Posts Tagged ‘Raleigh’
Thursday, April 4th, 2013
How do Enterprises make decisions about where to locate their data centers and what drives their growing need for them?
Facebook’s air-cooled data center in Forest City, NC.
A new study of the data center industry commissioned by Compass Datacenters has identified a number of emerging factors that are shaping the data center strategies of enterprise companies in the United States.
The study also projects a strong wave of new data center construction in 2013 and 2014. The research was conducted by the respected research firm Campos Research, which surveyed senior decision makers who steer the data center strategies at 150 U.S. companies with annual revenues of $250 million or more.
Key findings from the study include the following:
- 87% of companies will build a data center in next 12-24 months. This represents an acceleration of the trend, with 63% reporting that they completed data center projects in the last 12 months.
- 71% of companies ranked new applications as the primary reason for needing expanded data center infrastructure—making it the most often-cited driver for data center expansions in 2013 and 2014.
- Three-quarters of companies reported that they plan to support a combination of new applications, virtualization, Big Data, and Private Cloud with their new data centers—showing a variety of needs behind the expansions.
- 97% of companies are seeking to locate their new data centers less than 30 miles from their headquarters or major operations center—making geographic proximity a chief consideration in upcoming data center projects.
Here at the TechJournal, we’ve noted that data center construction barely stalled even during the deepest part of the recession. In North Carolina, where we are headquartered, both Google and Facebook have built data centers and regional data center firms such as Peak 10 have steadily expanded their footprint.
The Compass data center in Raleigh, NC. The company is also constructing a data center in Durham, NC. Other regional data center firms such as Peak 10, have also expanded their footprint substantially in the last few years.
Chris Crosby , CEO of Compass Datacenters, said, ”Our team has worked with Campos for several years, and they have an uncanny ability to identify emerging trends before they reach critical mass and transform the data center industry.
“Their past research was prescient in identifying energy efficiency, wholesale data centers and modular design as important emerging issues well before they gathered steam and were broadly acknowledged as major trends. This new study identifies geographic proximity as a key consideration for the projects that companies are currently planning, and that has the potential to change the landscape of the data center industry, both figuratively and literally.”
He added, “In the past, companies based outside of major data center markets had to sacrifice proximity when it came to the location of their data centers. They had little choice but to put their data center in one of the handful of markets, often placing those IT assets far from the companies’ HQ or major operations center.
“Not only did that increase costs and risk, but it also was inherently inefficient from a long-term operations perspective. This new study makes it clear that enterprises don’t want to make that compromise any more, and that has huge ramifications for data center providers.”
Following are additional findings from the study:
- Companies who are planning to build in the next 12 months are planning to add an average of 2 facilities. That average increases to 3.5 when the timeframe is expanded to 24 months.
- The companies who participated in the study currently have an average of 3 data centers. 25% reported that they currently have 5 or more data centers.
- 96% of companies reported that the size of their data centers will be 20,000 square feet or less.
- CIOs were identified as the primary executive who determines need for data center expansion. CIOs were cited by 37% of companies as the person who approves the project, with 24% reporting that the final decision is made by the CEO. 44% of companies described CIOs as having the most influence on the purchasing decision with 19% saying that the CEO now has the greatest influence.
- The most common process for beginning a project is to set the requirements and then look for providers as a second step in the process (71% of respondents).
- The most important factors cited in the selection process for a provider is Service Level. Green strategy was the lowest-ranked selection factor.
- 75% of companies will evaluate 3 providers as part of their selection process.
- Only 44% of companies said that they would consider building the data center themselves, indicating that “do-it-yourself” is declining.
For more findings from this study and analysis from Compass Datacenters, visit http://www.compassdatacenters.com/compass-university/.
Thursday, February 28th, 2013
You can make connections with 50 high growth technology companies from the Southeast and Mid-Atlantic as they present to hundreds of executives from the region’s innovation, entrepreneurial and venture communities at the Southeast Venture Conference March 13-14th at the Ritz-Carlton Charlotte, North Carolina.
In addition to presenting companies and hours of executive networking – the conference will feature a speaker line up inlcuding SAP CEO Bill McDermott, dozens of leading venture capital investors from groups like Advanced Technology Ventures, Intel Capital and Edison Ventures; industry insiders like Forbes publisher Rich Karlgaard and policy makers such as North Carolina Governor Pat McCrory.
This year’s confirmed presenting company line-up includes:
- addshoppers - Charlotte, NC
- AirSage - Atlanta, GA
- avidxchange - Charlotte, NC
- Badgy - Atlanta, GA
- blue nano - Charlotte, NC
- BoomTown - Charleston, SC
- BrightContext - Arlington, VA
- Bronto - Charlotte, NC
- Buystand - Durham, NC
- Campaign.io - Charlotte, NC
- CanDiag - Waxhaw, NC
- Clearleap - Duluth, GA
- dealcloud - Charlotte, NC
- deja mi - Raleigh, NC
- Digitalsmiths - Durham, NC
- Distil - Arlington, VA
- Entigral - Raleigh, NC
- Fitsistant - Durham, NC
- flomio - Miami, Florida
- Fotopigeon - Tampa, Florida
- Freebeepay - Atlanta, GA
- gematouch - Raleigh, NC
- Hinge - Washington, DC
- HireIQ - Atlanta, GA
- infina connect - Cary, NC
- Koupon Media - Frisco, TX
- nContact - Morrisville, NC
- Nextinput - Atlanta, GA
- PatientPay - Durham, NC
- PopUp - Raleigh, NC
- Punch Technologies - Charlotte, NC
- Respirion - Winston Salem, NC
- ReverbNation - Durham, NC
- Savveo - Charlotte, NC
- Sensory Analytics - Greensboro, NC
- Smart Sky Networks - Charlotte, NC
- Sweet Relish - Charlotte, NC
- t1 visions - Charlotte, NC
- Tales2Go - Washington, DC
- The Targeted Group - Charlotte, NC
- umatch - Greenville, NC
- Valencell - Raleigh, NC
- veenome - Arlington, VA
- viddlz - Charlotte, NC
- WealthEngine - Bethesda, MD
- Wildfire Connections - Charlotte, NC
- Worthpoint - Atlanta, GA
The Southeast Venture Conference is headed to Charlotte, NC, in March 2013. The event offers firms a chance to present to top national venture capitalists and angel investors.
In addition to the showcase presenters and hours of networking – SEVC 2013 will feature current market relevant panel and presentation topics for investors and executive entrepreneurs. These events sell out, so register now if you plan on going.
Panel & Presentation topics include:
- State of Venture Capital
- Early Stage Fundraising
- Value Creation: Company/Investor Relationship
- Growth Stage Funding
- M&A Outlook and Strategies
- LP Viewpoint
- SaaS Investment Trends
- Getting to Market
- IPO & Secondary Market Outlook
- Entrepreneur’s Roundtable
- International Health Care Trends
Wednesday, February 20th, 2013
Even in the IT field, you have to dress for success – especially when applying for a job. Chief Information Officers (CIOs) want to hire IT professionals who are “well suited” for the job — both literally and figuratively.
According to a new Robert Half Technology survey, nearly half (46 percent) of CIOs said a business suit is the most appropriate attire for someone interviewing for an IT position.
Thirty-four percent of respondents favored khakis and a collared shirt.
Geography can influence interview attire expectations, the survey revealed: Respondents in Philadelphia and Denver were among the cities with the most traditional tastes, with58 percent and 51 percent, respectively, citing business suits as the outfit of choice for IT job candidates.
CIOs in Raleigh, N.C., and San Francisco were less formal in their expectations, with only 36 percent and 37 percent, respectively, preferring formal interview attire.
The national survey was developed by Robert Half Technology, a leading provider of information technology professionals on a project and full-time basis, and conducted by an independent research firm. The survey is based on more than 2,300 telephone interviews with CIOs from a random sample of U.S. companies in 23 major metro areas with 100 or more employees.
CIOs were asked, “Which of the following, in your opinion, is the most appropriate interview attire for someone interviewing for an IT job with your company?” Their responses:
|Formal business suit
|Khakis and a collared shirt
|Tailored separates (for example, a skirt and blouse)
|Jeans and a polo shirt
|Something else/don’t know
“Even in casual IT departments, hiring managers want to know that a job candidate has made an effort to look polished and professional,” said John Reed , senior executive director of Robert Half Technology. “When in doubt, it’s better to err on the conservative side than risk appearing overly casual.”
Reed added that networking before the interview can help job candidates get a sense of how to dress when meeting with a hiring manager. “Candidates should consult an insider at the firm, a recruiter or an HR representative for information about the corporate culture and how people tend to dress.”
Robert Half Technology offers these additional interview attire tips:
- Choose something comfortable. You want to look as relaxed as possible, so avoid uncomfortable clothing. If you purchase new interview attire, wear it a few times to break it in before your meeting.
- Pay attention to details. Don’t overlook the less obvious aspects of your appearance, like your shoes, socks and accessories. Make sure your outfit is free of wrinkles and stains, your hair and nails are well groomed, and your shoes are polished.
- Don’t overdo it. Ultimately, you want your experience and skills to be the focus of the interview — not your outfit. Avoid any distracting clothing or jewelry, as well as excessive perfume, cologne or makeup.
- Turn off electronic “accessories.” Make sure any mobile device you have with you is off before the meeting.
- Dress the part for a video interview. Even if your interview is via webcam, you want to look the part. Make sure you dress appropriately from head to toe and the background is free of distractions.
Friday, December 7th, 2012
By Allan Maurer
Joe Davy, CEO of Buystand, which lets buyers set a price for active lifestyle products they want to buy.
Deals, deals, deals: discounts are the byword of online shopping these days, but usually, sellers are deciding how much the discounts should be. A Durham, NC-based startup, Buystand, wants to change that.
Buystand, says CEO Joe Davy, “Is the world’s first completely buyer-driven marketplace for active lifestyle clothing, equipment and footwear.” That includes everything from boots to mountain bikes and skis.
“Originally the brainchild of Ted Kraus and commercialized by Ted Kraus and Bill Brown at 8 Rivers Capital, which Davy says “works like an incubator for ideas, going through the patent process and funding them,” Buystand launched in beta about a month ago and already has hundreds of retailers, 250 brands, and thousands of customers signed up.
Davy, who joined the company after taking a course Brown, who is managing partner at 8 Rivers, taught at Duke University Law School, presented the company’s business plan at the Startup Summit that preceded this year’s Internet Summit in Raleigh, NC in November.
Innovative companies from early stage to pre-IPO looking for funding may want to apply to present at TechMedia’s next event, The Southeast Venture Conference in Charlotte, NC, in March. SEVC is now accepting applications.
Davy explains that at Buystand retailers let the buyer tell them what they want pay for certain products. That lets retailers see what their products are worth to buyers and lets brands see what they’re worth compared to their competitors’ products.
The retailer can decide at what price it wants to sell.
Control in the hands of buyers
“It puts control back into the hands of buyers,” says Davy. “There has never been a company before that let buyers come in and say what they’re willing to pay for a physical product, although it does happen in the hotel and travel markets. We’re inventing that model for products.”
Davy says this startup differs from many others – including the last one he ran – solve “What amounts to a big problem for a small number of people. They’re building a better widget or solving a very niche problem. What we’re doing appeals to a universal desire. It’s a much better way to shop, not just for a few people, for 90 percent.”
Customers already seem to like it. “People are using this multiple times a month. They’re not only happier when they pay the price they want to pay, but it translates into them spending substantially more money,” he says.
The firm has lots of room to grow. “It’s an $83 billion market,” Davy says. “And no one else is being innovative in the space right now. A lot of people are doing daily deal sites, but those crush brand equity and undermine the future sales of retailers.”
There are plenty of places to buy used products, he notes, including eBay and Craig’s List. “Buystand is for people who want a brand new product from retailer but don’t want to pay full price,” he says.
People have adopted it quickly, he adds. “We saw traction in just a few weeks,” Davy says.
Thursday, November 1st, 2012
Dana Todd will expand on the thoughts expressed here at the Internet Summit in Raleigh, NC, Nov. 6-8.
By Allan Maurer
Nowadays, Chief Marketing Officers “Are some of the most advanced creatures on the planet,” says Dana Todd, senior vice president of marketing and business development for Performics.
Todd, a pioneer of the search marketing industry has 17 years of experience in all forms of digital marketing and is a co-founder of the Search Engine Marketing Professionals Organization.
She’ll be discussing advanced topics in search marketing at the upcoming Internet Summit in Raleigh, NC, Nov. 6-8, joining 120 other thought-leaders, technology mavens, marketing experts and up to 2,000 attendees.
Today’s problems in search marketing “Go way beyond linking strategies and SEO,” says Todd.
A more integrated view of digital marketing needed
“You have to take a more integrated view of digital. Search is still a significant portion, but tactics have to be welded together.”
At Internet Summit, she says, she’ll focus on two major themes: Providing the consumer with a richer customized experience; and helping measure the value around those experiences.
“Talk about engaging consumers and being engaging and it’s all about connecting the dots between all the elements of a campaign,” Todd says.
A richer experience in search means you’re no longer just talking about “tiny lines of text.” Both Google and Yahoo have rolled out much richer ad units, she notes. They allow consumers to view photos and videos inside of search ads.
“Marketers need to find resources to take advantage of those. That means you need more pictures, videos, and a better sense of the inventory going into product listings.”
Blending social into paid search
Social networking is also becoming a necessary and important part of the equation, she adds.
“You’re going to see a lot more blending of social into paid search,” she says. Those connections will drive people to the advertiser’s Twitter and Facebook networks. “So you cover a lot more of the decision journey, not just down the buy funnel.”
Then, when consumers see friends endorsing a company or product, “The social layer becomes a personalization layer.”
But just getting a lot of fans on Facebook or Twitter followers is “last year’s tactic.” Now, the emphasis should be on creating more in depth friendships.”
Don’t ignore Google Plus
Todd also warns advertisers and companies not to ignore Google Plus. “They’re integrating it in search,” she says.
“Think about how Google could potentially connect everything.”
They could do it through a single ID, the way Facebook does with its open graph that allows you to connect to many sites via its login. “Google is trying to get into that,” Todd says. “They can connect your actions with everything tied to your gmail and Google Plus accounts.”
A lot of unfinished business in local
Next year, Todd notes, combined mobile and tablet use is expected to exceed desktop computer use. What does that mean to advertisers? “About 40 percent of queries on a mobile device are tied to a local intent,” she says. “That means marketers need to pay a lot move attention not just to coverage but to accuracy in local and find ways to engage and delight users in that local experience.”
A quarter of all searches next year are likely to be locally focused. “That’s really big,” Todd says.
Google and Yahoo are both rolling out a number of local enhancements.
Coupon opportunity is significant
That means “The coupon opportunity is significant. You can drop an offer right into a cell phone search result and also click-to-call. But think about tracking that and what it means to you, because that’s the connection currency in mobile.”
She also thinks we’ll be seeing a lot more emphasis on remarketing. We’ve certainly noticed that in our own online shopping experiences already. If we look at a product on Tiger Direct (Comp USA) but don’t buy, they hit us again with email offers.
While Todd notes there is a great opportunity in remarketing, “It’s controversial for some advertisers. Some think it’s a little creepy to follow people with messages after they left your site. Other’s find it’s phenomenal.”
The numbers bear that out because doing so leads to a 20 percent recapture.
Advertisers can become even more sophisticated and aggressive about that now, she adds. “You can find people who visited a competitors site.”
Next, marketers have to consider measuring results, attributions, and reporting. See part two: It’s all about the data
Or, you can catch her presentation at the Internet Summit. We can tell you this: she has so much take-away information we could barely keep up with it all.
Wednesday, October 31st, 2012
While some executives may shy away from in-person networking in favor of email these days, according to a new Robert Half survey, “It shouldn’t be a substitute for more traditional approaches,” says Robert Half Management Resources President David King.
“Participating in face-to-face dialogue is still fundamental in developing successful connections, particularly for business development and hiring purposes. In-person meetings build rapport in a way that electronic communication cannot,” King says.
His firm offers these tips on getting the most from your professional networking activities:
1. Strike the right balance. Meeting in person takes more time and effort but can deliver much more value in the long run.
2. Develop relationships through meetings and referrals and then stay in touch online to keep communication lines open.
3. Don’t wait until you need something to reach out or you will weaken your ties to your network. Be visible and stay in touch on a regular basis.
Next week you have a chance to network with top digital media, technology and marketing thought-leaders and up to 2,000 potential clients, partners, or employees, at the Internet Summit in Raleigh, NC, Nov. 6-8.
This year’s event includes several new events: The Startup Summit and numerous opportunities to network one-on-one.
Tuesday, October 30th, 2012
By Allan Maurer
Chad Smith, CIO, 3 Birds Marketing. Smith is on the CIO/CTO panel at the upcoming Internet Summit in Raleigh, NC, Nov. 6-8.
Being a chief information officer (CIO) involves more than guiding a firm’s technology initiatives, says Chad Smith, CIO at Chapel Hill, NC-based interactive marketing company 3 Birds Marketing. “A lot of times, I’m the traffic cop between the business and the technology side of the company,” he says.
Smith obviously has a handle on the CIO position. He was recently named CIO of the year by the North Carolina Technology Association and Triangle Business Journal, and is on the CIO/CTO panel at the upcoming Internet Summit at the Raleigh Convention Center Nov. 6-8. He’ll join thought leaders from top brands such as Google, AOL, IBM, bing, comScore, Klout, Twitter, Mashable, Forrester, and Adobe at the event, which expects up to 2,000 attendees.
The CIO of the year award goes to those who use IT in innovative ways to create a competitive advantage for their firm.
Smith said it was an honor to be chosen, “especially among such distinguished colleagues. The Triangle’s technology community is a vibrant, active one filled with the brightest and best. It’s one of the reasons 3 Birds chose to locate here.”
3 Birds Marketing sells a digital platform that helps clients engage customers across multiple channels, including social media, e-newsletters, blog posts, and also handles 3-campaigns and reputation management. It’s cloud-based products are sold as software-as-a-service, and Smith hastens to add, and “as software with service.”
One of the toughest aspects of being a CIO, Smith says, “Is getting the business requirements for what we want to do and transform that into a product that supports 600 clients. It’s always a challenge as your team and client base start to grow, building an infrastructure to support rapid growth.”
Kristen Judd, president and co-founder of 3 Birds, said, “With the release of the Wire 1.95, our team has created a comprehensive, fully integrated software solution that has robust functionality and an extensive library of content ranging from articles to images to social media posts to campaign creative.”
She added, “Chad has been able to balance the rapid growth of our platform, against the need for functionality enhancements, and he’s done so while managing to create and foster our outstanding development team.
The company, launched in 2009, has grown from five on staff and 10 clients to 45 employees, including 10 developers, and 600 clients. It is focused on the automotive sector because its founders had expertise in that industry, but is looking at expanding services to additional verticals.
Keep the user experience intuitive
Smith says that among the challenges he faces as CIO at 3 Birds Marketing is “Finding talent to come to Chapel Hill from a development perspective. There are over 126 open jobs similar to ones we were looking to fill in the Triangle.”
Others include balancing features in the company’s product. “Making sure that what we roll out maintains the user experience so that it is intuitive. That’s a challenge.”
To meet it, he recommends, “Keep your fundamentals the same to maintain consistency in how users interact with your app so you don’t have to constantly retrain users.”
We’d vote for that attitude. Many of the software products we have used over the years introduce new versions that change so many fundamental aspects re-learning it can be a pain – and that even applies to browsers and operating systems.
But, it can be a “Constant battle,” says Smith. “A lot of times developers who think differently than designers. We take a lot of time to make sure our product is designed with the user experience in mind and challenge developers to meet their needs.”
Smith received a BS/BA in computer business information systems from the University of Arkansas. Before joining 3 Birds, Smith held a position at Transamerica Worksite Marketing where he served as business system application manager.
His past experience includes two years as a principal consultant at Edgewater Technology, as well as eight years with Acxiom Corporation, a global data management and IT consulting firm.
Building apps and making databases, he has worked for Blockbuster, American Express and CitiBank.
Originally from Arkansas, Smith has also lived and worked in the United Kingdom and Japan during his thirteen years in the industry. He relocated to North Carolina to join the 3 Birds team in 2010.
Tuesday, October 23rd, 2012
Entrepreneurs, VCs, Accelerators and Incubators will converge at the Startup Summit on Nov 6-7 in Raleigh. The event will feature 16 showcase demo companies in addition to 8 panels & presentations on the most pressing issues facing startups in 2012. Startup Summit precedes the 5th Annual Internet Summit Conference held Nov 7-8 presented by TechMedia.
You’ll be all fired up and ready to conquer your space after hearing from national, regional and local Research Triangle startup founders, VCs such as Scott Maxwell, founder of OpenView Venture Partners, Laura Witt of ABS Capital, Dayna Grayson with North Bridge Venture Partners, and both Jason Caplain and David Jones of Southern Capital Ventures, among others.
Startup CEOs include Sarah Lacy, founder and editor of tech site, Pando Daily, David Morken, founder and CEO of Bandwidth.com, and Aaron Houghton, co-founder and CEO of Boostsuite, and Robbie Allen, founder and CEO of Automated Insights.
Attend the 2 day event and networking reception for just $95. Confirmed speakers include:
* Angus Davis, Founder & CEO, Swipely
* Paul Singh, Partner & Master of the Hustle, 500Startups
* Sarah Lacy, Founder & Editor-in-Chief, PandoDaily
* Scott Maxwell, Founder, OpenView Venture Partners
* Michael Doernberg, CEO and Co-founder, Reverbnation
* Laura Witt, General Partner, ABS Capital
* Rob Go, Partner, NextView Ventures
* David Morken, Founder & CEO, Bandwidth.com
* Jonathan Perrelli, Founding Partner, Fortify.vc
* Dayna Grayson, Principal, North Bridge Venture Partners
* Neil Kataria, Founder & Chairman, newBrandAnalytics
* Greg Cangialosi, Managing Dir, Nucleus Venture Partners
* Jason Caplain, General Partner, Southern Capital Ventures
* Robbie Allen, Founder & CEO, Automated Insights
* John Burke, Founder and General Partner, True Ventures
* Joe Velk, Contender Capital
* Chris Heivly, Managing Partner, Triangle Startup Factory
* David Jones, Partner, Southern Capital Ventures
* Joe Schmidt, CMO, Cafepress
* Tom Lotrecchiano, Sr Vice President, Cafepress
* Matt Williamson, Founder & CEO, Windsor Circle
* Aaron Houghton, Co-Founder & CEO, BoostSuite
Register here: http://www.internetsummit.com/sus.html
Thursday, October 18th, 2012
By Allan Maurer
Bill Leake, CEO of ApogeeResults, is a veteran of McKinsey & Co. and Dell Computers. He is one of 120 digital marketing thought-leaders participating in the Internet Summit in Raleigh, Nov. 6-8.
Ad agencies may try to sell on the idea of letting them build you an expensive mobile app. That’s fine for some companies, “But others might not need to spend that money,” says Bill Leake, CEO of ApogeeResults.com.
Leake has created one of the 20 largest independent online marketing agencies in the United States. Apogee has been instrumental in building dozens of “Internet Retailer 500” and “Software 500” and venture capital backed companies. It works with top global brands such as Whole Foods, IBM, SAP and Hewlett Packard.
While iPhones and tablets have made mobile much more of a real thing, “There is still a lot of hype about mobile,” says Leake. “It’s more of a real thing, but still not for everyone. Folks don’t do a lot of hard core research or interactivity that takes a lot of typing on a smartphone. You have to keep in mind how everything changes on mobile.”
Leake is one of 120 thought-leaders, game changers and marketing gurus participating in this year’s Internet Summit in Raleigh, NC, Nov. 6-8, which this year includes a Startup Summit sponsored by TechMedia’s 2013 Southeast Venture Conference set for Charlotte, NC in March.
Back to marketing basics
Leake suggests the way to approach mobile is to “Get back to the basics of marketing. Who is your customer and how does he like do things? Do you want a mobile app or just a mobile web site? The Google Places piece of Google Plus offers a free mobile web site and probably 50 percent of businesses would do just fine with setting up a Google Places profile.”
“People are getting snookered with mobile apps instead of microsites. Sometimes a mobile app is a game changer, but many get lost in the Apple store. The world is littered with mobile apps no one can find.”
Instead of spending $100,000 on a mobile app, he suggests, “Spend $20,000 on the app and $80,000 on media so people find it.”
You need to be in the mobile pool, he adds, “But it may not be time to dive in from the 50-foot high board. Stay in the shallow end unless you have the budget top learn and fail.”
Get your ground game down
Putting it another way, he says, “Get your ground game down before doing trick plays. Really complicated apps are trick plays with a high failure rate.”
One of the best approaches to a mobile strategy, he says, is to “Let it be an extension of what works well in other places. It’s going from beach volleyball to indoor. It’s not a new game. The form factor just changes a little.
Too many ad agencies tend to view their clients as their artistic patrons, Leake says. “I’ve run into so many creative types who believe the client lives to support their art.”
When a client asks how much they need to spend on a web site, the agency says, “How much was your SBA grant? That’s how much you need to spend.”
They use expensive, slow-loading flash art work. “It’s the height of arrogance,” says Leake. “Flash can be good if embedded in a humble way that downloads a quick bit of HTML saying we have this other thing to show you, but you can bypass it if you want to. But just waiting 20 seconds with no explanation? It’s like the news networks telling you what to believe every night.”
They will judge you on speed
Similar arrogance leads to overdone mobile projects. “A lot of times,” Leake says, “you just need a first level mobile app. People on mobile will judge you on speed. Have things far less graphic with fewer functions.”
All of which, he notes, “Flies in the face of what the typical creative agency wants. They can’t build as much with text as they can with moving pictures.”
Focus, he says, “On what you are trying to do and what your clients are doing. It doesn’t need to be award-winning; it needs to be good enough.”
Think about building something “reasonably” stable that doesn’t need to be replaced every six months, he suggests.
Consider such elements as how to minimize data input challenges. “Thumbs are a pain in the rear,” he says. You have to realize that typing is not the same as on a regular keyboard.
Bring hyper local to the fore
Right now a lot of retailers should be thinking about how to use mobile to defend against the Amazons of the world. So a mobile app or web site should let users know, can they get a certain product? Is it in the store? Will they match lower prices?
“What we’re not seeing enough of is sending mobile ads to someone sitting in a coffee shop within walking distance of a store.”
Also, he says, “Mobile should not be viewed as an isolated silo. It needs to integrate into a full marketing strategy. It’s mission critical for some, but in a lot of cases it’s not. You’re not going to choose what car to buy on a smartphone.”
Marketers also need separate strategies for smartphones and tablets, he adds. “People toss around the word “mobile” casually and apply it to both.”
Wednesday, October 17th, 2012
The Southeast Venture Conference is headed to Charlotte, NC, in March 2013.
The seventh annual Southeast Venture Conference, a major event for investors and entrepreneurs, is headed to Charlotte, NC, March 13-14 at the Riz-Carlton.
The conference features presentations by 60 of the region’s high growth investment opportunities.
They will include both early and later stage companies from Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Maryland, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia, West Virginia and Washington DC.
The conference offers an unparalleled opportunity to Network with hundreds of the region’s leading Entrepreneurs and High Growth Company Executives, National Venture Capitalists and Private Equity Professionals, M&A facilitators and other leading professionals serving the technology community.
We’ve covered many startup and later stage firms that presented at previous SEVC’s and later landed multiple financing rounds.
SEVC is also teaming with the Internet Summit in Raleigh Nov. 6-8 this year to present the two-day Startup Summit focused on entrepreneurs.
ttendees and speakers include leading incubators, venture capital firms, and innovative companies. We’ll feature 16 presenting startups that will showcase their companies and concepts. You’ll have the opportunity to meet them one-on-one in our demo pit.
Speakers at the Startup Summit include influential entrepreneurs and leaders from the investment community:
- Angus Davis, Founder & CEO, Swipely
- Paul Singh, Partner & Master of the Hustle, 500Startups
- Sarah Lacy, Founder & Editor-in-Chief, PandoDaily
- Scott Maxwell, Founder, OpenView Venture Partners
- Michael Doernberg, CEO and Co-founder, Reverbnation
- Laura Witt, General Partner, ABS Capital
- Rob Go, Partner, NextView Ventures
- David Morken, Founder & CEO, Bandwidth.com
- Jonathan Perrelli, Founding Partner, Fortify.vc
- Dayna Grayson, North Bridge Venture Partners
- Neil Kataria, Founder & Chairman, newBrandAnalytics
- Greg Cangialosi, Managing Dir, Nucleus Venture Partners
- Jason Caplain, General Partner, Southern Capital Ventures
- Robbie Allen, Founder & CEO, Automated Insights
- John Burke, Founder and General Partner, True Ventures
- Joe Velk, Contender Capital
- Chris Heivly, Managing Partner, Triangle Startup Factory
- David Jones, Partner, Southern Capital Ventures
- Joe Schmidt, CMO, Cafepress
- Tom Lotrecchiano, Sr Vice President, Cafepress
- Matt Williamson, Founder & CEO, Windsor Circle
Monday, October 15th, 2012
By Allan Maurer
Mobile may be hot, says Vince Baskerville, co-founder and VP of production for Atlanta-based Trip Lingo, but “It’s like the wild west, or the old days of the Web in the 1990s when no one knew how to track anything. ”
Now, he notes, you can track everything on the web. But that is just not so with mobile.
With mobile, Baskerville says, “There are no click events, no below the fold.” Mobile is different. So, he suggests, “Mobile is a different and evolving market.”
One of 120 Internet Summit speakers
Baskerville is one of 120 thought-leaders who will participate in the upcoming Internet Summit in Raleigh, NC, Nov. 6-8. The event boasts the most outstanding lineup of digital gurus, marketing mavens and technology experts in its history.
So, what can you measure on mobile, we asked?
“Engagement is the biggest thing,” he says. “Are visitors using feature sets? Do they then drill down to actionable items? If you have a new address book feature, how long are they in that view?”
He preaches engagement
If you spend nine months developing a new feature for your mobile app and only 2 percent use it, you did something wrong. Engagement is what I preach,” Baskerville says.
You need to understand that collecting data from mobile is also different from collecting it from the web. “It’s impossible to get real time data from a phone that’s not always on or in range of a cell tower,” Baskervilles says.
“You have to understand the tricks: how to store that data and get it back to you.”
Another element of mobile that differs from the web is that a mobile app user has to drill down multiple levels to get to certain things. So funneling people down those levels to take an action is important.
Even with free apps that offer paid features, you have to figure out how to engage users so they drill down to the paid feature. Then, “How do you make them want it?” Baskerville adds.
Two measurement tools
At the Internet Summit, Baskerville plans to discuss two tools that help with measuring mobile. One, Mix Panel, is aimed at Enterprises, while the other, Flurry, is more “startup friendly.” Baskerville’s Trip Lingo uses Flurry.
Flurry, says Baskerville, “Offers a very good solid foundation and it’s reliable.”
Mix Panel does the same things, but it’s more aimed at larger firms.
Trip Lingo, which we profiled on the TechJournal, is revamping its mobile app and applying some of the things it learned from measuring use.
One new development for the traveler’s language companion, is a slide navigation system that’s rather unique. “I haven’t seen anything else like it,” Baskerville says.
It’s meant to make it much easier for people to navigate within the app, going forward or back as they choose.
They’re also adding a new voice feature that will provide translations for phrases user speak into the phone when it’s connected. Speed improvements are also planned.
Thursday, September 27th, 2012
Smart Online’s Robert Hancock will discuss six best practices for building mobile apps at Digital East and the Internet Summit.
By Allan Maurer
Even large companies with tons of marketing experience and money can go wrong with mobile promotions if they don’t think them through. Burger King, for instance, wanted to get a mobile app out, so it created a game in which people create a burger with their choices of the many condiments it offers.
The company spent $35,000 creating the app and realized that people interacted with it less than five minutes then deleted it.
But that’s not the only thing wrong with it.
“It has a week business case,” says Robert Hancock, vice president of sales and marketing for SmartOnline, which reinvented itself about two years ago to focus on a mobile app development product.
What is the sticky factor?
Regarding the Burger King mobile game app, he says, “What is the sticky factor in that burger game? How does it increase sales?” A better idea, he suggests, might have been if the fast food firm created a brand app with store locations and used a game as a secondary element.
They could post photos of themselves eating the crazy burger they designed in a gallery and on their Facebook page with a Burger of the Month winner getting two free sandwiches. “That uses something real,” Hancock explains. Instead of just creating a photo of a burger, they become actual customers.
Hancock has over 15 years of experience building, developing, and managing marketing and sales organizations of technology companies including mobile based organizations. Prior to joining Smart Online Robert served as VP of Sales, and then Co-CEO of Prometheus Group, a leading provider of technology solutions for the SAP marketplace
Six best mobile app development practices
Hancock will discuss six best practices for developing a mobile strategy at the upcoming Digital East conference in Herndon, VA, Oct. 2-3. He’ll join thought-leaders from brands that include AOL, Mashable, Google, The Ladders, IBM, PBS, McAfee, comScore and the Travel Channel, among many others. The TechJournal interviewed a number of speakers participating in the event and you can find links to those stories here.
Hancock will also speak at The Internet Summit in Raleigh, NC, Nov. 6-8, which boasts an equally impressive lineup of top thought-leaders.
Burger King failed with its app in two ways. The idea was not particularly good and it didn’t have a clear return-on-investment strategy.
Of the top six mobile app development processes, the first should be identifying your target audience, Hancock says, echoing many other mobile experts we’ve interviewed.
“You want to reach prospects,” not everyone, he says. “Identify your audience in segments,” he suggests. “Focus and understand the needs of each one.”
Different strokes for different folks
One of the firms Smart Online works with is Southern States Farm Supply. For them, Smart Online defined two primary groups of customers and prospects. First, typical farmers and second, hobby farmers – people who have a chicken coop in the backyard.
“If you tried to build a mobile app for both row crop farmers and hobby farmers, it wouldn’t be effective for either,” he says. “If you build it for the guy who has a chicken coop in the back yars, the corporate farmer thinks that’s a joke. On the other hand, the hobby farmer won’t care when the next shipment of soy bean seeds come in – which is a big deal to the crop farmer who plans around it.”
So, says Hancock, “When you identify a target audience, access the individual needs of each audience. Ask, should I approach each with a separate mobile property? Most people try to do it too broadly. You need to microfocus.”
Don’t ignore ROI and ROE
After identifying your audiences, you should think about return on investment (ROI) and return on engagement (ROE) from the app. “Too many people skip or ignore that step,” Hancock warns.
“What are you hoping to gain? Sales? Expanding your business? A brand connection?”
Hancock notes that you also have to consider that most people use mobile phones for information snacking and don’t really use it as a business tool other than for calls. “When you’re really getting to them is when they’re sitting in a dentist’s office or waiting for their kids after school or sitting at a stop light. Those are the types of times and opportunities available.”
That means you need to give them information that means something to them that can be consumer in mobile snacking time and that they will share with others so it gets into social networking feeds.
Hyper target, microfocus
“You need to have all this in your head” as you develop a mobile app, he says. “You have to be hyper targeted and microfocused. Have an idea about a small thing, not a large thing. You need true sticky ideas that cause the app to stay on their phone.”
Smart Online recommends “Thinking about multiple apps with a limited lifecycle. It doesn’t need to be on a phone for years – but for two or three months when a situation if relevant to you.”
A beer maker, for instance, might want to skip doing a brand app and instead do one about summer stock pushing micro brews to people going to beer festivals and other summer events.
Then you might want another app out there for people who buy beer all year long.
Hancock will discuss three other elements of building a successful mobile app at both Digital East and The Internet Summit.