Monthly Archives: November 2005

Oursourcing/Automation

repman.jpgThis afternoon I had an interesting call from a gentlemen who said he was against outsourcing if 10,000 people lost their job (1 or 2 at a time was fine).  I explained to him that the U.S. was the destination of most global outsourcing (European outsource 4:1 more jobs to the U.S. than we outsource).  So outsourcing was a good thing.  He did not agree.

I ran across this article about a new way to replace U.S. jobs with technology.  The PayTeck Smart Box puts repo-men out of business.  Basically car buyers with poor credit can buy cars equiped with the device and each month they get a new code that enables them to turn on the car.  If they don’t make their payment the car won’t start.  Neat idea, but what about the repo guy?  Is it right to outsource his job?

Rebate Boycott!

rebatesuck.jpgThe Alarm:Clock suggests, "Just say no to rebates!"  I could not agree more.  Whenever I see something with a rebate price (assuming it is not instant – at the register) I avoid the product.  I like to pay a fair price for what I buy and not a higher price now on the promise of a lower price later.  The truth is:

  • Rebates are good for them, bad for you.
  • Rebates are a hassle for customers like you.
  • 60% of rebates due are not paid!
  • Rebates are bad business.

There is good news, Best Buy is phasing them out.  Staples moved to an online rebate system – rebates were their #1 customer complaint last year.  Don’t buy products offering rebates – buy rebate-free products instead.  Maybe we could create a label for rebate-free products…

SXSW, will you be there?

sxsw_xx2.gifWhat has become the ‘must attend’ interactive, film and music event in South is called SXSW held in Austin March 10-19, 2006.  It is likely that Big in Japan will be launched there as well as the second version of SimpleTicket.  Of course Weblogs Work will attend.  We are planning to stay for all three parts.  Hope to see you there!

 

Exit Interviews

toexit.jpgDo you conduct exit interviews?  For some reason Architel does not.  No one knows why, it is in the handbook that exit interviews ‘should’ be done, but for some reason no one wants to do them.  (I am going to start doing them for Architel)

Rick Segal had an interesting post on exit interviews that prompted this idea.  He had a few suggestions that I think will work for Architel.  Here is what I am going to implement (after talking to Scott of course!):

  • Do the interview myself (until I have done 100).
  • Thank the outgoing employee for his service.
  • Offer to rehire them if they change their mind (give them a free pass to get to the head of the line for another position – assuming they are a rehire)
  • Keep a connection (offer them a name@ex-architel.com email address, offer to let them keep their personal website/blog/wiki hosted at the company for free, invite them back for company parties)
  • Give them respect.  Treat former employees like Veterans – honor them.  Perhaps we will create a page of honor for the former employees who helped build the company.

Read Rick’s full post.  I think it is interesting and worth the time.  Check it out here.  

What you have in common with 13,560 people:

line-graph.gifAccording to AWSTATS 13,560 unique people read this blog in November.  Most of you read it on Mondays and Thursdays (not sure if this is due to you or my posting habits).  30% of you use Firefox and 23% use IE (2% of you use NetNewsWire).  Slightly more than 500 people actually read the blog on a regular basis (the rest of you just visit once or twice and then go away, never to return). 

 

Trackbacks – The Rules…

House Rules.jpgI get trackbacks from bloggers who do not link to my posts.  They notify my blog that their post contains a link to my post, but when I click back on the trackback I cannot find a link to my post.

The rule is simple: only trackback posts which you link to.  Get it? 

Startup Authenticity

authentic.gifInteresting line of thinking from our favoriate NYC VC and Nick Denton.  They ask the question, which is better? 

A. Coming up with an idea for a business, writing a business plan, recruiting a team and then raising capital to make your idea a reality – "You can design it from scratch, figuring out exactly what you want to build, getting it all down on paper, raising some money, and then building it.  And there are plenty of success stories for that way of building a company."

B. Coming up with an idea and just build it as a side project. –  "Or you can just find yourself doing a startup because something you started as a hobby, or to serve your own needs, just took on a life of its own and you have no choice but to evolve it into a business."

They think Type B companies are more authentic (via David).  Me too.  To borrow a phrase, "Just Do It!"

Employment Agreements – Open Source Option?

We had a key hire at Architel accept a position only to back out after reading the boilerplate employment contract.  Architel’s primary objective having employees sign the contract is:

  • To prevent former employees from sharing confidential information with competitors
  • To prevent former employees from hiring or causing others to hire remaining employees
  • To prevent former employees from working for direct competitors for 90 days
  • To prevent former employees from working for clients for 12 months

The contract; however, was written by lawyers (lawyers who I have never met) and it is super long and complicated.  The business people at Architel do not even understand it well enough to explain it to prospects.  Most employees just sign it, but some of the more detailed oriented ones (i.e. the guys you want) take a look at it and throw up.  The employee would likely agree to the four points above, but none of the lawyers can make a contract simple that works for both the company and employees.  Why not?

Too bad there is not a standard agreement like we have in the open source community.  Something like a GPL for employees.  Maybe there is – if so point me in that direction… 

Microsoft outselling Linux!

unbelievable.jpgNext week you will be reading quite a bit about the latest Gartner report that reveals that Microsoft outsold Linux last quarter.  What?  Businesses would rather pay for Windows server software than use ‘free’ Linux server software?  According to Gartner it seems so…

Windows based servers accounted for 37% of the market, while Linux based servers accounted for 32%.  But wait, the numbers are kind of strange.  They did not caculate the ‘market’ based on number of units sold, but rather on revenue.  Um, guys…  Linux is free.  CoolTech reports:

Windows based systems are more expensive than Linux based systems, so even if vendors sold lesser number of Windows systems, the price difference could ensure that Windows sales revenue was higher. This implies that, in terms of pure numbers, Linux could very well have outsold Windows.  The research unfortunately only refers to the sales revenue rather than overall profits and market share. Like the Xbox, Microsoft could be under selling the product just to hold on to its market share, and with such deep pockets, I wouldn’t expect it to do anything less.

Maybe I am just an idiot, but I don’t get it.  Anyone have a better understanding of how Gartner put their numbers together?  We just installed 20 new Linux installs and I don’t remember telling anyone.  How would Gartner know? 

More here, here, and here.   

Stats API – Notice to RSS Readers…

Remember how Jeff brought Dell to its knees (or atleast made a bunch of noise)?  This afternoon Jeff started a new jihad – this time he is going after My Yahoo, Google Reader, Pluck, Newsgator Enterprise and other RSS readers.  What does he want?  He wants his stats.  How many times are you delivering his feed?  He wants to know.  Seems reasonable enough. 

My thought?  Everyone should offer up a simple Stats API.  Just let us plug into your system to pull our own numbers.  How hard could that be?  Perhaps Google should start – open up stats for the owners of RSS feeds you are delivering via Google Reader.   

Others are talking about it too including Brad, Geek News, Elliptical, Scoble, and Ben Barren