Sunday, September 28, 2008

A secret to making money online

This is a MUST-SEE for anybody that is running a start-up and/or is thinking about starting one. In this presentation, David H. Hansson (creator of Ruby on Rails), talks about the lifestyle business with the importance of spending "less" but quality time in developing a good product and generally "enjoying life" doing it!

He talks about the over-jealous intent of start-ups to flip the business... the companies are narrowly focused on pumping it up and selling-out in the hope of living a good life after that. Instead the focus has to be on creating a great product that address the pain point businesses have, and doing that better than others.

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Friday, April 18, 2008

NYC Freedom Tower plans found in trash (What the *&^#?)

Check out this report from Associated Press:

A homeless man has come forward with two sets of confidential ground zero blueprints that he says were dumped in a Lower Manhattan trash can. The man brought the Freedom Tower plans to the New York Post, which says the 150-page schematic is marked: "Secure Document — Confidential."

I can't believe this!!! You must be freakin' kiddin' me. Ever heard of a shredder you freakin' moron...

The documents are dated Oct. 5, 2007. They contain plans for each floor, the thickness of the concrete-core wall, and the location of air ducts, elevators, electrical systems and support columns. The agency that owns the World Trade Center site, the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, calls it a serious security lapse.

Now what are they going to do? Re-do the whole thing from scratch? How many tax dollars have been wasted by this stupidity??? How many other secure and confidential blueprints are there in the trash cans around the country???? What if they get in the wrong hands??? Then what??!!!

Friday, March 28, 2008

Friday Fun: MSFT CEO, Steve Ballmer going crazy...

Starting today, I will try to post something funny every Friday... after a loooong, stressful week, its a good idea to relax, laugh and enjoy life....

In the first edition of "Friday Fun", I want to share a very funny video of Microsoft CEO, Steve Ballmer going crazy. Hope you like it...

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

2008 will be a Good year of Tech M&A

According to the article in BusinessWeek, 2008 will be a good year for Tech M&A. I think so too... Already we are seeing a lot of activity with major tech companies furiously trying to might off their competition by investing and acquiring. Being in a tech startup, this article was a pleasure to read... Some snippets from the article...

According to Lorraine McDonough, eBay's mergers chief, "2008 is shaping up to be a good year to go shopping. Banks are reining in credit, relegating competing private equity firms to the sidelines, and stocks are tumbling, taking a bite out of asset prices. "We are in a good position to make acquisitions,". Early this year eBay purchased a payment-security firm Fraud Sciences for $169 million and expects to make eight or nine acquisitions this year.

Tech buying fever is catching. At the end of January, Microsoft made an unwelcome $44.6 billion bid for the troubled Web media portal Yahoo!, the largest tech takeover attempt of the decade. That same month, business-software maker Oracle said it would spend $8.5 billion on rival BEA Systems, and in mid-March Time Warner's AOL unveiled the biggest-ever acquisition of a social network, agreeing to spend $850 million on Bebo.

High-tech mergers and acquisitions have surged 132% this year through Mar. 25 from the same period a year earlier, according to Thomson Financial (TOC). Tech companies "are absolutely bargain-hunting," says Benjamin Howe, CEO of investment bank America's Growth Capital.

"With venture firms and management teams less optimistic on their prospects and more realistic on valuation, there will continue to be very heavy activity for major acquirers," Howe says.

Microsoft, along with computer maker Hewlett-Packard (HPQ) and networking gear giant Cisco Systems (CSCO) together have more than $125 billion in cash. "We will continue to look at new opportunities," says Mike Galgon, chief advertising strategist for Microsoft's advertiser and publisher solutions group. This year, Microsoft has made four purchases unrelated to Yahoo, including Danger, a maker of mobile-phone software, for an undisclosed amount. Microsoft is likely to make other purchases to beef up its Web search and online advertising businesses.

Oracle is expected to keep up its big-player role in the continuing wave of software consolidation, as clients increasingly look for a single provider that can provide a range of applications that work well together. HP has joined the software buying binge, recently announcing plans to acquire Exstream Software for an undisclosed amount. Last year HP paid $1.6 billion for data software maker Opsware.

Tech firms aren't alone. Deals are up in finance and the steel industry, too, although more modestly. JPMorgan Chase's (JPM) Federal Reserve-subsidized offer for Bear Stearns (BSC) reflects the consolidation of an industry beleaguered by subprime lending gone awry.

Read the entire article here... (Source: BusinessWeek)

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Unified Communications is really about simplifying the user experience

Unified Communications breaks down the communication silos between separate products such as: voice, e-mail, Wi-Fi, video, cellular, IM, web conferencing, unified messaging, calendar functions and more. The result is an integrated, intelligent, communications experience that empowers knowledge workers to spend more time being productive.

Unified Communications also simplifies the communications experience by providing a centralized application interface as well as an integrated management console that can be configured to work with any development environment.

Unified Communications is really about simplifying the user experience. In today’s work place, employees have to deal with multiple forms of communication. In fact, a study conducted by the Sage Research group in 2005 concluded that as of September 2005, business and technology decision makers averaged having at least six communication devices and each employee had almost five communications applications to manage.

That’s not expected to dramatically improve anytime soon. In another survey from the Telecom Intelligence Group that was performed in 2007, they found that by 2009, over 40% of enterprise IP telephony users expect to have two or more devices that can access the features of their voice systems as well as Unified Communication applications. In addition, up to a third of Enterprise IP telephony users could justify replacing their desk phone with an advanced wireless phone in five years.

So what is the industry definition of unified communications?

Currently, there isn’t one. Unified Communications is confusing because the concept is so new and there are lots of different ideas and definitions of what comprises Unified Communications. The vendors and analysts have different opinions about what protocols, applications, and features should be/not be included within unified communications.

The following list summarizes a sample of the different definitions:

Definition from Gartner (Magic Quadrant Report, 2006)
"Gartner defines UC products (equipment, software, and services) as those that enhance individual, workgroup, and organizational productivity by enabling and facilitating the control, management, integration and use of multiple enterprise communication methods."

Definition from Yankee (Unified Communications Leverages Existing Technology to Increase Productivity, July 2003)
The concept of unified communications … is to break down all distance, time, and media barriers to allow people to communicate with one another anywhere, anytime, and across any medium from a single device.

Definition from Microsoft (Microsoft website, June 2007)
"Unified Communications bridge the gap between telephony and computing to deliver real-time messaging, voice, and conferencing to the desktop environment."

Definition from Cisco (Enhancing Business with Smarter, More Effective Communications Whitepaper, 2007)
"Unified Communications is an emerging class of applications and services designed to improve communications within the modern organization – to keep workgroups connected, enable them to collaborate effectively, and streamline business processes."

Definition from Strategic Path International (What is Unified Communications? And Is It Worth the Extra Investment, 2007)
"Unified Communications integrates existing communication methods like instant messaging, email, voice telephony and audio and video conferencing, making it possible for each interaction to work across different hardware devices."

Definition from Forrester Research (Unified Communication Industry Study, 2006)
"Unified Communications is not about replacing existing applications; it is about improving the functionality of existing applications through the use of SIP, which enables businesses to connect quickly to the intended party for actionable results."

Definition from NEC
Unified Communication enables customers to experience greater productivity through the convergence of communication channels and business processes using a combination of technologies, devices and services, including presence, status, mobility, collaboration, video and voice conferencing, and messaging.

As you can see, depending upon who is talking about unified communications, the story changes. A common theme does emerge. Unified Communications focuses on communications for the user.

If we then extrapolate back from this, elements of a Unified Communication portfolio could include the following:

- User Mobility
- Presence
- Telephony (voice, fax, etc.)
- Voicemail/unified messaging
- Email/calendaring
- Conferencing (voice, video and web)
- Instant messaging
- Administration and management
- Contact center

If we break Unified Communications down further into usable functions, this list summarizes the key benefits for businesses:

- Allows companies to react to change better and faster
- Creates an expanded business reach
- Improves business continuity scenarios
- Improves Customer Service
- Results in fewer integration issues/costs for the IT department
- Industry standard solution for interoperability
- Ability to optimize geographically diverse people (seamless teaming)
- Low product and administration costs
- Lower training costs with integrated solution
- Productivity improvement due to less mail boxes to manage

From an end user perspective, these are the key user benefits for unified communications:

- Empowers users with single number reach
- Delivers rich Presence
- Results in speedier decision making
- Collaboration (application & doc. sharing, whiteboard, chat)
- Enables Instant Messaging
- Easier for end users because there are fewer devices to manage
- Reduces travel costs
- New IVR services for users

The greatest user benefits are single number reach and rich presence. Between these two features, the user can control who contacts them and by what medium (terminal) that is best for the user. Available options also include no contact, i.e. a diversion to voicemail or another number if that is preferred. The main point is that the user is able to take back control and manage their devices instead of their devices managing them.