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Friday, July 30, 2010

Kindle Not Competing with iPad

I was very happy to read yesterday that Amazon's Kindle is not being positioned to compete directly with Apple's iPad.  Rather than beef up the features it would need to position itself along side the iPad as a multi-use tool, the newest versions of the Kindle will increase it's advantage where the iPad is weakest: it will be much cheaper (starting at $139), lighter (8.5 oz), and thinner (1/3 of an inch), making it the most accessible and convenient e-reader on the market.  For more details check out this link.

I think this is a smart strategy.  We've seen countless brands try to compete with the iPhone to become the smartphone leader, and most of them fail because they try to compete with Apple at what it does best: develop innovative, high-quality products that can do many things pretty well.  By sticking to their original game-plan Amazon is ensuring that the Kindle continues to be the best e-reader on the market.

If the next few generations of Kindle continue to become cheaper and lighter I bet most iPad users will own Kindles too!

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Social Gaming is Big Business

On Tuesday afternoon two large companies threw their hats into the social gaming ring.  Gamestop announced their plans to acquire Kongregate Inc., a social gaming forum for free-to-play gaming. Kongregate currently hosts 10 million monthly players.  Just hours later Disney announced plans to purchase another social gaming platform, Playdom, for around $763 million.

I'll be curious to see how many companies follow their lead in the next few months.  More information can be found here:

Social-game makers scooped up in acquisition deals

GameStop Buys Online-Games Distributor Kongregate

Monday, July 26, 2010

21st Century Resume

I've been working on my master's degree for a couple of years, and in December I'll finally graduate.  I have a meeting scheduled with a VP at my present place of employment to discuss career options, but it's time to update my resume in case that doesn't work out.  But updating my resume entails so much more than it used to!

Today a resume is so much more than just one document that I send to potential employers to review.  I need to make sure that I present myself properly online as well.  Here's a quick look at everything I need to update:
  • Resume (paper version)- Yes, this is still going to be important.  Even in the digital age this is still something that most prospective employers will expect.  I think I'll mine done by a professional resume writer to give it a little more polish than the current version.
  • Social Media- Once I have a revised resume to work from I need to make sure that all of my online profiles are updated for consistency.  I'll also make sure to include links to my LinkedIn and Twitter accounts as well as my blog.
  • Search Results- It also doesn't hurt to make sure nothing embarrassing comes up in a Google search of my name.  Actually I don't expect this to be an issue for me: searching the name Pat Henry brings up 14,400,000 results, none of which have anything to do with me.  Still, worth checking just in case :)
I also wish I'd gotten around to stating a website earlier this year, because that would be a terrific way to further promote myself in the digital world.  As it stands I think the time and effort is better spent elsewhere, at least until I'm done with school.  Otherwise I think I have a decent list of things I need to do to have a fully updated  resume.

I hope this brief list may provide a good starting point for anyone else trying to update their resume.  Anyone with other tips is welcome to share them in the comments!

Friday, July 23, 2010

Flipboard Revolutionary for iPad and Social Media

When the iPad first came out I thought "Wow, that looks cool, but I don't really have a need for it."  The new Flipboard app has me rethinking my position.  Launched by Twitter and Facebook co-founders, Flipboard takes links from social network feeds and displays them as pages in a magazine.  The Montreal Gazette explains in this article:
Flipboard takes the stories and photos linked to by friends on Facebook and Twitter and lays them out on the full-color screen of the iPad tablet computer like on the pages of a magazine.
Users can personalize the content on Flipboard, create their own sections around particular topics, and quickly flip through the latest material posted by friends on social networks by using the iPad touchscreen.
After reading the article I watched the short video demonstration on, and the application is very impressive.  I may have to consider buying an iPad just to use Flipboard!  I'll wait until they iron out some kinks though (Flipboard Responds to Failed Launch).

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Few New Businesses Started in 2010

I just read a rather depressing piece of information: for the first half of 2010 the rate of new business start-ups was the lowest it's been in 24 years.  According to a blog post for the Wall Street Journal "the 3.4% first-quarter start-up rate and the 3.9% in the second quarter mark the lowest first-half since (executive coaching firm Challenger, Gray & Christmas) started recording data in 1986."  The reason for such a dramatic decrease from last year is less than obvious:
“It is difficult to pinpoint the exact reason behind the decline in start-up activity among former managers and executives,” Challenger Chief Executive John Challenger said in a statement Monday. “On one hand, it could be that the job market has improved to the point that many do not feel compelled to take the risk of going it alone. Then there is the fragility of the recovery and the uncertainty that comes with it. Many small business owners are increasingly pessimistic about business conditions and still find it difficult to get a loan.”
The silver lining for this is the increase in payroll workers over last year, but it's still hardly encouraging news overall.  Be sure to click on the link below and read the full WSJ post for more details.

Small-Business Formations Decline

Monday, July 19, 2010

Was Apple's Press Conference Successful?

On Friday Apple held a press conference to address the problem users have had dropping calls when using the new iPhone 4.  As I mentioned in this post a few hours before the press conference Apple's best course of action was to accept responsibility, fix the design flaw, and apologize for letting their customers down. 

That's not quite what happened.

Steve Jobs did acknowledge that there was a break in the antenna's reception, but tried to convince users that other smartphones have worse reception and more dropped calls.  He also said that "antennagate" is not as bad as the media has made it out to be, and that a fairly small percentage of users have called to report any problems.  (I wonder how many users tried to alert Apple only to have the call dropped...)

To Apple's credit they made a generous offer to give away free cases that seem to resolve all reception issues, but I think they diluted the positive gesture by trying to downplay their problems.  It doesn't matter if other smartphones have similar issues: Apple users expect their iPhones to be of a higher quality, and those expectations have now been lowered.

Does anyone think the press conference went well for Apple?  Did they save face?  Will the free cases make users forgive and forget?

Friday, July 16, 2010

Can Apple Save Face?

Three weeks ago I wrote about The strength of Apple's brand as evidenced by the wildly successful launch of the iPhone 4.  Since then, however, Apple's brand appeal has taken an incredible hit as the millions of newly purchased phones began dropping calls.  The cause of the reception problems are a result of the antenna design, and this report on suggests that Apple may have known about the problem long before the phone was introduced to the public:
Last year, Ruben Caballero, a senior engineer and antenna expert, informed Apple’s management the device’s design may hurt reception, said the person, who is not authorized to speak on Apple’s behalf and asked not to be identified. A carrier partner also raised concerns about the antenna before the device’s June 24 release, according to another person familiar with the situation.
The article also indicated that Apple is planning to hold a press conference later today, though Apple has not indicated what will be discussed.  Is there anything Apple can announce that will satisfy their customers and reaffirm their commitment to quality?  Apple had an opportunity to do this previously and failed:
Soon after Apple released the iPhone 4 in June, some customers complained about losing their signal. Apple last month advised users to buy a case or avoid holding it in the lower- left corner “in a way that covers both sides of the black strip in the metal band.”
It's no surprise that this response didn't delight iPhone 4 users.  I'm looking forward to today's announcement, and I'm hoping that Apple will accept responsibility, fix the design flaw, and apologize for letting their customers down.  Anything else and Apple may be in trouble.  And I'll be buying a Blackberry.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Does Blogging Quantity Decrease Quality?

I received a comment on Monday's post that I should consider abandoning my rigid blogging schedule of posting every Monday, Wednesday, & Friday at 6am.  The idea is to focus on quality posts and not worry about quantity.  I agree that quality is critical, but isn't quantity important as well? 

I think blogging on a schedule has merit.  If I were doing anything else business related on a schedule it would imply improved quality (better focus, earlier shipping times, etc.).  I try to have the same focus when it comes to blogging, and thought I admit I've posted a few dull ones here and there I think the schedule ultimately helps me remember that this is something important to me.  Otherwise I'd just post whenever I felt like it, and it would quickly cease to be a priority.

Do any other bloggers keep to a schedule?  Any that don't?

Monday, July 12, 2010

Blogging Failure

My blogging goal for 2010 was to post 3 times a week: on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays at 6am.  I typically write each post the afternoon or evening before it's scheduled, and when I get up the next morning I paste links into LinkedIn groups and on  For six months I posted on time without fail, even while on vacation.  My schedule had never been broken.  Until today.

This morning I realized I forgot to write a blog post.  I should have over the weekend, but it was gorgeous out.  I took care of regular weekend chores (grocery shopping, laundry, etc.), but mostly I tried to avoid the indoors.  A little outdoor dining, a walk downtown, a mountain biking trip... blogging never crossed my mind.

I'm disappointed that I broke my streak (I'm kind of obsessive like that), but it was a great weekend and I'm actually glad I didn't try to force blog writing into it.  Plus I'm still getting this up on Monday morning, so I'm not too far off the mark.  No harm done!

Friday, July 9, 2010

Social Media in the News

I'm back at work this week, though part of me is still mentally on vacation.  Judging by the modest amount of activity on my social networks many of you are having the same problem!  I decided to use this lack of focus as an opportunity to find out what's new in social media.  Here are a few of the top stories:

Are Men Using Facebook to Hook Up, Break Up? Ask Sandra Bullock

Some doctors join Facebook, Twitter; others wary

Twitter takes steps towards social media advertising

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Increasing Prices for Mediocre Services

I read yesterday that the U.S. Postal Service wants to increase its rates.  Not only are they seeking to increase the cost of stamps by 2 cents, but they also want a 5.6% increase in standard mail rates.  What justification do they use for these proposed price increases?  They need money. 

I don't use the U.S. Postal Service very often these days.  There's just not much that they do better than their competitors.  If I'm sending something urgent, I use UPS or FedEx because they're faster and more reliable.  Anything I purchase online get sent to me via UPS or FedEx (usually) because large company accounts make it too convenient for online retailers not to use them.  I almost never mail a check anymore: it's all done instantly online.  Pretty much the only time I mail something is an occasional birthday card.

Instead of increasing rates for services that are increasingly unwanted, shouldn't the U.S. Postal Service try to find out what services their customers really do want?

Monday, July 5, 2010

Business Links

Like most American workers I'm off today as part of a three day holiday weekend, which fits quite nicely at the end of a week long vacation!  Anyway, for those who are at the office (or have set off all of their fireworks) I thought this would be a good time to post a few links from my Google Bookmarks stash.  Enjoy!

13 Essential Tips for Landing a Job on LinkedIn

How to Use Social Media for Competitive Intelligence

Differentiate Or Die: How To Survive The Competition

Friday, July 2, 2010

Social Media for Professionals

A reader commented on Wednesday's post about how I've been using social media, and he included a link to a business oriented website that I've never heard of:  I decided to sign up for it when I read the following on their website:
  • Their tagline made me laugh: "biznik: business networking that doesn't suck."
  • Their membership terms and conditions includes this statement:  "I certify no aspect of my business or the business I represent involves recruiting other people to sell third-party products or services so that I can earn a percentage of their sales (including hosting parties)."
I'm new to it, so I don't have much of an evaluation to share just yet.  I'll gladly reference it again in a future blog post if I think it's a "must-use" networking site for business professionals.

Do you use any professional networking/business oriented websites?  If so please share in the comments!