Generator Land Blog

The Jelly to Generator Land's Peanut Butter

Aqua Notes Are Truly Awesome

Posted on | January 21, 2014 | Comments Off on Aqua Notes Are Truly Awesome

waterproof notepadA while back I was on a mission. I was sick of having good ideas in the shower and then forgetting them by the time I was able to get to a pen and paper or PC. It got to the point where I was consciously trying NOT to think in the shower so I wouldn’t end up annoyed.

My first thought was to use a grease pencil on the shower walls but while it would easily go on  the shower walls, it wouldn’t easily come off. Messy.

Then I tried a child’s toy like these but another brand that I can’t find anymore probably because they sucked.

Then I considered these waterproof note pads which are cool but I wasn’t sure where I’d keep them in the shower. There isn’t a whole lot of shelf space.

I was about to give up when I finally found the answer — AquaNotes. I’ve been using them for a few years now and I have to say they’ve changed my life. It turns out that many of the ideas I have in the shower are actually pretty good. In addition for some reason I always think of grocery items in the shower and now I keep a running list in there.

I plan my work day on AquaNotes, I plan my weekend tasks as well. Some of my best Generator Land ideas have come in the shower, proof of which is scattered around my home office.

Even if you don’t normally come up with ideas in the shower I have a feeling that once you’re staring at that blank pad and pencil they’ll start to flow. Trust me.

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11 Business Cliches That Must Die a Horrible Death Now

Posted on | January 5, 2014 | Comments Off on 11 Business Cliches That Must Die a Horrible Death Now

Kool-Aid Dragon

Mr. Kool-Aid will bring about fiery death.

Nonsensical and annoying verbiage seeps into a business like water through a basement crack and blooms into colorful and pungent mold quicker than you can spray it with the bleach of sanity (consider that metaphor tortured!).

As junior execs and managers vainly attempt to become accepted by senior execs and C-levels, they adopt the same meaningless language and soon the clerks in the mail room are putting their heads together about shifting data-driven paradigms and showing real ROI.

These are the most recent and irritating cliches I’ve heard bouncing around boardrooms lately.

“Ask” as a noun.

I think people started using this to make it sound less like they’re asking you to do something or they have a problem you can help them solve. “I have a quick ask!” sounds a lot more in control and powerful than “I need your help.” There’s this “ask” that they have. It’s something they have but would like to give you. Because they’re awesome and give people things. And why wouldn’t you want one? It’s not like work. It’s an “ask.” Enjoy!

“Good Stuff.”

Instead of saying “good stuff” a person being honest would say “I have nothing else to say at this time.” I hear it often at the end of a conversation between an exec and a junior exec.

Mr. Brooks: “How’s it going, there sport?”

Sport: “Great Mr. Brooks! I just finished reviewing the Fleener account and found some really interesting data that I…”

Mr. Brooks: “Good stuff.”

“Drinking the Kool-Aid”

You would think business people would have enough tact to avoid connecting some innocuous comment about people agreeing with something to a horrible mass suicide, but you would be wrong. I’ve heard “drinking the Kool-Aid” in reference to everything from customers liking a product to self-referential comments like “I disagreed before, but I’m drinking the Kool-Aid now.” If only.

Note: “drinking the Kool-Aid” is a cousin to the less horrific, but suitably disgusting “eating our own dog food.”

Bleeding Edge

The actual meaning of bleeding edge is “extremely advanced technology with no current practical application, beyond the cutting edge of technology.” I keep that in mind when someone refers to their new phone or hybrid as “bleeding edge.” And I tell them that I feel bad they bought something that doesn’t actually do anything. Not to mention the fact that 99% of what people refer to as “bleeding edge” isn’t even close. 3D printers are awesome and THEY’RE not even bleeding edge.

Take it Offline

I like the idea that people suggest “taking this topic offline” while they’re actually talking in a meeting in which they are sitting next to each other. Apparently I have no idea what being online means anymore. In many cases those very two people who were just talking in meatspace go back to their desks and EMAIL EACH OTHER ABOUT THE TOPIC. But…you just…what? (drools, passes out and has aneurysm)

Hard Stop

Mr. Brooks: OK, let’s get started, but I have a hard stop at 11.

Mr. Brothers: But it’s 10:47 right now because you showed up 47 minutes late.

Mr. Brooks: Yeah, I know. But I have a hard stop.

Mr. Brothers: We all have things to do when this meeting is over.

Mr. Brooks: Right, but this stop is particularly hard.

Mr. Brothers: Well go on then, it’s 11 now.

Mr. Brooks: Good stuff.

Let’s Go Back and Sharpen Our Pencils

When someone asks you to go back and “sharpen your pencil,” you probably do the same thing I do. You look at the numbers you spent several hours putting together, run a few reports again, get the same results, bring the numbers back again unchanged (because they’re accurate) and then change them to whatever you’re asked to change them to.

 “It’s Gone Viral”

Not it hasn’t. Unless you and the rest of the world have vastly different opinions about what “gone viral” means.

Value-Add

Unlike most people who provide products and services, your product or service offers gobs of value. Your competitors actually suck value out of their customers’ faces like some kind of space leech. Your product or service keeps heaping value on your customers even when they’ve had enough. They end up lying there, smothered in piles of steaming value, gasping for breath.

Rock Star

Whenever someone tells me someone else is a “rock star” I ask if they mean they’re good at what they do or they trash hotel rooms and wake up covered in cocaine and hookers. Usually they say they mean the former.

Stretch Goal

A stretch goal, for anyone who’s never had one, is another way of your boss saying “We need to hit X to be successful but you should try to hit Y because I don’t trust you to try hard enough to hit X otherwise.” Or “August 2nd is our stretch date because it’s sooner than August 12th and sooner is always better except for wine and your bonus.”

 

 

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Aaarrrhhhhhh Matey! Pirates Are Still Cool

Posted on | May 1, 2013 | Comments Off on Aaarrrhhhhhh Matey! Pirates Are Still Cool

Pirate Name

Most pirates probably weren’t this effeminate.

Let’s put aside the doings of actual pirates for a moment and focus on the romanticized version of pirates that Hollywood loves. Those pirates are actually cool. Most of them swill booze, tell bawdy jokes and only plunder from people who probably deserve to be plundered. Like pancake-makeup-wearing British dandies.

Anyway, in the spirit of that kind of lovable pirate, we created the Pirate Name Generator. As always, we ask very little of you to actually use it. Just click the button until you find one you like. The first ever Pirate Name generated was:

Cap’n Bart Hellscurvy

We kind of like that one. Happy pirating!

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Low-Carb Genius in Pizza Form

Posted on | March 26, 2013 | Comments Off on Low-Carb Genius in Pizza Form

Gino’s East Pizza in Chicago has a cure for pizza lovers on low-carb diets. A deep dish pizza with a crust made from, that’s right, sausage. Might as well look up the nearest hospital before diving in.

20130326-223950.jpg

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A Business by Any Other Name

Posted on | March 24, 2013 | Comments Off on A Business by Any Other Name

We’ve had a lot of requests for a Business Name Generator and we’ve had a few users build their own. We decided to buckle down and build one. Actually we re-purposed the Domain Name Generator because these days it’s essentially the same thing. Most companies trying to think up a new company name alternate between ideas and a site like Network Solutions or GoDaddy to see if the domain is available. No point naming your company BlueSpark if BlueSpark.com is already taken (it is).

Also, we’re fairly lazy, so this turned out to be the optimal solution. We did add some additional words to the generator array list, but it’s still awfully similar. Hopefully it’s also awfully helpful to anyone trying to come up with a company name that rolls of the tongue and sticks in people’s melons.

Let us know what y’all think.

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How Do I Blog?

Posted on | March 16, 2013 | Comments Off on How Do I Blog?

How do I blog?

Blogging is hard work.

So, Seriously. How Do I Blog?

A lot of people have said to me, “Hey, how do I blog?” Either they want to start a blog and see if they can make any money or they just have an urge to hold forth on a certain topic. Usually they’re not so much asking “How do I blog” as much as “How do I get online and set up a site and do all that technical voodoo.” Which is a shame, because all that technical stuff has been rendered fairly simple at this point. Blogging is easy to set up, the hard part is posting really good content over and over again in a sustainable way.

I’ve helped a lot of people set up blogs and seen them abandoned within a few weeks. Maybe the question people should be asking is “How do I keep blogging once I start?” The answer to that is “hard work and creative thinking.”

Hard Work

Once you get your thoughts public, two things will happen fairly quickly: 1) No one will pay attention and 2) You will get discouraged. You’ll post again and once again, no one will pay attention. This will repeat for a while and you’ll start to think that all this work you’re doing now will be wasted even if you do eventually get noticed because people will only see the latest stuff. But more importantly, you’re getting frustrated and even bored with this blog thing now. That’s usually the point where the blog gets abandoned. That’s also where, if you’re serious about this, you need to start working harder. Keep writing, absolutely, but beyond that, get out and start reading other people’s blogs, especially in your own niche. What are THEY talking about? Get more ideas there. More importantly, start commenting on their blogs. Comment thoughtfully, comment kindly, comment conversationally. Ask the author back a few questions. Hopefully you’ll get their attention and not only will they answer, but they might go look at your little blog.

Great, I got one visitor from that you may think, but here’s the thing. If you’re creating quality content on your blog and that author sees it, there’s a chance they may link over to your blog at some point. They may reference you in their next article (e.g. “A colleague of mine actually wrote a great post about X,Y,Z…”) with a link to that very post. Now that author’s readers may click on over and check you out. Now we’re getting somewhere!

Creative Thinking

To keep writing you need to keep coming up with creative ideas. Sure you could use something like Generator Land’s Blog Post Idea Generator to come up with blog post ideas, but you can also:

  • Read a lot of blogs, news sites, online magazines, etc. that are built around your topic.
  • Set up Google Alerts about your chosen topic.
  • Use a tool like the wondrous Topsy to come up with ideas from tweets, posts, news and a wide variety of other sources about your topic.
  • Ask questions on LinkedIn.
  • Keep a waterproof notepad in the shower when ideas always seem to hit (check out Aquanotes, which I use and love.)

So before you start that blog, think hard about how much you’re willing to put into it to keep it going and if your topic has legs for the long haul. If you’re willing to work and think creatively, you can be heard.

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YouTube Channel Hub: New Side Project

Posted on | March 3, 2013 | Comments Off on YouTube Channel Hub: New Side Project

This morning I was trying to find some YouTube channels worth subscribing to and realized  that there’s no easy way to find them. Sure, it’s easy to find VIDEOS on YouTube, but there doesn’t seem to be an easy way to find channels you might be interested in. So I did a few Google searches for things like “best YouTube channels” and “find YouTube channels” and all I found were a bunch of good, but random blog posts with lists of channels.

So, feeling inspired to make the world a better place, I registered the domain youtubechannelhub.com and put up a WordPress site to manage the content. This turned out to be a good idea because now I can just post a channel as a blog entry, categories it and boom, you now have a nice listing of YouTube channels by category. To spice up each entry, I dropped an embedded video example from each channel.

So if you’re a YouTube fan and want to find good channels to subscribe to, you’ll now be able to find the best YouTube channels at youtubechannelhub.com

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A Name Generator for Lonely Boys

Posted on | January 26, 2013 | Comments Off on A Name Generator for Lonely Boys

Fake GirlfriendWhen we started Generatorland.com several years ago, it was more about finding a project for my buddy Joe (a developer) and me (a writer) to work on together more than anything else. We certainly didn’t set out to be one of the most popular name generator sites on the Web. In fact the only reason that I even became aware of the popularity of name generators was because I’d noticed that the most visited post I’d had on my (now-defunct) blog “Technogeekboy” was one that mentioned a name generator. I think it had to do with super heroes. Or food. But I digress.

Since then the site has grown and name generators have become commonplace in pop culture. In fact it seems most (non-lethal) current events wind up with their own name generators now. You may remember such examples as:

The latest foray into pop culture name generators is one of our own. Inspired by one of the most bizarre news stories in recent memory, we’ve created the “Fake Girlfriend Name Generator.” Based not so loosely on the story of Manti Te’o and the girlfriend that wasn’t, anyone can now generate their own phony lady love to share with friends and social media.

Please use this generator responsibly.

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Geeky English Major Stuff Added

Posted on | December 31, 2012 | Comments Off on Geeky English Major Stuff Added

Long WordPart of the reason I love Generator Land is because I love language. Trying to figure out how to randomly throw together words and phrases and have them come out sounding like something fairly understandable isn’t easy but it’s a lot of fun.

Today we added something geeky to our word lists—suffixes, prefixes and roots. If you don’t remember high school English, here’s a quick primer.

Prefix: A prefix is placed before the root of a word, altering the meaning of the root word. For instance, “happy” could become “unhappy” or “symmetrical” could become “asymmetrical.”

Suffix: Similarly, a suffix is placed at the end of a root of a word and can alter its meaning. For instance “dunk” could become “dunking,” “dunked,” “dunks,” etc.

Root: Also known as a “morpheme,” this is the part of a word that carries the primary meaning. For instance, the root of “running” is “run.”  The root of “unlucky” is “luck.”

SO if you’re still awake, next time you build a generator, see if you have a use for suffixes, prefixes and root words. They’re available from the Create a Generator dropdown word lists. One note, you’ll likely need to use the “No Space After Word” checkbox when using them to keep them butt-up against the next or previous word

Naturally, the first thing I built with them was a “Really Long Word Generator.”

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New Name — No Explanation Necessary

Posted on | December 29, 2012 | Comments Off on New Name — No Explanation Necessary

Fake Name StampYou don’t have to be an undercover agent to need a fake name. Maybe you just need a new name for the bar tonight. Or perhaps you’ve won the lottery and want to move away to a remote tropical island to wait until the fuss dies down. We won’t judge. We will, however provide you with a fancy new moniker via our new Fake Name Generator.

Keep clicking until you get a name that sounds suitable. I’m now Albert Steger. Can’t wait to use it tonight.

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