February 28, 2006

Community WiFi is "FON" Google and Skype AGREE!

Even though the US is one of the main leaders in technological development, other countries are starting to show off their innovations. Specifically, Spain is introducing a new internet WiFi concept called FON. The goal is to create a wireless network using a bottom-up approach. That’s right a bottom-up approach!

Basically, users buy a special FON router, which can be purchased from their website. Simply buy the router, set up your internet access, offer it to others, and you are now connected and able to share internet connection with any other FON user.

So, why are Skype and Google investing in this company? Skype offers anyone with an internet connection to have a voip conversation with another user for free or to non-users for a small fee. I have been using Skype, it's really a lot of fun.

Skype’s interest in FON, makes me believe that they want to expand their market and attract all internet users around the world. Especially since FON strives to build wireless community, Skype wants to join in this community too. Who doesn’t? I have!

Google on the other hand would probably benefit most from the AdSense. If FON continues to expand their community, all internet-capable devices will connect to the internet (laptops, PDA’s, desktops, cell phones, iPods?) and Google AdSense can play a significant role.

Think about this: you offer your internet connection to others through your router. Now everytime a user clicks on a Google AdSense you get some money in return. Basically it’s a win-win situation, you offer your wireless connection to other users, you have the benefit of using other connections, and you can earn money through Google AdSense.

Seems like a sweet deal! Let’s see what happens.

Why else would Google and/or Skype invest in FON?

February 27, 2006

Google's Gbuy attack on PayPal? And Microsoft's Expo?

Some speculation has been going around that Google is going to start their own payment service like PayPal. Currently Google offers a unique service called Google Base, that allows online users to post information about items of interest.

And the beauty of it, you can use RSS feeds to submit information. This will enable your blog and information to be searchable in Google Base and perhaps in the Google search.

But, this is not it, Google’s Base Blog, clearly states that users can buy items on Google base using their Google Account. These are some good signs of perhaps a new payment service creeping up on PayPal.

Now don’t get me wrong, I love PayPal, but there’s nothing better than a bit of competition to spark a little innovation. PayPal, currently owned by eBay, is probably the most trusted payment service for online auctions, with very little competition. However, this can cause PayPal to take the static route and stay put with their services and products. But, if Google comes along things could get interesting. It’s just a thought.

Microsoft to offer to their own payment service? There has been talk that Microsoft has their own online classified service called “Expo,” in which current employees have been buying and selling items of interest. Perhaps Scobleizer can shed some light on this.

This makes the internet even more exciting. What will they do next?

February 15, 2006

Quality in Corporate America: who's paying attention?

I’ve noticed a lot of advertisements and online banners bragging about their quality. “Our products are top quality,” “We pride ourselves in creating quality products for you.” So this got me thinking about what exactly is quality and how can corporations use “quality” and set the industry standard.

So what is quality? Quality means pleasing consumers, NOT just protecting them from annoyances. In fact, customers should be used as an absolute standard of performance. If your consumer agrees that your product is of high quality, then it must be.

In addition, quality can be used as a competitive edge and some corporations can set the industry standard. However, we must not confuse quality with insignificant specs that can be easily obtained by competitors.

From research and experience, I believe quality can be categorized in the following “Dimensions of Quality”


  • Our senses used to judge a product
  • How a product looks, feels, sounds, tastes, or smells

Perceived Quality

  • Image is everything (perceived image)
  • Reputation is powerful


  • Measurable attributes (100W bulb vs. 60W bulb)
  • Key operating characteristics


  • Bells & Whistles – free drinks on a plane, permanent press on washing machine
  • Flexibility – variations in fabric and color


  • Measures: MTBF (Mean time between failure), MTFF (Mean time to first failure)
  • Downtime and maintenance for expensive products


  • Product’s ability to meet established design and operating standards


  • The amount of use one gets from a product before it breaks down and replacement is preferable to continued repair
  • Link to reliability – offer lifetime guarantees
  • Repair and replacement


  • Speed or ease of repair
  • Courtesy and competence
    Complaint handling (1800#’s)


So this is the easy part, but the hard part is answering this question:

"Which of these dimensions of quality should corporations focus on?"

Think about it for a while, answers to this question will come soon.


FYI, I used MS Word as a blogging tool for this post...my reactions? 50-50...more to come later. For now find more information here

February 13, 2006

Hello Peerflix, good-bye Netflix

Just when I was on the verge of signing up for Netflix, like everyone else, I came across an interesting yet stunning new company called Peerflix. How are they different? First, they advertise no hidden charges, no sign up fee, no monthly fee, and no hassle.

Here's how to get the dvd's you want:

  • Step 1: Sign up for free. List the DVDs you have in your collection and submit it to their database.
  • Step 2: Create your own "want" list of DVDs.
  • Step 3: You will receive notification when someone else wants one of the DVDs in your collection, then you send them the DVD in a "trade" envelope. Plus you get trade points, earn enough and you can guy a DVD for free.
  • Step 4: Pick the DVD you want and trade
Has anyone tried this service? How does it work? Keep me updated with your experiences. I will sign up for this too and let you know how it turns out.

10 Steps of Entrepreneurship - Guy Kawasaki

I recently attended a presentation by Guy Kawasaki, author of “The Art of the Start,” at the new Martin Luther King Jr. Library in San Jose. His presentation was organized around the thought of entrepreneurship.

Mr. Kawasaki is an experienced business professional working at Apple for several years and starting many successful businesses. He now runs his own VC firm searching for new talented entrepreneurs. In fact, he provided his audience with a look into what he feels are the 10 steps entrepreneurs must take to be successful.

Step 1: Make meaning, not money
This is a very important distinction and should be the basis for any starting company. Entrepreneurs must solve a solution, which will improve our quality of life. This is a perfect foundation for a company as they begin to dive into the consumer world and create services/products. In fact, this is part of knowing your consumer and knowing what they need. This will draws on the basics of marketing and business, yet some are more focused on making money that they forget about providing products/services that add value and increase our quality of life.

Step 2: Make a “mantra”
What is a mantra? Usually a mantra consists of 3 to 4 words that explain the meaning of your company. This should be easy enough to understand for all employees and should be the “mission” of your company. Mr. Kawasaki clearly does not like mission statements and has some valid points. In fact, during his presentation he displayed the follow, Wendy’s mission statement:

“The mission of Wendy’s is to deliver superior quality products and services for our customers and communities through leadership, innovation, and partnerships.”

He asked the question…"When you go into Wendy’s do you feel that you are participating in leadership, innovation and partnerships?” I don’t, do you? So, he says Wendy’s should create a mantra, something like this: “healthy fast food.”

Here are some good examples he gave:

Federal Express: “Peace of mind”
Nike: “Authentic athletic performance”
Target: “Democratize design”

Step 3: Get going (create a revolution!)
The entrepreneurs should build a prototype and follow these three steps:
  • *Think Differently
  • *Polarize People
  • *Find a few soul mates (3) to establish a business with

Step 4: Define a business model
  • * Be specific (Who is your customer? What are you doing? How? Why? )
  • *Keep it simple (nothing fancy and to the point)
  • *Ask women (ha ha ha! He suggests that women can provide an alternate view that men did not think of)

Step 5: Weave a MAT
  • Milestones – “finish the design”
  • Assumptions – “sales calls/day, customer ROI”
  • Tasks – “rent an office, perform a task to complete a milestone and test an assumption”
He suggested that several entrepreneurs make the mistake of focusing on the unimportant tasks of creating and maintaining a business, rather than on the Milestones. This is very important should be taken seriously by all. “Weaving a MAT” will keep a company on track and focused on their business model and ultimately their true meaning for providing solutions to their customers.

Step 6: Build a product that is unique and of high value (i.e. Fandango)
He suggested that several companies start off on two spectrums of a scale: either by creating a unique product and service with little value to the customer or creating a product that offers value but is not unique.

So, entrepreneurs must strive to create a product that is BOTH unique and of high value to the customer…his example is Fandango. Why? Fandango offers the convenience of printing tickets at home, skipping the ticket lines at movie theatres, and saving time. This is especially true for parents with children…he exemplified the “pain” of taking his kids to the movies and not being able to see the movie due to a sold out crowd. BUT, this would not happen if he used Fandango. GENIOUS! Haha.

Step 7: Follow the 10/20/30 Rule
This is important not only to entrepreneurs, but to ALL. Here is how the rule works out:
  • *The optimal number of slides for a PPT presentation is 10
  • *The amount of time the presenter should speak is 20 minutes (allow 40 minutes for Q&A)
  • *The best font size is 30 (basically just divide the mean age of the audience by 2…*that was his joke* hahaha)
  • Read more from Guy about his 10/20/30 Rule

Step 8: Hire Effective People
A company needs people who love the product and want to do the job right. This creates a specific atmosphere that is ready for success. Not to mention, people who love the product probably are not too focused on making money and instead want to make meaning.

In addition, he introduced a rule of thumb: higher better than yourself. This is plain and simple, if you consider yourself an “A” player, higher an “A+” player.

Lastly, apply the “shopping center” test. Ask yourself one question, if you say this person at the mall would you 1) go up to him/her and introduce yourself, 2) wait to see if you run into that person, or 3) go out the nearest exit and leave the mall? Well, you should want to go up to that person and introduce yourself…if not than that person is NOT the right candidate for the job.

Step 9: Lower the barriers to adoption
A company should make it easy for others to adopt a product. Yes, the product can be a breakthrough and solve all of our problems but if we need a PhD to use it, then it is worthless. This again relates to knowing your customer’s needs and wants. I cannot emphasize this enough…knowing your customer is key…consumer research is key. Another important factor is to embrace your Evangelists.

Step 10: Seed the Clouds
Enable test drives and find the influencers. You need to create the product for the influencers, the IT managers, the Web Managers who NEED the product or service. These are the people who face the day-to-day problems and the people who will make the difference. Enable them to test drive your products and provide feedback.

BONUS! Step 11: Be a Mensch
There are three characteristics of mensch:
  • *Help all people, even if they cannot help you (the pleasure of helping)
  • *Do the right thing, the right way
  • *Understand you have a moral obligation to society and pay back to society
  • Read more from Guy about "How to be a Mensch"

Overall this presentation was very interesting and fun. If you would like more information about Guy Kawasaki, please visit: www.blog.guykawasaki.com

Also, I am open to any of your comments and/or suggestions. So, what do you say?

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February 10, 2006

In with Google Gmail, out with Outlook

Ah HA! Google has done it again, and this time they are challenging the biggest of them all...Microsoft, more specifically Microsoft Outlook. Using Google Gmail accounts, all 10,000 San Jose City College students will be able to host their own private domain-name. Stephanie Hannon, publisher on Google’s Official Blog, suggests that this new service will create a stronger community for all SJCC students.

Indeed it will, so why not try it for Santa Clara University students. I recently discovered SCU’s blog, which captures the lives of several freshmen as they embark on their journey through college. SCU prides themselves on taking leadership and creating leaders, and this is an excellent opportunity for students to collaborate with today’s leader in technology, Google.

Nicholas Carr also includes that this new service is available to businesses and organizations as well. I would not be surprised if this service captures the attention of several small and medium sized businesses. Perhaps the large, enterprise corporations will not be willing to take such a risk, but certainly the millions of small/medium sized business will...in fact that's a good market to dive into. *hint, hint*

Want to set up your own private domain? Do it here.

Additional links on this enticing new service:

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