I am constantly amazed by how much one person can achieve in a super short amount of a time. All because of the huge leaps technology makes everyday. I will give you an example.
On Tuesday night I decided that it was time to learn a little about advertising. I had my reservations about it as its an ugly field (in my opinion), but turns out that the stuff is fascinating! I looked up the top reviewed books on AMAZON (as I also believe that you can teach yourself anything from a book), bought some on our KINDLE, looked for ones that were not available on the Kindle at the USC library, and went and got the books first thing in the morning. I flipped through and read a couple, going online perodically and reading more about specific ad campaigns and by Friday evening (minus half a day off for Thanksgiving), I had some neat ideas about how to do our own campaign. And this was totally starting from scratch with no prior knowledge of advertising.
Cost < $25 (if you dont' count infrastructure).
Here are some other programs we use that multiply our efforts a thousand-fold.
We have an ADWORDS grant from google whose potential I realize more and more everyday. It took me a while to get used to it and I started with baby steps - making a few ad versions at a time, adding 5 or 6 keywords and monitoring the meager "click throughs". Then I discovered "Target Locations". You can click on ANY continent, ANY country and make it your target location. I got excited and added all european, north, latin and south american countries (limiting myself only by shipping costs). Then realized that I only spoke english and would have to wait until I could make image-only ads. That is coming soon too.
Oh well. I will just stick to Canada, US, England, Ireland, Scotland, Australia and India.
And then there is the Keyword tool! Now I don't have to rack my meager brains and guess what other people type in for science education, but just put it into the "keyword generator" and out pop 2000 relevant keywords - homeschool, abeka (????), 6th grade science, middle school science (apparently everyone doing science is in middle school), science fair ideas, free lesson plans. As easy as pie! (or is it pumpkin pie, apple pie, pie in the sky, graph, data, pizza slice, pastry, turnover, 3.142?)
How about your cool website you ask? :) Thanks for asking! I use another one-woman-enabling-show program called JOOMLA to make our website. Its a bit clunky, but miles better than Dreamweaver.
I needed to make a "Donate" button and have a whole checkout process (so that the public can rise to its feet and support us one and all!). I was intimidated by what was involved (and also had a million other things to do) so tried to outsource the work. We put an ad on Craigslist for a Joomla developer and another detailed ad on "Rent-a-coder" (sounds cool doesn't it??). Well.. I got 5 million emails from people all over the world telling me what rock stars they were. None of them bothered to read my specs. So I decided to take things into my own hands and pound away at the good old keyboard and internet. Turns out website developers may go out of business soon because there is GOOGLE CHECKOUT. Just copy and paste the code into the right spot. Any dummy can do that and I did.
And then there is YOUTUBE. I take tons of short (5-10 sec) videos from our sessions. Clean them up using WINDOWS MOVIE MAKER, add titles (if I have time) and then upload them onto youtube and then onto our website. It takes roughly an hour. Just imagine how many people it would take 10 years ago to do the same.
Lastly (and this is the reason for this inspired entry).... GOOGLE EARTH. I am going to apply for the Geo-Challenge grant and as a result of that, need to learn how to use Google Earth (nice move Google!). But seriously! It is amazing! I was fantasizing earlier how cool it would be to have a time map of all the sites we have been at and now its possible to do just that. I spent half a day in dread, hoping a tiny wizard would come and do it, but then after staring at the Spreadsheet Mapper for a while, it looked less grouchy and now I have this cool video of the sites (using another awesome tool called CAMSTUDIO!)
Check it out here. This is just the first pass (and only for our LA sites, we have some in East Palo Alto, Salinas and Newark, NJ). We are going to make it 4D and show no. of participants reached at each site etc.