Category Archives: Disruption

Best $5 monthly fee we pay – just got better!

GHS - a suite of apps from email, to phone, calendar file share, webs, and multi-media.  Integrated. $5/mo.
GHS – a suite of apps from email, to phone, calendar file share, webs, and multi-media. Integrated. $5/mo.

Our solutions design process builds on free services. If needed we look at paying fees, we always aim for minimal expense.

So,we’ve had a policy — begin with Google Hosted services.

If for some reason clients can identify a legitimate reason the enterprise tools can’t work, or be extended… we’ll start looking at self-hosted or other combinations of services.

Well, in June Google announced that premium features will be added to basic accounts.  These new features go into effect in a few days.

This is the text of the “go live” announcement we received this morning:

Hello Administrators,

As we announced on June 16, the advanced capabilities and admin controls known as Google+ premium features will become standard for our existing business, government, and education customers. This change will take place the week of July 23.

After the change, these controls and capabilities will no longer be called premium features. The premium features setting will also be removed from the Admin console.

If you use Hangouts on Air (HOA), you might’ve noticed that enabling premium features disables HOA. To continue using HOA, just do one of the following:

Before July 23, proactively enable premium features for your domain, then re-enable HOA.

After premium features become the new default, enable HOA.
Visit the Google Apps Help Center to learn more about Google+ premium features.

The fees are minimal. $5/mo per account to start.  Amazing, right?

Okay but here’s something you should consider – Google is advancing the end-to-end messaging security thing.  Right now if you communicate within Google’s servers, your email is secure.  Our understanding is that it’s transparent — but message encryption/decryption is already in place.  That’s a big thing.

So if your enterprise is hosted at GHS, you’re starting from secure.   That’s step one.

Our Position on Oregon Hemp

Pot LeafPlease think about making a small donation to “New Approach Oregon”  (use this link or see the widget in the side bar at right.)

We support reforms that are aimed at regulation over criminalization.

We support policies aimed at treatment and recovery over those that drive incarceration.

We simply have to stop damaging families and lives.

Not users ourselves, but as devoted libertarian thinkers (notice the small “L”?) — we want government to tax and regulate — to cease wasting public treasure in the War on Drugs.  (Which we feel to be the biggest failed domestic policy — well — ever.)

Decriminalize pot and demilitarize our police.

Please don’t hesitate to ask us why we take this position.

Happening Today — Amazon Sumit

If you’re at all interested in “Where things are going”, Amazon is holding it’s AWS Summit in NYC this weekend.

Learn how IT is being removed from the business process — IT is being reshaped in the cloud….  AWS (Amazon Web Services) is a prism through which we can view our collective futures…

90 minutes you’d invest wisely — view the Keynote Address by Amazon.com Chief Technology Officer, Dr. Werner Vogels.

Event registration and resources here

 

 

Social Collaboration in the Agile Age

Engaging collaborators in the Agile Age -- requires fluent Social Media skill
Engaging collaborators in the Agile Age — requires fluent Social Media skill

Read with interest an article published on how Social Media has affected collaboration among Software Developer communities.

It’s being called the “Agile Age.”

What’s interesting to me is that it’s been my experience that the methods used by developers and engineers eventually percolate down to the rest of us.  For instance, in the 80′s as an engineer myself, I was utterly dependent on BBS (Bulletin Board Systems) for support.  And then BBS’s showed up in all sorts of places — Gardening communities, Radio Controlled Model Airplane nuts, every area of interest had one.

And I can see some of this happening again in Social Media– as a consultant, I’m ever more aware that my work depends upon diverse resources, near-instant responses and all of this across a variety of appliances (from desktops to tablets and phones.)

Social Media and Responsive webs are making this all possible.

True broadband Internet Access – Modeled as a Public Utility!

GoFiberUtah.Org home page.
GoFiberUtah.Org home page.

GoFiberUtah.org is advancing a new form of Information Highway Utility.  I’ll call it an IUC for Internet Utility Company.

In this example GoFiberUtah.Org is the precursor agency that is doing the precursor plumbing  and politics that will birth a Public / Private partnership, creating an IUC that will extend “Fiber to the Home” – and of course – businesses in their service area.

Visionary, to an extent.  This has happened before in different scenarios but this is the first instance that get’s close to a workable, scalable, sustainable implementation.

A fascinating component of the service proposal will be that “Basic” Access will be provided by the IUC to each “Address” in the network for free.

Read the Executive Summary for yourself!

Thrive on change!

Who’s kool-aid are you drinking? Follow the leaders.

Face time now happens more frequently in Google Hangouts.  Use it.
Face time now happens more frequently in Google Hangouts. Use it.

Trust.  It’s a huge issue.  I posted earlier in this site about an emerging sense that new forms of ID are going to be needed.  I’m writing again to encourage others with dialogue I’ve had recently with clients and others trying to get a handle on which direction they need to be drifting in their personal Tech.

First let me reiterate: As the Internet continues to “grow up” I expect many more (millions) corporate professionals will find themselves in private practice.  What we’ve done for the past 20 years, while not so important perhaps at the DOW or NASDAQ level — probably remains critical at the small and medium business level.  And so we consult from home offices.

In the face of huge obstacles — security and configuration difficulties to start with — but basic configuration and management of an ever-changing herd of appliances — great confusion and huge headaches lurk.  How do we stay ahead of the curve.

The answer is simple.  Follow the leader.  And if it’s not in the Cloud fuggedaboudit.

  • Google Hosted services has a solution for every enterprise network question you need to answer.  Chrome and Android are the OS’s to seriously consider.  Apple is great if you want a home base station / mothership computing appliance.
  • Amazon Web Services has a solution for every hosting and E-commerce issue you might face.  Including payments processing.
  • Banks are easy to select.  Throw your finances in with your favorite credit union.
  • Business Financials?  Quickbooks online.
  • Customer Relationship Management?  Salesforce.com
  • Email and list management?  MailChimp.com

The two basic principles you need to adopt for success as you begin “Drinking the Leaders Kool-aid”

  1. Avoid, at all costs, reinventing the wheel.
  2. Don’t worry, you’ll get used to it.

If you’re holding on to MS Office and Outlook?  Perhaps an XP desktop?!!  Suck it up.  for $350 you can be sitting at the head of the class with all of your stuff online, backed up, available all of the time from anywhere.  AND!!  It’s free or nearly free to do.

Value-Based Compensation

Postponing compensation as results are generated.  Is this the infamous “Test drive” or “Try before you buy?”  Perhaps.

PV Calc
Present Value Accounting Calculation

I’ve been observing a process (organization to remain unnamed) at an affiliation of experts “starting up” their brand.   The question of compensation models emerged, and has taken a rather long time to craft into a page they published online.

They call it Value-Based Compensation.  I wonder if it’s wise?  I’ll admit this could be “disruptive” in their space, but is it really the business model they plan to retain?

We used to call the collaborative pay-upon-success approach — “Process Co-Ownership” — stakeholders, each having an interest.  Success based on the performance of the partners attaining “milestones”.

Our discovery?  That too much time (value) was hemorrhaged trying to plan and document — then — agree on progress assessments. Relationships dissolved owing to … many factors.  As a recourse, we fell back on T&M engagements and ignored opportunities of this kind with great prejudice.

If you try this – avoid the perception of being “too hungry.”  It’s downside risk of these kinds of agreements, honestly.

And there are two aspects that you’d be wise to evaluate:

  • Why is the client willing to engage thus?  Are they looking an “agent of blame” (as contrast to an ‘agent of change’) — will it be more convenient for them to fail, than to succeed?
  • Why am I willing to engage thus?  Inking a deal MUST bear some tangible value of some kind and it must manifest immediately…
Call this the “present-value’ of future work, payments differed.  It’s a similar concept to the financial computation, except that the value balloon is at the front.

If you’re engaged in co-successful projects, at the point of ink — require permission to:

  • Add the client to your client lists
  • Make press releases, announcements with pictures
  • Obligate client principles to say good things about the engagement — script these in advance — the where’s and when’s.
  • Be sure that those good things are public…
  • Get them in written form, publish them as testimonials.

Do all of that UPFRONT.

These are a hedge against lack of attention, and diluted involvement issues — reputations needed be invested.

Create Present Value for your business – And then manage the engagement to cash payments later.

You’ll need to balance events like this with paying gigs.  Continue to prefer T&M clients that cover your current bills until the bigger ships can come in.

Sometimes those ships may not, but your PR will remain.

3 Steps to Being Engaging

Three very focused concrete suggestions.  Some related guidelines.

Make others the center of your contributions, and you'll  become the center of your own network.
Make others the center of your contributions, and you’ll become the center of your own network.

1.) Research sites and pages that feature content of interest to the network you want to build.  It could “Cat blogging” … or a very serious consulting niche.

2.) Mine the posts at those websites, on Facebook, Twitter, G+.  Find others that have posted that share your sentiments, interests — they have done so commensurate with people you’d want to have an actual relationship with.

Be very thoughtful and discrete.

Would you meet them in crossing at the Denver Airport?

Notes on Mining contacts.

  • Do so at a deliberate, intentional — even slow — pace.  After you’ve made the rounds in those social channels (takes some weeks to accomplish)
  • Keep notes (links to sites and pages, etc. — comments about them to your self.)
  • … start over
  • Keep watching
  • Interact, interact, interact.  Contribute.
  • Follow some other threads …

Eventually a few minutes per week is plenty.

3.) If you can’t otherwise connect (#2) — leverage LinkedIn.  Search for customers.  – here’s an angle …

“Hi, I’m doing a piece / series on (XYZ) for my blog.  You came on my radar as a result of (ABC.) I’d like to get your opinions on (MNO) … can I meet you on a Google Hangout for 15 minutes?  When’s good for you.”

Don’t forget to actually produce those posts and share them back with credit and kudos to that interviewee. Don’t drop that ball.

It’s not the number of followers you have, but the nature of the relationships.  A few active and satisfied contacts in your network will engender the site visits and new relationships you need.

It all hinges on regularly posting and following, commenting — but not obsessively.  Strategically, and concretely building wisdom and essentially a searchable knowledge base into your “Web Presence” –with an underpinning of historically interesting chronology.

At the end of the day, success might be resonate something like this notion — even in the midst of the busiest week, your spirit needs the little bit of time you spend following, commenting elsewhere and creatively posting to your blog, prospecting for “interviews” — being that expert resource.

The secret sauce — the element that is in fact “Disruptive” — is near at hand.

Hosting — basic versions of a single truth

Had a recent conversation revolving around “Hosting’ …

Anatomy of a Business IT Decision
Not many excuses exist anymore that prevent businesses from existing in the Cloud.

which designs are appropriate?  Since requirements should drive such decisions it’s important to list them.  But which ones are critical and actually need to influence the “Spend?”

Unfortunately opinions are sometimes issued as if they were facts.  An important thing to distinguish is what’s convenient / profitable
for the vendor.  Is that in conflict with what the customer actually needs?  Each business depends on an ecology of IT services.  But now it’s more a question of why shouldn’t we do it all in the Cloud?

Hate to admit it, but in the IT profession it is common practice for vendors to sell unwitting clients solutions that are only well-fitted to contributing to the vendor’s bottom line.

A simple example I use often: A Real Estate agency needs a self-hosted website for lots of reasons. The same agency does not need self-hosted email.  Cloud services are actually best.  Why?

  • Low cost
  • Ubiquitous availability (any appliance, anyplace)
  • Interconnectedness to social media
  • Availability of vendors

Further — Cloud hosting email (like at google, for instance) can place those services in proximity / close association with beneficial Social Media services which can be disruptive — in their market spaces.  And conveniences like cross-platform logins that simplify security and other maintenance issues.

Disruptive Adaptation = Winner

In an email shared with me today, I read how a company that hadn’t done anything with their website since 2004 was congratulating itself

Is your Web Presence upgrade being developed in a puppy mill?
Is your Web Presence upgrade being developed in a puppy mill?

over it’s decision to invest big dollars in a “Forklift” replacement.

My sense of the situation is that they expect to incur these expenses,  write them off over perhaps years and deploy a more or less static web site.  They expect to ‘reap the rewards’ — banking at least that existing clients will take them more seriously.  Heavens knows their vision for developing new relationships.

Helping develop a Web presence is a gig.  I don’t charge much for it, because it simply has to be part of the repertoire.

A Gig (big G) would be advising a client (like the one paying  big dough for a forklift update) on how to imagine using their Web Presence to engage their community and audience.

Deeply important is how to go about evolving company culture to one oriented toward engaging those communities.

An analogy: I may have a backpack full of climbing gear, a camera and neat-o Glacier Glasses (shiny new website, I look good!)  But if I don’t take them up Mt Hood, I’m not climbing. (Doing the work of Social Engagement.)  Further, why not ascend Mt. Rainier,  then go for McKinley?

Where the real opportunities exist — are in DISRUPTIVE elements a business needs in order to redefine and reallocate their share of the market.

What’s disruptive in your space will be a vision that not only sees the impact of the Company Web Presence — but the enormous capability that emerges from collaboration with clients and associates — who’s dedicated internet properties can amplify and be amplified in the ecosystem that is defined by your group.

To be disruptive in your space, be an early adopter.  Since few others are having this conversation, you’d be well advised to keep some of what you read here private — at least within dialogues among your competition.

It’s a conflict of interest isn’t it?  To sell a product the provider knows to be less than optimum for the client.  But they have to, in order to be profitable in their own right.

How can you avoid the kind of epic fail that is to miss out on colonizing Social Media?  What are the mitigations?  Recourses and resources?

Well, you can always just throw more money at it.  At least that way change isn’t part of the deal, but the budget was used.

#disruptivebydesign, #web_presence, #forklift_upgrade, #web_dev