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Monday, February 28, 2011

 

Judith Orloff, M.D.: Emotional Freedom - Special offer



Emotional Freedom: Liberate Yourself from Negative Emotions and Transform Your Life

Uplifting New York Times bestseller by Judith Orloff, M.D., is now available in paperback.

Judith Orloff M.D., a UCLA psychiatrist, presents her unique approach for viewing emotions as a path to spiritual and intuitive awakening. You'll learn how to stop absorbing other people's negativity and how to stay calm instead of reacting when your buttons get pushed. Synthesizing neuroscience and intuitive/energy medicine, this book liberates you from fear — and the emotional vampires who suck you dry.

Purchase the book, plus get your "Embrace Joy" gift collection at:

http://www.drjudithorloff.com/emotional-freedom-paperback/

My book review of Emotional Freedom: Liberate Yourself from Negative Emotions and Transform Your Life by Judith Orloff, M.D.

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Emotional Freedom by Judith Orloff, M.D. - Book review



Emotional Freedom

Liberate Yourself from Negative Emotions and Transform Your Life


By: Judith Orloff, M.D.

Published: February 2011
Format: Paperback, 416 pages
ISBN-10: 0307338193
ISBN-13: 978-0307338198
Publisher: Three Rivers Press










"You possess the ability to achieve such emotional freedom; it's closer than you think. No matter how stressed your life is currently, the time for positive change is now", writes Assistant Clinical Professor of Psychiatry at UCLA, Judith Orloff, M.D., in her insightful and transformational book Emotional Freedom: Liberate Yourself from Negative Emotions and Transform Your Life. The author describes the inner strength gained by taking control of one's own life through emotional development to create positive reactions to both good and bad events.

Judith Orloff understands the power of a person's emotions, and how for many people, negative emotions can seize control of their lives. Instead of avoiding the many emotional triggers that a person encounters in life, the author recommends facing these emotions directly through the deep and challenging lessons provided in the book. In the case of each emotion, it can be changed from one state to another. Negative emotions can become positive ones through the action oriented concepts that empower the individual, rather than having the person living in a life controlled by the actions of others and their actions. Instead, Judith Orloff shares how to identify one's own emotional type and turn that characteristic into a source of emotional strength. The result of this personal taking charge is a happier and more fulfilled life.



Judith Orloff, M.D. (photo left) points out that the most important relationship of a person's life is with themselves. The author writes that to establish and nurture this self-relationship, it is essential to gain control of the emotions. In this case, the author provides the tools to turn the current emotional imbalance upside down. In place of each negative emotion that holds a person back, the author guides the individual to replace it with its opposite positive emotion. Through this re-balancing, a person achieves the freedom to move forward with one's life and to strengthen the important relationship with oneself. With the critical self-relationship healed, the person is then much better equipped to respond in a more positive way to the many obstacles and challenging people that are met throughout one's life. In effect, Judith Orloff guides a person through the process of rewiring their entire emotional response system so that each external stimulus triggers a positive and empowering emotional response. The past response, of a negative and self-destructive emotion, is removed through this process, providing freedom from the captivity of the negative emotions.

For me, the power of the book is how Judith Orloff presents the complex concept, of emotional response and personal transformation, in a very engaging and personal way. The ideas are shared in an understandable and logical format, that helps the person to continue through the process without getting lost or bogged down at various points. The author blends the theoretical and psychological aspects of the transformation, with practical and actionable advice for ridding oneself of the negative emotions that sabotage one's happiness.

The book contains a step by step process for achieving personal freedom from the constraints of negative emotions. At the same time, Judith Orloff shares warmth and empathic advice for freeing oneself from the draining emotional experience of the difficult people in one's life. Throughout the book, the action oriented advice is highlighted for ease of reference, and the material is structured for ongoing study of new techniques, and for reflecting upon the transformation made along the journey. The author connects the concept of emotional well-being with physical health and personal happiness. For the author, these principles are entwined, and act harmoniously when all are attuned to one another. Emotional freedom leads directly to better health and a richer and happier life.

I highly recommend the empowering and liberating book Emotional Freedom: Liberate Yourself from Negative Emotions and Transform Your Life by Judith Orloff M.D., to anyone who is struggling with gaining control of their emotions and their own personal happiness and physical wellness. This book offers an action oriented techniques that will result in real and lasting, positive emotional change.

Read the enlightening and life altering book Emotional Freedom: Liberate Yourself from Negative Emotions and Transform Your Life by Judith Orloff M.D., and discover the wonderful and life changing benefits of emotional transformation. This book will deliver of on its promise of achieving lasting, personal emotional freedom.

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Sunday, February 27, 2011

 

Kevin Davis: Slow Down, Sell Faster! - Author interview



Acclaimed sales training coach and President of TopLine Leadership, Inc., Kevin Davis, was kind enough to answer a few questions about his groundbreaking and sales transformational book Slow Down, Sell Faster! Understand Your Customer's Buying Process and Maximize Your Sales.

Kevin Davis describes how sales people fail to close sales because they try to sell too fast, fail to understand the buyer, and attempt to put the customer on their own schedule.

Thanks to Kevin Davis for his time, and for his interesting and comprehensive responses to the questions. They are greatly appreciated.






What was the background to writing this book Slow Down, Sell Faster! Understand Your Customer's Buying Process and Maximize Your Sales?

Kevin Davis: My first book, Getting into Your Customer’s Head was named one of the top 30 business books of the year in 1996. That was back in the days when being customer focused was still a novel idea. Two factors made me decide it was time to update my original book. First, times are much different now than back in 1996. More than ever, salespeople have to differentiate themselves based on how they sell, not just what they sell. Second, I’ve also had the privilege of working closely with clients in the design and delivery of our training program, and have been able to refine my original sales model even further. Slow Down, Sell Faster! is not just a revised edition of my first book, it is completely rewritten and updated, including new stories and examples.

Why do so many otherwise astute sales people so often rush through their sales presentations?

Kevin Davis: Good salespeople are enthusiastic and knowledgeable. It’s very hard to fight the urge to rush in and fix everything with good advice! Another problem is that salespeople been taught how to get through the steps of their sale quickly. What they haven’t been taught is how to slow down and get the customer to do more of the talking. They haven’t been taught that they need to pay attention to signals that tell them where the customer is in their buying process—which may lag far behind the salesperson’s selling process.

Does the prospect have a different internal timetable for buying that is often not matched with the seller's pace?

Kevin Davis: Often prospects have a timetable determined by their own business pressures, but the biggest factor is how long it takes them to get through each step of their buying process. They need time to evaluate just how big their need is—and whether the cost of making a chance is lower than the cost of doing nothing. They need time to determine what factors are most important, and evaluate different competitors.

Why should sales people match their speed to the buyer's pace?

Kevin Davis: A salesperson who is out-of-sync with a customer is a salesperson who will likely lose the sale. If a salesperson rushes through their own steps of selling, they create problems for themselves. For example, the customer may hear about features and benefits that don’t interest them (which will lead them to question the price). Worse, the customer will think they’ve heard everything valuable that the salesperson has to tell them—so the salesperson gets shut out of the picture just when the customer is starting to look around at competitors.



Kevin Davis (photo left)

Will slowing down the sales process work with single buyers and multiple buyers and purchasing teams as well?

Kevin Davis: Slowing down is important when dealing with every prospect. But it can be especially valuable when dealing with multiple buyers or purchasing teams because it means you’re going to take the time to define the needs of everyone involved in the purchasing decision. That will help you define a stronger position when it comes time to describe your solution and differentiators.

You recommend buyer-focused selling. What is that concept and why is it important?

Kevin Davis: Buying-focused selling means looking at the sales process through the eyes of the buyer. A salesperson may have been taught one way to present the functions, features, and “benefits” of the product or service they are selling. When they look at that solution through a customer’s eyes, they realize that benefits are meaningless unless they are tied to specific customer needs.

You describe eight different roles in buyer-focused selling. What are these eight, and is it important for sales people to understand and recognize them all?

Kevin Davis: The eight roles are basically a memory device I came up with to help salespeople match their sales behaviors to where the customer is in the buying process. Six sales roles match the buying process up to the point of sale, and two roles describe the post-sale responsibilities necessary to create customer loyalty.

Each role is named after a profession that captures the types of behaviors that will help a salesperson best serve a customer who is in a particular step of the buying process. The eight roles—listed in the order that matches the steps of customer buying—are Student, Doctor, Architect, Coach, Therapist, Negotiator, Teacher, and Farmer.

For example, the Doctor role is a match to customers who have just recognized they are unhappy with their current situation and begun to think that it may be desirable to make a change. The Doctor steps in and helps the “patient” fully diagnose their needs and the potential impact of action or non-action.

The important part of this model isn’t so much that people memorize these eight roles, but that they understand how to best help customers buy.

How can a sales person move toward being a coach and guide for the eight types?

Kevin Davis: The most effective salespeople are those who coach and guide themselves. There are built-in milestones and other questions I provide in the book and my training courses that not only help salespeople prepare better for calls but also debrief themselves afterwards—essentially becoming their own coach.

The milestones are also great checkpoints for sales managers to review what their sales reps are doing, giving the manager opportunities to coach and guide staff early in the sales process—where I can have the biggest effect.

What is the first step a sales person should take toward slowing down their sales process?

Kevin Davis: Before the next conversation with any customer, the salesperson should take 5 minutes to think about where that customer is in their buying process and what he or she, the salesperson, needs to do to help the customer through that buying step. (It’s unlikely the answer will be “rush through my presentation.”) They also need to think about the go-forward commitments they want from the customer—specific actions they want the customer to take.

What is next for Kevin Davis?

Kevin Davis: My next focus is on improving sales management. I’ve met a lot of sales managers who were once stellar salespeople. But the skills needed to manage a sales team are a lot different from the skills that make someone a great salesperson. Yet few companies I’ve seen invest in training their sales managers—even though that would give them more leverage. Develop an effective sales manager and you can improve the whole team. Someone who is great at coaching, leading, and motivating the sales team is one of the best assets a company can has. I want to encourage companies to invest more in their sales managers.

**********************

Author Bio

Kevin Davis, author of Slow Down, Sell Faster! Understand Your Customer's Buying Process and Maximize Your Sales, is President of TopLine Leadership, Inc., a leading sales and sales management training company serving clients from diverse sectors. He has 30+ years of experience as a salesperson, sales manager, sales trainer, and consultant. His 1996 book Getting Into Your Customer's Head helped redefine how salespeople approach selling.

For more information about the book please visit http://www.slowdownsellfaster.com/ and connect with the author on Facebook and Twitter.

My book review of Slow Down, Sell Faster! Understand Your Customer's Buying Process and Maximize Your Sales by Kevin Davis.

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Saturday, February 26, 2011

 

Sell Yourself First by Thomas A. Freese - Book review



Sell Yourself First

The Most Critical Element in Every Sales Effort


By: Thomas A. Freese

Published: December 30, 2010
Format: Hardcover, 256 pages
ISBN-10: 1591843650
ISBN-13: 978-1591843658
Publisher: Portfolio/Penguin













"Sellers are finding it more difficult to get appointments, not to mention differentiating a value proposition that sounds strikingly similar to the last dozen vendors who called", writes the President of QBS Research, Inc., Thomas A. Freese in his revolutionary and sales building book Sell Yourself First: The Most Critical Element in Every Sales Effort. The author describes how to establish yourself as a trusted source of valuable information and advice, and not be seen as simply another pushy sales person.

Thomas Freese understands that appointments are more difficult to book, and sales are more difficult to close, as customers are uncertain as to which sales representatives to trust. That doesn't mean, however, that potential buyers are not seeking calls from salespeople. They are, in fact, looking for guidance and solutions more than ever. The problem is that in the vast sea of very similar products and services, and one sales representative being more or less like all of the rest, the customer is faced with confusion. As Thomas Freese points out, a satisfied customer whose real problems are actually solved, will thank the sales person for helping them. For Thomas Freese, this underlines the essential step of establishing trust and rapport with the customer. Simply realizing that customers, while skeptical at first, as really looking for answers to solve their most pressing problems.



Thomas A. Freese (photo left) provides a very elegant solution for closing more sales while building trust. The author recommends treating every sales call as a job interview. The job interview is about what forms the central thesis of the book through selling yourself first. Effective job interviewees always provide ideas about how they can benefit the potential employer. When the job interview principle is applied to sales, the focus is transferred from the seller to the buyer. By emphasizing how the sales representative can help the customers achieve their desired goals and solve their problems, the interview oriented person ceases to be just another sales representative. The interview concept also results in the buyer and seller sharing a conversation and ideas, resulting in a deeper and more trusting relationship. Instead of the usual canned sales pitch, and the typically vague value proposition, the sales person who sells themselves first can break through the wall of skepticism to generate more sales. At the same time, a long term customer relationship is developed between buyer and seller.

For me, the power of the book is how Thomas Freese turns the usual ideas about sales upside down, and offers an effective yet simple alternative method for making more sales. Through a skillful blending of theory and practical advice, the author develops a unique and highly effective sales concept. The job interview analogy is very important for transforming the usual sales training emphasis on the presentation and answering objections, to one of focusing on how the products and services benefit the buyer. Unlike most other sales training books, Thomas Freese recognizes the real concerns that prospects harbor about any new sales representative. Instead of dismissing these very real buyer concerns, or talking glibly around them, the author suggests embracing them as a key to understanding the real needs of the customer.

Throughout this fine book, Thomas Freese guides the sales representative through acknowledging that the buyer will be uncertain as to whether or not to trust the unfamiliar sales person. When the seller understands that buyers have their own unique needs and problems, the sales representative can then literally interview for the position of solutions provider. Through this conversational approach, the seller can share the unique value proposition and how it will benefit the customer. The customer centered approach taken by the author leads directly to demonstrating real value and benefits for the customer, moving well beyond the usual concerns about pricing, and into the more important realm of a personal relationship.

I highly recommend the essential and idea changing book Sell Yourself First: The Most Critical Element in Every Sales Effort by Thomas A. Freese, to any sales managers, sales representatives, and entrepreneurs who are serious about truly understanding how and why customers feel about the entire sales process. This book will provide the necessary skills development to achieve deeper and more productive conversations with customers, helping the successful sales representative to not only close more sales, but to meet the buyer's real needs.

Read the systematic and very logical book Sell Yourself First: The Most Critical Element in Every Sales Effort by Thomas A. Freese, and put the power of the job interview concept to work in your sales calls. Instead of focusing on yourself as the seller, your entire vision will become one of helping solve the customer's problems. The end result is a win-win of additional sales and of more satisfied clients.

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Friday, February 25, 2011

 

Slow Down, Sell Faster! by Kevin Davis - Book review



Slow Down, Sell Faster!

Understand Your Customer's Buying Process and Maximize Your Sales


By: Kevin Davis

Published: January 5, 2011
Format: Paperback, 272 pages
ISBN-10: 0814416853
ISBN-13: 978-0814416853
Publisher: AMACOM












"An understanding of buying is where selling should start", writes President of TopLine Leadership, Inc.; Kevin Davis, in his groundbreaking and sales transformational book Slow Down, Sell Faster! Understand Your Customer's Buying Process and Maximize Your Sales. The author describes how sales people fail to close sales because they try to sell too fast, fail to understand the buyer, and attempt to put the customer on their own schedule.

Kevin Davis redefines sales completely from a traditional selling model to helping customers buy. The author recognizes how sales people have long been taught the tactics and techniques of sales, but have rarely been shown how and why customers make their purchasing decisions. Kevin Davis writes that the standard sales process is based on the perspective of the seller. Instead, the author turns the entire concept of sales upside down, and presents the alternative idea of having sales people adapt their their selling behavior to the customer's buying behavior. Kevin Davis presents a fresh sales paradigm that places the sales representative in sync with the psychology of the customer.



Kevin Davis (photo left) understands that unsuccessful sales people make the mistake of trying to sell too fast. Not only is the speed the only problem, but the high speed sales process places the focus on the seller, and not on the buyer. For Kevin Davis, this misplaced emphasis is the core of the lack of closing problem. By trying to sell too fast, the sales person fails to ask either enough questions or the right questions, is unable to identify the customer's real needs, or offer the the buyer the right solution. At the same time, the solutions that are offered to the customer are presented in the wrong order and with the wrong approach. This traditional sales model doesn't provide for what the author describes as a win-win sales process. For Kevin Davis, a win-win sales approach is essential for meeting the real needs of the customer. Since the customer has their own buying process, timetable, and needs, it's critical for the sales representative to slow down and become attuned to the real needs of the customer, in order to provide the right solution to the buyer's real problem.

For me, the power of the book is how Kevin Davis describes effectively the real underlying problems with the traditional sales approach, and provides a more effective and buyer focused alternative. Not only does the author offer strong theoretical reasoning for slowing down the sales process, but shares his proven methods for becoming a more effective sales person who is better attuned to the real needs of the customer. By changing the overall emphasis from that of the seller to the behavior of the buyer, Kevin Davis challenges sales people to transform their approach to the entire sales process. Instead of simply replacing one set of traditional sales methods with another, this book presents total change of thinking and acting on the part of the sales person.

Kevin Davis also understands that different customers possess widely varying styles of buying behavior. The author identifies eight different types of sales roles. Only through slowing down the sales process, and really getting to know the customer's behavior, and tune their sales role to each customer's individual psychology in every step of the process. The author guides the sales person through the revolutionary change in thought and approach to sales with practical advice on both the technical and interpersonal aspects of sales, always with an eye to slowing down the process to synchronize the seller with the buyer's psychology. With the selling process aligned with the customer's buying process, more sales will be closed, and the customers will achieve greater satisfaction through having their real needs identified and the right solution put into place.

I highly recommend the revolutionary and must read book Slow Down, Sell Faster! Understand Your Customer's Buying Process and Maximize Your Sales by Kevin Davis, to any sales manager, sales person, or any organization serious about developing an effective and customer focused sales process. This book will not only change completely the way you approach the sales process and increase the number of closed sales, but also develop deeper rapport and relationships with customers.

Read the outstanding and essential sales enhancing book Slow Down, Sell Faster! Understand Your Customer's Buying Process and Maximize Your Sales by Kevin Davis, and discover why slowing down will boost the total number of sales, but will paradoxically result in those sales being closed faster.

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Thursday, February 24, 2011

 

New England Consulting Group: Global Business Practice - Interview



Gary Stibel, Founder and CEO of the New England Consulting Group, and his team were kind enough to take the time from their busy schedules to answer a few questions about the New England Consulting Group, about their Global Business Practice, and about the international management consulting industry.

Thanks to Gary Stibel, and to the team at the New England Consulting Group, for their time and for their interesting and informative responses to the questions. They are greatly appreciated.

What was the impetus for the New England Consulting Group to reorganize its Global Business Practice?

New England Consulting Group: NECG has always had global clients, but the formal organization only came recently as we have seen a surge in demand from our clients – many of which needed to recover from rushed globalization efforts which failed to deliver the stellar ROI and results they anticipated.

Have globalization and international expansion moved beyond the growth strategy level, and transformed into something entirely different?

New England Consulting Group: Globalization and international expansion are two different things at NECG. International expansion is not and should not be for everyone. It makes sense for certain businesses and not for others, depending on the costs, synergies, and potential upside. But globalization, on the other hand, is a strategic factor for everyone because of the changing nature of business, reach of communication, and location of resources. We offer clarification around these differences.

According to NECG Founder and CEO Gary Stibel, “We understand that doing business internationally is not the magic answer to guaranteed growth and, if done poorly, can be more complicated than constructive to our clients’ core businesses.”

The New England Consulting Group has created a three prong approach to optimizing the Global Business Practice. What are those three prongs and how do they benefit business clients?

New England Consulting Group: Very generally, NECG classifies clients into three buckets, each with its own set of objectives and unique approach.

1. Overseas clients that want to optimize their business in the U.S. market place (Penetration)

2. U.S.-based clients that are looking to grow beyond their current geographic footprint (Expansion)

3. Global clients that are pursuing best global category and brand practices (Optimization)

Many companies approach international business as a panacea. Does that mindset result in international business being conducted poorly, or even turning into a disaster for some companies?



Gary Stibel, Founder and CEO, New England Consulting Group (photo left)

New England Consulting Group: Yes, many companies do approach international expansion as a solution to their growth objectives. And many learn, the hard and expensive way, that it is not.

It tends to lead companies to spend money where they did not need to, and miss opportunities that may have had higher returns and strategic benefits. For example, Carrefour pulled out of select international markets in Southeast Asia because they were not performing as Carrefour had originally intended. They are focusing on their more profitable regions and redirecting their funds and efforts to Europe.

Many global operations leaders often see the impending fall before it turns into disaster, but after much money and time has been lost. NECG is hoping to reach them before that happens.

One of the areas were the New England Consulting Group has consulted is with clients in India, and with North American clients working in India. Is there a difference in the approach to these very different clients and their needs?

New England Consulting Group: Absolutely. International companies (clients in India) and Multinational Companies (North American clients working in an Indian branch) are distinctively different. The direction, leadership, priorities and strategy come from different places and perspectives. We find that there is a fine balance between how local and how global our approach has to be, depending on the type of client and the type of issue.

How much has demand for international consulting services grown in the past few years?

New England Consulting Group: It is impossible to answer that question with any precise numbers. Certainly, there is a growing demand in the BRIC markets, from local and foreign sources.

What are some of the new challenges that businesses face in the new global economy that require consultancy assistance?

One of the New England Consulting Group initiatives is the NECG 7-11 program. How does that work and how does it benefit domestic clients and businesses based around the world?

New England Consulting Group: NECG’s 7-11 program guarantees that any inquiry that comes in before 7:00PM will be responded to by 11:00AM EST the next day. We understand the complications time zones can pose, but we always get back to clients within a 12 to 16 hour time frame, no matter how far they are or how complicated their issue is.

What is next for the New England Consulting Group and the Global Business Practice?

New England Consulting Group: We recently developed several highly innovative tools for analyzing and predicting consumer behavior, and we are using them with great success. Stay tuned!

*************

The New England Consulting Group, a boutique management consulting firm based in Westport, CT, uses behavioral economics and a range of innovative marketing tools to examine and forecast consumer and business trends. We consult to a diverse range of industries (NECG’s partners’ experience adds up to more than 100 years in marketing the best-known brands), including consumer packaged goods, healthcare, retail, financial services, technology and e-commerce, among others. For more information about NECG, please visit www.necg.net.



Gary Stibel, Founder and CEO, New England Consulting Group (photo left)

Gary Stibel is the Founder & CEO of the New England Consulting Group, the premier marketing management consulting firm in the world. Gary is a prominent member of New England’s consumer packaged goods, health care, financial services, high tech, restaurant, hospitality, retail and private equity practices.
Gary’s career spans over thirty years of line management and management consulting for businesses that are marketing and sales driven for clients who are market and thought leaders.

Prior to founding the New England Consulting Group, he led the management consulting practice of Glendinning Associates (the largest marketing and sales management consulting firm in the world at the time), following multiple positions of increasing responsibility in marketing and sales management at Procter & Gamble.

Gary’s experience is focused on the development and implementation of corporate, division and brand strategies and plans. He has been equally successful consulting for small, entrepreneurial and large, sophisticated companies ranging from successful start-ups to transformational turnarounds and accelerated growth for the world’s largest corporations, in categories that are intensely competitive and extraordinarily complicated.

In recent years, Gary has consulted for over half of the world’s most admired companies, many legendary CEOs and almost all of the most valued brands on the planet. His knowledge base and analytic skills have helped countless companies and executives generate unprecedented growth and avoid costly errors.

Beyond consulting, Gary serves as a coach and mentor to many CEOs, CMOs and Boards. He is also the first choice for expert opinion on marketing and sales topics of the global business press. He is an avid game player, a voracious reader and an active volunteer. He sits on numerous boards – including local charitable, national professional, global corporate and start-up advisory boards.

He holds a BS in Mathematics and Economics from the University of Southern California, where he was a University Scholar, and an MBA in Marketing and Finance from Wharton, where he was a Chrysler Fellow. He graduated in the top 1% of his class from both schools.

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Wednesday, February 23, 2011

 

Robyn Tippins & Miranda Marquit: Community 101: How To Grow An Online Community - Blog Business Success Radio

Listen to Wayne Hurlbert on Blog Talk Radio



Community advocate Robyn Tippins and professional blogger and freelance writer Miranda Marquit, co-authors of the concise and information packed book Community 101: How to Grow an Online Community, share their authentic and meaningful methods for building a successful and sustainable online community. Through a combination of authenticity, and treating others with respect and empathy, a vibrant and engaged online community can be created and shared. The authors transfer the timeless techniques for building offline communities to building relationships online. They demonstrate why community building is important not only for the business person but for the entire organization, as well as engaging customers. The authors combine theory and ready to apply proven strategies for creating the effective online communities that benefit everyone.

Robyn Tippins and Miranda Marquit are my internet radio show guests on Blog Business Success; hosted live on BlogTalkRadio.

The show airs live on Thursday, February 24, at 8:00 pm Eastern Time; 5:00 pm Pacific Time.

Community advocate Robyn Tippins and professional blogger and freelance writer Miranda Marquit, co-authors of the concise and information packed book Community 101: How to Grow an Online Community, share their authentic and meaningful methods for building a successful and sustainable online community. You will learn:

* Why building an online community is important

* What an online community really means

* How to build and maintain a successful online community

* How to avoid the most common mistakes made by online community managers



Robyn Tippins (photo left) is a community advocate with over 10 years experience in the social media space. From her early days marketing her own small business using forums and email lists, to blogging, podcasting, vlogging and video game immersion, she’s often used social networking to engage and communicate. In her current role, Robyn oversees the community aspect of the external developers on the Yahoo! Developer Network.

Robyn has blogged for blog networks and corporations, podcasted for small and large businesses, worked closely with social networking sites, and advised Fortune 500 companies on social media and community. Her early podcasts featured some of the web’s most interesting and well-known Web 2.0 experts in fields such as VoIP, Technology, Open Source, Marketing, Social Networking, Video Games and Blogging.

She finds her greatest joys in moments away from her computer, spending time with her husband and four children, ages 4 to 11. She and her family reside in the San Francisco Bay Area of Northern California.



Miranda Marquit (photo left) is a professional blogger and freelance writer working from home. She has five years experience in the blogging and social media space, mainly providing content and support for corporate blogs. Miranda understands the importance of blogging and social media in online marketing and community building, and enjoys interacting and networking via the Internet.

In addition to professional blogging, Miranda is a freelance writer with a Journalism degree. Her work has appeared in national magazines and on news Web sites. She is also a columnist for her local newspaper. Miranda enjoys reading, music, travel, and the outdoors. Her favorite activities involve using her hobbies as a way to spend time with her husband and their six-year-old son. Miranda lives with her family in Logan, Utah.

My book review of Community 101: How to Grow an Online Community by Robyn Tippins and Miranda Marquit.

Listen live on Thursday at 8:00 pm Eastern, 5:00 pm Pacific time.

BlogTalkRadio.com

If you miss this very informative show, it will be available for free download as a podcast for iPod, iTunes, and MP3 players; or play it right on your computer. To download this, or any other of my guest interviews, go to the Blog Business Success host page and click on Archived Segments. Once there, click on the podcast icon at the end of the episode description, to download the show free of charge for your listening enjoyment. You can also subscribe to the show feed.

Add to iTunes

To call in questions for my guest, the number is: (347) 996-5832

Let's talk with community advocate Robyn Tippins and professional blogger and freelance writer Miranda Marquit, co-authors of the concise and information packed book Community 101: How to Grow an Online Community, as they share their authentic and meaningful methods for building a successful and sustainable online community. Through a combination of authenticity, and treating others with respect and empathy, a vibrant and engaged online community can be created and shared. The authors transfer the timeless techniques for building offline communities to building relationships online. They demonstrate why community building is important not only for the business person but for the entire organization, as well as engaging customers. The authors combine theory and ready to apply proven strategies for creating the effective online communities that benefit everyone on Blog Business Success Radio.

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Tuesday, February 22, 2011

 

Community 101 by Robyn Tippins & Miranda Marquit - Book review



Community 101

How to Grow an Online Community


By: Robyn Tippins, Miranda Marquit

Published: October 7, 2010
Format: Paperback, 100 pages
ISBN-10: 1600051529
ISBN-13: 978-1600051524
Publisher: Happy About









"It's difficult to believe, but a debate exists about whether or not online, or 'virtual' communities are 'real'", write community advocate Robyn Tippins, and professional blogger and freelance writer Miranda Marquit, in their concise and information packed book Community 101: How to Grow an Online Community. The authors describe not only what online communities are, but also what it really means to build community.



Robyn Tippins (photo left) and Miranda Marquit recognize the importance of building community, whether that community exists online or in the bricks and mortar world. The authors point out that many of the tried and true community building techniques from the offline world can be adapted effectively to the web. They also present the new rules of online building that are different from those utilized offline. A community is much more than a static website, but includes dynamic conversations with others. Through blogs, social media, and online forums, the landscape for community building has many new features. Understanding these visibility enhancing tools, that build relationships with potential community members, creates an opportunity for business growth. The authors caution the business person to look beyond this simple return on investment equation, and consider different measurements of success.



Miranda Marquit (photo left) and Robyn Tippins understand that one of the keys, to successful community building, is knowing that people like to feel as though they belong to something important. Through careful nurturing of an online community, the authors suggest that a business can create fans and supporters. They are more than customers. They feel they are part of the brand and the company. They form the community. The authors caution, however, that the members loyalty will begin with the community, and may not include the brand or company at first. Failing to listen to the fans, and create conversation with them, can also result in the community falling apart. To help build a fan filled community, the authors share valuable and practical advice for creating and maintaining a strong and healthy community. The authors emphasize five areas of successful community building:

* Use straight talk
* Use your community members for positive change
* Visibility
* Tweak
* Remember the Golden Rule

For me, the power of the book is how Robyn Tippins and Miranda Marquit combine the theory of successful online community building, with practical advice for creating and maintaining that community. The authors present a solid format for developing online communities through a combination of ideas from the offline world with the new rules of internet based communities. The book contains the nuts and bolts of establishing an online community presence, as well as demonstrating why that community is so critical to success. The authors share concepts that include being seen online, adding new community members, caring for those members, and for avoiding the pitfalls that can destroy an otherwise well run community.

Miranda Marquit and Robyn Tippins follow their own advice, and offer straight talk on the mistakes that are made regularly, by both novice and experienced community builders. The authors also provide a solid theoretical framework as to why community is important, and what community really means in an online context. The book contains some very helpful case studies that underline the message shared by the author in each chapter. For business people unsure about the role of social media in general, and for community building in particular, the authors provides handy tips for using social media the right way. At the same time, the authors point to what not to do with social media, including advice on not spreading spam or begging blatantly for links. Overall, the book delivers on its promise.

I highly recommend the useful and well organized book Community 101: How to Grow an Online Community by Robyn Tippins and Miranda Marquit,to anyone serious about building online community the right way. This book teaches both the first time and the long time online community manager how to build a vibrant community, filled with highly motivated fans.

Read the practical and meaningful book Community 101: How to Grow an Online Community by
Miranda Marquit and Robyn Tippins, and discover the power of online community for creating fans and evangelists. The authors show you how online community is not only the now of business, but also your company's future as well.

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Monday, February 21, 2011

 

Alan Fine: You Already Know How To Be Great - Blog Business Success Radio

Listen to Wayne Hurlbert on Blog Talk Radio



Trainer, coach, consultant, President of InsideOut Development, and author of the insightful and very pragmatic book You Already Know How to Be Great: A Simple Way to Remove Interference and Unlock Your Greatest Potential, Alan Fine shares the tools for rapid improvement in any area of your life. Alan Fine points out that when we face a new challenge, we usually respond by seeking new information. He offers the insight that the biggest obstacle to performance isn't not knowing what to do. Instead, the problem is thinking too hard about what you already know. Instead of concerning our self with gathering external information, we must overcome our own internal obstacles instead. Alan Fine calls this the Inside-Out approach. He describes how to apply this principle effectively to your own internal roadblocks. Learn the three key factors to improving your personal performance. You already know how to be great.

Alan Fine is my internet radio show guest on Blog Business Success; hosted live on BlogTalkRadio.

The show airs live on Tuesday, February 22, at 8:00 pm Eastern Time; 5:00 pm Pacific Time.

Trainer, coach, consultant, President of InsideOut Development, and author of the insightful and very pragmatic book You Already Know How to Be Great: A Simple Way to Remove Interference and Unlock Your Greatest Potential, Alan Fine shares the tools for rapid improvement in any area of your life. You will learn:

* Why people really fail to achieve breakthroughs in performance levels

* Why overcoming internal obstacles solves external problems

* How to apply the Outside-In GROW process

* How to achieve real breakthroughs and solutions to any problems



Alan Fine (photo left) is an author, world-renowned performance coach to high-profile leaders and athletes, and Founder and President of InsideOut Development. He shows you and your organization how to achieve significantly higher levels of performance through revolutionary tools and practices.

In addition to being a popular trainer and speaker, Alan has spent the last 25 years as a mental performance/focus coach to top professional tennis players and golfers, musicians, and corporate executives.

Alan Fine's approach to breakthrough performance has been used for over two decades by some of the most well respected companies in the world, including IBM, P&G, Sprint, 3M, GAP, Honeywell, Oracle, Thompson, and many others.

My book review of You Already Know How to Be Great: A Simple Way to Remove Interference and Unlock Your Greatest Potential by Alan Fine.

Listen live on Tuesday at 8:00 pm Eastern, 5:00 pm Pacific time.

BlogTalkRadio.com

If you miss this very informative show, it will be available for free download as a podcast for iPod, iTunes, and MP3 players; or play it right on your computer. To download this, or any other of my guest interviews, go to the Blog Business Success host page and click on Archived Segments. Once there, click on the podcast icon at the end of the episode description, to download the show free of charge for your listening enjoyment. You can also subscribe to the show feed.

Add to iTunes

To call in questions for my guest, the number is: (347) 996-5832

Let's talk with trainer, coach, consultant, President of InsideOut Development, and author of the insightful and very pragmatic book You Already Know How to Be Great: A Simple Way to Remove Interference and Unlock Your Greatest Potential, Alan Fine, as he shares the tools for rapid improvement in any area of your life. Alan Fine points out that when we face a new challenge, we usually respond by seeking new information. He offers the insight that the biggest obstacle to performance isn't not knowing what to do. Instead, the problem is thinking too hard about what you already know. Instead of concerning our self with gathering external information, we must overcome our own internal obstacles instead. Alan Fine calls this the Inside-Out approach. He describes how to apply this principle effectively to your own internal roadblocks. Learn the three key factors to improving your personal performance. You already know how to be great on Blog Business Success Radio.


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Sunday, February 20, 2011

 

You Already Know How To Be Great by Alan Fine - Book review



You Already Know How to Be Great

A Simple Way to Remove Interference and Unlock Your Greatest Potential


By: Alan Fine

Published: October 14, 2010
Format: Hardcover, 256 pages
ISBN-10: 1591843553
ISBN-13: 978-1591843559
Publisher: Portfolio/Penguin












"The biggest obstacle in performance isn't not knowing what to do; it's not doing what we know", writes corporate trainer, executive coach, and founder and President of Inside-Out Development Alan Fine in his insightful and very pragmatic book You Already Know How to Be Great: A Simple Way to Remove Interference and Unlock Your Greatest Potential. The author describes how people, when faced with a challenge in business or in life, tend to make the mistake of looking to outside sources of knowledge and information to overcome the problem.

Alan Fine understands the desire to gain additional information and to acquire new knowledge. This is the usual approach that most people take to finding solutions to problems. The author points out, however, that this outside-in technique doesn't work. Alan Fine writes that the problem isn't about getting more information, but rather about executing already existing knowledge effectively. Alan Fine offers the encouraging idea that we already possess the ideas and knowledge needed for achieving a breakthrough improvement in our personal and business performance. For Alan Fine, the real issue is the internal barricade we create for ourselves. Only by overcoming these internal roadblocks, that sap our confidence and prevent us from using our existing knowledge effectively, can we really achieve that necessary boost in our performance levels.



Alan Fine (photo left) recognizes that most people, when faced with a problem, utilize the outer directed concept of seeking new information. In place of this method, the author proposes an effective and surprising alternative. Alan Fine writes that the true issue is internal to the person, and that adding more knowledge and information will not solve the problem. It may even make the problem an even more difficult challenge. In place of the inside-out technique, Alan Fine proposes his Outside-In approach based on the combining of knowledge with the three principles of Faith in our own ability, Fire and our own passion and commitment, and Focus of our concentration on the solution. The Outside-In approach is codified into the GROW process of Goal setting, Reality acknowledgment, Option identification, and Way Forward choices. While most people already utilize these concepts in their problem solving techniques, Alan Fine writes that they are not used effectively, undercutting the chances of an important performance breakthrough.

For me, the power of the book is how Alan Fine identifies the real internal barrier to achieving superior performance, and offers a practical and useful process for overcoming these self created roadblocks. The author provides an excellent theoretical framework for the concept that people create their own internal obstacles. To compensate, the usual strategy is to acquire more knowledge, but Alan Fine demonstrates clearly why this is a failed technique. The author offers an effective, and simply to apply practical alternative to the usual attempts at performance enhancement. He provides the useful and effective GROW process that transforms a person's thinking from seeking external solutions, to overcoming internal barriers to improvement instead.

Alan Fine combines the theoretical with the practical effectively, and in a manner that encourages the actual application of the Outside-In approach. The author goes far beyond the usual platitudes usually offered up in personal development books, and provides real analysis of the problem. With the internal issues identified clearly, the person is then able to apply the GROW formula effectively to achieve a very noticeable and quantifiable boost in their performance. A book that is both strong on analysis and pragmatic advice is rare, but this book delivers on that promise very well.

I highly recommend the truly helpful and transformational book You Already Know How to Be Great: A Simple Way to Remove Interference and Unlock Your Greatest Potential by Alan Fine, to anyone who feels they have exhausted the usual, shop worn solutions to meeting the challenges of business, community, and of life. This book offers a powerful and practical alternative approach, that while being counter-intuitive, is easy to apply and is results oriented.

Read the idea changing and performance breakthrough building book You Already Know How to Be Great: A Simple Way to Remove Interference and Unlock Your Greatest Potential by Alan Fine, and discover the importance of seeking to better execute your existing knowledge, than to chase ever more outside information. Instead of looking externally for solutions, this book will guide you toward overcoming your more performance stifling inner obstacles.

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Thursday, February 17, 2011

 

Neil Howe: Millennials In The Workplace - Blog Business Success Radio

Listen to Wayne Hurlbert on Blog Talk Radio



National speaker and the foremost expert on generations, co-founder of LifeCourse Associates, and author of the insightful and very practical book Millennials in the Workplace: Human Resource Strategies for a New Generation, Neil Howe, offers insights into the importance of the Millennial generation to the workplace. Neil shares cutting edge strategies to recruit, train and motivate today's incoming youth workforce. He describes the factors that have made this important generation such a powerful force for the future of business, government, and education. Neil Howe debunks popular myths that surround the Millennials, and why the media and some employers have it all wrong. Instead of being a liability, discover how today's young employees represent an asset and an opportunity for any employer.

Neil Howe is my internet radio show guest on Blog Business Success; hosted live on BlogTalkRadio.

The show airs live on Thursday, February 17, at 8:00 pm Eastern Time; 5:00 pm Pacific Time.

National speaker and the foremost expert on generations, co-founder of LifeCourse Associates, and author of the insightful and very practical book Millennials in the Workplace: Human Resource Strategies for a New Generation, Neil Howe, offers insights into the importance of the Millennial generation to the workplace. You will learn:

* Who forms the Millennial Generation and why they are important

* Why the Millennials are different from Baby Boomers and Generation X employees

* The seven core traits that define members of the Millennial generation

* Why adding Millennials to the workplace presents a powerful opportunity



Neil Howe (photo left) best-selling author and national speaker, is a renowned authority on generations in America. He gives readers and audiences powerful insights into who today’s generation are, what motivates them as consumers and workers, and how they will shape our national future. He is a great choice for any forward-looking organization that wants to grasp the big picture. Howe’s broadly cyclical perspective—oriented around familiar generational life stories—will put “the long term” into a stunning yet personal focus that will not soon be forgotten.

A historian, economist, and demographer, Howe is a founding partner of the consulting firm LifeCourse Associates. He is a marketing, personnel, and government affairs consultant to corporate and nonprofit clients, and has spoken and written extensively on the collective personalities of today’s generations—who they are, what motivates them, and how they will shape America’s future. He is also a recognized authority on global aging, long-term fiscal policy, and migration. His current titles include: senior advisor to the Concord Coalition and senior associate to the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) in Washington, D.C.

Howe has coauthored several books on generations with William Strauss, all best sellers widely used by businesses, colleges, government agencies, and political leaders of both parties. Their first book Generations (1991) is a history of America told as a sequence of generational biographies. Generations, said Newsweek, is “a provocative, erudite, and engaging analysis of the rhythms of American life.” Vice President Al Gore called it “the most simulating book on American history that I have ever read” and sent a copy to every member of Congress. Newt Gingrich called it “an intellectual tour de force.” Howe’s second book on generations, 13th Gen (1993) remains the best-selling nonfiction book ever written about Generation X. Of Howe and Strauss’s third book, The Fourth Turning (1997) Dan Yankelovich said, “Immensely stimulating…We will never be able to think about history in the same way.” The Boston Globe wrote, “If Howe and Strauss are right, they will take their place among the great American prophets.”

Howe and Strauss originally coined the term "Millennial Generation." Their fourth book, Millennials Rising (2000), has been widely quoted in the media for its insistence that today’s new crop of teens and kids are very different from Generation X, and, on the whole, doing much better than most adults think. “Forget Generation X-and Y, for that matter,” says The Washington Post, “The authors make short work of most media myths that shape our perceptions of kids these days.” LifeCourse Associates has since released several application books on Millennials—including a Recruiting Millennials Handbook for the United States Army (2001), Millennials Go To College (2003, 2007), Millennials and the Pop Culture (2005), Millennials and K-12 Schools (2008), and Millennials in the Workplace: Human Resource Strategies for a New Generation (2010). Neil Howe’s work with Millennials in colleges and in the military was recently featured by CBS’ 60 MINUTES.

Previously, with Peter G. Peterson, Howe coauthored On Borrowed Time (1989; reissued 2004), a pioneering call for budgetary reform. According to Harvard’s Martin Feldstein, former Chairman of the President’s Council on Economic Advisors, “This book should be read by everyone who wants to understand how government spending can be controlled."

Howe’s articles have appeared in The Atlantic, The Washington Post, The New York Times, American Demographics, USA Weekend, and other national publications. He has drafted several Social Security reform plans and testified on entitlements many times before Congress. He has written extensively on budget policy and aging and on attitudes toward economic growth, social progress, and stewardship. He coedits the “Facing Facts” faxletter for the Concord Coalition and coauthors numerous studies for CSIS (including the Global Aging Initiative’s Aging Vulnerability Index and The Graying of the Middle Kingdom: The Economics and Demographics of Retirement Policy in China). In 2008, he co-authored The Graying of the Great Powers with Richard Jackson.

Howe grew up in California, received his B.A. at U.C. Berkeley, studied abroad in France and Germany, and later earned graduate degrees in economics (M.A., 1978) and history (M.Phil., 1979) from Yale University.

My book review of Millennials in the Workplace: Human Resource Strategies for a New Generation by Neil Howe with Reena Nadler.

Listen live on Thursday at 8:00 pm Eastern, 5:00 pm Pacific time.

BlogTalkRadio.com

If you miss this very informative show, it will be available for free download as a podcast for iPod, iTunes, and MP3 players; or play it right on your computer. To download this, or any other of my guest interviews, go to the Blog Business Success host page and click on Archived Segments. Once there, click on the podcast icon at the end of the episode description, to download the show free of charge for your listening enjoyment. You can also subscribe to the show feed.

Add to iTunes

To call in questions for my guest, the number is: (347) 996-5832

Let's talk with national speaker and the foremost expert on generations, co-founder of LifeCourse Associates, and author of the insightful and very practical book Millennials in the Workplace: Human Resource Strategies for a New Generation, Neil Howe, as he offers insights into the importance of the Millennial generation to the workplace. Neil shares cutting edge strategies to recruit, train and motivate today's incoming youth workforce. He describes the factors that have made this important generation such a powerful force for the future of business, government, and education. Neil Howe debunks popular myths that surround the Millennials, and why the media and some employers have it all wrong. Instead of being a liability, discover how today's young employees represent an asset and an opportunity for any employer on Blog Business Success Radio.

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Wednesday, February 16, 2011

 

Millennials in the Workplace by Neil Howe with Reena Nadler - Book review



Millennials in the Workplace

Human Resource Strategies for a New Generation


By: Neil Howe with Reena Nadler

Published: March 2010
Format: Paperback, 256 pages
ISBN-10: 0971260648
ISBN-13: 978-0971260641
Publisher: LifeCourse Associates







"As the Millennial Generation (born since 1982) graduates from schools and colleges and fills the ranks of the entry-level workforce, older Americans are beginning to take notice", write national speaker, renowned authority on generations in America and co-founder of Lifecourse Associates, Neil Howe, and Program Director at Lifecourse Associates Reena Nadler, in their insightful and very practical book Millennials in the Workplace: Human Resource Strategies for a New Generation. The authors identify who the the Millennials are, why their behavior and work style is often misunderstood, and how to transform these younger employees into an asset and opportunity for the organization



Neil Howe (photo left) and Reena Nadler present an alternative view of the Millennial generation from the confused opinions prevalent in the modern workplace. With most managers and employees belonging to the Baby Boom and Generation X cohorts, the arrival of the Millennials has shocked managers and co-workers alike. With older employees not understanding the Millennials, the usual management position has been one where the young workers are seen as both a challenge and even a liability. The authors describe how this attitude is not only misguided, but one that may miss out on a tremendous opportunity. While there are many myths that have grown up about Millennial employees, the authors point out that the core traits of the young employees offer a fresh perspective and some valuable strengths to enhance any company. This book dispels the myths, and demonstrates the critical importance of understanding the Millennial generation, and how their core skills and values represent the future of the organization.



Reena Nadler (photo left) and Neil Howe describe the seven core traits of the Millennial generation in a positive light. Unlike most media and employer opinion, where Millennial values are considered a problem, the authors share their research and experience that offers an entirely different portrait of a misunderstood generation. The seven core traits that define the Millennials are:

* Special
* Sheltered
* Confident
* Team Oriented
* Conventional
* Pressured
* Achieving

These are not traits, according to the authors, that are associated with the Silent, Baby Boom, or Generation X cohorts. They are the traits usually associated with the GI Generation that formed society in the postwar era. Generations, and their differences, are nothing new in business and community life. They have existed through the entire history of America. Generations are more than just phases of life. Different generations behave in very unique ways are the various stages of their lives. Generations may be shaped by history, but at the same time, they also create history through their actions. the Millennial generation promises to make an important mark upon history and organizations, just like all other generations before them.

For me, the power of the book is how Neil Howe and Reena Nadler not only describe the Millennial generation and its traits, but also apply that information to how they can excel in the workplace. The authors back up their practical advice for employers with a combination of theory and comprehensive generational research data. At the same time, the book contains an unprecedented in depth examination of the seven core traits of the Millennials against a backdrop of Neil Howe's groundbreaking generational research. This overall larger generational framework places the Millennial generation in the greater historical context, comparing them to the high achieving GI Generation. This larger generational perspective sets this book apart from other books that offer advice on workplace generational interaction.

I highly recommend the definitive and must read book Millennials in the Workplace: Human Resource Strategies for a New Generation by Neil Howe with Reena Nadler, to anyone serious about really understanding the potential and tremendous opportunity offered by the addition of Millennial generation employees to the workplace. Their skills and important generational traits provide a bright future for any organization that embraces these high achieving young employees.

Read the essential and important book Millennials in the Workplace: Human Resource Strategies for a New Generation by Neil Howe with Reena Nadler, and discover how to put the tremendous potential of the Millennial generation to work in your organization. These dynamic young employees offer an opportunity that will benefit any organization, and put them in the forefront of their industry for years to come.

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Tuesday, February 15, 2011

 

Stephen Epstein, Chief Marketing Officer at Avistar Communications - Interview



Stephen Epstein, Chief Marketing Officer, of unified visual communications industry innovation company Avistar Communications Corporation, was kind enough to take the time to answer a few questions about his company's groundbreaking study of visual communications trends the rapidly growing field of desktop videoconferencing.

Stephen Epstein describes the reasons for companies using videoconferencing and shared some of the advantages and disadvantages of the system. He also gazed into the crystal ball and shared some of his thoughts on the future of videoconferencing and of communications in general.

Thanks to Stephen Epstein for his time, and for his informative and comprehensive answers.

Thanks as well to Norman Birnbach of Birbach Communications, Inc., and his team, for their assistance in facilitating this interview.

What was the background to this groundbreaking study of visual communications trends?

Stephen Epstein: Each year, as part of our marketing efforts, we look at market conditions to help us focus our efforts. For the last two years, in the spirit of the social media age we live in, in which it is important to share perspective and insight, we've issued some of our insight regarding the more mainstream part of the visual communications market.

Briefly, how does videoconferencing fit in as a unified communications tool?

Stephen Epstein: Technology has given us a number of different ways to communicate – email, instant messaging (IM), and audio or phone and video. Many of those communication methods have been available as standalone services. Leading Unified Communications (UC) systems like Microsoft OCS and Lync and IBM Lotus Sametime integrate different communications services into one solution so that you can IM with someone you're talking to via videoconferencing without having to open a new window. The next step, we believe, is to integrate communications into key points of the business process, known as communications-embedded business processes or CEBP.

Is videoconferencing growing in prominence to the point of being everywhere?

Stephen Epstein: Absolutely. Videoconferencing has captured people's imaginations since AT&T unveiled the videophone at the 1964 World's Fair, and again a few years later on "Star Trek." But the technology wasn't there. It is now, and thanks to free consumer video chat services like Skype and FaceTime, videoconferencing is available everywhere.

Is interoperability becoming an issue for creating bridge standards to use different systems together?

Stephen Epstein: We see interoperability – the ability for technology to work across different systems, platforms, etc. – as being a big issue. The reason is partly due to the technology: closed systems have fewer issues and work better, and partly due to a business decision that bets that companies can sell more when customers are locked into one platform and can't buy a low-cost generic alternative. So current UC systems have been built as proprietary systems to limit connections to other systems. The problem is that people need to connect to people at other companies, who may be using a different platform.

To put this in context, imagine you're a Verizon customer and that the only way you can connect to an AT&T customer is to buy a separate phone and service plan and now you need to call a Comcast customer. The industry had addressed this before, and will again need to tackle the interoperability issue. The alternative – focusing customers to develop ways to bridge standards, media processing and signaling at their own cost – is unacceptable.

Is there a trend toward companies having to bridge standards at their own cost, or is that potential for added cost disappearing as a barrier to using visual solutions?

Stephen Epstein: Companies need to communicate. They need their employees to collaborate, even if they're in different locations, and that is more often the case these days. They need to develop relationships with customers and manage vender relationships. Right now, companies have to either figure out an acceptable compromise or determine a way to bridge the standards themselves. Ultimately, the UC developers will need to find a solution to the interoperability issue. However, because the Avistar C3™ solutions are interoperable, we're not finding that a barrier for customer adoption. Companies want videoconferencing solutions that can work across different systems.



Stephen Epstein (photo left)

Many business people think of videoconferencing from their own offices. Do you see an increase of mobile videoconferencing from anywhere?

Stephen Epstein: Absolutely, videoconferencing has moved from the conference room to the desktop, and from the desktop to the laptop and from the laptop to smartphones and tablets, thanks to the multitude of tablet devices hitting the market and the further roll-out of 4G networks. What we expect to see is the influence of consumer videoconferencing on businesses, as employees who use mobile videoconferencing in their personal lives push for the same capability at work. Videoconferencing has emerged as a must-have solution for business people at offices or on the go, as it provides smart, ubiquitous visual communications – anywhere, anytime, anyplace.

Is there a movement to thinner and less bulky hardware for videoconferencing?

Stephen Epstein: Absolutely. At the consumer level the just-announced iPad2 will be thinner and lighter and contain a front-facing camera for videoconference calls. At the business level, we’re seeing continued adoption of Virtual Desktop Infrastructure (VDI), which entails delivering a thin client – which may be not much more than a screen and a keyboard with access to all the data and applications hosted on a remote server. This movement will continue to gain momentum as businesses work to control costs while delivering software tools that employees need to do their jobs effectively.

How are the trends in videoconferencing affecting corporate networks?

Stephen Epstein: The big issue is bandwidth management. As demand and usage surge, companies will face pressure to provide increased videoconferencing services. The challenge will be to how to accommodate the demand for videoconferencing while ensuring that critical business applications, that also require bandwidth, are not adversely affected in a battle of the bandwidth. Companies will need to select communications solutions that provide robust bandwidth management, call admission control, user policy support, threshold and utilization modeling, in addition to extensive report and forecasting capabilities.

What was the most surprising result arising from the study?

Stephen Epstein: The impact that consumer technology is playing on enterprise software is really surprising. It used to be that software was developed to serve businesses and then expanded into the consumer market. These days, the look-and-feel of consumer software serves as a template for business software. And, of course, while Avistar has been developing videoconference technology for 16 years, free consumer services have really moved the market forward in a short time.

What is the future of videoconferencing?

Stephen Epstein: Convergence will be seen with videoconferencing popping up as a function in non-traditional devices, such as smart whiteboards and a variety of new and innovative devices, so that people can communicate and collaborate regardless of device, location and/or network capacity. A lot of videoconference solutions are still based on a hardware model of traditional telephony. But the future will require all-software solutions because of their cost-efficiency and high quality. For example, Avistar’s all-software approach lowers procurement and deployment costs by as much as 200%.

What sort of visual solutions will businesses large and small be seeking this year?

Stephen Epstein: Businesses will feel pressure from their employees for the ability to conduct videoconferencing at work. But companies have different requirements from consumers. Smart businesses will evaluate business-class solutions that provide high quality video and audio – because that's what customers expect. They'll need bandwidth management tools and security that aren't available with the free services. And they need the ability to place ad-hoc multiparty calls and the ability to share documents on each employee’s computer screen.

What is next for Stephen Epstein and Avistar in 2011?

Stephen Epstein: There's a tremendous amount of interest in videoconferencing. I think as an industry, we've finally reached the tipping point, and that's very exciting. We're looking forward to working with our customers, technology partners like IBM, Tandberg (now part of Cisco), Polycom, Logitech and LifeSize, and resellers and distributors to continue to push videoconferencing forward. Once people get used to it, they really like videoconferencing, and see for themselves that it's a big improvement over audio phone calls. It's a great time to be in the industry.

**************

Stephen Epstein, Chief Marketing Officer, joined Avistar Communications Corporation in January 2008 and is responsible for the company’s marketing, product and account management functions. Prior to Avistar he was Vice President, Head of Product Management at Mantas, Inc., where he was responsible for global product strategy, managing product requirements, defining go to market plans and marketing strategy, while continually evaluating the financial services market in order to provide a clear and decisive direction for Mantas’ business.

Prior to joining Mantas, Stephen Epstein was Head of Product & Business Development at Bang Networks where he spearheaded product and business development efforts, focusing on delivering real-time information distribution products. Prior to that he held senior-level management and product development positions including Head of Global Foreign Exchange Sales Technology and Group CTO at Deutsche Bank.

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