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Volcanoes, Google Censorship, Facebook and More

April 19, 2010

While the world has been awash in news regarding volcanoes and the beginning of endless probes of Goldman Sachs I decided to spend some time putting together other news you should be aware of. After all, if you are watching virtually any news channel on television or browsing news sites on the web, these are the top stories. I don't mean to add lava to the fire but before we get started I should point your attention to Jamie Siminoff's blog where this incredible picture of lightning meets the erupting Iceland volcano Eyjafjallajökull. By the way - did you know some of this ash is heading the US?

An LLC Can Make Funding Tougher to Get

April 19, 2010

I came across an article today which outlines the benefits of a limited liability corporation (LLC) and also the drawbacks. Simply stated an LLC allows earnings or profit to flow through to the owners but this structure means you cannot issue stock as flexibly. If you want to grant complex stock options or even get VC funding this may not be the best direction to go in. An S corporation too has a flow through nature meaning profits are taxed at the owner's tax rate.

Palm's Stay Packages Quite Common

April 17, 2010

Cablevision, Comcast and Time Warner Cable Support WiFi Roaming

April 15, 2010

I have written before about how great Cablevision has been in providing high-speed Optimum WiFi access to customers throughout parts of Connecticut and New York. Now this service allows users to roam onto other cable networks provided by Comcast and Time Warner Cable. This means in the tri-state areas, there will be more coverage than ever and Cablevision customers can now jump on Time Warner Cable WiFi and Xfinity WiFi networks.

As WiFi agreements like this continue to take place, the value of standalone WiFi devices increases, meaning the need to purchase 3G or 4G services declines. Having used some of these services in the past I can tell you they are typically most useful when you have a powerful WiFi device like a laptop, as handheld devices like smartphones seem to lack the power needed to fully maximize the wireless broadband experience.

Odin Telesystems Update

April 14, 2010

It has been a while since I met with executives from Odin Telesystems but it all came back to me when I sat down a week ago with company

President & CEO Hanz Johansson to discuss his company's DSP resource solutions which can act as gateways, transcoding devices and PBX building-blocks when coupled with the right software like Asterisk.

I first met the company at a trade show in New York in the mid-nineties and followed up later that year by going to the company's Texas HQ to learn about how they play in the space. At the time, Odin was a relatively new entrant into the US and they were going up against high-flying Dialogic, NMS and Brooktrout - three companies who have been subsequently merged with a bunch more companies added in such as Snowshore, Excel etc.

VanillaSoft: Social Media Important in Sales but Watch Time Waste

April 13, 2010

I recently sat down with Ken Murray - President & CEO VanillaSoft to discuss his views on social networking, prospecting and making more sales. His company sells a solution which helps companies manage leads more effectively by providing an autodialer, next best call logic and a real-time dashboard The company's CRM system provides inline document management, call scripting and a preview and progressive dialer. The latter provides greater productivity increases but decreases how much the agent knows about the client before making the call.

Ken Murray - President & CEO VanillaSoft discusses how sales and marketing has evolved from outside sales to inside sales and more recently social media-based selling/lead generation

 

Other features include call recording but what was more interesting to me were comments Murray made about social media.

Epygi Adds PBX Features, Moves Upmarket

April 12, 2010

One certainty in the world is that feature wars often get fought in the battle to win the most customers. If you don't beleive me, think of how few features your car had 15 years ago compared to today. In speaking with Warren Sonnen - Director, Product Management at Epygi, he tells me some other vendors are using features instead of quality to win over customers. His company's mission (and he has chosen to accept it) is to provide quality and features in one package.

Varaha Extends FMC to NEC UNIVERGE

April 11, 2010

As mobility becomes a larger part of boosting productivity and satisfying the desires of companies to keep workers connected, NEC has partnered with FMC company Varaha to add value to its solutions. NEC has always been a solid tech company but they have decreasing mindshare in the enterprise/SMB market according to VARs and corporate buyers I encounter. They certainly aren't alone in this regard but to counter a lack of mindshare they have done a very good job of making aggressive acquisitions and relationships over the years. Sphere and Active Voice /AVST come immediately to mind.

Apple iPhone Developer Agreement Made Public

March 11, 2010

Dear developers, you have no power, no recourse beyond $50 and are at our complete mercy.

NASA has an iPhone app and the mere fact that this government agency chose to develop one means that the EFF was able to use the Freedom of Information Act to obtain the Apple iPhone developer agreement - the closely guarded document which gives Apple the power to pull applications at will and be the final arbiter of what apps make it into the iTunes App Store.

As pointed out by ZDnet's Jason O'Grady and the Electronic Frontier Foundation's Fred von Lohman, here are some of the important items contained in this 33 page document:

  • A ban on public statements, forbidding developers to speak about the agreement.
  • Apps made with the iPhone software development kit can only be distributed through the App Store, meaning rejected apps can't be served through the underground app store Cydia, for instance.
  • Apple indemnifies itself against developer liability surpassing $50, meaning if developers get sued, Apple will be liable for no more than $50 in damages.
  • No reverse engineering or enabling others to reverse-engineer, the iPhone SDK.
  • No messing with Apple products.

An Opposing View to Obama on Healthcare

March 8, 2010

It seems the US president is on TV virtually every day touting how the government needs to take over more and more of the healthcare system. Moreover he continually tells the world how US insurers are evil, drop coverage at will and raise prices at levels which are too high.

While you have to admire the idea that lower prices are better, the reality is most of the US knows the government is the least competent at running anything and everything - except the defense of the country - and I am sure many will take issue with their competence here as well.

Consider, our public schools are lousy and the US ranks 28 out of 30 among developed nations in math and science.

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