Tech PRose

February 14, 2011

Deadly Sins of the Tech Industry: Will the Mini iPhone Become the Rainbow?

Filed under: Christine Rojewski,Technology Industry — techimage @ 7:42 am

As I was reading InfoWorld last week, Bill Snyder’s blog post, “Deadly Sins the Tech Industry Can’t Seem to Shake” caught my attention. In this post, Bill remembers the late Ken Olsen, the founder of Digital Equipment Corp, and the great things accomplished and the not so great things that have seemed to plague the tech industry.

Snyder remembers when Olsen stated “There is no reason for any individual to have a computer in his home,” before he tried to jump into the game too late and release the Rainbow PC, which of course flopped. This eventually led to the downward spiral of Digital Equipment Corp. and the boot Olsen received from serving for the company, even though that too, was too late, much like what Sun has faced with co-founder Scott McNealy.

But what I found ironic in this blog was Snyder mentioning that almost no one remembers the Rainbow. I couldn’t help but think of the other news released the same day of Snyder’s blog post- the talk of a mini iPhone.

Call me superstitious, but I think both articles hitting me on the same day means this mini iPhone will also be a flop that no one remembers- assuming it even sees a market release. Why? While I believe Apple has released some great products (I’m a huge fan of my iPhone and of the iPad, though I think that sees room for major improvement like a USB jack), this seems like overkill.

According to Bloomberg, the phone will cost less than its predecessor at $200 to keep ahead of Droid competitors. However, it will be one-third smaller than the iPhone 4 and it won’t offer a home button. To me, smaller isn’t always better and I’d feel like I was talking on my iPod. And I might be wrong, but isn’t the home button on the iPhone a huge plus? Taking away a home button will create more unnecessary steps that need to be taken for the user to achieve the goal of getting back to the page, and might be taking consumers to the Droid if they’re worried about cost (which at $200 doesn’t seem so cheap), and don’t want to splurge on the iPhone4 or a two-year carrier contract.

Even more ironic, is to think about how Sun and Digital Equipment Corp. were late to the game, thus spelling the demise of the companies. While I don’t by any means think this potential mini iPhone will be a fatal move for Apple, I do think Apple is late to the game if the development is just to keep the iPhone ahead of the Droid. The Droid models already gaining huge popularity, models far outweigh the iPhone and cost less so it seems like Jobs is a little late on this big idea.

Nonetheless it will be interesting to see what pans out. What are your thoughts on a mini iPhone? Must or Bust?

– Reviewed by Christine Rojewski

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February 9, 2011

2011 IT: The Year of the Woman?

Filed under: Dan Green,Technology Industry — techimage @ 11:47 am

Last week, the Computing Technology Industry Association (CompTIA) Educational Foundation announced the formation of the Women in Information Technology Council.

In its press release, CompTIA included some interesting (and troubling) stats from the National Center for Women & IT:

  • Only 25 percent of IT-related jobs were filled by women in 2009 – a decrease from 36 percent in 1991.
  • In 2008, only 18 percent of computer and information science degrees were awarded to women – down from 37 percent in 1985.

Before seeing this data, I knew the industry had low representation among women, based on my work with the Society for Information Management, which organized SIM Women a few years ago to help women advance their careers in IT. What surprised me was that the number of women in the industry had declined so dramatically over the past 25 years.

The CompTIA Educational Foundation helps underserved portions of the population to start careers in IT – including military veterans, the disabled, youth at risk and dislocated workers, and the new council will help women in these demographic segments by providing an opportunity to obtain free education and training.

It’s a great move by the association to help attract more women to the male-dominated industry, and an important one. Baby boomers are starting to retire from the workforce, and the overall number of students pursuing IT degrees has declined significantly since the tech bust in the early 2000s. In the coming years there will be literally millions of job openings in the IT industry, and by welcoming more women into the IT work force, we can keep those jobs in the U.S.

Women interested in starting a career in IT can find more information from CompTIA’s Educational Foundation at www.comptia-ef.org. For women who are already in IT who want to advance their careers, check out SIM Women at http://www.simnet.org/?page=SIM_Women.

– By Dan Green

February 4, 2011

A Crash Course in Dog Food and Mobile Retailing

Filed under: B2B,Kristen Rose Miller,Reviews,Social Media,Technology Industry — techimage @ 11:05 am

I recently attended the NRF’s Retail BIG Show in NYC and no surprise, everybody was talking mobile. From social media to shopping on smartphones to swiping smartphones to pay for purchases, the message was clear: “Hey Retailers, amp your mobile functionality or consumers will leave you in the dust.”

The topic of mobile retailing is also finding a home in mainstream media. A recent article by the Wall Street Journal’s Miguel Bustillo and Ann Zimmerman titled “Phone Wielding Shoppers Strike Fear Into Retailers” posed the threat that instant price transparency via smartphones was changing the game of retailing.

As a smartphone-touting consumer, specifically a Droid 2, do I pose a threat to retailers? Is Target or Macy’s shaking in their boots trying to win my business? Not likely; however, the article did mention a specific app, TheFind, that prompts a smartphone camera to scan a product barcode and display matching products at various merchants at varying prices. Thereby, at a glance, allowing a shopper to determine the lowest price.

So, I downloaded the free app and gave it a shot…see below for my test subject (no, not the animal itself…)

Figure A                                                                                                                      Figure B

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Meet Percy. Figure A represents Percy as a baby Rottweiler. Figure B illustrates how all 80-lbs of Percy looks today. In order to get from Figure A to Figure B, it took a lot of dog food. Specifically, Iams Smart Puppy Large Breed Dog Food.  I purchase 17.5 lb bags at Target where typical retail price is $18.99. During my last Target visit, I used TheFind app to scan the product barcode. Within seconds, the app was displaying varying prices of the exact dog food available at other merchants. I was relieved to see that other retailers such as Walmart and pet supply stores were $1-$3 dollars higher. Only one store, Meijer, offered the food cheaper ($17.99) but since there isn’t a Meijer close to my home, my purchasing at Target was reaffirmed.

Case in point, consumers willing to embrace emerging retail technologies put themselves in the driver’s seat. Gone are the days of making siloed purchase decisions on product OR price. Being committed to a specific product no longer means you’re a slave to a standard price. Do your research. Be informed. Retailers, more than ever, are willing to compete and work for your every dollar. Enjoy your newfound power (while stimulating the economy.)

— By Kristen Rose Miller

January 28, 2011

TEDx Caltech Rocked!

Filed under: Lawren Markle,Technology Industry — techimage @ 10:34 am

I had the pleasure of attending TEDx at Caltech on January 14th to hear thirty science and technology presentations — on the big stage at Beckman Auditorium on Caltech’s campus here in Pasadena.  Some of the talks were pretty heavy science, and I don’t have any quantum physics under my belt, but I was able to come away with an understanding of the concepts anyway.

I registered with the hope that I’d hear things to lead me in new directions and explore new technologies, and the presentations didn’t disappoint.  Some of the most interesting talks were about engineering DNA codes — to treat cancer (Mark Davis), create bacteria that make carbon nanotube batteries (Angela Belcher), or even create new life forms (Craig Venter).  It appears we are at the edge of a wave of breakthroughs now that we’ve cracked the genome.  People are starting to apply that knowledge to new treatments and new solutions.  Craig Venter’s talk was very interesting – especially at the 16:00 mark onward, where he describes applications for synthetic genomics – from targeted treatments for HIV, to creating new algae that will eat carbon dioxide and create fuels we can use at the pump.  It’s a little scary, but wow.

The talk about The Worldwide Telescope was pretty cool if you haven’t seen it.  It’s a 3D interactive tour of the universe.  I think 3D interfaces are going to proliferate.  Pamela Bjorkman talked about visualizing and engineering new anti-HIV agents.  Overall, it was a pretty cool event, and Caltech President Jean-Lou Chameau pulled off a triumph hosting this at the school.  The theme was remembering Richard Feynman, a physicist and professor who was able to make physics entertaining and approachable.  Microsoft has put Feynman’s lectures online recently.

I think all of the talks will be posted at www.caltech.edu in a few months.  I hope these scientists have good funding and good PR because they are poised to change everything.

-By Lawren Markle

January 25, 2011

Innovation vs. Invention

Filed under: Philip Anast,Technology Industry — techimage @ 4:15 pm

Chicago Innovation Awards co-founder Tom Kuczmarski writes about innovation trumping invention in his most recent Bloomberg Businessweek column. In a very cogent and simple way, he delineates the differences between invention and innovation, and urges governments and the private sector to support innovators, the true harbingers of change and economic growth in society. His approach got me thinking about Tech Image’s own public relations methodology for helping technology companies reach audiences and differentiate themselves in the marketplace. While it’s easy to talk about technology for technology’s sake and the cool features that often accompany new hardware, software or services, a PR practitioner worth her mettle illustrates the ways in which a technology helps people – be it through greater productivity, creativity, security, job fulfillment or an enriching life.

Kuczmarksi writes, “Spending time at the front end on what the marketplace needs, rather than trying to build a slick marketing campaign around a nifty invention that nobody cares about, is such a certain way to succeed that a business plan can include the guarantee of new revenue streams courtesy of innovation.”

A company considering PR to further its goals should keep this in mind when engaging a PR firm. The PR experts should be talking from the perspective of a constituent and underscoring the benefits derived from a product or service, rather than telling the company’s story strictly in the organization’s own lingo or from its point of view.  If they aren’t, then such an approach should give the company pause about engaging with that firm.

– By Philip Anast

January 7, 2011

Strategic Thinking

Filed under: B2B,Philip Anast,Technology Industry — techimage @ 9:04 am
Tags: ,

Consulting guru McKinsey & Company gives large and small companies alike food for thought in 2011 on whether one’s strategy is passing the test of time

Taking its 10 tests can drive dialogue and debate, two healthy and necessary activities for any organization that seeks to grow and manage competitive threats.

— by Philip Anast

December 23, 2010

20 Things That Will Become Obsolete This Decade

Filed under: Kevin Johnson,Social Media,Technology Industry — techimage @ 4:42 pm

I’m not a real big fan of the Puffington Host (hat tip: James Taranto), but this is an excellent compilation.   Can you even imagine what will become obsolete next decade when we are reading something similar in 2020?  Wow.

20 Things That Will Become Obsolete This Decade
Courtesy of The Huffington Post

Kevin Johnson

December 21, 2010

Predicting a Happy Tech Year for 2011

Filed under: B2B,Technology Industry,Tim Boivin — techimage @ 9:50 am

“Computers in the future will weigh no more than 1.5 tons.”
-Popular Mechanics, forecasting advance of science, 1949

“I have traveled the length and breadth of this country and talked with the best people, and I can assure you that data processing is a fad that won’t last out the year.”
-Anonymous Editor for Prentice Hall, 1957

“There is no reason why anyone would want to have a computer in their home.”
-Ken Olson, president, chairman and founder of Digital Equipment Corp, 1977

“The Chicago Cubs will win the World Series in 2011.”
-Kevin Johnson, Tech Image, 2010

One of these days (…years? …decades? …centuries?), Kevin’s going to be right.

That must be it.  That must be why people continue to insist on making predictions, especially around the New Year.  As usual, here at Tech Image we have been bombarded with the thoughts of technology experts heading into 2011 but I thought the blog Technobable 2.0 did a nice job of compiling the thoughts on the future of technology from several places.  And Laurie McCabe takes her usual insightful look at the top 10 SMB technologies as well.

I hope you find these predictions interesting and enjoyable.  It will also be handy place for you to check up on how they fared with their predictions at the end of 2011.

Happy Holidays and a Happy New Year from Tech Image.

— by Tim Boivin

February 19, 2010

What Kevin Smith Means for the Future of PR

Now I am probably one of the last people to keep up on E! News and all things TMC, but I have actually heard about the larger gentleman that got booted from the Southwest Airlines flight because he wasn’t supposedly fitting into his seat properly. And of course, low and behold it was Kevin Smith, director of Chasing Amy and Clerks among others.

 

I stumbled upon this highly tweeted cnet article today entitled “What Kevin Smith Means for the Future of PR” and found it interesting. Why you ask? Because it goes to show how Twitter and other forms of social media tools are allowing everyone, not just that symbolic NY Times reporter, to become a news teller and spread the word more virally than even CNN can.

 

Here’s an expert from the article by Caroline McCarthy:

“This may be the best example we've seen yet of how Twitter and other forms of new-media mass communication are shaping that old industry known as public relations. Nobody walks around with a Twitter follower count or blog URL painted on his or her forehead, and many extremely popular bloggers still live in relative physical anonymity, which means that the customer relations business is like a game of Minesweeper—you can never be sure what might blow up in your face.”

So what are your thoughts on this story?

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