Tag Archives: San Francisco

Technology Backlash: Good Old-fashioned Business Success Comes with the Personal Touch

slider-image-JoanneHello? Is anybody there? 

One of the biggest problems sales people face with social media and technology is the lack of real, meaningful contact and communication.  Sure, it’s quick and easy. But when it comes to closing deals, does it really produce the results you need?
Joanne S. Black, author of the new book Pick Up the Damn Phone! , How People, Not Technology, Seal the Deal, is on a mission to help people learn the importance of personal contact.  Her manifesto is simple – to make a real connection and achieve true, meaningful communication, you have to make a personal and even in-person contact. Her goal is to get people to tweet less and talk more to the customers and contacts who really matter.

“It’s easy to get sucked into technology,” she says. “But the personal touch is the best deal maker there is.  Relationships matter more than anything else. The digital world—as great as it is—threatens personal connections. Humans need personal contact with others. Email, texting, social networking—these certainly have a place in business today, but none of them replaces the power of a personal connection.”

Based on years of research and experience, her book describes what she sees are the critical elements for success, particularly in business, where the creation of the powerful personal trust with executives and clients is necessary to produce immediate and long-term mutual economic benefits. Here they are:

  1. Stop Typing. Stop Texting. Get Personal Right Now. Pick up the phone and call. Go down the hall, take a walk, get in your car, take a train, get on a plane, hop on a bus, take the metro, and GO AND SEE THE RIGHT PERSON OR PEOPLE RIGHT NOW.  Make arrangements to see the people you work with face-to face. Go and meet your prospects and clients in-person. Thrash your competition. They are still tapping away on the keyboard. Even in our technology-driven world, nothing replaces a handshake and in-person interaction for both building and maintaining business relationships. Face-to-face meetings aren’t luxuries.
  1. Our Smart Phones Are Not So Smart Everyone looks down at their phones–bumping into people on the street, at networking events, on muni, at restaurants, in bed, at home. Our addiction to technology is bleeding into our personal lives. There’s no conversation. Kids are ignored. When you used to go into a public place, you assumed everyone was in that place with you. Now everyone is somewhere else. No one is talking. No one is connecting.
  1. Are You Spammed? Salespeople think that technology can do their job. They are under the mistaken beliefs, that if they do some research, identify specific trigger events and mutual connections that they can now spam away. It’s like digital snake oil. Executives don’t have “Meet with Salesperson” on the top of their list. They will always take a meeting with a personal introduction from someone they know and trust.
  1. We’re Smarter Than Our Buyers The digital buyer, Buyer 2.0 learns all about us with a click of the mouse. Salespeople are armed with the same tools. Even though buyers may know a lot about us, we know just as much or more about them. Clients don’t usually recognize exactly what they need. We do. Because so much information can be found online, the standard is now higher for sales to add value. Information isn’t knowledge. Knowledge comes from wisdom and experience. Just being tech savvy doesn’t mean you’re smarter than your buyer.
  1. Message to Marketing:  Keep Your Hands Off My Clients It’s up to salespeople to nurture their own relationships—not just with marketing automation, but with one-on-one conversations. Marketing should not be qualifying leads. That’s our job. Not only is generating leads our responsibility, it’s a task you don’t want marketing (or anyone else) doing for you. These are your clients, and you must continue to cultivate these relationships. These are the people who can send you the best, hottest referrals. So marketing–keep your hands off my clients.
  1. Bring In Your Team! Don’t be a lone ranger. If you are the manager, bring your technology experts with you. If you are the technology expert, bring your manager with you! Knock people’s socks off by giving them access to the right people that matter to the solution of their problem.. Show clients that you trust your teammates and that they can trust you. When we share data, strategies, best practices and even people, you make the best impression and win loyalty that lasts for a long time.
  1. There’s No Such Thing as a “Warm” Call.  If you don’t have a referral introduction, your lead is freezing cold—even though you mistakenly think you’ve been able to avoid sounding like a pesky telemarketer. Walk straight into meetings with your ideal prospects—without cold calling or trying to figure out how to bypass the gatekeeper. If you’ve been introduced by a trusted source, these gatekeepers will welcome your call. The secret isn’t duping them (trust me, they’re onto you). Make referral selling your primary sales driver and convert more than 50% of prospects to clients.
  1. Shine the Light! Prove that Live and in Person is the Best! Social networking isn’t the next big thing. You are! It’s not technology, but rather the person using the technology, that sets people apart. Social selling is a great way to expedite the first few important steps in prospecting; researching potential clients and identifying referral sources. Beyond that, it’s not social intelligence we need; it’s relationship intelligence that seals the deal.

It’s people, not technology, that seal the deal. It’s the real thing.

About the Author

Joanne Black is an expert on referral selling—the only business-development strategy proven to convert prospects into clients more than 50 percent of the time. She is the author of the book No More Cold Calling, and a popular speaker who teaches people how to build their referral networks so they can quickly attract more business, decrease operating costs, and ace out the competition every time. Her clients include Autodesk, KPMG, Bank of Marin, California State Automobile Association, Colliers International, Sage Software, and many other companies. She is a member of the National Speakers Association.

She has a Bachelors Degree in English from the University of California at Berkeley and a Certificate in Training and Human Resource Development, with Honors, from the University of California Extension.  Joanne lives in San Francisco, California.


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Apple WWDC: What happened on Day 1

David Paul Morris

Workers apply an Apple Inc. logo to the exterior of the Moscone West Center in San Francisco, California, U.S., on Thursday, June 7, 2012. Photographer: David Paul Morris/Bloomberg

If you were hoping for a big surprise out of day one of Apple’s Worldwide Developers Conference, you were left wanting.

Day one of the conference, held in San Francisco this week, wasn’t too flashy. (Compare that to Google’s first day, when every developer scored a free Nexus 7 tablet.)

Still, the tech giant offered up plenty of meat and potatoes during the first day. Here are the call outs:

iTunes Radio

A big non-surprise, Apple Inc. unveiled its iTunes Radio. Users create radios stations they want to listen to (similar to Pandora). You can also share those stations with your friends or listen to ones others have created.

Like Pandora, you’ll even be listening to ads (unless you pay a little more).

Read more about iRadio here.

New Air, Pro

Apple also updated its desktop and laptop.

Gone is any kind of tower on the desktop. New is a black cylinder a fraction of the size. The computer also uses flash memory instead of a hard drive, a 12-core Intel Xeon processor and 2.5 times more graphics performance.

“Can’t innovate anymore, my ass,” Apple SVP Phil Schiller told the crowd.

New for the MacBook Air? Nearly double the battery life and the latest Intel chip, as well as a slightly lower price ($999 to $1,099).

Mavericks (and the end of the cats)

Well, they were bound to run out of big cats eventually. Apple said today it was ditching the kitty descriptors for each new version of its operating system and moving to descriptions of places in California. The next one, named after the famous big-wave surf spot near Half Moon Bay, will offer up support for multiple display monitors and file-tagging.

Mavericks also offers up better battery life through new features, faster apps, and an “App Nap” feature that helps idle apps quit taking up your power.

With this update comes a new Safari, too, with LinkedIn and Twitter reading lists.

Design overhaul for iOS 7

Finally, Apple showed off a major overhaul of iOS7 on day one. CEO Tim Cook called it the biggest change to iOS since the iPhone.

The update, which will be available to users this fall, brings changes like a vertical slide to unlock button, translucent app and keyboard icons, updated weather apps and receding control buttons when browsing Safari.

The overall design looks a lot flatter, shifting away from “skeuomorphism — the use of leather, wood and other real-world inspired texture and artifacts in apps.

Companies: AAPL

Shana Lynch is Managing Editor at the Business Journal. Her phone number is 408.299.1831.




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Silicon Stetsons?

7067809213_2597fe6d3aWhen it comes to the high tech, high fashion companies in the USA, there is no denying that California is home to some of the biggest brands in the world. Companies like Google, Adobe, Hewlett-Packard and Apple all grew up in the area known as Silicon Valley, close to San Francisco. It’s the spiritual centre of the world’s computer industry, but it’s easy to lose sight of the fact that other parts of the United States are home to equally innovative businesses. One of these places is Dallas in Texas, a location more associated with oil barons, ten gallon Stetson hats and cowboys than with high-tech industries.

Telecom Corridor

As well as being home to JR, Bobby, Sue Ellen and the rest of the Ewing clan, Dallas is home to the University of Texas, a high prestige university with a great reputation for training scientists and technological innovators. So many businesses working in the telecoms and computer sectors have sprung up in the area surrounding the university campus that it has become known as the Telecom Corridor. Over 600 high tech companies have made the Telecom Corridor their home. At the centre of the corridor is the small town of Richardson, which has been rated as one of the 20 best places to live in America, according to Money magazine.

Major Employers

As the name Telecom Corridor suggests, this small corner of Texas is home to more than its fair share of telecommunications companies. Names such as AT&T (originally the American Telephone and Telegraph company), Verizon and MetroPCS are not particularly well known in Europe, but are household names across North America as providers of landline telephones, mobile phones and internet services. They have chosen to locate in Telecom Corridor due to the local expertise and access to skilled staff.


There is a huge crossover between telecommunications and other sorts of technology, so it’s no surprise that other companies such as Ericsson, Cisco Systems, Samsung and Fujitsu have chosen to make their North American bases in Texas too. Other companies which are longer established in the Richardson or Dallas area include Texas Instruments, well known for their semiconductors and calculators, and Fossil, an accessories manufacturer which produces high-tech watches like their ladies Fossil ceramic watch and fashion items such as handbags or shoes. Fossil and Texas Instruments continue to innovate with new products, and products like the Texas Instruments’ TMS320 semiconductors and the ladies Fossil ceramic watch are just the last in a long line of innovations.

Working in America

Although there are many job opportunities in the Dallas area for innovators and technology experts, working in Telecom Corridor is not as simple as booking a one way flight to Dallas and handing out CVs. In order to work for one of these companies you’ll have to secure a job first, and they will have to prove you have skills that they can’t get from Americans for you to qualify for a working visa. It’s not impossible, but it is a lengthy and expensive business.

Morag P writes for a large range of websites on a variety of subjects including technology, finance and music.



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Top 5 Silliest Management Books of All Time

This post takes a satirical look at the business management book genre, specifically looking at five of the most ridiculous titles and how they often lead to bad management.

Reading Up

While the old cliché that “managers are not made, they are born” can in some degrees be argued to be true, it is also worthwhile acknowledging that you can often pick up a number of tips and ideas for your own leadership style from the vast plethora of management guide books available.

While there are undoubtedly some gems, some of them just give a ridiculous message, ridden with management speak that is often regurgitated verbatim by the reader when at work, under the misguided premise that they are now a great leader.

We looked at five of the most ridiculously titled management books there are.

1.Management in 10 Words

If it is possible to sum up management in 10 words, then why on Earth has this been extended out into a 320 page book? Surely each word does not require an average of 32 pages for an explanation of why it is such a great management tool. If management really can be defined in 10 words, then a piece of A4 paper should suffice just nicely.

2.Who Moved My Cheese?

There is also another similar book called “Why is my Iceberg Melting,” however the essential message is the same. How can you and your business survive and thrive in changing conditions in an evolving world? Well, the answer is somewhat obvious in that you too must also evolve to meet the demands of the world. There is really no need for a book that likens the business world to a mouse trying to survive by looking for cheese. The scariest thing about this book is that it is an all-time best seller. Is it any wonder the global economy is a mess?

3.Getting Things Done

There is a whole series of books carrying this title, with various sub-titles based around being productive and having a stress-free work life. However, the message after 250+ pages of reading is always the same. If you want to get things done, write it down and have a plan. Simple really.

4.The One Minute Manager

For me, personally, this was the first management book I ever read. Unfortunately, it had little bearing on me, as having read it I immediately realised that the manager who had borrowed it to me was the human manifestation of the book, a product of what he had read. Basically, the book is centred around managing everyone for a minute each day, based on the old business cliché that “my most valuable minute is the one spent with my people.”

5.How to Lead

If ever there was an expensive tick the box exercise, this is it. Although it does contain a lot of leadership advice, the main purpose of the book is to tick off everything that applies to you, then go away and get the skills needed to tick the rest. Perhaps if you spent the time leading rather than reading and ticking boxes you would acquire the skills easier.

Posterita is a revolutionary POS software, and its free point of sale software can show every aspect of that.


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Dealing With Vandalism on Your Business Property

Vandalism is not an expense you will have accounted for in your business expenditures, but small businesses often become a target for vandals. Coming to your office or shop in the morning, only to find that it has been disfigured during the night is a nightmare no business owner wants to experience. The expense of cleaning up and repairing damage can take up much needed money.

So what is vandalism, and how do you deal with it? Here are some tips to help protect against and deal with defacement.

What Counts As Vandalism?

Vandalism is generally categorized as graffiti, criminal damage, or disfigurement. Most of it will take place at night, when your office is closed. Your office or vehicle will be the most likely targets. While most of this may not be due to any enmity, businesses are most vulnerable to it due to their location. If your vehicle or walls are scratched, painted or maimed, it all counts as vandalism. Sometimes, it will be accompanied by a break in and theft as well.

Penalties and Compensation

If your business has become a victim of a vandalism act, you should file a complaint with the police. If the offender is caught, you could be compensated for the damage. Of course, the expense of correcting the damage caused will be a burden on your business, and the law allows you to seek damages. You can sue the vandal in a tort action to gain reparation. The court may award a jail sentence or a fine as well. .

Preventing Vandalism on Your Property

Vandalism can be prevented by having security cameras on the exterior of your building, and having a well lit area. If your office vehicle must be parked on the street, you should park it under a light where it is in view of a camera. Placing a visible sign warning about your security cameras will deter vandals, as they are more likely to be caught. If you have a boundary wall, you should install barbed wire to deter youngsters from jumping over it and onto your property.

If you want to be compensated for the full damage due to vandalism, inspect your property regularly. It’s a good idea to take pictures monthly, so that the insurance company or police has ‘before’ photos to refer to. Keeping a record of how your property looks will come in handy for insurance claims.

Cleaning Up Graffiti

While repairs to scratched vans can be done by a qualified mechanic, graffiti can be more of a challenge to remove. It is unsightly and bad press for your business. Graffiti is not easy to paint over, and will give you a hefty paint bill. There are many power washing services that will remove graffiti by using solvents that dissolve the paint. This will remove the bulk of the pigment, leaving it easier to paint over. You should consult your insurance company to check if they will cover it under their policy.

Francis Scott works in a San Francisco power washer company, and is often called to deal with graffiti on home and business properties. In her spare time, she blogs for CleanSweep.


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Here, Take my Wallet; a Cynic’s Guide to Travel

Do you ever get tired of having to chain your wallets to your belt to keep from getting hosed?

My wife and I are off tomorrow for a long deserved vacation at my favorite beach spot, which shall remain nameless, but you will all probably recognize.  We live near San Francisco; I have all my life, and have no illusion that there are banditos in every major city and vacation area we have ever been in.  I would say that it’s global, but there are places that they cut people’s hands off for that kind of thing, I just have never been there.

Having been a road warrior and international vacationer for 30+ years, and my wife been in corporate travel management almost as long, it seems like we’ve been screwed by just about every nationality from Cabo to Rome to Boston and back home.

This trip will be no different, were just getting smarter.  Last time we were down, we reserved a car from National, Paid the liability insurance, and arrived at the desk to pick up our car to be informed (again, it happens every year) that we were required to take their collision insurance as well.  This raised the price of our “economy” car from $16 a day to $45 a day.  $29 a day for insurance?  How is it that I can insure two $35,000 + cars in a major metropolitan area for less than $7 a day for two people, but in my favorite not so little resort area it costs $29 to insure a freeking five year old  Volkswagen Jetta?  Gotcha!

I tried my usual offer to the manager to leave a deposit on my credit card, which has worked for the last 30 years.  No dice.  They apparently have now unionized.  I looked at all the discount offers on the internet and they are all the same.  They offer really cheap car rates, then tack on the extra fees much the way airlines have started charging for bags.  To add insult to injury, to avoid the bandits at the airport we decided to take a transfer to our time-share, and then get a car a few days later from the concierge.  They now have a National Rent-a-Car in the lobby (it is a Sheraton property) and the car that the thieves at the airport wanted $45 a day for, is now being pimped for $65 a day.  Being that we have two golf courses, 6 pools, 3 restaurants,  two small stores with relatively reasonable prices, and we are bringing enough of our own food for several meals, I think we can whale watch for 3 or 4 days and then rent a car to go through the tourist corridor to have our Cheeseburger in Paradise next to Sammy Hagar’s joint.  We can get enough snorkeling in before we leave, and return home with the usual stories of the Marlin that got away.

Since we will be returning the car full to avoid their $10 a gallon surcharge, we will have the wonderful experience of the gas station once again.  Not only are you not allowed to pump your own gas, got forbid there is ANY action that does not involve at least three layers of tipping; there is always the payment game.  It is absolutely imperative to watch the gas pump.  Somehow if you don’t, your Jetta miraculously needed 30 gallons of gas in a 20 gallon tank.  No I am not confusing liters for gallons, I can do the math.

When you pay in the local currency the exchange rate is usually pretty simple, like 10:1.  If it is supposed to be 11.5:1, you still get 10.  Not a huge problem.  In several countries the denominations of bills are suspiciously colored for similar denominations.  In this case a 500 is the same color as a 50.  Be very very careful when you hand a 500 to someone, you make him acknowledge that you have indeed handed him the 500.  I’ve had this one pulled on me on three continents.  They take the red 500, go back to the cash register (always out of eye shot) and come back and hold out a 50 and tell you that indeed, that was what you had given them.  Easy 450 for them, and there isn’t a damn thing you can do about it.

I’ve had two camera bags actually cut off of my person, or someone I was with.  They come up behind you on a Vespa motorcycle, silent and small, slice the strap, grab, and are gone.  They don’t even have to slow down much to do it.  I’ve been pick-pocketed by a five year old while stopped to give a supposedly dying old lady a dollar.  We’ve endured the slums of Mumbai and Bangalore and grossly physically deformed beggars in Bahia del Salvador.   I’ve had a knife pulled on me near Haight-Ashbury in my own home town.  Has that ever stopped me from travelling? No, I just have become a bit more cautious in my old age.

Enough of my whining.  It’s time to pack my tequila, salt, and ice chest so I can be sipping from my $18 quart bottle of Hornitos while I watch the bloated turistos from Milwaukee drinking their $10 watered down margaritas by the pool.  I fear we have watched far too much Tony Bourdain to not have become somewhat jaded.


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The Who of Public Relations: Your Public

It’s easy to become focused on the tactics in public relations. It can be sort of fun to plan big PR events, prepare new brochures, and write press releases. They say that speaking without thinking is like shooting without aiming: I would assert that running a PR campaign is the same. Running a stellar PR campaign will be about as useful as driving a car with out wheels if you don’t know who you are talking to.

A school district public affairs director could have many audiences he or she needs to target. They may want to target parents to encourage them to be more involved in their students lives. High school students are another audience if you wish to encourage them to avoid drugs and violence. If your district is hiring, you may want to target graduate students from a local college. Where do each of these groups receive information? Would it be effective to use Facebook to target parents? Would you want to use a televised news clip to target high school students? Do potential teachers read the paper?

Here are a few things you need to find out about an audience:

Who are they: What demographic group are you targeting? Simply targeting teenagers isn’t enough. Teenagers in San Francisco, California are likely going to be much different from teenagers in Rexburg, Idaho. Teenagers at the public Seaside High School will likely be different from students at the private St. Peter‘s Holy Cross High School (both names I invented, just FYI).

Where do they turn for information: Do they attend town hall meetings? Are they likely to attend an event with a pop star DJ? Do they have a Facebook account? Do they watch the evening news? Or do they watch Jay Leno? If you mis-target your ad campaign, your audience will never get it.

What are their key interests: What drives your audience in life? What do they want? It is important to know what your audience’s key interests are. What are their needs? How can your company, service, product, or message satisfy that need? If you misinterpret your audience’s key interests, even if they get the message they probably won’t care.

Give them a name: An excellent public relations professor taught our class to even give your key audience a name. For example, if you were planning a PR campaign to promote a new online job search tool, you might target someone like Joe. Joe is a 40-year-old man from Atlanta, Georgia. He works for a power plant and makes $35,000 a year. He watches Stephen Colbert every night and checks the Internet frequently looking for a new job.

Putting a face and a name to your audience helps you to humanize them. It connects you with what they need in life. Faceless masses usually won’t be very helpful to your cause. Public relations isn’t just about serving the needs of your employer (although that is paramount). PR is about creating value for your publics so that they can act in their own self interest.

About the Author

Derek Gurr is a public relations student at BYU and a writer for My Colleges and Careers can be of great assistance to those that are trying to locate and register to go to the best online universities.


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