How DO You Do It?

Stay on top of your industry, that is. If you’re a business professional in any category and you’re not using Google Reader or some lesser tool to monitor newsfeeds, I’m very concerned about your future. Whoa. What did you say, Todd? I said, I’m very concerned about your future!

You see, unless you’re working on a production line somewhere making widgets for an hourly wage [not that there’s anything wrong with that — I’ve done it myself] your growth and advancement in business and in life [see this if you don’t believe me] depends on your ongoing professional development and that depends in large part upon your ability to aggregate, manage, and leverage relevant information

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Stop the presses!

Image representing Microsoft as depicted in Cr...
Image via CrunchBase

I’m admitting that I may have been wrong. Yup. That’s right. I MAY have been wrong…

Last summer I battled with 64-bit Vista and lost. I wrote about the experience here and here and here. One of my readers — a young computer genius named Paul from St. Norbert took issue with me in the comments saying…

Used x64 Vista for a full year… contrary to what they told me, all of my 32-bit drivers worked just like they were supposed to. The speed increase over XP was enormous.

Upgraded to win7x64 the day it came out, even better…

Granted most of my software is still 32-bit, but a 64-bit processor will run in 32-bit mode anyway – it just uses half of the register length. I don’t see why using x64 should slow anything down…

Well, contrary to what my wife and children say I’m not close-minded. At least not on technology issues. Or something like that. Let’s not go there…

Anyway, I had a chance to use Windows 7 64-bit on a project for a week. My assessment? It doesn’t suck. Far from it. I hesitate to say it, but it may even rock! Read more of this post

An important announcement from e1evation, llc

e1evation, llc announces that Todd Lohenry has been named the interim VP of Marketing, Sales and Technology at Jag, Inc., one of Northeast Wisconsin’s oldest and most trusted names in advertising.

There are two objectives behind the move:

Introduce internal systems and process improvements at Jag, Inc.

Jag, Inc. has already migrated from Microsoft Exchange to Google Apps for Business Communications. It is also in the process of implementing a new Content Management System [CMS] website, social media strategy, and Customer Relationship Management [CRM] system to improve both sales and customer service. Todd will manage the business development process and oversee the day to day operations of these systems and their processes which drive business development at Jag, Inc.

Expand the existing product lines of both companies.

Jag, Inc. is already one of the top providers of outdoor, indoor and commercial signs in the State of Wisconsin — President Jane Sweasy is a respected member of the Wisconsin Family Business Forum and the Northeast Wisconsin business community. e1evation, llc is a Google Authorized Solutions Provider, a CMS Website developer, a social media marketer, and a Charter Business representative — owner Todd Lohenry is also a public speaker and teaches the social media certification course at NWTC.

Together e1evation, llc and Jag, Inc. offer a full range of cost effective options that will work together to generate leads for our customers ‘here, there and everywhere’. Moving forward, billing and administration will be handled through Jag, Inc. – please contact Todd Lohenry regarding any transitional business issues…

About Jag, Inc.

“Jag billboards and commercial signs have been getting companies and their products noticed since 1946. As a family-owned business, Jag Outdoor Advertising prides itself on going above and beyond when delivering customer service, ensuring that every Jag customer achieves optimum results while earning a lifetime friend.”

About e1evation, llc

“e1evation, llc [pronounced elevation] is an international consulting firm that helps businesses, non-profits and academic institutions with marketing, sales and technology solutions.”

For Jag, Inc.:
Jane Sweasy, President
Jag, Inc.
1508 Sunset Avenue
Algoma, WI 54201
http://jagoutdoor.com
jsweasy@jagoutdoor.com
(920) 487-3443

For e1evation, llc:
Todd Lohenry, Owner
e1evation, llc
305 Steele St., Suite 27
Algoma, WI 54201
http://e1evation.com
(920) 710-0790
todd@e1evation.com
###

Tactic #10; Do it on the go!

Finally! The final post of the “Top 10 Tactics and Tools” series and we’re ending on a high note in conjunction with the Mobile World Congress. I’m going to let “guest quoter” Chamath Palihapitiya of Facebook set the table…

“Yesterday, in a session on ‘Mobile Communications 2.0′ at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, Facebook’s VP of User Growth, Mobile and International Expansion Chamath Palihapitiya shared the social networking giant’s current mobile strategy and its plans for the future.

It was in this session that the company for the first time talked about its latest product, Facebook Zero, which is essentially a stripped down, text-only version of the mobile website for the social networking service. The product aims to give mobile carriers a way to offer a basic Facebook experience to their subscribers free of charge and later convert those users into premium data service customers.

We recorded the entire 16-minute session and uploaded it to our YouTube account – these are the highlights of the presentation:

– Facebook believes 2010 will be a watershed year for mobile
– The service is now actively used by more than 400 million people
– They want to make Facebook even more ubiquitous and reach billions of users
– 100 million users (25% of total number of users) actively uses Facebook’s mobile products at least once a month
– 200 million people have interacted with Facebook on mobile at least once” Source: Facebook’s Mobile Strategy Condensed Into 16 Minutes (Video)

Here’s a 16 minute video that spells it out…

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1VVHWQQPUc0

What does this mean for you? You’d better make it mobile! Whatever you’re doing internet-wise [snap! I went there, Clay!] you’d better take mobile platforms into consideration. The great thing is that it’s easy to do. Every site I set up automatically features WPtouch iPhone Theme, a plugin which formats your site with a mobile theme for the Apple iPhone / iPod touch, Google Android and other touch-based smartphones. Try it! Enter e1evation.com in your smartphone browser and see how nicely it functions! Please don’t get sucked into spending a lot of money building a proprietary iPhone app — especially when Google’s Android OS is seriously cutting into iPhone market share! Use WordPress combined with this plugin and you’ll have all the mobile app you need. btw, as you look back over this series almost every single tool I recommend has a mobile version — I don’t recommend anything that doesn’t!

I hope you’ve enjoyed and implemented some of these “Top 10 Tactics and Tools for Tightening your Tribe” and I’d like to take this opportunity to make three big announcements. Ready?

I’m always harping about the value of blogging, but did you know that blogging has great benefit for the blogger as well, especially when it comes to ‘finding your voice’ and finding your passion. I started out writing about marketing, sales and technology for small business owners and other thought leaders. Over time, I realized that one of my targeted audiences is the marketing professional that is struggling to add social media to the mix. I’d like to think that few people have a better handle on what tactics and tools a person in that position might need to actually save time as they add additional marketing channels. While I do offer what I call a “social media integration” package for my customers, I’m announcing today that this series will now be available in the form of an online instructor-led [me!] training course called the Social Media Academy. In addition, there will also be a weekly podcast that focuses on social media tools as well as an ebook which is currently under development as “The Damn Good Social Media Guide”. These three products — the course, the podcast, and the ebook — will be available April 4, 2010. If you’d like to help with beta testing [which translates into great savings!] comment, call or contact me!

$38.67 that will change your year

If it’s true that the first hour is the ‘rudder of the day’ than the next few weeks are the ‘rudder of the year’. If you lead an organization like I do, here are 4.5 books that will give you all the insight you need to chart a course for the year…

http://ws.amazon.com/widgets/q?ServiceVersion=20070822&MarketPlace=US&ID=V20070822%2FUS%2Fmakrai-20%2F8003%2F974832f3-cfc8-4f4e-a456-7f7a36b9a700&Operation=GetDisplayTemplate null

Here they are in their recommended order of reading:

  1. 7 Habits of Highly Effective People. There’s a reason why this book is one of the most popular of all time. Read or reread it!
  2. Getting Things Done. Another book that has become so popular that people have forgotten why.
  3. Awesomely Simple. This one is new, but powerful enough to be a ‘must read’ recommendation for me. John Spence defines what a ‘book’ should be in the new millennium by hosting a website with bonus materials for readers. He’s also active in social media and eagerly engages readers…
  4. Your Best Year Yet! Enough said.
  5. The Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin. What? Yes, read it. Franklin’s systematic approach to building new habits is outlined here.

Now for the how. Yes, I’m even going to tell you how to read them. Read them via Kindle. “What”, you say? “I’m not going to buy a Kindle just to read these books!” “Well”, I say, “you don’t have to”. Kindle software runs on Windows, Mac, iPhone, iPad, iPod Touch, Android, Windows Phone 7, BlackBerry and via web browser. It synchronizes wirelessly between devices creating a virtual library of all the books you download allowing you to access them anywhere at any time. So, if I’m reading a book on my Sprint Evo and highlight a section that I want to go back to later, when I get to my computer and synchronize my books, the same selection will be highlighted, along with any notes I’ve made, on my PC. Did I mention that most Kindle books are around $10 as well? The total in the title is the sum of all the Kindle books I recommended and you can click on any title in the slider to order it immediately…

This video will help you get the picture…
httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=r9aeH99g-vM

Now as much as I love all things Google, Kindle content is cheaper than the new Google Books by about 50% in my informal testing and although the Android reader for Google Books is more full featured, imho, Kindle software is a more compelling offering at the moment. btw, if you’d prefer to listen, there’s always Audible — another service from Amazon.com! Again, no special device is required because there’s Audible software available for Windows, Mac, iPhone, iPad, iPod Touch, Android, Windows Phone 7, BlackBerry and web browser. Instead of listening to talk radio, now you can get smart while you’re driving around!

According to Einstein, doing the same things and expecting different results is the very definition of insanity. These books, combined with new ways of consuming their wisdom, will help you get from where you’re at to where you want to be as a business leader in 2011. Really!

All the best to you in 2011!

Good-Bye XP. Hello Windows 7? Not so fast…

How long will it be before the average computer user rebels against these ‘shotgun upgrades’ from Microsoft?

“Microsoft has wanted to kill Windows XP for years. There was only one problem. The users refused to let it die. Now, that Windows 7 is almost ready to go, Microsoft is, once more, trying to ax XP.

Microsoft did this to themselves. Vista was a flop. Even now, according to Net Applications’ Market Share, Vista has only a lousy 23% of the desktop market. For a while, Microsoft ignored the fact that even their own executives were horrified by just how bad Vista was. But, then the Linux-powered netbook came along, and Microsoft was frightened enough by its early successes that it un-retired Windows XP Home.

Now, Microsoft wants to kill off XP again. Step one will be bringing free support for XP to a close on April 14th. Step two is letting anyone and their uncle get a free copy of the Windows 7 release candidate sometime in May. The timing is by design. ” Source: Good-Bye XP. Hello Windows 7 – Computerworld Blogs

For me, the end of the line was last year. I resolved never to pay another penny to Microsoft and so far, I’ve been successful. In addition, my two-year long relationship with Vista ended last week, but it had been on the rocks for a long time…

I was forced into using Vista two years ago on a day when I had to walk into Sam’s Club and buy the best computer I could get at that particular store [don’t ask — it’s a long story!]. Well, for the past couple of years I have been living the old proverb about ‘marry in haste, repent in leisure’. My experience with Vista was so bad, that I started to look into Ubuntu and I have never looked back. Don’t get me wrong — Ubuntu cannot totally replace Windows. Yet. However, in many ways, it’s a better operating system than XP. And it’s free which is why every school, church and small business should think about getting off the Microsoft upgrade cycle and start using at least a little Ubuntu in their organizations…

I said my relationship with Vista ended. I hated that Sam’s Club computer so much that I actually traded with my college student son for an older computer just so I could run an xp/Ubuntu dual boot machine [which is very easy to set up — easier than a Windows XP/Vista dual boot!]. Using his computer properly configured has been like falling in love all over again. I can’t think of a single Vista feature that I’ve missed — not even the 17″ monitor on the machine which made the computer just too darn big to lug around, but that’s not a Vista feature, either. By the way, the computer I’m now using is an HP DV6000 series which you could ‘buy now’ on eBay for as low as $349. Also, I got off the Microsoft Office upgrade cycle, too. I now use OpenOffice 3.01 which is ‘built in’ to the Ubuntu download and available as a free download for XP [or Vista].

Bottom line? Here’s the thing you need to think about. Microsoft’s need to generate OS and Application licensing revenue forces users into an expensive, Microsoft driven upgrade cycle that doesn’t serve most organizations well. Smart leaders need to think about ways to stop the insanity by purchasing used computers on eBay and using free or inexpensive open source tools like Ubuntu and OpenOffice in conjunction with cloud computing solutions like Google Apps.

By the way, if you’re stuck using Vista and aren’t brave enough to set up a dual boot arrangement with Ubuntu, at least use the Vista Services Optimizer to shut off all the dreck you don’t need, although I highly recommend trying the dual boot option for those times when all you need to do is check email and surf the web quickly. Call or write on the contact page if you want to talk more about these options…

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A Tale of Three Websites