My first blog was started back in 2011 with my Co Founder of Annex Products Chris Peters. The blog was a place to throw all the useful information that we could find on the fast growing entry level and open source 3D Printer industry. A year later and a few machine reviews in we found ourselves with 3D Printers Australia the number one site for all things 3D Printer related in Australia. We made a few phone calls and filled all the advertising spaces within a day, many of which still advertise today!
We then had this great audience and ended up even selling a few entry level machines, which turned into a full time gig and a spin of business Rapid 3D. Rapid 3D has now sold to almost all the Universities and many high Schools and Design firms throughout Australia including Melbourne Uni, Swinburne, RMIT, QUT Canberra and many more…
So I guess it shows just being involved in something that you find interesting and accepting opportunity when it presents itself works, and that not every business needs to be a well defined plan with a set course.
I’ve been using Facebook ads for a couple of years now and the truth is that the majority of our customers have been acquired from the social network. However using Facebook properly is almost a full-time job as it’s in a constant state of flux.
I think managing Facebook ads is like Fly Fishing your favourite river, you know what you’re doing and you’ve been there before but every time you return it’s a little bit different, there’s a new snag been pushed down stream, the rivers running higher/faster or the fish have seen all your flys and their not interested.
So imagine if every Trout you caught while fishing was let go in a small pool off to the side of the main river. After a few fishing trips you’d be able to catch a Trout on demand from the pool as you’d know exactly where they are and what made them bite the first time. You wouldn’t have to wade miles upstream and spend all your energy trying to find a single Trout in a torrent of water.
Well you can do this with Facebook ads Custom Audiences and I’m not talking about retargeting, well its sort of retargeting but different. (if you don’t know anything about FB ads go have a play then use this technique).
Firstly you’ll have to be using Google Chrome as the browser and you’ll have to open up you Facebook Ads Manager and the click on Power Editor from here you can quickly make and manage your ads. If it’s the first time you’ve used the Power Editor you’ll have to download all of your data by clicking Download to Power Editor. From here you can then click on Audiences > Custom Audiences and then upload your complete customer list. Facebook then matches their email address with the Facebook Database of users and reports back on the matches. You now have a custom Audieance that you can target with laser focused ads just like the Trout in the side pool.
The coolest thing about this style of advertising is that it’s very passive and not as intrusive as email adverting so some may choose to include their entire list not just their opt ins.
Through this techniques we’ve very successfully sold up sell products to our existing customer with the lowest Cost Per Acquisition of any marketing we’ve ever used.
So go catch a fish for the second time as it only gets easier!
I’ve been riding my Evolve Electric Skateboard for almost a month now and I have to say it’s fricking awesome! The build quality, battery life and the way it rides are all just awesome. Not being from a longboarding background I really didn’t have any idea just how great longboards in general rode in comparison to a skateboard. The Evolve board effortlessly roles over stones, sticks and pavement expansion gaps that would send you flying on a skateboard. The other thing I didn’t realise is how the Evolve board would be more similar to Snowboarding or Wake Surfing! The twin kingpin Super Carve trucks have an awesome feel and the Abec 11 Flywheels grip like crazy!
CP and I riding the Evolve Board and YikeBike to a StartUp event in Melbourne (3rd ride)
When I first started ridding the Evolve board I thought I was carving pretty hard… turns out I wasn’t. Now I’m carving 10 times harder and the thing just holds on. The flex, the carve and the grip all work so well together and feel super natural and it doesn’t take long to get super confident rising this thing. The other thing I didn’t realise is that even though it’s a long board it can still turn super tight.
I haven’t even got to the part where the board is electric and that’s interesting because although it’s cool the way the board feels and performs was what impressed me at first.
I remember playing on a whipper snipper (weed whacker) petrol powered skateboard and it was pretty much unridable when I was younger. The Evolve board is nothing like it as it’s super easy to ride, it has plenty of power, but it comes on super smooth and the ABS breaks work well. The break come on just enough to slow you down to a comfortable bail speed without the risk of sending you over the front of the board.
The first weekend I had the Evolve I rode around Melbourne for about to 2 hours and my legs were stuffed but the battery was still going strong and I couldn’t believe it. As seen in the video below I have since been riding about 9K’s to work charging there and then riding home without an issue. Buy 2 charges!
Commuting to work on the Evolve Board 90 (4th ride)
Things I like about the Evolve Board
- Great Design
- Awesome Feel – you end up never riding in a straight line.
- Great Speed – you really can get places quick.
- Awesome support!
- Battery life
- Easy to ride
- Surprisingly good uphills
- Weight – only 8. something KGs
Things I’d like to see improve
- Bit smaller controller
- Ability to adjust the breaks. After riding for a while you could crank up the breaks a little.
- Can’t think of anything else?
My Evolve Electric Skateboard on charge
I think the pricing of the Evolve board at $1000-1099AUD is about right, but a few people have said to me that they think it’s expensive. To these people I say ”you’d buy a snowboard for $1000 and ride it twice a year while paying $120 a day for a lift pass and not think twice ?” The Evolve board is so much more than just a skateboard as it’s a reliable valid mode of transport, it’s eco friendly, get’s you home from the pub, it’s easy to jump on and off public transport with and super fin to ride. I’d say in the month I’ve had my Evolve board I would have spent more time riding it than snowboarding/wake surfing in the last 2-3 years.
Overall the products is awesome, the support is great, the shipping was quick and I’d definitely recommend the Evolve board for anyone looking for an electric skateboard or alternative form of transportation.
Our First Android Product!
So after many customer requests and a few months of development we (Annex Products) have come up with our first non iPhone product. We have decided to make our first product for the Android market in our Quad Lock range and what better place to start than with Samsung’s flagship smartphone the Galaxy S4.
Chris started on the design back in May when we first got our hands on a Galaxy S4 and started by printing a few prototypes on our Cube 3D Printer as seen in orange on the left.
After a few iteration and a few commercial prints later we were happy with the overall design and have since moved into tooling first for the case and now the Poncho water resistant cover.
Lately we have been using Shapeways for 3D Printing of a number of prototypes our prototypes including these new flexible SLA 3D prints. From these prints above we were able to test the Samsung Galaxy S4 case on our bikes and we are very happy with the products performance. See pics below of the SLA 3D Printed prototype Galaxy S4 case installed on my bike for testing.
We now have the case very close to full production and soon thousands of Android users the world over will be using the Quad Lock to attach their Galaxy S4 case to their bike and car.
Comparison between the SLA prototype and pre production Quad Lock Galaxy S4 case.
After launching the Opena in 2011 it still amazes me the amount of media attention this product has captured. This Fathers Day after a joint PR venture with Apple Canada the Opena appeared on a number of notable TV and media publications such as The Rush and Global News Tech Talk. This has made me realise that although it’s not new to me it’s still new to others and still news worthy!
DISCLAIMER - I’m part of the team from Annex Products that made this product
We spent a couple of days a week back putting together a new video for our latest product offering the Quad Lock Bike Mount Kit for iPhone5. I have been using the pre production product for over a month and I think this kit is one of the best and most complete products we have made to date. I love that it’s the complete package and absolutely everything you need to mount your iPhone 5 to you bike is covered in this kit.
Quad lock iPhone5 Bike Mount Kit -
- Poncho weather resistant cover. Simply slip the clear cover over your mounted iPhone and you phone will be protected from rain, sweat, mud and dust while still offering access to all the buttons and touch screen while riding.
- Bike Mount Pro which can be attached to you bike using the supplied UV stable rubber O-rings (large and small provided) or more secure zip ties.
- iPhone5 case with composite construction of tough TPU and strong Polycarbonate. This case provides great protection both on and off the bike. I think users will love this case as a slim protective everyday case
Another good site with plenty of iPhone bike mount information is www.iphonebikemount.net
Went on a ride with the Just Ride It team on Wednesday night, which ended up being half bike ride and half pub crawl. Was a lot of fun and I’m sure there will be a few more fixie and single speed only rides to come in the new year.
While riding from the Just Ride It store in Fitzroy to St kilda we all started shooting footage on our iPhones and Dylan Perry was good enough to do a quick cut for us all to enjoy. Some of the footage was shot by hand and some was shot GoPro style using our iPhone Bike mount the Quad Lock. I have started a new website For more info on iPhone Bike mounts.
I get asked a lot what are the best iPhone photo Apps I use to edit my Instagram shots, so I thought I’d put together a list of the top 10 best iPhone photo Apps that that I use all the time. I find most people that ask me this question expect a simple single App answer, but thats just not the case. I often use two, three or even four different Apps depending on the shot and effects I want to achieve. As soon as I start describing this process I see most people eyes glaze over and they start thinking this is going to be way too hard and too complicate, but this couldn’t be further from the truth.
The fact of the matter is that this isn’t the case at all as most Apps are good at doing just a couple of things; either cropping for Instagram, adjusting colours or stitching together a series of pics to make a panorama just to name a few. So once you understand what each App does and how to use, it it’s actually quiet quick and easy to obtain the desired photo effect for your next Instagram master piece.
My Top 10 iPhone Photo Apps
Listed below are my top 10 Photo apps that I use to edit my pictures before posting to Instagram, in no particular order. As mentioned I often use a number of Apps in conjunction.
Camera+ is a great all round iPhone photo App and is one of the best selling of all time. Camera+ is a great place to start as a beginner in mobile photography as it does a good job of everything. It’s a good Camera replacement app (although I never use it myself ) and its really fast and easy to edit your pictures with some awesome effects. To get started a few nice combination effects that will impress all your friends are set Scenes to Clarity and FX Effect to Vibrant, then adjust the vibrancy using the slider to get your desired effect.
The picture below was edited with Camera+ using Clarity and So Emo combination.
So since we launched our first App Instatag – Hashtags for Instagram in September I have worked out that iTunes Connect (Apples backend for App Store publishers) sucks. Coming from an e-commerce background I’m used to having great data on which to track my online stores from unique visitors and conversion rate to demographics and traffic sources. From this data we base all our decisions.
As soon as we pushed the app live I felt like I was in the dark. I had no idea what was happening, the only data I had was 2 day old download information from iTunes Connect and watching my local (Australian) App Store position.
Since then I have found a few resources that have been a great great help for me to track my Apps current App Store position. I have listed a few below.
So not being one to sleep out or stand in lines I ordered our iPhone5s online as soon as they were available on apple.com.au. We received all three at about 10am Friday 21st September and so far they are pretty awesome!