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July 2002: Paul Smith - On his plans for a digital empire
I lied. I am a liar. But hey, you knew this. I'm a Salesman, right? But seriously folks, for this column I'm sometimes obliged to write about things that have yet to happen and this I did last month. I made bold claims about taking part in my local radio station's 'Little Brother' competition, but in reality (as if on the Pope's instructions) I pulled out at the last minute, after Indie had gone to print. That's the problem with unforeseen circumstances. They're- well, unforeseen. So sorry about that. I didn't mean to mislead you all.
As one reaction to this disappointment, I've decided to carve myself a new niche. You may recall* I talked in the June 2000 issue of your bigger bolder Indie about my efforts in web design. I'd bought a book and was learning HTML. Well, the wheel has turned full circle and I'm now writing a book about Internet-specific marketing material, like the way to pick the right graphic file format for a job, and how to get the most from your web site. I'm working on the Knowledge=Power/Power=Money principle here. And now that I'm house hunting in the South East I really need the money!
In conjunction with this book project I've launched my new business site, www.snapsandbytes.co.uk, as a digital photographic (the snaps) and groovy web design (the bytes) business. My two year long self-taught exploration into writing pages for the Internet has taken me right through HTML and into the far more exotic and exciting world of Macromedia Flash 5. I think these skills are now polished enough for me to exploit them for cash and I have my first professional job lined up. If you could make use of anything from a Flash banner for your pages to a whole domain registration plus hosting plus site creation deal, pay me a visit and drop me a line. Special discounted prices for readers of Indie of course! Same deal for you, editor Dale, to say thanks for the free advertising above. Speaking of advertising, I've subtly stuck my web address on my copy of a Lotus 7. It seemed daft not to when I had a promotional vehicle all ready to go. Is this something more people can do to promote their business? With their own private cars I mean. Not mine.
Web design is something many Independent retailers can offer too of course, simply because it's something a lot of your business customers will be looking for and the High Street multiples don't offer as a service. I can recommend the bright orange Complete Idiots Guide to Creating a Web Page by Paul McFedries (ISBN 0-7897-2256-9) and Complete Idiots Guide to Macromedia Flash 5, by David Karlins (ISBN 0-7897-2442-1) as good places to start. It takes a while to get the technical and artistic sides to work together, but if I can do it, anyone who's amazingly talented and naturally gifted can. (Wink at imaginary camera.)
*But only if there's something seriously wrong with you.
In the world of PC component distribution Paul Smith is known as Paul Smith.
504 blatantly egocentric words Dale. I hope you think they're nice ones.
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