Optimize, Customize, Innovate to Thrive. But Don’t Accept the Default Settings

By Tad Miller | Sep 1, 2010
More Articles by Tad

If we had to choose, most would choose Not to have to drive the base trim of a four door sedan if they could also choose a custom sports car.


We are a nation that loves to tweak the products in our life.  The vehicles we drive, our homes, our clothes.  We take the basic products we own and personalize them to fit our personalities and needs and often times we make those products better.  We also have no shame about taking a good idea about a customization that someone else made and doing the same with our own products.  Even great original and innovative products like the iPhone or Tivo have websites devoted to “Jailbreaking” them in order to customize them.  We are a world of tinkerers – despite the voiding of warranties.

Some technologies like software acknowledge that they are merely version 1 and use open source code that allows users to “crowd source” better ways to use it.  Other online software technologies use APIs (Application Programing Interfaces) that allow users to use other software (usually custom software) to use the software the way that works best for them.

The same thought processes that went into making a custom chopper can also be used in our online lives

The web and the products on it are things that most of us couldn’t have fathomed 10 years ago, but that doesn’t mean they are bullet proof ideas.  Every product has flaws or inadequacies for how we want them to optimally work for us personally.  Most products are made for the lowest common denominator to please to greatest number of people.  For the rest of us their are other solutions or settings.

If you aren’t satisfied with the way things work for you online their are alternatives or work-arounds .

Google or Other Search Engines

If you are a business with a website and you aren’t getting any visibility in natural search results realize that you can’t really change Google, but you can optimize your site and the way it looks to Google’s Algorithm.  You don’t have to just accept that Google “doesn’t like you” and take what you are given.

Realize that Google is also “customizing” and personalizing search results for it’s users based on web history, geography and other factors, but if that isn’t working for you they allow you to change the default settings.  You can go “under the hood” very easily with your Google personalized search settings and change them from their default settings.


The ever changing default privacy settings of Facebook shouldn’t be a secret to anyone by now.  Bottom line, going forward you should expect all social networking platforms to make all of your status updates public and indexable by search engines by Default.  I personally think it should be the other way around, but I’m also a big believer in taking control and not leaving my privacy in the hands of someone else to insure for me.

PPC Advertising

Perhaps more than any other area of my online life I see the greatest need for optimization, personalization and custom solutions with the management of Pay Per Click Advertising.  Default settings of the search engine’s Pay Per Click advertising will deliver great sums of un-targeted, low quality traffic without customization of settings and constant optimization of the account.

Most of the search engines give PPC advertisers the ability to change the default settings and the ability to tweak and shape their traffic to maximize it’s performance.  But the overwhelming of users just utilize the default settings – the results are usually sub-standard for the advertiser and well…billion dollar quarterly revenues for the search engines.


I don’t really know anyone that uses Twitter.com as their way to tweet.  Their seems to be hundreds of ways to view and respond to your tweets with different Twitter clients.  I think it’s virtually impossible to really keep up with your tweet’s once you get more than 10 really active users to follow.  I like using Friendbar as my Twitter client because it put’s them on my browser bar and continuously recycles the last 20 tweets received.  This way I can work on my browser and see tweets at the same time.  The most popular Twitter client in our office is easily Tweet Deck.

Bottom line, if you want to thrive online you shouldn’t accept the base level default settings.

Both of these cars are a Dodge Stratus, which one works for you:

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