Linux in Small Business Update

February 29, 2008

I’m writing this entry on OpenOffice 2.3 running on used Dell PC running Ubuntu 7.10 Linux. I started using OpenOffice for all my writing about two years ago. Since I told people OpenOffice did everything Microsoft Office did, but was available free, I decided I should walk that walk so I could continute to talk that talk. After telling people Linux was a great way to get a reliable PC for free or next to nothing, and avoid much of the the security hassle of Microsoft Windows, I converted Read the rest of this entry »

Solid State Disk Potential Breakthrough

February 28, 2008

First came the MacBook Air, with the optional $1000 Solid State Disk option. I like that option, because SSDs are more rugged and reliable when used in real work environments. Many small businesses do the real work as subcontractors to the corporate vice presidents busy buying themselves MacBook Air laptop to play Solitaire on their next flight.

Computerworld reported Korean startup Read the rest of this entry »

Intuit’s Future of Small Business Report #3

February 27, 2008

Intuit has done a great job writing a series of white papers about current and future small businesses. Their latest, number 3, came out recently. Get it here.

The report verifies my thoughts – big companies are eating the medium size companies and getting bigger. Silicon Valley dreamers Read the rest of this entry »

One Step to Better Writing

February 25, 2008

Let me direct you to my friend Alan Elliott’s site. He runs a group called Dallas Area Writer’s Group (DAWG) and invited me and three others to critique their work earlier this month. I did a guest blog entry and gave information on two writing subjects.

Unless you’re writing for publication, the second piece of advice won’t mean much. But if you write anything, Read the rest of this entry »

Hiring Successful Salespeople

February 23, 2008

I like it when people I interview for stories appreciate the resulting article and place it on their Web site. That means I understood their message and conveyed it clearly to readers.

Last fall I did a story on the SalesDrive Web site and book Never Hire a Bad Salesperson Again. Christopher Croner, Ph.D., the coauthor, is a psychologist fascinated with the “drive” mindset shown by successful salespeople, and how to identify that drive during the interview process.

If I get in a position where I have to hire salespeople again, I’m using Croner’s online test for the top three candidates for each position. That costs money, but only once. A bad or mediocre salesperson costs you money every single day.

Business owners always feel their product or service is top notch. So why do so many of them hire bad salespeople? Doesn’t a great product deserve a great salesperson? I believe it does, and if you don’t believe that, read Croner’s book immediately.

Blogging for Small Businesses

February 22, 2008

Many people wonder if a blog will help them or their business. I say that a blog provides the same type of personal connection between you and your customers, or potential customers, that you feel toward TV personalities. After listening and watching them, you feel like you have a personal connection. Your customers can feel that way about you through your blog.

But don’t just take my word for it, take an assessment test to see if a blog is a good fit for you. My friend Denise Wakeman and her partner Patsi Krakoff have a free assessment test on their site, Build A Better Blog. Take the test, get their result, and watch their free video. After that, you should have confirmation that a blog will, or will not, work for you.

Could be that a blog won’t help your cause or your business, but don’t just assume that. Could be that a blog will help your cause, but you need to understand more about the details before jumping in. Either way, the better idea you have of how a blog works and the work involved, the better your decision.

If you want to know more about Denise, watch this interview I did with her last year.

HD DVD not BetaMax

February 20, 2008

Many people are now making the “VHS beats BetaMax” comparison now that Blu-ray wins the high definition battle as HD DVD says “no mas.” But that’s the wrong comparison to make, because in this case, the better technical format won. Back in the 1980s, BetaMax was superior to VHS, but lost because of higher cost and mistakes by Sony, the primary BetaMax proponent.

This time Sony finds themselves on the winning side as Toshiba, the primary HD DVD proponent, gives up the fight. An excellent analysis by Robin Harris called HD DVD post-mortem: why did Toshiba fail? over at ZDNet does a great job summing up the battle in one short column.

What did HD DVD have going for it? The ability for manufacturers to make the high def DVDs with regular DVD equipment. Great for them, but not as great for users. HD DVD stores 15GBs per disk, while Blu-ray stores 25GBs per disk. More storage means better video and room for more extras.

Interestingly, Harris’ post-mortem attributes to Toshiba the same types of mistakes I remember Sony making with BetaMax back in the day. Guess Sony learned their lesson, and Toshiba learned their lesson the hard way this year.

This doesn’t mean much to many people yet, however. Only about one percent of DVD players sold last year were high definition. People waited for the dust to settle, and now it has. At least Sony and the movie studios hope that’s why consumers have been waiting to jump on the High Def train.