links for 2009-06-04
Every time customers experience your brand, you want them to remember what you do, why it is important to them, and why it is unique to you. By developing a clear expression of what is important to your customers and unique to you — and reinforcing it with every customer interaction — you will help your customers remember what your brand stands for. This starts with developing a brand positioning statement. Developing a brand positioning statement involves four steps: 1. Describe your customers 2. Define yourself in terms of your competition 3. Explain your greatest benefit 4. Put it together into your brand positioning statement
Structured like Gmail, the developer and end-user software interoperates with other Web services, such as IM, forums, wikis, and blogs. At its developer conference on Thursday, Google plans to offer attendees a chance to try Google Wave, the company’s new real-time collaborative communication system. Lars Rasmussen, who was lead engineer for Google Maps before co-founding the Wave team with his brother Jens, describes Wave as “what e-mail might look like if it were invented today.”
Seasoned entrepreneurs know there’s a big difference between a great idea in the mind and a successful product in the hand. Here to bridge that gap is Quirky, a service that uses a collaborative process to actualize killer ideas that might otherwise go to waste. Anyone can submit their business plan and sketches to Quirky for USD 99, with the aim of being selected as the idea of the week. If it is, it will be listed on Quirky’s website, where a number of ‘influencers’ can vote and advise on the product’s development. The cream of the crop are then put into production and sent to market, at which point the person with the original idea gets 12% of the top line revenue. 70% goes into Quirky’s kitty (this also funds production), with some funds left over to reward the influencers who helped make the product a success.
In 1993, well before the introduction of tweets, iPhones and online video, a Silicon Valley engineer was invited to Capitol Hill to teach lawmakers about the future of the Web and how to use it. It would be among many visits to Washington for Eric Schmidt, who was Sun Microsystems chief technology officer. Now chief executive of Internet titan Google, Schmidt and the company’s ties to Washington have only grown stronger. Schmidt is a member of President Obama’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology. Three other Google executives have left the firm to work in the administration, including the company’s former head lobbyist Andrew McLaughlin, who will be the nation’s deputy technology officer.
A 20-year-old man is accused of sexually assaulting a woman in Phoenix and posting a video of the assault on the internet. Jonathan Hock, 20, has been booked into jail on one count of sexual assault and surreptitious video taping. A 20-year-old victim reported to police back in early March that she had been sexually assaulted while she was passed out on Feb. 26. She hadn’t even realized she’d been victimized, until some acquaintances told her they saw a video of the assault online.
When asked about online privacy, most people say they want more information about how they are being tracked and more control over how their personal information is used. Those consumer expectations are rarely in line with the data collection practices of Internet companies, which often collect information about their users not only on their own sites, but also when those users visit other sites across the Web. Those are some of the central findings of a new privacy study conducted by a group of graduate students at the University of California, Berkeley, which was released late Monday. The students at the School of Information — Joshua Gomez, Travis Pinnick and Ashkan Soltani — studied consumer expectations by looking at sources like complaints filed with the Federal Trade Commission and data collected by the state of California and a privacy group.
This Saturday, Palm will launch what some are calling a last-ditch gamble: its new smart phone, the Palm Pre. The media has been buzzing with speculation about another iPhone challenger, and Palm loyalists see the Pre as the best hope for their favorite underdog to regain its former glory. But behind all the hype and hoopla, the real innovation is a brand-new operating system based on widely used Web technologies. “It’s a very different concept,” says Andrew Yu, MIT’s Mobile Platform Manager and Architect. “It’s revolutionary in the sense that they are opening the door to mobile app development.”
Managing computer systems distracts attention from your real business. Computers crash, and you fume helplessly as the IT staff restores your ordinary workflow. Just when everything seems to be stable, your software needs to change, or your systems are too small or too slow. You upgrade, but that only leads to more disruptions. The Internet brings you attacks as well as connectivity. You worry about backing up your data, but you also worry about copies in laptops that can be stolen from employees’ cars.
When hurricanes Katrina and Rita passed over Schumacher Group’s multimillion-dollar data center in Louisiana in 2005, Doug Menefee, the company’s chief information officer, breathed a sigh of relief. His company manages the staffing for emergency room physicians at more than 145 hospitals in the Southeast, and if the center had gone down it could have hampered efforts to get doctors to the locations where they could care for injured patients. “It was a high risk to our organization,” says Menefee.
Many entrepreneurs face the challenging decision of whether to push forward or close the doors. It is the ultimate gut check. While there is no single guideline to navigating this tough decision, here are 17 tips from entrepreneurs who have been there and done that.
As news comes that Alibaba Group plans to spend at least $200 million in acquisitions and other investments in the next few years, its Alibaba.com division is launching a national “Newpreneur of the Year” contest in the U.S. and will award a total of $100,000 to small business owners who see the recession as an opportunity to start a new venture. According to a survey conducted by Alibaba, 42 percent of Americans have considered starting a business since the economic downturn. Among those Americans, roughly a quarter has acted on the idea. Additionally, three out of four Americans believe new entrepreneurs will do the most to revive the economy, and four of five say that at some point they have considered starting their own business.
In the build up to next week’s keynote at Apple’s WorldWide Developers Conference, iPhone reports are coming fast and furious. The latest include speculation that the new version of the iPhone will include a location-aware version of the Safari browser, the ability to conduct video chats, and new models will range from 4GB to 32GB. In this round up of iPhone reports, we’ve got three possibilities to explore.