Friday, May 27, 2016

Entrepreneur Lessons from the Olympics

Kerri Pottharst is Australia’s most decorated Indoor and Beach Volleyball player. She won bronze and gold in beach volleyball Olympics. Her interview offers insights businesses can take to heart as well.

"Everyone remembers you winning the gold, but no one sees the 18 years prior to that. There were highs and there were lows, there were times I didn’t believe in myself but I always, always pushed through. I just had it in me. I wanted to see how good I could be. I wanted to be the best."

Remember that there are highs and lows. The high moments - yes, they are but moments - are there for your to hold onto to get you through the low times. There always seems to be more lows than highs. Hang in there!

"Indoor and Beach Volleyball have taught me that it takes passion, preparation and belief to be successful in anything. The passion will get you up in morning and do the things you may not always enjoy, the preparation is all the hard work and you need to develop the belief in
yourself to achieve success."

Plan ... everything... no winging it ... including the press and the marketing. Need help? See here.

Links for the Weekend

Hope you all have a safe Memorial Day Weekend.   Take a moment to remember that Monday isn't picnic, beer and burger day. It is a somber reminder of what freedom costs.


Big Data

If you like Big Data: Google releases free version of Data Studio custom reporting product, which integrates with AdWords, Analytics, YouTube and other data sources.

Scoble mentioned Looker. "Looker makes it easy for data teams to create a data platform that everyone in your organization can explore and rely on. The result? A true data culture where everyone understands what’s working and decisions can be made faster and with confidence."


12 Bite-Sized Marketing Tips for Telecom Agents but really for any service business.

Social Media Engagement Trends You Shouldn’t Miss [Infographic]

Marketing Workshop - work with me to walk step by step through your marketing - from value proposition, to marketing plan to getting your email going again - in 4 weeks in June. Register Here Now!

Thursday, May 26, 2016

For ISPs this morning

"It's easy for a retailer to believe that the best way to succeed is to be cheap. But just about every important brand didn't get that way by being the cheapest." Seth Godin. There is a big difference between Value and Price.

What should cellular, pay TV and broadband services cost?

Kind of surprised that the Internet Access Report from the FCC is from 2014. It sure takes them a long time to process data.

The 2016 Broadband Progress Report has some good date. "39 percent of rural Americans (23 million people) lack access to 25 Mbps/3 Mbps. By contrast, only 4 percent of urban Americans lack access to 25 Mbps/3 Mbps broadband."

For the E-Rate folks: "While an increasing number of schools have high-speed connections, approximately 41 percent of schools, representing 47 percent of the nation’s students, lack the connectivity to meet the Commission’s short-term goal of 100 Mbps per 1,000 students/staff."

Broadband ISPs, CableCos Still Least Liked of Any US Industry by DSLR. "A survey of 10,000 consumers has found that broadband ISPs and cable companies continue to have the worst customer satisfaction ratings of any industry in the United States."

Charter CEO Explains Why ISP Won't Compete Against Cable! "As part of the Charter merger conditions the cable company is required to expand broadband service to 2 million additional locations -- 1 million of which must already be covered by an existing broadband provider offering speeds of 25 Mbps or more." That means they have to overbuild over ILEC broadband -- so DSL will lose even more subscribers (which makes the return on copper less and less. Also, cable won't overbuild on cable because then they cannot buy them down the road.

Cable One is using FICO scores to qualify video customers, CEO Thomas Might says.

One step towards more sales is to clearly articulate your value to your marketplace. Join the 4 week Marketing Workshop to walk through your value proposition with me and get started in marketing your business. Register HERE NOW!

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

The Network and Beyond

Vendors We Quote and Provision

Still have my telecom agency. I still quote and provision circuits for you. Just a quick view of the top vendors in categories such as Ethernet, Internet Background, Data Center plus an overview of SD-WAN and other servcies you might want to add to your portfolio.

New speed test from Netflix:

Monday, May 23, 2016

News Tidbits for Service Providers

AT&T begins Broadband Caps today!

Do you know what a Product Manager does? This article explains.

the ups and downs of selling your company (startup advice): here

the UCaaS space: is it a 3-way battle or not?

There are now 2015: 7.4 billion mobile subscriptions for 7.3 billion people.

3 Tips on Hiring by Seth Godin

Take your marketing up a notch with a 4-week workshop to get coached through a USP, marketing plan and more. Register Now by clicking here.

Microsoft vs. Cisco vs. Broadsoft

Analysts' reports estimate that Cisco and Microsoft will take more than half of the Enterprise UC&C market (estimated at 55%). Cisco has three offerings chasing this market: Call Manager series; Cisco Spark (either hosted by Cisco or a Service Provider); and HCS. Small, medium and large.

Microsoft is already climbing past 55 million users of Office365 with Skype for Business. This slideshow of a survey about Skype4B. "This year's survey of enterprise IT professionals, conducted in April, netted 445 respondents. Similar to what we found from our 2015 survey participants, half of this year's respondents, or 224 enterprise IT professionals, said their organizations have adopted the on-premises version of Skype for Business." One-third of the respondents use the cloud based version for Skype4B.

Slack is fast approaching 3 million daily users. It isn't that employees don't want to use UC&C. They just want it to be integrated and easy to use.

I worry that Broadsoft hasn't taken more market share already. (They have been at it longer, probably longer than the marketplace was ready for them). Also it seems that BSFT does not have a true position. It is pitched from 10 seats to 10K seats. It is pitched for contact center. It is not integrated into Skype4B nor Slack. The service providers selling BSFT will need a clear value proposition and positioning statement to push up market and take sales away from both Cisco and Microsoft.

The biggest competitor to the small business space is actually the cellphone. GoDaddy didn't buy FreedomVoice to sell a Hosted Phone system. They are selling them auto-attendant in the cloud (like Grasshopper, and Google Voice) and toll-free numbers. Transactional products that can seem to add value to the VSB.

The hard part is the handset. VoIP providers are so set to sell phones, that they haven't moved to sell the value of soft clients and mobile apps in a BYOD world. Maybe the Polycom purchase by MITEL will shake things up enough to get the VoIP Providers to go native.

Mast Mobile, which is an MVNO and a mobile UC provider, has what many VSB (1-5 employee businesses) would want: mobile app with UC capabilities; second line feature and maybe the calling plan. The marketing, customer acquisition and support costs may be askew to the revenue and capital. Most UC players are moving up market for 2 reasons: easier sale in mid-market (over 150 employees) because those buyers can appreciate the UC feature set more than a small business does (under 99 employees). The second reason is economic: the cost of customer acquisition, implementation and support can be easily recouped from 100+ seat deal -- a lot harder on a 25 seat deal.

We are at a tipping point. No clear winner (despite the Synergy Research), but by the end of 2016 or 1Q2017, the winners will start to pull away from the pack. Part of it will be due to consolidation; partly because of capital (it takes money to bring on clients); and partly due to what providers have their shit together and are aligned with their sales partners to go get that market share.


West UC released an infographic from a survey about Video Calling.

Another S4B study: Most Businesses See Value of #Skype4B but Fear Change.

Need help with Marketing? Putting your Value Proposition together? Give the office a call at 813-963-5884. Or join the our workshop to create your marketing in just 4 weeks with our help. Register here.

Friday, May 20, 2016

3 Visual Stories about Cloud

3 visual stories. The first 5 reasons business use cloud in IBM's view.

Integration is a vital part of cloud. Silos and stand-alone software just doesn't fit into today's business environment. We talk about ecosystems for a reason. IBM has many integration partners. Many.

The Enterprise SaaS market is growing beyond the Big 4.

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Cable Beating Copper

The Top 17 ISPs in the US added 1.1 million net new broadband subscribers in 1st Quarter 2016 "-- and the vast majority of them went to cable providers. According to the latest data by Leichtman Research, the top cable companies added about 1,065,000 broadband subscribers in the quarter, or 99% of the net additions seen by the industry. In contrast, the top phone companies added just 10,000 net broadband subscribers for the quarter, thanks to the continued (and quite intentional) loss of DSL users.” [source: DSLR]

Copper based broadband is losing against cable modem. In the 3 states that Frontier took over in April, FiOS has had a setback as Frontier fumbled this take over as well as the last. Cable wins again.

Maybe will be the answer to the losses. "Aggregate upstream and downstream speeds of 150 Mbps over 500 meters of traditional phone wiring are already feasible—and the aggregate speed rises to the 300 Mbps range when distance is decreased to 300 meters, Weissman said. The ratio of downstream to upstream bandwidth can be set by the carrier." [source]

Clearly the ILECs, especially the rural ILECs, need another tool in the shed to combat Cable Labs. Maybe will be it. VDSL2 isn't winning - and broadband revenues will make up a large part of revenues for years to come.

Sunday, May 15, 2016

3 Tips for Start-ups

Brazzlebox contacted me about writing a blog post about advice I would give a startup. Long time readers know that I share advice for startups on here often - and I encourage companies that have been in business to re-visit the startup advice to energize their business.

3 pieces of startup advice

1. Know your customer. Your customer is NOT everyone. It hardly ever is. It is someone with a need - a need that they are aware of - that your service fixes. If you have to explain the need, it is an uphill battle.

2. Be able to explain your value proposition in as few words as possible. If you can't explain it; your employees can't either. So it becomes about price.

3. Get Support. As a start-up founder, you will feel alone. Find a Mentor or a support group like a startup group or an entrepreneur's club or just find a couple of other founders to have coffee with that you can be real with. You will feel alone; you will battle things like depression; stress will be a constant companion. Have someone to talk to that will understand - other than your spouse or parents. This group can be a MasterMind (see here) or just a place that you can be honest.