New! Starting in 2014, Craigsfire.com will be the home of my consulting company, CHI Associates, as well as a place I use to blog on business advice and experiences.
Common Sense Internet and Business Consulting from EXPERIENCE
Craig Issod, President
8 Golden Circle, Southampton, MA 01073
CHI Associates is the founder and developer of Hearth.com, an independent hearth web site which has been active since 1995. Hearth.com is the most read hearth site in the world, with over 3.5 million site visits in 2013. As of January, 2014, Hearth.com was sold to Jim Fischer (Hearth.com LLC), who intends to further develop the site going forward.
Online and Community Experience
I have been active online since long before the dawn of the internet age. I first joined Compuserve in the mid 1980’s and have been active in online communities and businesses since that time. Some of my friends and colleagues were active in the first internet communities, such as The Well, which was a forerunner of what is now called Social Media or Web 2.0.
What I can do for YOU
Actually, I currently do most of my work for free and/or as a volunteer! I am not actively soliciting clients – however, shoot me an email or contact form if you have something which might be exciting.
A lot. Most marketing departments, ad agencies and other such firms are NOT experienced in internet marketing and are very likely to steer you and your company in the wrong direction! Often times they have relationships with certain vendors – which they are likely to steer your company towards…..and these vendors may not always provide the best value for your marketing dollars. THERE IS STILL A LOT OF SNAKE OIL BEING PROMOTED ON THE INTERNET. I see my job, first and foremost, as trying to make certain your company heads in the right direction when it comes to the internet or marketing in general.
If you want to spend more and get less, stick to your current consultants and vendors. If, however, you want ideas and opinions from a company with more online experience and RESULTS than any other, give us a try!
As President of CHI Associates, I bring 35+ years of self-employed experience to analyze your needs. My work experience, listed by my age at the time, is detailed below:
18: Worked at Macrobiotic restaurant–Learned Nutrition and Cooking
20: Worked at Soy Dairy, exploring the uses and production of Soy milk and other soy products. Instrumental in the development of first Soy yogurt and Soy based ice creams
21: Vice President of demolition and salvage operation-Tore down and salvaged homes, barns and factory buildings (up to five stories). Sold recycled materials.
22-23: Learned carpentry and construction, worked on crew building houses, etc.
23-28: Started and operated successful remodeling company.
26-45: Started and operated Alternative Energy Business including stoves, Solar and conservation. Sold Business in 1998.
33-35: Bought and operated Wood stove manufacturing business- Learned the cast-iron foundry business as well as other aspects of metalworking.
35-40: Bought and operated importing and marketing company that sells Central Heating products. Visited Denmark twice. Introduced new products to the market successfully. Developed marketing and sales programs. Wrote Technical Manuals.
38-41: Invented and Patented new product–Manufactured and marketed same with first year sales exceeding projections. Sold business in 1998.
40-48: Created Hearth.com, a top rated site on the Internet. Also created many web sites for clients inside and outside the hearth industry.
48-58: Continuation of work on multiple projects – received patent for hearth and chimney related apparatus. Sold chimney company and patents. Hearth.com traffic (yearly) passed 3 million readers.
58-60+: Hearth.com hits new records – becomes larger than such well known web sites as ZipCar, The North Face, Brookstone and many others.
2014 – Hearth.com sold to willing buyer who intends to further develop the site!
2013-2014 – CHI Associates starts new web site for drone (quadcopter) beginners which already has over 150,000 pages read monthly. Two Amazon ebooks and print books related to the drone site have become best-sellers – #1 and #2 in the category.
Non Profit, Volunteer and Teaching Work
One of my non-profit projects involved setting up a complete computer lab and network at the Boys and Girls Club of Burlington County (NJ). We got Steve Wozniak (The Woz), a founder of Apple Computer, to help with the first donation for the project!
I also volunteered as an advisor, teacher and trainer at Hopework ‘N Camden, an org that teaches technology to disadvantaged youth in Camden, NJ. Subjects that I taught include digital video, digital photography and PHP/MySql programming. In 2014 I did a “drone camp” at Hopeworks, where an introduction to aerial robotics was given.
In recent years, I have taught “Bringing your Products to Market” and “Success on the Internet” at the local community college. More recently, I have been mentoring at Valley Ventures Mentoring Group, presented to 130+ “nerds” at Nerd Nite Noho and been working with aerial photography and video.