Tag Archives: security

HELP, Marketing, Security and Entrepreneurship

Marketing: A friend and I were talking marketing recently and the question came up… What is the minimum offer that a coupon has to offer to get your attention?  Has it changed recently due to the economy?  What will it take for you to try a new place versus a coupon from a regular vendor? Please reply through the comments and I will tally the answers for a summary post next week.  Thanks

Security: Bruce Schneier has written a thoughtful essay on the role of data in our lives.  Almost everything we do today, leaves a trail and these trails can be analyzed.  The toothpaste is already out of the tube.  We as a society need to determine how to manage our collective toothbrushes.

Entrepreneurship: Scott Adams, of Dilbert fame, asked an interesting question.  How does the rate of entrepreneurial activity change with the age of marriage?  One could expect that single people would be able to take more risks, a point I made in my young entrepreneurs column last week. Can you name three vibrant entrepreneurial countries where the average age at time of marriage is low?

Help: The Coleman Entrepreneurship Center at DePaul University is near and dear to my heart. The students at the Center are hard working, giving and smart. One of these former students is Jessica Cowin, a 25-year old recent DePaul alum who after battling health issues her whole life, is now being faced with a new challenge: a need for a new kidney.

Her sister is a match and will donate one of her kidneys, but there is a catch. Their health insurance will only cover up to $30K, and Northwestern Hospital will only perform the transplant if they are able to pay the full amount of over $100K. She will need to have the surgery within the next 3 months.

I’ve heard a lot of people this week talk about what they should give up for Lent. Catholic or not, here is an opportunity to be part of something that will have an immediate impact on this family, which could easily be any of our families, sisters, friends, etc.

So what can you do to help? Visit: www.giveforward.org/helpjess/. Make a donation. Forward this blog to your network, family and friends. Share the url on your Facebook status. Nearly $10,000 has already been raised in the past couple of days alone – clearly there’s power in numbers, and everything and anything will help.

Philanthropy, Brand Execution, Security and Distributed Systems

Philanthropy: Trendwatching.com writes about Generation G, the generation not of Greed (see Gordon Gekko of Wall Street fame), but of Giving.  In these troubled economic times, it is interesting to see that the generation coming of age now seems to be more interested in the G for giving.
Just this week, a group I am affiliated with held a fundraising breakfast.  This year’s total amount pledged was 40% more than last year and the official I spoke with said that she is seeing this trend at many of the breakfasts she hosts.
Lastly, my favorite Generation G story relates to Adam Carter. Adam is the son of a good friend of mine.  Adam spends about 7 months each year providing funds and manual labor on humanitarian missions in Latin America, the Middle East, Africa and Southeast Asia as a part of a group called 100 Friends.  The other 5 months of the year, Adam earns his traveling money as a beer vendor at Wrigley Field and US Cellular Field.  He maintains a blog with his current exploits (including a video about his visit to Senegal).

Marketing: Brand Execution. I have a friend who likes to say “It’s all about me.” In her case, it usually is :). But when it comes to your business, it can’t be all about you.  It has to be about the business.  Jeff Leitner has brought this point together with a short riff on American Idol.

I don’t know if you watch American Idol, but every now and then the judges ask the kids why they chose to sing a particular song.
And the kids ALWAYS say it’s because the song means a lot to them.
And, of course, that’s the wrong move.
Sing a song that best shows off your vocals – whether you’ve got a big voice, small voice, high range, low range, big range, whether you can do runs or are particularly good or bad at expressing the lyrics.
I see the same dynamic in business all the time.
Business owners choose locations, hire people, design logos and launch products because they like those locations, people, logos and products. That’s fine that they have taste, but they should leave the taste at home. Choose locations, people, logos and products that will make you successful in your business.

If you have thought through your business and made the vision tight, you can’t afford to bring in extraneous items just because you like them.  If your concept is a classic French bistro, you can’t hang Chicago Cubs paraphernalia from the walls, just because you are a die-hard Cubs fan. You can bleed Cubbie blue in the comfort of your home.  But unless you are opening a sports bar in Wrigleyville, the Cubs stuff needs to stay at home.   Utrillo prints, maybe. In a dark corner.

Entrepreneurship: On Tuesday, I posted about the Open Source Challenge that Mark Cuban had started. Today, Seth Godin talked about it and helps provide future entrepreneurs with some ideas to get started.

Security: Bruce Schneier pointed me to this article on Facebook security. Note than on that page, there is a link to a free Facebook security e-book to pass along to others.

Big Picture: In a post earlier this week, I pointed to a discussion with Amory Lovins where he posited that electric generators will soon be microsized and distributed into a giant web. Kevin Kelly has also broached the same general topic in his article “The Surest Way to Smartness is through Massive Dumbness”.
The future of business is distributed systems. Look at Google. Google could not serve its customers with mainframe systems; they use an extraordinary number of cheap, custom processors. Kevin Kelly’s article highlighted a most basic industry – cement delivery – and how distributed systems (computers, GPS, authority) created a competitive advantage for one company. How can you take advantage of this trend in your business?