Sunday, December 09, 2007

Sharedband Press Stories

Last week Sharedband released three great press stories:

1) We signed a reseller contract with BT Wholesale, who will market and sell our products and services to ISPs in the UK
2) A great customer case study, based on a reprint of a story by Talk Internet about the use of Sharedband at the British SuperBike Grand Prix to help journalists upload their stories and photos.
3) Our new alliance status with Netgear as a global solutions partner.

All together they make a great story – not only did BT give our technology fantastic credibility but also a straight forward route to market. The customer angle clearly demonstrated we have a solution for a real problem and the alliance with Netgear was a truly global partnership.

After ringing a couple of dozen editors I was in no doubt we’d get some coverage – but I really hadn’t bargained for such a super uptake. Here are some links to articles and posts published by last Friday: Peter Judge Ray Le Maistre
Telephony Ed Gubbins - also on Communications direct
PC Pro Barry Collins
IT Week & Computing & WiMax news David Bailey Anne Lagerkvist
ZDNet David Meyer
Digital Trends – Christopher Nickson
Comms Dealer
Telecom Paper – can’t read without subscription Guy Kewney
One Stop Click
Broadband - Finder
Broadband Genie
The Hermes project
Tech Taxi

Friday, November 09, 2007

The last post - for Amstrad

The old Amstrad company may have been sold to Sky (R.I.P.) - but the memories of some great times with Sir Alan will live on as long as we all stay friends. 14 ex Apprentices from the 80's gather for some great fun, beer and pies at the Newman Arms last Tuesday evening. See the photos on Facebook.

This maybe the last post for Amstrad - but its my first blog post for months - I have been storing it all up - so there is lots to follow as I have been reflecting on 6 months of new social media i.e. Facebook, Plaxo Pulse, Twitter, Google Reader, Gmail, 400 Linkedin contacts - the progress Sharedband has made and where we are going next, extended stay in Seattle and visiting Portland, LA and San Francisco - meeting up with Robert Scoble, Om Malik and many other intersting people.

Thursday, May 03, 2007

Please enter your passcode and press the pound sign!

There is probably a whole book on US v UK differences, but I keep hearing this one on calls to the US and I just don’t understand it – why do Americans call this “#” a pound sign – I always think “£” as a pound (sterling) sign or “lbs” for pounds as a weight measure. Is there another sort of pound? I'd call # a hash sign....!

More for less

In corporate life I used to commission work from many different types of contractors and used to judge their value by looking at the ROI or business benefit their work produced, cost was of secondary importance provided there was a budget available. We had some great results along with some disappointments, overall I am quite proud of my achievements.

Now in a small business every penny counts and there are no budgets as such - so I have found it necessary to delve into contractors’ time and materials and learnt a huge lesson as a result.

You can do so much more with so much less, and how much better would the ROI have been if I had dived into the detail and understood the minutia of the work – the devil is as they say in the detail.

Dog Tricks

How does the saying go: “teaching old dogs new tricks” or “teaching new dogs old tricks”? It must be a function of age but it just seems like same old tricks keep coming round and round again – just dressed up with a modern spin. It’s obvious in cover versions of pop songs and remakes of old movies but it shows up in business too like “the customer is king” now we’d talk about “the consumer being enabled by web 2.0 communications”.

Great Animation

Thanks to my friends at Signals with some audio help from the podcaster at Focus Biz Sharedband has a really super flash animation that explains how it benefits customers and a simple overview of how it works.

If you find flash is choppy or poor quality then you could probably do with Sharedband service, so meanwhile best to download the exe file and view it at your leisure!

Thursday, April 12, 2007

5 Resons to Hate Corporate Life

After working for a small technology start up over the last 6 months I have just paused for a moment’s reflection and realised what I was missing from corporate life.

Corporations sell employees “substantial benefits packages”, “job security”, "career prospects" the regular salary and the dream that a handful of share options will pay out enough to retire. Some of this is a little tough to swallow these days as there really is no such thing as job security .

There are a few other side effects for working for a well known organisation not often mentioned. For instance when you are trying to make contact with someone you’ve not met before, they are far more likely to take your call or respond to your messages. You can usually set the agenda and get others to comply – i.e. throw your weight around effectively.

If all you want is a regular income to enable other interests in your life then maybe disappearing into the corporate morass and picking up a regular cheque is just what you should do. This is not what I want from over a third of my week. It may be a bit of a cliché but I want to “make a difference” and get real “job satisfaction” whilst bringing home enough for a crust or two and have a realistic dream of significant success and financial independence.

So this leads to my top 5 reasons why not to go back to corporate life:

1. Personal commitment and hidden agendas
There is a need to establish personal motivations in a corporate community and they can range from complete indifference to monetary gains to megalomania. Success or failure of personal agendas can cause a wide range in levels of commitment – almost none of which are for the corporation. Right now the only thing that matters to us is the success of our start up – without which we all fail.

2. Just a replicating cog
Someone somewhere in a large corporation has done it before or already decided what you should do. I like to create and today that’s down to me and I get the satisfaction of being responsible for the results – good or bad – it’s a freedom that’s unbeatable.

3. Budgets
The budget reigns supreme in matters which involve financial planning and there is generally no concern about the funding, cash position, investments or real affordability. It’s no wonder so many crap decisions are made. Small business limitations force this awareness and this in turn drives innovation and efficiency.

4. Red tape and inflexibility
Controls are needed in a large organisation – at least that’s the defence for red tape – what I can appreciate now is the efficiency between taking a decision and making it happen, usually there’s a whole different critical path. i.e. can we afford it right now as opposed to have we got all the necessary signatures!

5. Human Resources
There is a science in crowd control or battery farming and HR is the equivalent in corporate life. Under the pretext of caring for employees, providing training and other personal development benefits their cover is blown during periods of reorganisation. Hopefully we can scale efficiently enough to avoid this parasitic role for a long time to come.

There were a few that didn’t quite make the grade like: meetings – room availability and scheduling fun, reporting for reporting sake and dividing up menial pay raises amongst a team all deserving the maximum award.

Thank god for our technology start up – hopefully we’ll come up trumps on the rewards as well.

Tuesday, April 03, 2007

Escape from Corporate Colditz

A very good friend of mine said to me tonight that they had been missing my posts and I replied I had been lacking the inspiration needed to write them.

I continued – “you know it’s hard to keep writing about things, I don’t want to write a load of crap about nothing, so much of what I read is trivial and appears to be written because the author thinks they must write something to keep their audience satisfied or perhaps they just need to write about everything to satisfy themselves”

The problem is that I find writing a good post quite exhausting and certainly time consuming – unless I get a sudden flash of inspiration.

Last year when I started my blog I had a real drive – a desire to get noticed and an enthusiasm from discovering this new medium but most importantly I had time – plenty of time whilst trying to start up my own marketing consultancy business.

Today I am wrapped up launching Sharedband, discovering a new market place and learning so much about the difference between a start up environment and my prior corporate Colditz life – and loving every moment of my new found freedom – I haven’t had time to reflect on what’s happened in the last 6 months.

Maybe I need to pick out the best bits and post about the changes in my life and the differences which in hindsight are huge.

Saturday, March 31, 2007

The news is getting out there

Sharedband was officially launched this week with first ISP partner KeConnect and it was well reported in Comms Business, see their news piece. They have decided their product using Sharedband will be called Flexiband - I wonder how many other interesting brands will emerge as others launch their products.

Also picked op on a new blog for small businesses - Alex Bellinger had written a post about the growth in VoIP adoption by SME's and made the point that ADSL bandwidth was going to be an issue for anyone with even a modest number of VoIP users - especially if their office was remote from an exchange - so I got into a brief explanation on how our new service could help solve this problem.

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Real Brands Score

As a follow up on my last post on brand virtues I thought it would be fun to think about how these virtues stack up in the real world, so I put together a simple table with some expressions of these virtues or lack thereof so as to score a brand. Try it out on your own or your competitor’s brand or just a famous brand. Simply think about the brand in question – maybe open the website in front of you and ask yourself which of the following expressions are most appropriate to describe the top 10 virtues:

Add the score up, the max score is 50 and minimum 10. Then in only the way women’s magazines can do well I have attempted to draw a few conclusions:

Score 10-19 :

The company responsible for this brand is likely to take your money and disappear, they are to be despised and hopefully customers will run for the hills and it won’t be long before they go bust. The world will be a better place without them.

Score 20-29 :

If you’re responsible for the marketing this brand you’ve got your work cut out. Plenty of challenges ahead, it takes time to alter these perceptions but don’t give up see where you’re marked down and find out why. These virtues are not just about changing the messaging or advertising copy it’s about radically overhauling the brand and company culture.

Score 30-39 :

A pretty good result, few large companies or famous brands will do better than this. But there is no room for complacency. One slip can undo all the value established – it’s better to keep trying to improve the margin so that in the event of bad times customers will stick with the brand.

Score 40-50 :

Check the facts – you could be deluding yourself – if you are the marketing manager try asking some real customers what they think. If the result stands please accept my sincere congratulations on a brilliant result. Your brand is a massive asset to your business. The only bad news is that the effort can never stop and there is only one direction you can go now – so stay ahead and protect your brand - its worth a fortune.

Would anyone be prepared to measure Sharedband for me?

Footnote: Thanks to Steve for coming up with a couple of great expressions and not disappearing up his own ass.

Monday, March 12, 2007

Life or brand virtues

A few months back I wrote a post about the value of Trust. In this post I mentioned that it was in my top 10 virtues for human life and brand value. Ever since I wrote about it I have wondered what else was in my top 10 and did they all apply to brand value as well as being human virtues. Perhaps you may have a view on the order but here is my best stab at the top 10 brand virtues:
  1. Empathy
  2. Lucidity
  3. Trust
  4. Quality
  5. Wisdom
  6. Honesty
  7. Powerful
  8. Humility
  9. Responsibility
  10. Organization
Did I miss any that are more important than those listed? How does your brand stack up (or even your own personal brand / image)? What do you think your customers or audience would make of these values when it comes to your own brand image?

Do you think it would be fun to score well known brands against each of these factors and reach conclusions as to their brand value as a result?

Monday, March 05, 2007

"Expletive" Cool Technology

Scott Adams of Dilbert fame has got excited about Google alerts in his blog and I agree they are a really useful way of tracking your key interests. He points out how he tracks his own key words “Scott Adams Dilbert” so he can see who is talking about his work and that he’s reasonably likely to read (at least some of the content to get the context).
So I got to wondering if adding a batch of obvious key names, words and links at the end of this post I might grab the attention of a number of prolific bloggers and pundits and tell them about our great new technology.

Sharedband is this really cool patented software technology that aggregates the bandwidth of broadband lines. This is a totally new low cost line bonding solution for the mass market - it uses commodity routers pooled together distributing IP packets across multiple lines.
This gives you much faster internet connection speeds, upstream and downstream, as well as adding greater resilience to your service. Great news if you depend on the internet for your living as do the illustrious bunch below....and many many more besides.

Dennis Howlett AccMan B.L. Ochman Kathy Sierra Creating Passionate Users Hugh MacLeod Gapingvoid Om Malik GigaOm Jackie Danicki Brian Oberkirch Like It Matters Steve Rubel Micro Persuasion Shel Israel Global Neighbourhoods Naked Conversations Neville Hobson Shel Holtz Robert Scoble Scobleizer - Tech Geek Blogger Seth Godin Seth's Blog David Tebbut Teblog Sam Sethi Vecosys Techmeme Michael Arrington Techcrunch
Declaration: I am Sales & Marketing Director for Sharedband - and yes this an unashamed awareness promotion - unashamed because its great news for every broadband user who wants more than what their getting currently.

Thursday, February 01, 2007

Michael CEO @ Dell again

Michael returning to the helm is possibly the best chance for a Dell comeback, what is needed is a human face to the business and Michael has the potential to achieve that. In today’s market it’s become far more important to have customer empathy and an image of understanding that is founded on real customer experience. I know from my own experience as a Dell customer that great strides have been made on the delivery of the service and the Direct2Dell blog is a great example of what I mean by developing customer empathy.

As an ex Dell executive I had the pleasure of meeting both Kevin and Michael on a few occasions and I believe that the right leadership boils down to personality. Kevin’s obvious, abundant intellect and organisational skills were brilliant and behind the successful scaling of Dell’s business, whilst leveraging operational costs to the nth degree. But I am sorry to say I never found him inspiring or compassionate, two essential ingredients for leadership. On the other hand I found that Michael exuded these qualities and for such a seriously rich guy – he was far more “human”. My guess is he really appreciated Kevin’s skills and track record as COO and assumed that was what was the magic ingredient needed to lead the business. Now the processes and organisation are fundamentally in place it’ll be down to Michael to add the necessary humanity to win the hearts of his customers. The moral has to be “You can’t buy customers goodwill you have to win it by building their trust.”

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Sam Sethi Reports on Sharedband

Sam picked up on Sharedband and posted this article on his site It started a few questions about how Sharedband can help the residential market get the bandwidth they need.

Friday, January 12, 2007

What have I been doing for 10 weeks!

If you've been wondering what's happened to my blog over the last few weeks I have been rather busy with a new job as sales and marketing director for a young exciting business.
This may sound like a lame excuse but I’ve held off telling everyone about it as we weren’t quite ready. Its been a challenge starting from basics on a shoestring whilst raising the necessary investment. Well that’s changing fast and tonight we published our new website
The elevator pitch is that we have a new patented software technology that allows you to combine ADSL broadband connections into one faster more reliable connection. This really helps with the upsteam bandwidth restrictions and distance from exchange limitations of existing ADSL services.
If you think it's all too good to be true then your thoughts are similar to my own initial reaction - then I had to take the job; how often as a sales and marketing guy do you find a business proposition as powerful with such obvious customer benefits.
The product goes live with a couple of service providers in the next few days and that’ll mean real customers, issues to fix and some very needy revenue. I hope you’ll take the time to look at the web site and let me know what you think – both in terms of the marketing and the business proposition.