Thursday, September 29, 2005

How To Make Your CRM Deliver (NewsFactor)

How To Make Your CRM Deliver (NewsFactor): "NewsFactor - Companies will spend $13 billion this year on
customer-relationship management
(CRM) initiatives worldwide, predicts Forrester Research in a recent
report. But the corporate market is rife with dissatisfied customers
who are betting millions of dollars on products and services that do
not fully satisfy their needs. 'Basically, companies are still
struggling to capture benefits from CRM,' noted Forrester Research
analyst William Band."

Dell Aims High With New PCs, Services (PC World)

Dell Aims High With New PCs, Services (PC World): "PC World - Company expands its XPS line with desktops, notebooks, and premium customer support."

F-Secure Adds Antispyware, Child-Lock Features (PC World)

F-Secure Adds Antispyware, Child-Lock Features (PC World): "PC World - Company says Internet Security 2006 software can detect spyware before it is installed."

Apple: Small Number of IPod Nanos Flawed (AP)

Apple: Small Number of IPod Nanos Flawed (AP): "

Apple Computer Inc. salesman Brian Tong holds up a new Apple iPod Nano at the Apple Computer Store in Palo Alto, Calif., Friday, Sept. 9, 2005. Display screens crack easily on a small number of iPod Nano digital music players, Apple Computer Inc. acknowledged Wednesday, Sept. 28, 2005, saying it would replace flawed units. (AP Photo/Paul Sakuma)AP
- Display screens crack easily on a small number of iPod Nano digital
music players, Apple Computer Inc. acknowledged Wednesday, saying it
would replace flawed units.


"

Design of $100 Laptop for Kids Unveiled (AP)

Design of $100 Laptop for Kids Unveiled (AP): "

The MIT Media Lab has launched a new research initiative to develop a $100 laptop, shown in this artists conception released September 29, 2005. This technology could revolutionize how we educate the worldAP
- The $100 laptop computers that Massachusetts Institute of Technology
researchers want to get into the hands of the world's children would be
durable, flexible and self-reliant.


"

Electric Outlet Can Be Wireless Link (AP)

Electric Outlet Can Be Wireless Link (AP): "AP - The common electric socket will serve as your home's connection to
broadband with a new chip developed by Matsushita Electric Industrial
Co. — doing away with all the Ethernet cables or the hassle of hooking
up to a wireless network device."

Tiny iPod Nano bursts with impressive features (USATODAY.com)

Tiny iPod Nano bursts with impressive features (USATODAY.com): "USATODAY.com - For all of the Nano's sizzle, I wanted to spend
meaningful time with the device before weighing in with a review. I
wanted to make sure the Nano's beauty was more than skin deep. It is."

Stop. Hammer Time

Stop. Hammer Time: "A summary of what's in the major U.S. newspapers."

Develop a 5 to 1 habit

Develop a 5 to 1 habit: "

I posted this over on the Worthwhile blog, and thought it belonged here as well...



When I talk to people about pursuing their passions in their
careers, I often encounter an endless litany of 'reasons why I can't.'
It seems to be wired into us to look for obstacles and declare them
reality.



One of the ways to change that perspective is to develop a 5 to 1
habit. For every obstacle you recognize, commit to writing down five
ideas for getting around that obstacle.



Keep a small notebook with you. When you catch yourself nay-saying,
take note of the obstacle and jot down as many ideas for getting over,
around, or through it as you can. Over time, you will start to develop
the habit of automatically looking for ways around the obstacles as
they pop up in your mind.



When your possibilities always outnumber your obstacles 5 to 1, you can't help but come out on the winning side.



--




Curt Rosengren, Passion Catalyst (sm)




Time for a career change? Launch it with...
The Occupational Adventure Guide:
A Travel Guide to the Career of Your Dreams

"

6 Million New Businesses Per Year!

6 Million New Businesses Per Year!: "

The Entrepreneurial Mind:

A new study just released by the Kauffman Foundation finds that there are 500,000 new business start-ups in the US every month. If accurate, that means we are now seeing start-up rates of 6 million a year!
"

Advantages and Disadvantages of Hiring Friends and Relatives

Advantages and Disadvantages of Hiring Friends and Relatives: "

One year ago today: Advantages and Disadvantages of Hiring Friends and Relatives.

"

The Art of the Elevator Pitch

The Art of the Elevator Pitch: "

door hold open 5. Originally uploaded by ChrisB in SEA.


Techcomm Journal:


Your
first and most important objective as an entrepreneur is to learn how
to make a powerful and captivating first impression. This requires
honing a business idea into a clear pitch that can be given in 30
seconds or less, which is not easy. In that brief amount of time, you
need to communicate the value you bring to the table including: who you
are, how your technology or business idea will solve a given problem,
the market potential and your business idea will solve a given problem,
the market potential and your plan to make it all happen. Whew!


via BizzBangBuzz.

"

The Founders’ Pie Calculator

The Founders’ Pie Calculator: "

Spiced Plum and Nectarine Pie. Originally uploaded by LynnInTokyo.


Frank Demmler:

Several weeks ago, we took a look at the founders’ pie.
I noted that frequently the founding team divides 100% by the number of
founders.

I also cautioned that this is the WRONG WAY!


I then went on to identify the factors that should be considered when making these decisions.


Since
then, I have had several people tell me that while what I wrote
certainly made sense, it wasn’t very helpful. They said that when it
came to “rug cutting time,” absent an alternative method, equal shares
was the only method that seemed to be “fair.”


As a public
service, I have “invented” a Founders’ Pie Calculator. As you will soon
see, this calculator is not particularly profound. In fact, I’m sure I
haven’t “invented” it, but, at the same time, I have never seen it
before. [Caution: perhaps there’s a fatal flaw that I haven’t
considered.]


Its primary benefits are that it provides a way
to quantify the elements of the decision making process, and that it
appears to be logical and fair.


via Rob Hyndman.

"

Seven Founding Sins

Seven Founding Sins: "

David Beisel:

Over the past couple years, I have been involved with
and close to a number of both successful and unsuccessful startups. To
me, the most exciting (and most perilous) times in a company’s
life-cycle are the early first stages when it is just getting off the
ground. The company’s founder(s) role is an essential one which
carriers many risks for missteps. So I’ve compiled what I’ve learned to
be the Seven Founding Sins – common mistakes which often divert
entrepreneurs off the path towards success.

  1. Inauthenticity

  2. Sloth

  3. Extravagance

  4. Taciturnity

  5. Greed

  6. Arrogance

  7. Indecisiveness


via David Churbuck.

"

Divorce Low, Happiness High Among Entrepreneurs

Divorce Low, Happiness High Among Entrepreneurs: "

Desert News:

If you are an entrepreneur who is suffering through
lots of sleepless nights, whose marriage is on the rocks and who hates
everything about your business, you aren’t likely to be found among
truly successful Utah entrepreneurs.

These are some of the conclusions of a recent survey of more than
100 of Utah’s leading entrepreneurs. According to the study, Utah
entrepreneurs have low divorce rates, high levels of job satisfaction
and no trouble sleeping six hours or more per night.


via Paul Allen.


Though the article talks specifically about entrepreneurs in Utah, I have no doubt that the results hold up around the world.

"

Make Podcasting Part of Your Business

Make Podcasting Part of Your Business: "

Ipod Nano. Originally uploaded by P�l Berge.


Engineer2Entrepreneur:

The thing of it is is that it take 600-1000 hours of
study to become expert in something. Interestingly most people spend
between 500-1000 hours in their car every year. Smart people, the
people who will be going places are listening to audiobooks, making
good use of that time to build their own knowledge base.

This is where your podcast comes in. If you provide a short
specific how-to do a particular task with your product you’ll give them
something to learn on the way to work in the morning that they are
likely to be able to use that very day.

"

Not a People Person: MLM Isn’t For You

Not a People Person: MLM Isn’t For You: "

Ty Tribble explains that network marketing might not be for everyone in at post on our new MLM Business Opportunities Weblog:

First of all, if you do not enjoy working with a lot of
people, Network Marketing may not be the right business for you.
Network Marketing (MLM) requires you to do two things if you want to
make any money.

  1. Sell Products

  2. Sponsor People


Both of those things require you to deal with people.

"

Carnival of the Vanities at Expatriots United

Carnival of the Vanities at Expatriots United: "









The 158th edition of the longest running internet blog carnival, the well known
Carnival of the Vanities
, moves to the political blog known as
Expatriots United
.




Carnival of the Vanities
is the original collection of blog postings, assembling some of the best and wide ranging bloggers on the internet.


This week's
Carnival of the Vanities
entries include politics, literature, science, medicine, technology, business, culture, comedy, and sports.


I have an entry in this edition of
Carnival of the Vanities
as well.


My entry is titled 'Blog topic ideas: Staying inspired'
where I discuss how you can keep inspired and create exciting new topic
ideas, to keep your blog posts fresh and interesting, for your readers.


To participate in the
Carnival of the Vanities
, or any of the other blog carnivals, one of the easiest techniques is to use the all inclusive carnival entry form at
The Conservative Cat
.


Another participation option is to simply e-mail your entry to the host of the week.


That's what I usually do.


As I suggest elsewhere, hosting and contributing to the various internet blog carnivals is a great promotional idea for your blog.


Next week's edition of
Carnival of the Vanities
appears at the highly eclectic blog known as
Technogypsy
.


In the meantime, head on over to the
Expatriots United
hosting of
Carnival of the Vanities
and enjoy the posts on offer.


You will almost certainly be introduced to some great new and interesting blogs.



Tags: , , , .


"

The Real Best Day to Send Email

The Real Best Day to Send Email: "The Real Best Day to Send Email A recent article in eMarketer tries to
determine the best day of the week to send email campaigns. They
attempt to..."

Yahoo! Tests New Tools That Appeal To Brand & Traditional Marketers

Yahoo! Tests New Tools That Appeal To Brand & Traditional Marketers: "Kevin Newcomb reports at ClickZ that Yahoo has begun an effort to
provide more advanced tools for choosing keywords in an effort to make
search..."

Yahoo! Desktop Search Leaves Beta

Yahoo! Desktop Search Leaves Beta: "Yahoo! announced yesterday that their desktop search tool was leaving
beta for an official launch. The software indexes over 300 files types
including..."

Integrated Search Planning...What is it?

Integrated Search Planning...What is it?: "Internet usage is becoming such an integrated part of people's everday
lives that it's essential for companies to start considering how all of
their..."

Improve Your Writing in 60 Seconds

Improve Your Writing in 60 Seconds: "[IMG ] Tip of the Week Successful writing - whether if be for business,
public relations or grantsmanship - must be concise and precise in
order for..."

Show Off Your Business Best Sides With Full Color Catalog Printing

Show Off Your Business Best Sides With Full Color Catalog Printing: "Catalogs are use to showcase the various products and services
available for sale. Generally, catalogs contain not only the pictures
of products and..."

MSN Looking to Enter Contextual Ad Space

MSN Looking to Enter Contextual Ad Space: "It's no big surprise, since their paid search program is going to
launch in beta later this fall, but news this morning seems to point to
the upcoming..."

Lessons in productivity

Lessons in productivity: "I’ve recently listened to an excellent interview with Jason Fried of
37signals. This isn’t that new but its something I would suggest be
listened to..."

Managers: Should Your PR Budget Stress Tactics or Strategy?

Managers: Should Your PR Budget Stress Tactics or Strategy?: "If public relations tactics like special events, brochures, broadcast
plugs and press releases dominate your answer, you’re missing the best
PR has to..."

Make Your Money Work During Your Retirement

Make Your Money Work During Your Retirement: "For those of us who spent most of our lives working and earning money,
retirement can be traumatizing. Despite fervent encouragement from
family..."

How To Persuade - Sales, Marketing, Advertising and PR

How To Persuade - Sales, Marketing, Advertising and PR: "I was recently interviewed by Alex Mandossian on the topic of
persuasion during a virtual book tour. You can listen to the interview
here, Alex asked..."

Nine Fads to Ignore

Nine Fads to Ignore: "Business 2.0 Staff:1. Podcasting 2. Space Tourism 3. Outsourcing 4.
Downtown Condos 5. China Rules the World 6. High-Definition DVDs 7..."

Seven Technologies That Change Everything

Seven Technologies That Change Everything: "Om Malik & Anders Lotsson:1. AJAX 2. Biogenerics 3. Deep Web Search
4. High-Definition Radio 5. Hybrid Cell Phones 6. Micro Fuel Cells 7..."

"Dignity is deadly." - Paul Graham

"Dignity is deadly." - Paul Graham: "Kathy Sierra:What goes away when a company moves past the start-up
phase? Living only on take-out and caffeine. Working in a [small]
living room..."

Websites as property

Websites as property: "Entrepreneurs journey looks at buying a website then flipping it for profit"

How to think your way to success

How to think your way to success: "The Vital Importance of Developing a Winning Attitude – in Sport and in
Life: Positive attitudes fuel the fire of achievement in people’s
lives..."

Employee Performance and Retention Improved through Online Training

Employee Performance and Retention Improved through Online Training: "Studies have shown that workers who receive regular training from their
employers are more productive and develop a stronger sense of company
loyalty..."

Learning To Delegate

Learning To Delegate: "Learning to Delegate Now, no more excuses. Here are five steps, each
with specific actions you can take to develop your what, how and the
final..."

Business - it's about Respect

Business - it's about Respect: "Being a manager of people takes a special kind of person. You have to
understand that business is business. Not everyone is going to like
you, and..."

Salesmen talk a lot or listen a lot. You work it out. [Allan Berry]

Salesmen talk a lot or listen a lot. You work it out. [Allan Berry]: "They will make a good salesman since they talk a lot. Or he can talk
the hind leg off a donkey he would make a good salesman. Is this right
however?..."

Entrepreneur or Opportunist?

Entrepreneur or Opportunist?: "Entrepreneur or Opportunist? Filed in Business on September 28th, 2005
Do you feel like an entrepreneur? Would you consider yourself one? You
know..."

Strategic Partnership Between Teknovus and Fiberxon

Strategic Partnership Between Teknovus and Fiberxon: "[IMG Teknovus_4]Fiberxon, a China-based supplier of Optics for the PON
market, and Teknovus, a US-based provider of Ethernet Passive Optical
Network..."

Verizon Making Progress on Video

Verizon Making Progress on Video: "[IMG Verizon_logo_10]Verizon need municipalities to award video
franchises in order to offer cable TV service over its Fios FTTP
network. Over the..."

Tired of Ebay? What about Ebid?

Tired of Ebay? What about Ebid?: "Tired of Ebay? What about Ebid? Filed under: Web Sites, All about me,
Business - Editor In Grief @ 1:14 pm I used to love Ebay. I still do,
whenever I..."

Wednesday, September 28, 2005

Institutionalising usability: 5 ways to embed usability in your company

Institutionalising usability: 5 ways to embed usability in your company: "

David Travis has written an article on institutionalising usability within organisations. To quote:

Trying to embed usability in an organisation needs more
than persuasive, logical arguments. You also need to appeal to
managers' emotions and political ambitions. This article describes five
successful strategies that we've seen work in companies large and small.


[Thanks to the eGovernment Resource Centre.]

"

SEO and CMS

SEO and CMS: "

Rob Sullivan write on some of the search engine issues to consider when selecting a CMS. To quote:

There are a few CMS which are designed with search
engines in mind. By search engine friendly one must know if it support
unique meta tags for each page and are these tags easily modified? Can
the CMS display static pages or does it require session variables and
other dynamic variables to work properly? Can one apply a customizable
file structure to the system or is it set to a default? In other words,
can the system organize files in the top 2 or 3 folders, or does it
bury content in some long obscure path?


[Thanks to the eGovernment Resource Centre.]

"

Small Business Liability Insurance

Small Business Liability Insurance: "

Steve Rucinski:


The
costs of covering your business and yourself from a potential lawsuit
are high. After a decade of intense competition among insurers and low
premiums, the fallout from the Sept 11 terrorist attacks and the stock
market have increased insurance costs while providing less coverage.
Every business owner renewing an existing policy or starting a new
policy needs to shop for the best business liability insurance rates
and coverage.


Here are 5 tips to shop the best rates.

"

The Young Entrepreneur’s Edge : Using Your Ambition, Independence, and Youth to Launch a Succesful Business

The Young Entrepreneur’s Edge : Using Your Ambition, Independence, and Youth to Launch a Succesful Business: "

Amazon:

It seems like these days, whenever you look at a
newsstand, at least one major business magazine has a cover story about
a wildly successful entrepreneur in his or her 20s or 30s. That’s not
surprising when one considers that one out of every five small-business
owners in America is under 35, and that more young people are starting
businesses than ever before. Right now, in college dorm rooms and their
parents’ garages, the next generation of Sam Waltons, Bill Gateses, and
Michael Dells are hard at work.

“If you are ever going to take risks in exploring your career
options, this is the absolute best time to do it,” says 26-year-old
entrepreneurial expert Jennifer Kushell. “Why wait until you have a
semi-stable corporate job and major financial obligations to discover
that you hate your career and need to make a big change?”


Kushell
is the ideal mentor for young people thinking about taking the plunge.
Her very successful Young Entrepreneurs Network educates teens and
twentysomethings in 40 countries about forming their own companies. A
born entrepreneur — her father and aunt are leading experts on
franchising and trademark licensing, respectively — Kushell presided
over her own company’s growth while attending college full-time. Her
book draws on her invaluable hands-on experience: “It’s not so much a
how-to-start-a-business book as it is a
how-to-cope-with-life-while-starting-and-succeeding-in-your-own-business
book,” the author says. “All I can say is that this is the real deal,
the real story.”

"

Lifelong learning: A posting series

Lifelong learning: A posting series: "
Blog posting series.


My good friend Rosa Say of the wonderful
Talking Story
blog has developed the concept of blog posting series to a fine
art. Not only does Rosa feature her own thoughts on a specific topic
for each month, but she has guest bloggers contribute their ideas on
the subject as well.


It's often stated that blogging series are great builders of blog
visitor traffic readerships. That is true of course, as a well planned,
developed, and marketed poting series will result in a jump in the
blog's visitor traffic numbers.


What is often neglected in the discussion is the value of the posts
themselves. The information and knowledge contained in the series is
what draws the readers. This fact is not lost on Rosa Say, who values
high quality postings above mere traffic reports.


This month's special blogging series at
Talking Story
is all about lifelong learning. As we all know, and some of us
painfully so, we are learning and discovering new information and ideas
each and every day of our lives. Not only is that knowledge about
external concepts but very often about ourselves as well.


As you read the many powerful personal posts in the
Talking Story
lifelong learning series, you will inderstand the importance of
gaining new knowledge of the world around us and the one within.


I have the privilege of a guest post in the
Talking Story
series as well. My essay is entitled 'Lifelong Learning: Stop The Cliches' where I take some conventional wisdom and turn it on its head.


Be sure to click on over to the
Talking Story
lifelong learning series, and continue your journey to knowledge and wisdom that lasts a lifetime.



Tags: , , , .


"

Bloglines | My Blogs

Bloglines | My Blogs: "Round-Up: Comparison Testing of 22 Hard Disk Drives (tom's hardware)"

Web Site Report: Debriefing the Departing

Web Site Report: Debriefing the Departing: "The tricky art of debriefing top execs as they are shown the door."

You Cut a Bad Deal. Now What?

You Cut a Bad Deal. Now What?: "'The dynamics of renegotiating an existing agreement are quite
different from hammering out a deal from scratch,' writes commercial
law expert Jeswald W. Salacuse in Negotiation. How to improve a poor deal and handle the delicate dynamics, too."

Dialing in the VoIP Strategic Advantage

Dialing in the VoIP Strategic Advantage: "Voice over Internet Protocol has the potential to be the next
disruptive technology changing the way businesses communicate. Are you
thinking of ways VoIP can bring you competitive advantage? An excerpt
from Harvard Business Review."

What Perceived Power Brings to Negotiations

What Perceived Power Brings to Negotiations: "What role does 'perceived power' play in negotiations? For one thing,
it may help all the parties take away a win at the table. Professor Kathleen McGinn discusses new research done with Princeton's Rebecca Wolf."

Itensil - interesting pm tool

Itensil - interesting pm tool: "

I came across Itensil's
Teamlines recently in a conversation around project management with a
commenter on my blog.  He works for them and asked me to have a
look at their online 'literature.'  I have no other relationship
with them as of this writing.


Essentially, Teamlines is a combination of process management and
project management.  It's process management in the sense that the
tool makes it quite easy to draw process flowcharts.  And it is
project (or team) management in the sense that once you have these
process flowcharts, you can assign people to the various roles within a
given process.


As with any tool that aims to help manage the flow of activities,
the proof is in the execution, not just the setup.  And it looks
like Teamlines does some nice things here as well.  There are no
task due dates, rather the tool shows who is working on what and gives
people assigned to the next activity a notice when they should be
starting their work.  Assuming the organization has been taught
about the evils of multi-tasking,
this could go a long way toward what needs to happen from an execution
perspective in Critical Chain Project Management.  (CCPM also
seeks to deal with the question of estimating a project length and
providing protection against variability in those estimates, which I
don't see as part of the Teamlines focus.)


The other thing that I don't see in typical PM software is the
capability to add and update additional information associated with the
tasks in a given process - and the quick review of the documentation
process made it appear that Teamlines has some wiki-like
capabilities.  Team members can provide feedback on written
instructions, and I could see 'wrap-up' processes that include lessons
learned or after action reviews to help the next team that has to
execute a given process.


If you are curious, I found the how it works Flash demos to be instructive.

"

ZipIt Wireless Messenger

ZipIt Wireless Messenger: "A great way to get IMing kids off the family PC, as long as they don't type very fast."

Mobile Phone Standards to Launch in 2006

Mobile Phone Standards to Launch in 2006: "Security specification will fight mobile viruses, pave way for phones as electronic wallets."

Personalized Marketing for New Media - Interruptive Advertising for Mass Media

Personalized Marketing for New Media - Interruptive Advertising for Mass Media: "New media options have inundated consumers in recent years, and with so
many entertainment and communication technologies available, consumers
are harder to reach. In this new environment, old marketing strategies
are rapidly becoming much less effective and in some cases, obsolete.
Consumers are no longer tolerating 'interruptive' advertising to the
extent they used to, and more personal marketing strategies are
becoming a very effective method of appealing to online, networked
consumers. Photo credit: Bob Smith With the internet, cellular phones,
video game systems, on-demand cable, DVRs and other technologies,
consumers are not as accessible via mass market advertising like
televison or print. They are now 'jacked-in' to infinite information on
an unprecedented scale. They know what products are available, and..."

Live online

Live online: "

In October, I'll be doing
a presentation for eComXpo that will include a preview of the new
Squidoo project. I wanted to let you know about it, and I finagled a
free pass for my readers.



Go to eComXpo October 05 Registration and sign up. Choose the cheap option ($29). On the next screen, you'll see it goes to $0.



It's virtual, so there's no travel, and the show lasts for three
days, so you can come when you like. My talk is the first day, the
sixth, in the morning, but you can catch it on reruns any time you like.

"

What makes an idea viral?

What makes an idea viral?: "

For an idea to spread, it needs to be sent and received.



No one 'sends' an idea unless:
a. they understand it
b. they want it to spread
c. they believe that spreading it will enhance their power (reputation, income, friendships) or their peace of mind
d. the effort necessary to send the idea is less than the benefits



No one 'gets' an idea unless:
a. the first impression demands further investigation
b. they already understand the foundation ideas necessary to get the new idea
c. they trust or respect the sender enough to invest the time



This explains why online ideas spread so fast but why they're often
shallow. Nietzsche is hard to understand and risky to spread, so it
moves slowly among people willing to invest the time. Numa Numa, on the
other hand, spread like a toxic waste spill because it was so
transparent, reasonably funny and easy to share.



Notice that ideas never spread because they are important to the originator.



Notice too that a key dynamic in the spread of the idea is the
capsule that contains it. If it's easy to swallow, tempting and
complete, it's a lot more likely to get a good start.



But that doesn't mean that there's no role for mystery or ideas that
unfold over time. In fact, the unmeasurable variable here is style.
Howard Dean's ideas spread at the beginning--not because of the
economic ramifications of his immigration policy, but because of the
factors above. The way they were presented fit into the worldview of
those that spread them.



A key element in the spread of ideas is their visual element. iPods
and visual styles spread faster in the real world than ephemeral
concepts. Pictures and short jokes spread faster online because the
investment necessary to figure out if they're worth spreading is so
tiny.



And of course, plenty of bad ideas spread. Panic, for instance, is a
superbad idea at all times, but it spreads faster than most. That's
because spreading an idea is rarely a thoughtful, voluntary act.
Instead, it is near the core of who we are, and we often do it without
thinking much about the implications.

"

The window.onload Problem - Solved!

The window.onload Problem - Solved!

Brown Bagged-On

Brown Bagged-On: "A summary of what's in the major U.S. newspapers."

Are Small Businesses Avoiding or Embracing Online Banking?

Are Small Businesses Avoiding or Embracing Online Banking?: "Entrepreneur magazine has an article by C. J. Prince about small businesses being slow to adopt online banking.

One
of the main issues that holds back small businesses from adopting
online banking is security. Small business owners fear for the security
of their accounts when transactions occur online. (I happen to be
quoted in the article on the reason that some small businesses do not
adopt online banking.)

However, there is considerable nuance under the surface of the Entrepreneur article. I note that the article points to a January 2005 study by Edgar Dunn & Company.
That study suggests that small businesses have become bullish on online
banking. The Edgar Dunn survey reports that 58% of small businesses use
Internet banking at least weekly -- a solid majority.

A
different study cited in the article, this one conducted by Forrester
Research in mid-2004, showed a much lower percentage -- 19% -- using
online banking (download PowerPoint presentation here).

So why the discrepancy? Is there some explanation for this considerable difference in the two studies?

While
I do not have access to the underlying survey data, one possible answer
may be in the size of companies sampled. It is simpler for very small,
no-employee businesses to do their banking online, compared with larger
small businesses that may find the challenges associated with online
banking to outweigh the benefits.

The Edgar Dunn survey sampled
businesses with $50,000 up to $2 Million in revenue. Now, $50,000 in
revenue means a very small business. Most likely a business with that
level of revenue is a no-employee business -- in other words, a
self-employed individual. The number of self-employed, no-employee
businesses dominates in the U.S. -- there are some 17 million no-employee businesses according to the SBA, compared with 5.7 million with employees.

I
would not be surprised to find that the majority of no-employee
businesses use online banking, while the majority of businesses having
employees do not. Their fundamental banking needs are just so different.

First
let's examine the no-employee business. Often the self-employed person
views his or her business banking as an extension of personal finances.
This self-employed business owner places off-hour convenience at a
premium, and online banking offers that. The bank account used may be
limited to a plain vanilla business checking that is really just a step
away from a personal checking account. Interfacing with a business
accounting system is a pretty easy matter, too. The larger online
banking sites typically enable easy one-step download to
QuickBooks/Quicken, the accounting system most often used by
no-employee businesses. So interfacing with other business systems is a
no-brainer for the no-employee business owner.

It's only when
you get to larger small businesses -- those with employees -- that the
challenges start. By the time a business gets to say, 10 employees,
banking needs have outgrown the plain vanilla checking account. The
business may require online banking data to interface with other
business software systems. There are payroll accounts and tax
withholding issues. Cash management tools take on added importance.
Suddenly, online banking becomes more complex, requiring more effort to
implement it and more staff time to manage it. It's no wonder that
small businesses at this level have less interest in online banking,
despite the lure of automation. Sometimes, the cure is worse than the
disease, and I suspect that is how larger small businesses view online
banking, rightly or wrongly.

I'm interested in reader views -- do you agree, or is there some other explanation?"

InvisibleSHIELD for iPod nano

InvisibleSHIELD for iPod nano: "

Filed under: , , ,

invisibleSHIELD nanoFor the iPod nano purist at heart, Protective Solutions Inc. has whipped out an InvisibleSHIELD
that covers the entire body with a pretty durable looking clear plastic
film - preserving the iPod's beauty Ive labored so long to produce.
They also have a video of various people doing stress tests with pens
and car keys, just to really strut their stuff.

I'm still
looking around for a case for my black nano, and I go back and forth on
whether I want to preserve the nano's sleek exterior with something
like this shield, or if I want to dress it up like the Michelin Man.
At $20 it might be a little steep, but I'm wondering: have any of you
TUAW readers used one of their shields before? Please share any
experiences you've had with the rest of the class.
 
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"

Ballmer admits a rip-off?

Ballmer admits a rip-off?: "

Filed under: , ,

Ballmer No AppleeWeek has a short but interesting interview
with Steve Ballmer in which he's poorly hiding the fact that Vista just
doesn't have a whole lot left to lure consumers or enterprise users
into upgrading. At the end of this otherwise unrelated interview is the
juicy part, where Ballmer basically flat-out says they've been watching
- er excuse me: learning - from what others are doing, and emulating
instead of innovating:

'I don't hear [about other operating systems] from enterprise customers. They don't look at the Mac. They just don't. Some people will say some of the features are
kissing cousins to features they've seen elsewhere, and that is true.
I'm not apologetic about the fact that we should, in a way that doesn't
offend anyone else's intellectual property, study and learn and benefit
from the work others have done
.'

Thanks Ballmer, we appreciate your honesty.
 
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"

Apple addresses iPod nano screen complaints

Apple addresses iPod nano screen complaints: "

Filed under: ,

nano.jpgSome iPod nano users have been complaining of scratched and cracked nano screens, according to an article earlier today at news.com. This afternoon, Apple's Senior Vice President of Worldwide Product Marketing Phil Schiller responded to those complaints at macworld.com.
Schiller addressed the issues of scratched and broken screens
separately. In response to reports of broken screens, Schiller promised
that if users who have this problem contact Applecare, their iPod nanos
will be replaced. He is quoted as saying: 
“This is a real but minor issue involving a vendor quality problem
in a small number of units. . . . In fact, this issue has
affected less than 1/10 of 1 percent of the total iPod nano units that
we’ve shipped. It is not a design issue.”


Schiller had this to say about complaints that the iPod nano screen is too vulnerable to scratching: “We have received very few calls from customers reporting this problem
– we do not think this is a widespread issue. . . If
customers are concerned about scratching we suggest they use one of the
many iPod nano cases to protect their iPod.”

What's your experience with the iPod nano screen?



 
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"

No Photoshop Elements 4 for Mac

No Photoshop Elements 4 for Mac: "

Filed under:

elements4.jpgAdobe has announced the latest version of its consumer level photo editing and organizing software, Adobe Photoshop Elements 4.
The big news--or lack thereof--for Mac users is that this is a
Windows-only version. Mac users are left with the last version of the
software, Adobe Photoshop Elements 3.0, which does not include the Organizer and special creation features available to Windows users. What's up with that Adobe?
 
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"

Is this iTunes for Windows Mobile?

Is this iTunes for Windows Mobile?: "

Filed under: , ,

itunesmobileThis
appears to be a brief overview of iTunes running on Windows Mobile 5.0.
Instead of the iPod-like interface that the ROKR uses, this looks more
like iTunes itself. The author of the article notes that it was
possible to play 1 GB of MP3/AAC files that were stored on a SD Card
with this mobile version of iTunes.

Also, searching for a specified podcast feed over GPRS was successful. Looks good. If only this was how the ROKR worked.

First a Windows powered Treo, and now this. It's mass hysteria!

Thanks to Jake and Zach!

Update:
Here are some additional pictures.
 
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"

Neuland Facilitation Walls

Neuland Facilitation Walls: "


In
the every-burgeoning quest for the best (and lightest) solution to
being a graphic facilitator, we are constantly searching for the
Nirvana of portable wall systems.


These may not be the
lightest, but they are pretty dang mobile. Last week, our new panels
from Neuland arrived ahead of schedule for a local scribing gig.


Although we could have bought the GraphicWall Bundle
at a 15% discount (valid thru 9/30/05), we opted for the more
basement-friendly combo of a left and right including paper dispenser
and carrying bags.


These facile boards have been used by facilitators for years.



Normally,
we trundle in a 30' x 40' cardboard box of white foam core. When I
asked Diane Durand, a facilitator in Pittsburgh (and also my wife) why
she preferred the new walls, she listed the benefits:



  • they are super, sleek and easy to assemble (even in heels!)

  • they unzipped out of the bag and zip! Zoop! Were up

  • she did not feel restrained, because of a spacious 4′ x 8′ work surface.

  • she could work larger;

  • it saves on foam core (which is florocarbon-filled);

  • the tools match the work;

  • the walls make a bold statement, they say: 'I am here to work, to work big and to produce good things.'

     


Available from The Grove, Facilitator U or direct from Neuland.
Call 1-888-713-2333 to order

"

PowerPoint LIVE - Day 1

PowerPoint LIVE - Day 1: "

LIVE from PowerPoint LIVE — I caught Jim Endicott’s excellent keynote on

Endicott — “Beware of Geeks Bearing Gifts”. Jim made the distinction between

“Giving” presentations (anyone can)

vs.

Audiences “getting” them (being moved to action/consideration). He reiterate a concept some of us have seen before

Persuasive Message Flow.

Initially he identifies the pain, the provides a solution, and finished with validation.

What Jim added this year was to have a set of slides to close immediately if you’re in a time crunch

or the client gets fidgety. Many of us rush through the slides —
instead go to slide or set of slides that summarize your main message
and

ask for the order or do something else that gets you to your objective.


Glen Millar and

Julie Terberg.


A
key nugget there was the idea of using the With PRevious option for
animation to simulate real life, objects moving off in different
directions simulataneous.

"

Password Overload Makes Enterprise Systems Less Secure (TechWeb)

Password Overload Makes Enterprise Systems Less Secure (TechWeb): "TechWeb - A glut of passwords and mounting frustration over the clumsy
way they're managed actually makes enterprise systems less secure, not
more, a survey released by RSA Security said Tuesday."

Coming Next Year: The First 'Trusted' Linux Operating System (TechWeb)

Coming Next Year: The First 'Trusted' Linux Operating System (TechWeb): "TechWeb - Red Hat, with help from IBM and Trusted Computing Solutions,
plans to put its operating system through the paces of the National
Information Assurance Partnership's Common Criteria evaluation program
to create the first 'trusted' Linux operating system."

RIM to Use Intel in BlackBerry Devices (AP)

RIM to Use Intel in BlackBerry Devices (AP): "

A cardboard cutout of a BlackBerry communication device. The maker of the popular BlackBerry hand-held computer and commmunication device said it had chosen Intel Corp. chips for its new models as it fends off a Microsoft-backed challenge.(AFP/File/Ravi Raveendran)AP
- Research in Motion Ltd. said Tuesday it will use Intel Corp.'s
cellular microprocessors in upcoming BlackBerry devices as it tries to
boost performance without sacrificing battery life.


"

Sony makes style pitch to women for flat TV (Reuters)

Sony makes style pitch to women for flat TV (Reuters): "Reuters - Sony Corp (6758.T) departs from the
well-worn model of gadget marketing in ads for its new flat
screen television, seeking to hook women consumers with the
product's slim lines as much as with its large display."

ID Chip Helps Morgue Track Katrina Victims (AP)

ID Chip Helps Morgue Track Katrina Victims (AP): "AP - As body counts mounted and missing-person reports multiplied in
the days after Hurricane Katrina, some morgue workers began using a new
technology to keep track of unidentified remains."

Sanyo widens loss forecast (Reuters)

Sanyo widens loss forecast (Reuters): "Reuters - Struggling Japanese electronics maker
Sanyo Electric Co. Ltd. (6764.T) widened its loss estimate for
this business year on Wednesday and said it will accelerate job
cuts, exit the DVD player business and close some plants."

Tuesday, September 27, 2005

Empty Gas Lines

Empty Gas Lines: "A summary of what's in the major U.S. newspapers."

Microsoft will offer contextual search ads

Microsoft will offer contextual search ads: "

Saul Hansell of the New York Times has a
report (registration required) about
Micosoft’s entry into the lucrative search word advertising space currently dominated by Google and Yahoo! (via its
Overture acquisition). You can read the article without registration at C|Net
News.com.
According to the article:





“The Microsoft Corporation will unveil today its own system for selling Web advertising as it struggles to compete with
Google and Yahoo in the expanding Web search business. The system, to be used by MSN, is meant to improve on those of
Microsoft’s rivals by allowing marketers to aim ads on Web search pages to users based on their sex, age or
location.”





This has been expected for some time. Details should become available later today.




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� 2005 Weblogs, Inc.










"

A Generation of Game Boys, Girls

A Generation of Game Boys, Girls: "A growing number of universities and design schools around the country
are offering degrees in video game design. The idea may sound crazy to
some, but the schools say a burgeoning industry must be fed."

Handbook for Bloggers and Cyber-Dissidents

Handbook for Bloggers and Cyber-Dissidents: "

Via a member of the Canadian Association of Journalists, a very welcome gift from Reporters Without Borders: Handbook for Bloggers and Cyber-Dissidents. It's a PDF with excellent information on everything from starting a blog to evading censorship.

"

Nate: Maintainable CSS

Nate: Maintainable CSS: "Nate:

Simon Willison put a call out
for advice on creating maintainable CSS. Here are some collected
thoughts on the matter, please keep in mind that quite a bit of this is
just personal preference.



  • Use as little CSS as possible, remove styles and parts of styles not being used or that were experimented with in the design process.

  • Use unique IDs as much as possible, these of course should only be used once per page.

  • Only use classes on elements that have any chance of being repeated
    on a page and in different locations, if the element is going to exist
    in a predictable location, target a sibling element of an ID'ed
    container instead - at least whenever possible.

  • Use as few browser hacks as possible, and document them with comments

  • Introduce your stylesheets with comments and explanation of how the
    particular sheet fits in with other sheets and with the site.

  • I am a proponent of multiple stylesheets for large and complexly
    styled sites, however keep in mind that in some environments the extra
    http calls will not be appreciated.

  • When considering multiple stylesheets, first make sure its really
    worth while - a single long CSS file can at least be searched easily
    ('find all instances of h2')

  • When using multiple stylesheets, I like to think of them as an
    extension of the cascade. A base styles file contains CSS rules that
    can be applied on every page, then create more specific sheets perhaps
    based on section.

  • Use a predictable format, some like grouped attributes, or specific
    orders. Personally, I like each attribute on it's own line, but as long
    as the format is consistent.

  • Group your styles with short and precise labels via comments

  • If you choose to wipe out default browser styles and start with a clean slate (see Eric and Tantek),
    document this somehow. I've found this to be very powerful in many ways
    (cross browser consistency for example), but it can be disorienting if
    you're adding to a style sheet setup this way


I'm going to consider this post open, and will add more to the list
above if I think of other tips. Since this list is riddled with
personal preferences, I won't be adding suggestions to it, but please
feel free to add comments to the post, or maybe better at Simon's post or at the wiki page.

"

Bloglines | My Blogs

Bloglines | My Blogs: "PowerBlog Review: Emerging Technology Trends"

Outsourcing Companies Target Small Business

Outsourcing Companies Target Small Business: "We all outsource. Or subcontract if you prefer.

Guy Clapperton at Business Insight is quite right when he points out that most small businesses have been outsourcing things like accounting for many a moon.

On
a personal level we all tend to outsource our plumbing, electricity or
joinery needs once the toilet, the exploding socket or the new fitted
wardrobe prove a project too far.

This is what you'd probably refer to as the outsourcing of expertise.

It's
primary function is to do any given task far better than you could
yourself. It may very well save you money in the long run, but that
isn't its focus.

And we're all very aware of the outsourcing of
call centers to Mumbai. It's not so much that these people don't know
what they're doing rather than the corporations running them only
glancing a cursory nod towards customer satisfaction for the sake of
pinching a few pennies.

The Telegraph has an article
discussing how small businesses are now the targets of firms which
provide various backroom services such as payroll, human resources and
communications.

However, the Federation of Small Businesses urges us to be careful:

'People
should make sure they are getting the right service for the size of
company they are. They should not have to shell out for blanket
coverage. It's about striking a balance,' said a [Federation of Small
Businesses] spokesman.

I once worked at a place
with only four employees that outsourced its ablution services. In
other words, we had somebody come and collect the used hand towels and
replace them with fresh ones. It would've been infinitely cheaper to
buy new every week.

The company I'm currently associated with
is often on the receiving end of much outsourcing. Yes, it's cheaper
for the firms wishing to outsource as they don't have a dedicated
workforce to pay on an ongoing basis. But, this is still an example of
outsourcing of expertise. Subcontracting is also as old as the hills in
the world of manufacturing.

It doesn't matter whether you
outsource to your next building, next town, city, country or half way
across the world - we all outsource if we don't have the in-house
capabilty to deal with certain aspects of our business - whether it be
a temporary peak in work we can't handle or certain things we don't
have the expertise or inclination to do ourselves.

"

Are Small Businesses Avoiding or Embracing Online Banking?

Are Small Businesses Avoiding or Embracing Online Banking?: "Entrepreneur magazine has an article by C. J. Prince about small businesses being slow to adopt online banking.

One
of the main issues that holds back small businesses from adopting
online banking is security. Small business owners fear for the security
of their accounts when transactions occur online. (I happen to be
quoted in the article on the reason that some small businesses do not
adopt online banking.)

However, there is more nuance under the surface of the Entrepreneur article. I note that the article points to a January 2005 study by Edgar Dunn & Company.
That study suggests that small businesses have become bullish on online
banking. The Edgar Dunn survey reports that 58% of small businesses use
Internet banking at least weekly -- a solid majority.

A
different study cited in the article, this one by Forrester Research
conducted in mid-2004, showed a much lower percentage -- 19% -- using
online banking (download PowerPoint presentation here).

So why the discrepancy? Is there some explanation for this considerable difference in the two studies?

While
I do not have access to the underlying survey data, one possible answer
may be in the size of companies sampled. It is simpler for very small,
no-employee businesses to do their banking online, compared with larger
small businesses that may find the challenges associated with online
banking to outweigh the benefits.

The Edgar Dunn survey sampled
businesses with $50,000 up to $2 Million in revenue. Now, $50,000 in
revenue means a very small business. Most likely a business with that
level of revenue is a no-employee business -- in other words, a
self-employed individual. The number of self-employed, no-employee
businesses dominates in the U.S. -- there are some 17 million no-employee businesses according to the SBA, compared with 5.7 million with employees.

I
would not be surprised to find that the majority of no-employee
businesses use online banking, while the majority of businesses having
employees do not. Their fundamental banking needs are just so different.

First
let's examine the no-employee business. Often the self-employed person
views his or her business banking as an extension of personal finances.
This self-employed business owner places off-hour convenience at a
premium, and online banking offers that. The bank account used may be
limited to a plain vanilla business checking that is really just a step
away from a personal checking account. Interfacing with a business
accounting system is a pretty easy matter, too. The larger online
banking sites typically enable easy one-step download to
QuickBooks/Quicken, the accounting system most often used by
no-employee businesses. So interfacing with other business systems is a
no-brainer for the no-employee business owner.

It's only when
you get to larger small businesses -- those with employees -- that the
challenges start. By the time a business gets to say, 10 employees,
banking needs have outgrown the plain vanilla checking account. The
need arises to make data from online banking interface with other
business software systems. There are payroll accounts and tax
withholding issues. Cash management tools take on added importance.
Suddenly, online banking becomes more complex, requiring more effort to
implement it and more staff time to manage it. It's no wonder that
small businesses at this level have less interest in online banking,
despite the lure of automation. Sometimes, the cure is worse than the
disease, and I suspect that is how larger small businesses view online
banking, rightly or wrongly.

I'm interested in reader views -- do you agree, or is there some other explanation?"

Why should I?

Why should I?: "

So many of our obstacles
come from the preprogrammed tapes we carry around in our heads. Shoulds
and shouldn'ts, oughts and oughtn'ts. They often control our actions
like puppets on a string without our ever even realizing it.



Here's a great approach for getting a realistic picture of those things. Ask, 'Why should I?'

Take each listed item read it out loud and then ask yourself, 'Why should I?'



Here are some typical answers to the 'Why should I?' question:
'Because everybody has to,' 'My father said I should,' 'What will
happen to me if I don't?' 'Otherwise people won't like me anymore,'
'Because I'm too fat/stupid/lazy/careless etc.'



The answers to 'Why should I?' questions demonstrate how we can
limit ourselves by holding certain beliefs. Try ending an 'I should...'
statement with, 'because I really want to.' The sentence doesn't make
sense because the word 'should' implies reluctance and feelings of
guilt and fear. Do we really need to burden ourselves in this way? The
word 'should', however, can be replaced by the word 'could' and this
restores freedom of choice. So go through your list of shoulds and
rephrase each item: 'If I really wanted to, I could...'



Another approach is to ask the question, 'Why should I?' repeatedly
until you genuinely and sincerely answer it with 'Because I really want
to.' Or you decide to give it up because you really don't want
to! 

When you live your life according to
shoulds, you play the victim role. You lose freedom of choice. I had
one client whose shoulds had such a strong hold that they seemed to
control every step she took. She felt like she was in a constant state
of obligation.



As she began getting to know her shoulds, she started to make the
transition from, 'I have to' to, 'I choose to' (or conversely, 'I
choose not to'). As that change deepened, so did the feeling of control
over her life, both present and future.



--




Curt Rosengren, Passion Catalyst (sm)




Time for a career change? Launch it with...
The Occupational Adventure Guide:
A Travel Guide to the Career of Your Dreams


"

On the concept of a concept

On the concept of a concept: "

 



What is a concept?



An abstraction?, cognitive building block, a container for idea(s)?, a
symbol & representation?, a tool for indexing, learning, memory and
navigation?, a fundamental language construct?, a reified cognitive artifact?,
a category?  Concepts can be any unit of thought or a mental image formed
by generalization.



Any concept is more than its name, the links to related concepts define its
meaning, every concept has a life-cycle. A
concept is an abstract, universal psychical entity that serves to designate a
category or class of entities, events or relations
. WikiPedia



So what does a concept look like?



Fuzzy or crisp boundaries with gradational or binary membership?, does the
essential meaning morph with community membership? is there a universal
classification of concept types?, is a concept both a personal or group
possession?



Concepts are defined along multiple dimensions:  abstract-concrete,
conjunctive-disjunctive, artificial-natural, well-defined/ill-defined,
object-event.....



Why are concepts important?



Our beliefs, world views, creativity and communication ability, depend on
the concepts we hold, how strongly we hold them and ways we can change them.
Concepts are the building blocks for analytical and mental models. Making
concepts explicit and visual helps promote learning, knowledge construction and
assists with memory retention.



Concepts
are key entities for knowledge work. They solidify ideas, reify emergent
distinctions, help with articulation & explication, aid discovery and meme
description.



We now have the means to access and navigate texts at the level of the contained
concepts
. This has important implications for personal learning, JIT
knowledge provision, spawns new revenue models and helps with profile
building.  Tagging gives concept level ways to classify and
retrieve works.



How are new concepts acquired?



Mostly from instances through; abstraction of invariant features, hypothesis
testing, selection of prototypes. Acquisition may be through language using
definitions, synonyms, analogy, and metaphor. A fundamental difference in
conceptual approach is found between 'lumpers & splitters'



Concept mapping



This article by Joe Novak
explores the theory, provides practical tools and tips for mapping concepts



Related questions



  1. How are concepts related to
         categories and classification?,


  2. What are the 'hidden
         politics' in concept formation and agreement,


  3. How do concepts relate to
         knowledge construction and 'bringing forth our worlds'?


My previous thoughts on concepts
coming in a kind of circle.

"