Tuesday, January 31, 2006

Blogging For Profit


Consultant tells how she blogs for profit

Tuesday, January 24, 2006

Can anyone turn blogging into a business?

You can turn the right site with the right business model into a business, sure. . . . Will most people be able to do it? Probably not, because they will find they don't like being in that kind of business or they just won't stick with it long enough to start seeing meaningful results.

What made you decide to give it a whirl?

Blog software has the amazing power to let a small-business owner -- a sole proprietor like me -- put up a Web site, update it regularly and build a community of followers, all on a shoestring. In the summer of 2003, I set up on one of those free blogger sites to market my consulting business. I wasn't worried about wasting money, but I did wonder, "Is anybody actually reading this?"

What was your first blog?

With my first blog I learned an important lesson: While it is great to pick a niche topic, make sure it is broad enough that you will have enough interesting material. My first blog was on the topic of advisory boards, but I soon ran out of things to say. Small-business advisory boards are rarely in the news. (Laughs) I deleted that blog and started Small Business Trends instead.

How large is your audience?

My main site, smallbiztrends.com, gets about 90,000 hits a month.

About 30 people sign up for the free e-newsletter each day, and I get about 100 e-mails.

How many sites do you write for?

I have six Web sites that I consider ones for "my voice." And then I write a few blogs as a paid writer for small businesses and contribute now and then on group blogs, usually upon invitation and sometimes for special events.

What will readers find on your Web sites?

Specialty reports and insights on small-business trends, technology news, reviews of products and other blogs, sign-ups for newsletters and free magazines, links to other experts and resources, a marketplace for books and resource materials, details about my radio show. . . . Content changes every day.

Was there a "light-bulb moment" when you realized you could make a business out of it?
The first year was slow, but I could see incremental progress. By the end of the first year, I felt pretty sure, but it was more of a gut instinct than measurable results. I knew from the growing interest that something good was going on.

What's your office set-up?

(Laughs) It's not very impressive. I work from home, and my desk is ridiculously small. The other day I was interviewing the president of the [U.S. Small Business Administration] and I'm thinking, this man reports to the president of the United States and here I am sitting at my tiny desk. . . . You don't have to have all the latest gadgets to start blogging. I mean, I don't even have an iPod.

What's the biggest challenge you face?

Staying organized. . . . There's about 400 passwords for all the services, sites and resources I use. Between the research, writing, lining up radio-show guests and responding to readers' e-mails, it's a lot to keep track of.

With so many places to get information, when should people turn to blogs?

For some kinds of information, blogs are the only good source out there: To stay up to the minute on grass-roots political ideas and issues; to learn about new startup products; to learn people's real attitudes, ideas and impressions; to create a marketing voice on a shoestring for a small company, blogs are terrific.

Will it grow to replace print media?

No way. Bloggers don't have the means to do original reporting, for the most part. Print readership, although on the decline, is not going away completely for a long, long time -- certainly not in my lifetime.

© 2006 The Plain Dealer
© 2006 cleveland.com All Rights Reserved.

Know More Media Announces the Addition of Ten New Blogs for Its Business Blog Network

Thu Jan 26, 7:00 AM ET

Orange County, CA (PRWEB) January 26, 2006 -- Know More Media, an online publisher of business information and news , has announced the publication of ten new niche content blogs for its rapidly expanding business blog network. Know More Media publishes a network of business-related blogs that offer real-time news, information, and advice on a variety of business topics.

Their blogs are authored by authorities in their specific business fields .

“Our new blogs expand our ability to address additional niche audiences,” said Hal Halladay, CEO of Know More Media. “We continue to be focused on providing topics with specific purpose and relevant content. Our readers benefit by hearing straight from experts on the particular topics, and the blog format enables readers to interact directly with the authors.”

The ten new blogs:

TheAlphaMarketer.com ( seeking experts to write for these new business blogs, as well as other blogs in their network that are currently available for authorship.

‘The gate is now open to find expert writers for these ten new blogs,” said Dan Smith, VP of Publishing for Know More Media. “Our business blog network is unique and powerful because every one of our authors is an expert in their individual field of business. There are some excellent topics in this new group of blogs, and were looking forward to finding the authoritative writers for them.”

About Know More Media -

http://www.KnowMoreMedia.com , is a rapidly growing online publisher of business information and news, and is headquartered in Orange County, CA, with an office in Provo, UT. Led by a team of seasoned business executives with many years of online publishing and business management experience, Know More Media is a revolutionary departure from traditional business publishing. The Company contracts with expert writers from across the globe to supply valuable business-related blog content to the online world. Its authors are typically practicing authorities in their fields, who provide their business advice and knowledge to business readers through a blog. Readers are encouraged to participate through comments and continuous feedback, thereby not only learning, but sharing their valued experience to an ever-expanding community of business expertise. # # #

KNOW MORE MEDIA Dan Smith 714.655.6794 E-mail Information

Monday, January 30, 2006

Energy In The News

Building a Better Battery

By Michael V. Copeland

December 1, 2005

(Business 2.0) – Three years ago a scientist named Flaming Zhou built a new fuel-cell prototype in his garage. This month, with $500,000 in funding from German industrial giant Siemens, Zhou will unveil the technology and a new company called H2Volt.

The Berkeley startup wants to commercialize what Zhou claims is the first "dry" fuel cell. It uses chemical hydrides that won't leak over time like liquid methanol and hydrogen gas do, so H2Volt's technology has a much longer shelf life. The H2Volt fuel cell could be used in everything from MP3 players to stoplights; Siemens wants to eventually try it in tiny wireless sensors. With the mobile fuel-cell market expected to be worth $1.6 billion by 2010, Zhou says the next step is zeroing in on one niche.

How to beat the high cost of gasoline. Forever.

Ethanol is the answer to the energy dilemma. It's clean and green and runs in today's cars.

By Adam Lashinsky, FORTUNE senior writer
January 24, 2006: 3:02 PM EST

SAN FRANCISCO (FORTUNE) - General Motors will take the occasion of the Winter Olympics in Italy to begin telling Americans about a topic that has nothing to do with skiing or bobsledding. Believe it or not, the once-great automaker will stake its position as a friend of the environment and as a promoter of ethanol, specifically a blend of 85 percent ethanol and 15 percent gasoline called E85.

One could question GM's timing on a lot of things. Pay attention to the message though. GM (Research) is onto something really big, namely how we as a country can finally begin weaning ourselves off gasoline.

Sure, ethanol calls to mind images of Jimmy Carter in a cardigan. But things have changed since the 1970s, when an oil-shocked president turned to agribusiness to create a homegrown alternative to gasoline. Instead of coming exclusively from corn or sugar cane as it has up to now, thanks to biotech breakthroughs, the fuel can be made out of everything from prairie switchgrass and wood chips to corn husks and other agricultural waste.

This biomass-derived fuel is known as cellulosic ethanol. Whatever the source, burning ethanol instead of gasoline reduces carbon emissions by more than 80 percent while eliminating entirely the release of acid-rain-causing sulfur dioxide. Even the cautious Department of Energy predicts that ethanol could put a 30 percent dent in America's gasoline consumption by 2030.

We may not have to wait that long. After decades of being merely an additive to gasoline, ethanol suddenly looks to be the stuff of a fuel revolution -- and a pipe dream for futurists. An unlikely alliance of venture capitalists, Wall Streeters, automakers, environmentalists, farmers and politicians is doing more than just talk about ethanol's potential. They're putting real money into biorefineries, car engines that switch effortlessly between gasoline and biofuels, and R&D to churn out ethanol more cheaply. (By the way, the reason motorists don't know about the five-million-plus ethanol-ready cars and trucks on the road is that until now Detroit never felt the need to tell them. Automakers quietly added the flex-fuel feature to get a break from fuel-economy standards.)

What's more, powerful political lobbies in Washington that never used to concern themselves with botanical affairs are suddenly focusing on ethanol. "Energy dependence is America's economic, environmental and security Achilles' heel," says Nathanael Greene of the Natural Resources Defense Council, a mainstream environmental group.

National-security hawks agree. Says former CIA chief James Woolsey: "We've got a coalition of tree huggers, do-gooders, sodbusters, hawks and evangelicals." (Yes, he did say "evangelicals" -- some have found common ground with greens in the notion of environmental stewardship.)

The next five years could see ethanol go from a mere sliver of the fuel pie to a major energy solution in a world where the cost of relying on a finite supply of oil is way too high. As that happens, says Vinod Khosla, a Silicon Valley venture capitalist who has become one of the nation's most influential ethanol advocates, "I'm absolutely convinced that without putting any more land under agriculture and without changing our food production, we can introduce enough ethanol in the U.S. to replace the majority of our petroleum use in cars and light trucks."

Ethanol has already transformed one major economy: In Brazil nearly three-quarters of new cars can burn either ethanol or gasoline, whichever happens to be cheaper at the pump, and the nation has weaned itself off imported oil. Not only does Brazil no longer have to import oil but an estimated $69 billion that would have gone to the Middle East or elsewhere has stayed in the country and is revitalizing once-depressed rural areas. More than 250 mills have sprouted in southeastern Brazil, and another 50 are under construction, at a cost of about $100 million each.

So the question is, can something similar happen in the United States? For the first time, the answer seems to be yes, if only because so many factors are going right simultaneously. High oil prices, low corn prices, and a shooting war in the Middle East (as opposed to merely saber-rattling embargoes) all have given new momentum to the biofuels moment. Government mandates have helped too.

What it really comes down to, however, are attitudes. This is true at big companies and even among oil-industry thinkers who don't even think we're running out of oil. Says Beth Lowry, GM's vice president for energy and environment: "People's perception used to be 'The agricultural lobby is very interested in it.' Now people are waking up and saying, 'This isn't just about the Midwest. This is about the U.S. as a whole.'"

Adds Daniel Yergin, one of the country's top energy experts: "I don't think I've seen so many kinds of renewable energy fermenting and bubbling as right now. The very definition of oil is broadening."

To read the full article from FORTUNE Magazine, click here.

Find this article at:

Report Challenges Claims About Ethanol

- (LA Times Business – January 27, 2006)

“A new study by California researchers challenges claims that substituting ethanol for gasoline consumes more energy than it creates – an argument that has dogged ethanol programs and their supporters for more than a decade.”

Sunday, January 29, 2006

The Next Big Thing In Searching

Yahoo and Others Embrace 'Tagging' as a Better Way To Find and Store Information

January 24, 2006; Page D1

Americans conduct nearly 200 million Internet searches every day. Now, several companies want to make that process better by transforming the way people look for and store information they find online.

The new method, dubbed "tagging," addresses a common complaint of many Internet users -- that searching is often clumsy and inefficient. Web surfers often must sift through multiple pages of search results to find what they are looking for. And retrieving the best sites a second time often means redoing the search or trolling through an unorganized list of sites that you have haphazardly saved in a "favorites" folder.

Tagging, however, can cut through the online clutter to deliver more relevant bits of information. That is because many versions allow users to search only sites that other people have already deemed useful. It also makes it easier to find desired information again. Users says tagging services can simplify online endeavors like shopping for a new road bike or acoustic guitar because they allow a prospective buyer to quickly access saved information.

While tech-heads have been using the method for the past year or so, tagging is now moving into the mainstream. Silicon Valley heavyweights -- along with a number of new upstarts -- are now putting major resources into developing tagging services. Last month, Yahoo Inc. bought the popular tagging site Del.icio.us (pronounced "delicious"). Now, the Sunnyvale, Calif., company says it plans to allow Del.icio.us users to access their tagged links through My Web 2.0, Yahoo's own tagging site.

One new site, Shadows.com, allows individuals to save their favorite Web sites under keywords that others can also search. The site, launched last October by the co-founders of Pluck Corp., based in Austin, Texas, attracts more than 275,000 unique monthly visitors, according to comScore Networks. Last week, iLor LLC of Lexington, Ky., launched PreFound.com. Like other bookmarking sites, it allows its users to upload pages they want to save into their own profiles or share them with the public.

Yahoo's Flickr.com, which allows anyone to upload photos from their camera phone or computer to the Web and then store them in a digital album that others can search by the keyword tags, is another early tagging success.

While tagging is still new and the method does have limitations, analysts are predicting further growth in "the tagosphere" as new companies crop up to grab a share of the nearly $15 billion online-advertising market. Tagging sites are free to use, but some run advertisements which display small snippets of ad text targeted to the terms a user is searching for or other words on the page.

Tagging sites are increasingly transitioning beyond places individuals go to for retrieving their favorite Web pages to sites they visit first when they want to search the Internet. That means they are beginning to compete directly with search behemoths such as Google and Yahoo. A Google Inc. spokesman says the company doesn't comment on its competition. "These systems are really coming into the mass market," says Caterina Fake, director of Yahoo Search technology.

Demand for the new sites reflect many Web surfers frustration with current search technology. The major search engines are all built around different algorithms that attempt to determine the most relevant sites for a particular search. But only 17% of Internet users say they always find what they are looking for when they use a search engine, according to a 2005 report from the Pew Internet & American Life Project. In November, Americans conducted more than five billion online searches, up 9% from the previous year, according to comScore Networks.

Tagging services have multiple uses. First, they allow Web surfers to save hundreds (or even thousands) of favorite Web pages under key words. The technology is named after the keyword "tags" users associate with each page they want to save. (For example, a Web page featuring ski goggles could be saved under the tag, skiing.) For individual users, tagging makes their own favorite pages easy to search and retrieve. Unlike storing addresses in a "favorites" folder on your computer, tagged pages are stored on the Web and accessible from any computer. A tagging site also lets you search among all your stored pages by key word, eliminating the need to scroll through dozens of sites and remember the order in which your links are saved.

There are two main ways to tag a Web site. Del.icio.us, for instance, will ask you to enter the Web address of the site you want to save into a field on its page and to click "save." The site, along with many others, also allows you download a toolbar to your desktop. While Web surfing, you can add pages to your account simply by clicking on the toolbar.

Companies say the greatest benefit of tagging -- and the reason why big Internet companies are adopting it -- is that tagging sites often allow users to make their list of tags and sites available to and searchable by either a closed community of friends and family or all other Web surfers. So, instead of searching the entire Web, users can limit their forays to an edited universe of pages others have already tagged as interesting or helpful. Also, many tagging services include the kind of social-networking features that have made sites such as MySpace.com and Friendster so popular: Users can post comments or vote on the usefulness of sites that others have tagged.

While most tagging sites allow you to tag pages on any topic, some sites are built around a theme. Kaboodle.com is a tagging site for the online shopper that allows users to save Web pages displaying items they are considering purchasing. Through buttons they add to their Internet toolbar, users can turn any product Web page, from a book on Amazon.com to clothing on eBay, into an entry on their personal Kaboodle page where others can rate and comment on the item.

There are some downsides to the new sites. Unlike a typical search engine, the effectiveness of tagging services depends on the quality and quantity of the people who save pages to them. Also, generally users have to use the same tags in order for a search to capture all the relevant pages. (For example, if you search for sites under the tag "winter boots," you could miss out on applicable pages that were tagged under "shoes.")

Some users complain that not enough people are tagging for it to be worth their while. Indeed, even the most popular sites generate less than 1% of Google's monthly traffic. But they're growing fast: Some, such as Shadows.com, are doubling their number of sign-ups every month.

When Mark Johnson of San Jose, Calif., wants to learn more about a company that he hears about in the news, he has largely stopped going to Yahoo, where he says it may take him up to ten different searches to find what he needs. Instead, the 27-year-old, who works for Internet start-up Kosmix.com, goes to Wink.com, a site that lets users search pages others have already tagged. While he still visits Yahoo, often by default, he says he uses Wink.com for restaurant recommendations and for other searches where human recommendations play an important role.

Write to Jessica E. Vascellaro at jessica.vascellaro@wsj.com

Saturday, January 28, 2006

The Top 10 Uses for Online Video

(1) Sales Training
(2) Marketing Presentations
(3) Employee and Distributor Training
(4) Sharing Family Videos With Distant Relatives
(5) Posting Video Resumes
(6) Showing Customers How To Use Your Website
(7) Customer Service FAQ's
(8) Real Estate Presentations
(9) Showing Off Your Talent In A Video Portfolio
(10) Just Having Fun Creating Online Movies!!

Facts about Video Email

FACT: Industry analysts estimate that the use of video streaming doubled in 2003 and will double again within the next three years.

FACT: Video email is one of the fastest growing applications online.

FACT: Live webcasting garners a tremendous return on investment (ROI) as it saves time, travel, and expense.

FACT: There are currently over 700 million internet users, sending over 30 billion emails everyday.

FACT: There will be more than 1 billion people online by 2007 with more than 300 million NEW email accounts created.

FACT: The internet has surpassed television, newspapers and magazines in reach.

Friday, January 27, 2006

Venture Capital Blogs

While reading the NY Times Street Scene this morning, I noted an article titled ‘Venture Capital Blogs? They’re About Anything But.” Following (in my words) are what I learned from this article:

* The venture capital world is one of the most insular of industries.

* Venture capitalists that now blog say they do so because it lets them establish a connection to new opportunities looking for seed capital and the opportunity to make an introduction to an investor or investors.

* Blogs allow venture capitalists to challenge the accuracy of figures, from a basis of personal opinion as venture capitalist blogs are self-censored for the gossip that everyone in the business really wants to know – like how much money everyone makes and the investments they are making and made.

* “There’s zero incentive to tell the truth.”

* Most venture capitalist bloggers put disclaimers on their sites that this counsel is merely an opinion of an individual and not expert advice.

Thursday, January 26, 2006

Gas-For-Your Car Challenge

For Immediate Release
Office of the Press Secretary
September 26, 2005

Fact Sheet: President Bush Discusses Energy Supplies in the Gulf Region

Today, President Bush Attended A Briefing On National Energy Supplies In The Aftermath Of Hurricanes Katrina And Rita. President Bush received a briefing at the Department of Energy and afterward discussed the effect of Hurricanes Katrina and Rita and the steps that Americans can take to help alleviate energy supply disruptions.

The Federal Government Is Prepared To Again Tap The Strategic Petroleum Reserve (SPR). To alleviate any gasoline supply disruptions caused by Hurricane Rita, the President announced that the Federal government is willing to use supplies from the SPR. This will help mitigate any shortfall in crude oil that could impact American consumers.

The Impact Of The Hurricanes On Energy Production In The Gulf Is Still Being Assessed. The Federal government is working closely with state and local authorities as well as the private sector to monitor the situation, support repairs, and ensure adequate energy supplies. The President is committed to working with Congress to examine our energy supplies and expedite the capacity of our refiners to expand or build new refineries.

President Bush Has Called On Americans To Conserve Energy and Help Hurricane Recovery. The American people can do their part by conserving fuels and ensuring that hardest-hit areas have the energy supplies they need for first response and restoration efforts. The President has also directed all Federal agencies to conserve energy in practical ways, such as curbing nonessential travel and conserving electricity. Americans can access energy saving tips at www.energysavers.gov.

The Federal Government Has Taken Action To Mitigate The Energy Impact From Hurricanes Katrina And Rita.

The Administration Took Steps To Prepare For Hurricane Rita. In advance of landfall, the government pre-positioned fuel depots of diesel and gas in affected areas so that first responders would have ready supplies. The Federal government worked with state and local officials to ensure that energy workers would be allowed back as soon as possible to help restore infrastructure. Departments are also in constant contact with private energy companies to help with their needs.

While Hurricane Rita's Full Impact On Energy Supplies Is Not Yet Known, Oil Supplies In The Gulf Have Been Affected. Currently, 100% or 1.56 million barrels of oil production in the Gulf of Mexico has been shut in and assessments are underway on the 700 platforms and rigs that were in the path of Rita. Before Rita, approximately 880,000 barrels per day were still down due to Katrina. Gulf Coast oil refineries affected by Rita and Katrina represent 31% of national production, and many of those refineries were shut down out of precaution, but are beginning to return to operation. Energy companies are assessing damage to a number of facilities directly in the path of Hurricane Rita that refine 1.7 million barrels per day.

The International Energy Agency (IEA) Agreed To Release 60 Million Barrels Of Oil And Gasoline. IEA member countries have begun making available an average of 2 million barrels of oil and gasoline per day to the markets.

At The Direction Of The President, The Department Of Energy Has Made Crude Oil Available From The SPR. The United States, as a part of the IEA effort, agreed to loan 13.2 million barrels and offered to sell an additional 30 million barrels of crude oil from the Strategic Petroleum Reserve to help ensure the continuity of energy supplies for drivers, businesses, and the entire American economy. This oil is currently entering the markets.

The Department Of Homeland Security Acted To Remove Obstacles To Fuel Distribution. After Hurricane Katrina, Secretary Chertoff waived the Jones Act, allowing foreign-flagged ships to temporarily transport fuel from one U.S. port to another. Following Hurricane Rita, the President has directed Secretary Chertoff to again waive these restrictions. This increases the flexibility of our energy distribution system, allowing fuel to be delivered more rapidly to areas that need it.

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Has Worked To Increase Flexibility Of Gasoline Supply. EPA waived the winter/summer blend requirements, increasing the supply of available gasoline. EPA also temporarily increase flexibility in diesel supply and waived reformulated gas mandates in certain local markets such as Atlanta and Richmond to relieve significant supply pressure points.

The Treasury Department Has Waived Regulatory Rules For Dyed Diesel Fuel. The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) announced that it would allow use of "dyed diesel fuel" for on-road use without a tax penalty, increasing diesel supplies. Dyed diesel fuel ordinarily is not subject to Federal excise taxes because it is intended for off-road use in farm equipment or in certain government vehicles such as school buses. The IRS announced that it would not penalize those who used dyed diesel fuel for on-road use, and this waiver has been extended following Hurricane Rita.

The Administration Has Worked Closely With Private Firms To Get Pipelines Up And Running. Several pipelines were shut down as a result of power outages and disruptions from Hurricane Katrina. The Plantation pipeline to the East Coast is now back up to full capacity, and the Colonial pipeline to the East Coast will be at full capacity by the end of the week. The Explorer and Capline pipelines to the Midwest are also expected to be back to full capacity by the end of the week or as production resumes.

The Department of Transportation (DOT) Has Eased Transportation Rules To Facilitate The Delivery Of Fuel. DOT's Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration has eased its hours-of-service rules applicable to truck drivers to facilitate fuel transportation services, and this action has been extended following Hurricane Rita.

# # #

Return to this article at:

Wednesday, January 25, 2006

Future Spark Plugs

Overview: FSP-5000 Technology

Introducing Future Spark Plugs utilizing a new technology called ‘Conical Energy’ – which will become the standard for all spark plugs worldwide.

The FSP-5000 Design provides a constant flame front that maximizes the burn rate and engine performance. The conical energy directs the burn in a highly focused manner, eliminating errant sparks, so those uphill climbs are easier with the increased torque, with lower emissions.

FSP-5000 Technology creates cost effective performance enhancing modifications to internal combustion engines through the utilization of a broader flame front. This radically reduces engine emissions by up to 50%, significantly improves gas mileage by up to 40% and considerably increases engine horsepower by up to 30% or up to 300% in torque. FSP-5000 Technology also reduces oil companies’ requirements for additives and MTBE; meaning, less refinery processes are necessary.

“The FSP-5000 Spark Plug derives its name from the air/fuel burn rate that the FSP Technologies spark plug design produces; which is, 5,000 acre/feet per minute. This compares to conventional spark plug technology – which produces an average air/fuel burn rate of about 2,000 acre/feet per minute. Hence, the name FSP-5000 (Future Spark Plug – 5,000 Version). Other revisions and enhancements to the Base Platform Technology are presently in process.”

This is not a competitive spark plug. The FSP-5000 Technology will transform the current intermittent spark plug to a new technology of a “constant” flame to the energy spark, bringing the only archaic component in the engine today to the most technological advancement in the history of engine manufacturing. This quantum leap of technology will revolutionize the entire scope of engine manufacturing, spark plug engineering and oil refining to a level never before seen since the invention of the automobile.

The FSP-5000 Technology will become the new standard in the spark plug industry, replacing the platinum spark plug and all spark plug enhancement products. Spark plug manufacturers can dictate how long they want the FSP-5000 Technology to last.

Future Spark Plug Technologies’ ultimate goal is to sell the licensing and manufacturing rights to its FSP-500 Technology.

Tuesday, January 24, 2006

Seeing is Believing

A friend forwarded me the following video clip. I have watched it several times and have enjoyed watching it each time. I am always impressed with a performer that meets the challenge of coming up with something new and different.

Click Here to view this unique Piano Playing Juggling Act.
(You will need Windows Medial Player to view this movie)

What is a Vlog?

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.

A vlog or video blog is a blog (short for weblog) which uses video as the primary content; the video is linked to within a videoblog post and usually accompanied by supporting text, image, and additional meta data to provide context.

Blogs often take advantage of RSS for syndication to other web sites and aggregator software (RSS readers). With the inclusion of RSS Enclosures, which provides the ability to attach media files to a feed item/blog post, it is possible to bypass the mainstream intermediaries and openly distribute media to the masses via the Internet. Vlogs typically take advantage of this technological development, just as audioblogs have in recent years via the podcast boom.

Videoblogging gains popularity with each passing month, especially since the release of the new Apple Video iPod and the availability of iTunes Store's video content. iTunes uses the term to describe a video blog.

One of the potential problems with Vlogs is the current inability of search engines to create rich metadata or "search engine" data from the stream. For Vlogs to be fully embraced as part of web culture, some indexing solution will need to emerge.

Video Blogs

Vlogs may develop into the next wave of web publishing. With millions of surfers are reading turning to blogs everyday as srouces for both news and entertainment, the vlogging phenomenon seems ready to emerge full force as the big players on the web have officially taken notice of the power of blogs and are positioning themselves to be there to shape and incorporate the vlog medium.

Blogs have of course developed a very high online profile in recent years. A text blog or 'web log' where an individual publishes content of interest to them or makes use of the web as their online diary . Blogging has become a method of easy and instant publishing to a huge audience. News blogs have become a journalistic force, and blog subject matter is as diversified as the web itself.

Following the same style of current blogs but complimented by video content may soon take things even further. The rapid decline in hardware, bandwidth, and DV equipment have made publishing video on the web extremely easy and increasingly affordable. With high-speed connections becoming the norm, millions of people can easily download video files and streams. A new publishing medium is born, and with these converging trends, may see on explosion is interesting video content on the web in the next few years. All these factors lead to more of that easy and instant publishing mindset. Attention seeking people as well.

As marketers' obsession with online video advertising grows, what better time to introduce a placement that unifies the power of video with the value of blogs? By inserting unique, unconventional ad messages into video clips on vlogs, marketers may just be able to take both video and blog advertising to the next level.

If vlogs take off as expected, it's likely only a handful will accept advertising or provide enough traffic volume to make a placement worthwhile. Whether blog readers will tolerate the more intrusive video advertising also remains to be seen. If they do, the Internet industry may be singing the praises of yet another new online ad format by this time next year.
Bloggers are ready to "show" instead of "tell." Advertisers will devour this next generation of blogs.

Monday, January 23, 2006

Olympic Highlights

The Greeks didn’t have Winter Olympics (which began in 1924 with International Sports Week in Chamonix, France) because they competed in the nude. That year, 258 athletes from 16 nations competed in events in six sports.

Facts you may not know, but would like to:

Sixteenth-century Scots played a game called curling, which was played on frozen ponds in Scotland, as far back as 1541.

The Dutch added metal to their shoes in the 16th century and figure skating and speed skating were born.

In 1767, soldiers in Norway and Sweden challenged each other in skiing and shooting, the first organized biathlon.

Canadian students invented hockey in the 1870’s.

In 1924, military squads completed in the biathlon and the sport officially became part of the 1960 Games.

The 2006 Games, which open February 10 in Turin, Italy, will have 84 events, drawing 2,500 athletes from 85 national Olympic Committees.

Sculpture Park Honors Eagle Scout

The Wolfstein Sculpture Park at Scripps Memorial Hospital La Jolla dedicated a sculptured tree in honor of their grandson, Sean Adair, who earned the rank of Eagle Scout.

More stories to come on the Wolfstein Sculpture Park at Scripps Memorial Hospital La Jolla.

Sunday, January 22, 2006

First Asian-Content Game Launched In North America

Win Win Gaming Subsidiary Pixiem Announces U.S. Launch of Popular Korean Mobile Game GoStop

Copyright Business Wire 2006

LAS VEGAS--(BUSINESS WIRE)----Win Win Gaming, Inc. (OTCBB: WNWN) wholly-owned subsidiary Pixiem, Inc. announced the North American launch of Korean mobile phone card game title GoStop. GoStop is currently available in the U.S. through major mobile carriers.

GoStop, a popular mobile game in Korea, uses a special deck of 48 cards decorated with landscapes, flowers, and animals and can be divided into 12 months comprising 4 cards each. The game is played by putting down a card from your hand to match one of the cards laid on the table. In GoStop, clear graphics and a backlight function add extra playability. This incredibly addictive game offers several missions. Complete each mission and earn extra points.

Win Win Gaming Chief Executive Patrick Rogers commented: "The launch of the GoStop game marks the introduction of a popular Asian game title into the U.S. market. GoStop also represents the first launch of a line of Pixiem-created mobile card games with additional card and board game titles to follow. Card and board mobile games are a perfect complement to our existing line of sports-themed mobile games."

Sung Lee, vice president of Pixiem, Inc., said: "Pixiem's experience in the Korean market gives us an advantage in leading Asian content into the U.S. market. We plan to work with other carriers in launching additional Asian content into the U.S. and North American markets. Wireless handset penetration within both the domestic and international Asian population is very high. As we launch Asian game content into the North American market, we also plan to introduce our U.S. content games into the Asian market."

About Pixiem, Inc.

Pixiem Inc., a subsidiary of Win Win Gaming, Inc., develops and publishes licensed mobile games and applications for brand name companies in the sports and entertainment industry. Pixiem's licensed games are distributed through leading mobile phone carriers throughout the world. For more information, visit www.pixiem.com.

About Win Win Gaming, Inc.

Win Win Gaming Inc. develops mobile and lottery game content under agreements with sports, entertainment, and government/public-welfare entities. Services and support include marketing, content creation, design, promotions, operations management, technology, and infrastructure for specific customer/market requirements. For more information visit www.winwininc.com.

Safe Harbor Statement:

The information in this release includes certain forward-looking statements, including, but not limited to, statements regarding launches on additional carriers, our ability to produce other mobile games, timing of future game releases and quality of future games Actual results may differ materially from the results expressed in the forward-looking statements due to factors including, but not limited to, uncertainties regarding market conditions, demand for mobile games generally; ability to compete with other games in the market, market share taken by competitors that may be more experienced and better capitalized than we are; and other risks detailed in the Company's filings with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.

Win Win Gaming, Inc. Patrick Rogers, 702-212-4530 or Silverman Heller Associates Dan Matsui/Gene Heller, 310-208-2550

© Business Wire 2006

The Mold Challenge

An old friend, co-worker and partner is now in the Mold Remediation business with another old friend and co-worker.

Following is a Press Release that he forwarded to MyBlogAgency and we felt warranted posting for review by our readers; especially, those challenged by mold.

Two Companies Awarded 2005 Mold Help
Seal of Approval

2005 Mold Help Awards Seal of Approval to Global Prevention Services and American Environmental Group

Within a few months of the announcement of the Prestigious Mold Help Evaluation Program, we are proud to announce that we have selected our first two companies to receive the prestigious Mold Help Seal of Approval.

In the initial process of the Mold Help Organization non-biased evaluation process, we concurred that their 2005 frontrunners for our Inspection and Remediation categories are therefore rewarded to two companies who have surpassed the MH standards with flying colors and have been awarded the Mold Help Seal of Approval; one for remediation/prevention, the other for inspection/moisture management.

The first company, GPS (Global Prevention Services), has passed rigid product laboratory testing, IAQ interviews, customer feedback, and experience over accreditations, ethical standards, and superior customer service. They provide prevention and remediation for mold problems that have been proven to cause permanent neurological, psychological, immunological, and pathological damage in some cases. This mission statement of Global Prevention Services is to provide an affordable, non-evasive, microbial abatement treatment for the prevention of mold in personal and business environments. Global Prevention Services, (GPS) has surpassed our expectations in mold remediation and prevention. Mold Help, who has the highest standards in the world for determining non-biased third-party evaluations, determined that this company is a 'true benefit" to our consumers.

Mold Help conducts ratings on the following criteria; education, job experience, high performance within industry standards, pertinent accreditations, value and laboratory product analysis.

The second company to receive our Mold Help Seal of Approval in the category of Inspection/Testing is The American Environmental Group, with three offices in the southern California community. We are proud to award our Seal of Approval to this company that is a total environmental testing/Inspection Company who also specializes in moisture management, toxicology, expert testimony, and a total spectrum of environmental testing. Their website is listed under the services categories.

American Environmental Group's (AEG) mission is to surpass the industry's most stringent expectations and to continually be recognized as one of the premier environmental firms in the dynamic world of Industrial Hygiene/Health and Safety while maintaining our superior reputation amongst our clients.

For a complete article and write-up on our independent evaluation, please go to our MH Approved Services, under California, and you will find their rating/evaluation. The evaluation process, which took over two months to complete, has become an overwhelming success. Unlike any other organizations, Mold Help has no conflict of interest, as nominees pay no money to be featured on the site for the year of approval and the evaluation/awardees process is extremely thorough. Soon, this site will become an international resource for highly ethical companies who share the same values of efficacy and high standards.

The success stems from the Mold Help website, www.mold-help.org, which has been the highest ranked website in the world for current information, resources, education, scientific documentation, and solutions to mold problems. Mold Help is also currently conducting cutting edge medical studies to assist the public with health issues with our network of scientists.

"The remediation category is rated a little bit differently," states Chris Rad, Mold Help's IAQ Expert for remediation ratings. "Unless we have a longstanding relationship with the particular remediation company, we generally rate them (the remediation company) with two stars, if they pass all of our stringent standards." Mold Help will be anxious to hear consumer feedback to assist in maintaining ratings, improvements, and consumer advocacy recommendations. "This two star rating is not a negative reflection by any means; in all actuality it is a compliment." Mold Help has exceedingly high standards and passing our standards demonstrates superiority in many ways."

The Mold help Organization, the largest consumer advocacy and intervention group for mold issues has created the only program of its kind to assist consumers in making educated decisions regarding fully approved, investigated, tested, and analyzed environmental testing/inspection, moisture management, fungicide, resistant, or coating products, and remediation companies.

Since there are no governmental regulations in these industries, basically anyone can become so called 'certified" in inspection, moisture management, and/or remediation. Businesses are taking advantage of this by offering absurd and outrageously expensive 'programs" that make consumer scams appear, in our opinion, as a understatement, in the opinion of the Mold Help panel of experts.

'We receive numerous complaints about inexperienced so called 'testing" inspectors or totally inconclusive results, products who make claims to 'abate mold" that are totally ineffective, and in some cases cause more problems than anything, remediation companies who have no experience, and that doesn't even compare to the alleged impropriety, theft, sexual misconduct, and bait and switch tactics we receive complaints about," states Susan Lillard-Roberts, national spokeswoman for the Mold Help Organization. 'The background check and initial company investigation has scared off many companies we never accept anyways. This separates the ethical from the questionable and we are the first of this type to allow such comprehensive evaluations."

Due to ensuing complaints from consumers who had dealt with so called 'certified" mold 'professionals," Mold Help urges you to select only Mold Help Approved Resources. There is no cost for finding an approved resource, and in this respect, you, the consumer, can find, honest, ethical resources who have been thoroughly investigated for all so common, yet dubious conflicts of interest, analyzed for cost effectiveness, inspected for experience, 'accreditations," and ability to conduct the best job possible.

Since Mold Help is a long established agency, we have formed a superlative entire alliance with many experts who share our values for ethics and superior performance. Due to our large network, we have become the leading authority on determining non-biased, third party evaluations in the indoor air quality industry and advise thousands of consumers each day on concise, cost-effective and effective methods.

Mold Help is solely based upon assisting the public on ethics and non-biased recommendations to the public with no costs or "membership" fees. Mold Help is currently in the process of evaluating several inspection, moisture management, remediation, and products companies. They regularly inspect so called dubious 'certifications" that really mean little to nothing for the consumer. Mold Help will continue to offer independently evaluated services and products to consumers in an effort to eliminate alleged fraud, improprieties, and ineffectual products and services aimed at consumer ignorance.
Mold Help will continue to investigate, inspect, and independently evaluate mold problems and how to deal with them in an effective and ethical manner. Please contact us if we can be of assistance in any way whatsoever.

Saturday, January 21, 2006

The MyBlogAgent Blog Challenge

The My Blog Agent Blog Challenge is what to blog about today. Already, we are ‘Back Blogged’ with topics. Our challenge is to present insights and reflections that will be read and integrated into our reader’s challenge, so that he or she can use the input to meet their challenge(s) with insights from challenge solutions in the news.

While researching daily, the following challenges were found in headlines and body copy and challenged us to further investigate and think about we just read and how it applies to our clients and their customers.

Science Blogs as a Vehicle for Upscale Ads

Seed Media Group, which produces science publications in print and online, is seeking to broaden its audience – and its appeal to advertisers – by introducing a network of blogs, devoted to science and science-related subjects at www.scienceblogs.com. The Web site will initially bring together 15 blogs and plans are to have as many as 30 blogs on the network.

Make IT a Habit

We all have habits that we would like to change to new habits. Bottom line: It takes 30 days of focused attention to change a habit into a new habit.

The Front Page Challenge

The Front Page Challenge is being won by Google. There is rarely a day that Google isn’t in the news. The greatest challenge is being on the Front Page; especially, major newspaper media. Today, Google was on the front pages of the Daily News, LA Times, NY Times, USA Today and Wall Street Journal, with headlines like: ‘Google Resists U.S. Subpoena Of Search Data’ and ‘Feds try to google Google’.

Google’s Front Page Challenge Strategy: Be different than your competitors and take a position that will be supported by your users. Google to competitors: “You three (Yahoo, Microsoft and AOL) go that way and we’ll take this road to Search Leadership.”

One Mountain, Undivided

If you are the leader, the mountain is yours. If there is competition, the mountain is divided. To remain the leader, you must take the mountain or discover you are more together than the sum of your parts. Sometimes, there is more business for both of us working together, by maximizing our available and combined resources of time, energy and dollars.

RFID: A Technology Challenge

Pirated DVDs Among Hottest Items On Shelves in Iraq. International companies are reluctant to pressure the Iraqis now, because Iraq’s government is struggling with a number of challenges and now is not a good time to pressure it to crack down on copyright violations. RFID technology will one day meet this type of challenge with technology that will allow buyers to know the difference between a real copy and a pirated copy.

The Bin Laden Challenge

Talk about a challenge: More terrorism in the United States or ending the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. “We do not mind offering you a long-term truce with fair conditions,” said Bin Laden. Vice President Chency responded, “Sounds to me like it’s some kind of ploy.”

Premium Prices Fuel Copper Challenge

The nation’s first new copper mine in a decade is about to begin production near the Utah-Colorado border. Two new mines and expansion of several existing mines are planned in Arizona, which produces 75% of the USA’s copper. “You can’t get a lightbulb without copper,” says Gregory Hahn of Constellation Copper, “tubing, plumbing, wiring in cars, houses, offices adds up to 50 pounds of copper per capita each year, while China uses 1 pound. Copper prices are up more than 180% since mid-2003.

Friday, January 20, 2006

Search In The Headlines Today

Front Page LA Times:
U.S. Obtains Internet Users Search Records

Front Page Daily News:
Feds Try To Google Google

Yahoo and others reveal queries from millions of people; Google refuses. Identities aren’t included, but the data trove stirs privacy fears.

Federal investigators have obtained potentially billions of Internet search requests made by users of major websites run by Yahoo, Inc., Microsoft Corp. and America Online. The information turned over represents a week’s worth of online queries from millions of Americans – the Internet equivalent of eavesdropping on their inner monologues.

The Internet companies said that the information did not violate their users’ privacy because the data did not include names or computer addresses. The disclosure alarmed civil liberties advocates, who fear that the government could seek more detailed information later.

A Justice Department spokesman said the government is interested only in search trends as part of its efforts to regulate online pornography. Privacy advocates said the opportunity to peruse search queries provided an unprecedented glimpse into people’s private thoughts and habits, as search engines have become an integral part of daily life.

Thursday, January 19, 2006

E-Mail Dominance Faces Challenges

By Roy Mark
December 23, 2005


E-mail faces significant challenges from real time communications, spam and bugs and viruses, according to a new report from IDC.

For e-mail to retain its status as the dominant form of electronic communication, e-mail solution providers and their customers must uphold the high value of e-mail while reducing the associated costs and risks, the report said.

"E-mail has faced its challengers -- viruses, spam, regulations -- and emerged with its reputation bruised, but intact," Mark Levitt, research vice president for IDC's Collaborative Computing service, said in a statement. "Except among teens and young adults and inside certain fast-paced work environments, e-mail is staying ahead of instant messaging in terms of usage."

IDC predicts that nearly 84 billion e-mails, more than 33 billion of which will be spam messages, will be sent daily worldwide in 2006. The future status of e-mail, IDC says, will depend on preserving its value throughout its life cycle from creation to permanent deletion while reducing associated costs and risks.

The report also says e-mail can turn back the challenge of instant messaging by providing low- or no-cost access to corporate and consumer e-mail from a variety of devices. In addition, e-mail must retain a crucial role throughout the collaboration process and raise the visibility of e-mail content so that it parallels that of other enterprise application data and business processes.

Wednesday, January 18, 2006

Spark plug production winding down

Spark plug production winding down


Tuesday, January 10, 2006

By Todd Seibt
tseibt@flintjournal.com • 810.766.6315
FLINT - The first phase of expected spark plug production cuts has occurred at Delphi Flint East, and more are on the way as Delphi Corp. completes major contracts with General Motors, union and company officials say. "It didn't halt totally, but it dropped down, and it's in the wind-down stage," Steve Grandstaff, shop chairman of UAW Local 651 in Flint, said of spark plug production. Grandstaff noted that most of the employees were absorbed into other open positions at Flint East or took temporary layoffs.

About 200 employees involved in spark plug production were affected by the cuts, workers said. The rest face reassignment as spark plug production continues to decline. Delphi has about 3,500 hourly and salaried employees in Genesee County, split between East and the Flint Technical Center.

A spokesman for Troy-based Delphi, Brad Jackson, declined to discuss specifics of the spark plug moves. Delphi, citing below-cost prices set by contracts with its former parent, GM, has said it needs to quit making spark plugs. Steve Miller, Delphi's chief executive, has said Delphi must exit unprofitable product lines or move them overseas, where labor costs are much cheaper. Delphi will continue to exit the spark plug business through 2006. Because of product demand and contractual obligations, the precise end date for all spark plug production is not known but is likely to occur in the spring, Grandstaff said.

Workers said the changes are creating havoc for them, and some blamed management. "I think it's a bunch of crap - mismanagement," said Jim Harris, a job setter in spark plugs. "I've been in spark plugs for 11 years. My job ended Dec. 23. I stayed to help train new people coming in. Their jobs are done March 1. "They've taken a company over 100 years old and run it into the ground. I'm moving to Saginaw; I've got to support my family. I've got to do what's right for my family. Probably, in the next three to four years, there won't be anybody working at this plant."

Jill Brazeal, injection mold job setter, sees the cuts as having a long-term impact. "The more jobs they take out of here, the more we are going to end up on the street," Brazeal said. Sylvia Cabell, a production worker, agreed. "It's going to affect a lot. It's people's livelihood," Cabell said. "You don't know what the future is going to hold. Most of my friends are ready for retirement. They are just going to have the lower seniority move to another plant. Nobody is happy about it."

GM, which owns the rights to the well-known AC Delco brand, wants to pay the "global" price for plugs, which is about $1. While it costs East about $2, on average, to make a plug, GM pays about $1.50, GM, UAW and Delphi insiders have said. Historically, East has been GM's prime source for spark plugs, and has made plugs for decades.

Journal staff writer Kris Turner contributed to this report.

Tuesday, January 17, 2006

Benjamin Franklin's 300th Birthday!

Today is the 300th anniversary of Ben Franklin’s birth, one of America’s most famous ideologists. He openly championed the values of the middle class as the most tolerant group in America. He said common sense should triumph and compromise is essential.

He was one of the most extraordinary human beings the world has
ever known. Born into the family of a Boston candle maker, Benjamin
Franklin became the most famous American of his time. He helped
found a new nation and defined the American character. Writer,
inventor, diplomat, businessman, musician, scientist, humorist,
civic leader, international celebrity . . . genius.

In college, I was a member of the Ben Franklin Society, a local fraternity that held the teachings of Ben Franklin as key to living the good life, as all good college students of the late 1960’s and early 1970’s were able to do.

In college, I was a member of the Ben Franklin Society, a local fraternity that held the teachings of Ben Franklin as key to living the good life, as all good college students of the late 1960’s and early 1970’s were able to do.

Monday, January 16, 2006

Bankruptcy and Foreclosure In The News

Bankruptcy Filings Jump to New High

The rush of indebted consumers to file bankruptcy before a tough new law took effect pushed personal filings for 2005 to their highest annual level on record – more than 2 million.

Significant increases in consumer bankruptcy filings occurred in every region, up 31.6 percent from 2004 – meaning that one in every 53 households filed bankruptcy petitions, according to Lundquist Consulting Inc., a financial research outfit based in Burlingame, CA.

The new law took effect October 17, 2005 and brings the most sweeping overhaul of the U.S. Bankruptcy Code in a generation and makes it harder to erase debts in bankruptcy.

Foreclosure Activity Up

California sees 27% increase, Texas 61% increase.

Residential foreclosure activity across the nation reached its’ highest level during December 2005, an indication that rising interest rates were having an impact. 81,290 properties nationwide entered some stage of foreclosure, up 13.5% from November, said RealtyTrac. That’s one new incident for every 1,422 U.S. households, the highest foreclosure rate reported last year.

Texas accounted for more than 15% of the nation’s new foreclosures, with 12,753 properties entering some stage of foreclosure, one for every 631 households. California reported 7,674 properties entering some stage of foreclosure, one for every 1,592 households.

With prices at record levels in many areas and interest rates expected to move up, foreclosure activity will like increase this year, said an analyst fro DataQuick Information Systems.

Martin Luther King Jr.

“We are inevitably our brother’s keeper because we are our brother’s brother. Whatever affects one directly affects all indirectly.”

- Martin Luther King Jr.

Sunday, January 15, 2006

Motivational Headlines In The News

Following are several theme lines that stimulated further thought:

Winning Changes Everything

Losing changes everything too, but it is definitely not the same as winning.

Retirement planning for the generation that redefined ‘Acting Your Age’

That’s us, the Baby Boomers! Why should we start acting our age now? It’s worked so well all these years not to be conventional. Redefinition is our middle name, as well as our cause.

Over the next five years, over 76 million Baby Boomers will turn 60 and will definitely redefine New Age Retirement.

The Hero-Driven Life

We all have our heroes, real people or made up ones. For me, it started with Superman and Richie Rich, as a kid. Then Benjamin Franklin, in my college years, followed by Jack Trout (Positioning) and Richard Branson (Virgin Group).

Sometimes, the best way to improve your life is to look at and use someone else’s life-accomplishments as a model for personal inspiration, direction and motivation.

Saturday, January 14, 2006

Dale Carnegie’s - How to Win Friends and Influence People

Came across this article (Fri Jan 13, 8:00 PM ET ) and felt it provided good insights that are good for all of us to think about and apply. Am presenting here as it appeared at the following link: http://www.notesofintelligence.com/influence/basic-summary.html

Dale Carnegie’s -

Want to learn how to win friends and influence people? Strapped for time? Try this quick guide that covers the core ideas in one page.

This guide to the ideas in Dale will help anyone more effectively build relationships and motivate others. The following has been edited down to simply establish the book’s core ideas and should take less than five minutes to read.

How to Win Friends & Influence People:
A Guide

Basic Summary

This guide to the ideas in Dale Carnegie’s How to Win Friends and Influence People will help anyone more effectively build relationships and motivate others. The following has been edited down to simply establish the book’s core ideas and should take less than five minutes to read. A more thorough overview, which includes examples, can be found here.

The three fundamental tenets repeated throughout the book are highlighted in red.

Building Personal Relationships
• Never criticize, condemn or complain.
• Self-criticism is extremely rare. Your criticism won’t be welcome.
• Criticism makes others defensive and resentful.
• Positive Reinforcement works better.
• Become genuinely interested in other people.
• People are most interested in themselves.
• Remember people’s birthdays and other important details.
• Talk in terms of the other person's interests.
• Find the things that interest others and talk about those things.
• If you know nothing of their interests, ask intelligent questions.
• Be a good listener.
• Give your exclusive attention to others.
• Encourage others to talk about themselves. Ask pointed questions.
• Make the other person feel important.
• People deeply desire feeling important and appreciated.
• Praise others’ strengths and they’ll strive to reinforce your opinion.
• Use Names whenever possible.
• Smile.
• Greet others with smiles, enthusiasm and animation.
• Smiling comes through even when on the phone.
Selling your Ideas: Establish a Space for Cooperation
• Avoid arguments: you can only lose.
• Arguers will defend and embrace their previous positions.
• Even “winning” will hurt the loser’s pride and build resentment.
• A Guide to avoiding arguments:
1. Welcome the disagreement. Be thankful for a new opinion.
2. Keep calm.
3. Listen first. Hear your opponents out.
4. Look for areas of agreement.
5. Admitting errors will make it easier for others to admit theirs.
6. If no resolution is found, postpone action and promise to explore the opposing perspective.
• Begin in a friendly way.
• Open conversation with sincere praise, appreciation and sympathy.
• A friendly tone will allow others to broach discussions more openly.
• Let the other person do a great deal of the talking.
• Eagerly listen to concerns to diffuse tension and build relationships.
• Others need to finish spilling their ideas before listening to you.
• Be sympathetic.
• Most people hunger for sympathy.
• Tell them: “I’d feel the same way under those circumstances.”
• Respect others’ opinions. Never say, "You're wrong."
• People don’t like to admit they’re wrong and may take it personally.
• If you are wrong, admit it quickly and emphatically.
• Demonstrate your willingness to rationally examine the facts.
• If another is about to criticize you, don’t let them start!
• A harsh self-rebuke may prompt the others to soften their critiques.
• Admitting errors clears guilt and allows quicker resolutions.
• Try honestly to see things from the other person's point of view.
• Another’s perspective and motivation is the key to understanding their decisions, agenda and personality.
• Frame requests in terms of what motivates others.
• Ask yourself: “Why should someone want to do as I ask?”

Friday, January 13, 2006

The 11 Immutable Laws of Internet Branding

By Al Ries and Laura Ries in 2000

The Law of Either/Or
The Internet can be a business or a medium, but not both.

The Law of Interactivity
Without it, your Website and your brand will go nowhere.

The Law of the Common Name
The kiss of death for an Internet brand is a common name.

The Law of the Proper Name
Your name stands alone on the Internet, so you’d better have a good one.

The Law of Singularity
At all costs you should avoid being second in your category.

The Law of Advertising
Advertising off the Net will be a lot bigger than advertising on the Net.

The Law of Globalism
The Internet will demolish all barriers, all boundaries, all borders.

The Law of Time
Just do it. You have to be fast. You have to be first. You have to be focused.

The Law of Vanity
The biggest mistake of all is believing you can do anything.

The Law of Divergence
Everyone talks about convergence, while just the opposite is happening.

The Law of Transformation
The Internet revolution will transform all aspects of our lives.

Thursday, January 12, 2006

Blogs grow as a PR device


Published: Dec 06, 2005 12:30 AM
Modified: Dec 06, 2005 04:37 AM

Blogs grow as a PR device

More executives see the merits of Web logs, which can boost companies' visibility, establish their writers as experts in the field

Wingo's blog about the e-commerce industry is called eBay Strategies.

David Ranii, Staff Writer

More companies are wading into the blogosphere.

Increasingly, they're discovering that Web logs, online journals that serve up news and commentary, can be an effective marketing tool. So they're creating blogs that are aimed at boosting the company's image, although they may be written by a single executive expressing his or her point of view.

If done well, it works. Companies can boost their visibility and establish one of their own as an expert in the field, marketing experts say.

"It's a great outreach to potential clients," said Andy Beal, CEO of Fortune Interactive, a Raleigh Internet marketing company that helps companies conduct e-mail marketing, use blogs as a marketing tool and boost their rankings on Web searches. A blog can cement bonds with clients by demonstrating that the company is on top of the latest trends, and win attention from mainstream media, he said.

Beal stumbled upon the merits of a blog when he started one while he was an executive at WebSourced, a Morrisville search-engine marketing company. He found it so valuable that he began another blog this year when he started Fortune Interactive.

"The blog has absolutely increased the credibility I have in the industry," said Beal.

He credits his industry reputation, which was amplified by the blog, with helping him attract his new company's initial clients.

In addition to being asked to speak regularly at industry conferences, Beal has been interviewed on National Public Radio and has been quoted in publications such as the Washington Post and Los Angeles Times.

But there are pitfalls to corporate blogs. Many err on the side of being self-serving, undermining their credibility and turning off readers. Or even worse, they're boring.

The track record of corporate blogs is hit-or-miss, said Larry Lamb, who teaches public relations at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

"It seems that the ones that have been successful have people writing them who are good writers, provocative writers, who provide useful information and make frequent entries," Lamb said. If a blog's content isn't kept fresh, readers may cross it off their to-do list.

Just as many corporate Web sites flopped at first, corporate blogs today are still in trial-and-error mode. "This is 1994 for the blogs," Lamb said.

Readers tend to find blogs through Internet searches, word-of-mouth and its Internet equivalent, hyperlinks on other blog sites.

Some companies, such as MMI Associates, a Raleigh public relations firm, concede that their blogs are works-in-progress. But Kipp Bodnar, an account executive at the firm, thinks that the blog the agency began in late August will be worth the effort.

"It is the next step in communications," he said.

Certainly there are a multitude of corporate blogs vying for attention.

Technorati, a blog search site, surveyed the landscape and found 7,000 corporate blogs in 2003, said David Sifry, founder and CEO. Six months later, the number had jumped to 15,000.

Technorati hasn't done a similar survey since, but Sifry expects that the number has continued to rise dramatically. Corporate blogs are especially popular with high-technology industries.

If you are in certain industries, "you should have a blog. Most of your competitors do," said Diane Kuehn, CEO of VisionPoint, a Raleigh firm that specializes in online marketing.

Unlike corporate Web sites, corporate blogs aren't always tied to a company's name.

Beal's blog is called Marketing Pilgrim. WebSourced's blog, the one originated by Beal, is called Search Engine Lowdown.

But the company affiliations aren't hidden.

Marketing Pilgrim includes an "About Andy Beal" section that specifies that he is CEO of Fortune Interactive, and includes a hyperlink to the company's Web site. The blog also is "sponsored by Fortune Interactive."

Scot Wingo is CEO of ChannelAdvisor, a Morrisville company whose software and services help customers make sales over the Internet. He takes a similar approach on his blog about the e-commerce industry, called eBay Strategies. Wingo also wrote a book called "eBay Strategies."

In a recent posting about a new development at ChannelAdvisor, Wingo inserted a disclaimer, pointing out that he's the company's CEO.

"We try to be totally upfront and let people know there is a conflict of interest," said Wingo. "I'm not a journalist."

The most successful blogs can generate revenue of their own.

WebSourced's Search Engine Lowdown has attracted more than $100,000 in ads from other companies so far this year, according to company spokesman Xavier Hermosillo. WebSourced says the site attracts 800 to 1,500 readers daily.

The best blogs -- corporate or otherwise -- have a distinctive voice, the work of a single author. That can mean a major time commitment, depending on how frequently they are updated. As a recent day unfolded, Beal added a dozen items.

"I wouldn't do it if it wasn't fun," said Beal. "I enjoy getting a scoop. It's still work, but it is enjoyable work."

But blogging isn't for everyone.

Steven Keith, interactive director at Raleigh public relations agency Capstrat, said many clients are interested in sounding off on issues that are dear to them, but that may not tie into their businesses.

"I persuade more clients not to do it, rather than do it," Keith said of blogging.
Some clients even want Capstrat to ghostwrite a blog for them, something the agency won't do. That, said Keith, would destroy a blog's integrity.

Staff writer David Ranii can be reached at 829-4877 or davidr@newsobserver.com.

Wednesday, January 11, 2006

The 70 Percent Solution

Google CEO Eric Schmidt gives us his golden rules for managing innovation

By John Battelle
December 1, 2005

(Business 2.0) – Before he arrived at Google in 2001 to serve as adult supervision for Larry Page and Sergey Brin, Eric Schmidt was little known outside Silicon Valley. With his Ph.D. from the University of California at Berkeley and research stints at Bell Labs and Xerox's famed Palo Alto Research Center, he had a solid reputation among geeks, cemented by his championing of the Java programming language as Sun Microsystems's chief technology officer. And he faced his first real management test as CEO of Novell, the troubled software maker that has fought a long, difficult war with Microsoft.

These days Schmidt is on a stellar winning streak, recruiting top talent, seeing his company through a stunning IPO, and fending off rivals from Barry Diller to Bill Gates to Terry Semel--while trying to keep Google's good-guy reputation intact. How does he do it? One rule was handed to him by Brin and Page when he walked in the door: Don't be evil. The other one is a formula he uses to stay on track while innovating: Spend 70 percent of your time on the core business, 20 percent on related projects, and 10 percent on unrelated new businesses. Business 2.0 talked to Schmidt to find out how he and his colleagues live by those rules.

How has "Don't be evil" helped Google? When I showed up, I said, "You've got to be kidding." Then one day, very early on, I was in a meeting where an engineer said, "That would be evil." It was as if he'd said there was a murderer in the room. The whole conversation stopped, but then people challenged his assumptions. This had to do with how we would link our advertising system into search. We ultimately decided not to do what was proposed, because it was evil. That kind of story is repeated every hour now with thousands of people. Think of "Don't be evil" as an organizing principle about values. You and I may disagree on the definition of what is evil, but at least it gives us a way to have a very healthy debate.

But as you've grown, outsiders apply their own view of what is evil and use it to point out your company's flaws. There's nothing wrong with that. We believe in that sort of criticism. But the way "Don't be evil" works is no different from pulling the rip cord on the Japanese assembly line. Any person on the assembly line can pull the rip cord to stop the line. Think of it as employee empowerment

Does Google have some kind of grand strategic plan for the new products it creates? Virtually everything new seems to come from the 20 percent of their time engineers here are expected to spend on side projects. They certainly don't come out of the management team. But you decide which arrows you put the wood behind, so to speak. Right? Yes, but we do that once there's sufficient critical mass, which is if there's a small set of engineers and a product manager who are excited about something.

What do you do with your 20 percent time? Well, 20 percent time applies to the technical staff. It does not apply to sales or management. Here's how it works for management: We spend 70 percent of our time on core search and ads. We spend 20 percent on adjacent businesses, ones related to the core businesses in some interesting way. Examples of that would be Google News, Google Earth, and Google Local. And then 10 percent of our time should be on things that are truly new. An example there would be the Wi-Fi initiative--which I haven't kept up with myself. God knows what they've done in the last week. I've been too busy on core search and ads.

How do you enforce that 70/20/10 rule? For a while we put the projects in different rooms. That way, if we were in one room too long, we knew we were not spending our time correctly. It was sort of a stupid device, but it worked quite well. Now we have people who actually manage this, so I know how I spend my time, and I do spend it 70/20/10.

Larry and Sergey are now operating under 70/20/10 too. They might spend their 70 percent time differently. Sergey, for example, has been looking at new ways of doing search quality, a new math around that. Larry has been pushing for some very new ad models. That would count in the 70 percent.

Some of your new initiatives are drawing controversy. Why are book publishers suing you over Google Print? Everyone seems to be making something up that we're not doing. We're building the world's largest card catalog. People go to the card catalog, they see a snippet of the book--they don't even see a full page--and then they have to go to the library or buy the book. Can you explain to me what's wrong with that? We've obviously had a communication problem, because I don't understand what's wrong with it.

The publishers claim that you are making a reproduction of the book in digital form for commercial purposes, in that you're going to run advertisements next to the index you create and thereby make money off it. This is what every search engine does when it crawls the Web. I'm not going to debate it because I'm not a lawyer. I will tell you that we have been through this very, very, very thoroughly, and fair use, which is a balance of the interests of publishers and readers, clearly permits the creation of a card catalog. It's not a disputable point. Hopefully, the legal system will actually try to get to the facts of the case, but, again, we are not making copies to sell them.

Let's talk about the Wi-Fi idea. Business 2.0's Om Malik has noted that you're buying up a lot of bandwidth. Are you going to roll out free wireless Internet across the country? Well, the Wi-Fi experiment has been publicly described as a test. We never rule out anything. The answer is, let's do the test, see how it works. It's going to either succeed or fail. We're going to work really hard to make it successful. We're very excited about it. We think it has great potential.

Let's talk about the competitive environment. Back in 2002, you mentioned to me how nice it was to be working at a company that was not competing with Microsoft ... Yeah. Can you take me back to that time? I really liked being in our little bubble. We were having a really good time.

And Bill Gates wasn't paying attention to you. Yeah.

I recently asked MSN's Yusuf Mehdi what he made of Google. His answer: "Well, we're the underdog now." I would prefer not to respond to Microsoft's statements, of any kind. He's welcome to say whatever he'd like. I'm happy to talk about Google.

So is Google building a computing platform? A Web-based operating system, if you will? The problem I have with that question is that "operating system" and "platform" and "Web OS" are very generic terms, so I prefer not to engage in those discussions. There is this presumption that Google has to go build its own OS, its own browser, when those technologies are quite mature and well valued. There is a great deal of strategic leverage for us in building an ecosystem around content and advertising that is an extension of our search mission.

OK, so does that mean Google's a portal? Because if you think of it that way, as Terry Semel recently pointed out, it ranks as one of the smaller ones. Well, if I can be obnoxious-- Please. You're using a tired model of looking at corporate behavior. You're looking at us based on market share for technologies and ideas that were invented 10 years ago. A much better way to ask that is to say, Are the things that we're doing consistent with the mission of the company? We're not in the portal business, we're in the business of making all the world's information accessible and useful. We never have the conversation that you just asked.

The test that I apply--and we do this every day, 70/20/10--is to ask how a feature will extend the core, the adjacent, or the innovative stuff to fulfill our mission. That's the sort of drug that we all take, and it works really quite well. So it may very well be that what you said is correct, and it may not matter very much.

It's been more than a year since the IPO. How do you like running a public company? On a personal basis, I've always preferred to be a private-company CEO. I've said that since I started here. But some things in life are inevitable. "What you cannot avoid, welcome" is an old Chinese proverb. Google had to go public, it was time, and so the correct response is to do the best job you can as a public company.

Tuesday, January 10, 2006

Business Blogging

Blogs were virtually unknown five years ago and now are virtually unavoidable. In both politics and technology, bloggers have become a crucial part of the conversation through the ‘Blogosphere’.

Business Blogging Now and in the Future

Came across the following PowerPoint presentation (39 slides) by MyST Technology Partners’ Bill French, which I found informative and am passing on to you for your review.


Monday, January 09, 2006

Challenge Marketing In The News TODAY

Just got back from my morning bulk-media intake session and was overwhelmed by the number of Challenges In the News Today and wanted to share them right away.

Nathan’s Challenge Marketing Bloghttp://nathans-challenge-marketing.blogspot.com

... Cites Global Challenges For Auto Makers
Carlos Ghosn, chief executive of automotive partners Renault SA and Nissan Motor Corp expressed concern that the continuing problems of big U.S. auto makers General Motors Corp. and Ford Motor Co. – which are losing market share and suffering sizable losses in their North American operations – aren’t good for rivals. “When the big players in the market are in trouble, everybody is in trouble,” says Ghosn, “and there is no place for half measures. If you start watering down any plan, you’re doomed.”

Choose to work with someone who doesn’t challenge everything you say.
This is so important so creativity and the ability to innovate. Time spent responding to constant challenges are a drain to productivity.

Sometimes the challenge of being a person is to recognize that the task at hand should be performed later, considered from a new angle or if it’s a waste of time, ignored.
Don’t be so involved that you lose your perspective to recognize the learned experience that the path you are traveling leads to a solution for another challenge. An hour, day or week saved is resources we can use as we choose.

The Challenge Before Us
For those of us that ‘Rise To The Challenge’, there is always one or more challenges before us. The key is to focus on the challenge before you in this moment. We can all think about multiple challenges; however, multi-tasking is not a form of focused attention to the challenge before us.

Tom Freston Takes Over As Chief of the New Viacom As Media Challenges Mount
This is a Big Challenge Job, to take over when you know there are mounting challenges. As Chief, you’re the leader. He faces some immediate problems, such as turning around Paramount and taking in the reins at a time of great upheaval in the media industry. The Internet has opened up a new world of distribution possibilities that is forcing the major media companies to rethink how they sell their content.

Dance classes, for instance, combine exercise with social interaction and mental challenge.
Dance promotes fitness and wellness of your body, your mind and your emotions. The challenge is to flow and accentuate your movements to enhance the exercise and delivery of precision-based implementation.

Today, we look to our past, not as reason for pride, but as a source of inspiration for the challenges of the future.
I would have said, “Today, we are proud of our past, which inspires us to meet and exceed future challenges with experienced-based solutions.”

After Losses in Lipitor Case, Shares Could Slide Again On More Legal Challenges
In the Boy Scouts, I learned from Eagle Scouts doing their Eagle Projects, that it’s not done, until it’s done. If it isn’t over, the challenge continues. When there are no more legal challenges, we can get on with the paperwork.

“It’s time for me to move on to other challenges.”
Carl Ichan says parts of Time Warner are worth more separately than combined, a view echoed by Steve Case.

This summer its (eBay) biggest challengers – Google, Microsoft and Yahoo – acquired or launced technology allowing their users to call each other online.
In the Fortune – October 3, 2005 issue, there is an article titled, “eBay and Skype: The Net’s New Odd Couple”. Making the two businesses work well together is sure to be a challenge, even for a management star like (Meg) Whitman.

There’s a challenge for any state like Maine with issues such as the loss of talented people to other markets, the effects of globalization on natural-resources-based industries and competition for industries such as call centers, all which can be affected dramatically by the ability of people to use technology” – Tony Buxton, an energy lawyer.

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