Category Archives: business

Wipro: R&D and Business Process Experts

Todd Cochrane spoke to Narayan Shenoy GM of Wipro. Wipro specializes in R&D and business process innovation. They have been doing this type of work for over 20 years. They are the largest contract R&D organization in the world. They work in the area of product engineering requirements in several industries, from airplanes to TV and beyond. They can help a company from conception all the way through to the final product. As Todd and Mr. Shenoy discussed in the video the full process from the concept to getting a product to the store can take up to 18 months. Wipro also makes sure the product complies with the various countries laws and standards that the product is going to be sold in.

According to Mr. Shenoy what puts Wipro ahead of its competition that don’t only offer the solution, but also the technical know how to put the solution in to practice. They also have the ability to do product testing throughout the process at low-cost and work with local companies when necessary.   Wipro works closely with both academic and business associations, to keep up with the latest market trends and use this knowledge give their partners a competitive edge in their chosen markets.

Interview by Todd Cochrane of Geek News Central.

Please Support our CES 2011 Sponsors.

Get your 14 day Free Trial of Audible Gold to start listening to great books!
Save 25% on 4GH Hosting 1yr Subscriptions Save 25% Promo Code CES2.
Sponsor: The New Luxor, Las Vegas Deals Start @ $40.00 best rates guaranteed.

Xmarks shutting down? – Well maybe not!

Xmarks (formerly foxmarks) is a bookmark plugin that keeps all of your bookmarks synced up between computers, no matter which of the big 4 browsers you use. (Firefox, IE, Chrome and Safari)  They announced in this blog post, that they were shutting down “ about 90 days”. A bunch of users (Thousands?) were left wondering what we would use after the shutdown. Quite a few comments for that post stated that the users would pay some sort of reasonable amount to keep the service open.

So, a couple of days later, they announced that they were thinking about changing their minds (see this post) The CEO of Xmarks says:

we’re revisiting the idea of Xmarks as a premium service. We’ve set up a Pledgebank page where you can sign up if you’re willing to pay at least $10 a year for Xmarks. No credit card is required, but please only pledge if you are genuinely willing and able to pay

Go to the Pledgebank page here: if you are interested in keeping xmarks going.

I use xmarks to keep all the browsers on all of my computers synced up and it’s the only service that is this easy to use.

Chrome and Firefox now have their own sync services but they don’t work across other browsers like Xmarks does.

GoDadddy Business Solutions

No one likes spending more money than they should. For a couple of years I have been using Survey Monkey to do a variety of surveys and my renewal time is upon me. I currently pay nearly $240.00 a year for the service. Sow  while I was looking around on GoDaddy tonight I ventured into their business solutions section and found that they have a service called GoDaddy Site Surveys that cost less than $3.00 a month. On the surface taking a quick look at it, I know I can replace Survey Monkey with Godaddy Site Surveys.

This sure beats the $240.00 I am paying survey monkey each year for the survey service. The deltas between the GoDaddy product and the Survey Monkey are not significant, and I will save over $200.00 a year if I throw in one of my GoDaddy Promo Codes I can bring the price down 10-20% more.

GoDaddy has a significant number of other Business Solutions as well which I have not investigated yet but plan on doing so.

  • Search Engine Visibility – Drive traffic to your Web site and increase online visibility through search engine listings
  • Go Daddy Contact Manager (CRM) – Boost repeat sales!
  • Go Daddy Marketplace™ – Get your products in front of millions of Go Daddy customers – list them in Go Daddy Marketplace!
  • Incorporation Services – Protect yourself and your business – Incorporate it!
  • Hosted Exchange Email – Get corporate-class messaging at small-business prices.
  • Express Email Marketing® – Bring shoppers back to your Web site with effective, high-quality, spam-free email campaigns.
  • Quick Shopping Cart® – Create and launch a stand-alone store or add shopping cart to your existing Web site.

They have some bundles on these products as well which will save you even more.

Recently I heard Leo Laporte complain about all the additional products that GoDaddy offers. Having been a satisfied customer of GoDaddy now for 5 years, I honestly wish I would have looked at some of these additional services sooner, as I could have saved at least a $1000.00 on just survey services over the past 4 years. So while you may not be in the market for business services now, at least you know that they are their to help small business people get off the ground with a package of Business solutions that normally would be pretty expensive stand alone from all of the one trick ponies like Survey Monkey.

I can guarantee you, with this economy saving money is important. To save even more check out my GoDaddy Promo Codes.

Disclaimer: GoDaddy has been a sponsor of my show for 5 years, and while I have 7 servers with them and over 200 domain names I pay for all of those services out of my own pocket. GoDaddy has not paid for this blog post,  it was written on my observations while visiting their website. I will do a full review of the survey service in a future article after I have implemented it.

Tricaster TCXD850 Delivery Delays

As all of you know I have been awaiting on the delivery of theTricaster TCXD850 to date we are still waiting on delivery. Newtek has not been real public on what is causing the delays beyond heavy demand. With record pre-orders it is apparent that Newtek is having significant trouble working off backlog,  as many of their dealers are still waiting on their initial demo units.

In an age of transparency no news is not necessarily good news and leads to speculation on why they are having so much trouble. They knew demand was going to be high, and should have been able to ramp up production prior to the delivery date. Hardware configuration has been locked in for months, as they have been demonstrating the unit since before NAB. Software updates are to be expected up to launch date, but updating hard drives should be a no brainer in that all the drives are externally available.

For many months the new Tricaster has been eagerly awaited by many production companies and small media productions like mine.  How much longer we have to wait is yet to be seen. My only hope is that Newtek start feeding more information to the dealers so at least we can resume our business planning. Having this much cash outlaid, with this long of a delivery period may be ok for big companies but it really hurts small companies like mine.

Some Companies Still Don’t Get “Online”

When it comes to web technology there are still some companies that are back in the 1980’s.  Okay, I know, there was no web in the 80’s, but there might as well be no web today for those certain companies.  I had the misfortune of dealing with two of them this evening.

It all began when I stopped to get gas at a Flying J on my way home from work.  It’s a station I frequent for two reasons –  low prices and proximity (a few miles away) to my house.  As always, after swiping my debit card at the pump, I was prompted to either swipe my Rewards Card or press Enter.  And, again as always, I thought “I really need to get a Rewards Card and get the discounted prices”.

The difference today was that, when I arrived home, I actually remembered and went to their web site to request a card.  And that is where this story takes a turn for the outdated.

After logging onto their website (and knowing what I do now I am surprised that either company in question even has one) I located the link for the Rewards Card.  A nice page explained the benefits which, based on my habits, would save about $0.20 per gallon on my costs.  However, there was no “Apply” link.  I tried several approaches to this problem without luck.  I searched the site and found a page that contained an “Apply” link, but, when I clicked it I receive an error.  I was using Firefox, so I opened IE and tried again, but got the same error.

Frustrated, I called Customer Service.  An nice rep informed me that they no longer did this because they had merged with Pilot and Pilot now handled it.  “So, I need to go to their site?”.  “Yes”.

So, they thought letting users get an error message when clicking on “Apply Now” was tantamount to letting them know that the service was no longer offered through Flying J?  And we could just ascertain, somehow, that they had merged with Pilot and that that Pilot now offered the service?!

Okay.  I went to Pilot’s website.  Here, though, I can find no link to apply, even with a site search.  So now I call Pilot customer service.  I am informed that they do not offer an online application, but that I can pick up an app at any Flying J or Pilot location.

Really?!  No way to apply online?  No link from one site to the other, after the merger, to let users know where to go?  Just let them get an error message instead?  I don’t think I have encountered this kind of online ineptitude since the 90’s.  To be fair, both offer great prices at the pump and both had very friendly customer service reps.  But maybe they could wake up to current technology and learn how the modern web works.  They need to find the last great innovation before the next one leapfrogs them again.

Location, Location, Location

A few days ago I posted an article here entitled “Waxing Nostalgic” in which I reminisced about the original three Podcast & New Media Expos held at Ontario, California and how special they were.

Upon further examination, it’s suddenly become obvious to me what set these three conferences apart and what made them such a success from a social standpoint.

The thing that made the three Ontario podcast conferences unique was the fact that perfect strangers felt very comfortable striking up spontaneous conversations with each other. As a result of this comfort level, something rather remarkable happened. People talked a lot (these were podcasters, remember) and in many instances formed lasting friendships.

When the podcast conference was moved to Las Vegas, an entirely different mindset took over. In Las Vegas, strangers simply don’t feel comfortable approaching each other and striking up spontaneous conversations, even if they see that the other person is wearing a conference badge. The open, spontaneous conversation mindset generated at the Ontario Convention Center was perceived as perfectly normal in Ontario. However, being open and starting spontaneous conversations in Las Vegas would be perceived as weird and so therefore isn’t done.

This is a simple principle, yet it can have a profound effect on whether or not a given conference will be perceived as successful. I could see how conference planners could get caught up with other ideas surrounding where to hold a conference, but forget that the mindset generated in particular places is going to potentially produce very different behavior from the same people, which may or may not be detrimental. If the wrong behavior is produced by an incompatible mindset, it can spell disaster.

I believe the mindset generated by location also extends to and in part explains the old business axiom, “location, location, location” as being important to the success of a business.

Generate the right mindset in part with geography and surroundings to get people in a buying mood for particular types of products and services, and your business has a chance at being successful. Ignore this all-important mindset generation aspect of specific locations at your business’ peril.

Why Did The Initial Joost Experiment Fail?

A few years ago remember seeing all those “Joost” commercials pushing their Internet TV application? “Proper TV – Joost” the sophisticated-sounding British spokesman endlessly blurted out towards the end of the ad.

Of course, the initial Joost experiment ended badly. The Joost application stopped working December 19, 2008. Literally millions of dollars went down the drain.

I remember downloading and playing with the application and watching a few minutes of the various included streaming videos. I wasn’t impressed, and never opened the application again.

What went wrong? Why have Hulu and Netflix ascended to near household name status, and Joost flopped with the thud of a drunk elephant tripping over it’s own trunk?

There’s something the Joost folks, savvy as they were, failed to take into account. It’s a little something called choice. Joost failed for the same reason that broadcast, cable and satellite providers are losing viewers and subscribers. The “choice” offered by channel surfing revolves around searching for the least-boring junk content that is currently playing. It is choice, but not a very good one. People sitting in front of their Internet-connected computers watching the Joost application trying it’s best to replicate the conventional channel surfing TV experience lost out to the Internet itself. Joost – b-o-r-i-n-g, close it and move on to another website and find something more useful and/or exciting.

The lesson is choice. Enlightened, sophisticated content consumers will choose that content based on three primary criteria – Entertainment, Information, or Character – either any single one or a mixture. By the way, these are the same three filters you apply to your choice in selecting friends.

The failure of the initial Joost experiment was inevitable, and should serve as a warning for all content creators and marketers. Sitting in front of an Internet-connected screen and the conventional channel surfing model don’t mix well. The Internet will easily win the battle.

Will You Survive The Coming Changes?

Get ready for a world where everything is on demand and à la carte. Traditional broadcasting is going to change whether it wants to or not. Marketing will be forced to change in profound ways. As a result, content-making will also go through a major metamorphosis.

Marketing and traditional broadcasting have long had an interesting relationship that has had a potentially detrimental effect on the quality and quantity of available content. Television in particular has long been known as “a vast wasteland.” If one thinks about how this lowest-common-denominator programming can exist, the realization emerges that anxious, aggressive television advertisers have often been willing to sponsor junk programming content to capture passive viewers. In the pre-Internet world of broadcast TV, people would surf channels in order to find what was often the least-boring programming. Also because of the hypnotic potential of this type of TV watching, many viewers were willing to sit in front of virtually any programming without really caring about what they were watching, using TV viewing itself as a sort of nightly drug. Marketing messages get programmed into viewer’s brains, but more importantly using this type of passive TV viewing as a drug has definite detrimental side effects to both the individual, the family unit, and society at large.

After a few months of agonizing, I recently cancelled my Dish Network account. I was already a Netflix customer and was watching more stuff from Netflix than I was from Dish Network, so it has been a remarkably easy transition.

There are differences. One of the differences is that I’m now forced to choose what I want to watch when I want to watch TV. Being forced to choose necessarily forces me to choose something I find personally interesting. The net effect is I’m making a conscious choice of my television influences. Of course, another difference is that streamed Netflix content has no ads.

Hulu.Com offers streaming content with ads, and recently started offering an inexpensive monthly premium streaming content option, which also has the added benefit of vastly expanding the list of devices they will stream to beyond the desktop/laptop computer to include media extenders and cell phones. Like Craig’s List cannibalized the local newspaper ad business, Hulu.Com and similar emerging streaming services are going to further cannibalize the now-breaking and broken broadcast TV model. I say this not to blame Hulu and other services as I believe this push for choice has been well underway for a long time and these emerging streaming services are simply accelerating it.

The ad-supported content will be forced to change because the programming must be appealing-enough to consumers to get them to choose the particular content. Non-ad supported content will continue to have a market but will be forced to appeal just the same to induce consumers to choose that content.

Do Paywalls Ever Make Sense?

PaywallThere was a recent article at Arstechnica.Com describing how The Times in the U.K. ended up cutting its web traffic in half by simply requiring registration so that viewers could read their articles. Prior to this, the articles on the site were freely available. The registration requirement is in anticipation of their future paywall plans.

I have to admit that I’m one of the people who left their site more than once when I clicked on a link and was presented with the registration requirement. I’ve done the same thing on other newspaper sites as well. Will people pay for online news?

At its essence, news is often glorified gossip.

There are plenty of successful paywall sites. Here are three sites that incorporate paywalls that I personally find worthwhile enough subscribe to: Netflix.Com,  Rushlimbaugh.Com and FHU.Com.

Netflix began life as a DVD rental service and most recently added a very popular streaming service as value-added subscriber benefit behind a paywall. The Netflix streaming service helped convince me to sign up and become a customer, as well as the availability of Blu-Ray discs. If Netflix had DVD’s only, I wouldn’t be a subscriber. Streaming and Blu-Ray make me willing to open my wallet.

Rushlimbaugh.Com puts the site’s massive and growing archive behind a paywall that includes access to the Rush Limbaugh podcast version of his radio show where they perform the courtesy of cutting out all of the network ads. Being able to receive the ad-free podcast of the daily Rush Limbaugh radio program is why I subscribe. I rarely sign into the site and go behind the paywall. I want the ad-free daily podcast, so I pay, even though I could get the program for free by listening on the radio.

FHU.Com also puts a massive and growing archive of radio programs, books and video behind a paywall. I want access to this material, and since it’s a charitable organization, I am willing to donate to gain access behind the paywall and support them.

I don’t envision myself ever paying for access to a newspaper website. I have never subscribed to a printed newspaper. I used to subscribe to a number of printed computer, stereo and photography magazines, but somehow that lost its appeal a number of years ago and I let the subscriptions run out.

For a paywall site to be successful, it must have something behind that wall that people want access to. They must offer something of value that revolves around the essence of what they do best.

YouTube wins Big against Viacom!

Today the court handed down a big win for YouTube and a lot of other companies that have potentially infringing media on their websites. In two words the court agreed that YouTube has protection by “Safe Harbor” provisions as part of the DMCA. When you think about the thousands of videos being uploaded to not only YouTube, but the varies other sites around it is nearly impossible for any company to monitor all the uploads.

That is not to say that YouTube does not have to take videos down when informed by the copyright holders, only that YouTube is not financially liable for materials on their website that they are not aware of.

When you have millions of passionate people sharing moments from movies to music videos that they love that is a hard thing to stop. Copyright holders should be rejoicing that people love their content and learn that it will be nearly impossible to control where their media is distributed. While I believe people should be able share moments of material in accordance with fair use standards, I can sympathize with media creators frustrations when whole bodies of work are stolen.

Media creators do have to get a grip that times have changed  embrace what is occurring,  instead of sending DMCA takedown notices. It makes a lot more sense to work with YouTube and others media sites to monetize that shared content.

While I know Viacom will fight this all the way to top of the court system, my hope is that YouTube will prevail when the decision is appealed and we can claim a final victory on the safe harbor provisions.