Monday, October 29, 2007

Online Videos Serve as a Marketing Tool

In a New York Times articles, "You've Had the Root Canal. the Movie," Anne Eisenberg presents how YouTube can been used as a marketing strategy.

Dr. Jerry Gordon, a dentist in Bethlehem, PA., provided an informative video on his performance of a root canal. The video has been viewed more than 11,000 times within the first 2 months it was put up.

Other dentists may soon join Dr. Gordon in the usage of this marketing tool, especially those who have had success with regular Webpages. Dr. Kristy Vetter, dentist in Laguna Higuel, CA., says "We've had three to five patients in the last month or so that came that way, instead of by referral." The internet offers information and reassurance for customers of your quality of service.

Educating your target market is a smart way to building a stronger business.

Making Fast Food FASTER

In "Making Fast Food Even Faster" (The New York Times), Michael Fitzgerald examines the technical advances in the fast food industry - advances that have been very slow in coming. HyperActive Technologies, which uses artificial intelligence to predict customer flow, landed their first corporate customer, Zaxby's Franchising, a chain of 400 restaurants in Athens, Ga,. in January 2007. It took four years to have a restaurant chain buy their product.

However, restaurant technology companies are becoming more popular as "'it's the last $100 billion industry that still makes all its products by hand,'" according to R. Coulter, co-founder and chief scientist at HyperActive. Other companies are looking for new areas to access in the food service industry, such as "speed of service" and outside call centers to manage orders. New offerings, such as a wireless tabletop hub to improve table turnover provided by ESP Systems, are being assessed by restaurants.

Increased interest in new technologies does not always translate into implementation. The food industry is primarily focused on food quality and restaurant image. Roger C. Matthews Jr., head of the restaurant group at the investment banking unit of the Goldman Sachs Group, says that this market is risk-averse as no restuarant can afford a computer failure at peak time. Additionally, other low-tech and low-cost alternatives are available, according to Ron Paul, president of Technomic, a food and restaurant industry consultant. More specifically, Neal E. Sessions III, director of information technology at Zaxby's, says that "'the restaurant technology environment generally lags other industries by three to five years.'"

One way to build a stronger business is to take technologies you know and apply them to new industries.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Creating Favicons is Easy

Creating those little icons that show to the left of the URL address in a web browser is simple when you use either of these online tools:

People who build a stronger business look for fast, simple, effective tools to get their work done...or they delegate it.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Meet Your Neighbors - Online

People are now using social networks to meet their neighbors. creates password protected Web sites for apartment buildings and housing developments, allowing residents to post pictures and profiles of themselves, share information about favorite local restaurants, and complain about maintenance issues within their complex. Each building on the service is overseen by a company representative who logs neighborhood services and restaurants into the sites before it makes its debut. Also, everything but the forum postings are screened for inappropriate content. Managers at one complex asked the owner of LifeAt to discontinue the forum part of the service, since some residents were ranting on them; however, when the forums were removed the residents created their own forum on a Yahoo blog behind the property manager's back, so they decided to keep the forum open so the property managers could be proactive about issues at hand. is a for-profit company based in Manhattan that also operates a social networking service for apartment dwellers. Jared Nissim, the company's founder, runs the site as a sidelight to his primary business, the Lunch Club, which helps strangers meet., with 45,000 members, is a site that studies the role that Web sites can play in strengthening offline social ties. Keith Hampton, the founder, says that people in apartment buildings generally do not pursue social connections with their neighbors because they are young people who move more frequently and are less interested in the people who live near them and more interested in their own social networks. New York is an exception since the availability of housing makes people live in apartment buildings who otherwise would not.

When you strengthen your ties to the community and help others, you build a stronger business.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Bridge Domains for Innovation

British curator and media researcher Ele Carpenter was so inspired by the striking similarities between embroidery and software programming, she decided to create Open Source Embroidery, an artistic and social-networking experience bringing a large and diverse group of people together.

Katie Haegele’s article in the Philadelphia Inquirer ,“New Media: Computer Programming Meets Embroidery” points out how members of Open Source Embroidery are more concerned with the process of creating and the collaborative efforts of the project than the final product. It is an element Carpenter views as inherent in both needlework and programming.

Skilled and amateur needleworkers and programmers have come together to participate in creating a six-sided quilt with 216 “hexadecimal” colors. The project comes at the right time; the old-fashioned hobbies of needlework are now becoming popular and more socially acceptable to a younger generation.

By looking at the opportunities that exist at the intersection of atypical fields, you build a stronger business.

Thursday, October 04, 2007

Perks and Flexibility Work

The biggest trends in today's workplace are perks and flexibility, according to The Wall Street Journal article, "What Makes a Company a Great Place to Work Today."

Versatile work routines accommodating individual schedules, paid paternity leave as an extension of family-friendly programs, and extra vacation time, have all become a big draw for many employees.

Drab offices with window-less cubicles are being filled with plush cafes and fitness centers as employers reach out to Gen Y workers who crave individual attention and recognition.

Rigid work hours, services performing family tasks and errands for busy employees (a popular trend in the 1990s), and corporate child care are now receiving criticism from today's employees.

When building a stronger business, consider the job from your employees' point of view.

Upgrading Voicemail Messages

Voicemail messages have been upgraded, thanks to the free services provided by Youmail ( and GrandCentral (

In The Wall Street Journal article, "Voicemail Gets A Lot More Fun With Free Services", Sarmad Ali details his experience with both services.

Youmail allows users to personalize their voicemail messages for individual callers in a phonebook, denies messages from unwanted callers and only requires users to type in a mobile phone number and an email address to sign up. Although a long-distance number is required to retrieve messages, canceling service is apparently as simple as signing up for it.

GrandCentral is even easier to use and provides the same services as Youmail but users must be invited to sign up.

A unique feature the service provides is a phone number that links home, office and cell phone numbers, allowing users to check just one mailbox.

When the phone rings, users pick up and hear a recording of the caller's name and four options for handling the call. New callers are asked to say their names the first time they call, which enables the service to recognize them everafter.

These are just a couple of on-the-go solutions for building a stronger business.