The DJI Mavic 2 Professional Drone: Aerial Video is more accessible than ever before.

Have you ever been to an event where someone was flying a drone around? The first indication is usually a buzzing sound, like a swarm of bees.

It seems like this is happening more frequently, and a big reason for that is drone technology has come a long way. And it doesn’t hurt that the price is going down while the features get better.

I’ve been a drone enthusiast for a few years now.

DJI Phantom 3 Professional DroneI’ve always loved flying little model planes, helicopters and drones. You know, those cheap ones that might last a few flights on Christmas morning… They sure were a lot of fun while they worked.

In 2016, I decided to take a big step and buy a DJI Phantom 3 Professional drone.

The DJI Phantom 3 Professional

The Phantom 3 was my first REAL drone that used GPS positioning to stay in place. It also had a video camera on a gimbal that could record video in 4K resolution and take 12MP still photos. I had so much fun with this drone! I took it to the lake and shot video of jet skis while worrying about the birds swarming it. And I took flyover videos of some local businesses (and donated the video because flying a drone for profit is a lot more complicated to be in compliance with the FAA.)

But the biggest problem with the Phantom 3 Pro was how big it was. And how big a case it took to store the drone, the batteries, the remote and everything else I needed to fly it. It was about the size of a carry-on suitcase. And because of that, I didn’t take it with me to fly as much as I would have liked.

The DJI Mavic 2 Professional

DJI Mavic 2 ProfessionalAs with all technology related gizmos, a lot can change in 2 years. DJI, arguably the most popular manufacturer of drones, recently released the Mavic 2 Professional drone. It’s a drastic departure from the Phantom 3… and they got here through many iterations of drone improvements including the original Mavic, Spark and Air.

The first thing I noticed (and loved) about the Mavic 2 Pro is how small it is. I can put the drone, remote control, 3 batteries, a mutli-battery charger and all the cables in the same footprint as the Phantom 3 drone by itself. In other words, everything packed up looks like a large camera bag instead of a carry-on suitcase. And there are a TON of new features, but I won’t bore you by listing them here. You can see the features of the Mavic 2 Pro on their website.

A sample video using the Point of Interest feature.

Here’s an example of a Point of Interest video I took with the Mavic 2 Pro this past weekend. The Point of Interest feature lets you fly the drone up and then highlight a building or structure as a point of interest. With the click of a button, the drone will fly a 360 degree pattern around the point of interest you specified while shooting video.

(Trista and I went with two other couples to the Cedar Crest Lodge in Pleasanton, Kansas for the Labor Day weekend. If you’re looking for a great bed and breakfast about an hour away from Kansas City, you should check them out. It was a great place to relax and recharge.)

There are still plenty of “don’t be stupid” rules to follow.

DJI Mavic 2 ProfessionalThere are still plenty of rules to follow, and they depend on whether you’re flying as a hobby or commercially. At a minimum, you’ve got to register your drone with the FAA. And you have to follow some specific rules including line-of-sight, no higher than 400 feet, and not being near an airport to name a few.

But once you understand the basics, it’s a lot of fun to fly a drone and be able to take photos and videos from 400 feet up. I was flying at Shawnee Mission Park recently and the footage was spectacular. It gave me a new perspective and sense of appreciation for Shawnee Mission Park. And it took me 5 minutes from parking my car to being in the air. The DJI Mavic 2 Professional drone is easy to operate and has a ton of powerful features.

If you’re a drone enthusiast, or if you have any questions about drones, let me know! As always, thanks for reading.

7 Reasons You Need to Attend the Aspire Business Book Review

Post written by Mic Johnson, talking about why you should attend the Aspire Business Book Reviews

For the past several years, business coach Shawn Kinkade, owner of Aspire Business Development, has been providing once-a-month Business Book Reviews in Overland Park. I’ve attended 30-40 of them. It’s always time well spent.

If you’ve never been, or haven’t been in awhile, do yourself a favor and get it on your calendar. Why? Here are just a few reasons…

7 Reasons You Need to Attend the Aspire Business Book Review

  1. YOU DON’T HAVE TO READ THE BOOK!
    Shawn’s presentation provides you with the best concepts from each book. All you have to do is pay attention and then apply those concepts to your business and life.
  2. It’s Business Book Reviewonly an hour and a half of your time once a month.
    That’s such a minimal time investment to learn something new.
  3. There are always great people in the room.
    It’s a great way to network and meet people. In fact, several people in my peer groups are people I first met at the Business Book Reviews.
  4. You’re always going to walk out of the room having learned something.
    How many other events do you attend each month that provide real, tangible ways to improve your business and personal life?
  5. Kolaches and Coffee
    Shawn provides kolaches from the Kolache Factory and coffee for you to enjoy while you learn!
  6. Conversations that make you think.
    The questions people ask, and the ensuing discussions, are thought-provoking.
  7. You’re investing in yourself.
    The concepts in the book will help you become more successful in business and in life.

If you’ve made it this far (and it’s before August 23rd), the good news is that there’s a Business Book Review on Thursday, August 23rd, at 8 a.m. The book is The Five Dysfunctions of a Team. Sign up now!

If you can’t make this one, fill out the Contact Form and they’ll notify you each month about future Book Reviews. 

Throwing Axes at Blade and Timber is a Blast!

By Jason Terry

I mentioned in my post two weeks ago that Hats Club was going to be at Blade and Timber. I had so much fun that I wanted to share some photos and videos so that you can get a feel for Blade and Timber. The verdict? It’s a blast.

Hats Club at Blade and Timber

As you can see in the panoramic image, there are quite a few lanes for throwing axes. Each lane has a long table next to it so that people not currently throwing can sit, relax, and watch as you attempt to stick an axe in the wall. I got there a bit early and watched the dynamics of a couple of groups that were having a team building outing at Blade and Timber. They looked like they were having a lot of fun together. At the end, they got a big team picture in front of a wooden wall with the Blade and Timber logo on it… see the pic below.

Hats Club at Blade and Timber Hats Club at Blade and Timber

Alcohol?

One of the questions everyone asks is how do they handle drinking alcohol and throwing axes at the same time? When you walk in, the first thing you do is sign a waiver of liability. Once that’s done, they give you a green wristband that has three little punch areas. For each drink you order, they punch one of the symbols. You can have three drinks in a 90-minute session… but if you want to get a fourth, they put a red wristband on you to signify you can no longer throw axes. It’s an easy system that makes sense.

Hats Club

About an hour later, the Hats Club members started to show up. The thing that made me smile is how quickly everyone wanted to give axe throwing a try. Some people have never held an axe before, let alone throwing an axe. The axes weigh three pounds and look sharp enough to do some damage. That didn’t stop people from stepping up to learn and throw.

Hats Club at Blade and Timber Hats Club at Blade and Timber

Blade and Timber Coaches

The axe throwing coaches are really helpful. My coach was Thomas, and he was very helpful. I was sticking the axe in the target pretty quickly based on his suggestions. The coaches are easy to spot in their orange Blade & Timber Coach shirts, and they’re always willing to help if you are struggling to make an axe stick.

I thought the second picture above was funny because I caught a moment on camera that looked like one of the coaches was about to nail another coach with an axe. That said, it’s a safe environment. I saw a birthday party of five young boys that were throwing kid sized axes that weigh two pounds.

If you haven’t been to Blade and Timber yet, I encourage you to try it out soon. Put a date on the calendar to make sure it happens. It will be worth it!

Check out the video below of me getting a bullseye. You can throw one-handed or two-handed. I thought one-handed was harder, so I was trying to get consistent with a one-handed throw. It was really satisfying when the axe stuck right where I wanted it to land!

Sticker Mule – Custom Poly Bags and Packing Tape!

By Jason Terry, talking about creating custom stickers and packing tape with a company called Sticker Mule.

Back in April, I wrote a blog post called Branding is important. Have you ordered your tchotchkes lately? I’ve always been an advocate of putting your logo on stuff for brand awareness, but for some reason it’s been on my mind even more this year.

Sticker Mule

My friend Jeff Potts recently told me about a company called Sticker Mule. They can turn your logo or design into stickers, magnets, labels or packaging in just a few days. They also offer free online proofs and free shipping. I was surprised how easy it was to upload the Blue Gurus logo and get a batch of nice stickers back in a few days. It was fun to put a bunch of them on boxes of donuts that we were taking to a new blogging client.

Sticker Mule was having a sale on their custom poly bag mailers, so I asked Jeff to create a custom design for Blue Gurus and ordered a few. They turned out great!

Sticker Mule: Blue Gurus Poly Bags

And then I noticed on the Sticker Mule website that they can also create custom packing tape. I’m done sending client packages in re-used Amazon boxes with the Amazon packing tape all over them. From now on, it will be Blue Gurus packing tape! It’s a simple thing, but it will make an impact.

There’s a reason Amazon has invested millions of dollars in custom packing tape… for branding. If you think about other retailers, their packages usually come in a brown box with no special branding. I am positive that most of our clients will notice the custom packing tape when they get packages from us.

Sticker Mule: Blue Gurus Packing Tape

So if you’re in the market for custom, die-cut stickers or poly bags and packing tape, take a look at Sticker Mule. A great place to start would be to join their mailing list, because they send out promotional offers once or twice a month. It would be a great way to get a deal and try them out. I’ve been really happy with the three orders I’ve placed in the past couple of months.

What is the Hats Club? And Why Should You Care?

By Jason Terry, talking about an entrepreneurial group of people that meet once a month to learn something, meet fellow business owners and decision makers and hear their stories. The Hats Club. It’s not your typical networking group.

A couple of years ago, I was asked to join the board of The Hats Club. It’s a local, business-focused group of entrepreneurial minded people that meet once a month.

Before I talk more about the Hats Club, I want to make sure and mention that the next event is going to be held at the Leawood Blade & Timber. So if you want to throw axes while drinking adult beverages, be sure to come and be prepared to sign a waiver. Seriously though, it would be a great way to see what all the hype is about if you haven’t been to Blade & Timber before.

Register here for the Hats Club event on July 11th at the Leawood Blade & Timber

What is The Hats Club… really?

The Hats Club LogoI will start by telling you it’s not just another networking group. Many of the members own their own businesses. They’ve been through the ups and downs of starting a business, employing people, selling to make sure the doors stay open, HR issues and best practices and more. There are also quite a few key decision makers that work for great companies all over KC.

The goal for the monthly Hats Club meeting is to provide a way for business owners and decision makers to gather to learn something and get to know each other.

Focus on Local Businesses

Often, Hats Club meetings are held at local businesses. It’s a great way to showcase a local business and hear directly from the owner about the excitement and challenges of starting and running a business. That’s exactly what will be happening at Blade & Timber on July 11th.

The August Hats Club meeting will be at Brew Lab in downtown Overland Park. We’re working on getting the head brewer to present to the group (it’s been promised but not confirmed yet!) about their journey so far. That event will be on August 8th at 4pm if you want to block your calendar.

You can always see details and register for the upcoming Hats Club event by visiting thehatsclub.com.

Companies and presenters that we’ve enjoyed in the past include:

  • A Cyber Crime presentation by Truss (who hosted), Chubb and The Hunter Group
  • Core Bank
  • The Grid co-working space
  • Tim Cowden of KCADC sharing detailed plans of the upcoming KCI Airport Project
  • ELUX Smart Homes startup presented lots of info about their project
  • Economist Chris Keuhl presented at the Martin City Event Space
  • Healthcare update with Connie Jabara
  • DroneKC in downtown KC
  • Stonegate Motor Plaza

Socials

We also have social meetings about once a quarter as well as a members only holiday event in December on the Plaza. Some of the locations we’ve gone to for socials in the past include Lifted Spirits, Louie’s Wine Dive, KC Wineworks, Ruins Pub, Coach’s and Top Golf. Often, we get to hear from the owners of these businesses as well.

So if you’re looking for a good way to connect with entrepreneurial people in Kansas City, be sure to check out the Hats Club. Let me know if you would like to come as my guest sometime! If it’s the kind of group you would like to be a part of, I can walk you through the membership application process as well.

I’ve enjoyed being part of the Hats Club over the past couple of years. And putting together the list of all the places we’ve been to, and people we’ve learned from, was a great reminder of the value I’ve gotten from being part of the group. Let me know if you have any questions!

When was the last time you cleaned out your laptop bag or briefcase?

By Jason Terry, talking about spring cleaning your laptop bag or briefcase. Especially if it’s been years.

I was at a client’s office recently and I needed an HDMI cable to connect my laptop to their wall-mounted big screen TV. I’ve kept an HDMI cable in my bag for years, but it was only 6 feet long. And bulky. And it wouldn’t reach the TV from the conference table we were at.

Blue Gurus: Spring Cleaning Laptop BagI went to my trusted source for just about everything… Amazon.com. And I found a 15 foot slim HDMI cable that was about $10 bucks. Kansas City is one of those lucky cities that can get same day or next day delivery from Amazon.com for free. And the next day, my shiny new cable showed up.

When I started putting the new HDMI cable in my laptop bag, I realized there were a couple of other cables that were past due to be replaced or upgraded. And that’s when I knew it was time to really take stock of what was in my bag.

Time to purge the bag.

I took every single thing out and arranged the items on a table. There were some really old cables that needed to be upgraded. The in-ear headphones had been in my bag for more than 5 years… so time for some new Sony Extra Bass headphones. USB-C is a new cable used with newer devices… and I had none in my bag. Oh, and I remember loaning a client a CAT-6 cable and hadn’t replaced it. And then wondered why the heck I’ve been carrying around a mini LEGO Star Wars tie fighter set in my bag… for years.

I ended up getting rid of almost two-thirds of what was in my laptop bag. Some items were given away… and some thrown away. And I made a list of things that would be useful to have in my newly reorganized bag.

The Shopping List

So for a little over $100, I have all the cables I need when I’m on the go. And better sound. And a little breeze.

When was the last time you went through your laptop bag or briefcase? If it’s been a while, maybe this story will inspire you to go through the same process… and if you do, please tell me about it! I hope my shopping list has given you some good ideas of things to keep in your bag or briefcase.

Home Rental Services Rewards Their Team for Thanking Clients and Vendors in Unique Ways

By Jason Terry, talking about rewarding your team for thanking clients and vendors in unique ways.

I love it when companies do things differently. And I have the unique opportunity to see what a number of companies are doing internally when I am on site every month. Something happened recently with one of my clients, Home Rental Services, that I just had to share.

HRS Quarterly Award for Thanking Clients

From left to right: Paul, Oretta and Joshua

They’ve recently implemented a quarterly award for the employee that thanks or recognizes a customer in the most unique way. I believe that thanking a customer in a meaningful way is a good step towards having a customer for life. And the ideas that the HRS staff came up with were excellent, funny and creative.

Here were the team members in the running this quarter…

Paul Branton

Paul is the Director of Investor Services for HRS. He did a video interview with Jake Stallman who works for Keller Williams. Jake referred an investor client that has since done two acquisitions and HRS manages the properties.

Jake was willing to spend the time it took to capture a video interview about the value Paul brings to the table. We used the video in a blog post. (Click here to see that story and the video.) The goal was to share a great partnership while showcasing what Paul is doing for investor clients of HRS.

Paul said, “Jake blew our socks off with his trusted referral and the ongoing relationship.” So Paul bought a really nice sock gift basket from Socks 101, a company based in Lee’s Summit. Jake loved the socks and the note about “blowing our socks off!”

Oretta Croushore

Oretta is the assistant property manager for HRS. HRS manages hundreds of homes and does a lot of work with Complete Property Services. Oretta wanted to do something special to recognize Complete Property Services, and came up with mini-Bundt cakes. Why? To go along with the message, “thanks for always working your bundts off for us!” They ordered a bunch of Bundtinis from Nothing Bundt Cakes to send to Complete Property Services.

Joshua Volland

Joshua is the lead property manager for HRS. They had a renter that was patient during an air conditioning maintenance issue. He sent the renter a Carnivore Club Rub and Grilling Salt Set. The message read, “Hopefully your maintenance items haven’t rubbed you the wrong way. Thanks for your patience as we get everything resolved.” Hilarious. And I am sure it went a long way in terms of the relationship the renter has with HRS.

And the winner is…

Oretta was voted the winner of the most creative/funny/thoughtful thank you. But for HRS, everyone wins in this story. The entire process improved team communication and relationship. And it strengthened a guiding principal to thank clients in a meaningful way. I know this best practice will come back around for HRS in the form of repeat business.

This blog post is one of the ways I can thank HRS for being a great customer of Blue Gurus. I love being part of their team, not just a vendor for blogging and website work!

Tech Tip: Want to know where your phone or keys are at? Use Tile trackers.

By Jason Terry, talking about Tile Trackers for keeping track of your stuff!

Blue Gurus: Tile TrackersIt’s been a while since I did a tech tip. The first thing that came to mind that’s helped me out recently are Tile trackers. I initially heard about Tile from my friend Andrew Kneisler, and then from my wife Trista. It had come up enough that I decided to buy one to see what the fuss was all about.

If you haven’t heard of Tile before, they are small devices that you can attach to your keys or anything else that you want to keep track of. A mobile app on your phone allows you to connect to these trackers through a Bluetooth connection.

With the tap of a button on the mobile app, you can make your Tile ring. This lets you find whatever it’s attached to. The only requirement is that your phone needs to be within Bluetooth range of your Tile for this to work. Depending on the version of Tile you buy, the range is somewhere between 30 and 200 feet. (In my experience, the range is good with the basic tracker.)

The Bluetooth connection works both ways. You can also click the Tile to make your phone ring. What’s great about that is you can find your phone or your keys as long as you haven’t misplaced BOTH of them.

Phone & Keys

I’m pretty disciplined when it comes to keeping track of my phone and keys. But every so often, I can’t find my phone. And sometimes I have no idea where I left my keys. It usually happens when I am distracted doing other things when I get home.

Now that I have a Tile on my keys, and the Tile app on my phone, I never have a problem finding either! It’s happened enough that I appreciate the simple functionality the Tile gives me.

Luggage

Recently, Trista and I went on vacation. She’d read that people use Tile trackers in their luggage. So we decided to try it out. It worked really well! We knew when our luggage had made it to the plane we were on. This worked for each leg of the flights. We also knew when our luggage was coming out of the baggage carousel. Nifty. From the picture below, can you guess where we went?

Blue Gurus in Rome

Tile trackers cost around $35 each or $25 when you buy a multi-pack. The battery is not user replaceable, so once it stops working, you have to buy a replacement. (The app lets you know when it’s time to replace your Tile.) But Tile offers discounted pricing for replacements and the battery life is guaranteed for a year. For me, it’s worth it.

Do you use Tile? Let me know if you try one out!

LogoMyWay.com – Affordable Logos with a Twist

Post Author: Jason Terry

LogoMyWay.com LogoOver the years, I’ve mentioned LogoMyWay.com to more people than I can count. Usually, it’s when they’re starting a new business or need to refresh a logo they’ve been using for decades. The process of creating a logo can be expensive and time consuming, but it really doesn’t have to be that hard.

The traditional process of creating a logo involves interviewing you and your team members, lots of meetings, a handful of logo “treatments” and a sizeable budget. (The budget often starts at $2,500 and can go beyond $50,000 for a formal branding project.) There are situations where this makes sense… but for many companies, they simply want a clean logo that is easy to put on coffee mugs and embroider on polo shirts and bags.

The Contest – 20,000 Graphics Designers

The way it works is you set up a contest that is operated by LogoMyWay.com. You put up prize money (minimum prize is $200, maximum prize is $1,000) and specify the length of the contest. Usually, a five to seven day contest works well. You provide information about the logo you want created… target audience, favorite colors, design ideas, what you want the logo to convey (fun vs. professional?) and more. And when your contest goes live, more than 20,000 graphics designers from all over the world will have the opportunity to submit a logo to compete in your contest.

Over the course of your contest, designers start submitting their entries. Many of the contests we’ve helped run are in the $300-$500 range. That kind of prize money usually results in 40 to 60 designs to consider. Some of the submissions are fantastic, and some of them are a bit awful. But there are usually three to five that you love and selecting a winner can be tough!

Once you select a winner, the designer is notified. They upload all of the graphics files to LogoMyWay.com and you are notified when they are ready to be downloaded. And the designer gets the prize money. It’s a great process that has worked for lots of companies here in Kansas City.

I really like the results our friends and clients have been able to achieve by doing a logo contest with LogoMyWay.com. If you’re thinking about creating a logo for your company, why not try a contest for $300 and see what you get? It’s better than spending ten times as much and you’ll be able to see 40-60 options a week after you start your contest!

If you’ve run a LogoMyWay contest, post a link in the comments to your website sporting your logo!

Some Examples

An example of a recent LogoMyWay contest is the new logo that Straub Construction is using. Check out the images below for a before and after comparison. The goal was to refresh the logo for an updated look and feel while staying true to the original logo that is well known and respected in Kansas City.

Straub Construction New Straub Construction Logo

I helped Darin Duffin and Cari Duffin at Midwest Aquatics create a new logo for their swim and scuba store.

Midwest Aquatics Logo

My wife Trista and I did a contest for her cruise and all inclusive travel business called Curious Compass.

Curious Compass Logo

And most recently, I helped my friends Kandy Meehan and Carrie Meehan at Home Rental Services do a contest for a company that helps people in the United States buy competition horses from Ireland.

Hoey Horses Ireland

Blogging Success Stories and You Gotta Try CamelCamelCamel.com!

Hello friends! It’s Jason with this week’s blog post.

Real World Stories of Blogging Making Things Happen

One of our goals for our blog this year is to tell more real world stories about the work we do. Over the past couple of weeks, I’ve heard some great stories from our clients about things that have happened because we are blogging together.

DurvetWe’ve been blogging with Durvet for a couple of months now and they are already seeing great results. One of Durvet’s challenges over the years has been that a lot of people in Kansas City don’t know who they are or what they do. (They supply animal healthcare products on a massive scale out of their warehouse in Blue Springs.) Mark Niblo wrote one of the articles in their first month of blogging and somebody from the Kansas City Star saw it on LinkedIn. They contacted Mark to ask more about Durvet and they’ve decided to write a piece about Durvet for the Star.

Straub ConstructionWe’ve been blogging with Straub Construction for over a year. In last month’s blogging session, Ernie Straub mentioned that someone from the Kansas City Business Journal had recently given him a bunch of kudos for their blogging and social media efforts. Their impression was that Straub has really ramped up their presence on social media over the past few months and they’ve been seeing their stories on LinkedIn.

These are just two examples. Who knows what an article in the Star or visibility with the Business Journal might do for Durvet or Straub Construction. What I do know is that it makes conversations happens. It raises awareness. And it happens on a consistent basis.

CamelCamelCamel.com

CamelCamelCamel.comDo you love buying stuff from Amazon as much as I do? If you shop there often and haven’t heard of CamelCamelCamel.com, you’ve gotta check it out. Did you know that Amazon changes their price on items multiple times a day based on purchase volume, number of views, etc.? CamelCamelCamel.com can show you the price history for any item. You can see the highest price it ever sold for, the lowest price, and get a feel for what a good deal would be for an item. It’s amazing!

Our free Amazon.com price tracker monitors millions of products and alerts you when prices drop. Click To Tweet

I use the site in a couple of ways:

  • The easiest way is to click on the Popular Products tab. This will show you pages of products that are being bought the most by other shoppers. It also tells you if it’s a good deal or best price based on past pricing data. It’s a great way to browse current deals on Amazon.
  • The other way I use the site is to monitor the price of an item over time. For example, if I want to buy a 4K television, I find it on Amazon, copy the URL and paste it into CamelCamelCamel.com. I can then set up an alert to happen if the product drops below a price threshold (basically if it drops to a price I would be willing to pay for it.)

Try it out… you will love it.

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