Tag Archives: google

service

What companies have the worst customer service?

Ranker.com, a platform that produces thousands of crowdsourced answers to opinion-based questions, has collected nearly 14,000 votes on what people think are the companies with the worst customer service. Nearly 5,000 votes were also collected on what people think are the most evil Internet companies. Here are the current rankings for both lists:

Companies With the Worst Customer Service

1. Time Warner Cable
2. AT&T
3. Bank of America
4. Walmart
5. American Airlines
6. Comcast
7. Citibank
8. Best Buy
9. Gold’s Gym
10. Ticketmaster

The Most Evil Internet Companies:

1. Facebook
2. Comcast
3. Apple
4. Time Warner Cable
5. Go Daddy
6. AOL
7. Electronic Arts
8. Microsoft Corporation
9. Google
10. Twitter

Ethan Beard

Parchment adds tech giant to board

Parchment Inc., a leading technology company that streamlines the request, delivery and sharing of verified academic and professional credentials online, announced the appointment of Ethan Beard as an independent member of its board of directors.

Beard spent nearly five years with Facebook (NASDAQ: FB), starting as the director of business development in April 2008, moving to Director of Platform Product Marketing and then on to director of developer relations. In his most recent position with Facebook, Beard oversaw worldwide developer relations, operations and product marketing for the Facebook API. Beard joined Facebook from Google (NASDAQ: GOOG), where he spent five years serving in various capacities from director, new business development to director, social media.

Beard joins Parchment’s board of directors during a period of rapid growth for the Scottsdale-based digital credentials platform company. As a member of the Parchment board, Beard will provide strategic guidance that draws on his extensive experience transforming consumer Internet services into sector-wide platforms. Beard joins a Parchment board with deep experience in education and SaaS ventures, including Parchment CEO Matthew Pittinsky, who previously co-founded the global education technology pioneer Blackboard.

“Ethan’s expertise with technology platforms combined with his track record as a successful business development strategist makes him a welcome addition to our board,” said Pittinsky. “Ethan brings a unique experience set to the boardroom and is someone whose strategic guidance will help elevate Parchment to the next level. Of particular importance, he clearly cares about education and our mission to help learners turn their credentials into opportunities.”

Earlier in his career, Beard co-founded BigSoccer, an online community and store for soccer fans and spent time structuring derivatives at Bank of America. He holds a Bachelor of Science in economics from the Wharton School of Business and an MBA from NYU Stern. Beard supports a variety of non-profits, including serving as a board member for Beyond 12 and represent.us. Beard currently serves as Entrepreneur in Residence at venture capital firm Greylock Partners.

“The opportunity to join the Parchment board has special meaning to me,” said Beard. “Parchment is one of those rare opportunities to develop a high-impact platform in education, a sector central to addressing so many critical social issues. Credentials play a pivotal role in education, and the mission that Matt Pittinsky and his team have established at Parchment is truly exciting to be part of. ”

Beard replaces Ted Mitchell on the Parchment board of directors. Mitchell resigned from his board position when he was confirmed by the U.S. Senate as Under Secretary of Education, with responsibility for postsecondary education.

google

Google Fiber could be coming to Valley

The cities of Scottsdale, Phoenix and Tempe joined Google Wednesday in announcing the first potential expansion of Google Fiber to the Valley.

Google Fiber is an Internet and TV service that provides Internet connectivity that is up to 100 times faster than the basic broadband, along with hundreds of high-definition TV channels.

“Scottsdale and Google Fiber are a perfect match,” said Scottsdale Mayor W.J. “Jim” Lane. “We are a connected city, filled with innovative and creative people and businesses – which is why Google named Scottsdale the 2013 E-City of Arizona. I look forward to working with Google Fiber to explore bringing Scottsdale residents ultra-high speed Internet access to make us more future-ready than ever.”

What’s next?

Starting this week, Google will work closely with city leaders on a joint planning process to explore what it would take to build a brand new fiber-optic network capable of delivering these gigabit speeds throughout Scottsdale.

Google will begin compiling a detailed study of local factors that might affect construction plans. Simultaneously, Scottsdale will begin meetings with Google to discuss what it would take to plan and prepare the city for a fiber project of this scale.

Read more about the process on the Google Fiber blog here.

Google will announce by year’s end which cities will get Google Fiber. The service is currently available in Kansas City, Kansas, Kansas City, Missouri and Provo Utah, and will be available in Austin, Texas later this year.

sanctuarypool

Sanctuary Receives 2013 ‘Stars of the Industry’ Award

Sanctuary on Camelback Mountain, the country’s premier luxury resort, was recognized by the American Hotel & Lodging Association (AH&LA) with a 2013 “Stars of the Industry” award during its Summer Summit in Denver, Colo. Sanctuary’s 2012 “Escape for GOOD” fundraiser, which raised $10 million benefiting Athletes for Hope and UGIVE, two nonprofits dedicated to inspiring and enabling voluntary service nationwide, was honored in the “Special Events, One-Time Only, Small-Property” category.

The invitation-only weekend event at Sanctuary, limited to 75 couples at a minimum donation of $50,000 each, offered once-in-a-lifetime experiences with sports industry celebrities such as Andre Agassi, Muhammad Ali, Cris Collinsworth, Mia Hamm, Tony Hawk, Jackie Joyner-Kersee, Alonzo Mourning, Anthony Muñoz, Paul O’Neill and Annika Sorenstam. Activities included tennis with Andre Agassi on Sanctuary’s championship tennis courts, a morning run through Paradise Valley with track and field star Jackie Joyner-Kersee, and a cook-off with culinary masters Todd English, Sanctuary’s own Executive Chef Beau MacMillan, and Phoenix’s Mark Tarbell. The weekend concluded with an extravagant private dinner for Muhammad Ali’s 70th birthday.

Sanctuary’s scenic and tranquil atmosphere provided a perfect backdrop for discussions on social issues and education for America’s youth. The weekend sparked conversations that forged new partnerships between Google and the Gates Foundation, Andre Agassi and Unicef, as well as a new Sports for Development program in South Africa and Ethiopia.

sanctuarypool

Sanctuary Receives 2013 'Stars of the Industry' Award

Sanctuary on Camelback Mountain, the country’s premier luxury resort, was recognized by the American Hotel & Lodging Association (AH&LA) with a 2013 “Stars of the Industry” award during its Summer Summit in Denver, Colo. Sanctuary’s 2012 “Escape for GOOD” fundraiser, which raised $10 million benefiting Athletes for Hope and UGIVE, two nonprofits dedicated to inspiring and enabling voluntary service nationwide, was honored in the “Special Events, One-Time Only, Small-Property” category.

The invitation-only weekend event at Sanctuary, limited to 75 couples at a minimum donation of $50,000 each, offered once-in-a-lifetime experiences with sports industry celebrities such as Andre Agassi, Muhammad Ali, Cris Collinsworth, Mia Hamm, Tony Hawk, Jackie Joyner-Kersee, Alonzo Mourning, Anthony Muñoz, Paul O’Neill and Annika Sorenstam. Activities included tennis with Andre Agassi on Sanctuary’s championship tennis courts, a morning run through Paradise Valley with track and field star Jackie Joyner-Kersee, and a cook-off with culinary masters Todd English, Sanctuary’s own Executive Chef Beau MacMillan, and Phoenix’s Mark Tarbell. The weekend concluded with an extravagant private dinner for Muhammad Ali’s 70th birthday.

Sanctuary’s scenic and tranquil atmosphere provided a perfect backdrop for discussions on social issues and education for America’s youth. The weekend sparked conversations that forged new partnerships between Google and the Gates Foundation, Andre Agassi and Unicef, as well as a new Sports for Development program in South Africa and Ethiopia.

Flash Websites

Stand Out in Local Search Directories

A powerful local search strategy for your business is an essential component to a well-developed local marketing plan. Local search directories have improved in recent years, with the integration of Google+ and Google Places as well as updates to directories such as Yahoo, Yelp, Bing, etc. Incorporating local search directories into your marketing mix can improve your search rankings and help your business gain higher visibility online.

Maximizing Google+ Local: The Integration of Google+ and Google Places

Google is one of the most important directories to provide accurate and up-to-date information about your business. Google has recently integrated Google Places local listings with Google+, transitioning to a seamless Google+ Local listing. This new approach to local directories provides a social component and allows businesses to capitalize on this budding social network to improve search rankings, drive more local business, and increase sales.

Tips for Managing Your Business’s Google+ Local Listing

Updating your Google+ Local profile requires just a few steps. The first step is to define the main product or service line that you offer, e.g., furniture company in Scottsdale, Arizona. With this, compile the following information about your business: brief description, photos, place of business (physical address), and link to the business website. You will enter all of these details about your business before submitting your Google+ Local listing. You will also be given the option to select categories that are relevant to your business so that Google can better determine when to display your listing to search engine users. Once you have filled out the basic information requested by the local search directories, you should also update the rest of the information on the form such as service area, payment options, operating hours, and videos.

If this is the first time you have filled out a Google+ Local listing or your address has changed, you will also need to authorize your address. After you submit your information, Google will mail you a postcard with additional instructions. Once the postcard arrives after about two weeks, complete the steps listed on the postcard to finalize your Google local search directory listing.

Claiming and Updating Other Local Directory Listings

In addition to Google, there are several other local search directories such as Yelp, Yahoo, Merchant Circle, Angie’s List, Bing, etc. that you should submit your directory listing. Be sure to use the same information that you used in your Google listing so that all of the information aligns across online directories. Consistency will help you maintain quality and will improve your local search rankings.

Do’s and Don’ts for Managing Local Directory Listings

Finally, there are a few things to remember as you complete your local directory listings.

The Do’s

  • Incentives. Local directory listings are a great place to list special offers or discounts to new customers online. List any specials that you are currently running to encourage prospective customers to try out your products or services.
  • Visuals. Upload pictures that accurately represent the products or services that you offer. This will allow search users to identify what you do quickly and easily, and it will also provide insight into how your business operates.
  • Reviews. Manage your reviews periodically to maintain a positive reputation for your business online. Respond to every review – positive or negative – in a polite and professional way. Being responsive to customer reviews about your business shows prospective customers that you care about the satisfaction of each and every customer.
  • Accuracy. Ensure accuracy across your local directory listings. Consistency is imperative to maintaining a high local search ranking for your target keywords.

The Don’ts

  • Don’t use a non-local phone number. Make sure that the phone number that you use is a local landline and not a toll-free number. Toll-free numbers can make it more difficult for the search engines to track your place of business.
  • Don’t use a P.O. Box. Make sure to use your business’s physical address and not a P.O. box, as this can also make it more challenging for the search engines to track your location.
  • Don’t change your business name. Instead of adding location keywords to your business name, make sure to keep it intact to achieve the best search results.
  • Don’t falsify reviews. Search engines are getting better at identifying false reviews so it is important to ask for reviews from your satisfied customers rather than to create mock reviews that the search engines will notice and eventually de-value.

If you would like to learn more about how local search engine optimization can help your business, please contact Net-Craft.com at 480-563-0558 for a free local SEO consultation.

 

 

 

social media day

Is Google+ Better for Business than Facebook or Twitter?

In the world of social networks, innovation can quickly change the field of frontrunners — remember LiveJournal?

We just saw it again as Google+ overtook Twitter to claim the No. 2 spot behind Facebook. And the new kid is already better than Mark Zuckerberg’s baby for small businesses, professional firms and entrepreneurs, says Alex Hinojosa, vice president of media operations for EMSI (www.emsipublicrelations.com).

“I knew Google+ would attract a big following because it really lends itself to business uses and SEO,” says Hinojosa, who has witnessed the value of Google+ grow exponentially in the daily operations of his PR firm.

A new Global Web Index study show Google+ grew to 343 million users globally in December, or about 25 percent of global internet users. Facebook still accounts for 50 percent of the pie.

“Facebook continues to go through self-imposed changes that are seeing mixed responses from longtime users,” Hinojosa says. “The new No. 2 has much, much more to offer than simply being an alternative to the big dog.”

Hinojosa reviews the merits of Google+ as a business tool, and why he believes the social network will continue its meteoric rise:

• Power: Google+ may be the new kid when it comes to social media – it’s not even 2 years old yet — but Google has become synonymous with anything online. The “new kid” offers something that no other social media platform can: Google power.

• Overwhelming advantage: “Google loves its newest offspring and it favors any post, article, picture and link posted on Google+,” Hinojosa says. “If you post a link on your Google+ about asthma remedies, and one of your connections is logged in to Google+ and searches for asthma remedies, your post will show up high in his Google search results.”

• In action: Let’s say you own an art gallery full of nature photos. Your website for promoting the gallery highlights “mountain photos,” “wildlife photos,” and “waterfall photos” and you’ve created matching URLs for each page, such as bobsnaturephotos. com/waterfallphotos. Now you head over to post your newest update on Google+. You post a message about the waterfall, then you add the link to your waterfall page, bobsnaturephotos. com/waterfallphotos. Now, whenever one of your connections types “waterfall photos” into a Google search, whether it’s days, weeks or months later, there you are on page 1 of the results. Your post shows up, your profile picture shows up, and your link shows up.

“Once upon a time MySpace was king, but over a period of about a year the world made a seamless transition onto Facebook, which may very well see a mass exodus of users,” Hinojosa says. “If your business or employer is not already on Google+, it’s time to make the move.”

Alex Hinojosa is the Vice President of Media Operations at EMSI Public Relations, where he oversees the creative process and execution of print (traditional & online), radio, TV and social media campaigns.  He has an extensive background in radio, working as a national talk-show host and executive producer for CBS Radio, Clear Channel Media & Entertainment and ESPN in major markets.  Alex is also a (social) media coach and fill-in talk show host for Genesis Communications Florida.

M

Regus’ Newest Scottsdale Business Center Appeals to Professionals

As professionals seek innovative ways to balance work-life responsibilities, Regus, the world’s largest provider of flexible workplaces, today announced the opening of its 15th full-service business center in the valley at 16427 North Scottsdale Road aimed at giving workers a convenient place to drop-in, be productive and network with like-minded professionals.

Commenting on Regus’ growth in the region, Mayor Jim Lane said, “This kind of flexible workspace really fits the needs of the growing number of creative entrepreneurs in Scottsdale. We are a smart and savvy community, so this business center will be a great fit and a big benefit to our business community.”

“There has been a rise in demand in the Scottsdale area for more flexible space and this location provides a perfect setting for professionals who do business in and live in North Scottsdale,” said Sande Golgart, Regus’ Regional Vice President. “In speaking with our clients, they are thrilled to have access to our services so close to where they live.”

Regus’ diverse client base in the center, which includes both commercial and residential real estate firms, lawyers and financial services companies points to the benefits flexible working has for businesses from all sectors and sizes.

Regus operates 1,500 locations worldwide.  Its network of business centers provide entrepreneurs, small- to medium-sized businesses as well as international companies a range of efficient work solutions, including fully equipped offices and virtual offices as well as meeting rooms and membership to its drop-in business lounges.  Terms are flexible allowing clients to choose the amount of space they use and the length of time they stay.

Regus promotes a collaborative environment for its customers.  Common areas, including stocked kitchen spaces, open campus spaces and client networking events helps develop a sense of community for the workers using the space.

Regus is the world’s largest provider of flexible workplaces, with products and services ranging from fully equipped offices to professional meeting rooms, business lounges and the world’s largest network of video communication studios. Regus enables people to work their way, whether it’s from home, on the road or from an office. Customers such as Google, GlaxoSmithKline, and Nokia join hundreds of thousands of growing small and medium businesses that benefit from outsourcing their office and workplace needs to Regus, allowing them to focus on their core activities.

More than a million customers a day benefit from Regus facilities spread across a global footprint of 1,500 locations in 600 cities and 100 countries, which allow individuals and companies to work wherever, however and whenever they want to. Regus was founded in Brussels, Belgium in 1989, is headquartered in Luxembourg and listed on the London Stock Exchange. For more information, visit: www.regus.com.

consumer behavior

Consumer Behavior Sparks Ideas For New Products, Expanding Markets

Marketing turns something old into something new: Consumer behavior sparks ideas for new products, expanding markets.


Introducing a new product to market can take years of research and expense. Or it can be as simple as taking something already in existence and marketing it for a different purpose. Creating or discovering a whole new use or new market for a product can be all you need to generate increased sales and growth. Observing consumer behavior is often the catalyst for new ideas.

A recent article in The Wall Street Journal outlines Hidden Valley Foods’ plan to expand its market penetration for its premier product, Hidden Valley Ranch Dressing. By repositioning the ever-popular salad dressing as the “new ketchup,” the company believes it can expand its market share and increase revenue. Updating the recipe to make the dressing thicker and creamier in order to stay atop a burger and creating new packaging and labeling, the new version will be called Hidden Valley for Everything. The company will introduce the product to the restaurant industry and grocery sales as soon as they finalize the recipe, so it can safely remain on the table as a nonperishable item, like ketchup and mustard.

The idea for repositioning the top selling salad dressing came about when a company executive observed his daughter pouring it over her salmon dinner. While ranch dressing is said to be “the most often used salad dressing in the U.S.,” the executive saw his daughter’s behavior as an opportunity to expand to a new area. Research shows that 15 percent of ranch dressing consumers use it on something other than salad, which supports the company’s move to make a play for market share in the condiment category.

Similarly, when Google learned that its customers were enjoying Google Translate more for its musical attributes than to translate words and phrases, the company saw a demand for this service with a new purpose. Customers type in a string of consonants as English for the system to translate into German, and then the computer “speaks” the phrase in rhythmic beat. The result is music to the user’s ears.

Then there is Starbucks’ CEO, Howard Schultz, who was recently credited with reviving the business by introducing a variety of new products and services. One of those ideas is a light roast coffee — a first for the coffeehouse chain that built its business on rich, dark roast flavors. When the company’s market research uncovered that “40 percent of U.S. coffee drinkers prefer a lighter, milder roast,” the product development team went to work creating their new Blonde roast.

Business owners and managers at small companies can learn from these industry leaders. Watching and listening to your consumers can often uncover the potential for new sources of revenue. Conduct a review of current products and services and think about how you might promote them to a different target market or how they may be utilized differently. By repositioning or refocusing your marketing, the potential for growth can be accomplished by just looking at the situation from a new perspective.

For more information on observing consumer behavior, or marketingworx and its services, visit www.marketingworxpr.com.

Google Malware Detector

New Service: Google Malware Detector

Google Malware Detector – Google recently introduced a new service to detect if a user’s computer was infected with malware and then inform the user.  The warning appears as an in-browser pop-up above the Google search bar.  The warning is bright yellow and contains a link to another Google page where users can learn what to do about their possible malware problem.

The service is the product of an investigation to determine the source of unusual activity patterns that were detected in Google’s data centers.  It turns out that the activity was actually coming from machines that were infected with malware. Because it was a simple matter to detect the individual activity patterns, Google’s engineers capitalized on the opportunity to warn users of the potential threat in real time.

The good news is that there are a lot of computer users on the internet with no anti-virus protection whats0ever. The Google malware detector service, and future services like it, may be the only thing that saves someone from a serious malware problem. It’s quite possible that Google may eventually spin off a cloud anti-virus service and make it available to Google App users, anyone with a Google account or the entire general public. They may even bundle such a service with their Chrome browser and OS.

However, the bad news is that there may be a problem with Google’s new service as it stands right now. For years, IT departments and computer repair professionals have been warning users not to trust anti-virus or malware notifications outside of the software they know they have installed on their individual systems. The problem is that there are many fake anti-virus programs that appear in browser windows and attempt to fool the user into believing that there is a serious infection. These fake anti-virus programs ask the user to purchase their software (which does no good), or install other free software that are actually Trojan programs. Even with users being aware of Google’s new service, a malware process could impersonate that service in a web page; at that point it’s no different than any other fake anti-virus program, except that it uses Google’s good name to lend it credibility.

It may turn out that Google’s good intentions will complicate an already-difficult issue for many uninformed users; only time will tell. But that’s not the only issue. There’s the question of whether companies have the right to detect infections (or anything else) on a machine without the owner’s explicit permission. There also doesn’t appear to be a way to turn off these notifications.

It also appears that Google’s recommendations for cleaning up your system includes a very short list of specific commercial products to scan for malware. While Google is a private company and can make any endorsement it wants, it does seem a bit unfair to have a multi-billion dollar company prominently backing only one anti-malware product, effectively throwing every other malware company under the bus.

Their instructions also tell the operator to disable the Windows System Restore in their haphazard attempt to deal with the malware, and then to only seek help from a professional as the very last thing to do. Shutting down the System Restore can result in significant data loss. In fact, using the System Restore can eliminate the malware in about 50 percent of the cases, depending; but at no point do the instructions say to attempt a System Restore.

To use a little bit of hyperbole: It’s like calling the doctor after attempting to perform an appendectomy on one’s self at home with a butter knife and a bottle of alcohol. Perhaps it would be safer, and wiser, for people infected with malware to contact a trusted professional at the start.

Social Media Employment

Social Media Series: Using Social Media In Hiring And Firing Employees

This article is part of an on-going, social media series.


With an estimated 34,000 Google searches every second, the Internet is most assuredly a source of information for employers when making hiring and firing decisions. Given the inevitable use of the Internet to make these decisions, there are a number of questions that employers should consider:

  • Should an employer use the Internet to investigate prospective employees?
  • What liability could there be if an employer uses the Internet in this manner?
  • Should an employer affirmatively address, in its practices or procedures, the use of the Internet to investigate prospective employees?
  • May an employer terminate an employee for online content posted during non-work hours?
  • Does it matter whether the employee’s online content is or is not about work-related topics?
  • What recourse, if any, does an employer have in disciplining an employee for inappropriate conduct on social media?

 

Prospective employees generally know that they should scrutinize their online presence so as not to have their resume hit the trashcan due to one weekend of debauchery posted on a Facebook photo album. Employers, on the other hand, too often fail to scrutinize their use of social media in hiring. Whether there is an official policy to run an online search of a prospective employee or informal protocol of the hiring manager, an employer’s practices and procedures should address the use of social media to investigate prospective employees.

Businesses should be aware of the potential liability in searching the online content of prospective employees. For example, a human resources representative decides to look up a prospective employee on Facebook and discovers that the individual is two months pregnant. She decides not to hire that candidate. Now, the business is vulnerable to an employment discrimination lawsuit if the candidate finds out about the human resources representative’s online activity and links the decision not to hire to the candidate’s pregnancy.

If a business wants to affirmatively use social media in evaluating the candidate and in hiring decisions, then it should express this practice in a social media policy and remind interviewers of the pertinent laws prohibiting discrimination in employment decisions.

Firing

In a survey conducted by the Health Care Compliance Association and the Society of Corporate Compliance and Ethics, almost 25 percent of respondents reported that the employer had disciplined an employee for conduct on Facebook, Twitter or LinkedIn. In November 2010, the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) initiated an unfair labor practice action on an employer for terminating an employee who posted personal negative comments about her supervisor on Facebook. The NLRB argued that the employer’s termination was unlawful under the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA) in that it was based on a policy that prohibited employees from engaging in “protected concerted activities” — discussing the terms and conditions of their workplace with each other.

In an effort to avoid common traps in cyberspace, employers should seek legal counsel when developing a policy that outlines the accepted use of social media in hiring decisions, as well as firing decisions. For instance, while there may be certain circumstances where an employer can terminate an employee for his personal online communication performed off the clock and outside the office, there are other circumstances where an employer cannot take such adverse action. A public employer generally cannot prohibit its employees from engaging in private communication that is protected by their First Amendment right to free speech. Similarly, an employer generally cannot fire employees for online discussions with co-workers about the terms and conditions of work, such as how much pay each employee at the office earns.

Such a social media policy has two important benefits: it helps employees to align their conduct with the company’s expectations and it helps the company to support a decision to reprimand an employee as appropriate under the expressed standard. Employees left to question the cause of their termination are often the ones who also decide to visit the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission to explore filing a discrimination charge and/or the NLRB to file an unfair labor practice charge against their employer.

Carrie Pixler, an associate with Fennemore Craig and a member of the firm’s Litigation Section, co-authored this story.

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What are your thoughts regarding this article?
Your comments won’t go unheard! (Or unread for that matter.)
The authors of this on-going social media series will be back monthly to answer any questions you may have and/or to continue the discussion. So let us know!

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Funding Startup Companies Jumpstart Economy

Funding Startup Companies Can Help Get the Economy Moving Again

Wanted: More Jobs

I don’t have a fancy degree from an Ivy League school, and I’m not formally trained in economics. So you won’t see me on the President’s economic advisory team, or lecturing on the philosophical differences between the Keynesian and Austrian economic theories.

Instead, I grew up watching my father start a manufacturing firm and build it into a successful, multimillion-dollar business. I followed in those footsteps by helping two technology startups grow from infancy to a spot on the Inc. 500 list and eventually sell for more than $100 million.

What I’ve learned through these experiences is that innovative startups are the engine of the American economy. Startups breathe life into slow growth industries (think Starbucks, Crocs and Netflix). Startups create new products and new markets (think salesforce.com, Google and Twitter). And startups solve complex scientific and engineering challenges to create life-changing products (think Intel, Amgen and TiVo).

Naturally, as innovative startups grow they create jobs — and lots of them. An eye-opening study by the Kauffman Foundation brings that into sharp focus. The study showed that startups are responsible for all net job growth in the U.S. since 1977.

Think about that for a minute. In aggregate, older more established firms do not create jobs (at least not in the U.S.). Job growth at one company is matched or exceeded by a decline at another. In essence individual companies are trading market share, but the market itself is growing slowly or not at all. When you add in technological advances to improve employee productivity, outsourcing to offshore locations, or simply eliminating positions to meet a lower level of demand, it is not surprising that established firms do not drive job growth.

Not all startups are equal

Any entrepreneur with the guts to launch a new startup deserves enormous respect, but not all startups are created equal when it comes to job creation. Startups in slow-growth markets such as restaurants, retail and other consumer services suffer from the same challenges as more established firms. Namely, a new growth company takes market share from an established player, so any new jobs created are eventually met with job cuts at other companies.

Similarly, startups in cyclical industries such as transportation, hotels, construction, real estate, etc., will not create sustained job growth. In good economic times, these companies will boom — and just as quickly go bust when the economic winds change.

While there are exceptions to these broad generalizations (note Starbucks and Crocs), sustainable job growth usually comes from scalable, innovative startups. These are the startups that venture capitalists and angel investors target. And these are the startups that will create new markets and lead the U.S. out of this economic slowdown.

Angel and venture capital investing

The startups noted earlier all share one common trait: they were funded by angel and/or venture capital. It is safe to say that without that capital, these companies would not have reached their respective heights.

Venture capital (VC) as a distinct asset class has existed since the ’60s, reaching its high point during the dot-com boom of the late ’90s and early 20000s. With such a long history, venture capital remains a relatively small segment of the capital markets. According to a report by HIS Global Insight, in 2009, new venture investments totaled $18 billion. Since 1970, only $474 billion has been invested in 27,000-plus companies. By comparison:

    The U.S. Treasury Department will issue more than $1.1 trillion in debt this year to cover the budget deficit.

    The junk bond market is greater than $600 billion in size.

    The wars in Iraq and Afghanistan cost more than $170 billion in 2010 alone.

But venture-backed companies have an outsized impact on GDP and employment. VC-backed companies produced more than $2.9 trillion in revenue in 2009, representing more than 21 percent of total U.S. gross domestic product. More importantly, 12.1 million people are employed at venture-backed companies, representing more than 11 percent of total private sector employment.

These numbers clearly show that innovative startups create economic growth and sustainable employment.

An alternative plan

That’s why I get viscerally angry watching the economic ignorance of our federal and state governments. Politicians pay lip service to wanting to create jobs, then spend tax dollars on big corporate giveaways, old industry subsidies, and pet projects that have little impact on actual job growth.

And when our government finally recognizes the need to create jobs and support small businesses, they create programs that will do neither.

A simple (and most likely profitable) plan that will have a fast and tangible impact on jobs is to create a federal “matching fund” for any angel group or venture capital firm to access. The matching fund would automatically invest a matching amount in any innovative startup that receives investment from the VC/angel group. Funds should be made available only for seed and early-stage investments. Extra incentives should be given to promote investment in regions of the country with low levels of VC investment and/or high levels of unemployment.

Under this plan, capital will be invested in companies with the highest potential for job and economic growth, and the fund will most likely turn a profit when all is said and done.

But don’t hold your breath waiting for innovative economic solutions to materialize in Washington. Instead, allocate some of your portfolio to angel/venture investing, then find a local angel group and get involved. You will be rewarded by working with some of the best and brightest entrepreneurs, while helping get the American economy growing again. And with any luck, you will make some money along the way.

Lynne King Smith, CEO of TicketForce

TicketForce Jumps Ahead Of Competition With Facebook App

For all you concert junkies, Facebook now meets concerts as TicketForce has just made purchasing tickets online even easier, joining forces with said social media platform.

Lynne King Smith, CEO of TicketForce, announced they will be merging ticket sales with the social media powerhouse in hopes to create an all-inclusive process for potential concert goers.

“We push the mark,” Smith said. “[We] take it a step further and have everything right in front you – [a] buy tickets tab.”

TicketForce acknowledges the impact of social media, as Facebook has jumped to the No. 2 spot in all U.S. Internet traffic in 2010 — just behind powerhouse Google, according to Alexa.com.

ConcertTicketForce’s website advocates to “Take your ticketing Social,” and that’s exactly what they’re doing with Facebook. The social media giant Facebook has crossed borders other social media sites such as Myspace and Friendster never have.  Facebook — in comparison to Myspace and Friendster — provide users a more professional and legitimate medium for online marketing and sales.

Smith strongly acknowledged the influence of the social media explosion in recent years, which allows TicketForce to be “very fluid and flexible…the company is able to respond [to customers] instantaneously.”

Smith said TicketForce initially developed the idea a year and a half ago but just recently gathered the company and developers together to make it a reality.  As this Mesa-based company continues to grow, they recognize the downfall of many ticketing agencies.

Smith made the point of minimal processing fees, which over the years Ticketmaster has increased.

However, TicketForce utilizes white label ticketing solutions, which in effect removes private agencies from the purchasing process and “makes the ticketing process more relationship based,” Smith said.  This allows for minimal fees, usually between $.50 and $2.00.

TicketForce offers an all-inclusive website where customers can utilize a user-friendly guide to shows playing nearby, a live Twitter stream and links to various other social media sites including Facebook.

“Our approach to business is to stay out of the way,” Smith said, and she stresses how important positive customer relations is for their business.

TicketForce has truly expanded their influence in the ticketing world far beyond Maricopa County.  They offer tickets in 48 states and Canada, and show no signs of slowing down.

TicketForce

For more information, visit www.Ticketforce.com, or check them out on Facebook.

Top Google Logos 2004

Top Google Logos 2004


Google’s 2004 Year In Review

January
Google has had an excellent year. At the beginning of the year, Bill Gates famously said, “They kicked our butts” about Google’s domination of and enormous profits on search, but promised a MSN Search engine within a year. Google began the process of going public. Yahoo freaked out and announced its new search engine and plan to dump Google as its results provider the next day. Google released Orkut, which everyone was convinced was the next big thing is social interaction.people to the world’s information and enhance the overall user experience of the web.”

read more: InsideGoogle

    My Top five Doodles from 2004:


    Gaston Julia’s Birthday


    Google Doodles 2004 - Gaston Julia's Birthday

    February 3rd 2004

    Wikipedia.com: Gaston Julia



    St. George’s Day


    Google Doodle 2004 - St. George's Day

    April 23rd 2004

    Festivals & Celebrations: St George’s Day



    Happy Father’s Day


    Google Doodles - 2004 Happy Father's Day

    June 20th 2004

    wikipedia.com: Father’s Day

     


    2004 Athens Olympic Games – Opening Ceremony


    Google Doodles - 2004 Athens Olympic Games - Opening Ceremony

    August 13th 2004

    YouTube.com: Athens 2004 Olympic Opening Ceremony Greek National Anthem



    Happy Halloween



    Google Doodles - Happy Halloween 2004

    October 31st 2004

    HalloweenHowl.com: The Halloween Witch and Witchcraft History



    Google Logos 1998 – 07/June/MMVIII Over 530 Images

    The last image donwloaded was the dedicated to Velazquez, a Spanish Painter, on June 07, MMVIII

    by oscheissen

     

     

    Check back Next week for the 2005 Google Doodle’s

     


    Google Doodle 2003 Albert Einstein's Birthday

    Top Google Logos 2003


    Google Builds World’s Largest Advertising and Search Monetization Program

    Company introduces automated content-targeted ads; Advertising customer base surpasses 100,000

    “Google remains committed to developing services that bring significant value and return on investment to our advertisers, partners, and users worldwide,” said Eric Schmidt, Google’s chairman and CEO. “Through superior relevancy and simple design, Google’s many innovations connect people to the world’s information and enhance the overall user experience of the web.”

    Google: Press Center

      My Top five Doodles from 2003:


      Earth Day


      Google Doodles 2003 - Earth Day

      April 22nd 2003

      Wikipedia.com: Earth Day


      Happy Independence Day


      Google Doodle 2003 - Happy Independence Day

      July 4th 2003

      Wikipedia.com: Independence Day


      Alfred Hitchcock’s Birthday


      Google Doodles 2003 - Alfred Hitchcock's Birthday

      August 13th 2003

      Britannica Blog: Happy 111th Birthday, Alfred Hitchcock!

       


      100th Anniversary of Flight


      Google Doodles - 100th Anniversary of Flight

      December 17, 2003

      The Library of Congress: First Flight



      Holiday Series



      Google Doodles - Holiday Series 2003

      December 24th 2003

      Merry-Christmas.com: Christmas Traditions



      Evolution of the Google Doodle by Danny Sullivan

      Danny Sullivan, Editor-In-Chief of Search Engine Land, couldn’t be a more perfect guide to take us through the evolution of Google’s Doodles. SearchEngineLand.com.

      by iGNiTe

       

       

      Check back Next week for the 2004 Google Doodle’s

       


      Greenpeace International Urges Facebook To Use Green Data Centers

      Greenpeace International Urges Facebook To Use Green Data Centers

      Facebook is often under some kind of scrutiny in the news. Lately, this has been because of ongoing privacy complaints against the social-networking giant.

      But the latest issue with Facebook isn’t about privacy, it’s about energy. An article in the NY Times highlights the issue. Greenpeace International, an environmental campaigner, contends that Facebook’s latest data center (under construction) in Prineville, Oregon, isn’t good for the environment. The data center is powered by PacifiCorp, a company that gets 58 percent of its energy from burning coal.

      For a site that has more than 500 million members, Facebook’s reliance on data centers is obvious. But is this coming at a price? In the article, Lisa Rhodes, vice president of marketing and sales at Verne Global, a data center company based in Iceland, stated that “according to the Environmental Protection Agency, data centers now account for 1.5 percent of all electricity consumption in the U.S. and by 2020, carbon emissions will have quadrupled to 680 million tons per year, which will account for more than the aviation industry.”

      Greenpeace is urging Facebook to switch to a more environmentally friendly source of energy. Other technology giants such as Google, Yahoo, Toshiba and Hewlett Packard have already taken steps to toward becoming greener. Google invested $38 million in wind farms and Yahoo cut 40 percent of carbon intensity of its data centers by 2014.

      Yet, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg is fighting back against these allegations. In a Facebook message to a Greenpeace supporter he writes: “Some of the old data centers we rent use coal, but most are already green.” He also added: “The newer ones we’re building from scratch in Oregon use hydro power from dams. We’re moving in the right direction.” Facebook representatives also added that Facebook rents data center space that is shared with other companies, making it impossible to decide what energy it’s powered with. However, the company did say that they’re moving toward larger, customized data centers with a focus on energy efficiency.

      So what do you think? I doubt the thought of energy  efficiency crosses our minds as we log onto Facebook. But it’s good to hear that there are groups out there committed to implementing the type of change we need for a greener future and that companies are taking responsibility and responding to it.

      www.facebook.com
      www.nytimes.com

      www.greenpeace.org

      MailVU private video messaging

      MailVU: private video messaging

      Voicemail is so 2008. Today’s personal tech is all about bringing back the human element to communication. That’s why web cameras have become so popular in the last few years. While it used to be a peripheral device, and a costly one at that, nearly every computer now comes with a built-in web cam, and services like Skype and iChat have made it incredibly easy to see the person you’re calling. Now the benefits of web cam have made their way into the office with video messaging services. With these services, you can send that important message with the appropriate corresponding facial expressions and ensure that it gets to the recipient securely, without getting caught in the spam filter.

      MailVU, a startup out of Charlotte, NC, promises to deliver the fastest and easiest system for sending private video messages. And our test of the app proved it is really that simple. Just go to http://mailVU.com, click in the box to record your message, hit record, and when you’re done, send it off. Video e-mails arrive right in the recipient’s e-mail inbox for instant click-to-play. MailVU works on all computers, in all browsers, and pretty much all smartphones, including iPhone, Android and Blackberry. Oh yeah, and it’s free.

      MailVU works on all computers, in all browsers, and pretty much all smartphones, including iPhone, Android and BlackberryWhen I tried MailVU, my biggest concern was privacy. The last thing I wanted was for my mug to end up in the wrong hands, or rather, the wrong mailbox. MailVU promises the video e-mails are sent directly to the intended recipients, with the senders having some nice options to destroy the video at their discretion. The sender can delete or retract the video message at any point, even before the recipient has viewed it. Once the video message is viewed, the sender is notified, so they can choose to destroy it at that time, or use the self-destruct options. For instance, you can set up criteria on every message to auto-delete after a certain number of days or views. I especially had fun sending messages to friends and letting them know the message would self-destruct, a la James Bond style. To ensure privacy, the company says that all messages stay private and will not come up in Google search.

      The best part, in my opinion: You don’t need to sign up for yet another account to a web app, and there is no software or widget download. For those of us looking to de-clutter our desktops and phones of an egregious number of apps and widgets, this is a beautiful thing.

      There’s something really nice about sending more personalized messages to colleagues when we can’t chat live. After testing MailVU and seeing how easy it truly is, I have to say I will probably start to use it regularly. Watch out friends; you’re about to see a lot more of my smiling face in your inbox. This message will self-destruct in 10 seconds.

      About Google’s Logo Doodler Dennis Hwang

      Top Google Logos 2001



      About Google’s Logo Doodler Dennis Hwang.

      Google doodles, the drawings that are designed on, around and through the Google logo on the Google home page, have long been part of Google’s history. As a Google intern in 2000, Google Webmaster Dennis Hwang began celebrating and marking worldwide events and holidays with doodles. Since then, the work of the doodle team has been seen by millions and reached cult status, with fans waiting with bated breath to see the next creation on the Google homepage.

      Google: doodle4google doodler

        My Top five Doodles from 2001:


        Chinese New Year


        Chinese New Year - Google Doodles

        January 24th 2001

        History.com: The Chinese New Year, or Spring Festival as it’s been called since the 20th century


        St.Patrick’s Day



        St.Patrick's Day - Google Doodles

        March 17th 2001

        Wilstar.com: St.Patrick’s Day


        Independence Day


        GUnited States Fourth of July Independence Day

        July 4th 2001

        History.com: Independence Day, commonly known as July 4th or the Fourth of July


        Claude Monet’s Birthday


        Claude Monet's Birthday from Google Doodles

        November 14th 2001

        Wikipedia: Claude Monet


        Holiday Series 2001 (4th of 4)


        Holiday Series 2001 Google Doodle

        December 25th 2001

        Holiday of Lights: Holiday Traditions Around the World



        Doodle 4 Google: Time lapse video of Google Doodle creation

        A time lapse video that shows Chief Google Doodler Dennis Hwang draw a Google Doodle from start to finish. He creates a doodle that commemorates the Lunar New Year and invites students to join the Doodle 4 Google art competition.

        by Google

         

         

        Check back Next week for the 2002 Google Doodle’s

        Google

        Google Instant – Google Redefines How Search Engines Work “Again”!

        Google Instant predicts what the user is typing and shows results as the search query is being typed. Benefits include faster searches, smarter predictions and instant results.

        Jonathan Effrat
        Product Manager

        Introducing Google Instant

        Google Instant: Launched September 8th 2010

        Will Google Instant slow my Internet connection? About Google Instant
        Google anticipates that Google Instant will not slow your Internet connection, and they plan to automatically turn it off for very slow connections.

        Can I turn off Google Instant? About Google Instant
        You can turn off Google Instant by clicking the link next to the search box on any search results page, or by visiting your Preferences page.

        After watching the video I went to my Google page and started typing. I didn’t see anything different? So I went looking… Google Instant Features

        You won’t see results appear as you type if any of the following is true:

        • you are not at the Google homepage or a search results page
        • you search from your iGoogle
        • you search using Google SSL
        • you use an Internet browser other then the following:
          • Firefox 3 and later versions
          • Safari 5 for Mac and later versions
          • Internet Explorer 8
          • Google Chrome 5 and later versions
        • you previously disabled auto-complete
        • you previously opted out of Google Instant
        • you use a Google domain or interface language not yet support

        What do you think about Google Instant?

        Google Buys Wind Power

        Oil Spill, Google Wind Power & More

        From global new to local business this week we’ve gathered stories about how hair can help the oil spill, what Belgium wants to do with the deceased, Google buying wind power and more. Plus, we’ve got an additional story on what one Valley business is doing to help the environment.

        Please feel free to send along any interesting stories you’d like to see featured in the roundup by e-mailing Shelby Hill.

        Also visit AZ Green Scene for informative articles on sustainability endeavors in the Valley and state. Read the latest article here.

        Local
        Cut Your Hair and Help the Oil Spill
        Matter of Trust wants you to mail your hair, your dog’s hair and your kids’ hair to them to help soak up the oil in the Gulf.  Send hair to 99 Saint Germain Ave., San Francisco, CA 94114, and visit http://www.matteroftrust.org/ to see images of the hair in action.

        Learn about the “Energize Phoenix Project”
        The “Energize Phoenix Project” will provide energy-efficient improvements to neighborhoods along the 10-mile stretch of Phoenix’s light rail corridor.  It’s expected that this project will create up to 8,000 new jobs over the next six years.  To learn more about this project, attend the Phoenix Green Chamber of Commerce’s education forum on Monday, July 26.

        National
        Google Buys 20 Years of Wind Power from Iowa Farm
        Google Energy, a subsidiary of Google, signed a 20-year deal with Story II Wind Energy Center in Iowa to buy wind power.  This is another step in achieving Google’s goal of becoming a carbon-neutral company.

        In California, Kaiser Gives $1 Million to Build Green Health Clinic
        La Maestra Community Health Center in San Diego would not only be green, but also help promote green building and living to the surrounding community.  La Maestra could be the first of its kind to earn LEED certification.  This clinic’s impact wouldn’t be small either, the clinic, expected to be 36,400 square feet, is projected to see 180,000 patient and client visits annually.

        International
        An Eco-Friendly Burial Isn’t a Burial at All
        Belgium authorities hatched a plan to dissolve the dead in caustic solutions and flush them into the sewer system as a way to replace cremating and burial in a cemetery, which are both not environmentally friendly. Six states, including Colorado and Oregon, recently passed legislation to allow this process to occur in the United States.

        Iceland Volcano Causes Decrease in CO2 Emissions
        Think back to April when the hard-to-pronounce volcano Eyjafjallajökull had European planes grounded for six days.  Those six days without most of the European air traffic decreased our carbon emissions dramatically.  The volcano did release CO2, but at a much lower rate than humans produce.  Is nature sending us a message?