Archive for January, 2012

Bobby Guy, a friend and the author of “Distress to Success: A Survival Handbook for Struggling Businesses and Buyers of Distressed Opportunities” (FreneticMarket Press, Apr. 2011), has just announced that his book is available for free download at http://www.distresstosuccessbook.com for a promotional period that ends on January 31, 2012.   If you’re interested in a copy of the book, this is your chance to get it for free in electronic .pdf format.   The book has received excellent reviews in the CFA Journal and the Journal of Corporate Renewal.

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Article from Don Middleberg.

Ain’t that the truth. I read somewhere that there are thousands of new regulations introduced every year. That in itself is crazy, but the really troubling part is that these regs stay on the books seemingly forever. No one has the responsibility for removing them. So how do we get rid of old ideas while introducing new ones? In public relations, as in any industry, the answer lies with leadership. A CEO must consistently look at his firm with a fresh set of eyes and ears, and to always change the mix to be positioned for growth and development. That doesn’t mean always making revolutionary changes. In my opinion, evolutionary development is better. “Steady as she goes” is just not about ships anymore. Keeping to the mission, remaining client-focused, and most importantly of all, retaining valued employees can be worth more than any directive.

So here is what we did and didn’t do at Middleberg Communications during 2011:

What we did – Place ever greater emphasis on social media and digital communications. In particular, we developed a proprietary program called “Influence the Influencers”. We all know that 10% of people in any profession lead the remaining 90%. Their reach and influence are enormous. Well, we have spent a lot of time thinking about how we identify the top 25-50 influencers in any given area and then how to impact those leaders for the benefit of our clients.

What we didn’t do – Of our 16 employees we lost only two; one decided to become a journalist and another moved into the corporate world. One of the things clients everywhere abhor is rapid turnover of their agency’s account team. It is enormously wasteful, time-consuming and expensive to constantly retrain. I’m proud of our employee loyalty and I know our clients are, as well.

The good news for us is that we start 2012 in a better position than the same time last year, and certainly better than any time in the last three years. With a strong base of clients in technology, healthcare, marketing and media and corporate/financial/and professional services, we have our most solid base yet upon which to build our agency. Most importantly, we have the best team in our history, with just the right combination of experienced senior executives matched with younger, enthusiastic account managers-all of whom are committed to providing the finest client experience in our industry.

So here’s wishing a great 2012 for everyone.

For more information, click here.

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Article from GigaOm.

Apigee, a Palo Alto, Calif.-based API management platform and services company is buying San Francisco-based Usergrid, as part of its increasing focus on the mobile app business.  Terms of the deal were not disclosed.

Companies such as Netflix and AT&T have been using Apigee to offer their application programming interfaces to developers. While most of Apigee’s initial efforts were focused on web and enterprise applications, the company (which was started under the name Sonoa Systems) has seen most of the developer focus shift to mobile.

When I asked Chet Kapoor, Apigee CEO if this acquisition was a change in direction for the company, he said that Apigee had been dealing with the shift to mobile for nearly a month. He said developers (including those in enterprises) are thinking about mobile apps before web apps.

Apigee, Kapoor says will offer the Usergrid and its own API management platform as a cloud-based service. With this acquisition, Kapoor says, Apigee will now be able to give enterprises and developers a simple, easy and scalable way to access the full range of APIs — enterprise APIs, public APIs, and, now with Usergrid, the core APIs that all mobile applications need.

Usergrid was started by serial entrepreneur Ed Anuff who most recently worked for Six Apart. Previously, he was co-founder of Widgetbox, a popular marketplace for widgets, and he was also co-founder of enterprise software company Epicentric, an enterprise portal software company. He left Six Apart to start Usergrid, a mobile app cloud platform with focus on user management. As part of the deal, Anuff will join the new company as a vice president.

Anuff started Usergrid to collapse the complex mobile-app development stack and allow developers to focus all their energies on client side presentation and application logic – aka what sits on the phone. He wanted to hide all the complexity – hosting, databases, storage, server-side application logic, API services and user provisioning – and offer it as a cloud service. The cloud-based mobile app development platforms are a hotly contested category and recent entrants like Parse have drawn a lot of attention.

Read more here.

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Article from Huffington Post.

We’ve found ourselves parsing the GOP spouses’ style in the past, but with the caucuses underway, it’s time to get serious and look forward: what will it take for these women to transform into first ladies?

Our friend Lauren Rothman, one half of The Fashion Whip, is on the case. A D.C.-based stylist with clients from Capitol Hill to Hollywood, Lauren sat down with The Insider to give the GOP candidates’ wives some fashion advice.

What we learned:

1. Ann Romney brings “a soft look to Mitt” with her personal style, says Lauren. Or, as Ann put it, she allows Americans to see that Romney is the kind of guy who “actually does have his hair messed up most of the time.” We’ll believe it when we see it.

2. Mary Kaye Huntsman and her husband John are an incredibly well-dressed couple, making them “the political Kardashians.” But Mary Kaye’s uber preppy look could be a liability, warns Lauren. “Approachability is important.”

3. Callista Gingrich, as we’ve said before, has an incredibly stylized look. “Sometimes it looks like she sort of walked out of Stepford,” quips Lauren.

4. Carol Paul could use some gussying up and should add a touch of color to her wardrobe.

But that’s just Lauren’s advice. Watch the vid, see the pics and let us know what you think about these potential first ladies!

An advocate for several children’s charities, Romney is an avid equestrian, and with her husband pulling out ahead in several GOP primary polls, she just might have the best shot at supplanting Michelle O. as FLOTUS.

She favors more conservative looks, opting for sweaters and cardigans with pearls, although Mrs. Romney’s not afraid to experiment with colors — just check out that orange patterned top.

For more information, cleck here.

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CES: FCC’s Genachowski Calls Net-Neutrality Lawsuit ‘Distracting’

Verizon Is Challenging Agency’s Authority to Impose Internet Regulations

By Todd Spangler — Multichannel News, 1/11/2012 6:20:19 PM

Las Vegas — FCC chairman Julius Genachowski said Verizon Communications’ lawsuit challenging the agency’s network-neutrality regulations was “distracting” and could create uncertainty and confusion in the market.

Genachowski, in his third appearance at CES, primarily used the stage Wednesday to stump for his favorite issue — pushing TV broadcasters to auction off their spectrum to be used for wireless broadband.

On network neutrality, Genachowski said he was proud of the outcome, which he claimed has not hampered investment in broadband networks and applications.

The FCC’s network-neutrality regulations, which went into effect Nov. 20, require Internet service providers to disclose network management techniques and forbids them from blocking or degrading specific content or applications.

Genachowski, who was interviewed by Consumer Electronics Association president Gary Shapiro, said the FCC was “tempted to focus on other things” but that he felt he needed to take action on network neutrality to bring about a détente between network providers and technology companies.

“I thought we had to bring peace to the land,” he said. “I’m proud of the result — our goal was to see increased investment in the broadband economy.”

About 80% of companies supported the FCC’s network neutrality rules, according to Genachowski. Alluding to Verizon’s lawsuit, which argues that the agency does not have authority to regulate the Internet, he said, “It’s a distracting lawsuit that runs the risk of creating uncertainty, unpredictably and confusion as we move forward.”

On the “spectrum crunch” issue, Genachowski repeated his call to repurpose TV airwaves for mobile broadband. He said voluntary spectrum auctions would generate $25 billion in cash for the U.S. Treasury, and — more important — make additional capacity available for new services.

“My message today on incentive auctions is simple: We need to get it done now and we need to get it done right,” he said.

Congress is to make a decision on a law enabling the FCC to proceed with incentive auctions by March 1. “At stake is U.S. leadership in mobile,” Genachowski said.

Genachowski noted that New York City has 28 full-power TV stations. “I grew up in New York and I don’t think anyone can name 28 TV stations,” he said. “What’s the right number for New York?… The beauty of incentive auctions is, the market will decide.”

In terms of future initiatives, Genachowski acknowledged that the Communications Act of 1996 “should be updated,” but he didn’t get into specifics and said a reform to the law is “not something that is actively being considered.”

“I’ve been very careful to focus on the things I really want to get done,” Genachowski said.

In his prepared remarks, Genachowski marveled at the broad range of products on the CES show floor: “Where else can you find a USB stick that is also a bottle opener?”

“Virtually every product on the CES floor is fueled by broadband Internet,” he said. “If you shut off the Internet, virtually nothing on the show floor would work.”

Shapiro cited the 2012 presidential election, pointing out that if a Republican beats President Obama, Genachowski could be out of a job. Asked by Shapiro what Genachowski wanted to be his legacy, the chairman identified focusing the FCC on broadband and working to unleash wireless spectrum. “We have a lot of work to do in 2012,” he said.

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