Atrium – Make Your Team Collaborate Like Never Before

Atrium will change the way your people collaborate


This tool has it all. Document sharing. Instant messaging. Calendar interoperability. Everything your organization needs to work together more seamlessly is bundled in this distribution. This Vimeo doesn’t do it justice:

[vimeo]http://vimeo.com/10283561[/vimeo]

If you still aren’t convinced it’s powerful, would you be persuaded if I told the the White House uses this?

Read here for the details. If you want help with deployment, contact me.

Does Oklahoma seem more crowded?

Census Reveals Oklahoma Population on the Rise

Did you notice the lines at Walmart seem a little longer lately?
Traffic seem a little heavier during rush hour?

As a matter of fact, the population of the state of Oklahoma increased by 8.7% over the last decade. While still behind the regional average growth of 14.3%, Oklahoma has proven to be the home-of-choice for Americans from the Northeast and Midwest.

Growth was primarily concentrated in urban areas, while the population of many rural areas shrunk, an indication that Oklahomans are becoming increasingly more domesticated. Most notably, Canadian and Wagoner counties ranked in at more than 25% growth.

I’m curious, what are local businesses doing to accomodate this growth rate?

How media social is your business?

Many businesses rely on making personal connections to build their revenue. Often, a firm handshake and a steady gaze is the only way to really trust someone you are doing business with. But times are changing, is your business adopting social media?

Do you trust Amazon? Apple? I bet you have never met Steve Jobs.

These companies formed a relationship with me through customer relationship management (CRM). A common buzzword in marketing and academia- I often hear a disconnect between theory and execution.

So this isn’t an article about how you should be “doing” CRM. Let me show you three quick ways to reach out and connect with your customers through social media:

1. Facebook Social Plugins – Are used to integrate your Facebook fan page into your website. Inspire comments on FB about your products, feature faces of your fans + more. This link will get you started.

2. Twitter “Tweet” Buttons – Let your customers broadcast your products or service on Twitter. With some ingenuity, you can also broadcast what you are saying on Twitter, or even let people sign up to follow you.

3. Mailchimp – Is a great way to send beautiful full color email campaigns to your clients. Just upload your contact database, design your letter, and send.

Embracing tools like these is imperative; especially in the new market, where lifetime relationships are formed electronically.

Michael Porter on Corporate Social Responsibility

Michael Porter seeks to redefine capitalism.

Porter, whose theory has shaped much of what business schools teach about competitive advantage and business strategy, is a cornerstone in B-schools as well as the boardroom. His work simply cannot go unnoticed.

Even if Porter’s work could go unnoticed, current events like hedge fund manager John Paulson earning a $5 billion profit are tough to ignore. Society is asking if business people are responsible with their profits.

In response, Porter is now asserting that business must seek to build “shared value” as an alternative to maximizing SHAREHOLDER value. He believes there is a missing link between a company’s success and social progress, making statements like:

“Companies are widely perceived to be prospering at the expense of the broader community.”

Because Porter is such a widely renowned and widely accepted thinker in business, this message from Porter in an era where such strong political tension lies between the left & right will lead to a violent split in business theory.

Two outcomes seem possible:

-Traditional businesspeople will categorically reject Porter’s “shared value” and defend profit.

-Progressive businesspeople will embrace “shared value” and levy it in to regulate profit.

Read Porter for yourself and find out where you stand:

Cheers to the star entrepreneurs… for now.

Article review:

Reinvent Your Business Before It’s Too Late
by Paul Nune & Tim Breene – Harvard Business Review

“Sooner or later, all businesses, even the most successful, run out of room to grow. Faced with this unpleasant reality, they are compelled to reinvent themselves periodically. The ability to pull off this difficult feat and to jump from the maturity stage of one business to the growth stage of the next is what separates high performers from those whose time at the top is all too brief.

The potential consequences are dire for any organization that fails to reinvent itself in time.”

Even in this tough economy, many businesses are thriving.

This review is for you, top producing, star performing business owner.

If the status quo of your business seems great to you, cheers. Remember the good times, because they won’t last long.

Michael Gerber’s “E-Myth Revisited” describes the three roles every business owner plays: Technician, Manager, & Entrepreneur. Technicians are skilled at executing the daily affairs of the firm, while managers oversee and plan in an orderly fashion. If the manager and the technician live in the past and the present, respectively, the entrepreneur lives in the future. He is responsible for working “on” the business, not in it. Gerber strongly believes a true entrepreneur craves change.

And change is the essence of what every organization must do in a business world where entropy is the law, not the exception.

While many businesses perform well during periods of economic expansion, others return performance that is negatively correlated to periods of economic recession. In other words, the recession has done a lot of good for some businesses. If that business is yours, let your celebration be short lived. The economy will change soon, be sure your firm is ready to accommodate that change.

Regardless of how your business is performing today, there is a strong case to be made for implementing a strategic plan for change tomorrow. If you are one of many business owners feeling very optimistic about your firm’s current position, be on your guard against complacency.

The market always demands change.

What pirates know about leadership

Wikileaks.org is systematically unveiling a database of secret diplomatic communications.

Now under scrutiny: Diplomacy.

At the time this article was written, 553 of more than a quarter of a million confidential communications have been posted online and in plain sight.

Julian Assange, the website’s founder, is on the run from law enforcement and tops Interpol’s most wanted list.

Even Mike Huckabee, the conservative Christian former governor and 2008 Republican presidential hopeful said that anything less than death would be “too kind a penalty” for those found responsible for the leak. Assange has strategically chosen a nearly impregnable web hosting service in Sweden that has shielded the site from being shut down. These defensive actions may have paid off- the government is exploring ways to shut the site down. Amazon even had a brief hosting stint while Swedish servers bolstered their systems. Meanwhile, a team of hackers attempts to cripple the site.

Hold, please. What? Hackers want to take down Wikileaks?

Aren’t hackers like the…Disney Movie style…. Pirates??…. Who instead of stealing rum in the Caribbean… steal electronic stuff on the web? Aren’t they our modern information age thieves?

Yet in the case of Wikileaks, these hackers (embracing the nickname “hacktivists”) used their evil powers to undermine Assange.

What about the leaks could be so egregious that even information bandits are assaulting fellow villains, seeking reprieve for diplomats? Keep in mind- this group of diplomats has the one of the lowest approval ratings in history. According to Monday’s Rassumssen report:

“Voters (80%) overwhelmingly believe that most members of Congress are more interested in their own careers than in helping people.”

You would think that the public would love to embrace information that exposes diplomatic corruption. After all, Wikileaks isn’t the only group trying to take down Washington. The Tea Party seriously impacted the political landscape in November and threatens to reinvent our political establishment.

So why has Wikileaks failed to do what the Tea Party succeeded at doing?

Allow me to suggest one key reason for all the backlash against Wikileaks… A key principle to guide any organization.

Even pirates hate chaos.

Wikileaks.org reeks of chaos. They are on a mission to destroy, not to repair or rebuild, American Diplomacy.

What pirates seem to understand that Julian Assange and the wikileakers do not is that humans rally behind leadership – even corrupt leadership.

Regardless of whether these leaks and the corruption is legitimate or not…. Isn’t the point. Throughout history, humans have rallied behind leaders.

If a change needs to be made to American diplomacy, Assange & the Wikileaks staff would likely be far more successful investing time and money campaigning for a political office.

As for those of us who aren’t involved in politics, but instead are involved on a daily basis in different types of organizations-

Don’t use chaos as a catalyst for change.

Political polling- the science of sampling

Election season is always inundated with political polling. Dominant candidates fancy polls as the talisman of victory; underdog candidates despise polls as trivial and inconsequential. Rarely will two polls match identically at any given point in time. Some polls consistently hook left, others predictably slice right. Even if you decide to stick with a preferred polling source, their numbers can longitudinally rise and fall like the a roller coaster from one week to the next, begging the question:

Is there any legitimacy to polling at all???

Of course there is. In fact, it’s cold, hard science. Let’s break down some of the key terms and main concepts used in political polling so that you can learn to better interpret polls. If you aren’t keen on the nitty gritty, do not let yourself get bogged down here, just skim through and remember the bold statements.

First & foremost a poll is just a sample. A sample is a small part of a larger group, called a population. The sample represents the larger group. For example, imagine a chef making spaghetti sauce. Does the chef have to drink the entire pot to know what the sauce will taste like? No. He can take a small taste from a well-stirred pot and assume that all the sauce will taste the same. So it is with political polling. Populations take many forms, from registered voters, likely voters, even the entire population of the United States.

What do polls measure? A survey is a tool used to measure the respondents’ positions on an issue. Surveys are filled with the tools of a pollster’s trade, from multiple choice questions, true/false questions, or even more complicated scale questions.

Pollsters use sample size calculators to determine how many individuals need to respond to the survey. Political polls will generally have between 1000 and 3000 people who respond per survey. Generally, the more people surveyed, the smaller the margin of error and/or the larger the population. Because interviews are costly and time-consuming, polls use the minimum number of interviews possible. Polls often refer to the number of respondents as the “N-size,” so in the fine print if the details say, “N=2,2024 likely voters” then we can conclude 2,024 likely voters composed the sample group, and that the population is all likely voters defined within a certain geographic region.

What is margin of error? Margin of error is the mathematical difference between mean response of the survey and the population mean. This is often expressed in over/under terms that look like this ± , and is pronounced “plus or minus.” So if, for example, 80%±3% of sample respondents stated that “Yes, I would vote for state proposition 744,” then we can conclude that if we interviewed every single person in the population, we would find that between 77% and 83% would also vote yes. The larger the margin of error, the greater the possible variance between the population mean and the sample mean.

The last major component of polling is the confidence level. Confidence level is an indication of the reliability of the study. If a study is 80%±3% with a 95% confidence level, then we know that if the survey were conducted 100 times in a row, we would find the same results 95 of the 100. Therefore the higher the confidence level, the more reliable the findings.

Surveys are unilaterally composed of these components. Cold, hard science. But even with the science of sampling, and all the vast amounts of campaign funding available, polls are inconsistent. Why?

Pollsters don’t always do their homework when designing questionnaires. A major source of the discrepancies between polling agencies comes from questionnaire design. Proper questionnaire design eliminates bias and uses the right question to accurately measure a population’s true position on a candidate or issue. If polling agencies use garbage questions, then the results will be garbage. When creating a questionnaire, pollsters should keep questions short & sweet – to the point with direct and clear language. Many research companies disclose their actual questionnaires. If you are reading about a survey online, always click on the source of the political poll and read more.

Polling error also occurs when samples are too small, or poorly chosen (not representative). Results are frequently analyzed improperly by politicians or media. However, even with all the limitations, the foundation under political polling is strong. Learn to acknowledge the limitations of each survey and polling agency.

Critically review polls, not accepting any single poll at face value, and you can use them as a forecast- often predicting election day results.

Good businesses use the same sampling principles to collect information about customer satisfaction, employee satisfaction, market awareness, and a host of other important issues. Surveys are a powerful tool that, when used properly, can help uncover information critical for decision making – a superior alternative to following intuition.

The wireless movement shifts ad revenue to web

We live in the information age. No doubt about it. The basis for this claim: 8 in 10 own a high tech gadget. But it’s not the ownership of laptop computers, smart phones, and tablets that is a phenomenon, it’s the discovery of a new need: Wireless.

You can rest assured, Pew Research Center did its homework when collecting this information. But to whom do we attribute this need for anytime, anywhere, wireless access to information?

Marketers.

Geeky little engineers with instructions (or heart transplants) from marketers are using product & distribution strategies to create a wireless movement. It’s a movement that has people walking into telephone poles, driving through red lights, and completely ignoring other people in the room.

That trance-like attention to the web will change the landscape of advertising. Consequently, marketers not only created the need, but they will reap its lucrative benefits.

In a digital age where time and mobility is money, marketing revenue is shifting from traditional ad mediums like TV, radio, and especially newspaper, to the Internet. But this is just the beginning…

Companies are already fighting tooth and nail for the best web ad locations & tactics.

No longer is Internet marketing a simple banner ad. In fact, the landscape of Internet marketing is only now being forged. Internet advertising is already the most sophisticated but yet least pioneered frontier of advertising.

Disciples of marketing: Now is the time to get on board the train to Internet advertising.

Betting on the rising dollar

The Federal Reserve is arguably the most powerful entity in the world. Chiefly, it has the power to control interest rates, as well as discount rates, margin requirements, and more. When the Fed moves, the ripple effect is like an earthquake, shifting markets – often violently. The global market raises and falls on the US economy. That’s just the way it is.

Today the Federal reserve started selling TIPS with a negative yield.

Wait now, what does that mean? Treasury Inflation Protected Securities are bonds that have a principal adjustment feature that matches the inflation rate. Simply put, it is a tool designed to keep investments from losing value in the case of high inflation.

Hyperinflation has devastated economies. I have travelled to the “breadbasket” of Southern Africa in 2006, to the nation of Zimbabwe. Among other features (like Victoria Falls – one of the seven wonders of the world), Zimbabwe has all the components of a rich agricultural climate. Sunny skies. Dark soil. Raging rivers.

But Zimbabwe isn’t the breadbasket any longer. It’s more like a financial wastebasket. The economy was doomed by inflation. Currency gone amuck. The value of a Zim dollar is almost nothing, a derivative of the exponentially increased rate of inflation. Along the walls of the national parks you will find portraits of President Mugabe – long time dictator responsible for the financial ruin of the nation. You will find his bust in the once bustling city centers, now brimming with secret police – police making sure no back room deals of other currencies for stacks of Zim dollars take place.

During my trip I went to the back room of a sewing shop. I traded two one hundred US dollar bills for rubber banded stacks of Zim bills – far too many bills to count. Not just bills- bills marked in denominations like $100,000,000.

Fast forward to the present. The Federal Reserve is battling deflation. Oil and other prices are at depressed levels. What financial analysts assert is that deflation can have a powerfully negative effect on the economy. Consequently the Fed continues the entertain tactics to slowly raise the inflation rate and fight deflation.

When the Fed starts selling TIPS with a negative yield it’s a statement to investors. The statement goes something like this: “Inflation is coming.”

Tread lightly, Mr. Bernanke. Consider the effect of hyperinflation in Zimbabwe.

Be a knowledge leader – RSS in 3 Steps

The internet is like a pipeline. It’s an enormous pipeline filled with all kinds of information. Information that you want, information that you don’t want- more information than you’ll ever need (or care) to know is in the pipe. Search engines do a pretty good job at helping you pluck info from the pipeline as you request it.

But is there a better way to get the info you want, when you want it? How can you tap the pipeline and filter out unwanted info? RSS feeds. And these feeds aren’t just for the techno-savvy.

In 3 steps you can have salient, customizable information delivered to your computer, iPhone, iPad, or wherever you are connected to the web.

Step 1: Download a reader to your internet device.
Computer- reader.google.com
iPhone/iPad- Free RSS in the app store

Step 2: Find some great sources of information online.
Wherever a feed is available, you’ll see this symbol:

Step 3:
Copy and paste RSS links to your reader.

Far too often businesses rely on imperfect or outdated information. In order to get current and accurate information for your small business, consider RSS.

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