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Friday, February 28, 2014

Sir Ken Robinson on Passion

Sir Ken Robinson believes that everyone is born with extraordinary
capability. So what happens to all that talent as we bump through life,
getting by, but never realizing our true potential?

For most of us the problem isn't that we aim too high and fail - it's just the opposite - we aim too low and succeed.

need to find that magic spot where our natural talent meets our
personal passion. This means we need to know ourselves better. Whilst we
content ourselves with doing what we're competent at, but don't truly
love, we'll never excel. And, according to Ken, finding purpose in our
work is essentially to knowing who we really are.

Get ready to unleash your inner fervor as Ken takes to our pulpit to inspire you to follow your passion.

Ken Robinson is a leader in the development of creativity, innovation
and human resources, working with governments and the world's leading
cultural organizations. Born in Liverpool, he was Director of The Arts
Project (1985-89), and is Emeritus Professor of Education at the
University of Warwick. He was knighted in 2003 for his contribution to
education and the arts. Recent publications include Out of Our Minds:
Learning to be Creative (2001) and The Element: How Finding Your Passion
Changes Everything (2009).

This secular sermon took place at Conway Hall on Sunday 13 March 2011

TED Talks - Jason Teteak: Give a TED talk everywhere you go

* If you received this in your mailbox, click on link "ECBeez Blog" below to view the blogpost*
What if it were possible to learn how to give a TED talk anywhere you
go? Jason Teteak, author of Rule The Room, outlines the process for
giving TED talks using YOUR unique presentation personality style.

Thursday, February 27, 2014

Best Motivational Speech - Sales Motivation Keynote Speaker

Best Motivational Speech Ever - video by sales keynote Speaker Victor
Antonio, Atlanta, Georgia was recorded in Raliegh, North Carolina. One
of the best motivational video ever. This was the first commencement
keynote speech of many delivered by motivational speaker Victor Antonio
for the university of phoenix and one of his best performances.

has shared has shared the stage with many business leaders and
motivational speakers including: Zig Ziglar, Rudy Giuliani, Robert
Schuller, Paul Otellini (CEO, Intel) , John May (CEO, FedEx Kinkos) and

First Story: In this speech, motivational speaker Victor
discuss the logic of success; why some people fail and other succeed.
His Joel Osteen story is classic in which he compares the differing
style of John Hague and Noel Jones. The story he tells is about an
optimistic farmer and a pessimistic farmer. Best motivational video

Second Story: Public speaker Victor goes on to talk about
dream killers and stupid people people. He jokes about having a great
idea like Jerry Maguire who writes a success manifesto. He walks you
through how dream killers, naysayers will talk you out of pursuing your

Third Story: In the last story, motivational speaker
Victor talks about developing your own delete button to stop people from
bringing you down; best motivational video ever on the subject of
suppressing negative people from getting you down

He ends with his signature pledge called the "Success Pledge" which is all about doing your Thang (not Thing).

Victor Note: One of my favorite speeches? Al Pacino on Any Given Sunday.

For more videos, go to:

Inspirational Must Watch by Business Expert Grant Cardone - Real Estate

Grant cardone talks to Charfen institute to 2000 realtors about
domination not competition and the effects of the Lehman collapse to
commercial and residential brokers.

Alec Baldwin - Best Sales performance -

Sales Motivation Speaker Victor Antonio Speaking at National Sales Network

Business Process Outsourcing

Server Sitters is an Outsourced Hosting Support provider. We provide outsourced hosting support and specialize in hosting support for web hosting companies that require Helpdesk Support, Telephone Support Services or want to Outsource Chat Support.

BEST SPEECH EVER! Former CEO Citibank Phillip Wollen owns the stage

Infor CEO Charles Phillips Gives Presentation at Inforum 2012

Charles Phillips, Infor CEO, addressed the attendees of Inforum 2012, held April 22-25 in Colorado.

[HD] Steve Jobs - iPhone Introduction in 2007 (Complete)

Presentation Tip: 3 Steps To Easily Introduce Yourself
Learn an easy way to introduce yourself that will make a good
impression at the beginning of your presentation. You can also use this
method to introduce yourself for any situation. The video will show you
an example of giving a self-introduction using an elevator pitch.

Carl Kwan
Presentations | Promo-Videos | Marketing
Everyone deserves a chance at success




Korea Business Central Ambassador

Business Presentation Tips - The Top 8 Business Presentation Skills
business presentation tips you've never seen before in this business
presentation skills course. Watch Jason Teteak as he models the exact
techniques needed to deliver an effective business presentation.

better your Presentation skills are the more Effective your Public
Speaking will be. Get the public speaking tips you've been missing and
make your next presentation a success!

Click here to get a copy of Jason's book 'Rule The Room':

Click here for a special offer on this business presentation skills training course.

Powerful Presentations - Craig Valentine - How to Speak with Impact and ...

How is it that the world's top presenters seem to effortlessly keep audiences on the edge of their seats? How do they sell themselves and their message with ease? In this interactive, workshop-style seminar, you learn the secrets of messaging and persuasion that will help you breathe life into your presentations. You'll discover how to craft your message, sell your ideas through story, eliminate common mistakes, and deliver your program so that people are truly motivated to take action. Whether you give an occasional presentation or desire a full time speaking career, this program will increase your confidence and competence, as you discover new tools that work with every audience, every time.

Craig Valentine, is an award-winning speaker, author and trainer. He has shared his winning formula with tens of thousands of people in 14 countries, and regularly conducts training for major organizations such as DuPont, NASA, McDonalds, and dozens of others. Craig Valentine's formula has enabled him to become the 3-Time Salesperson of the Year for McGraw-Hill. Furthermore, he won the Toastmasters International 1999 World Champion of Public Speaking where he was #1 out of more than 25,000 contestants. In addition, he earned the Distinguished Alumni Award while receiving his MBA from John Hopkins University. Craig Valentine is the author of The Nuts and Bolts of Public Speaking and World Class Speaking.

Killer Presentation Skills shows you a few of the simple behaviors you need become both comfortable and effective at public speaking.

Business Process Outsourcing

Server Sitters is an Outsourced Hosting Support provider. We provide outsourced hosting support and specialize in hosting support for web hosting companies that require Helpdesk Support, Telephone Support Services or want to Outsource Chat Support.

Outsourcing Pros and Cons

Server Sitters is an Outsourced Hosting Support provider. We provide outsourced hosting support and specialize in hosting support for web hosting companies that require Helpdesk Support, Telephone Support Services or want to Outsource Chat Support.

Advantages of Managed Hosting Solutions for Small Business

Advantages of Managed Hosting Solutions for Small Business

MAY 2, 2013 9:46 PM

As a small business running an online store or a company website, the last thing that you wanna spend time, money and effort is managing your servers. That is why the best solution is to go for fully managed hosting services. But what are fully managed hosting services? You may have probably come across the word managed hosting several times or might have seen it on a bunch of hosting providers website while doing your research. In this article we will go into details to find out the real monetary benefits ofmanaged dedicated hosting services and how does it help small businesses.

In layman terms, Managed Hosting means the hosting provider takes care of all your server related issues. You not only rent the hardware from the host but also pay them for managing it. It is similar to getting a full warranty with free oil change and maintenance when buying a new car. In Unmanaged hosting, you just rent the server from the hosting provider, and are yourself responsible for its service and maintenance.

In order to discuss the benefits of Managed Hosting, I ll break it down into two parts: Technical Benefits & Business Benefits. Lets start with the technical benefits first

Technical Benefits of Managed Hosting

- Server Monitoring:

Server monitoring is extremely critical for your organization. It is a process of constantly scanning the servers to search for any irregularities of failures. System admins constantly monitor the servers to find such points of failures so that they could fix them before it becomes a major problem. Its is like the saying, precaution is better than cure. To have a good server uptime and network availability system admins are present onsite to constantly look after the servers. Now imagine doing this yourself!

- Security:

Server security is the number one priority for any business. Server security covers various aspects of security under its umbrella such as running security audits, spam filtering, virus scanning, software firewall configuration, OS updates and much more. Hosting providers are well equipped with various tools and tons of experience to deal with server security related issues. They constantly scan the operating system and core application to find security vulnerabilities which they can fix and prevent the server from being attacked

- Managed Storage:

Storage requirements of a company changes from time to time. The amount of space needed now by an organization may not be the same that they would need few years or months down the line. Managed Storage means outsourcing a company’s storage needs to a managed services provider. This is beneficial of the company as it help them reduce the cost related to buying a administrating storage services

- Managed Database:

This is very much on the same lines as Managed Storage. However in place of system admins, the company now uses the skills and experience of an experience DBA. The DBA acts as a consultant to design the best database system as per your needs and requirements. Hosting providers normally have DBA’s who are experiences in SQL Server, MySQL and Oracle so as a company you will definitely find the expertise that you need.

- Backups:

Loss in data can prove costly for a company. It is therefore essential to have a process that regularly backups your data, keeps its secure and preserves its integrity. As per a survey it is said that in case of a man-made or natural disaster, small business loose more than 50% of their data. With managed services, you as a business owner can have the piece of mind that your data is secure and backedup because your hosting provider has process and procedures in place to deal with such scenarios.

Now that we have looked at some of the technical benefits of managed hosting, lets look at some of the business benefits.

Business Benefits of Managed Hosting

- Customized as per your needs:

Every company has separate needs, and managed hosting solutions are not one size fits all. You can get a solution customized as per your needs. This is good because based on your budget you can work with your hosting provider to choose the service that best fits your needs and the ones which are the most critical to you.

- Reduce Operation Cost:

A small business owner has lot of expenses to manage. Hiring system admins, DBA to do server and database management is an added expense for the company. It is in the best interest of the company to hire a hosting partner that has such experience people to take care of all the server related issues.

- Save Time and Money:

In business Time is money. If as a small business owner you are spending most of your time managing the servers and then you will be able to spend less time concentrating on your core business. There are only 24hours in a day and you cant get spend time focusing on different things, the only thing you need to concentrate and focus on should be how to grow your business.

So I hope now you have a better understanding of what managed hosting services are and how they are beneficial to you as a company. Sometimes it is best to let the Experts do their job.

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

If You Want More Productive Employees, Learn How To Get Out Of Their Way

Smart, successful managers hire well-qualified, skilled employees to get things done. If you’ve hired right, they should even be more highly qualified than you in the job you’ve hired them to do. After all, your success depends on their success. So instead of getting in their way, help them get t...

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How Job Descriptions Suffocate Innovation

Creel Price

Creel PriceInfluencer

Serial Entrepreneur. Founder Entreprenaissance Movement.

How Job Descriptions Suffocate Innovation

What if there was a silent killer lurking in corporate corridors? A seemingly benign and well meaning concoction, cooked up by unsuspecting human resource departments with deadly consequences. A mandate for order, control and classification, which leaves no employee untouched or leader blameless. I'm talking about the humble job description – in my view the biggest motivation and innovation strangler in any organisation.
At first my declared distaste for something as innocent and accepted as a list of an employees duties and responsibilities appears like shadow jumping or blatant headline grabbing. Yet the fact that I've maintained this crusade against job descriptions for over a decade is, I hope, proof of substance behind my wild rantings. As a CEO I was so deeply against placing someone into a neatly labeled box for years at a time that we developed an alternative employee management system. This simple mind shift became a key driver in propelling our business from 3 employees to over 1,000 in under a decade.
So what is this radical human resource theory? Simply this: Change from command and control job descriptions, that merely list the role, duties and KPI's, to giving an employee ownership over a constantly evolving group of Prototypes and Projects:
  • Prototypes are the elements that make up someone's responsibilities that are ongoing in nature e.g. Accounts Payable or Online Security.
  • Projects are responsibilities that have a defined end date e.g. Accounting Software Implementation or New Product Launch Event.
Rather than delve into the intricacies of how these 'Ownership Responsibilities' work in practice, let me rather relate how the inadequacies of traditional job descriptions are countered by treating employees like business owners within your organization. As I see it there are six areas where traditional job descriptions (JD's) suffocate innovation:
1. Ripe and Rotting – because traditional JD's group all of an employees functional responsibilities into a role they cause very linear, accidental and elongated promotion opportunities i.e. you wait until your boss is promoted, made redundant or dies before a vacancy exists for you to advance. A major cause of staff attrition is leaving ambitious employees ripe and rotting rather than allowing them opportunities to be green and growing.
  • A benefit of implementing Ownership Responsibilities is that employees can have incremental promotions on a monthly basis. Reshuffling their projects and prototypes to give them more responsibility, growth or to recognize performance. Employees will aspire to take responsibility for outcomes rather than a position on the ladder.
2. Bozo Creep – traditional JD's rarely result in demotions. To drop a level is a significant step backwards and requires an involved counseling / warning process. Hence employee structures created without the ability to routinely demote result in "Bozo Creep" – where companies become full of employees promoted to their maximum level of incompetence.
  • The advantage of having Ownership Responsibilities is that an employee can be demoted on a monthly basis by reshuffling their projects and prototypes, or holding off awarding coveted projects until performance is realised. The end result is a healthier meritocracy.
3. Boss Mentality – traditional JD's are often used in the performance appraisal process to help a manager assess performance, behavior and KPI's. This becomes a very oppressive top down approach, and unless you are in a measurable role, can lead to unfulfilled expectations, disputes and a demotivated workforce.
  • Ownership Responsibilities use performance measures taken from project management methodologies to assess time, cost and quality outcomes that are set by the employee at the start of the period on their own projects and prototypes. i.e. staff manage up (to their own often inflated expectations) rather than leaders having to manage down (on KPI's set by the manager). Resulting in employees more likely to stretch and prove themselves.
4. Inertia to Change – traditional JD's cause inertia because once employees are given specific responsibilities they expect them to be set in stone, and of course fight to keep them. These static and linear organizational structures are often inflexible to change without a major re-structure, resulting in businesses being slower to capitalize on new opportunities, or respond to changing market conditions.
  • Ownership Responsibilities are reviewed on a monthly basis allowing each employee's group of prototypes and projects to be quickly reshuffled as required. This is particularly valuable for fast changing small businesses, and to prevent expensive corporate-wide restructures.
5. Defensive Game – traditional JD's encourage employees to play safe, keep their head down and action the minimum required to keep their job. This discourages risk taking, or conjuring ways to make their role redundant, or acting like a business owner in the interests of the organisation.
  • The best way to encourage employees to seek ways to do their roles better, faster or cheaper is to give them Ownership Responsibilities. Where the reward is to hand over part or all of their old responsibilities to someone else or freeing up their time to focus on the next project or prototype. Essentially winning at the game of business rather than playing not to lose.
6. Employee Silo's – traditional JD's encourage managers to keep their employees focused on their own function, division or area of expertise. e.g. marketers only look after customer growth and accounts people only look after finances. This doesn't give people new opportunities for growth or fresh eyes to look at old problems, nor does it encourage skill diversification and upskilling.
  • Ownership Responsibilities allow for easy cross department involvement. Employees can be on project teams with other divisions or responsible for something significantly different from their traditional role leveraging latent skills and / or experience e.g. the receptionist could also be responsible for running the lead tracking prototype or the accounts receivable clerk could be on the project team for the new web-site implementation.
In my view job descriptions are responsible for suffocating innovation in both large and small organisations. The solution is to give employees ownership responsibility by dividing their role into groups of constantly evolving projects and prototypes. You will find that not only will innovation flourish – staff morale and efficiency will take a major leap forward.
If you found this post interesting follow me for an expansion of this concept in future posts.

Photo Courtesy of iStockphoto

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Strategise to succeed

Strategise to succeed

Fi Slaven | Feb. 21, 2014

Have you ever worked in an organisation that doesn't have an IT strategy? I have and it was messy. The IT team spent huge amounts of time and effort identifying what the plans were and how they aligned with the business. It just added another layer of complexity that could have been avoided by creating an IT strategy.

An IT strategy document clearly bridges the gap between the technology group and the rest of the organisation. It indicates that IT understands the direction and goals of the business.

Without one, the technology department is open to all sorts of criticism — usually centred around it being a cost centre, and CIOs and their staff not understanding the organisation's priorities and business goals.

So to avoid that angst, here are 3 essential things your department needs to do when creating an IT strategy document for approval by the business.

Firstly, make it easy to understand. Your strategy is a business document that needs to be easily viewed and understood by anyone in the business. The core details should be engaging, clear and concise.

Readers should be enthused by the content — which explains concepts in plain English — and there shouldn't be any technical information. Technical details should be identified in further operational or tactical documentation.

Remember that an IT strategy demonstrates the IT group's value to the organisation, which will be diminished if people don't understand the outcomes. Therefore, there is an advantage to having several business representatives who were not involved in the development, to critique the document and provide feedback on their interpretation of the key messages.

Secondly, treat it like any other project. The creation of an IT strategy document should be managed as a project, because using a methodology works towards ensuring essential components are not missed.

These items include engaging business stakeholders, setting timeframes, resources required, internal information gathering, technology research, review and receiving sign off on the final document.

Importantly, it is not just about following a strict process, but also demonstrating some of the key skills of the IT department, such as collaboration, governance and articulating strengths and challenges within the current environment.

Any potential gaps in understanding between IT and the business should be resolved during the project by providing a clear understanding of key goals and how technology can help the organisation achieve them.

During this engagement, expectations can also be managed and the change requirements and capacity of the organisation can be determined. Ultimately, priorities will need to be established and agreed.

Another benefit of this approach is that it enables people to create relationships throughout the organisation. These connections are essential for all future business activities, projects, revision of the IT strategy and to continue to promote IT as a vital contributor and business enabler. Those involved can become IT's biggest advocates in the business.

Lastly, the final essential element is that the approved IT strategy document is realistic, achievable and measurable.

It is vital that the organisation and IT are able to clearly identify the alignment to the business strategy by what is to be delivered, the resources available, progress being made and ultimately what success looks like. If the outcomes are not measurable, then success cannot be achieved.

Ultimately, an IT strategy is so much more than just a document identifying the direction IT is taking. It is also a way of demonstrating the value of IT, enabling the business objectives, developing key relationships and as such, should be considered a must have for any business.

Sunday, February 23, 2014

French racing keen to attract Australian thoroughbred owners |

ECGMA says: Su-Ann is my cousin, I am proud to declare. She has done well, way to go, girl! Follow her in Twitter. She has a huge following from the racing industry in Australia and around the world via Twitter.
Fèlicitation, Su-Ann!

French racing keen to attract Australian thoroughbred owners
February 23, 2014


As the hunger for European blood has reached fever pitch in recent years, Australians have homed in on France as the font of classy cups contenders. But this year it is the French who are circling Australia, although not in search of thoroughbred talent.

Stunned by the appetite for the French thoroughbred, France's leading auction house ARQANA has taken a novel approach in an attempt to showcase the local racing scene beyond the idea of France as a hunting ground for potential export talent. This year, the company is on a hunt of its own, chasing Australian owners in a bid to encourage investment in French racing.

''The idea is to give Australian owners a showcase of French racing with the end goal being that the horses that they race there may well come to Australia and chase the spring cups,'' said ARQANA representative Su-Ann Khaw.

''Australians have been buying a lot of horses out of France and bringing them straight to Australia, but they're missing out on so much in France,'' she said. ''French racing has the strongest prizemoney in Europe. We know that Australians love French horses, we want them to fall in love with French racing, too.'' ARQANA'S Aussies In France Racing Club is the first club of its kind in Europe that has specifically targeted an international market.

Unlike Australian racing where syndication and small-share ownership is rife and encouraged, French racing has been the domicile of the rich and well-heeled for generations, which means that new owners can be hard to find.

But this is an aspect that ARQANA wants to change, particularly in the current climate of global thoroughbred trade where European markets are being dominated by the wealthy.

Those who take part in ARQANA'S newest venture will certainly get a taste of French racing with a team of six horses to be initially prepared by French legend and Melbourne Cup-winning trainer Alain de Royer-Dupre before being assessed for suitability for export to Australia.

''We do have good Australian ownership in France at the moment and groups like OTI Racing have experimented with French syndicates, but this is the first that will be managed by an industry organisation like ARQANA,'' Khaw said. ''It will be like Inglis or Magic Millions managing a team of horses in Australia for Europeans; it's quite unique.''

And Khaw should know, having spent the best part of the last decade travelling the world's race meetings and major thoroughbred sales. Racing is her passion and she sees a strong link between Australia and France both on and off the race track.

''There's a real respect for the horse first of all, the trainers, the jockeys, the horse people are admired and the thoroughbred is adored,'' she said.

''But the social aspect is so important as well. Australians love the carnival and love a party and so do the French, it's like once the business on the track is over, it's time to have fun and celebrate. We're trying to open owners' eyes to the similarities and show them that it's just as affordable and just as much fun to race in France.''

Thursday, February 20, 2014

All the Major Companies Worth Less Than WhatsApp

Gurbaksh Chahal

Gurbaksh ChahalInfluencer

Chairman & CEO at RadiumOne

All the Major Companies Worth Less Than WhatsApp

Today, Facebook announced the acquisition of WhatsApp, the largest acquisition of any venture backed company in history. Started in 2009, the Company only raised $8 million and today is used by 450 million users globally across their mobile devices per month. Another remarkable stat is that - it only has 50 employees and never embraced the advertising model, only recently starting a $0.99/a year subscription model. Being a Facebook shareholder, only time will tell if this acquisition ends up being a smart move for them.
But, here's a list of companies that have been around for a lot longer than WhatsApp and as of today are worth a lot less. Interestingly enough, all of these companies listed below have tangible goods - things you can touch and feel with solid profitability. WhatsApp on the other hand has a massive user base. Only time will tell what is important.
Congrats WhatsApp on a great exit. You've officially made history today and are an inspiration to many entrepreneurs.

Activison-Blizzard – $13.9B
Alcoa – $12.2B
American Airlines – $12.3B
Akamai – $10.9B
AmerisourceBergen – $15.9
Blackstone Group – $17.8B
Campbell Soup – $13.6
Chesapeake Energy – $17.2B
Chipotle – $17.1B
Citrix Systems – $10.7B
Coach – $13.5B
Consolidated Edison (ConEd) – $16.2B
Discovery Communicatons – $19.1B
Dr. Pepper Snapple Group – $10.2B
Expedia -$10.2B
The Gap – $19B
Fidelity – $15.8B
Harley-Davidson – $14.1B
Hertz – $11.5B
Icahn Enterprises -$13.1B
The J.M. Smucker Company – $10B
Kohl's – $11.1B
Kroger – $19.4
Loews – $17B
Macy's – $19.6B
Marriott International – $15.4B
Mattel – $12B
MGM Resorts – $12.7
Monster Beverage – $12B
Moody's – $17.08B
News Corp – $10.27B
Nielsen – $17.6B
Nordstrom – $11.4B
Progressive – $14.3B
Ralph Lauren – $14.2B
Red Hat – $11.1B
Royal Caribbean Cruises – $11.4B
Ryanair – $15.5B
Sherwin-Williams – $19.4B
Southwest Airlines – $14.7B
Starwood Hotels & Resorts – $14.9B
Symantec – $14.4B
TD Ameritrade – $18.4B
The Carlyle Group – $11.1B
Tiffany & Co. – $11.4B
Tyson Foods – $13.1B
Under Armour – $11.4B
Whole Foods Market – $19.3B
Workday – $17B
Xerox – $13.2B
Photo: tecnomovida/Flickr

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

How to choose a great co-founder for your startup - TechRepublic

How to choose a great co-founder for your startup

By Conner Forrest 
February 18, 2014, 8:05 AM PST

The most important aspect of launching a startup is the team behind the idea. Here are best practices and helpful tips for identifying your ideal co-founder. 

 Entrepreneurship is a journey, and is often shared with other people. Choosing who you surround yourself with as an entrepreneur is critical, but choosing who you will found your business with is paramount. In fact, some VCs consider the business idea secondary to the team itself.

Whether you're a first-time founder or a seasoned entrepreneur, choosing who you'll go to battle with is, quite possibly, the most important decision you will make in the process. The co-founder relationship is like a marriage based on a large pool of shared resources. If you've had spats with your significant other over money, imagine you're fighting over millions of dollars that have the potential to make you millions more.

"Behind the glamorous facade of founding and working in startups, being a founder (and especially a CEO founder) is one of the most stressful and LONELIEST jobs in the world. Having co-founders means you have people who are going through the same struggle and challenges as you are every single day with you," said Tim Chae, entrepreneur-in-residence at 500 Startups.

There is no standard formula to help you find your startup soul mate, but here are a few things to consider when choosing a co-founder—or multiple co-founders.

Go with who you know

"The most successful true co-founder situations are ones where the people have known each other in other contexts, prior to the company at hand," said Andreas Stavropoulos, a managing director at Draper Fisher Jurvetson.

This isn't a license to go out and found a company with your childhood friend, it's more of a charge to connect with someone on the interpersonal level beforehand. Spending time socially is not enough, you should spend time together working on a project—spending time together for the business. According to Dane Atkinson, CEO of, this can make or break a company.

"Co-founders are the foundation block that rocks most failed companies and strengthens winning ones. You MUST have a lengthy relationship with a co-founder PRIOR to founding. The ideal is a being part of another fox hole work environment where you can learn about each other through trials. As counterintuitive as it sounds, friends are your second best bet. In both cases you want to have common ground at the moral ideology level with a serious dosage of respect."

The goal is to learn to work with someone before you learn to start and run a business. Relationships are hard, and it is best to work out the kinks before you decide to put it on the line starting a company. There is a honeymoon period for founders, when you feel like your ambition to disrupt will carry you to exit; but that period will end. According to Stavropoulos, investors are looking for a team that can weather the storm together. They want founders to "get through their first couple of fights before the money is in." Stavropoulos said he is looking for a track record of getting things done, not just an impressive idea or rock star résumés.

Skill, style, and ego

Human beings tend to gravitate towards people that are similar to them. According to research on twins published in the journal Psychological Science, even our genes play a role in who we seek relationships with. With founders, the goal is to find the right amount of similarity.

"You're looking for complementarity of skills, but similarity of styles," said Stavropoulos.

In complementarity of skills, he means skills that enhance one another and help to fill in the gaps that may be lacking in your skill set. In addition to filling out your repertoire of skills, founders need to be looking for someone who can help complement other aspects of their business mindset. But, according to Scott Friend, a managing director at Bain Capital Ventures, it goes beyond just complementary skills.

"The crux of my opinion is to focus on complementary skills, capabilities, AND egos," Friend said. "While the first part probably sounds obvious, it really comes together with the last (ego).  It’s critical that co-founders not only have complementary skills—the classic 'inside-outside' split is common where one co-founder is the lead on sales, marketing, fundraising, business development and the other focuses on engineering, operations, product, etc.—but that their egos are wrapped up in different areas too."

What Friend is getting at here is the concept of partnering yourself with someone whose sense of identity or victory is tied up in a different aspect of the business than yours is. That concept of "ego" has to do with where your pride in the business comes from. Does it come from giving presentations about your business or from building a team and meeting a deadline. Typically, the spotlight is only big enough for one person, and you need to establish who that person will be early on. The tech industry's archetypal examples of this are Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak at Apple and Bill Gates and Paul Allen at Microsoft.

Up to this point we have talked a lot about complementarity, but similarity of style is just as important, especially in the early days. Most startups employ just their founders for quite some time, so you need someone whose style or work is similar to your own. You can diversify as you grow, but when you're first starting out it is important that your rhythms are in sync. A morning person needs a morning person, an extrovert needs another extrovert, and so on. The way you work together needs to be compatible because you will probably be the only two people working.

True grit

Once you have an idea, you need to be able to pursue it, even in the face of adversity, if you want your startup to succeed. Although it is a great idea to support your pitch with data, investors want to know that you are going to follow through even when it is difficult. With that being said, there is a difference between being courageous and being reckless.

When investors like Stavropoulos are evaluating a team, they want to see people that can push to accomplish the ultimate goal of a company. With that in mind, they also want to see founders that are wise enough to know when one approach is not working and nimble enough to be able to change direction.

This is where a co-founder comes in handy. Founders will typically arrive at conclusions like this at different times, so it helps to have someone who is willing to point out flaws in an idea early so the course of action can be corrected.

Aside from these things there is one more trait a founder can have that VCs look for, according to Stavropoulos: "The ability to inspire others." This is going to look different for different founders, but you want someone who will inspire people in their domain; whether that is finance, technology, business, or something else.

In evaluating your founding team, you must ask yourself: If you two are leading the charge, will others follow you into battle?

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Data#3 puts McInnes Wilson in the Cloud

Chris Player | Feb. 18, 2014

Data#3 has announced that it has been awarded a multi-year contract to provide hosted Cloud infrastructure services to McInnes Wilson Lawyers.

The Brisbane based law firm initiated the bidding process for an Infrastructure as a service (IaaS) agreement due to a need for consolidation across its multiple physical locations and servers.

McInnes Wilson Lawyers CIO, Russell Seenan, said: "With multiple office locations, and our physical server and storage hardware due for a refresh, it made sense for us to move to a hosted Cloud infrastructure platform."

Data#3 claims it was awarded the contract due to its ability to offer a flexible pricing model for datacentre technology that offers levels of scalability and reliability.

Data#3 group general manager, Laurence Baynham, said the agreement is a "strategic win" for the company as it is another step to establishing its position in the competitive Cloud computing market.

"By engaging and working closely with our customers, it has become evident that the require a range of Cloud services. Increasingly, we are helping our customers to transform their business and realise the benefits of shifting capital expenditure to a more dynamic operating expense model."

3 CIO no-no's when moving to the cloud

3 CIO no-no's when moving to the cloud

David Linthicum | Feb. 17, 2014

We're well on our way to moving applications and data to the cloud. So far the results are pretty good. However, enterprise IT is collectively finding a few details can go wrong, and some of them start at the CIO level.

CIOs are a bit perplexed when it comes to cloud computing. It's clearly an industry trend that all CIOs should consider, but the impact on enterprise IT is huge. The risks are big, as is the cost of moving. There are no clear paths, and you have to do some deep thinking around the true value of cloud computing.

With these caveats in mind, CIOs should make sure to never take these actions when they move to the cloud:

1. Never work without a plan. This means somebody in the organisation should be charged with driving a core migration strategy that includes business case validation and pilot projects.

Many CIOs work by iteration. Although this sounds like a good idea and seems to be the way we build software these days, it'll typically cost much more in the long run, and it raises the risk of the migration effort. This does not mean you need years of planning, but you will need a solid foundation as to where you're going and how you're getting there.

2. Never work with cloud haters. In many instances, people in IT organisations will declare their opposition to cloud computing, even before they understand the application of this technology. Those people are usually poison when it comes to making in progress with cloud, so they should not be put on the project.

However, this does not mean you should include only pro-cloud cheerleaders on your project -- it's good to have smart people who ask tough questions. Just be sure to exlcude those who don't have an open mind and are not willing to consider the facts; they won't help you.

3. Never work with a self-funded model. Many CIOs are moving to the cloud with the idea that cloud computing savings will pay for the migration costs.

Self-funding is possible, but only after you've reached a certain point. At least initially, you will need to fund the cloud migration with other dollars. If you try to use cloud savings to pay off the migration as you go, you'll end up operating at about a quarter speed.

Source: InfoWorld

Top Five Reasons for IT Directors to Outsource IT Services

Top Five Reasons for IT Directors to Outsource IT Services

outsource, outsourcing, IT outsourcing, why you should outsource
Fear of surrendering control is probably the main factor holding many IT directors back from realizing the benefits of outsourcing IT services. But if you can find an IT services supplier who will work with you in a genuine partnership, understanding the specific needs of your business, it soon becomes clear that this fear is misplaced. It is perfectly possible to retain your strategic power while outsourcing the fundamental and mundane elements of your IT service and support. By opening the door to outsourcing some niche services or even your entire application or database management infrastructure, you can generate a host of business benefits.

The top 10 benefits of outsourcing
  1. Reduced service and support costs within a managed and predictable budget
  2. Better quality of service, fewer IT failures and less downtime thanks to well-defined service level agreements (SLAs)
  3. Access to the latest applications without high up-front license costs
  4. Access to accredited engineers, skills and technical expertise without having to train your own staff
  5. Reduced risk of employees leaving and taking their knowledge with them
  6. Round-the-clock access to a help desk primed to resolve problems remotely and rapidly
  7. Compliance with the latest regulations
  8. Guaranteed data security at remote, hosted data centers
  9. Real accountability via contracted commitments from a third party supplier partner that wants to keep your business rather than reliance on an in-house group that is hard to pin down
  10. Remove high IT staff costs from your balance sheet and shift to an opex budget
For some time, there have been signs that IT directors in smaller enterprises are increasingly receptive to these benefits and are even embracing them with greater agility than their global counterparts. A survey from Computer Economics suggested that 27% of businesses now outsource applications management, while 21% outsource database management.
According to Information Week, as this level of outsourcing gains credibility and trust among SMEs, the benefits quickly accumulate in terms of greater flexibility (particularly for companies that are growing rapidly); access to cost-effective expertise, techniques and programs; access to third-party resources such as the help desk, which liberates IT staff to focus on more productive business-focused activities; and the wider savings achieved by not having to invest in infrastructure and licenses.
Take email services as one example: Gartner estimates that outsourcing just this one application could save businesses with fewer than 300 employees a significant amount because an outsourcing partner has the dedicated infrastructure to manage it at a much lower cost.

Five reasons to outsource
Here are five good reasons why you should think about outsourcing your IT services:

1.       You could save significant staff costs.
Not just on the recruitment and hiring front.  Skilled people with strong application-based credentials don't come cheap and have long-term costs. Why spend time and money training somebody to support a core business application, only to see them poached by another employer and taking their expensively-acquired skills with them? Or send them to costly training to keep their skills current? And why not liberate your in-house IT staff to focus on projects that add value to the business rather than spending their precious time on firefighting duty?

2.       An outsourced call center/help desk frees your resources.
Providing round-the-clock support for your users in-house is expensive. Depending on the size of your business, you might need a dedicated facility that is operated by key IT support staff and is a significant cost center in terms of facilities management overheads. Even in a smaller IT operation, somebody—it might even be you—has to be on call outside office hours to provide IT support for an increasingly mobile workforce. Thanks to greater economies of scale, a dynamic IT services partner should provide a superior help desk at a greatly reduced cost.

3.       You can save money all around – with the right outsourcing strategy and partner.
A good IT services partner will work with you to identify the pressure points that make sense for you to outsource. These can vary tremendously from one business to another. points out that cost savings vary with the number of employees who need support and to what degree, the number of devices involved, the types of applications that you use, the ratio of employees using office space to remote workers, and even your geographic location when it comes to the price of on-site support. These are complex calculations that deserve patient analysis.

4.       Your business will be more flexible in its use and consumption of IT services.
Infrastructure is expensive. Why invest in servers, complex networks and other hardware just to deliver vital but everyday applications to your users when you can have those applications managed and distributed as a service direct to the desktop without the expense of hardware maintenance? Because your applications are being managed and hosted by a third party, they can be scaled up or down to meet fluctuating demand, and your costs will be more tightly controlled as a result.

5.       Peace of mind.
Why let worries about more complex issues such as data security or disaster recovery keep you awake at night when they can be managed and supported by a third party who has all the necessary expertise and infrastructure to meet your security and business continuity requirements? Yes, they are important, but by choosing the right partner to provide relevant support services, you are prioritizing them rather than allowing them to become distractions that need constant attention from your in-house IT team.

Getting Started
Negotiation is the key to getting your relationship with your IT services supplier off to the best start and making sure you realize the business benefits that you expect. And it starts long before the contract is signed. As Forrester analyst Wolfgang Benkel says in his useful report, Negotiate a Successful  IT Service Outsourcing Contract, 'Renegotiating during an existing outsourcing relationship requires time and effort, decreases agility, and is always based on less competition, which influences the provider's motivation and the price.' In other words, you'll get more bang from your buck and keep a tight hold of your IT service strategy if you decide what you want from your contract before you choose your supplier.

Partnership Approach
Select an IT service partner who demonstrates they understand your business and clearly articulates the value they can bring to your operations. By combining and matching your goals with an IT service partner who has the vision to match them and deliver the latest service desk technologies to provide you with complete service performance visibility, including measurable indications of performance quality, you'll soon become part of the rising tide of SMEs that are living proof of the benefits of outsourcing.
And remember,
  • Outsourcing IT services does not mean all or nothing.
  • You can deliver genuine benefits to your business by outsourcing IT services if you negotiate service levels that are customized to your company.
  • Fear of surrendering control is the main factor holding many IT directors back from outsourcing IT services—but you can keep control if you select the right partner.