    I don't think there's anything preventing us from doing that. There's no bias, we aren't recommending just saying if you are going to buy from supplier X then click through this and that way support us. In the future if it's profitable a percentage of that profit can go to the purchaser too.

    At the moment, are we classed as a non-profit making entity? Since we just cover costs and plough money back into the community. Does selling advertising space count?

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    Dos_Box's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by sparkeh View Post
    Mmm you know I think that there is mileage in medi and biz sectors.
    I know that there are resources out there already but I can't bring anything to mind that is quite like Edugeek for those areas and although it would be competing against those resources, it would have a unique angle.
    How is it envisaged that it will be run? Each sector has a very different culture that goes with it so I would think it would need a group of admins that is experienced in each field (plus would it be too much for the current admins to take on as well?).

    For me, as well, the site is about the forums. That is perhaps because I have been unable to attend conferences so far (and sadly again this year) but I can see the benefit of them and it is important that they continue. I really like the idea of regional conferences if they are viable, I would definitely be more able to attend confs if they were closer and would offer any help I could to organise.
    The technical forums would be shared amongst all the various sites. If you notice, threads posted within them are always direct and straight to the point, as well as the answers. The other 'General forums would remain within EduGeek. Medical and business would both have their own independant forums. I know it has been mentioned that med and biz both utilise support contracts heavily, but no one is asking where they get their answers from. I already know of 3 major players in the education market whoes techies use EduGeek for solutions, and TBH, I don't blame them or discourage it.

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