I love new technology and this week I was introduced to some cool new technology startups based in Oakland, Calif., at the #VatorSplashOakland Conference in Oakland’s historic Jack London Square.
VatorSplashOakland is a startup competition conference hosted by Vator, Inc. with an educational segment for entrepreneurs seeking capital. While all the competing companies had promise, my favorite was Rockbot.
Rocktbot is the 21st century Muzak. Anyone who has the nerve to take on the giant Muzak has my vote. What’s cool about the service is that customers can make musical selections on their smartphones instead of being forced to listen to “elevator music.” And of course there’s a social element. Once a customer makes a selection from a pre-approved playlist, their choice along with the store/company name are shared via Facebook and Twitter.
Pretty cool, Rockbot. I’ll be looking for your service at the stores I frequent!
By now I’m sure you’ve heard about the meltdown by the owners of Amy’s Baking Company in Arizona. The restaurant was featured on Chef Gordon Ramsay’s Kitchen Nightmares last Friday and it was the first time Ramsay walked away from a restaurant refusing to help the owners.
Not only did the owners Samy and Amy refuse to accept criticism, but they cursed their customers, kicked them out of the restaurant, stole tips from the waiters and blamed everyone except themselves.
This one is pretty simple though. Don’t email, tweet, blog, post, use Facebook or any other social media when angry. You’ll no doubt say things you’ll later regret.
The customer may not always be right in all situations, but the customer certainly deserves to express his opinion and deserves respect. Period.
Also, humility goes a long way in calming down a situation. Take a deep breath, relax and let it go.
Take a look at the episodes for yourself. Truly unbelievable!
We can easily get caught up into thinking that our business and personal lives are separate, but really they’re not.
Peter Shankman wrote a great piece about how our two lives have merged and are no longer two, but one. He states, “You simply have to realize that everything you post online, whether you believe it to be “professional” or “personal” is personal. It all is. Every last photo, comment, and check-in. It’s all about who you are.”
He makes a good point. No matter how hard we try to separate them, our two lives have converged.
See the full post here and let me know what you think. Do you agree? Do you try to manage two different lives or are you living as one brand?
Mark Cuban recently discussed the effectiveness of PR for startups in a post, Why Startups Shouldn’t Hire PR Firms. This is a topic that has been discussed for years.
As expected, comments poured in from both sides. I even took a stand on the issue. The problem I have with Cuban’s comments is that he makes a blanket statement that the value PR people provide isn’t worth the cost.
If a CEO has developed a relationship with a reporter, he should by all means feel free to communicate directly with that reporter when he has something to say.
But how often does a busy CEO have the time to reach out to the dozen or more key media in his space?
I challenge Cuban or any other CEO to spend one week in the shoes of a PR person. Let me know how it goes and how much traction you actually got. I’m not just talking about sending out one or two email pitches to a couple of reporters, but actually take over the media relations for an upcoming product launch — handling all aspects of it.
Don’t forget to calculate the number of hours you spent and what it cost you based on your salary.
Based on your results and the overall experience, would you like to add PR to your other list of duties? Or is it worth it to hire an expert to handle PR?
Call me when you’re ready to let an expert handle it! ;-)
This is one of my pet peeves. Have you ever worked with someone who rushes through a project just to meet a deadline, giving no thought to the quality of the project? They must have been thinking, ‘let me just put something together so I’ll have something to show and they’ll think I’ve been working.’
It just doesn’t work. When a project is not done properly you’ll undoubtedly have to do it over which will take even more time than if you did it the right way in the beginning.
Time management is critical when working on projects and it’s sometimes hard to gauge how long something will take to complete. I’ve become better at estimating projects over the years, but I always give myself extra time to finish just in case I encounter problems or setbacks. Depending on what I’m working on, I push my deadline out a couple of days to a week in the event the project gets sidetracked or derailed. It’s better to under promise and over deliver than not to meet your deadline at all.
It’s also important to set the proper expectations. When a client sets unrealistic expectations on a project, I don’t have a problem pushing back and letting them know there’s no way they I can get it done in that timeframe unless I compromise on quality. They usually get the point.
So when you’re tempted to rush through a project or assignment, think about this question — If you don’t have the time to do it right, when will you have the time to do it over?
This time of year just about everyone is making resolutions or setting goals. It got me to thinking about the difference between the two.
According to Dictionary.com, a goal is “the result or achievement toward which effort is directed; aim; end.” A company may set goals to increase sales by 10% in the first quarter and set up a plan or strategy to achieve those goals. Goals have specific end dates in mind to accomplish or reach them.
A resolution on the other hand is “the act of resolving or determining upon an action or course of action, method, procedure, etc.” Using a similar example, a company may resolve to reach out to its customers more. Without spelling out how it will be accomplished, it’s not likely to be effective. Resolutions are usually more open-ended and therefore easier to break.
Common resolutions people make are losing weight, exercising more or eating healthier. We start out with good intentions, but after a few weeks, it’s easy to fall off the resolution wagon. When we miss a week of exercising or binge on sweets we can feel discouraged and give up all together.
If we change those resolutions into goals, I think most of us would do better. Instead of resolving to exercise more to lose weight, how about setting a goal to lose 10 pounds in the first quarter of the year? Create a plan to achieve that goal such as walking three-four times a week, and reducing the amount of junk food eaten each week (e.g. only sweets on the weekend). If you missed walking a couple days in a week, no problem, there’s always next week. And your goal of losing 10 pounds is still obtainable.
One of my business goals is to write more often. I’ve set specific goals by listing them on a calendar so I can see them daily. I’ve included topics and deadlines which will hopefully help me reach my goal.
Writing goals down is crucial if you want to achieve them. I’ve come to realize it’s not really a goal unless you do put it down in writing. If it’s just stuck in your head, all you have is an idea and you’re not likely to follow through on it.
What are some of your goals for 2012? How did you do in 2011?
Even though I don’t have a Google Plus account and don’t have first-hand experience using it, it seems pretty cool.
Judging by the comments on Facebook and Twitter, most people seem to like it — a lot.
One of the features I think is really cool is Circles. I would probably use Facebook more often if I could break my “friends” up into groups. The primary reason I got a Facebook account was for business purposes, but once my family and friends found out I had an account, I started getting friend requests. Let’s just say I don’t want to mix business with pleasure, so I don’t post that often.
Now with Google+, it appears that you can create different circles of friends who will only see what you’ve posted to a specific circle. Business stuff for colleagues and clients, and personal stuff for family and friends. That’s the way it should be. I hope Facebook is taking note. This is a feature I’ve been waiting for for years. Step up Facebook!