free counters

Friday, May 25, 2012

Digital Dreamers - Start Up

Digital Dreamers - Episode 1 (15:53)
Asher Moses joins the StartUp bus in Las Vegas, where aspiring entrepreneurs pitch against each other for venture capital dollars.

8 Rules For Creating A Passionate Work Culture

Expert Perspective
8 Rules For Creating A Passionate Work Culture BY PAUL ALOFS | 05-21-2012 | 6:05 AM

This article is written by a member of our expert contributor community.

Several years ago I was in the Thomson Building in Toronto. I went down the hall to the small kitchen to get myself a cup of coffee. Ken Thomson was there, making himself some instant soup. At the time, he was the ninth-richest man in the world, worth approximately $19.6 billion. Enough, certainly, to afford a nice lunch. I looked at the soup he was stirring. "It suits me just fine," he said, smiling.

Thomson understood value. Neighbors reported seeing him leave his local grocery store with jumbo packages of tissues that were on sale. He bought off-the-rack suits and had his old shoes resoled. Yet he had no difficulty paying almost $76 million for a painting (for Peter Paul Rubens's Massacre of the Innocents, in 2002). He sought value, whether it was in business, art, or groceries.

In 1976, Thomson inherited a $500-million business empire that was built on newspapers, publishing, travel agencies, and oil. By the time he died, in 2006, his empire had grown to $25 billion.

He left both a financial legacy and an art legacy, but his most lasting legacy might be the culture he created. Geoffrey Beattie, who worked closely with him, said that Ken wasn't a business genius. His success came from being a principled investor and from surrounding himself with good people and staying loyal to them. In return he earned their loyalty.
For the long-term viability of any enterprise, Thomson understood that you needed a viable corporate culture. It, too, had to be long-term. So he cultivated good people and kept them. Thomson worked with honest and competent business managers and gave them his long-term commitment and support. From these modest principles, an empire grew.
Thomson created a culture that extended out from him and has lived after him. Here are eight rules for creating the right conditions for a culture that reflects your creed:

1. Hire the right people
Hire for passion and commitment first, experience second, and credentials third. There is no shortage of impressive CVs out there, but you should try to find people who are interested in the same things you are. You don't want to be simply a stepping stone on an employee's journey toward his or her own (very different) passion. Asking the right questions is key: What do you love about your chosen career? What inspires you? What courses in school did you dread? You want to get a sense of what the potential employee believes.

2. Communicate
Once you have the right people, you need to sit down regularly with them and discuss what is going well and what isn't. It's critical to take note of your victories, but it's just as important to analyze your losses. A fertile culture is one that recognizes when things don't work and adjusts to rectify the problem. As well, people need to feel safe and trusted, to understand that they can speak freely without fear of repercussion.
The art of communication tends to put the stress on talking, but listening is equally important. Great cultures grow around people who listen, not just to each other or to their clients and stakeholders. It's also important to listen to what's happening outside your walls. What is the market saying? What is the zeitgeist? What developments, trends, and calamities are going on?

3. Tend to the weeds
A culture of passion capital can be compromised by the wrong people. One of the most destructive corporate weeds is the whiner. Whiners aren't necessarily public with their complaints. They don't stand up in meetings and articulate everything they think is wrong with the company. Instead, they move through the organization, speaking privately, sowing doubt, strangling passion. Sometimes this is simply the nature of the beast: they whined at their last job and will whine at the next. Sometimes these people simply aren't a good fit. Your passion isn't theirs. Constructive criticism is healthy, but relentless complaining is toxic. Identify these people and replace them.

4. Work hard, play hard
To obtain passion capital requires a work ethic. It's easy to do what you love. In the global economy we can measure who has a superior work ethic, who is leading in productivity. Not many industries these days thrive on a forty-hour work week. A culture where everyone understands that long hours are sometimes required will work if this sacrifice is recognized and rewarded.

5. Be ambitious
"Make no little plans: they have no magic to stir men's blood." These words were uttered by Daniel Burnham, the Chicago architect whose vision recreated the city after the great fire of 1871. The result of his ambition is an extraordinary American city that still has the magic to stir men's blood. Ambition is sometimes seen as a negative these days, but without it we would stagnate. You need a culture that supports big steps and powerful beliefs. You can see these qualities in cities that have transformed themselves. Cities are the most visible examples of successful and failed cultures. Bilbao and Barcelona did so and became the envy of the world and prime tourist destinations. Pittsburgh reinvented itself when the steel industry withered. But Detroit wasn't able to do the same when the auto industry took a dive.

6. Celebrate differences 
When choosing students for a program, most universities consider more than just marks. If you had a dozen straight-A students who were from the same socio-economic background and the same geographical area, you might not get much in the way of interesting debate or interaction. Great cultures are built on a diversity of background, experience, and interests. These differences generate energy, which is critical to any enterprise.

7. Create the space 
Years ago, scientists working in laboratories were often in underground bunkers and rarely saw their colleagues; secrecy was prized. Now innovation is prized. In cutting-edge research and academic buildings, architects try to promote as much interaction as possible. They design spaces where people from different disciplines will come together, whether in workspace or in common leisure space. Their reasoning is simple: it is this interaction that helps breed revolutionary ideas. Creative and engineering chat over coffee. HR and marketing bump into one another in the fitness center. Culture is made in the physical space. Look at your space and ask, "Does it promote interaction and connectivity?"

8. Take the long view 
If your culture is dependent on this quarter's earnings or this month's sales targets, then it is handicapped by short-term thinking. Passion capitalists take the long view. We tend to overestimate what we can do in a year, but underestimate what we can do in five years. The culture needs to look ahead, not just in months but in years and even decades.

The writer Arthur Koestler said that a writer's ambition should be to trade a hundred contemporary readers for ten readers in ten years' time and for one reader in a hundred years' time. Lasting influence is better than a burst of fame. Keep an eye on the long view.

Excerpted from Passion Capital:
The World's Most Valuable Asset © 2012 by Paul Alofs.
Published by Signal, a division of Random House of Canada Limited.
Reproduced by arrangement with the Publisher.
All rights reserved.
[Image: Flickr user PurpleMattFish

10 tips to choose right Retail management software

10 tips to choose right Retail management software.
Guest post by: Nilesh Shah

Article Overview:
Unlike most retailers, you may be confused with choices and alternatives available for retail management software. Further, the boom in the retail industry is attracting many spurious vendors to become retail management software companies. With just 1 or 2 installations in hand, they become retail consultants. Their motive is to make quick money. Beware of them! Please ensure that when you choose retail management software, you do it with an extra care and taking future developments into consideration. Here are a few criteria to evaluate a Retail management software / company.

10 tips to choose right Retail management software.

1. Open Hardware
It should run on any type of hardware. You have to be careful about choosing a proprietary based technology. Hardware is generally PC (computer) based and the software should support any PC.

2. Integrated Solution

In old days, for most retailers, POS was a category of software that is chosen separately from back-office and other in-store systems. But today it is extremely important that most of the different systems should be in-built.

3. Flexibility

Flexibility means being able to respond to business requirements on the fly. Flexibility means a retailer can adapt the software at their head office and then instantly download changes to the stores so that the store systems are updated in minutes rather than months.

4. Operating System

Although DOS and the various desktop versions of Windows are still frequently found at the point-of-sale, Windows 2000 and XP seems to be widely regarded by retailers as the operating platform of the future. The momentum behind XP as the operating system of choice for POS has been building.

Because of its higher levels of stability and security, XP is penetrating the store level both at the POS and the in-store processor much more strongly than the
desktop versions of Windows. In short, the software should be a windows based and should support 2000 and XP.

5. Scalability

You never know what can happen in a retail business. A new format may be developed, or a merger or acquisition may take place, changing the strategic direction of an entire company overnight. It's important to be prepared, and to have a POS system that can scale to accommodate the very largest or the very smallest of stores. Retail management software should be modular. It should grow with you.

6. Multiple classes of retailing – (Garments, Grocery, IT, Food)

POS software should be able to accommodate different classes of retailing. The applications should run in multiple retail environments varying in format, size, volume, product assortment, and promotional structure.

7. Out-of-the-box usability

For the vast majority of retailers, it's a much better idea to buy out-of-the-box POS software than try to develop home-grown systems. Buying an out-of-the-box software offers substantial cost benefits, since the software vendor is able to distribute the development costs over multiple clients. Vendors can also typically do a better job with support. But that doesn't mean retailers should be satisfied with a "one-size-fits-all" solution. A packaged software product should be easily customizable by the retailer, without the need to alter internal source code.

8. Vendor reliability – Evaluating a
retail management software company
As discussed earlier, buying retail management software is no time for experimentation. A retailer should choose a vendor with a proven track record of installations and a large enough organization to be credible. A retailer should also want to have confidence that the vendor will be around for long, and that it will be able to respond to needs quickly and provide custom development services when necessary.

Along with product cost you must ask for any hidden cost like training and support charges, Software Updation charges, and Annual
maintenance charges (AMC) and Data conversion charges.

Do they provide
barcode and pos hardware? If yes what are available options.

How much time they take to respond a service call?

What if the software has a bug and they don't fix it?

9. Ready for Future - Ongoing Upgrades

Retail management software vendor should be continually enhancing its product, driven both by its expertise in how it sees the marketplace unfolding and by customer requests. When he does this, the result is significant advantages to its retail customers.

"Future vision" is another important aspect of long-term
vendor reliability - the ability to anticipate development needs in advance of their becoming critical.

A good
Retail management software vendor should demonstrate enough "future vision" to have already committed substantial resources to support new forms of technology such as data synchronization.

10. Easy to install, learn and use

Finally, a Retail management software should be organized in such a fashion that it shoulders the responsibilities of a retailer. Despite the power and scope it must be easy to adapt, learn and use. That means you save money on the training and implementation. You save huge money on manpower and employee turnover can be handled easily.

Which Retail Automation & POS Software Works For You?

Which Retail Automation & POS Software Works For You?
Guest post by: Nilesh Shah
Retail Software implementations vary in their features, ease of installation, syntax, and semantics.

The purpose of this article is to give an overview of a fare
Retail Software and see how it's worth. It is not trivial to switch from one Retail Software to the other, because this will usually require translating all of information to the new one.

Thus, choosing a
Retail Software requires some care, taking possible future developments into account. This article will hopefully help you make that choice if the need arises.

Evaluation Criteria : Buying point-of-sale (POS) software is complex process. These are some of the point the Retailer should consider before buying a POS software.

1. Open Hardware : The software should run on any type of hardware . You have to be careful about choosing a proprietary based technology. Hardware is generally PC based and the software should support any PC.

2. Interface Capability : In old days, for most retailers, POS was a
category of software that is chosen separately from back-office and other in-store systems. But today its extremely important that most of the different systems should be inbuilt.

3. Flexibility : Flexibility means being able to respond to
business requirements on the fly. Flexibility means a retailer can adapt the software at their head office and then instantly download changes to the stores so that the store systems are updated in minutes rather than months.

4. Operating System : Although DOS and the various
desktop versions of Windows are still frequently found at the point-of-sale, Windows 2000 and XP seems to be widely regarded by retailers as the operating platform of the future. The momentum behind XP as the operating system of choice for POS has been building.

Because of its higher levels of stability and security, XP is penetrating the store level both at the POS and the in-store processor much more strongly than the
desktop versions of Windows
In short , the system should be a windows based and should support 2000 and XP.

5. Scalability :You never know what can happen in a
retail business. A new format may be developed, or a merger or acquisition may take place, changing the strategic direction of an entire company overnight. It's important to be prepared, and to have a POS system that can scale to accommodate the very largest or the very smallest of stores. A good retail software should be modular. It should grow with you.

6. International Operations: The age of the global economy is here. Many retailers are expanding internationally, while others are preparing to do so. A retailer's POS system should not be an obstacle to this kind of expansion - it should be able to handle multiple currencies, languages, and local functional requirements.

7. Multiple Classes of Retailing : POS software should be able to accommodate different classes of retailing. The applications should run in multiple
retail environments varying in format, size, volume, product assortment, and promotional structure.

8. Off-the-Shelf Usability : For the vast majority of retailers, it's a much better idea to buy off-the-shelf POS software than try to develop home-grown systems. Buying off-the-shelf software offers substantial cost benefits, since the software vendor is able to distribute the development costs over multiple clients. Vendors can also typically do a better job with support.

But that doesn't mean retailers should be satisfied with a "one-size-fits-all" solution. A packaged software product should be easily customizable by the retailer, without the need to alter internal source code.

9. Vendor Reliability : Buying POS software is no time for experimentation. A retailer should choose a vendor with a proven track record of installations and a large enough organization to be credible. A retailer should also want to have
confidence that the vendor will be around for the long haul, and that it will be able to respond to needs quickly and provide custom development services when necessary.

"Future vision" is another important aspect of long-term
vendor reliability - the ability to anticipate development needs in advance of their becoming critical. A good POS software vendor should demonstrate enough "future vision" to have already committed substantial resources to support new forms of technology such as web based reporting and data synchronization.

10. Ongoing Upgrades : A good POS software vendor should be continually enhancing its product, driven both by its expertise in how it sees the marketplace unfolding and by customer requests. When a POS software vendor does this, the result is significant advantages to its
retail customers.

11. and the most important thing : EASY TO USE : so that you save
money on the training and implementation. You save huge money on manpower and employee turnover can be handled easily.

10 mistakes retailer make while choosing Retail management software

10 mistakes retailer make while choosing Retail management software
Guest post by: Nilesh Shah

Article Overview:
Choosing a retail management system is no time for experimentation. Don't make these mistakes when you buy Retail management software.

1. Their requirements are not clear
Let us begin with an example. You have probably seen retail management software running at your neighborhood store and planned to install the same. They simply overwhelmed by barcode, computerized billing and collection statement at day-end. Let us move a step further and find out how you can narrow down your requirements:

a) How many transaction you make per day?

b) What is the average bill value?
c) Does it support voluminous data?
d) How fast is the reporting?
e) Does it support multiple modes of payment?
f) Does it support multiple users simultaneously?

Does it cater to a specific
retail need (like size, color and design for garments, batch number and mfg, expiry dates for food items and so on)?

2. They look for a cheaper solution

We all have heard a saying… "Pay penny and you'll get peanuts". We agree, there are ready softwares available which are cheap, but they have limited competency. Retail management software is the nervous-system of your retail business. This is not the time for experimentation. Making one such mistake could cost you somewhere between $200 to $2,000

3. They do not verify vendor reliability

When you invest in point of sale software, you're buying a relationship, not just a product. In fact, the "quality" of the software company is usually just as important as the product. Why is the software company so important?
Well... After you purchase the software, you will rely on the software company to supply updates, training, technical support, and possibly hardware. Most often they also forget to ask for hidden costs like training and support charges, Updation
charges, annual maintenance charges (AMC) and data conversion cost which results in arising disputes.

4. They do not research for the related products

"It's better late than sorry". Most retailers don't give enough time in exploring available solutions in the market. If we talk in terms of priority, retailers rank computerization 1st from the last. They are too busy setting up space, exchanging ideas with interior designer, negotiating with furniture and fixture suppliers and follow-up with vendors. They actually do not get enough time to research. Finally, when it's show time they ask a friend which software he is using, possible search website, get a price quote, look for basic functioning and get started.

5. They buy a standard
accounting software
We know that a financial accounting system is the base to any business model of any nature. It's always better to have something than nothing. Gradually you keep looking for features in the same system or you try to mould your needs to suit the accounting software. Finally, you indulge yourself in complex day-to-day activity and your focus lost from business expansion.

There are 100's of software available and it's very easy to choose the wrong one. If you have followed this guide, you must have understood one thing, always look for software that is tailored to suite your business need. Every retailer has different needs. A
garments retailer's needs are different from a grocery retailer. Similarly, a gift shops' requirements are different from a mobile retail store.

6. They buy hardware first

We can't tell you how many times we've heard a retailer say, "I just bought new computers, printers and I have everything ready to go. Now I need to find POS software." As soon as we hear that, we think to ourselves, "This guy could have saved himself a lot of time and money if he selected his POS software first!"


Firstly, any
retail management software will have specific hardware and operating platform requirements. In addition, a few retail management software works with only certain types of printers, scanners, cash drawers and card readers.
Secondly, when you buy hardware first, you restrict your choices of retail management software. Either you have spend money again to buy compatible hardware or compromise on software.You can avoid frustration and save money if you choose the retail management software first. Then you can ask the software company about their recommended hardware and operating systems.

7. They do not look for future prospects

At times, people forget to look for available future prospects. You're investing in business to grow, to expand. Does the retail management software you are buying is scalable? Can it cater to multiple retail outlets across different geographical boundaries? As discussed earlier, retail management software and hardware are business investment. Typical life span of such systems is 5 years. You must take into consideration "Future Vision". It is easily upgradeable because change of systems can be expensive.

8. They designate the job to subordinates

Too many retailers give the responsibility of choosing the retail management software to an employee or a computer consultant that is not familiar with your industry. Most computer consultants have good intentions but they tend to give poor advice when it comes to choosing POS software. This is a big mistake. They are great sources for information about computers, hardware and networking but they do not understand the finer details of retail management software. If you get poor advice and select the wrong type of system, your business will lose money.

Top management and other key personnel must be involved in the selection and implementation process. You should never rely solely on a consultant's recommendation or input. The person that evaluates the software must have in-depth knowledge about your business. Evaluating the
retail management software is complicated. Not to mention it can make a huge difference in your businesses productivity. Retail management software is too important to pass the evaluation process to someone else. We see owners and managers make this mistake all
the time. Don't make the same one.

9. They get confused with Technology push

Almost all the salesmen are trained on and will try to give you technology push over practical functioning. This is the only are where most retailers have less or no knowledge. "Our software runs on 32-bit WINDOWS environment and is programmed on .NET; we use SQL or Oracle as backend and integrated tools like Discoverer or OLAP helps you to automate your Retail. The technology is open and scalable to support multiple concurrent users." Sounds familiar… Don't worry; this is the only way to differentiate their product and an only mode to get over you in "across-the-table" discussion. "If you can't convince a person, confuse him".

Let us distinguish fact from the story. Don't bother about subjectivity of the product. Figure out objectivity. You're running
retail business with an object of making profits and expand rapidly. Ask yourself following questions:

a) Are you looking for features or functionality?

b) Whether or not retail management software works for your nature of retail?
c) What is track record of Software Company?
d) Will it be able to help me in accomplishing my vision and mission?
And most importantly
e) Is it easy to use?
We are sure that from now onwards you will not be confused with Technology push.

10. They buy independent software

One more thing we have found retailers doing is they buy separate softwares for inventory and financial accounting. The main reason surveyed was they had started with accounting software and later upon realizing the importance of barcoding they have opted for inventory package or vice versa. Finally they end up duplicating their jobs and when required they need to gather details from various sources to make decisions.

As a matter of fact, there are
retail management softwares available in the market which is integrated. Hence, while you are making a transaction, software automatically posts it to respective sections. For example, while you make your purchases, software automatically transfers it to accounts payable. Thus, if you want to check your vendor wise stock or vendor wise due, you can view them both from within one system. Another advantage of integrated system is they are modular.

Along with
stock keeping and book-keeping it also provides tools such as Customer Relationship Management (CRM) which is most often known as loyalty program, Supply Chain Management (SCM), Merchandise and procurement solution. That means, you can start rapidly and expand easily.

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Is your intranet encouraging collaboration? 10 easy steps to get collaboration started

You have heard a lot of people talk about 'the social intranet', 'internal collaboration' and 'enterprise 2.0′ and many internal comms executives, intranet managers and HR teams have tried to set up business oriented forums, blogs and status updates.  The success rate is sporadic but those who get it right will reap massive benefits and unlock the power of crowd sourcing. There are many examples of crowd sourcing success stories on the web such as this recent list compiled by Information Week.

Here are my 10 points to kick-start your collaboration strategy:

1. Ensure you have management buy-in
When talking to management, don't brand collaboration tools with current buzzwords such as Enterprise 2.0, Social Business or Intranet 2.0, etc, etc! It's important to present the tools as solutions to particular pain points in the business (see point 3.) You need to show how business can be significantly improved with collaboration features. Show them how discussions, news and points of view are transparent on the intranet –execs are then able to tap into the company community on demand. Toby Ward discusses the importance of management buy-in in his blog '6 killer reasons for selling social media to executives.'

2. Encourage collaboration champions
Find out who in your company is already utilising social collaboration tools such as Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn and get them to become champions on your collaborative intranet platform. Encourage them to start using the intranet to ask questions and voice their opinions. Once you start the ball rolling with these employees, more will follow!

3. Focus on a need/pain point in your business
This is probably one of the most important steps you need to take when building a collaborative intranet.  The biggest mistake I see is a lack of understanding in the objectives of why organisations are trying to encourage collaboration.
Look deep into a business and find the areas that may be helped by Enterprise 2.0 tools. For example a pain point may be that a company is continually losing business to one particular competitor. By using status updates (or micro-blogging) on your intranet to share information about the competitor amongst colleagues and using an accompanying hash tag, makes all the information searchable so critical material is not lost and can be utilised to win business.
Another example is when a company introduces a new IT system into the business. Instead of swamping the IT helpdesk with email queries about the new system, which leads to multiple repetitions of questions being asked, a collaborative intranet can be used to post questions about the new system and receive answers via crowd-sourcing. This eliminates the use of email and it also means the information is searchable so people looking for the same answer can find it easily. The feature Interact Answers takes crowd-sourcing to the next level by intelligently pushing content to people it thinks can provide solutions.

4. Set up a governance strategy for your collaborative intranet
It is important to involve HR when setting up a government strategy. They own the informal learning procedures in a business, which the social intranet is part of.
Come up with basic rules around using collaborative tools. Social networking governance policies should encourage active online participation while mirroring existing business conduct and compliance policies.
Check what guidelines already exist in your organisation. Most organisations have a general code of conduct for the use of email and when using external social networking tools e.g. Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn etc. These are usually easily adapted to cover internal networking. Follow @netjmc for great information on intranet governance.

5. Use the correct tools for the job
Imagine using Excel when you want to write a report or draft a letter?  It would be possible but it would be difficult and the result wouldn't be great.  I have seen so many people use forums instead of blog posts for personal updates and although this can work it is confusing to the end user.  Therefore it is really important that you use blogs, forums, status updates correctly and consistently.  Ensure that everyone in the organisation knows which tools are available and how they should be using them.
This comes down to the governance of your enterprise 2.0 strategy. Why not create a document that details how each tool should be used and make sure that this is covered in any induction process? For example – if you want people to ask questions through your status updates/micro-blog then tell them to ask any questions through that tool and not on a forum.  It does help when you can configure these tools for different applications. One of the reasons Interact Answers was developed, was to uncover the massive benefits of activity steams and micro-blogging, directing the user to ask a question through their status updates.

6. Integrate social intranet tools with your traditional intranet
This is probably one of the biggest reasons I see for the failure of mass participation. It is important somebody doesn't have to visit two places to work with the intranet – they should be integrated into one space. It is far easier to introduce and teach somebody about a new feature of an existing platform than explain they have to go to X for collaboration and Y for documents. When somebody goes to the intranet to complete a form or read a policy, collaboration tools should be clearly visible and accessible on the Homepage. By pushing this information to people, they can easily see relevant material such as a question they may know the answer to and then they can begin to collaborate.
Linking to documents and people using @ tagging makes collaboration a more successful and integrated experience (imagine if you couldn't link to people in Facebook!) Ensuring the intranet is one integrated space, means collaboration has a higher success rate. Toby Ward's blog post on The Social Intranet Tipping Point give some great examples of a social intranet home page.

7. Promote interaction
Having a forum or blog that is hidden away is the easiest way to fail.  It is really important that any updates are pushed to users through homepages and alerts. If somebody has commented on a document or a status update they will want to know when there is other activity around their comments.  If somebody asks a question they want to know that question is being pushed to the experts in their organisation. By promoting interaction to users it improves the chance of collaboration success.

8. Ensure that your collaboration doesn't get wasted
The real key to collaboration is that a lot of it becomes company knowledge and can be searched for and found easily within the intranet unlike emails. Important information is not lost and is locked in the company, even when employees leave. Effective search functionality is key to collaboration success – it needs to search all the content on the intranet including documents, the staff directory, calendars, blogs and all applications.

9. Encourage peer-to-peer recognition as a social intranet initiator
Nothing is better for morale than public peer recognition and the collaborative intranet is the perfect place to start.
A motivational tool such as the Interact Rewards Widget works really well for this. It allows your employees to publically recognise fellow employees' efforts. Designed to be a peer-to-peer tool not just a 'top down' to applaud the efforts of others, it not only boosts morale but it also provides a pull mechanism to encourage intranet usage and employee engagement.

10. Try and try again
Mass user contribution doesn't happen overnight! However it is easy and takes just a small investment in time to set up different collaboration projects with different objectives. If your first effort fails to get momentum don't give up just try again with a different tool and goals.
It will succeed and you will have that collaboration 'wow moment'- whether that is realising the costs it will save your company or uncovering unknown knowledge in your industry, it will suddenly hit you!

Nigel Danson is the Founder and CEO of Interact Intranet

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Retailers win with Mobile Payments

Matthew Talbot | May 17, 2012

Two recent announcements prove that retailers are very much in the mobile payments game.

First, The Wall Street Journal reported that Walmart and Target were among two dozen retailers collaborating on a mobile commerce project.

Then, Starbucks shared the impressive numbers from its Starbucks Mobile app, which launched in the United States in January 2011, and the United Kingdom and Canada a year later. 42 million: that's how many transactions the company has processed in the 15 months since it launched, and 16 million of those happened between December and April.

Retailers aren't waiting for NFC, or for banks or Google Wallet-or permission. They're getting ahead and launching their own systems. And why not? They're seizing the opportunity to take control of the customer relationship, which they already own, in a new channel.

Enhance what you already do

Mobile opens up a new world of possibilities to offer new services and create direct relationships with customers. The opportunity is huge, and to make the most of it, you must tie it in to what you already do.

The Starbucks Mobile app is a great example of what it takes to succeed with mobile commerce and mobile CRM. It's not fancy or complicated. It's simply a digital version of the coffee giant's existing loyalty card, already popular with millions of customers. Load funds to the mobile app starting with a prepaid card and then a credit card, bring your phone to any Starbucks in the United States, United Kingdom or Canada (it works across countries), and scan the barcode at the register after selecting your coffee. Simple, and here's the key: more convenient and rewarding than cash or credit. (Though the loyalty aspect, which only applies to U.S. customers, requires a hefty 45 purchases to receive your first free drink, it only takes 15 to earn them thereafter.)

From payments to CRM

Once a company has a successful mobile payment method, it's a short road to mobile loyalty and engagement programmes. Not only do retailers have a direct marketing channel for sending offers, coupons, alerts and reminders, they also receive detailed information about each customer's purchasing behavior with every transaction.

Put this information to use, and suddenly the company knows who redeems coupons, when, what they bought and how much they spent, and can incorporate all of that into future marketing and loyalty programmes.

Global corporations, Internet shopping and the popularity of self-service have reduced the number of face-to-face interactions retailers have with customers. Mobile, which combines all three factors, ironically can help re-establish that direct, personal relationship. It's possible to bring back a mom-and-pop level of familiarity without retuning to a mom-and-pop business model.

Getting started with mobile

With mobile, as with any new technology, it's often wise to start small and grow incrementally, letting the success of one service pave the way for the next. That's why it's important to find a technology partner that offers a full range of services, so you can build your own mobile channel in the most efficient way for your particular business.

No matter where you begin, there are best practices that always apply. Sally Burley, co-founder of The 3rd Degree, a market research and marketing solutions provider, highlights tips to ensure a mobile commerce deployment is successful in her recent article from the 2012 Mobile Commerce Guide, entitled, "Best Practices For Mobile Customer Engagement."

Know your customer. It's imperative to understand who your customers are, what kinds of devices they're using, and what they will want to use mobile for before you begin. Sometimes a smartphone app, such as Starbucks Mobile, is the best way to reach them, but keep in mind that SMS and mobile Web are more widely used across all regions and socio-economic groups.

Make a great first impression. Give customers a good experience when they first engage. Provide a sign-up bonus, discount or offer. Respond quickly. Welcome them to the fold.

This is also the perfect time to gather the basic information that will make all future interactions more meaningful, such as age, location, preferences, etc., and to get their permission to send alerts, notifications and other push communications via mobile.

Keep it simple. Don't make it hard to engage. Leverage existing programmes and existing behaviour patterns in your mobile efforts. Again, Starbucks Mobile is a virtual version of an established loyalty programme. People already get it.

Best case: your mobile programme makes it easier for customers to do what they already do, and also makes it easy and rewarding for them to engage more. Worst case: at the very least, your mobile programme shouldn't make it any harder to do what they already do.

Use positive reinforcement. Reward customers when they buy your product, promote on social media, or recommend to friends. Offer information, discounts or gifts. It's so easy to do with mobile.

Apply the golden rule. The mobile channel gives you instant, anytime, anywhere access to customers, so engage with caution. Treat your customers' mobile devices as you want retailers to treat yours.

Listen. Ask for feedback, gather transaction data, and then put it to use to deliver even better products and services.

Mobile goes both ways

The two-way communication that's possible with mobile means retailers and brands can truly know their customers, and deliver the right message at the right time to the right person. Starbucks might send an offer to the effect of, "Haven't seen you in a while, Mr. Talbot. Come back in for 15 percent off this month's signature drink."

Innovative retailers already understand that making the most of mobile means tying it into what they already do best, and using it to enhance every stage of the customer lifecycle.

Matthew Talbot is senior vice president, mobile commerce, Sybase 365, a subsidiary of Sybase (a SAP company), a leader in enabling mobile information services for mobile operators, financial institutions and enterprises.

Forrester outlines 5 rising, 5 declining security technologies

Ellen Messmer | May 16, 2012

Security technologies rise and fall in popularity, and Forrester Research in its TechRadar report puts its bets on five it thinks are in a growth mode and five it thinks are dying away.

The following are Forrester's picks for security technologies likely to grow in use:

1. Configuration auditing tools

According to Forrester, not much to see right now, but in three to five years they'll be in wider use because of the increasing number of data breaches and current regulatory environment and "have the potential to become ubiquitous in enterprise security organizations."

2. Malware analysis

Providing analysis used in incident response and vulnerability management, the "adoption of such tools is expected to rise" within the next three to five years in part because of "state-sponsored or advanced persistent threats" which require "more diligent inspection of network traffic."

3. Network encryption

Although network encryption exists in infrastructure devices such as routers and switches, demand for stand-alone appliances is just starting, Forrester says, due to many compliance requirements to encrypt and secure data. In one to three years this could reach the next phase, though without compliance pressures, this technology will be adopted by only the most stringent and largest of enterprises, according to Forrester.

4. Predictive threat modeling

This relatively new concept calls for analyzing how to properly protect important data by proactively modeling threats, says Forrester. In three to five years it could hit the next phase, although the "costs and complexity of current threat modeling tools work as a barrier to adoption of this new technology."

5. DDoS (distributed denial of service) mitigation controls

While there have been anti-DDoS products on the market for some time, Forrester points out, the market has until recently been very small. But due to the increase in hactivism, "the market for DDoS protection is poised for growth" within one to three years, Forrester predicts, especially as a service.

Forrester's says these security technologies may not survive the next few years.

1. Network access control

Forrester believes the market for stand-alone NAC offerings will likely be phased out over the next five to 10 years. (Though Forrester suggests there's a bit more hope for "packaging NAC" in security software suites or infrastructure security.) Why is it bad news for NAC? Forrester says only 10% of technology decision makers will implement it over the next 12 months because "solutions are complex to deploy, scale and manage." There are several NAC architectures, plus hardware and software approaches, and "all the approaches require integration with network infrastructure components." "NAC won't stop a malicious insider who wants to commit a security breach for financial or other reasons," Forrester says.

2. Secure file transfer (as an on-premise appliance)

The need to securely transfer and share files between business partners is high but in three to five years it's going to be done more and more with cloud-based services rather than appliances, according to Forrester.

3. Unified threat management

Though widely deployed in small and branch offices for DSL wide-area network implementations, UTMs face dislocation from new security gateways with more integrated firewall and intrusion features that make UTM look "antiquated." Forrester gives UTM one to three years to evolve to meet competitive challenges and be more "enterprise-ready," though it also acknowledges UTM is likely to be "moderately successful over the long run" in retail stores.

Forrester says the two below are "declining."

4. Traditional network firewall

The traditional firewall market "will stall as wide adoption of next-generation firewall (NGFW) technology occurs," says Forrester. The research firm says the outlook for the next five to 10 years is that NGFW will ultimately replace today's traditional firewalls, though these old-timers will still be the main line of cyberdefense for at least the next five years.

5. Network intrusion prevention (stand-alone)

Forrester believes the market for stand-alone intrusion-prevention systems (IPS), despite its success being deployed by the world's largest companies, is in decline and "will likely phase out in the next 5 to 10 years" as multi-function gateways and firewalls, especially NGFW, include IPS and are used instead of stand-alone IPS equipment.

Four challenges Facebook will face after the IPO

Jared Newman | May 16, 2012

When Facebook goes public, it will enter a new world full of shareholder meetings, earnings reports, and the constant pressure to turn an increasingly bigger profit. But the Facebook IPO isn't just about making money; it's also about expanding the network, in pursuit of Mark Zuckerberg's vision of a more connected world. With that in mind, here are four challenges Facebook will face after its public offering is complete:

Regain User Trust

Although Facebook's numerous privacy transgressions haven't stunted its growth, they appear to be taking their toll on users' attitudes toward the service. A recent AP-CNBC survey of Facebook users found that 59 percent don't trust the social network to keep their information private, and 54 percent wouldn't feel safe purchasing goods and services through Facebook. That could be a problem as Facebook tries to push social networking into more aspects of our lives.

To earn trust back, Facebook needs to be more transparent about what happens to user data, especially with third-party apps and Websites. Too often, users share information by accident, because Facebook relegates important details to the fine print. This only cements Facebook's reputation as a company that doesn't care enough about privacy.

More Mobile Dominance

Facebook is already one of the most popular phone apps, reaching 80 percent of U.S. smartphone subscribers over the age of 18, according to Comscore. But the social network could be much bigger than it already is, if only it could bring its own app ecosystem to phones and tablets. So far, rumors of a Facebook phone haven't come to fruition, nor has the chatter about a browser-based mobile platform for Facebook apps. That doesn't mean Facebook can sit on the sidelines forever. Eventually the company may try to become a major mobile player, with direct control over Facebook-connected apps and services.

Fix Frictionless Sharing

By allowing users to share links and other details about their lives with zero effort, Facebook has also created chaos. Facebook's so-called "frictionless sharing," which lets apps automatically publish details about what users are doing, is a fire hose of mostly worthless information. As Slate's Farhad Manjoo argued, automatic sharing crushes our ability to show good taste, burying truly useful information among the noise. And of course, it also leads to embarrassing cases of accidental sharing. At the core of frictionless sharing is a good idea: Telling friends about your life should be easy. But right now, it's too easy, the point that it's a repellant for people who don't always want to be plugged in to a social network.

Don't Grow Complacent

As Facebook gets bigger, it will face the same challenge as does every major tech company: Stay nimble enough to fend off smaller, scrappier competitors. With Instagram, Facebook took the easy way out by acquiring the start-up for $1 billion--a deal that has yet to be approved by regulators. There will be more companies like Instagram in the future, and Facebook can't simply acquire them all.

Social Media is worth the investment, say Indian CIOs

Varsha Chidambaram | May 16, 2012

Last week, Gartner claimed that half of enterprises are wasting money on social media. But Indian CIOs who are bullish on the social media space vehemently defend their digital marketing spends by claiming that it does indeed link back to measurable business outcomes.

"Having a million likes on your Facebook page or a million followers on Twitter may not make a social media campaign successful. It needs to translate into a revenue mechanism that affects the profitability of the business," feels Ranendra Dutta,VP-IT, Sabmiller India. He agrees it is tough to do. "You need to support your social media activity with secondary market research data of sales revenue, then you might be able to draw a co-relation, but it is tough to do," he adds.

Many like Dutta however agree that social media should be measured not as a standalone activity, rather as part of a larger digital marketing strategy. "In a marketing campaign, do you calculate the ROI of the collaterals?" asks V.S. Parthasarathy, group CIO, Mahindra & Mahindra.

Mahindra and Mahindra's digital marketing strategy has helped the company bring down transaction costs, build valuable leads of potential customers and increase focus of customer expectation. In fact, Mahindra and Mahindra's digital marketing activities has won laurels at a Harvard Social media Conference.

Companies today are spending on acquiring expertise in social and digital marketing as well as in tool that is helping them analyze that data. While only a few have started porting that data into their BI platforms, CRM activities like lead generation, crowd sourcing have started to bring in visible effects.

Companies like Mahindra & Mahindra and Sabmiller are extremely bullish in the social media space and have linked it to their larger digital marketing strategy. Sabmiller for example is running a campaign called 'the Coolest Job' on Facebook to promote a relatively unknown malt alcohol-beverage brand Miller High Life. The page received 37,000 job submissions and gained over 100,000 new Facebook India fans (from zero).

Mahindra & Mahindra, on the other hand, has been able to not only boost sales by drawing people into their showrooms, but also cut down their transaction costs. "Social media eliminates the cost of a third-party recommendation agency. Take Mahindra Holidays, for example. Today people customize their own holidays and follow reviews of other travelers to make their decisions. Social media has automated business processes that otherwise would've been a cost to the company," says Parthasarthy.

BI tools in the market have yet to reach a sophistication level wherein they can be used beyond a reporting tool, and understand the underlying emotions and sentimental value of Tweets and Facebook posts. However, social media front runners like TATA Docomo and are studying the online behavior of their customers that has helped them in dishing out targeted content.

"We've invested significantly in software as well as hardware to study the online behavior of our customers, on our site as well as various social media platforms. Our analytics tools help us understand where our customers are coming from, what are they browsing and what songs they are downloading, helping us service them better? I can directly co-relate this with my revenue, "says Manan Chhatrapati, CTO,

Tata Docomo has delivered over two billion message impressions per month on Facebook alone, and is currently the second highest ranked Indian media on Facebook, according to Brands Going Social. Ashish Pachory, head IT, Tata Teleservices has deployed web-crawler and associated tools to gain deeper insights into customer sentiments on Social Media. "The available information is analyzed using social media analytics to intelligently identify and resolve customer pain areas. The information also helps us in market analyses of products launched by Tata DOCOMO and other telecom players. Most importantly, it helps us understand behaviors and trends to do targeted market launches and arrest any negative sentiment before it hurts our customers or our business," he says.He adds, "It aids timely planning and prioritization of product launches, while also helping in reduction of customer complaints, thus helping us increase our revenues quickly."

Social media is an open medium, and more importantly it's free. "There very well might be a day when these sites will start charging companies who are using this medium to connect with their customers and advertise their products. It's about time we started measuring the returns because the cost of not being on social media is way too high," concludes Dutta.

Asians don’t trust online video ads

Anuradha Shukla | May 16, 2012

Despite an increase in online video usage, many advertisers struggle to connect with consumers via online video advertising campaigns, according to Nielsen Global Multi Screen Survey.

More consumers in Asia are demanding online videos due to anywhere, anytime delivery of media content but digital consumers still don't trust online video advertisements.

The Nielsen Global Multi-Screen Report is based on a survey conducted between 31 August and 16 September 2011. A study of the media habits of online consumers both in Asia and globally, found that only 33 percent of Asian digital consumers trusted online video ads.

Also, only 36 percent of the respondents said the messages delivered via online video advertisements held relevance when they were searching for product information.

"Online video advertising is the new frontier for agencies and advertisers," said Kerry Brown, Nielsen's APMEA Region Cross-Platform Audience Measurement director.

"The platform provides a unique opportunity to engage with consumers, but the messages need to be relevant and capture Web browsers' attention. With surging consumer participation, online video advertising is becoming an important consideration in companies' advertising schedules."

New frontier for agencies

The Nielsen Global Multi-Screen Report also found that about four in five (80 percent) Asian consumers viewed online videos in the past month. This is up five points since 2010 and six points higher than the global average of 74 percent.

Of those surveyed, 68 percent reported to view online videos at least once a week, up from 63 percent in 2010.

The Philippines has been identified as the most prevalent Asian country for frequent video consumption with 82 percent of online consumers viewing video content at least once per week.

"The growing popularity of online video content can largely be attributed to increasing Internet penetration and ownership of connected devices, and consumers seeking out more on-demand media content," said Brown. "Today's consumers have access to media content across a multitude of screens and in numerous environments and, as a result, are becoming accustomed to accessing media anywhere, anytime."

10 hacks that made headlines

Joan Goodchild | May 16, 2012

In our first Rogues Gallery, we looked at ten infamous social engineers -- con men who exploited human weaknesses rather than technical vulnerabilities.

But there have been computer and network hacks for, well, pretty much as long as we've had computers and networks. The motives behind these intrusions have ranged from curiosity to paranoia (see McKinnon, Gary), through today --when most high-profile hacks are driven by either greed or some form of ideology.

Here are ten hacking incidents through history that made some of the biggest headlines.

Markus Hess hacks on behalf of the KGB

A German citizen recruited by the KGB to spy for the Soviets in the 1980s, Hess was tasked with breaking into U.S. military computers to obtain classified information.

From the University of Bremen in Germany, Hess used the German Datex-P network via satellite link or transatlantic cable to the Tymnet International Gateway. He was able to eventually attack 400 U.S. military computers, including those at military installations in Germany and Japan, as well as machines at MIT in Cambridge, Massachusetts and the OPTIMIS Database at the Pentagon.

Hess's activity was eventually detected by Clifford Stoll, an astronomer turned systems administrator of the computer center of the Lawrence Berkeley Laboratory (LBL) in California. Hess was found guilty of espionage and sentenced to one to three years in prison.

After Hess's capture, Stoll wrote about the experience in a book titled "The Cuckoo's Egg."

Robert Morris hacks the Internet

As a graduate student at Cornell University in 1988, Robert Morris created what would come to be known as the first worm on the Internet. Morris has said he created the worm not for damage, but to give him an idea of the size of the web. In order to hide the worms origins at Cornell, Morris released it from MIT, unleashing it to exploit vulnerabilities in Unix sendmail, finger, and rsh/rexec. However, a design flaw caused the worm to replicate itself at higher levels than Morris has intended, overloading systems and causing damage significant damage.

After he was identified as the source of the worm, Robert Morris became the first person convicted under the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act in 1990. Morris was sentenced to three years of probation, 400 hours of community service, a fine of $10,050, and the costs of his supervision.

Vladimir Levin hacks Citibank

In what is seen by many as one of the first high-profile instances of financially-motivated hacking, Russian crime ring leader Vladimir Levin managed to gain access to accounts located in the Citibank network and stole millions of dollars in 1995.

Working as part of a larger crime group and using a computer based in London, Levin was able to get a list of customer codes and passwords that allowed him to log in many times over a several-week period and transfer money into accounts controlled by the crime organization. Officials said Levin managed to transfer $3.7 million illegally.

The FBI eventually caught up with Levin at a London airport and he was tried and convicted in the U.S. and sentenced to three years in jail in 1998. He was also ordered to pay Citibank $240,015 in restitution.

Jonathon James hacks NASA

Known by the hacker name c0mrade, Jonathon James was 16 when, in 1999, he hacked into the Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Alabama, and downloaded proprietary software for the International Space Station. The software supported the International Space Station's physical environment and was responsible for critical control of humidity and temperature for living in space.

NASA officials valued the documents stolen by James at around $1.7 million. The incident forced NASA to shut down its computer systems for three weeks and cost them about $41,000 to fix.

Adrian Lamo hacks the New York Times

In 2002, at age 19, Adrian Lamo hacked into the internal network of the New York Times and accessed many sensitive records, including an extensive database of op-ed writers the paper had used in the past.

The records contained names and, in some instances, phone numbers, home addresses and payment history on contributors such as Democratic strategist James Carville, former secretary of state James Baker, and (ironically, Sneakers movie veteran) actor Robert Redford. Lamo added his own name to the list of "experts" and under "expertise" he wrote "Computer hacking, national security, communications intelligence."

Gary McKinnon hacks the US military

Scottish hacker Gary McKinnon, who went by the handle Solo, was accused of hacking to several US military computers in 2001 and 2002. McKinnon allegedly wanted to know what the government knew about UFOs.

Military officials said the damage caused by McKinnon included the deletion of critical files from operating systems, prompting a shut down the US Armys Military District of Washington network of 2,000 computers for 24 hours. McKinnon also allegedly deleted weapons logs at the Earle Naval Weapons Station. Officials said the cost of cleanup from McKinnons hack was over $700,000.

McKinnon is currently in London and has been fighting US extradition orders for over a decade. He could face a sentence of over 60 years in prison if convicted of the charges against him.

Albert Gonzalez hacks TJX (and many more)

Albert Gonzalez was the convicted ring leader of a group of cyber criminals which, from 2005 through 2007, stole more than 90 million credit and debit card numbers from TJX and other retailers, including shoe sellers DSW, OfficeMax, BJs Wholesale Club and Dave & Busters. Gonzalez was also the mastermind behind the hacking that caused the massive records breach of Heartland Payment Systems in 2008.

In 2009, Gonzalez was sentenced to two concurrent 20-year prison sentences, the lengthiest sentence ever imposed in the United States for hacking or identity-theft.

Anonymous hacks HB Gary

In early 2011, Antisec group Anonymous got angry when Aaron Barr, at the time the CEO of HB Gary Federal, alluded to plans to reveal the identities of several Anonymous members at the Security B-Sides conference. In retaliation, the group compromised the systems of both HBGary Federal and sister firm HB Gary Inc. Anonymous then copied and made public thousands of private HBGary documents, including emails.

In one of the first events to really bring "hacktivism" to the attention of the mainstream press, it was reported that some of the documents stolen by Anonymous revealed HBGary Federal was working with Bank of America to respond to Wikileaks' planned release of BOA internal documents. The HBGary documents detailed some planned shady tactics, including launching a "dirty tricks" campaign against Wikileaks and disrupting a reporter who was assumed to be sympathetic to Wikileaks.

Lulzsec hacks Sony

An offshoot of Anonymous, hacktivist group Lulzsec in June 2011 hacked into Sony Pictures via SQL Injection attack and stole data that included names, passwords, e-mail and home addresses of thousands of customers.

Lulzsec, saying the attack was retaliation for Sony's legal action against hacker George Hotz for jailbreaking into the PlayStation 3, claimed to have compromised over one million accounts. Sony has claimed the number of compromised accounts was much lower.

Founding Lulzec member Sabu (real name Hector Xavier Monsegur) was arrested by federal agents in June 2011 and agreed to become an FBI informant, providing the FBI with details that lead to the arrest of five other "hacktivists" associated with the groups Anonymous, Lulzsec and Antisec. Sabu himself eventually plead guilty to criminal charges, including multiple counts of conspiracy to engage in computer hacking and is awaiting sentencing.

News of the World hacking scandal

Employees of British paper News of the World were found to have hacked into the phones of celebrities, politicians and even murder victims in pursuit of stories for the tabloid.

In an investigation that dated back to 2002, it was eventually revealed that reporters, as well as private investigators hired by the paper, had hacked into the voicemail accounts of celebrities such as model Elle McPherson and actress Sienna Miller, as well as members of the British Royal Family. In one instance, a PI working for the paper had tampered with official police evidence by listening to and inadvertently deleting the voicemails of murdered school girl Milly Dowler.

The 168-year-old paper was eventually shuttered in the wake of the scandal.

Why Facebook co-founder Eduardo Saverin is a schmuck | ZDNet

Why Facebook co-founder Eduardo Saverin is a schmuck
By David Gewirtz | May 14, 2012, 10:12pm PDT
Writing this article without profanity has been almost physically impossible. But we're a family site, here at ZDNet, so I'll just let you insert whatever invectives come to mind.

In this case, I'm talking about Eduardo Saverin, co-founder of Facebook, who — in order to avoid paying taxes on his multi-billion dollar IPO windfall — is renouncing his United States citizenship.

There's a truth about life that's often difficult to accept. Justice doesn't always happen. Some people, usually because of their great wealth, get away with doing reprehensible things. It's not fair, and it's not right, but it's what happens.

Case in point, the incredibly ungrateful S.O.B. by the name of Eduardo Saverin. Saverin is child of a wealthy Brazilian businessman. His father was well-enough off in Brazil that young Saverin, at age 13, was on a list of people targeted by Brazilian kidnap gangs, Pando Daily reports.

Seeking safety, Saverin's father moved the family to the United States. America was willing to take the young boy in, give him a safe home, a home away from kidnap gangs, a home with baseball and apple pie.

Eventually, Saverin wound up at Harvard. His time there wouldn't have been possible without the help of the United States, for Harvard has long been the beneficiary of not only U.S. dollars, but the best minds America has to offer. One such mind was that of Mark Zuckerberg, an American.

To make a long story short, Saverin teamed up with Zuckerberg and the Facebook venture was on its way. Facebook, of course, rolled out to U.S. colleges, nearly all of which were living to one degree or another, off U.S. tax dollars.

Twists and turns later, Saverin used the U.S. court system to sue for, and win, a disputed share of Facebook ownership.

And now, Saverin stands to make billions off an IPO on an American stock market.

If he stayed in America, he'd have to pay taxes on those billions. Sure, that's a lot of money, but it's not like he wouldn't still be left with a few billion after paying his due. So, it's not like he would be destitute and living in the streets. He might only be able to afford a hundred mansions instead of a hundred and fifty.

But no. Saverin's been planning this. He actually renounced his citizenship last fall, so his "exit taxes" would be lower, based on the then value of Facebook's pre-public stock, according to Bloomberg.

So, now to the question of justice. Just what has Saverin done wrong? He hasn't violated any laws (that we know of).

What he's done is played a system and gained tremendously for it. A case could be made that that's fair. One of the first things they teach you in B-school is to pay the least amount of taxes you can within the bounds of the law, and even the IRS accepts this as a reasonable strategy.

But going so far as to renounce the incredible gift of citizenship we gave to this man, and by doing so, saved him from kidnap gangs in his native country — that's below reprehensible.

Justice would be to take away his stock benefits if he renounces his citizenship. Justice would be to block him from raking in all that cash if he's not willing to pay his fair share.

But justice doesn't work that way.

Instead, Saverin is running away to Singapore, a very small country with a very low crime rate. One of the reasons that Singapore has such a low crime rate is that it has a particularly brutal penal system, which not only incarcerates criminals, it subjects them to caning, a particularly brutal and painful punishment.

By not paying his fair share of taxes in the United States, he's essentially stealing from all of the rest of us taxpayers who supported his education and his business venture. If it weren't legal, it'd be a crime.

I have this simple message for Eduardo Saverin: you better walk the straight and narrow very carefully and follow every single law to the letter. Because if you don't, and there's any justice in this world, you will be subject to Singapore's justice system.

And, because you've renounced your American citizenship, no amount of crying will bring Uncle Sam running to your rescue this time, you money-grubbing schmuck.

OOPS! GM drops Facebook ads: They ''don't work'' - Computerworld Blogs

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Survey: Hong Kong mobile users want to be found

Computerworld Hong Kong staff | May 15, 2012

Hong Kong mobile phone users want you know where they are, said TNS that recently released its annual report Mobile Life Study.

According to the company, 86% of Hong Kong mobile phone users who haven't used location-based services want to start using them, compared to the global average of 60%.

The TNS study, said the company, explores mobile usage amongst 48,000 people in 58 countries. The study results show that the majority of people around the world now recognize the value of sharing their locations to benefit from a range of services, to supplement the mobility they already enjoy, the firm said, adding that benefits perceived include time savings and money savings resulted from instant price comparisons.

Location-based services move into the mainstream

According to survey results, 61% of Hong Kong's mobile users are already using location-based services, compared to the global average of just 19%. Navigation with maps and GPS is currently the most popular motivator behind LBS uptake in Hong Kong (29%), but there is growing interest in more diverse activities, with close to 20% of mobile phone users in Hong Kong 'checking-in' through platforms such as Foursquare, or Facebook Places -- a vast increase from just 3% in 2011, TNS noted.

Hong Kong location-based service users are increasingly using services to enrich their social lives, with 12% using it to find their friends nearby; 29% of users locating restaurants and entertainment venues; 27% checking public transport schedules; and 6% booking a taxi.

In addition, almost a third of all mobile phone users state that they are interested in mobile ads that offer them a deal near their current locations.

"There are enormous regional variations which highlight the importance of having a targeted strategy when it comes to location based marketing," said Marc De Lange, director -- Digital Practice at TNS.

"Location-based services offer marketers an unprecedented level of engagement and targeting, but it has to be done in line with how people in individual markets want to engage with brands to avoid being intrusive. Where brands get it right, we have seen significant rewards in terms of brand engagement, loyalty and sales."

Faking IT: 5 execs who lied in resumes | Computerworld Hong Kong

MIS-Asia - BLOG: Embracing the consumerization of IT in six steps

Friday, May 11, 2012

What a 9-Year-Old Can Teach You About Selling


May 10, 2012By TOM SEARCY1

I recently read a study that confirmed my suspicion that most people don't remember what we present to them in a sales call. The data suggested that the average buyer in a meeting will only remember one thing–one!–a week after your meeting.

Oh, and by the way: You don't get to choose what that one thing is. Sigh.

So what have sales professionals done about this? They have worked on "honing the message," developing a "compelling unique advantage" and, of course, the ultimate silver bullet: a surefire elevator pitch.

But here's what you're fighting: A world cluttered with information, schedules, packed with more meetings and work than a person can handle. A decision-making process with more people involved in every choice–many of whom know little about your product or service. No wonder so little is remembered; often your audience doesn't even understand much about what you're offering.

What Kids Want to Know

I have a 9-year-old daughter with spring freckles, long brown hair and blue eyes the size of silver dollars. She asks the kinds of questions that on the surface seem so simple:

Daddy, what do you do?
Why do people decide to hire you?
Why don't they hire somebody else or do it themselves?

One of the great things about 9-year-olds: Like many buyers these days, they lack context. Any answer that you provide has to be in a language that they can understand.

What does a procurement specialist know about what you sell–or the IT person, or the finance person? The challenge is this:
Can you answer the three questions my 9-year-old asked, for your own business?

Hint: There are right and wrong answers for both.

Daddy, What Do You Do?

Right answer: "I help companies to grow really fast by teaching them how to sell bigger companies much larger orders."

Wrong answer: "Our company helps develop inside of our clients a replicable and scalable process for them to land large accounts."

Why Do People Decide to Hire You?

Right answer: "We have helped lots of companies do this before, so we are really good at it as long as they are the right type of companies."

Wrong answer: "We have a proven process for implementation that allows organizations to tailor the model to their market, business offering and company's growth goals."

Why Don't They Do It Themselves?

Right answer: "Just like when you learned to play the piano: Mommy and I could teach a little, but we don't know as much as your teacher, and teaching you ourselves would take a long time and be very frustrating. Daddy is a really good teacher of how to make bigger sales, and people want to learn how to do this as fast as they can."

Wrong answer: "We are the foremost expert in this field with over $5 billion in business that our clients have closed using this system. Usually our clients have tried a number of things on their own before we work together and have wanted outside help to get better results."

In these cases, both answers are accurate, but that doesn't make them right. In a world in which more decisions are made with less information and context, our responsibility is to get to as clear and memorable an answer as possible for all of the buyers to understand.

Author, speaker and consultant Tom Searcy is the foremost expert in large account sales. With Hunt Big Sales, he's helped clients land more than $5 billion in new sales. Click to get Tom's weekly tips, or to learn more about Hunt Big Sales. @tomsearcy