Shoeture is bling for your shoes

I met someone from Los Angeles who is coming out with shoe “bling” accessories for your athletic shoes. Shoeture is a word made up of shoe and couture. These Shoeture “hooks” go on the front of your shoes, looped through the laces. They come in silver and gold metals and in a variety of colored plastic. Rumor has it that some big names in the music industry are asking for Shoeture.

From website:

It’s the feeling you get when you put on a new pair of sneakers.
A special blend of confidence, freshness and excitement.
That’s the love Shoeture is bringing back.

shoeture pic

Some analysis of using SecondLife at the workplace

Let’s take a look at SecondLife.  In a day and age of remote employees, including a growing number of international employees, it is becoming more common for businesses to communicate or exchange information using a myriad of options.  For instance, imagine in which ways an employee could conduct a meeting with other employees from different organizational groups and different time zones.  There are basically three main options in order to achieve this – 1) face-to-face, 2) videoconferencing, or 3) a teleconference call.  One would need to select the appropriate meeting option based on the cost, level of social interaction, type of information being exchanged, and number of participants needed to be effective.  In general, most people would prefer to conduct face-to-face meetings over the other alternatives because of the intimate social interaction and instant audience feedback however the costs are generally higher and a room limits number of participants.  Videoconferencing is the next best alternative since facial expressions are still visible in real time and it is easy to organize, but with a large number of participants can become confusing as to who’s talking, and the concept of spatial presence is nonexistent.  Lastly, a teleconference call is the cheapest to organize, but very impersonal if participants have never met in person before.  The question becomes, is it possible to communicate internally with the social benefits of face-to-face interactions and videoconferencing and the cost effectiveness of teleconference calls?

With a constant need to operate more efficiently, some enterprises are exploring virtual world technologies such as Second Life as a means to create a more personal experience for communicating internally.  IBM is one company that is on the forefront on experimenting with virtual world technologies, so much so that the company is known to have held numerous virtual meetings on its own Second Life islands. Employees log into Second Life and simultaneously call into teleconference calls.  During such meetings, avatars of employees mimic real-life gestures and expressions as if the actual employee was attending the meeting in person.  One can even deliver media content by specifying the link to a company internal URL which helps avoids risk of non-employees viewing the content.  Virtual meetings allow individuals  to use creative means to express themselves and  transform information that are not otherwise possible or acceptable in the real world.  However, it merely augments the current methods of communication and there are still major challenges to overcome.

One major deterrent for using third party virtual worlds like Second Life for virtual corporate meetings is that it does not offer enterprise level services suitable for a company that needs to be operating 24/7 and in a secure environment.  Second Life has not mastered its technology offering and continues to provide a mediocre customer experience.  In the year 2007, it averaged about 25% session crashes in which active users were either dropped from the system or had its system freeze.  Still today, there are frequent required update downloads which speaks loudly about the quality of software.  An additional related technology limitation is that one Second Life location cannot accommodate more than 70 avatars in one location due to hardware restrictions.  If a Fortune 500 company wanted to hold a virtual all hands meeting, it would be not able to do so easily if not successfully.  Lastly, under the current Second Life user agreement, all intellectual property created within Second Life is owned by Linden Labs including any confidential conversations taking place in Second Life.  This is the number one reason that companies are starting to rethink its strategy about the role of a public virtual world.

Now, companies are now looking to “walled gardens”, in-house hosted virtual worlds, as alternative solutions for overcoming the shortcomings of third party virtual worlds.  Walled gardens offer security and privacy that was not entirely available before with third party solutions.  This helps with getting companies one step closer to having a totally encompassing virtual meeting experience since voice and virtual avatar interactions can be securely executed in the virtual world rather than in two separate meeting alternatives done at the same time (dial in and log in).  However, just with hosting any software or hardware in-house, it requires some in-house expertise.  To conclude, virtual meetings is a good opportunity for transformational value  because it is a real option for an emerging technology and based on the needs of the meetings it could be the best meeting alternative over face-to-face, videoconferencing, and teleconference calls.

Afraid of brick-and-mortar ideas

I’m a tech person, but also a woman. I love to shop for all kinds of things not just clothing, so why am I so afraid of brick-and-mortar business ideas? Well for one, technology is great for scaling, build once and sell many. Brick-and-mortar businesses require capital and labor investments. Depending on the business idea, the capital and labor can grow proportional to the number products/services that you sell.

So what’s the big deal then? Wal-mart, McDonalds, Macy’s, Sears, H&R Block, and Home Depot have all done it. To be honest, I don’t remember a recent brick-and-mortar entry except for Starbucks. Does this mean the brick-and-mortar idea is dead for new businesses? No, I don’t think so, but I do think that it’s very hard to compete with the heavy weights on the same turf. Find a niche that makes your business different from the heavy weights. One business can’t be everything to everyone. So forget about business ideas that are techie versus brick-and-mortar. Just startup what you want because eventually your business may have both. Don’t regret not startup-ing, life’s too short!

Communication differences in the workplace

Men are from Mars, women are from Venus. It’s true hahahaha. I took a class on management communication and learned a few things. BTW, I encourage everyone to take a communications class. All executives get some sort of training, so might as well start now and perfect it over time. Now about communication differences in the workplace. I’m going to list five characteristics and you guess which one applies to men or women. Remember, these are typical traits and may not be true for every man or every woman.

1. competition vs cooperation
2. asking for help vs not asking for help
3. details vs big picture
4. rapport vs invasion
5. empathy vs solutions

Alright, here are the answers: 1) competition=men, cooperation=women, 2) asking for help=women, not asking for help=men, 3) details=women, big picture=men, 4) rapport=women, invasion=men, 5) empathy=women, solutions=men. So what does all of this means. Well, the first one is how men and women typically interact with one another. The second one is pretty straight forward. The third one is how men and women tackle issues. The fourth one is not so straight forward. Basically, women like to build rapport with others whereas men consider building rapport sometimes as being invasive. The last one is how men and women respond to hearing other people’s problems. The takeaway here is leverage the typical men and women traits when you see fit, but most importantly understand the differences.

Zappos.com pays new hires to leave

An article on BNET talked about Zappos.com (online shoe website) and its onboarding (of new hires) process.  After a week of training, a new hire can opt to leave the company and receive a $1,000 peace-out lump sum plus one week’s worth of paid time.  How’s that for company loyalty.  I like really like the idea.  Don’t beat around the bush.  Get the employees who want to stay.  Boo-yah!  Read the article.

Resume TLC

When’s the last time that you updated your resume? Don’t tell me months! It’s about time to dust off that sheet of paper and see if it still resembles you. I suggest that you review your annual company accomplishments to see where it fits into your resume, include non-work accomplishments (e.g., webmaster for little league team or BLOGGING hahaha), try to keep it to a page although some say with over eight years of experience that you can creep into the two page range, and get feedback from your buddies. If you’re like me, you know that you’re doing good work, but don’t stop to think about what you’ve done.  Ask others around you to help point out your strengths and then see if your resume matches with what they say. Checks and balances with veto rights, yes!

Here are some websites that can help you get that resume back into shape:

SWOT analysis is useful for topics other than marketing

If you have taken Marketing 101, you know about a SWOT analysis.   Basically, SWOT stands for strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats.  This works great for doing competitive analysis.  But, think about how this could be applied to other topics such as your team’s skills, your skills, or your work place.  The opportunities are endless.  Give it a try!