Industry Reshapes as 10% of Dell Employees Axed
Dell has had a fair amount of news coming out of Texas recently, but today's missive, their preliminary earnings report for this quarter, has a whopper in it:
"Initiated a comprehensive review of costs across all processes and organizations from product development and procurement through service and support delivery with the goal to simplify structure, eliminate redundancies and better align operating expenses with the current business environment and strategic growth opportunities. As a part of this overall effort, Dell will reduce headcount by approximately 10 percent over the next 12 months. The reductions will vary across geographic regions, customer segments, and functions, and will reflect business considerations as well as local legal requirements."
In case you haven't kept track of Dell (Nasdaq: DELL), it currently employes 65,200 people [ref]. That means that over 6,500 employees of Dell are going to be polishing their résumés starting tomorrow morning...
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Why Executives Shouldn't Blog: Julie Roehm and Wal-Mart
I've been following the rather appalling story of former Wal-Mart marketing executive Julie Roehm, who was fired for "having an improper romantic relationship with a subordinate, accepting gifts from suppliers and misusing her company expense account" [ref: Walmart Fires Roehm]
In her own defense, Roehm has now countersued Wal-Mart -- surprise, surprise -- accusing Chief Executive H. Lee Scott Jr. and other top executives of "accepting sweetheart deals, travel and concert tickets from suppliers and engaging in improper relationships." [ref: Roehm Countersues]
But what would it have looked like if they both blogged? I kind of envision it going like this...
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You could be the Next Internet Millionaire with Joel Comm
My friend and colleague Joel Comm has been on the cutting edge of Internet marketing for a long time -- and sometimes a bit over the edge! -- but his new idea about an Internet marketing reality show is a great one. Called The Next Internet Millionaire, it's modeled after Survivor and The Apprentice, among other reality TV shows.
He's still accepting audition videos from potential contestants if you think it'd be fun. I know I'll have fun: I'm a celebrity judge so I'm perhaps just a bit biased.
Joel recently answered some of my questions about the program and here's his Q&A.
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Memo to Entrepreneurs: Advertising isn't a strong business model
I am proud to be a mentor for the Colorado TechStars program, and this evening we had our first mixer, a typical geeky mixup with poor acoustics and a male:female ratio of about 30:1. The mix was young entrepreneurs who won the TechStars competition and are now seed funded through the summer (along with gaining access to an array of very sharp advisors and mentors), the mentors, and other folk in the community who are focused on startups and business development.
A nice group and it was a good opportunity to both visit with some of my Denver-based friends and meet the young turks who are hopefully going to be building the next YouTube or Flickr in our proverbial garage.
Except for one glaring problem...
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How Newspapers Stay Relevant: Comments!
I'm about as far into the world of blogging as you can get, with over 170 feeds in my news reader (which as of a week ago is now Google Reader, btw) and three active blogs of my own, but I still read the newspaper. I was reading three papers (albeit online) on a daily basis, but recently stopped reading the New York Times as it felt too redundant with the other two: the local Daily Camera and the Wall Street Journal.
I have quite a few other newsfeeds in my RSS reader, including the BBC and Reuters, but those are the two newspapers that I check every day, along with Google News, a smart news aggregator. Why those? Because I believe that it's very important to keep up with local, business, and world news.
And yet, aren't newspapers becoming irrelevant? Well, surprisingly, no. The local paper, the Daily Camera, has figured out the secret to staying relevant and it offers something that no local Boulder Colorado citizen blogger could offer...
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MBA Homework: how would you lay off your team?
I received an thought-provoking query from a graduate student at my alma mater, Purdue (where I earned my Masters in Education) that I thought would be interesting to discuss here on my blog and especially to open up for your thoughts:
"The scenario for our assignment is as follows: I am a VP of a major company. Said company gives me a list with 60 names of non-managerial positions (making up about 10% of "my" employees). These people will not have a job in 6 months. We are told June 1st, and thus no more positions as of January 1st.
"I need to write a paper telling exactly what date I would tell my employees, and reasons for why I chose the date."
There's more to the situation than this simplistic scenario, but it's a good jumping off point. Here's how I would handle this situation...
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The problem with phishing: is that email real?
Over on my Ask Dave Taylor blog, I have an area where people can ask questions and, if they're dying for an answer, pay for a "priority answer". In practice, it's a $99 payment via PayPal to ensure that I'll respond within 24-48 hours or their money cheerfully refunded.
This afternoon, however, someone ostensibly came to the site, submitted a question, paid the fee and then about twenty minutes later filed an "unauthorized transaction" report with PayPal, which froze the transaction. The notice I received said "Recently, PayPal received a notification from a user regarding unauthorized access to his PayPal account. As a result, one of the payments credited to your PayPal account has been placed in a temporary hold while we investigate the claim."
Problem was, it was almost impossible for me to tell if it was real or a savvy phishing attempt.
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Of 1Passwd Mac password management and software evolution
I've been jealous of my Windows friends running Roboform for a long time, so when I first bumped into 1Passwd and started to use it, I was delighted. A lightweight, secure password storage utility that let me easily switch between Safari and Firefox on my Mac with nary a glitch? Excellent!
In the last few weeks, however, I was a bit dismayed to find out that the developer, Roustem Karimov, had completely changed his license scheme and actually forced me to reregister the software and get a completely different kind of registration key: a JPEG graphic with the reg data embedded in the comments (see right).
Curious what had prompted this change, I sent off some questions to Roustem and received back the following interesting information from him...
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Learn Internet marketing the smart way with StomperNet
First off, a disclosure: I'm a StomperNet faculty member. That means that I produce videos and audio material for our resource library, do one-on-one and group webinar coaching calls and participate actively in the online forums. In addition, we produce four in-person live conferences each year and I speak at them (unless, like last time, I was on a cruise to Mexico!) The main reason I'm involved with this group is because I'm learning a ton both from the other faculty and the Stompernet members (hundreds of 'em) and enjoy the convivial atmosphere of the community. Most importantly, every week I gain new insight into how to grow my own online business efficiently.
If you're a long-time reader of my blog, you know that while I've been involved with the Internet for almost thirty years, I've only been involved in the world of Internet marketing and seminars for about 18 months. During that time I've experienced both the best and the worst. I've sat through 90 minute presentations that were 20 minutes of mediocre content and 70 minutes of breathless hype and pitching / selling products that I felt were astonishingly overpriced. On the other hand, I've also sat through talks of the same length that were 85 minutes of excellent content, well presented, and a few minutes of how you can learn more and engage with them if appropriate.
The fact that I am involved with Stompernet is a strong testament to the overall value of organization, and should assure you that becoming part of our entrepreneurial community, even if just for a few months, will be a major step towards achieving your own business and personal success goals.
The problem has been that Stompernet has been closed to new members for months.
Until today. Today, for the first time in quite a while, you can join me in StomperNet. Even better, we're running a $1.00 "sampler" membership, which I explain later in this posting, so you can even dip your toe into the water before you jump in and join us!
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CWRU Professor seeks unaccredited angel investors
Have you directly invested in very early stage startup companies in the past? At the time, did you have a net worth of under a million dollars and earn less than $200,000 annually?
If so, Dr. Scott Shane, Professor of Entrepreneurial Studies at Case Western Reserve University, is looking to interview you for a new book he's working on that aims to debunk many of the myths of angel investors and angel investing.
Here's an email message he sent me describing his project and what he seeks: If you'd like to contact him and possibly help with the book, you'll also find his email address below too.
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