Geek of the Week

Published on Sep 30, 2007   //  Geek of the Week

Geek of the Week

Congratulations to this weeks geek Christian D. who scored on our Commodore 4 Geek of the Week questions. This weeks questions are movie related:

1.  What 1995 movie stared Angelina Jolie and Jonny Lee Miller?

2.  What 1992 movie stared Robert Redford?

3.  What 1999 made for TV movie stared Anthony Michael Hall?

4.  What 1983 movie stared Matthew Broderick?

5.  What 2001 movie stared John Travolta and Hugh Jackman?

Discussion: Church 2.0

Published on Sep 29, 2007   //  Discussion

Weekly Discussion

Technology has been adapted into many organizations to help with communication, branding and to make life easier.

I was recently invited by a neighbour to attend his sermon at a local church. We packed up the family and made our way to the church expecting a traditional sermon. When we arrived and found our seats I did a quick look around. To my surprise I found a lot of technology being used at the church.

Some of the technology used was a reader board to display their web site and various up coming events. An overhead projector was displaying the agenda for the day. After the sermon I went home and decided to visit their site. Again I found more technology being used in RSS feeds, online donations, forums and more. I searched a few other church sites to see how they compared and found they have very similar technology usage.

With all of this technology being used by the Church does it detract or add to the experience?

PS – Let’s not turn this discussion into a religious debate.

PlanHQ Review

Published on Sep 28, 2007   //  Reviews

PlanHQ LogoI have previously posted that one of the key to success is to have a Business Plan. If you do not have one then start building one today. An online tool I have recently found for writing a business plan is PlanHQ.

PlanHQ walks you through creating a powerful business plan for your business. There are tons of free business plan tools out there for you to choose from but PlanHQ has some very unique features that other business plan builders lack.

One of the features a business will find useful is that you can have multiple users who you can attach to a business plan. This means that you can write a business plan and build actionable items into it. The actionable items can be assigned to members or employees who can then login and update their status on that actionable item. Imagine a unified company all working towards a focused business goal.  I know you would think aren’t all businesses built to work that way? Sadly enough they aren’t. Most businesses owners fail to create a business plan and if they do they fail to share it with everyone in the company.

Another feature that separates PlanHQ from others is the built in nag feature. Most business owners that create a business plan make it and then don’t look at it until they need to update it the next year. What PlanHQ does is sends out notices to the team based on actionable items to find out what the status of that item is. This means that you are constantly reminded what step needs to achieve your goals.

I also like the fact that PlanHQ are bloggers. To test out PlanHQ they have a free 30 day trial that you can sign-up for.

In The Sphere: Tax Deductions, Link Building, and Freedom of Speech

Published on Sep 28, 2007   //  In the Sphere

It’s hard to believe that it’s Friday already and it’s even harder to believe that October is just around the river bend. Time sure flies, so it’s important to slow down every so often to smell the roses. Or read the blogs, if that’s more your cup of tea. Wow, I think I just used far too many metaphors for my own good! Moving right along…

Kelly Phillips Erb recently did a guest post on ProBlogger outlining not one, not two, but 46 tax deductions that bloggers often overlook. The content is a little US-centric, but the tips are still very applicable to anyone in Canada, Europe, or the rest of the taxable world. Save those receipts!

The Everyday Weekender loves the pigskin and the gridiron. That’s why he’s provided the Proline Week 4 NFL Football Picks and Odds. I’m particularly looking forward to the Indianapolis-Denver game, which the Weekender is saying will end with a Colts win by 4 points. In fact, all of the picks are by 4 points.

Google Lady recognizes that times are a-changing and that’s why link building is harder in 2007 than in 2001. Her top six reasons for this phenomenon start with webmaster link building abuse and end with “other marketing methods.”

Yaro Starak of Entrepreneur’s Journey teaches us how to become an efficient procrastinator. Does that sound like an oxymoron to you? Yaro doesn’t think so and he tells you why. Procrastination is not the same as laziness!

The ThinkReferrals Blog takes a good long look at what we’re allowed and not allowed to say, questioning whether Canada has abolished Freedom of Speech. I personally feel, as does Rainer, that even if I don’t agree with your opinion, I respect your right to speak your mind. Join the discussion at TRBN.com.

Keys to Success: SWOT Analysis

Published on Sep 27, 2007   //  Business Topics

Keys to Success

If you are starting a business or have been in business for 100′s of years one of the keys to your success will be to perform a regular SWOT analysis on your business.

SWOT stands for Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats.

To get started take out a clean sheet of paper and divide it into 4 boxes using a pen or pencil. Right in each box one of the above titles into it. Now focus on each box and determine the individual Strength, Weakness, Opportunities and Threats to your business. If you have a large group of employees then pull out a whiteboard instead and get them all involved. The more input and honest you are with yourself the better.

Just to be clear what the various SWOT topics mean. Strengths are what make your company stronger then your competitors. Weaknesses are things that you could improve on in  your business. Opportunities is where you can make changes in your company to become stronger. Threats are what can possible hurt your business.

Now that you have taken a bit of time to think about your SWOT flip the page over and determine what needs to be done to fix your weaknesses, eliminate your threats and grow your opportunities. Assign a date even if it is far off in the future and who is responsible for doing it.

Doing a SWOT Analysis once every quarter, half year or year will help your business tremendously. If your not doing it already then I suggest you do it today.

Marketing 101: Advertising vs. Product Placement

Published on Sep 27, 2007   //  Marketing Tips

I just came back from a media event at Future Shop where Tod Maffin, Amber MacArthur and Leo Laporte were discussing the future of HDTV. Although this was not explicitly meant to be an advertising event for one of Canada’s biggest big box electronics stores, the branding was very obvious and the debate participants had no problems with dropping company names and talking directly about the product selection at Future Shop. Later today (or possibly tomorrow morning), I plan on putting a blog post on Beyond the Rhetoric exploring this event in further detail.

On Monday, I watched the season premiere of Heroes on NBC. Each time it came to a commercial break, there was a reminder that this episode of Heroes was presented with limited advertising, courtesy of Nissan. The commercial breaks were less numerous and generally shorter than most other network programming. The reasoning was that there was a significant amount of Nissan product placement in the episode itself and they received premium ad time during the commercial breaks. In regards to the former, Claire received a Nissan Rogue from Mr. Bennet as a present. As you recall, Hiro was driving around in a Nissan Versa.

Watching The Daily Show with Jon Stewart and The Colbert Report last night, both of them made mention of a entertainment news program that was presented with limited commercial breaks as well and that’s because it too had quite a bit of product placement, specifically for Halo 3 and Walmart.

I’m OK with product placement so long as it is subtle, but this latest string couldn’t be more blatant. If you want to sell me something, just sell it to me in an advertisement that explicitly says, “Buy me!” I feel that I am being a bit of a hypocrite, though, because we’ve seen the ‘net version of product placement in the form of paid posts and paid reviews. I have no problem with those so long as they come with proper disclosure.

What’s your take on product placement? Is it effective marketing and everyone wins, or is it little more than a sleazy ploy?

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