Category: Blog

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Heat Maps & Visitor Trails – Make Your Website A Blazing Force!

Future Bright Heat Map Image

Night Vision For Websites – A Case Study!

A Northern California client came to us for help with increasing leads for their environmental clean-up business.  They have a pretty high volume of traffic for a small local business.  They receive 30,000+ visitors per month.  By looking at Google Analytics, we were able to see that most of the visitors are going to five blog articles discussing Carbon Monoxide and a few other home environmental topics.  InfusionSoft is operating in the background, collecting leads, but leads were only trickling in, perhaps just a few per week.  We could also see that only 1/6 of users who started the Request A Quote form were completing it.  Two thirds of their site traffic comes from the East coast (3000 miles away), and Southern California, so does not represent potential clients.  The site has an average on page time of 6 minutes with a bounce rate of 90%.  How odd!

What would you do?  This is the fun part of our work:  playing detective.

Our first objective was to follow the rule that it is cheaper to get business from existing clients than to go out and find new ones.  Rather than trying to bring in new traffic, we wanted to try to convert more of their existing traffic, and monetize the traffic from users who are geographically not potential clients.  The client would be overbooked if they had 40 projects in a month.  It certainly should be possible to convert 40 users out of 30,000 into customers!

The Never Ending Form

The first thing we did was ask the client about the request a quote form.  Why were people dropping off?  How long is the form, we asked?  Six pages long was the reply.  When they created the quote form, they were concerned that they would be flooded with requests, so they made the Request A Quote form intentionally long, and required a response for every single question so that only someone who really wanted a call would go through the trouble of filling it out.  They certainly were successful in deterring responses!  Isn’t that thought process just adorable?  We have seen this many times.  “Make the user really try hard to reach us because then we know that for sure they want our help so that we don’t waste our time with people who aren’t going to turn into customers”.

We recommended using a short form first, and if calls did in fact start flooding in, THEN adjust.  We replaced the six page form with a five question form.  Within a week the number of form completions doubled.   We are testing this short form and then will test an even shorter form.

By utilizing Google Analytics and heat map technology we were able to determine that there was too much of a barrier to collect qualified leads, and shortened the form, plus removed the annoying pop-up.  The high volume of traffic is mostly comprised of actual human users who find the content extremely relevant and compelling.  They are not potential clients for the services offered due to their geographic location, but it should be possible to provide additional value to them by making recommendation for trusted products this generate a bit of additional income through affiliate and referral agreements.

Bounce Rate And On-Page Time

The next piece of the puzzle is this high number of visits to six of their blog articles.  The articles receive several hundred visitors per day.  An SEO analyst had told them that the traffic was all bots.  We disagreed, based on what we saw in the data and “sensed”.  But how do we know for sure?  How can we solve this mysterious data showing long on-page times yet a high bounce rate?  It appeared from our initial examination that these are real users who land at these blog entries, read the ENTIRE thing, and then leave.  We didn’t think they were bots.  But to try to engage with these anonymous users, and to know for certain that they are real, we had to learn more than we could get from Google Analytics.

This is where the heat maps and user trails come in.  What we learned was incredibly valuable.   When we studied reports made on the  carbon monoxide blog article, a stunning 75% of users scrolled all the way to the bottom of the page reading carefully and slowly.  By recording over 100 user’s movements, we were able to see that the opt-in pop-up was a huge annoyance, yet it didn’t send them running, they simply closed it and continued reading all the way to the end.  They often scrolled up to read a section again.  Folks!  We have real users here!  Plus, they find the information in the article so compelling that they read the entire thing!

Summary

By utilizing Google Analytics and heat maps, we were able to determine that there was too much of a barrier for users to request a quote.  We removed the pop-up and reduced the Request A Quote form to just a few questions.  The high volume of traffic was found to be actual humans, who find the information in the article very compelling and relevant.  They are not potential customers due mainly to their geographic location, but it should be possible to engage them in other was such as through affiliate agreements or referrals to businesses that are located in their area.

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Elsie Green Shelf

North Bay Getaway – Discover “The Barlow” In Sebastopol, CA

My view of Sebastopol being a retreat for aging hippie artists (note:  my mom is in that category) was turned on its head this week.  I am not certain at which point in recent history “artists” began to share the limelight with “artisans”, but I am certain that it must have been some time around the slow food movement, which led to the farm-to-table movement, which led to mason jar water glasses in Michelen star restaurants, and the rest is history.

The continuous gutting of small shops and downtowns by big box stores, and the lingering recession of 2008 resulted in thousands of vacant retail shops of all sizes in neighborhoods with shuttered and abandoned warehouses around the country.  This created affordable spaces for artists, craftspersons, and chefs to set up shop not only in cities, but in the outer reaches.

The Barlow
Elsie Green Boards

Photographs By Wendy Louise Nog

The artist retreat of Sebastopol was faced with a similar challenge of lost industry, and a twelve acre apple processing business was mainly unused and in disrepair.  Recognizing that this space provided an opportunity to develop a craftspersons and boutique retail area, it was purchased by local Barnie Aldridge, who planned and executed a revival and renovation of the buildings and area, and named it “The Barlow” after the Barlow Family of apple growers that had once used this space.

It is fascinating to observe that the further we advance technologically, the further back we reach to revisit the past, to a time before plastic when all that was made would over time return to the earth to be recycled by its systems.  There is something fundamentally relaxing to hold an object that is of completely natural materials.  I believe that even though we may not be aware of it, our brains are analyzing the objects we interact with far beyond identifying the color, but also where it fits into this complex system that it must interpret correctly in order for us to survive.  Our brains can recognize that a plastic container we toss into the trash has a life cycle that is not natural, and we experience this awareness hundreds of times each day.  This creates a sense of unease, and we may not even be aware of its source.  When we bring natural fabrics and materials into everyday use, there is a palpable change that takes place in our sense of well being.  This is why artisan products made with natural materials have become so sought after.

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Crossroads Cafe - Future Bright Website Design

1. Schedule A Consultation

2. Tell Us Your Story

3. Follow Our Recommendations

Sebastopol sits just West of Santa Rosa, CA an hour’s drive from San Francisco, and is the last large town when you head West, leaving way to farmland and then the rugged hills and coast of Mendocino.  The Wine Industry has spilled over 101 and headed towards Sebastopol, and you can now see vineyards where there once cows and old fences.  The Barlow is a modern shed experience on twelve acres of land right in downtown Sebastopol.  There are forty retail and industrial use spots in The Barlow, and as you wander along the streets you will observe wine tasting, the weaving of gorgeous fabrics, brewing of beer, the making of ice cream, and so much more.

As always, I don’t want to spoil the surprise, so will not tell you everything about the wine tasting, the breweries, the galleries, but I will share with you three of the spots that we visited.  The first is a clothing and gift boutique called Scout.  As a logo buff, the Scout logo is a head turner for me, and I had to go see what was inside.  The Scout shop is a curated collection of simply designed, artisan objects to use and wear.  The shop features artisans from around the country and overseas, and you will certainly find something to bring home.

Scour West County Logo On Wall
Scout Store
Scout Infant Sweater

Taylor Lane Organic Coffee, Sebastopol, CA

A second spot we got to know very well was Taylor Lane Organic Coffee, because we spent the entire work day hunkered down on their open upper level, and it was fascinating to observe the clientele passing through.  There was a wide range of the before mentioned aging hippie artists, and also hipsters, farmers, young artists, and people who seemed to be in the wine and beer industry, which requires a whole swath of different types of people.  Creatives have been retreating further north from the high prices of San Francisco and Southern Marin.  The wine country has spread west over 101,  and there are expansive preserves of farmland to the south and west where cheeses of all types are emerging from creameries.  The now legal cannabis industry is filtering south from Humboldt County, and Sebastopol is the epicenter of all of these.

Elsie Green, Sebastopol, CA

The third shop that we spent a great deal of time in is the Elsie Green shop.  This absolutely beautiful shop made me cry a little, that my life’s journey hadn’t landed me in an old French house with a kitchen filled with old wooden spoons and copper pots.  But I picked myself up by my bootstraps, or rather, sandal straps, and wandered through the store imagining myself cutting flowers on a big wooden chopping block, or setting the table before whooshing out to the garden to pick warm tomatoes and fresh fennel for a salad that I had to toss together quickly because I could hear my guests’ car winding up the hillside to my home, perched on a rocky outcrop overlooking the Mediterranean Sea.

Elsie Green Wall Hooks
Elsie Green Table

Fern Bar, Sebastopol, CA

My absolute favorite was the Fern Bar.  After going to a folk concert at nearby HopMonk, we walked back over to The Barlow to visit FernBar, where we were greeted by bartender Matt, formerly of SpoonBar in Healdsburg.  Matt was mixing up a delicious array of cocktails, and since I had already reached my three-is-really-all-I-can-handle limit, he created the most delicious mohito I have ever tasted…and there wasn’t even any alcohol!  A three-piece band consisting of a stand-up bass, piano, and since I had three beverages by then I can’t remember what the third was, but in any case, I was happy sitting on that bar stool in that beautiful space with a good friend, sipping a fizzy drink and listening to jazz.  It doesn’t get any better than that for me.  Alas I did not get any photographs, but all the better, so that you can find out for yourself.

Fern Bar Matthew
Fern Bar Drink
Future Bright Wendy & Stephanie

The author, and friend Stephanie Guaiumi, who introduced her to The Barlow.  Stephanie and her husband make their own wine, and she often brings the author preserves made in her kitchen. You need a four-wheel drive truck to get to Stephanie’s summer home, which is perched on a hill  behind their orchards in Lake County.

FOOD & ARTISTRY & DESIGN BLOG

Ariana Bundy Restaurant In Dubai

Persian Restaurant Ariana’s Kitchen To Open In Dubai

Ariana Bundy Restaurant In Dubai

 

 

My young daughter and I sat in an outdoor patio of a cafe whose entrance was piled with desserts and pastries of every color in the rainbow, and that looked out over the calming pool below.  Far below.  We were on the seventh level of cafes that line the edge of the Dubai Mall, and as we sat and breathed in the air, and wondered at the slightly orange tint that a distant sand storm gave the surrounding buildings, for the first time in two weeks, we felt totally at ease.

Our trip from California to visit family in Kolkata was punctuated by the extreme opposites that you experience when traveling anywhere in India, and we had arrived in Dubai fairly well shaken.  Being a woman traveling alone with a young girl had required a focused alertness that was exhausting.  We were very excited to have landed in Dubai, and of course had seen the Burj Khalifa as we approached from the air.  We took a pristinely clean train from the Dubai airport, exited at the great mall train stop, and walked along the never-ending corridors of moving sidewalks until we finally reached our destination and discovered a cafe where we could sit, relax, and take in this new environment.  As we sat in the sun listening to the ambient music surrounding us, I felt all of the worries, the stress of travel, the concerns about anything at all, completely melt away.  We sat there in wonder, experiencing together that feeling that can only be had in Dubai.

My purpose for visiting this incredible city was to connect with my Website Design client, Celebrity Persian Chef Ariana Bundy, who is opening a Persian restaurant, “Ariana’s Persian Kitchen” at the astonishing Royal Atlantis Hotel & Residences.  Her Persian cuisine is infused with rose, saffron, pistachios, and will feature an amazing menu of ancient recipes.  She is also renovating a 300 year old residence at a separate location to serve as a cooking school and destination inn.  Her story is one that reflects the story of Dubai.  It is a place where you can dream, and make those dreams come true.  It is a playground for architects and developers, chefs and designers, artists and travelers, and absolutely anything that you can imagine is possible, including creating a map of the world with islands.  Future Bright has been so honored to have accompanied her on this journey, and as a boutique website design agency that specializes in food, this was an incredibly special visit.

We were able to easily take Uber everywhere, and every driver we had was kind, friendly, and open to share about their origins and family.  We also felt completely safe.  Like most of the residents of Dubai, the drivers were all from somewhere else, which is very much like our residence in California.

Our gracious host Paul Hughes, husband and partner of Ariana Bundy, gave us a tour of the area around where we were staying, and it was simply mind-boggling to suddenly come upon another and yet another cluster of 100 skyscrapers.  The construction of new buildings was happening everywhere, and it was exciting to see and imagine how they would be when they were finished based on the impossible angles that seemed to be emerging beneath towering cranes.  We had dinner at Jumeirah Al Qasr, a five-star resort, and sat in a lounge overlooking the canals lined with palm trees.  The entire structure was built of beautiful marble and granite.  The food was incredibly flavorful, and the wine completely unfamiliar, which is disorienting and wonderful at the same time.

The always futuristic World Expo is to be held in Dubai in 2020, and construction has already begun, with countries building astonishing representations of their most creative architecture.  It is tempting to list all of the details of our time spent exploring the amazing city of Dubai, but it is so much more fun to discover it yourself.  We will definitely be returning, and can’t wait to taste a saffron infused ice cream from Ariana’s restaurant overlooking the salty expanse of the Persian Gulf waters.

Wendy Louise Nog, MSTMWendy Louise Nog is Founder and Digital Strategist for Future Bright Interactive, a website development agency based in Silicon Valley, CA.

WeWork Mill Valley Lounge Area

WeWork, New Coworking Space In Marin – A Review!

Conference Room WeWork Mill Valley
WeWork Mill Valley.  If the giant boulder, or the portraits of Tupac and Janis Joplin don’t make you catch your breath with nostalgia, the overall feeling of this new WeWork space in Mill Valley will at least cause you to stop & pivot in a full rotation in order to take it all in.
Future Bright WeWork Mill Valley

TASTY + MIGHTY

WEBSITES, SEO, SOCIAL MEDIA

CaNORML Leaf - Future Bright Website Design
freida banks - Future Bright Website Design
St Francis Fountain - Future Bright Website Design
Crossroads Cafe - Future Bright Website Design

WeWork, 1 Belevedere Dr., Mill Valley, CA

A mixture of Sea Ranch meets 1970’s Mill Valley meets the gig economy meets cafe/winebar culture.  These create an ambiance in the 1 Belevedere Dr. WeWork location that is both cozy and expansive, high-tech yet sand-between-your-toes.  This new addition to the now global WeWork network of shared workspace is an exciting and adventurous arrival at a fresh look for WeWork office interiors:  matching the design with the surrounding geography, history, and culture.  Perched up on a hill in one of the most beautiful counties in the world, rather than going with even a dab of black, this location has floor to ceiling glass with tons of natural light.  They are offering private offices, access to all common spaces, called “Hot Desks”, conference rooms, very 1960’s sci-fi-looking phone booths, and a gym.  HotDesks are $650 per month and include…well…a lot.  Call or drop in and ask for Cameron, and let him know that you read about WeWork on Wendy at Future Bright’s blog article!  You just might be glad you did!

WeWork's Cameron Perry and Wendy Louise Nog, Founder of Future Bright, in WeWork Mill Valley
WeWork's Cameron Perry and Wendy Louise Nog, Founder of Future Bright, in WeWork Mill Valley

It is tempting to tell all, including an off-hand mention of the speakeasy but… it will be so much more fun for you to discover the space on your own!  Marin’s native son, the eternally smiling Cameron Perry, will be in charge of you if you pop in for a visit.  You can call WeWork Mill Valley at (646) 491-9060. Bring your laptop, because you won’t want to leave, you will want to find your spot and stay for a while.  Bring your dog too just in case, as dogs are also welcome.   Spoiler alert, there is complimentary Equator Coffee and beer on tap at all times!  Do you feel like you need a reason to stop by?  Make an appointment with me (Wendy) to discuss your next exciting digital project!

WeWork Mill Valley
WeWork Mill Valley

Food & Art Blog

Future Bright Google My Business

How To Create A Google My Business Page

Why Do You Need A Google Business Profile?

Google uses your business profile to determine your service area, and will place your business on the map so that you appear on search result maps.  Your entire profile may appear on the right side of search results.  Google uses the services that you enter to determine key words relevant to your business.  They may already have a profile for you that you have not claimed, so it is better to be in control.

We Can Help!

If you are time constrained, we can create your Google My Business page for you.  See the bottom of this page for detailed information.

How To Create A Google My Business Page

  1. Go To The Google Business Set-Up Page
  2. Log In with your Gmail/Google Email or create a new account
  3. Add information to your profile
  4. You can hide your physical address
  5. Save The Profile.
  6. Within two weeks, Google will send you a postcard via snail mail with a code.  Log In and enter the code to verify your business.

You will receive regular updates on the performance of your profile.  You will also be able to see how often your profile appeared in searches, was clicked, or was looked at on the map.

Having a Google My Business listing is so critical that if you do nothing else online, you must create a business page on Google My Business.

Having a Google My Business account achieves the following:

  • You appear on Google Maps
  • You appear on the map for search results
  • Google knows your geographic location
  • A rich media snippet is created for you business that includes the following:
    • Image carousel that you choose
    • Link to your website
    • Link to your phone number
    • Link to your address if you make it public
  • It shows Google Reviews
  • It shows Yelp and Facebook Reviews
  • Services that you list are scanned for keywords that Google uses for its search results
  • You receive free analytics showing how often you were viewed and clicked
Our Profile
Google Search Results For Google My Business
Future Bright The Future Of Chinese Food

The Future Of Chinese Food

Panel Discussion: “The Future of Chinese Food in San Francisco.” Held by the San Francisco Professional Food Society,

Future Bright The Future Of Chinese Food

HOST:  
George Chen, Owner of China Live, Eight Tables, and advocate for fine Chinese cuisine

MODERATOR:
Carolyn Phillips – Nominated twice for a James Beard Award  is a food writer, scholar, and artist.

PANELISTS:
Jonathan Kauffman – San Francisco Chronicle Food Reporter 
Luke Tsai –  senior editor at San Francisco magazine
Carolyn Jung –  James Beard Award-winning food writer based in Silicon Valley

There is nothing I love more than to be in a situation where everyone feels totally comfortable, and I feel completely out of place.  It means that I have gone outside of my bubble, and that there is a whole expansive space that I have yet to explore.
– Wendy Louise Nog, Founder, Future Bright

Late afternoon one fall day in San Francisco.  One of my three children didn’t feel well, and was suddenly taken with a tummy ache as we were walking through the city.  Being a believer in the healing powers of food, and based on her coloring, I thought that she needed chicken soup, and fast!  We ducked into a Chinese restaurant and sat down in the lively dining room filled with Chinese families.  All around us were tables filled with steaming bowls of noodles and broth.  We were handed a menu.  I could not actually read it, as the only English words were pretty non-descriptive.   Chicken…it said, hand-written onto the paper, with beautiful chinese writing next to it that probably told the whole history of the recipe.  I will take the chicken, I said, and pointed to it.

I have always felt that a truly authentic Chinese restaurant has a lot of shouting between the person taking the order and the invisible cooks in the kitchen, with a lot of doors swinging back and forth with banging and chopping sounds emanating from somewhere in the back.  This particular restaurant fulfilled those requirements.  Within moments, a small plate with tiny pieces of chicken appeared in front of my daughter.  We all looked at it feeling bewildered, as it was very much not soup.  There was about a teaspoon of meat on the bones.  I raised my hand, and the server came rushing over.  “Could we have chicken soup,” I asked sheepishly?  “Soup, Yes!” she said, and began yelling at the cooks again.  A few minutes later, a steaming bowl of chicken soup arrived.  My daughter weakly began eating the soup with a big spoon, and I noticed that there were chicken foot knuckles floating to the surface.  I said nothing, as it would have meant an immediate pause in the soup consumption.  My daughter ate the soup, she felt better, and we left, happy.  “I wonder what kind of chicken that was,” she pondered out loud after we left.

I was reminded of that soup day during the panel discussion at George Chen’s China Live restaurant focusing on “at “The Future Of Chinese Food”.  George Chen has been tirelessly working to raise the status of Chinese cuisine.  One of the panelists said that with European food, traditional is considered good, but with Chinese food, it is bad.  I understood exactly what they meant, because on that soup day, one of my kids said, reflecting on our experience, “Mom, that restaurant was too traditional!”

The discussion brought up for me fond and (also gory) memories of walking down Stockton Street on my way to work through China Town every morning, smelling the strange smells, passing the halves of pigs and decapitated fowl, wild looking roots, dried fish, mushrooms of all sizes and shapes, giant tanks of sea creatures, all pungent to my nose.  Those aromas did not make my mouth water, they made my eyes water, which has always intrigued me.  How is it that we as humans develop such varied tastes?  The wide ranging contents of my children’s classmates’ lunches proved to me that we learn to love foods by association and comfort.  Unless we grew up eating these foods, our palette is unfamiliar with traditional Chinese spices and ingredients, and while we devour plates of noodles and spicy shrimp, we do not even scratch the surface of this complex cuisine, that varies vastly from region to region within China, and as the cuisine has adapted to its arrival in new places around the world.

Why Is Chinese Cuisine Stuck In A White Cardboard Box? – George Chen

Judging the authenticity of a restaurant’s cuisine based on the heritage of the guests in the dining room is an often used method for guessing the quality of taste.  I would definitely think that an Indian restaurant with a lot of Indians would have delicious food.  A Japanese restaurant with a lot of Japanese people inside would be good.  Same with Italian, Jamaican, Mexican, and on and on.  But I am wary of Chinese restaurants that have a lot of Chinese diners because I worry that I may not like the food…or rather, that I will be afraid of the food!  (It isn’t just Chinese cuisine, I have the same feeling about Spanish food…I am just not a fan of tripe!)

Why can’t Chinese food break past being cheap and served in white paper boxes?” George Chen, owner of China Live, lamented out loud.  “Why is it hard to imagine a $400 Chinese meal?  Chinese cuisine is 5000 years old, the oldest in the world.  Why is it stuck in a white cardboard box?

The answers unrolled from the panel and the audience.  First generation Chinese elders will scoff at expensive food.  In Chinese restaurants, chefs are hidden in the back, not out in front as celebrities.  Ingredients are hard to come by and replacements are required.  And most soul crushing, food from poor countries is expected to be cheap.

The Opium wars are barely touched upon in history classes, even though they are the most fascinating, fortune making, culturally devastating events in modern history.  Opium, Spices and Slave trade brutally carved deep scars throughout India, the Middle East, and China. When I studied the Opium Wars for the first time in college, I learned of a moment that forever etched in my mind the folly of European belief that theirs was a superior culture.  Before the wars began, when the British delegates had arrived in China with their wives to negotiate the importing of opium, the Chinese wives refused to dine with the new arrivals because they smelled badly.  It was a pristine moment when an ancient, culturally advanced population clothed in silks was confronted by a rough, brutal group of people who didn’t bathe, destroyed silk factories to replaced them with cotton factories to process the bales of cotton picked by their slaves, yet who believed themselves to be from a more civilized race.  Sadly, advancement in weaponry and machines of destruction motivated by greed will always win over advancement in intellectual thought, artistry, and culture.

A wave of men and a few families left China for the US to escape the Opium Wars in the 1800’s and many landed in the US and were employed to build the railways.  In the mid-1800’s, 10% of the population of California was Chinese.  Today it is 4%.  They were met with intense discrimination, as were other new arrivals such as Indians, and really all new influxes.  Because of this early arrival and in great numbers, as one panelist said, the cuisine has been a part of our cultural landscape throughout the US for a long time, and is often the first “exotic” food that Americans eat.  This was certainly true for me, growing up in rural Minnesota.  Chinese cuisine has always adapted to the available ingredients and cultural norms of the region.  In Minnesota that meant thick gravy, canned vegetables, and lots of onions and celery.  As the global transportation system has transformed the availability of ingredients, of course that has now changed.

The memory of the British forcing opium upon its population and the damage that it did has left a mark of distrust with China of the West.  A devastating attempt to reject the West’s economic influence on China took place in the mid-1900’s in the Cultural Revolution, and sadly millions starved or were killed, rationing went too far, and Chinese cuisine was reduced to survivalist cooking with whatever could be found, including grass. George Chen shared that during the Cultural Revolution in China, restaurants were closed, and much was lost to the culinary world within China.  There have not been culinary schools providing certificates, or the culinary training and infrastructure that exists in much of the rest of the world.  He can’t bring over chefs from China because in spite of their skill, they do not have certificates proving that expertise.

Our experience with Chinese food is a complex web of our own country’s short and often dark history, the global competition for goods and resources, the 5000+ year old history of China, which now has the world’s largest population, our culinary curiosity, or discomfort with the unfamiliar, and the exciting emergence of a movement to introduce the world to fine Chinese foods.

What I lack is the language of Chinese cuisine, an understanding of the ingredients, and the story behind the recipes.  This was a common thought expressed by the audience of the panel.  What is the difference between traditional and American Chinese cuisine?  The preparation?  The ingredients?  I know the somewhat unsavory story behind my favorite Italian dish, Spaghetti alla puttanesca.  I have been in tiny villages in France where cheese is made. I have hidden in a room with towels blocking the crack under the door while cooks in our kitchen in Kolkata chopped peppers that turned the air into fire for your lungs.  But when it comes to Chinese cuisine, all I have is images in my mind of rice fields with people walking through them wearing wide grass hats.  One participant said that perhaps the next step is for Chinese food artisans to begin to educate us, give us the stories, give us the language we need to understand the nuances of the ingredients and preparation.  The first time a Chinese restaurant achieved three Michelin stars happened just in July of 2018, a status 5000 years in the making.   Chinese cuisine is just at the cusp of taking a long overdue spotlight, and if you are ignorant like me, feeling out of place in the expansive world of Chinese cuisine, a wonderful journey awaits us!

Future Bright - Laurie Gaugan At The Future Of Chinese Food

Laurie Gaugan, Personal Chef To The Stars (with special diets), far right, Wendy Louise Nog, Second From Right.

To learn about Laurie’s incredible specialty of creating delicious cuisine for restricted diets, visit her at her website:  https://www.cheflauriegauguin.com/

Books By Carolyn Jung and Carolyn Phillips

Photos From Inside The Shop And Restaurant
China Live

The Ultimate Wordpress Set-Up

The Ultimate WordPress Set-Up For 2019

The Ultimate Wordpress Set-Up

Introduction

Below is a list of the ultimate set-up for WordPress at the start of 2019. If this is all more than you want to tackle, we have created a Development Site package that includes everything on the list.   We can launch a white-label development site for you, or be an integral member of your team.

This set-up will suffice for the majority of businesses.  A large organization, or an organization that needs special functionality may require additional server-side modifications or custom code and more advanced plug-ins.  All will be compatible with this collection.

To your success!

Wendy Louise Nog, Founder

HIRE FUTURE BRIGHT!

Preserve your creative energy and project budget.

Let Future Bright Set Up Your Development Site

Don’t waste hours of time and frustration trying to set up WordPress, choosing a theme and installing all of the plugins you need.

Purchase A Plug-And-Play WordPress Site

Value: $3000  Our Price: $199/month

  • Price is per month for 12 months
  • There are no refunds, as our labor is extensive at the start
  • On month 13 you may choose to drop to $100/month for reduced services

Have Questions?  
Tap or call:  415-275-0970

Read Below For The Ultimate WordPress Set-Up

1. Platform Set-Up

Website Address + Hosting

  • Domain Name Registered in YOUR name
  • Shared Hosting** (renting space on a server) or…
  • Dedicated Server Hosting (for faster websites)
  • SSL Certificate
  • Have your host “Set my PHP Max Input Vars to 1540”
  • Ensure that Gzip is enabled on your server
  • PHP set to allow uploads of file size 10MB

**A word about hosting.  There are many choices for hosting, and each provider has strengths and weaknesses.  It really comes down to how much support you need, how fast you want your website to be, and of course your budget.  If you are a developer launching multiple sites, your needs are also quite different.  Our recommendations are for single website customers, and are based on our own experience.

**What about GoDaddy?  Many people are familiar with the GoDaddy Brand, and are happy with their service.  This tends to be true with beginners, which may be you.  We do not recommend GoDaddy for various reasons including suspicious sales practices.

Hosting
Specializing In WordPress

WP Engine

Hosting+
Includes Analytics & Other Jewels

Future Bright Hosting

  • Daily Back-Ups
  • Theme/Plugin Updates
  • Data Reporting
  • Heat Map
  • Cloudflare
  • Troubleshooting

Hosting
Recommended For Speed

Fast Commet

2. WordPress Install Set-Up

WordPress Set-Up

  • WordPress Version 5.0
  • PHP Version 7
  • Theme – Recommend Patti (modern), Avada (corporate)
  • Child Theme
  • Page Builder:  Bakery Composer, Elementor
  • Google Analytics Code Installed (after launch)
  • Facebook Pixel Installed

Patti Theme

Avada Theme

Bakery

Elementor

Elementor

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THE FUTURE BRIGHT BLOG

Future Bright Blog | TedX Salon The Future Of Food | Glyph Scotch

The Future Of Food Is…Sooo Delicious!

Local / Efficient Land Use / Better Flavors / Healing Nutrients

Cottage Food Directory Our Mission Image

The TedX Marin Salon – The Future Of Food

What a spread!  CBD infused chocolates, scotch made in a few hours’ time, taste tablets that trick your taste buds into thinking a dessert with absolutely no sugar tastes sweet…it was so cool to attend the TedX Marin Salon focusing on “The Future Of Food!”  Nearly 700 attendees circulated around the collection of new and inventive food and beverages, and after we had each drunk just enough scotch to take off the edge, the doors opened and we were ushered into the theater where four individuals gave talks, followed by a lively 40 minute Q & A session, with the questions submitted prior to the event.

HU Chocolates

I am always looking for cool packaging and logos, and my favorite tonight was Paleo and Vegan HU Chocolates.  The HU is short for “Human”.  The chocolate is tasty!  Hu Chocolates 

Good Earth founder Mark Squire talked about the difference between organic farming and non-organic farming.  Organic farming is about richness and diversity of soil, plants and creatures.  Non-organic farming is about emptying soil and space of everything but the particular seed they want to grow, and then adding chemicals to feed those seeds and kill everything else.  A bio-diverse soil and environment produces a sturdier and larger yield.  It takes ten years, he said, for a field to reach its fullest potential for growth.  He also said that having huge industrial farms is not the best way to feed a growing world population, it is really the creation of local small farms that will feed us all.

The talk was hosted by Edible Marin founder Gibson Thomas, and she asked a really good question that struck me, why is it that Organic Farmers need to pay A LOT to show that they are not using chemicals (which adds to the cost of organic foods), while the growers who ARE using chemicals do not have to show any documentation of what they are putting in our food, and pay nothing extra?  She is so right!  Why is it that farmers have to pay to say that they are NOT putting added chemicals in the food…isn’t this the opposite of labeling?

MOST POPULAR BOOTHS

No question, the two most popular booths were the scotch and CBD infused chocolate booths which conveniently were right next to each other.  Glyph Scotch and Resonance Spa And Welnesss were an excellent pairing of booths!  Rather than age their scotch, Glyph extracts specific molecules from the yeasts of their preference to almost instantly create the flavors and taste that they are looking for.  It is Scotch Science!  I am sure that if there were Scotch police these guys would all be arrested immediately, thrown into a dungeon and forced to drink wine coolers for the rest of their lives…but they have a very cool bottle, and are excited about playing with ingredients on such a micro-level.  The CBD infused chocolates were presented by Resonance Spa, located right near me in Corte Madera.  They offer CBD infused oils for their massage…and chocolates!

Future Bright

MOST DELICIOUS BOOTH

Miyoko Schinner herself was at the event presenting her incredibly delicious vegan cheeses and butters.  These butters, spreads, and harder cheeses are so delicious that you seriously would not miss regular cheese if you were forced to switch.  But there was no arm twisting, this booth was crowded four people deep.  This was partially because there was not much other food and many people including myself had had a couple of samples of scotch on an empty stomach, so this delicious presentation came to my rescue.

It can’t be understated how damaging the farming of livestock is to our environment.  Not only does livestock need pasture, but vast areas of land are used to grow their food. In natural circumstances, cows don’t continuously produce milk year after year.  Like other mammals, including humans, a cow begins producing milk for the first time after their first calf is born.  A dairy farmer will immediately remove the calf from the mother and begin to harvest the milk.  If you have ever heard a mother cow wailing for her calf, you would have pause to eat dairy.  I have, yet I push it into the back of my mind.  The mourning and wailing can last for days.  During calving season, there are hundreds of wailing cows.  Cows are sentient beings who live in groups with complex social structures.  They look funny because their horns are burned off at the root with chemicals.  Yes, it is excruciating.  Anyway, back to what happens next, the cows then become milkers, and they are forced to produce milk for two or three years before they are given a break, and are sometimes given drugs to keep their milk production up.  A cow is selected to stop producing by the farmer.  The real story behind dairy cows is very heartbreaking.  I grew up around dairy farms and I witnessed all of these things, but it did not register with me as wrong, because it was so taken for granted that this is just the way it is done.   Now as an adult, I am aware of the truth, and although I love ice cream and cheeses, I can feel a shift begin to happen in my own mind.

The Future Of Food

While mingling, I spoke with a gentleman about the new exciting law that goes into effect on January 1 in California.  It extends the cottage kitchen law to include the option of people to actually serve prepared meals in their home or for pick-up or delivery.  He told me about visiting Cuba years ago, and there would be little homes that would put up holiday lights on their porch.  This meant that you could go shopping for ingredients, like vegetables and a lobster, drop them off at the home, and they would cook all day preparing a meal for you.  You would arrive at dinner time and sit down in their home, listen to music, and get to know them.  This sounds incredible!

At Future Bright we believe that buying and growing local will solve so many problems with health and our environment.  That is why we are launching a Cottage Food Directory, where you will be able to find local kitchens who can prepare your meals for pick-up, or create dining experiences for you in their home.  The possibilities are so endless!  You can have a sneak peek and sign up to be notified when we launch the directory by visiting CottageFoodDirectory.com.

Future Bright Wendy Louise Nog Signature

HUmX – Humane UX Design

Sitting on a bench lazily watching the pattern of the underground train doors passing as a long train rumbles by.  Gazing out the window for a few moments to watch the shimmer of leaves on a tree as the wind helps them defy gravity.  These are moments when we pause.  During that time, our brain stops taking information in, and searches for connections.  Those connections drive innovation and creativity.  HUmX creates the space for that pause, moments for daydreaming, where invention and ideas live.

Our brains and senses are wired for taking in millions of pieces of information and storing them away, or discarding them.  Without moments of pause, our brains are simply a sorting machine…a database of categorization.  We have incredible chemistry available to our bodies to make us feel good, or to reward us with those “aha” moments, or to recognize that a piece of information is also relevant to thers, which makes our brains place this information in a special place because it may prolong our life (i.e. social standing, which was important for survival not that long ago).  Out of this chemistry we have created the world’s population, spaceships, bread, unicorns, mystery novels, and beautiful architecture.

The internet and its offspring have given us close-to telepathic abilities, which must be the way that humans will evolve, as this is what we have naturally been drawn to:  the ability to communicate with, or to know what anyone is thinking anywhere in the world.  The emergence of social media has made this possible, and humans have been drawn to this ability in the billions. We want to know about each other, the things that anger us, that make us cry, that make us want to have babies, or fight with our lives. With the internet and social media, we are, finally, all connected.

The most unfortunate part of this connection, is that the funding of the technology that allows us to be connected is driven by highly scientific and refined techniques to capture our attention.  “Attention Capturing For A Fee”, otherwise known as ads.  The response to ads triggers the response-reward mechanism of dopamine, which is released when we tap or click, and which is highly addictive and requires higher and higher doses.   Dopamine is used by the brain to train us to do tasks that it decides are beneficial for us. UX Designers are responsible for this.  We must be the ones to choose a new path.

Had the internet somehow been funded by palm leaves, or ocean water, our experiences on websites, apps, speakers, and IOT devices would be very different.  Engineers and designers would not be competing to sell to their audience using the dopamine reward/response reflex, which is quite literally addictive.  We would instead be competing for the activation of a different chemical in our brains. Perhaps Serotonin activation would have been the goal of websites. Serotonin can create a feeling of well being, happiness, regular sleep patterns, and a balanced appetite. Serotonin is activated by exercise, natural light, and the right foods. None of these are possible with the current design of most interfaces, which require indoor lighting, and sitting down. Mobile phones have freed many of us from the office, but there is still so much further to go, even with mobile devices. If we focus on serotonin, which provides long-term happiness not micro-second pleasure, we can start to un-do what is emerging as an alarming change in human behavior.

What would serotonin-focused interfaces look like? Or do? Perhaps create those pauses, those moments of “aha’s” where information comes together to allow the creation of something new.  We would be focusing on how to eliminate language and distance as a barrier.  We would be focusing on how to love or hate each other more.  We have to start to undo the undeniable evidence that we have become addicts to short-term dopamine releases that can be gained from a click or a tap.

We must not be afraid to provide those moments of pause.  We must create ways to interact and be productive with our interfaces while moving the body or being in natural light. We must not be afraid that the other side will sell more, or that our audience will immediately bounce off to an amazing weight-loss story.  When we look at analytics, we carefully watch bounce rates, and try to keep visitors on our websites or apps longer, yet we also watch “click through rates” and try to get user to keep clicking on various buttons with the hope that they will finally purchase something before they click off into the distance and forget about us instantly. Our interfaces are training our visitors to leave us.

Brutalist web design reaches back to that time when ads and sales were not as important as providing a simple story for the user to experience.  We experienced brands visually, and decided if we liked them before selecting something to click on.  There were less colors, nothing flashing, no interruptions, just a visual experience.  There was space for the viewer to make a connection in their mind, either of pleasure or revulsion, or something in-between.  The re-emergence of this style is going in the right direction.  We must go further.  We must design responsibly, so that we are providing a pause, time for serotonin to be activated, so that there can be the creation of new things, new ideas, new friendships and new generations.

In our designs at Future Bright, we  try to create those pauses.  We want visitors to the sites that we build to have a moment of visual joy, and then to make their way with ease to the information they are looking for, without distraction.  We want visitors to get the information that they need to make an informed decision, not an impulsive click.  When we do provide a call to action, we want to be sure that they feel confident that they will be met with another moment of visual joy, and then the information they were looking for.  When you are making important decisions, you want to know that the business you are researching cares about how you feel, about your senses, about your happiness…not about triggering the desire to click on something enticing.

As UI/UX designers, we must begin to take responsibility for the creativity of future generations, and resist the temptation to create increasingly attraction-oriented interfaces. Our interfaces have nearly matched the speed at which our senses can receive information. Our attention spans are now at nine seconds.  We can only read two words per second.  It takes about a half of a second for a message to get from the brain to the hands.  We can only speak 5 syllables per second.  The human eye cannot see more than 60 frames per second.  If we do not create a change, at some point our attention span will be reduced to the speed at which we can sense information.  It is fascinating and terrifying to imagine what impact that will have on our minds, experiences, and culture.

These are all points to discuss, to examine, to dispute, and to explore.  We have much to learn, and may our curiosity always be faster than the speed at which we discover.

Supporting The Arts – Pie Eyed Gallery – Sebastopol, CA

It is worth setting out solely to visit this special place just outside of Sebastopol.  The area is home to many artists who have retreated from the hustle of city life to dwell in the calm open spaces between rolling hills and small farms.  The Pie Eyed Gallery is part junk yard, part scrap metal collection point, part maker’s heaven.  There is an actual gallery space that features artists ranging from metal sculptors to puppet masters.  There are also several resident artists.

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