Friday, February 26, 2010

Point Of Sale - Trends For 2010

The outlook for Point of Sale couldn't be brighter... Having visited with several resellers this week, I'm convinced! Is it me, or are operators reaching for new services to drive increase revenues? Is it me, or when this happens don't buying patterns change? What I mean is when people start looking to increase top-line revenue, they take risks, but expect ROI. The tipping point may be upon us, so the question is "what" do you do to capitalize?

According to Vertical Systems Reseller, a magazine devoted to the Value-Added Reseller channel, and in their recent Point of Sale trend report, in the U.S. nearly half of all operators polled say that tableside POS for ordering and/or payment (at 46.6 %) will be the "most interesting" POS technology to their company in 2010, from a list that also includes, among other things, enterprise POS (which came in a close second at 45.1%), software-as-a-service (24.8%), open source (22.9%), and cloud computing (19.3%). Many technology vendors agree that tableside ordering, perhaps even via smart phones such as the iPhone, will have appeal to operators in 2010. We're also revealing operator's buying plans in 2010. Most of you (36.6%) expect to add new functionality to your current software; another 14% are selecting a new vendor entirely, and 27.1% of you told us you're currently shopping around.

So it seems as if everyone is poking around for new apps! Gosh, that makes all of us doesn't it... I'll leave you with one thought: has the iPhone created a monster? What I mean is as operator, business/IT consultants and marketers we now have to feed the app desires of many constituents - they want it, and the only question is how are you going to give it... 
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Wednesday, February 24, 2010

A Robot In A Restaurant?

They make our cars, the protect our troops, now they are making our lunches? Welcome Metropolis! According to a New York times food industry article, your next meal may be from the caring, laser-assisted claws of a robot!
Prof. Paul Rybski and the Human Robot Interaction Group, created a monster (ok, not really), but a robot outfitted with a $20,000 laser navigation system, sonar sensors and a Point Grey Bumblebee 2 stereo camera that functions as its eyes, which stare out from its clay-colored plastic, gender-neutral face.

Dave? Dave? Is that you... The computer in the movie 2001, A Space Odyssey taught us not to trust computers, especially when going to Jupiter! And now they may be making our food...

The article continues by describing the design of the robot, which is to gather information on how robots interact with people (and how to improve homo-robo relations), the Snackbot has been carefully considered for maximum approachability in every detail, from its height to its color. The snack, not surprisingly, is the central component of that approachability. Jetson's here we come!
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Tuesday, February 23, 2010

The Ultimate Prospecting Tool... Maybe...

Sales is key. In the book Tipping Point by Malcolm Gladwell, he explains that Salesmen are "persuaders"
Charismatic people with powerful negotiation skills. They tend to have an indefinable trait that goes beyond what they say, which makes others want to agree with them. Gladwell's examples include California businessman Tom Gau and news anchor Peter Jennings, and he cites several studies about the persuasive implications of non-verbal cues, including a headphone nod study (conducted by Gary Wells of the University of Alberta and Richard Petty of the University of Missouri) and William Condon's cultural microrhythms study.
In the value chain, there are also Mavens and Connectors, but sales earns the transactions... The revenue... And keeps the lights on...

Now, all of us in sales have one key desire, to sell more. Many schools of thought exist for sales reps to drive more revenue. However, while poking around this morning, I found a great prospect qualification tool from the BNET blog. A little 101, combined with technology, this tool is fun to play with and use as a question-generation program.


 To find the actual program, click here...
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Monday, February 22, 2010

In A Start-Up, Can You Really Delegate?

A question I've always asked myself... Isn't it about killing it, all the time? Is that why they give out cots to new employees of some start up companies?

Diners Like The Innovators...

A great report (an oldie, but a goodie) makes a powerful statement about what diners want! According to a Center for Hospitality Research at Cornell University report:

Restaurants and Institutions magazine, the findings, based on survey responses from 1,737 U.S. residents, conclude:
– Online-reservation systems and pagers are the most commonly used restaurant technologies.
– Restaurant consumers who use a particular technology consider it to be more valuable than those who have never tried it.
– Restaurant consumers seem to prefer technologies such as pagers or virtual menus that add convenience in the early stages of service versus those designed for use at the end of the dining experience (like electronic payment options).
– Very few restaurant consumers used cell-phone payment systems.

The researchers have something to say too... 

“Based on our study, we recommend that restaurants encourage customers to try new technologies,” says Michael J. Dixon, a co-author, in a news release. “But restaurants should avoid forcing technology use, and implement new technologies with considerable support and demonstrations.”

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Monday, February 15, 2010

Are Money Making Opportunities All Around Us???

After reading a post by Howard Linzdon today, in which he discusses how "young" www.YouTube.com really is, I was struck about how many opportunities are out there... Is the web really like the wild west? I think so...

When was the last time you took a look at TechCruch. Almost daily, the popular blog posts information about start ups to new gadgets. If you were to calculate the amount of new things on the web, you'd probably be famous for measuring the un-measurable. My point is the web and the subsequent markets/functionality/entrepreneurship/innovation is growing faster, and faster. The book "Free", by Chris Anderson does a great job explaining the power of ideas, and the growth of the "bits". He argues that ideas just want to get OUT... And when there is an idea, there is money to be made.

Recently, I've been pondering the fast potential of ideas out there... What's more, solutions! There is an endless supply of opportunities on the web for transactions, but don't take my word for it... Go out into the wild west internet and see for yourself!
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Friday, February 12, 2010

Thursday, February 11, 2010

A Cure For Cancer? Check Out This TEDMED Conference...

Just Had To Watch This Crazy Mountain Bike Freeride Video Again


                       

Be Careful Of The Red Tape

First off, it is good to be blogging again... Spending time with other companies to manage/create/develop their social marketing is great fun, but I miss focusing on my blog (but, if you're looking for contract work, give me a shout walkersmooth@gmail.com). Now... On to the blog...

Red tape... My word, we experience it in government, business, and sometimes in our own homes. AND IT STIFLES INNOVATION, COMES IN MANY FORMS AND SMELLS BADLY! Yet, for some reason we cling to it, we embrace it, we encourage it. So why it is that everyone hates it, yet does it. It is as though we want bureaucracy so badly that we consistently develop systems, processes and barriers to JUST DO IT!


Hell, I'm guilty of it too... Process can be a good thing, but too much command and control and you stifle the best that makes us human: ideas. So what's the answer? Probably a red-tape committee - just kidding. I think the process champion needs to allow him/herself to be checked at the door. My colleagues have done the same with me and it has worked well. Whenever we got too process burdened, they would tell me to hold off and wait for the process to evolve - I like this. Forcing process can damage creative problem solving and idea generation. Giving your colleagues/tea/personnel the right to counter your red tape is one way to check your bureaucracy at the door!

Thank you to http://www.flickr.com/photos/hoggarazzi/3417073074/, for the great picture... 
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Tuesday, February 09, 2010

Colbert Report Made Me Laugh

I lost it today after watching Steven Colbert review Sarah Palin's latest... From taking notes on her hands to saying Rush Limbaugh's use of the word "retard" is satire, I just wonder where it all comes from...


The Colbert ReportMon - Thurs 11:30pm / 10:30c
Sarah Palin Uses a Hand-O-Prompter
www.colbertnation.com
Colbert Report Full EpisodesPolitical HumorEconomy

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Monday, February 08, 2010

Leadership - Is It One Or Many?

Is leadership the head of the snake? Is it a two-headed snake? Is it a collection of organizations, or just one? Should there be one decision-maker or many to support the decision-makers? Who decides who goes and who stays? I've been reading a lot about natural organization and Enterprise 2.0 and came to the conclusion that leadership is more about a natural order, than an unnatural one.

Think about a forest... Imagine a grove of redwood trees. Is there a dominate tree? Perhaps, but maybe there are several. But all trees will fall one day. Will there be other trees that grow? You bet! The entire ecosystem is created through a network of other organisms and not just one tree. This begs the question, was there a single seed, a creator? NO! Evolution teaches us that, again, a network of events helped shape the development of the forest. I believe the same goes for leadership - it is more about a  network than anything else (as Michael Idinopulos argues in this post).

So what is leadership all about? It is about a collective... Empowering the champions that rise up on projects, that are natural leaders. It is more about forming a team, and investing in that team to help a leader do three very important things...
  • Set the vision - where are we going, again, I forgot...
  • Break the ties - no, we are going this way, and your idea would have us going that way
  • Inspire to grow - isn't this fun, lets keep going... YAY!!

I really like Vanda North's idea map suggests about leadership and team. Notice how similar it looks to a tree, or, better yet, roots!

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Saturday, February 06, 2010

Why The Obstruction?

If you were applying for a job, which would you choose?

Job A: 96% of applicants are covered by health care insurance...
Job B: 30% of applicants are covered by health care insurance...

Assume you choose job "A". You would be choosing the current Senate health care bill. I've asked conservatives and liberals alike and they all answer A. In my informal experiment, it is clear that people lean toward coverage. So why the obstruction?

Granted my experience isn't scientific, but let's say it was... Let's just, for a minute, assume that all of the nation was provided free health insurance. Would that be immoral? Would that be wrong? If we were to go that direction, based on the facts, then Congress should support this! Instead, it is all about obstruction and playing the "values" card. Why?

In my humble opinion, this is more about seeing Obama fail...!!! Just look at what Alabama (R) Senator Shelby is up to. Extortion, pure and simple! Senator John Boehner, on Meet the Press recently, could barely answer a series of simple questions: what do you agree with?!!?!??! Clearly, the Republicans are blocking legislation that could SAVE LIVES... And Democrats aren't standing up and fighting for what they believe in... Both parties need to get with it! One needs to stop the obstruction, the other needs to get some "balls"!!!
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Tuesday, February 02, 2010

Got To Love Climbing

Chris Sharma, the climbing legend, has a new video profile from the crew at www.BigUpProductions... Enjoy.