Archive for December, 2003

To know is to understand

Wednesday, December 17th, 2003

This is a good one. Recent eWeek reports that IBM is using its recently acquired Rational Robot technology to test applications they’re developing. IBM’s new TMTP (Tivoli Monitoring for Transaction Performance) software generates fake transactions with which to run the tests…so that users can actually use the applications when they’re released. [emphasis mine]

They hope this new technique will draw developers and operations people closer. Kind of like getting sales and marketing, or accounting and customer service on the same page about what to do and how much to spend on it–admittedly never an easy job, but oh, how the customers love the results…

The great Clarence Darrow once said: “To know all is to understand all, and this leaves no room for judgement and condemnation.”

One of the primary functions of a blog is to let people know each other by writing about real issues in the real voice of the real people tackling those problems every day. If Clarence is right–do you see any reason to doubt him?–then creating an atmosphere of encouraging people to know and understand each other’s goals–and the obstacles they face in achieving those–has to be a step in the right direction.

Stand out

Tuesday, December 16th, 2003

Football. What a metaphor for business/life. Last Sunday’s uneven match in which the New Orleans Saints pummeled the Giants is now getting big press because of a touchdown stunt, according to a NYTimes article today by Lynn Zinser.

Joe Horn scored four touchdowns against the Giants and on the fourth one, pulled out a cell phone he’d earlier concealed in the padding of the goalposts. He pretended to make a call to–who knows who? His mom? His broker? Doesn’t matter. The fans loved it. Phone home, Joe

And now the debate rages: Really cool stunt, or conduct unbecoming a sportsman? Look the other way, or fine the guy? The fact is the stunt is getting more publicity than the game; the local newspaper headlined it almost as big as the story about Saddam Hussein’s capture.

Well, whatever your position is, it’s a great metaphor for standing out from the crowd, for being your unique self in a comformist world. What’s publicity worth? A lot when you want people to know you.

A blog is a great place to be the unique you.

Print giving way to Internet advertising

Sunday, December 14th, 2003

You know how you get those promotional offers in the mail to get your “professional discount” on a subscription to business publication X? Well, I’m noticing a new trend.

Just got two separate but simultaneous offers from highly respected business publications offering to send me their magazines for a pittance, a newly tiny fraction of the cover price. Instead of their $64.87 annual subscription price, Forbes says I can have it for 10 bucks. Instead of $47.88 for Business 2.0 (regular subscription rate $29.98) I can get for a year for $6.99.

This is surprising, but only for a minute. Because I just reported that the biggest annual increase in advertising dollars is on the Internet. I’d guess the print outlets are fighting for their existence right now. Advertising is their life blood–and you and I are increasingly going to the Internet for our news, trends and business information.

We are truly the first generation to take our businesses online. Buy, sell, research, entertain, whatever. And we tend–because it’s so easy to send a link or a page–to share what we learn with our colleagues.

How do you stand out on the Internet? Use your true voice. You’ll get found–guaranteed.

Statistics

Friday, December 12th, 2003

On an average day, 66 million adults go online for one reason or another says a recent Pew Report.

I want you to note this statistic in their recent survey results: on that average day 1% of those 66 million adults create a blog (weblog).

That’s 660,000 people creating a blog on most days of the week–a statistic reported from a survey done more than a year ago.

Do the math. This is not a fad.

Beam 'em out, Scotty

Friday, December 12th, 2003

Did you know that for the first time in history–the first time in history–the number of telephone landlines in the United States has gone down (by some 5 million lines, according to the FCC). The Internet, mobile phones and email are becoming preferred methods of communicating for large numbers of Americans, says a report in BtoB.

The Pew Internet Project reports that about a third of Americans (69% don’t go online) are among the ‘tech elite’–which is further divvied up: Wired GenXers (average age 36), Wired Baby Boomers (average age mumble-mumble) and Young Tech Elite (average age 22). Guess who’s giving up the wired land telephone line fastest? Yep. It’s the kids–mostly.

Had a conversation last night with a Boomer buddy who’s now using her cell phone for everything. (Just goes to show: it ain’t age, it’s attitude.) Look around: the number of companies offering one-line convenience is growing. How hard do you think the giant telephone companies are working to outrun this wave?

Meanwhile, as communication becomes ever more wireless, we grow closer to the time we can beam our thoughts to people. Say, we’d better get some really good spam filters in place before that happens, right?

But imagine the power of sharing your positive thoughts with those who might be interested…letting them hear the sound of your true voice.

Why wait? Get a headstart with your business blog.

Feel the success…

Wednesday, December 10th, 2003

Deepak Chopra is a highly respected physician who lectures and writes on the topic of human development. I happened to stumble upon his most recent program on PBS tonight. Brilliant guy who brings a uniquely informed perspective to thoughts on how to live life peacefully, joyfully, “effectively.” I put quotes around that because we in business often focus on effectiveness at the cost of authenticity. Who cares, right? Effective has to do with results; authenticity has to do with principles and emotion.

It’s fascinating to hear a high-profile scientist of Chopra’s stature talk about the pivotal role our emotions play in the successful living of every day life–including our business lives. We love our bottom lines, that’s for sure, but he’s telling us the other stuff–how we feel, how our employees feel, how our customers feel–is at least as important, if not more to getting the results we want.

Another powerful reason to use your true voice to communicate in newsletters and blogs.

It's time–confidence, ad-spending up

Tuesday, December 9th, 2003

We are spending more on advertising, according to industry experts cited in today’s New York Times online. And they’re singing hopeful tunes, especially about the second half of 2004.

But it’s interesting that they admit the “quadrennial effect” is at work–huge spending that takes place during political campaigns and to herald the upcoming Summer Olympics. The main legitimate business source of increase is clearly advertising on the Internet.

That trend is the biggest vote of confidence you could ever have in the value of starting your business blog now. Where the money goes is where the attention of business owners is going. You need to be there, too. But you need to be there in a fresh, compelling, original and honest way–if you’re going to stand out from the crowd.

A new e-book will be available on this site soon entitled: “Blog for Business–How to Attract Loyal, Profitable Customers–and Hold onto Them.” Every step of setting up your business blog process explained in simple, easy language.

Email here and let us know you’d like to reserve your copy.

Convention center all blogged out

Monday, December 8th, 2003

In Northeast Ohio we’ve had some passionate carrying on over the last year or so about “to build or not to build” a new convention center. Violent arguments on both sides have virtually canceled each other out, and the courageous final decision of cit government was not to proceed.

Discussion still rages in some quarters, though. In a popular Cleveland-based blog portal (BFD…and no, it’s not what you think), people are still being quoted on the subject. So here’s what I decided to write–because it really relates to the topic of this site: the power of blogging for business.

“A convention center seems an outmoded idea for building a city, since the trend appears to be towards fewer and fewer trade shows.

With the power of webcasting and other interactive technologies and the growing understanding of how to implement well-managed communication campaigns (including corporate blogs), the need to allocate precious resources towards huge generalized industry gatherings is fading. The point of those was to introduce people to each other who might never otherwise have found each other. We now have far less resource-intensive, less stressful and less expensive ways to do that.”

Want prospects to find you? Do a strong, relevant, honest blog–and they will.

Blogging for internal purposes

Friday, December 5th, 2003

Starting with the state of Texas, WalMart is demanding that suppliers put RFID (radio frequency ID) tags on pallets of merchandise. Like the tracking systems that let shippers and buyers know exactly where the trucks carrying their orders are, now they’re doing the same for the t-shirts and shoes and bottled pop IN the trucks. Complete visibility for all interested parties (shippers, buyers, truckers, store personnel, etc.).

Video and web conferencing for real-time meetings without anyone having to leave their own offices. Person-to-person presence awareness (okay, yeah, it sounds pretty corporate-speak, but it just means systems and machines that can tell whether you’re there or not when someone wants to call you or send you an Instant Message. All of this is reported in a recent issue of Information Week.

Talk about paring down the time needed to put people and products together! Tighter inventory controls and less time wasted searching for materials or people, even in far-flung locations. Money and time saved exchanging information and solving problems.

How does blogging fit into this picture of instant, real-time communication? Well, sometimes you’re not quite ready to have a virtual meeting, or you’re not in your office for the ‘presence awareness’ function to detect you, or maybe you just want to be left alone a while. Either way you undoubtedly still have thoughts about the topic at hand that others would find it useful to know. Because we all know some of our best ideas occur to us in the shower, or the car, or the bed.

Sharing your thoughts in a blog–perhaps on an intranet for internal matters–as you work through your research and prepare for the real-time meeting, lets everyone get the benefit of each others’ thoughts before the meeting. Of course, there may be some reason you want to surprise everyone with your ideas–hopefully not because you’re trying to score a political coup.

But it only makes sense that sharing with each other ahead of time will make the meeting more productive when it happens. Who knows? It might even eliminate the need for some of those meetings…

I don’t know about you, but it sounds like a win-win to me

Sharing takes a leap forward

Thursday, December 4th, 2003

Microsoft has taken strides towards actually sharing more of its technology according to an article in the New York Times online by Steve Lohr.

“…more royalty-free licensing, especially to industry groups setting software standards for machine-to-machine communication and data sharing, known as Web services…essential building blocks for the further development and growth of Internet commerce.”

Whether Microsoft is being opportunistic about this or not is not the point. This giant corporation has finally decided there is value in sharing knowledge. I don’t know about you, but to me this has the earmarks of a huge breakthrough.

Next step: Microsoft executives blogging about their technology. What do you think?