_archive for the ‘Business’ category

Nintendo Wii, Love Sac, Bar and Ocean View

01/26/09 :: by moquito

eotv

EO (Entrepreneurs Organization) just released an episode of EOtv featuring tips to survive and thrive in the recession. Fast forward to about the five minute mark to see mine - they involve a Nintendo Wii, Love Sac, Bar, and Ocean View.

Why you should be increasing your marketing budget

11/25/08 :: by moquito

With no limit to the bad economic news lately, many companies are cutting back on their marketing budgets to conserve precious cash. The LinkedIn poll above says it all - 60% of companies are cutting back, and only 20% are increasing.

I understand the thinking: Consumers with less disposable income = less opportunity for my product/service = less return on investment of marketing dollars = cutting marketing budget. This thinking, while logical, is thinking on how not to lose - not thinking on how to win.

Now is the BEST time to increase your marketing budget.

1. All of your competitors are competitors are cutting back - so you can be even more potent with less money, sucking up remnant inventory online, radio, print, and TV.

2. Advertising and marketing firms are more flexible right now (including Fluidesign), so you can get a great deal on services that you couldn’t get in “normal” times.

3. You’ll stand out in consumer’s minds as a stable, strong company. If you can afford to market to them right now, you must be.

4. With the ROI of each dollar you spend much higher, you’ll position your company and its products/services to weather the storm and emerge in a much stronger position that your scared competitors.

Right now, most companies are playing to not lose. The best companies (and the ones that will survive) will increase their marketing budget, and play to win.

Reprinted from: http://www.michaelschneider.com/2008/11/25/why-you-should-be-increasing-your-marketing-budget/

Facebook at Work

07/23/08 :: by pwang

Like anything with the web these days, news to one person may not be news to another. So my discovery of the new Facebook site may really be old news to the blogosphere. With the f8 convention sold out and happening as this post is written, Fb is really doing some really exciting things, proving itself to be still at least seemingly hip, young, and innovative, in light of its tussles with Google and business negotiations with entrepreneurs and large companies like Microsoft. What impresses me most is how the team interacts with the users.

Like an American driving in another country, on the opposite side of the road with the wheel on the right, users of the new site will have horrible first impressions of the flipped layout. Good thing the negativity is short-lived. In terms of looks, the new look is even more spartan than the original. The wrapper for the site fits snug with the browser window, and its contents are given more room to breathe. There is no more box constricting the site’s content. Before seeing what is possible with this new system, the old one felt fine. The excessive scrolling to the bottom in search of something interesting felt routine and even a little visceral, like going through a real yearbook. The new tabbed profile, coupled with the efficient and more than ever desktop-app-ish controls have made things easier for newbies and initially confusing for veterans. It’s mostly the few main pages with any real redesign. A lot of the content is outputted in the same way, and the pattern of a paginated list for most results pages remains in heavy use. A number of pages don’t even have updated widths for their content column yet, but all have ads on the right column. Given that Facebook is all PHP, maybe these are signs that future battles will be on scalability and flexibility. As a note, a lot of Google is done in Python, which is said to be more scalable. I’m not too worried for Fb, since the company probably has some of the best PHP programmers around. F8 will only increase the line of recruits.

It’s not an easy thing, doing away with something that has a bit of a venerated history, mostly though wide use. It goes to show innovation requires freedom, especially from the constriction of past success. Kudos to Facebook for the vision and the guts. When it appeared, the now worshipped old layout added buttons on the left and made the content container awkwardly boxy. That was probably only a year ago (a time I can still recall, despite having a profile for four years), when a friend shared how he thought Fb was going down the drain because of the then new look. Like when they launched the News Feed a while back, there will be frustration from every corner with the big revamp. Now the same main and mini-feeds are given even more of the limelight. The same with everything that gets more use, like the mini-twitter. All Fb did was ask its user base to develop the app for themselves through their feedback and listen. I think it’ll happen again. And that’s where all the fun is, watching the whole thing grow from just a small camp on the wild frontier of the interwebs. And me? I’m going to use the ‘new’ Facebook, since if I go back I’ll lose my user history with the new features. Also, if anyone from Facebook reads this, why doesn’t your site support pretty urls? It would make your big trove of content more accessible to your relatively non-address-bar-savvy users.

Brand Tags: A collective experiment in brand perception.

05/15/08 :: by brocksteady

Brand Tags is a site playing off the idea that whatever it is people say a brand is, is what it is. All tags are generated by people like you, so have at it.

For example, here’s what people are saying about Nike.

GodTube raises $30M on $150M valuation!

05/05/08 :: by moquito

Congrats to our client, GodTube.com. They just closed a $30M raise on $150M valuation! We worked with them on many components, including their video player, and the award-winning Prayer Wall. We’re excited about working with them and ramping up going forward.

I want $10/gallon gas

05/04/08 :: by moquito

Gas PricesYes, you read right. I want gas to go to $10/gallon. Actually, I want it to go to $100/gallon.

I’m not a sadist and I don’t own stock in any oil companies. My Dad is not the King of Saudi Arabia.

I am an entrepreneur who knows that there needs to be market opportunity in order for entrepreneurs to pay attention, and be motivated to solve problems. If horses could’ve gone 100mph, perhaps the car would’ve never been invented. If typewriters could “undo” perhaps computers would’ve never been necessary. Today, if gas was still $1.50/gallon, all-electric cars like the Tesla, and hybrid cars like the Prius would not exist.

We are killing our planet by filling 12MPG SUVs up twice a week. Yes, a select few are benefiting tremendously (see Exxon’s latest earnings report here), but the consequence of our current habit is twofold. One, we are causing the planet to warm (I’ll let Al Gore do the heavy lifting explanation on this). Two, we’re creating a huge imbalance of wealth in the world, and oil is already being used as a policital weapon against the “west.”

The more gas goes up, the more entrepreneurs like myself are going to be thinking of creative solutions. Electric cars? Cars that run on water? Hydrogen? Air? I don’t know what the future is, but I do know that it’s not on gas. The higher the price goes, the quicker we’ll get there.

Our (Sync’d) Future

05/04/08 :: by moquito

Device of the FutureI’ve done a lot of thinking recently on the new technology issues that really impact our lives. Sure, the internet could be faster, our computers could take less time to boot up, and laptops could be lighter and last longer. But, let’s face it, in general, the core of technology works pretty well these days. And because it works so well, we’re free to focus on the little things that would make our lives easier.

Syncing my files, email, contacts, photos, music, and documents is currently my #1 challenge. Between my Mac Pro at work, Windows XP (using Parallels on the Mac Pro), my Sony VAIO Laptop (Windows XP), and my iMac at home, I have four separate computers and two platforms that I need to access my data on. I don’t have time to think about which computer I last used for a particular document, to get the latest version of the document. I also don’t have time, upon purchasing a track from the iTunes store, to manually copy it three other times, and make sure it’s labeled with the correct Genre, in the correct Playlist, etc.

There are many Syncing tools for data out there, and TechCunch does a good job at profiling them here. But they also all have their shortcomings; one doesn’t work with parallels, once is Windows, only. One doesn’t do what it says it will do.

I finally settled on an obscure syncing program, PowerFolder, to get the job done. It’s not the prettiest or easiest to use, but it does work, and it works cross platform, including with Parallels. I also found this amazing program called SuperSync, that syncs all of my iTunes libraries, again cross platform.

These are all good starts. But, when I jump in my car, I’m again at the mercy of what’s on the radio, on my iPod, or iPhone. And all the new music (or photos) I just added to one of my computers isn’t automatically in my car.

I want a service that syncs all of my data, without any intervention from me, to all of my locations, and all devices. This includes a hard drive in my car, syncing over the cell phone network, to automatically add any music track I might add to any of my iTunes libraries.

Far fetched? Not really. Lexus is already building cars that remember any CD you put into them, so you don’t need the CD anymore. The cell networks are the biggest bottleneck, and they really need to catch up with our digital lives. But, that’s a whole other conversation.

Don’t force your customers to do things

04/21/08 :: by moquito

Apple Updater
I recently posted about how Apple is “making customers for life” - and I believe strongly in what I wrote. Apple rarely does things that rub me the wrong way… but here’s one. They’re acting like Microsoft by “updating” Safari on Windows using the Apple Software Update, a tool that millions have downloaded to keep iTunes and Quicktime up to date. Customers have trusted Apple by installing an updater, and that’s exactly what it should be used for - updating existing software on your computer. I don’t have Safari for Windows installed at all, yet I was prompted to “update” it. How can you update before you install for the first time? By trying to dupe customers into installing Safari this way, Apple is eroding trust it has worked so hard to build, and is taking a play directly out of the Microsoft handbook.

UPDATE: Apple released a release to the updater today, that categorizes software into “New Software” and “Updates” - probably in response to this issue. It’s still an “Updater” and I stand by my original point that updaters, by definition, should be used to update existing software, only. Period.

Clear communication vs. Microsoft

04/17/08 :: by moquito

Microsoft Label

This is the label on Microsoft Windows Vista SP1 that arrived with our Action Pack update. So, basically, this is a full version, but I need a qualified upgrade installed already, but not necessarily on this machine, in order to legally use it - but that won’t interfere with its ability to install or be used.

Microsoft: Get a grip.

Feel free to give me your interpretations of this English-code in comments.

How to make customers for life

04/16/08 :: by moquito

Apple Email

I recently ordered a new Mac Pro, which I have yet to receive. Yesterday I received this note from Apple, politely telling me that the graphics card I had ordered had gone down in price in the 24 hours since I’ve placed the order, and they were refunding me the difference.

If every company did this, they would earn the loyalty of their customers for life, as Apple has earned mine.