New Year…New Plans

For the new year, I’d like to propose several questions that I’ve been thinking about for Data Guidance Group. Most of the issues here may seem to be technology issues, but they really aren’t. They’re business issues. So here are some business questions I’ve been asking myself and our clients over the past few months. What are your answers?

  • What are you doing to communicate better with your customers or clients? Do you have any technology in place to help you?
  • How do you measure how well your business is doing? Do you have regular reports from the computer system? Are you reviewing details, or do the reports give you a management-level view?
  • What about forward looking reports? Most businesses have financial statements, but they are history. What about the future? How are you keeping track of how well you’ll do next month, quarter or year?
  • How are you managing your sales force? What data do you collect? How do you use it?
  • How are you managing the operations of your business? Reports? Summary or detailed?
  • What are your plans to upgrade technology of all kinds in your business? Phone system? Email? Cell phones? Web site? Computers? Software?
  • Are their any pieces of the software you have that you think you could or should use that you are not? Why not? What would you have to do to implement those this year?

Ok, that’s a few. We’ll consider each of these in future posts. Hopefully, you’ll get something out of them.

Rethinking Anti-virus

For years, the standards in anti-virus have been Symantec (Norton) Antivirus and McAfee. McAfee has lost a bit of its appeal in the last few years as Norton several years ago beat McAfee to market with a corporate product that worked quite well.
But the market may be changing. More and more tech savvy installations are moving to Trend Micro’s antivirus and Kaskersky Labs. Microsoft is also entering the market. 2007 may be the year to re-think the brand of anti-virus you use.
Kaspersky Lab’s Secret Sauce Uses ‘Woodpeckers’

About To Get Him a Tie? Here’s A List of IT toys

Ok, before you think this is my wish list, I’ve had my eye on this little orange tie number for a couple of months. Problem is, I can’t buy it for myself. I was brought up in public accounting and taught the ditty:
Early to bed, early to rise, work like heck and wear a red tie.
I don’t own a blue dress shirt…all of mine are white. All of my suits are dark; I’ve never owned a summer weight suit of tan or olive.
So my problem is…I really like orange ties on other people. I know I’d wear one if someone color savvy picked it out. But everytime I go to buy one for myself, I bomb out.
Too forward thinking…
I don’t have that problem with technology. I’m still running Vista Beta 2 on my home system with the Beta version of Office 2007. Clothing…conservative. Technology…bleeding edge. Politics…I’m not saying…
On the other hand, maybe you should just get me the phaser…here’s the list for your techie friends.
IT Stocking Stuffers

You Will Update to Vista, Eventually

The real problem here is that I understand how our clients think. And I agree–somewhat. The speech runs something like this:

I bought Windows 2000 just six years ago. It still works good enough for me. Why is Microsoft forcing me to buy a new version? And oh, by the way, my computer isn’t powerful enough to run Vista, so I guess I’ll have to buy another one of those, too.

I wish I didn’t understand the feeling. I have it every five or six years when my car rolls over the 100,000 mark. Just in case you’re curious, I have one vehicle that is moving toward 130,000 miles, and another that’s just over 102,000 miles. I plan to get about 250,000 on both of them…but I guess that’s just the way I am about cars. By the time I’m done, the cars will be 10 years plus old, I hope.
But why do I have to replace my Windows every six years or so? The answer–realistically–is that you don’t. But the issue is that the technology is moving so fast and making so many improvements that if you want any of the benefits of the new advances, you’ve got to upgrade the foundation (Windows). I replace a copier every six or eight years, and it still just makes copies for me. Windows (theoretically) does a lot more.
So as long as you don’t want your software to do anything different, ever, you’re safe with Windows 2000…at least until your hardware breaks…and even then you can probably patch it together for a while.
So about the time I’m ready for a new car, some of our clients will be ready for a new version of Windows.
By that time, I’ll have forgotten everything I know about the their version. Windows 98? Some clients still have it. Problem is, I’ve forgotten all the tricks and so has most everyone else. At the very least, we’re not as good as we were when it was new…say 10 years ago.
So hold off for another year or two if you really want to…or bite the bullet and start thinking of your computer system like your cell phone bill…something you need to invest in on a regular basis.
Now if I can only figure out how to get children to stop eating so many groceries…
Microsoft Turns Up The Heat On Windows 2000 Users – News by InformationWeek

Is SecondLife Virtual Money Real?

As I’ve noted before, converting money from SecondLife Linden dollars to real dollars depends on an exchange where people want to exchange real dollars for virtual dollars. As I read it, for $9.95 per month, you get a signup bonus of 1,000 Linden (virtual) dollars (L$), and a weekly paycheck of L$300. Figuring that out over a year, that’s 7.2 cents ($0.072) per L$ if I did my math right (it includes the L$1000 signing bonus). It also assumes that you pay monthly rather than annually. If you pay annually, L$ are worth even less.
Stats on population are getting a little better, a few over 2,000,000 residents today, and 233,536 visitors in the last 7 days, with about 18,000 logged in as of the moment (just a second ago) I visited the home page.
And right now on the LindeX (where you trade L$ for real $), the going rate is US$1/L$268. Lest you were wondering, that’s 3.73 cents per L$.
Now, I’m not going to interpret that for you…except to say that somewhere someone is paying 7 cents for something I can buy for 3 or 4 cents. Something’s not right about that! Somewhere, there’s 3 cents worth of value for every dollar going down the toilet.
If that sounds like a good deal, you’ll really like the odds on the lottery.
But perhaps I’m being too analytical…it’s about social media, after all.
‘Second Life’ mints a millionaire? | | CNET

Vista Hacks…going once, going twice, sold for $50,000

Given that one of the major reasons businesses will be motivated to move to Vista is the security it promises, the availability of a serious, verified, hack within 15 days of its official launch would be a bad thing. If you read the messages posted against this article, at least a couple of people think it’s a bad joke from the Free Software Foundation.
I’m not sure…but time will tell. As for me, I’m still taking the “wait and see attitude…” And I still haven’t gotten around to loading the release copy at home.
Hackers Selling Vista Zero-Day Exploit

Please Respond to Web Inquiries

While I’m thinking about the web…
I’ve put in inquiries to several sites lately. Places like (Podcasting), a ton of employee psychological testing sites, and some sites for information on product purchases. And I’ve not gotten a single response from several of them.
The sad thing is, the first group that picked up the phone or answered my email got my business.
Good old fashioned courtesy doesn’t need to be a thing of the past.

Your Presence on the Web

According to most of the surveys I’ve seen lately, the web is becoming more important to decision makers. Some 57% of purchasing officials in a recent survey (can’t recall where) confessed to checking the web before doing business with a company.
This means that it’s more important than ever to have a solid web presence.
There is also some new research from that suggests some improvements for landing pages on the web. Take a look. A little bit of improvement could be a big benefit to your prospecting.