Zejoop Casual Event Planning is for You!

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Just when you thought there was no answer to your frustrations planning casual events with your friends, along comes Zejoop!

You already know it – planning by email or text alone doesn’t work! Use Zejoop, and start having fun with your friends. Avoid the mis-communication and headaches using built-in features that track event status and automatically confirm or cancel your meeting! It’s easy, and for most users, it’s FREE! Check it out!

Visit Zejoop Now, and Start Planning!

(please share on social media using the buttons below, thanks!)

Ready, Set, Go – Let’s Use Zejoop!

Visit Zejoop Now, and Start Planning!

Today marks the beginning of Phase I of a campaign to actively acquire new users for Zejoop. If you haven’t done so already would you take this opportunity to create an account and start using Zejoop. To get to this level of readiness feels like a great achievement, but all the same, Zejoop will only fulfill it purpose and mission in the hands of users; users who will not only benefit from the unique offering of its ‘criteria-based confirmation or cancellation’ feature, but who also themselves have the chance to actually shape the future on Zejoop in the form of feedback, bug reports and feature suggestions.

Are you an early adopter? Do you have an adventurous spirit? Might you be willing to help a friend realize his dream of building a successful business from scratch? This is a foray in the modern frontier of tech-based entrepreneurship – early adopters can take this trip alongside a developer like myself – does this prospect interest you? If so please setup an account, and start planning by clicking one of the orange buttons! Start now, and enjoy the benefits of a simpler and hassle-free way of planning your fun – your Fun with Friends, facilitated by Zejoop!

Thank you very much! Please direct feedback, bug reports and feature suggestions to the address available under the ‘contact’ tab above.

Michael LaRue, Founder & CEO, Zejoop (Patent Applied For)

Visit Zejoop Now, and Start Planning!

PS… please help get the word out, and share on social media using the widgets below; every little bit helps! Thank you!

Zejoop is Going to GP San Jose – T minus 3 days

Three more days and I couldn’t be more excited!

Three more days to Grand Prix San Jose, and with it the chance to interact with hundreds, if not thousands, of Magic enthusiasts! How cool is that?

Three more days, and I’m so busy getting ready that I feel like this:

Busy like a Gecko!

Living life on the Edge (or the screen, rather) getting ready for #gpsj

Been so busy, I’ve missed a few days of blog updates; not to worry – I’m back with a blog post – and I have great progress to report.

A few highlights, then back to work:

  • “https:// protection” – after a three grueling sessions of phone contact with Amazon AWS tech support I have finally protected the main domain with an SSL certificate. Not out of the woods yet, but the end is in sight. Two hours talking on Friday night, then a three hour followed by a final one hour session with Amazon. They were great, and I take a lot of responsibility for the slowness – I have some OS issues, some ‘peculiarities-of-hosting’ problems and the inability, initially to allow screen-sharing with the tech. Clearly I am not cut out to be an IT/sysadmin guy. I still have an issue with my jquery-mobile not rendering properly because it has been stored on CDN – gotta host it locally and the ‘https://’ task will be complete! Yay!
  • Graphics (the design) – can’t have a ‘naked’ booth at #gpsj, right? Spent some quality time with my friend and go-to graphic designer, Jeremiah, who helped with some posters, a banner and some logo updates – high quality work from him; the stuff will look great!
  • Graphics (the printing thereof) – dropped the several jobs off at Feathers Photo, a great print shop right here in Santa Clarita

Well, that’s enough for now – gotta get back to work!

Make sure to stop by the Zejoop booth at the Event; looking forward to seeing you!

Zejoop is Going to GP San Jose! – T minus 11 days

One would think that making the commitment to attend Grand Prix San Jose as a gaming lifestyle vendor would be the end of a long process of preparation, and cause to kick back and relax – let the good times roll! Well, let me tell you, such is NOT the case. Deciding as much marks the beginning of just another phase of getting ready. Not to worry though; the chance to interact with the gaming community is unquestionably AWESOME!

As for the checklist of things to do. There are several categories: Software readiness, marketing readiness, art readiness and “people” readiness. For the moment I’ll focus on software readiness.

Not to reveal too much under-the-hood, but as far along as Zejoop.com is, considering it is still Beta, there remains a lot to be done.

For example, while in development to this point, the workflow of planning an event has assumed a single, straight-ahead path. That’s all well and good, unless the organizer wants to save a draft of the event, and come back and edit it later. Things such as changing the event details, or updating the list of invitees prior to sending out the invitations, are just being added now. That takes time – but, progress is happening!

Also the code still has some diagnostic alerts and whatnot; those have to be identified and removed.

Perhaps most importantly though, and I hope we can still be friends after I make this admission, but the site itself needs to be protected by encryption and an SSL certificate. Never had to do that before – now I do! Have to learn that real quick. Fortunately securing the certificate from, BlueHost, my domain registrar, was pretty straightforward, and come tomorrow, the imprimatur of SSL protection will be a done deal (assuming that is, that the tutorials I will rely on are easy to follow). It will be done – I am success oriented!

So there you have it; a blog post with a little bit of info, some behind the scenes stuff, and a little bit of soul-searching and the humble confession of a learning-as-I-go software developer.

All of this to keep you up-to-date, and ultimately, to extend the invitation – Come visit the Zejoop booth at the event. Learn what Zejoop has to offer to help you get together with your friends, have fun, and game!

New to Zejoop, in December?

                   

Welcome one, and welcome all, especially if you are new to Zejoop. Zejoop is a tech startup currently under development, self-funded and bootstrapped by the undersigned, the self-appointed chief cook, bottle-wash, and oh, also founder, systems engineer and software developer.

Here the Zejoop logo on a hoodie! Cool, huh?

This is what the Zejoop logo looks like on a hoodie – fancy stuff, right?

If this is your first visit, perhaps you’ve met me and I’ve given you my Zejoop business card, a little explanation is in order.

Due to influences beyond my control, December has been a month of transition.

First, the Zejoop domain, and its corresponding blog lost their server space where they had been hosted by a friend (much appreciated Joshua, thanks!). The growth of his business required him to change his security approach and hence, a blog such as Zejoop’s, maintained by me, an independent agent, external to his business, was no longer acceptable. As of today though, the domain has been transferred and the blog has been successfully re-instantiated on BlueHost.com, an excellent provider, and also current host to my personal blog, www.whitewingcrow.com.

Second, and again, due a shift in the business model for Zejoop’s current PaaS provider, Cloudbees.com, I’ve had to find a new home for the application itself. Oh joy. Quite frankly I’ve had my hands full coming up to speed just executing the nominal software development and impromptu immersion into the admin/IT/infrastructure aspect of building a startup was not in the original plan. So, anyway, that happened and here I am. Current status is that I have ported a version of Zejoop, the application to new home of Amazon’s Elastic Beanstalk. Amazon is an excelent provider, but for an IT/admin newbie like myself it IaaS paradigm requires more touch labor than my former PaaS provider.  Bonus points for Amazon though, because under my circumstances I qualify for one year of “free tier” service…. got that? Free! That’s rare, but I’ll take it! Yay Amazon! Celebration notwithstanding, if you’d like to visit the current Zejoop implementation, please visit http://project724.mjlarue720.cloudbees.net/

There is a little work to go before I can claim that the new Zejoop is fully up and running after this transition, but the goal is to be able to make that claim before year’s end. That way Zejoop can leap into its exciting future starting fresh on January 1st, 2015! I’ll keep you posted. Note that, until then, the functional Zejoop will be offline until further notice.

In the mean time, Merry Christmas, and Happy New Year! If you have comments or questions, or if you just want offer encouragement and your own good wishes, please contact me at –> michael at zejoop dot com

Be well, and prepare to watch Zejoop have an exciting year of growth and opportunities starting in January!

Michael Jay LaRue

 

Zejoop – Bravely Building Brand?

In several ways this Zejoop blog is a journal – not just a place to broadcast key events and milestones in the birthing and nutruring of a fledgling startup – it is also a place to capture what is going on day-to-day, and to focus on what areas need attention or work in Zejoop’s so-called “life.”

Zejoop is Becoming a Brand

Zejoop is on its way to “Becoming a Brand!”

I’ll spare you the details of its conception, but Zejoop clearly was born the day the winner of the Santa Clarita Valley Startup Weekend was announced. As a capable aerospace engineer, but novice software developer, I’d liken the development process, since the win to a “potty training” phase. All the while though, I have been aware, and now so more than ever, that Zejoop needs develop an identify in terms of its brand.

So, developing that brand is high of the list of priorities – it is fortunate then that I found a good introductory article to help guide me on that quest. Shawn Parr has written this excellent post – 5 Smart Steps to Building your Brand the Right Way.

His lead-off challenge is this: “WOULD YOU BE PROUD TO WEAR YOUR COMPANY’S IDENTITY ON A T-SHIRT?” Clearly that is an important question. While I won’t recount the entire post (he lays out 5 key steps) here are several of the most relevant to Zejoop and where it stands as a brand today:

“clearly define what business you are in, build a rock-solid platform, (and), tell a compelling story”

As for Zejoop, the business broadly stated is “casual event planning – fun with friends.” This I think is a good start in terms of a mantra/tagline, but I think, ultimately Zejoop is up to something bigger, and I have to clarify and capture that thought rather quickly in the near-term.

Zejoop BETA is a good starting point, but it needs more trial-by-fire and refinement. As a novice developer I know that there are substantial inefficiencies in many of the implementation choices I have made. The good news is that I have learned along the way, and I already know several ways right off, to improve the platform on the next re-factor.

The last is so important – “tell a compelling story.” I have always been sensitive to this and I take it seriously, if for no other reason than that I am already an artist and a musician, and I write and have some exposure to animation craft and storyboarding. The artist/writer in me is raring to go on this part – I think this will be a fun and rewarding exercise, and will help to put a forward looking face on the brand that will become Zejoop.

As I make progress on these various fronts expect update posts –  the path I’m on is journey, and this blog is its journal.

 

Zejoop delivers Value!

The founder of both Blogger and Twitter, Ev Williams has some great insights to share about providing value on the internet, as captured in Ryan Tates’ blog post at Wired.com.

In a culture of startup enterprise where all too often ideas seem to be generated by “pick a word randomly from list A, and then list B, put them together and that’s your company,” seemingly clever (by chance) or even (silly, by design) concepts can sounds better than the more practical or even mundane sounding ventures. But does that proposal have a real value proposition – does it serve a real need, however mundane? Many times, not.

The essay I’ve referenced offers a more fundamental view; one that gives hope for the prospects for startups that target more every-days needs. The article is short a one, and I encourage you to read it for its merit, but I wanted to call attention to it for its relevance to the formulation of Zejoop as a value delivering brand. (Zejoop Wins SCV Startup Weekend!)

The most important quote is this:  “Take a human desire, preferably one that has been around for a really long time…Identify that desire and use modern technology to take out steps.” In my thinking this relates to Zejoop because, as a casual event planner, it does not scream “drop-dead-sexy” on casual observation. It does however address a human desire – to have fun with friends – and uses technology to fulfill its purpose. Although it seems mundane, it is useful and will provide value. Several distinguishing features will increase the likelihood that users will in fact be able to have fun with friends more easily and with fewer frustrations.

Zejoop solves real problems – problems that people encounter when they try to plan their activities using email. Real-time status, and auto-cancel if desired conditions are not met, are both features that deliver value.

Sounds good? Why not try it? Visit Zejoop and start planning now!

Zejoop solves real problems.

Use sunscreen and sunglasses to have fun in the Sun – use Zejoop.com to have fun with your friends!

Are Webhooks right for Zejoop?

As it stands, Zejoop notifies people by email for invitations and event updates. Of course, an important growth path is for notification by SMS text messaging. Ultimately though, “push notification” is the goal. Email is implemented, SMS text is within reach, but push notification is a bit of a mystery to me. I think that it can be done if Zejoop is packaged as a native app for Android or iOs. Right now, there are no plans to build Zejoop as a native app. How then to get this feature?

zejoop-dot-com makes me read techie books

Developing Zejoop has made me a consumer of techie books… hoo boy!

Turns out though I found this interesting post on the subject of “webhooks are magic!” I found this at www.iron.io, a company whose tagline is “IronMQ is the Message Queue for the Cloud” I have to check this out. Sounds promising; I’ll let you know what I find out.