Archive for Business

My Getting Things Done Guide

As I become more and more busy, I  need to keep myself organized so I make sure I don’t forget anything and stay efficient when i’m working. I have created a system based around my iPod Touch and the cloud that has been working very well and has kept me organized and efficient for sometime now. I thought it could be helpful if I share my strategy to help those who need to get more organized and need a tried and true system.

  1. Calendar– I use Google Calendar as my calendar system  and synchronize that with my iPod Touch. I keep any events and appointments on it that I need to attend even thing that I have every week just so I have a master calendar that has everything I have going on. I also have multiple calendars for personal events, classes, special events, work, etc. This further organizes my events by having each separate calendar in a different color.
  2. Task List– I also use the Todo app on my iPod Touch which synchronizes with ToodleDo online that I can add and modify tasks online in my web browser on on my iPod Touch which I always carry with me. I put anything that I need to do, as well as blog articles that I want to write. I also have recurring tasks for most things that I need to do regularly, this may sound excessive but, I would rather be over-organized than unorganized.
  3. Lists– For anything else I need to remember I make lists in Zenbe list which also synchronizes with the internet. I use this for things to buy among many other things. Before I carried electronic devices I would make paper lists which work just as well although they don’t have the back-up of the cloud meaning if the list is lost you are out of luck.
  4. Notes– I use Evernote for anything I write whether they are blog post, plans, etc and they sync with the internet and can be edited online as well as on my computer using the desktop application. This is much better than the iOS Notes app which doesn’t sync and can only be used on the iOS Device.
  5. Email- I use Gmail for my email which is also setup with my iPod Touch so that I can respond to email where ever I am and not have to wait until i’m back on my computer.

Tips For Selling Stuff Online

I have been selling things online for  a year or two now mostly on Amazon although  I now sell products on E-Bay as well. I thought I would provide some tips on how to sell the old things you have laying around or things you just don’t want.

  1. Be Honest- Be honest about the condition of you product. Make sure the buyer knows about anything worth mentioning about the product. The customers will know what they are getting and will give you better feedback which is crucial to get more customers because people are more likely to buy from someone who has higher feedback. However, keep it brief, don’t make them read an essay about the book they want to buy.
  2. Include Pictures– Amazon usually has stock pictures for most products in their marketplace, but whenever you want to sell something make sure there are pictures and especially of you particular item because if there is damage or anything it will help the buyer assess the damage and decide if they want to buy it or not.
  3. Keep Prices Reasonable- When people buy things online, they are looking for a bargain and don’t want to spend a ton of money. This especially applies to used products, so before listing your item, research competitors’ prices and if possible (or feasible) go slightly lower even by a few cents, and you are more likely to be chosen over your competitors. Unless your product is better quality than your competitors. Amazon makes this easy because you can see the new, used and marketplace price when listing an item.
  4. Help Whenever Possible– If a customer or potential customer contacts you, be sure to get back to them ASAP and be truthful. If you are quick to respond and helpful that will help you over your competitors  and get better feedback further helping your future sales.
  5. Ship quickly-When your product sells get it out as soon as possible, I usually get it out the same day or the next day so I can get it to my customer as soon as possible and so if there are problems, I can resolve them quickly.
  6. Give Refunds if The Customer is Unhappy- If the product has a problem or the customer isn’t happy with the product, just have them send it back and give them a full refund, if you don’t it could ruin your feedback and hinder your future sales. In my experience, customers who get a refund still give you good feedback even though they weren’t happy with the product because you took the care to handle it.

NBC Comcast Merge Thoughts

Comcast, the major cable conglomerate is buying NBC-Universal which is a television network as well as film production company. This is a very scary purchase for $30 Billion because it give Comcast control of a large amount of content. Comcast has had a history of not being a very good content company and better at the distribution. The best example of this is when Comcast bought TechTV and merged it with it’s gaming channel, G4. While TechTV had high-quality content, G4 didn’t and Comcast made the TechTV shows more like the G4 programming and canceled many of the great shows TechTV had. The main reason that Comcast bought the channel was because they wanted the TechTV audience but they didn’t care about the shows or the people who made the shows.

One idea is for if the merger goes through, which is in the hands of the FCC, is that NBC would operate the same as they currently do, and take over the operation of all of Comcast Productions as well because they have proven themselves very successful at producing content. This is the best option because it would leave NBC to do what it is best at and Comcast would continue to  be the giant cable monopoly that they have been. However, if Comcast tries and interfer with the NBC content, then NBC can be in a lot of trouble! The other fear of this purchase is that Comcast would then have partial ownership of Hulu, the online video site which competes with their own Fancast. I hope the FCC put a lot of thought into the ramifications of this purchase before approving it because it could severely disrupt the television industry.

Business Applications for the iPhone-A Market With a Lot of Potential

The iPhone has been considered to be one of the best smartphones currently on the market. It allows people to stay organized on the move with a convenient device that is “always on and always connected” and includes crucial applications for business people calendar, contacts and email. Although these apps are pretty good for the average users, they leave more to be desired for the business user. The largest limitation for business people is the limitation to only synchronizing with one exchange account. Another problem is the limited calendar functionality, it once again is fine for the average user, and I use the calendar on my iPod Touch all the time, but, business people want more. The contacts app should add the ability to subscribe shared contacts lists which is very common in the world of big business.

My solution to these problems is that Apple should make Pro versions of the core applications for example, Contacts Pro, that add the functionality for business users and sell the  upgrade for a minimal price, even 99 cents and I’m sure a lot of iPhone owner would buy it. In fact, if it was 99 cents for the upgrades, I would even consider the upgrade because it could make the iPhone a much more productive device.

Attack of the Clones II: Apple VS. Psystar

In 1997, Apple was on the verge of bankruptcy and probably would have gone under had Steve Jobs not returned! When he returned, the first thing that he did was kill off the excessive products Apple had at the time and created Apple’s simplifed product line-up that we see to this day! The other major thing Steve did was kill the licensing program, which allowed other computer manufacters ship computers running Mac OS. This was hurting Apple’s business and because of that they ended the program and Apple came back with a vengence in the late 90’s.

Fast forward to 2006, when Apple switched to Intel processors for their machines. People began to realize that through a minor hack they could install Mac OSX on their non-Apple hardware, thus bringing the birth of the “Hackintosh” phenomenon! Apple had tried to sue people and stop this but they were unable to contain the craze. Then, the next generation of clone manufactures arrived. Psystar attempted to sell computers that were significantly less expensive than Apple’s computers and they came pre-installed with Mac OS. Apple, immediately sued them for copyright infringment anda violation of the Digital Millenium Copy Right Act (DMCA). Last week, as I reported on The Weekly Spin episode 48 Apple won their judgment once again suppressing the clones. I know this won’t stop people from Hackintoshing their own machines, although Apple will try a peruse them for that as well.  In fact, Apple, has disable Atom processors, the processors used in many netbooks, from running Mac OS which stops Hacintosh Netbooks which is had become very common. However, if Psystar won this, which was highly doubted from  the start,  it would greatly harm Apple’s business and could cause a repast of many of the problems of the 1990’s! Luckily for Apple, poorly working clones won’t be sold and if you want a fully working Mac OS machine you will need to get a Apple computer.

How To Save Money in A Recesion

The Financial markets have been tough these past few years and by the estimates of the Federal Reserve will continue that way for the rest of 2009. People have been forced to accept lower wages and many have lost their jobs. Many people have had trouble making ends meet, and I have a few ideas on how to save a good amount of money.

1. Cancel Newspaper subscriptions

Newspapers not only cost money, but also take up space and why bother with the cost and mess when you could read news online for Free? Just subscribe to the free RSS feed and now you can read it on your computer instead of in paper.

2. Cut Your Landline

Another great way to save a lot of money is by canceling your landline subscrription and that saves a quite large monthly fee, and just have everyone call your cell phone and now you will always have your main phone with you at all times!

3. Subscribe to Bargain Hunter sites

I know that there are things people want to buy but, a lot of stuff is out of price ranges now, but may become more affordable laer. I like to check sites like: Woot, Lifehacker and Engadget which all provide daily baragins mainly in technology but also in other topics as well.

4. Buy used

I mentioned why buying used is so great and it truley is a great way to save cash so that you can get what you want and save money at the same time.

5. Buy off-brand

You don’t need the big brand-name products and off brand is fine. I do this with many gadgets like memory which you don’t need Sand disk, generic brands do just fine and save you a lot of money.

How the Music Industry Can Save Itself

Digital music downloads have redefined the music industry and although this is much better for the consumer, the record labels are still trying to stick with their old methods that drive consumers to piracy. I believe that there are several methods the record labels need to adopt in order to save the industry and their business or record labels will become a thing of the past.

1. Abandon DRM

People have said for quite some time they want no restrictions on the music they bought legitimatly and they are just being treated like trash by the record labels. Amazon MP3 was the first to sell DRM-free Mp3s and iTunes recently went DRM free as well. People just want simple music files!

2. Let People Rip their CDs

When people bought CDs in their prime, they did not have any idea computerize media would become so prominent and why should people pay again for their music instead of just ripping, copying from disk to computer, and use them on their digital devices. The law around this has been a gray area for way too long and this needs to end because people should be allowed to copy music they legally own.

3. Let the Artist Choose the Price and Distribution Model

Several artists have chosen to distribute their music for free over the internet, and have let people try their music before they buy it and if they pay they get to choose the price. The two leaders of this movement were Radiohead and Nine Inch Nails. Radiohead also, distributed MIDI files of some of their sonegs so that listeners can make their own remixes and mashups. They also created the model of picking your own price and being able to buy if first for free and then go back and pay what you want.

These three practices will save the record industry and could restore faith of the consumers. This can save a large industry that has been poorly managed for a long time.

Who Will Be Steve Jobs’ Successor?

You don’t need to be a major Apple Fanboy like me to know that Steve Jobs has been on medical leave since January and will not be returning until June and this has brought Mr. Jobs’ health into question and if he is going to be able to return to Apple as CEO. Mr. Jobs had pancreatic cancer in 2004 and although it was treated people, especially shareholders, have questioned if he can continue to lead Apple and if he is about to die who will take over the role of Apple CEO after him. Although Apple claims that Steve will be returning in June and resume his role but, he is 54 and not immortal so at some point in time, he will have to step down from CEO either from resigning or dying while still CEO and many people are wondering who will succeed Steve.  History lesson here, when Steve was fired in 1984, Apple declined until he returned and Apple lost it’s hold on the Personal computer market that it created. The problem was that no one had the charism or skills Steve does and   I have looked at the people I think are possibilities to take over the CEO position and weigh in who I think will be chosen although I hope this plan will not have to be put in action anytime soon.

The Contenders:

Tim Cook

Tim Cook is the obvious choice since, he is the Chief Operating Officer and while Steve is on medical leave he is Interim CEO. He is a very  well qualified business leader but, I do not think he has the charisma that gave Steve the cult following nor, the vision that has fuel Apple’s innovation.

Phil Shiller

Phil Shiller, Apple’s Senior Vice President of Worldwide Product Marketing, is well know for helping Steve in his keynote demos and has worked with Steve since he ran NeXt Computer which means he may be more in tune with the Steve’s plan for Apple. The one worry I have is lack of business experience and if he could be an effective CEO and well as a visionary.

Scott  Forstall

Scott Forstall, to me would be the ideal candiate as far as being the visionary who can attract the Apple Cult following as well as keep the vision for Apple’s future alive. The only downside is that he does not have the business experience but, I think if he keeps Cook on as COO as the Business guy and he runs the vision and keeps the Apple culture alive.

Winner:

As I said he is ideal for keeping the Apple cuture alive and not only that reminds me of a younger Steve Jobs and would be good to keep the vision for Apple’s future alive and the culture that keeps the public interested in Apple.

Images Courtesy of Apple Inc. (Apple.com)

My Favorite Companies/Products/Services

Everyone has a favorite companies for certain types of products and I am not and exception and because of that, I would like to share with all my readers the brands that I prefer and why I do to hopefully help make buying decisions when it is time to buy a new product.

Technology:

Computer:
Apple

Non-Apple Computers:

HP

Printer:

HP

Headset:

Logitech PC Headset 960 USB

Camera:

Canon

Music Player:

Apple

Game Console:

Nintendo Wii


Services:

Photo Sharing:

Flickr

Email:

Gmail

Calendar:

Google Calendar

Blogging CMS:

WordPress

Web Host:

1and1

Online TV:

Hulu

Backup:

Mozy


Other:

Tea:

Adagio



Accounting Should Transition to A Fully Digital Process

I have been taking Accounting Class for the last 10 weeks or so and I actually do enjoy it quite a lot however, I have made one observation, accounting on a computer reduces human errors and although there are downsides to depending on technology, the reward outweighs the risk.

Accounting is not extremly complicated, it can be confusing at times but, for the most part, it is basic addition and subtraction but, once you learn all the rules and processes the biggest issue that people run into is human error which I will admit can occur on both computers and paper but, it is much more prevolent on paper. The biggest problem is that people make mistakes; it happens to everyone and there is not real stopping it except by training accountants to be able to catch their errors and knowing how to problem solve. But, little things like writing a number in the wrong collum or  copying the wrong number could totally ruin a comapny’s finances.

Computers and Accounting software has made accounting a lot easier than it used to be because there is no handwriting and as far as mistakes a lot of modern software can point out errors. The Software makes sure you are using the proper account and makes sure that the technique is correct. I am not saying that this will resolve all the problems and will let anyone with a computer be able to  be an accountant but, it will curb the human errors. Although computers have glitches and power outages, the benefits of using a computer severly outweighs the minor inconvenences of technology.

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