Archive for October, 2011


techsnoopThe true economic jobs plan is for those with the drive and skills to start their own business.  Many businesses can be started and run from any location and with low start up costs.  Laptops, netbooks, tablets and smartphones all keep business owners connected and productive.  24/7 technology and the Internet also make it possible to do business worldwide no matter where you are.

The first thing to consider when starting a business is if you really love what you will be doing.  Running a business is not for those who like to punch out at the end of 6 or 8 hours.  Reducing your personal expenses to the bare bones and dropping any cash sucking distractions can further make starting your own business a reachable venture.  A business will consume almost all your time and take creative planning just to fit in family obligations.  If you don’t absolutely love your business, you will not be successful.

Next, do you have the skills or resources to start and run a business?  You may love to bake and make the best pound cake in the world, but if you cannot make your kitchen meet food service code, no successful bakery can be produced from home.  Renting or leasing an existing building will make this dream out of reach.

Can you make enough to support yourself and/or your family while the business gets going?  This is critical as every business takes some funds to operate, even without the overhead of office space.  Make a strict budget for 3 months at a time.  Every 3 months, treat yourself to something that was cut out of the budget.  This gives enough breathing room and reward to keep you on track.

Come back next week for more start up tips.

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With the daily release of new gadgets and software, how do you wade through the pool to choose what to spend your limited entrepreneur dollars on?

First, know that any items purchased must suit your personal and business needs.  As an entrepreneur,  you don’t have the luxury of separating work and family.  Particularly with freelance or start up businesses, you are always at work.  There is no “off” time.  Either you are working, meeting clients, marketing or thinking up ideas.  If you don’t spend time on all these activities, you won’t be successful.

So your tech has to be a multi-tasking as you are.  At the same time, you don’t have time to get a degree in how to use your tablet.  Quick tip; Sprint will tutor you on your new device and set it up for your specific needs.  Just make a set up appointment when you purchase and you can cut your learning curve to nearly zero.

Second, know what you can give up comfortably.  If the idea of using a touch screen is not appealing, stick with a laptop, netbook and traditional style phone.  Most smartphones and tablets are optimized for touch use only, you can add third-party keyboards, but you may give up some functionality of the device.

Third, consider price.  This is usually the first thing people consider, but if you have a business, buy the best, most up to date tech you can afford.  The upgrade cycle is usually two to three years so you will be stuck with this device for a while.  If the capabilities are already being phased out, no price break will make this a good idea.

Finally, do your foot work.  Don’t just rely on on-line reviews.  Instead, use on-line references to narrow your list then go out to the stores and actually play with the device for a while.  You may end up purchasing on line for a good deal, but make sure you are going to love the item you are entrusting your profitability to.

Nintendo 3DSWell the holiday purchasing season is upon us and some stores even have Christmas decorations out even though Halloween has not yet passed.  Since we are all watching our wallets this year, let’s take a look at some economical purchases available to bring a smile to your loved ones.

First up; if your loved one was lucky enough to get the new iPhone 4S, consider this little add on that might make their life cooler.  A bluetooth linked keyboard for those who just can’t get with the virtual keyboard thing.  Or, if you have productivity in mind, the Apen A4 digital pen hooks to your iPhone or iPad and allows you to send hand written notes and drawings to your device.

For the gamer crew, the price on the Nintendo 3DS has been slashed almost $100.  A great bargain and a great gift all in one.  Your classic win-win, you’re a hero and keep your money.

Tablet.  At every price range there are great tablets available.  The Amazon Kindle Fire, HTC Jetstream and Flyer and, of course, the iPad2 all are great choices with features and prices to fit most budgets.  An excellent choice for students, business people and yourself!

I’ll let you mull these ideas over and come back with more soon!

NetflixYea!  Netflix is waking up from their stupor.

Over the past couple of months, Netflix has doubled prices, tried to spin off their DVD business and alienated customers, investors and bloggers all over.  Now, they have apparently started waking up to their in-company insanity and are starting damage control.

As eloquently stated by Flack Me, Qwikster joins the ranks of New Coke and Windows Vista in becoming the marketing joke of the century.  Perhaps even the Millenia.  I outlined some of Netflix’s blunders in September, showing just how absurd the progression was.

From the price hike to the idiotic idea that anyone would want to log into 2 different websites and maintain 2 different lists to pull entertainment content from the same source, Netflix leadership was making decisions with their hindquarters, not their brains.

Did anyone do market research, a focus group, Facebook poll?  Clearly not.  A million subscribers spoke with their wallets and let the formerly excellent company know how they felt.

The only question now is can Netflix regain the loyalty and trust of their customers and investors?

Farewell to a Titan

Steve Jobs

Steve Jobs

Way too young, way too soon.

Steve Jobs was arguably one of the most prolific and innovative tech creators in the last decade.  His ideas and releases drove not only the products produced by Apple, but also forced other hardware and software companies to work harder.

Steve Jobs continually kept Apple products at the forefront of what consumers wanted and would buy.  In addition to cult-making designs, Jobs steered Apple to produce products that were robust and easy to use.  This combination created a value that kept customers coming back again and again as well as adding new customers at a steady rate.

Showmanship was also a strength of Jobs.  His product announcements became must-attend events for the press and drove the rest of the tech industry to attempt similar events.

To the family of Steve Jobs; I add my condolences to the millions you will receive over the next days.  To Apple; I hope you continue the legacy.  To all of us in the technology industry; let’s step up the innovation and make Steve proud.

RIP Steve, you will truly be missed.

I love music.  The right song can lift you up from the lowest mood and inspire you when stuck at work.  But, there is no way that any set of earphones is worth $300.  I think the slim, light up cool factor of the Soul by Ludacris earphones is great and the sound may be superior, but $300?? With a national unemployment rate around 10%?  No way.  Please vote with your wallets and say no to this excess.  Expensive earphones do not make you money even if you are in the music business.  Great sound can be had for much less.

Love this slideshow on the coolest, almost Bond-like tech coming in 2012.  Samsung has a smartphone that is part tablet and LG presents a mouse that doubles as a scanner.  Pardon me if I take a pass at the personal 3D viewers.  By completely covering vision and hearing, this device is potentially a  public hazard.  Many will not use it wisely.  And, no, I will not pay for designer 3D glasses.  $300 and more to watch a movie at home?  Not happening.

But Sony shows once again that they are at the top of the cool list with the world’s thinnest camera, the Cyber-Shot TX55.  Thin, touch screen and 3D photos.  What more could you want? Maybe a Star Trek replicator or transporter to keep the food and transportation costs down so you can enjoy your tech.

Take your pick for holiday giving.  Or receiving.

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