Archive for June, 2007

iPhone Frenzy

I bet Microsoft wishes it could generate excitement like this!

From BBC News.

Join the Small Business Specialist Community Group on Facebook

I’ve created a group on Facebook called the Small Business Specialist Community on Facebook. It’s a closed group, so if you’re a SBSC Partner come and sign-up. I’ve absolutely not idea what we’ll use it for but it’ll be interesting to see if it develops and in what way? I don’t see it as a technical support forum as there are existing places to do that. It’s about building relationships but without any real agenda, a kind of organic and viral growth. I thought about calling it “UK” but what the heck, let’s go global!

If the Friends of Blue Monster can get over 130 members, then surely we can get some decent numbers on our group! I’m going to tout it over at the WPC Connect online tool as well and see what happens.

Facebook is a great social networking tool and is growing like crazy at the moment, so jump aboard the bandwagon!

UPADTE

There is another group called Small Business IT and Specialists startd by Stuart Crawford, doh!

I’ve added a discussion topic on “Growing the Community”, so there is some purpose in joining the Group. I’ll take feedback with into the SBSC PALs Meeting on Sunday 8th July in Denver. This is a chance to get our voices heard at the Microsoft Corp level and with those who ultimately hold the purse strings. Don’t hold back with your views, good or bad – let’s see if we get some serious benefit for us all!!

Thanks in Advance.

Moving On …

No, not me!

Our good friend Robbie Upcroft has a new full-time role at Microsoft working with Westcoast, so we’ll be hearing less of those silky Aussie tones ringing in our ears! We’ve got a lot to thank “The Bob” for and it’s just not going to be the same, boo hoo! He’s kicked butt in Microsoft on behalf of the Small Business Community and kept us in the game when it came justifying our existence.

Not content with his Nation annihilating us in the Cricket, he’s even taught us how to do this Community thing and then run a marathon as well! But seriously, his passion and commitment really has been much more than one would reasonably expect of someone. I know he’s far too humble, but I know it’s been a personal commitment to see Small Business Partners succeed.

There are some new people on point now for the SBSC Programme, but to be honest he’s going to be a hard act to follow. I think he’s set the bar very high. Luckily, he’s still going to be around the Small/Medium Business Market so I’m sure we’ll see him around.

Cheers Mate!!

The excesses of wealth

This is a Friday afternoon story.

During a recent meeting with my colleague and friend, Ashish Raina, he was telling me about one of the richest men in India called Mukesh Ambani who own the Reliance Group. He’s building a new home in Mumbai for £500m! Yes, that’s a lot of money on a home but read the story from the Guardian that Ashish sent me and see what you think?

What made me smile was a quote from an architect called Hafeez Contractor from the article, surely that’s not his real name? The rise in wealth in India is already showing signs of social tension.

How can he need 600 full-time staff for a family of six people?

We lost a leader!

Chris Rue has pulled out of the WPC and Small Business Symposium. I have to say I was shocked and surprised!

Chris had lead an heroic charge of SBSC Partners to keep us top of the WPC Connect Groups and for a while it worked and we thank him for that. Unfortunately, we’re languishing in about 7th with little hope of recovery. There was no bounds to Chris’s enthusiasm and his dedication to the cause. I felt we had found a leader to rival some of the greats of our time! He recently announced his promotion to MVP status which only seemed natural and right.

… so who will lead us now from the wilderness and in to the promised land? Who is going to stand tall in the Yellow Lounge, towering as a colussus for all to admire and be in awe of?

We will be flying flags here at half mast tomorrow and urge you all for a minute’s silence at 12.00pm BST!

Chris mentioned something about being able to make more money back at base than in Denver. I didn’t quite understand this concept of “making money” as a Small Business Partner? Maybe that’s where I’m going wrong. I thought we were to have a good time and party!

Microsoft not dumping Disties

Interesting story from The Register that Microsoft was considering ditching one of it’s three broadline general disties, Bell Micro, Ingram and C2K.

… and we know that Microsoft have brought on Westcoast as a new distributor and we know a certain lady who is very close to our hearts who has joined them to lead the charge!

So, there is some interesting stuff going on and it seems Microsoft has been trying to give a bit of a kick up the arse to its disties. We’ve all had our “interesting” experiences with distributors and we all know that if you’re a small business then you get a pretty raw deal by many! Having said that, I work with an amazing IBM distributor called Avnet who have amazing people. Incredible how they’ve supported iQubed.

Machinima

Today I learnt what Machinima is and it was fascinating! Sometimes, I love my job and the fact that I can follow my own instincts. I was very kindly invited to a kick-off event for the Machinima Festival which is being run by the Insititute of Creative Technology (IOCT) which is part of De Montfort University between 12-14th October. Machinima is the creation of high quality animation using videogames which allows it to be done cheaply and with little technical expertise. Why videogames? Well, it seems obvious now that I know what it is! Certain videogames such as the SIMs and Halo have 3-D rendering engines but more importantly scene generation that can be done in real-time. There was a presentation and some great examples of animation from Ricard Gras whose company La Interactiva is now an official developer of Second Life.

You’ve gotta check out RedvsBlue, which uses Halo to do little animations which are really funny and have been incrediably popular.

Advertising and marketing is an obvious use of Machinima. An interesting company that was mentioned was The Electric Sheep Company. You see you don’t have to go to Scoble’s blog to get the latest ideas and thinking about new media!

Blogging Milestone

I received my first offer of potential payment for putting third party content on my blog today! The domain of the email I received checks out to be a real bona fide PR and Marketing Company. Of course, being of very high moral standing, I said yes – where do I sign? Only joking, they’ll be no Google Adwords or other paid for content here!

I’ve yet to reach the other major milestones, which really sets out the elite bloggers i.e. people emailing you to see why you haven’t blogged and that you are still alive (although if you were dead or gravely ill, you’d hardly be replying to email!) and of course no offers of marriage or undying love (I know I’m happily married but hey, still would be nice!).

So, just for vanity’s sake here is a nice web stats graph of my domain and unique visits since the beginning of the year. Most people end up at the blog and think what the hell have they landed on and are straight off again. As they say there are lies, damned lies and statistics or should that be web stats!

 webstats.png

The value of case studies?

It might seem a bit strange me writing this post seeing as I recently had a case study published by Microsoft. However, Darren Strange has a really interesting blog post asking some searching questions about Case Studies. Microsoft has a formula for doing these and usually involves some sort of quantifiable metric. The problem, as Darren points out, is that things like ROI and TCO can be very hard to quantify. I recently had a conversation with some people in Microsoft making the point that Small Business case studies don’t necessarily have these nice measures! So how do you tell the story? I think there has to be a human connection there, something we can empthasise with, a feeling that the information being put forward hasn’t been nicely groomed for our attention. Basically, it should feel raw and should have some sort of emotion. I don’t have the answers but using things like blogs, vlogs and podcasts etc seem to be part of where it’s at. One of the comments on Darren’s post is a suggestion of having a Channel 9 like customer vox pox!

Great questioning of the status quo by Darren!

System Center Essential Live Meeting Tomorrow

Just a little reminder that our next Technology Clinic Live Meeting is running TOMORROW, 4.30 pm -  5.30pm. The overview of System Centre Essentials, highlights a management tool specifically designed for small and medium-size businesses facing IT challenges similar to those of larger enterprises – troubleshooting end-user problems, automating management tasks, managing multiple systems, and diagnosing and resolving IT problems. To register please visit: http://msevents.microsoft.com/CUI/WebCastEventDetails.aspx?EventID=1032343534&EventCategory=4&culture=en-GB&CountryCode=GB

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