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Thursday, December 27, 2007

The month of Google- first off google text

So I thought since I was taking the week off I would put the focus on google. We all know that google will eventually take over the free world but many people are not aware of some of the free services that they offer, because they have so many! So I will take some time this week to talk about some of the services that can help small business and that are kind of cool.

For todays post I am going to talk about google text. This amazing SMS technology brings google search right to your phone. Not everyone out there can afford the internet on their phone but many of us have splurged for the unlimited texting (my self included). You can ask google the weather in your zip code. Try it right now text weather (your zip code) to 466453 ('GOOGLE' on most devices). It sends an instant reply with the local weather. You can search for local business listing, movie times, directions and even see if your flight is running on time.

Google you have done it again. As google spills over to the mobile world, expect to see more advancements in the future. Maybe even the Gphone? Maybe even the ability to log onto the Google wireless network? So that you can have free wifi on your phone and computer. Who knows, I would like to see google win the spectrum bid but it will be about a year till we see who the winner of the auction is.

Friday, December 21, 2007

What is your New Years Resolution for Business?

I am pretty sure everyone says that they will go to the gym and lose weight for the new year. I am pretty sure I have used this one several times and I am still waiting to hit my A few weeks ago I heard a speech from Ryan the creator of iContact. He described his plan to BHAG, a big hairy audacious goal. He want on to explain the purpose of setting specific goals and then printing them out and putting them on your wall. I kind of relate this idea of setting goals back to the idea of New Years resolutions, we set the BHAG but we do not make them specific. Weither it is the time line, specifications of the project, how it will be done etc. This year I plan to make my BHAG much more specific and I am determined to reach those goals. My newest venture is GreenWerks an eco friendly contracting firm in Chicago. Our goal of 1/2 million is sales is very big and hairy but it needs to be refined to make sure that we are able to reach that goal. During the next week I will lay out the full plan of how I intend to reach my goal. Based on his research people who set regular goals for themselves are 60% more likely to get them done and people who write them down and put them on the wall at 90% more likely to meet their goal! So write down your goals, get specific and meet your goals. To learn more about ryan check out his book Zero to one Million.

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Vonage VOIP- Mixed reviews

When I was out shopping for the holidays, I came across one of those mall kiosks and they were selling Vonage. I had seen the commercials and had done some research on VOIP (voice over internet protocol). I checked it out and they sold me on the Vphone. Basically a usb jump drive that you can plug into any computer and it automatically loads the software required to run Vonage. I have a new Dell computer with Vista (don't upgrade if you don't have to) and , I asked the sales guy if it worked with Vista. He informed me that it did and I would not have any problems. Make a long story shorter, it has a success rate of about 30% working with Vista. I did get a chance to try it out at the office where they have XP computers. I was actually surprised at the clean quality sound. So moral of the story, it works pretty well but I don't recommend buying the V-phone feature if you have Vista on your computer.

Saturday, December 8, 2007

My first lemonade stand

I told a long time friend this story last night and with all the chuckles and smiles I thought I would put it up on the blog.

The setting was a bright sunny day in the burbs and I was about 8 years old. My mother was watching me as she worked with the flowers in the front yard. One of my first customers was my local mailman (His name was Butch in case you were wondering), he came up to my lemonade stand. Butch inquired about the lemonade but stated that he did not have the fifty cents for the lemonade and maybe next time. As I realized that I might lose the sale, I suggested that he have a water, which I offered for free. By this time my mother was near the stand chatting it up with our friendly mailman. I quickly ran inside the house and got him a glass of water. I returned and handed him the glass of lemonade, he took a sip and quickly spit it out. My mother was startled and asked him what was wrong, he instantly stated that the water was extremely hot. Without any hesitation I responded, "Now would you like a glass of lemonade." I will just say that the lemonade stand was retired for the rest of the summer after a through scolding from my mother. She apologized to Butch, but even at a young age I understood how to create demand for a product.