The secret problem with the Sony Playstation-3 as a Blu-Ray player..
In my new reinvented media center, I have things well configured at this point, with a 40" Sony LCD TV, a Philips Soundbar simulated surround sound Dolby speaker set, a super-slick all-region, PAL + NTSC Toshiba DVD player (bought on ahem the grey market) and a Sony Playstation-3 as the HD video player with its built-in Blu-Ray capability.
Except there's one fly in the ointment, one problem with the Sony PS3 that really amazes me and makes me wonder how they ever shipped the device in the first place: it runs way too hot and when its internal fan kicks in, the background noise is so high that I can no longer hear the movie I'm watching without jumping up the volume quite a bit.
I bought a Nyko Intercooler third-party cooling assembly that snap onto the PS3 (funny that those are in the market at all. Speaks volumes of the pervasiveness of this design flaw from Sony) but that's noisy too, so while it ostensibly helps, I still have a background whine from multiple fans that is similar to the background noise in the airport terminal when a jet taxis off to the runway. (I kid you not)
So my question: how many people have encountered this problem with the Playstation-3 and have suddenly realized that it cannot, in fact, be a busy component in a media center because of the ambient noise problem?
Me? I'm drooling over the LG BH200 HD player. Full support for Blu-Ray and HD-DVD. LG? You listening? You can send one to our offices and I promise we'll review it and write about it. :-)
What is it with all these stupid Facebook apps?
Maybe I'm just in a curmudgeonly mood or something, but every time I log in to Facebook there's yet another daft invitation from someone to sign up for some idiotic widget or app or another.
From vampires and hurled sheep to circles of friends, super friends, movie favorites and super walls, I am finding that I spend a not insignificant percentage of my time rejecting these impassioned invites to be more intimately intertwined with my Facebook pals.
It's not like there are a dozen that everyone uses, either. According to the Facebook applications area, there are now 9493 applications I can hook up with and then pester my erstwhile friends to join.
Is it just me, or are you getting sick of this Facebook graffiti and pollution too?
How do I raise money for my startup?
In an ongoing discussion on a great entrepreneurs mailing list I'm involved with, a member has begun talking about his desire to raise some serious capital to grow his business faster. In response, another member challenged him to write an "action plan" to detail what he was going to do so his business would evolve from its current nascent state. That's not enough, however, and here's what I wrote in response...
Actually, as someone who consults with investors and companies raising capital, I will say that what you need, and what any entrepreneur needs isn't an action plan, but a business plan. You need to really flesh out the business opportunity, not the idea. Your business (Painted Snapshot), as a business, would need to have a quantified marketing plan, partners, affiliates, staff, a scalable backend, a method for identifying, qualifying and training additional artists (if needed), and a projected profit and loss statement with an emphasis on costs. Worry about 12 months, not years out, but you have to be able to show unequivocally that it is a lucrative, scalable business.
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Should you include degrees on your business card?
In my morning wave of email was this query from my friend Rob McNealy of Startup Story Radio, via LinkedIn Questions: "Do you think it is cheesy to put MBA on your business cards and in your online profiles? I am a recovering MBA. I have never put the letters MBA after my name or on my business cards. However, lately I have been seeing more and more people putting their MBA's in their profiles. Is the MBA making a comeback?"
I've thought about this on and off too, as I also have an MBA and an Masters Degree in Education. I think it would look pretty spiffy to have Dave Taylor, MSEd, MBA on my business card, but I think the issue is whether it's right for your target community or not.
In some of the communities I'm in, having those initials would be clearly pretentious and I think detrimental to the intent of my card reminding people of me later, when they're cleaning out their briefcase / wallet / purse. If I were more in academic circles, however, then I would definitely include these credentials, just as if I were in the healthcare industry I'd list other certifications too (did you know I was a certified Reiki master, for example? Not really relevant to blogging, is it?)
Let's open this up, however. Do you have credentials, initials, degrees on your business card or in your email signature? Or do you eschew it all?
By the way, I've written about business card design in the past, if you're curious about my thoughts regarding best practices in this area.
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Word of Mouth Marketing to be $10 gadzillion segment by 2047!
I love these inane marketing forecasts, and can't resist commenting on one that made it into my mailbox this morning. Entitled "Word of Mouth marketing Forecast", it came to me from PR firm Keller Fay Group.
The best line:
"The Word of Mouth Marketing Forecast 2007-2011, by PQ Media, pegs spending on word of mouth at $1.3 billion in 2007, representing growth of 37.7% over the previous year. The outlook for the future forecasts growth at a compound growth rate of more than 30%, which would bring spending on word of mouth marketing to $3.7 billion by 2011."Let's project this out a bit...
If I'm doing my math right, 1.3 billion in 2007 with a 30% compounded annual growth rate means it'd be 1.69b in 2008, 2.19b in 2009, 2.86b in 2010, 3.71b in 2011 and...$51.2 billion in 2020.
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Social networking cartoon of the day: Penny Arcade
I've long since been a fan of Penny Arcade for their unabashed and no-holds-barred take on the gaming industry, but they're just darn smart guys about everything. Like this:
So how high up your friend's list am I anyway? :-)
Why I've stopped including ads on this blog
For those of you who actually come to my site and read my popular Intuitive Life Business Blog, you are quite familiar with the ubiquitious Google AdSense block that has been a feature of the layout and design for years. It has paid off, approx $300/month or so, but after talking with many smart bloggers at Blogworld Expo in Vegas, I came to the conclusion that the small revenue stream was not worth the cost.
What cost? Well, let's talk about that for a sec...
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The Angel Capital Summit was a smashing success!
If you're a startup looking to raise money or an angel investor trying to figure out how to get a bead on the next new -- hot -- startup, you already know that there's a high level of inefficiency in the marketplace. The need for a "match.com for startups" is obvious, for example, yet the attempts I've seen haven't worked. And so startup founders end up typically scraping by with 'friends and family' money and a few barely sophisticated investors who can't really help the company grow anyway.
Enter Kevin Johansen and the amazingly robust angel and entrepreneurial community here in Colorado. Kevin's the head of the Business Catapult and a guy who likes to stir the pot and see what happens. This time he worked with the Rockies Venture Club, host of the event, helping a sterling lineup of entrepreneurial groups pool their resources so we could create the Angel Capital Summit last week.
I was privileged to be a media sponsor through my AskDaveTaylor.com site, fair disclosure, but I would have attended - and written about it - regardless. There were some dynamite companies presenting, and I'm glad to give you the low-down on some of the most interesting...
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Incredible Management Discord at Hershey's Corp: Entire Board Resigns?
For a company that makes iconic American chocolate and has a town in Pennsylvania named after it, Hershey's Corporation (NYSE: HSY) sure has some interesting problems. You'd think that a confectionary firm would be sweet but things couldn't be further from the truth.
As the Wall Street Journal is reporting, six of the ten corporate directors at Hershey Corp. were asked to resign by the charitable trust that runs the firm and two more directors quit in a show of solidarity (and probably some level of disgust too). Only two survived the bloodbath...
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New Wal-Mart design looks more like Whole Foods...
Wal-Mart is introducing a new format of store in Highland Village, Texas this week and you really need to check out the photographs of how they've designed it. If you're used to tired, dirty midwestern Wal-Marts that were opened when Sam Walton was around, you'll be blown away by what they're doing with this new store.
According to Retailing Today [PDF], the new store format includes:
I have some additional pictures for you to enjoy...
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Who killed BusinessWeek magazine?
This might well demonstrate just how far behind I am in my print publication consumption, but yesterday I finally cracked open one of the newly redesigned BusinessWeek issues and, oh man, they've mangled the publication with its redesign!
Haven't seen the new "retro" look yet? Go to a local newsstand and see just how much difference a serif can make: the old publication used a nice standard sans-serif face (Helvetica) and had a traditional magazine layout, but now the magazine's switched to an "online inspired" design and dropped those pesky serifs. The new headline typeface? Berthold’s Akzidenz Grotesk. I can only say "grotesque" is apt. (To be fair, it's a lovely typeface, clean, open and light, but way overused in the BusinessWeek redesign)
In case it's not clear, my opinion: The redesign is terrible. Terrible enough that I'm probably going to drop my subscription after, what, ten years of receiving the magazine...
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I've joined the Twitter generation, God help me
Ready to learn everything you can about my going's on and what I'm involved with? Are you a member of Twitter already?
Either way, I'm now on Twitter and am going to experiment with it while I'm at Blogworld Expo this week. Want to join the fun? Follow me at:
and do share in a few days whether it's interesting to have information at that level of detail about my going's on!
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Here's what you're missing if you aren't joining me at Blogworld Expo!
Four days to go and as co-organizer of the conference, I can tell you that not only do we have a dynamite lineup of speakers and an exhibit hall full of key vendors and interesting new startups in the blogging and new media space, but we have some rockin' evening events too.
To start, I'll confirm the rumor that Mark Cuban is in! He'll be delivering one of our keynote sessions and I can't wait to introduce him (I just don't want to dance with him). Like Ted Turner and Richard Branson, Mark's another of those larger than life people, and whatever he says, I'm sure it'll be exciting and darn interesting.
If I can name drop, how about a few more of our speakers? Leo Laporte will be talking about podcasting, Matt Mullenweg from WordPress will be talking about the future of blogging, Mike Arrington of TechCrunch will be, well, who knows what he'll talk about :-), Om Malik of GigaOm will be talking about the cult of blogging, and in the political corner we'll have Glenn Reynolds from Instapundit, John Hinderaker of Powerline, Matt Burden of BlackFive and sports blogger Will Leitch of Deadspin, among many, many great speakers!
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Memo to Borders: Test for zero value on promotional mailings
I don't know what to say to the marketing team at Borders other than that they really, really need to test their mailing database extraction rules before they send out a major announcement. Maybe it's just me, but this doesn't motivate me to go to the store:
In case you can't see it, the promotional mailing enthusiastically crows "Redeem your Borders Bucks Now You've Earned It!" and then goes on to tell me that my balance is a thrilling $0.00.
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Audio: Blogging as part of your media plan
Spent an interesting hour on the phone with publicity guru Joan Stewart, of PublicityHound.com talking about how blogging and podcasting can be a part of your media plan, and am glad to be able to make the audio available for your listening pleasure. The overall program is entitled How to Create a Media Plan for 2008 and the speaker on the call before me was my good friend Don Crowther -- you'll hear him mentioned a couple of times on the call.
Sorry for the tiny player, but here's the audio content for your listening pleasure (after the jump)...
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