Mountain Views News     Logo: MVNews     Saturday, December 29, 2012

MVNews this week:  Page 14



 Mountain Views News Saturday, December 29, 2012 


The latest on Business News, Trends and Techniques


By La Quetta M. Shamblee, MBA

There has been a lot written about what constitutes 
the ‘Best/Worst’ of 2012 where technology is concerned. 
Here are a few from Doug Gross of CNN: 

Facebook's IPO


Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg in New York 
before his company's initial public offering.


Everybody uses Facebook. And everybody likes 
to make money. So everybody's going to gobble 
up Facebook stock, right?


So went the conventional thinking -- at least 
among those of us who spend more time thinking 
about mobile phones than mutual funds. But 
on Wall Street? Not so much.


It's hard to remember a stock opening more 
hyped than Facebook's when it hit the market in 
May. The stock began the day worth about $38. 
Then, after what everyone predicted to be a dynamic 
day of trading for the social media superstar, 
it closed at ... well ... about $38.


It wouldn't take long for the pinstripe-suit types 
to decide it wasn't even worth that. Facebook's 
stock bottomed out in September, falling below 
$18. Since then, it's been steadily rebounding and 
currently sells for about $28.


Facebook says it has solid financial plans for the 
future. And the stock may well keep climbing, 
eventually turning a profit for folks who bought 


But that fateful day in May will be a reminder 
that Wall Street and Silicon Valley don't always 
play well together.




When the man who created Napster and helped 
launch Facebook talks, the tech industry listens.


And when Sean Parker and partner Shawn Fanning 
tease something new called Airtime, techies 
fall all over themselves to see what the next great 
innovation will be.


But then, at a fancy launch event featuring celebrities 
such as Alicia Keys and Snoop Dogg, 
Parker announces that it's ... basically, a random 
Web chat tool.


Cue the collective, "Huh?"


It didn't help that, at that fancy event, Airtime 
crashed over and over again. Or that folks had a 
hard time seeing how it would be different than 
Chatroulette (although Parker promised more 
users would actually be wearing pants).


In October, Parker admitted that Airtme, 
launched with more than $33 million in backing, 
had just 10,000 active users. (That's $3,300 spent 
per user, if you're scoring along at home.)


"Running a startup is like eating glass," he said 
at the All Things D conference. "You just start to 
like the taste of your own blood."




Online coupons


"These aren't your grandma's coupons!" the digital 
generation so brashly declared.


With their mobile apps and irreverent style, daily-
deal offerings such as Groupon and Living Social 
were all the rage as 2012 dawned.


Now? Um, not so much.


Groupon, perhaps the best-known player in the 
field, watched its value plummet 79% in 2012. Its 
stock value dropped about three-quarters since 
opening in November 2011 as high-profile investors 
washed their hands of it.


And this is the company Google reportedly tried 
to buy for $6 billion in 2010.


LivingSocial, meanwhile, announced last month 
it was laying off 400 people. That's after announcing 
months of revenue losses.


So what happened? Inbox fatigue made some users 
stop checking the deals. A glut of offers you 
don't care about (pottery classes?) can make your 
eyes glaze over. And some businesses quit making 
offers, saying they never saw the promised 
returns on their investment.


Nexus Q


When Google gets something right, they get it really, 
really right.


Redefining Web search? Yep. World's leading 
mobile system? Check. A car that drives itself? 


But some of the Big G's outings in the gadget 
world have hit with a thud. Enter ... the Nexus Q.


The size and shape of a Magic Eight Ball, the 
Nexus Q is (or was ... it's hard to say) a media 
streamer that uses Android to play audio and 
video. It's also made in the United States, no 
small thing in a world where virtually all gadgets 
come from China.


Unfortunately, in the grand tradition of Google 
Wave, nobody really knew what it was when it 
was released in June. Its release date was pushed 
back and, eventually, Google just gave everybody 
who pre-ordered a free one.


The Q has not officially been canned. But on 
Google's online store, the never-released gadget 
is listed as "not available at this time."


Stop Online Piracy Act

People protest the proposed Stop Online Piracy 
Act outside lawmakers' offices in January in New 


The new law was supposed to be about fighting 
online piracy. Who's going to be against that, 


Answer: Pretty much the whole Internet.


Members of Congress sponsored the Stop Online 
Piracy Act, or SOPA, and related bills to make it 
easier to shut down websites that illegally share 
music, movies and other content.


But opponents argued it went too far and could 
end up shutting down legitimate sites while stifling 
free expression in the process.


Unfortunately for backers of SOPA, Web heavyweights 
such as Google, Facebook, Reddit and 
Wikipedia joined the fight against the bill. Sites 
went black on January 18 to raise awareness. 
Members of communities such as Reddit put 
intense pressure on lawmakers (including soon-
to-be GOP vice presidential nominee Paul Ryan) 
until they dropped their support or went on record 
opposing the bill.


The unprecedented backlash eventually caused 
supporters to shelve SOPA, and quite possibly 
ushered in a new age of Web activism.


Are you satisfied with what you have been able to accomplish with your business during the past 
year? Twelve months ago when you envisioned what was ahead, certainly you envisioned where 
you’d like to be with your business. Now is an ideal time to review your progress and develop a major 
gameplan for the next twelve months.

A review of your most recent annual plan is the first step. Did you reach your goals? If yes, pat 
yourself on the back. Congratulations are still in order if you took steps to make progress that was 
meaningful and measurable. It is important to pinpoint where you are now in relation to those goals, 
then recommit to the ones that remain relevant to your business success. It is equally important to 
eliminate goals from the list that are no longer relevant to what you want or what you’re willing to do.

Win or lose, after every professional sports competition everyone with some significant role 
participates in some type of review process. Whether it is an individual or team sport, athletes 
understand the importance of taking a look at what they did, and how they did it throughout the 
game. It always begins with the post-competition reflection that happens immediately following the 

Coaches and player alike are bombarded with questions about the game before they can even leave 
the venue where the game was played. You can conduct the same type of “on the spot” interview with 
yourself to reflect on your performance as an entrepreneur. How do you feel about how you executed 
your plan? What did you do well? What can you do better? Are you satisfied with the outcome?

In the area of finances, how did you do? For the year, how were sales? When were they highest? 
What is the profit for the year? Do you need to upgrade your accounting system or update your 
records to answer these fundamental questions? 

How do you think you did in other areas like staffing, inventory, marketing, etc.

The next step in the process is typically a more formal, structured review that includes all primary 
stakeholders. In sports, this usually entails a review of footage from the game, which allow the 
participants to isolate specific plays and moves, rewinding and freezing frames. It allows for 
meaningful discussion about ways to improve the next performance. By the same token, as a 
business owner, you should schedule time to conduct a thorough review of each major aspect of 
your business, asking more indepth questions. 

You can start by answering three questions for each major area of your business operations. What 
did I feel good about? What will make it better? What am I willing to do to correct or improve in 
this area? This seemingly simple process will provide valuable information to help you set the stage 
for a better, stronger business over the next twelve months. 


People tend to “like” Facebook pages and follow 
tweets that keep them informed and entertained. 
Businesses that share trending, interesting news 
relevant to their target audience tend to have a 
stronger following on social media. If you keep 
this in mind, then coming up with the right 
content for your audience is a lot easier.

Creating content can be a time consuming and 
difficult task for some, but providing and sharing 
information that your audience will eat up is easy. 
You don’t always have to come up with original 
content. Sometimes, sharing relevant news or 
an interesting blog that someone else wrote is 
enough to help you build a strong social media 

Google Alerts is a handy tool that will help you 
find good material. It allows you to monitor the 
web for specific content. For example, let’s say 
you own a fitness studio. You might position your 
Facebook page to be a source of trending news 
about health, fitness and nutrition. You could 
either write your own articles or share some 
content that Google Alerts found for you.

Although my brother and I write a lot of our 
own material, we recently added a “news room” 
feature to our Facebook’s page (www.facebook.
com/hutdogs). It basically crawls the web for 
trending news stories in our industry. Not only 
has it helped us build 500 more “likes,” it also 
provides us with great “sharable” content. It’s 
given people a reason to “Like” our page because 
there is something in it for them…trending, 
informative news.

If your social media needs a boost this year, try 
positioning your sites as a source for trending 
news in your specific area. The news you provide 
will depend on they type of business you have. 
For example, if you sell shoes, you might provide 
trending fashion news or information from 
podiatrists, etc. 

About MJ: MJ and her brother David own HUTdogs, 
a creative services business that specializes in Internet 
Marketing strategies and Social Media Education for 
businesses and non-profits. In 2012, they delivered 
50 complimentary presentations on Social Media and 
email marketing to over 1,725 attendees. Join their 
conversation on Facebook and get good tips and tricks 
about social media, 
Sign up for their upcoming classes and presentations 

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