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Last 10 Years: Apple’s Dell-ivered

Ten years ago, Dell was virtually the king of the computer Industry, and from that throne, Michael Dell made a brash remark at ITxpo97. He was asked what he would do if he were the CEO of Apple:

“What would I do? I’d shut it down and give the money back to the shareholders.” (link)

Obviously making a statemtent like that has the potential to come back and bite you, especially when making it about a company that had been so important to its industry. Although Apple’s resurgence can largely be attributed to the success of the iPod and their trendy, aesthetically pleasing designs, major improvements were made in the hardware and software platforms. The first step was the upgrade from OS 9.x to OS X, and a few years later that was followed by the announcement that all Apple computers would use Intel microproccessors.

In the last 10 years, Dell has become stale and Apple has become stylish, and while I don’t imagine Steve Jobs will make suggest that Dell shut down, he might suggest that Dell take a look at some of the creative and innovative moves that his company has made in the last 10 years.

Apple vs. Dell: 10 Year Stock Comparison

Hillary Clinton – The Most Powerful Person on this Planet?

Hillary ‘Soprano’ ClintonRecent polls show Hilary Clinton leading the Democratic race by a whooping 33% as recently reported by Fox News/ABC. This coupled with a recent Post-ABC News poll indicates that 53 percent of Democrats surveyed would vote for Hilary Clinton with 57% of women clearly indicating that they will vote for her.

So, are those who are less-than-happy with the Republican boot on the throat of the world ready to rejoice? I would caution against this. It is impossible to underestimate the might of the Republicans to still pull a rabbit out of the air. Speaking of which, Team Rudy Giuliani has been quick to report that Hillary can only win Massachusetts or Vermont – in a completely impartial analysis conducted by their team (right!!). Its “all in their maps,” but only if Rudy wins the Republican nomination. If it is anyone else, then she might win or definitely have a much stronger showing. To say they are likely color blind would be an understatement, but hey, everyone needs their fantasy (mine is – well I can’t say it here because my wife reads this). But back to reality and the reality is Hillary is the front-runner.

Still, it is heartening to those who want this to end; who want America out of Iraq and out of power. More importantly, it indicates that it’s possible America trusts a woman more to accomplish this. They also may trust a woman’s nurturing nature to strengthen the school system, increase public access, and improve healthcare; 3 very important issues in this coming election.

Bottomline, from all reports, we could be on the brink of history; the first woman to become the Most Powerful Person on the Planet (yes, it is still the American President), and also, the very first husband and wife who have both been President. How can anyone resist voting for this. It will be like the fall of the Berlin wall. We all would liked to have been there, so get out and vote or you will miss out on being a part of history.

Facebook the Next Skype?

I never really thought I would be coming up with a completely original idea when I started writing this post, but to see a near-identical article posted on the famed Valleywag site just yesterday (when the idea for the post actually planted its seed) was a bit deflating. However, having read that article, I will chalk it up the same way writer Owen Thomas did when pointing to articles by Bernhard Warner and Kara Swisher: Great minds think alike. With the recent revelation that eBay paid too much for Skype (only by $1 billion dollars or so, by their estimates), it may cast a shadow of doubt on recent valutations of social networking site Facebook hovering around $10 billion. While there are arguments that the purchase of Skype may have been more profitable or advantageous for a company other than eBay, it’s difficult to make a similar argument with Facebook. Comparing it to other recent, similar acquisitions (YouTube and MySpace come to mind), the price seems significantly inflated. The MySpace team may have sold early, but could the price somewhere around 20 times the amount News Corp paid for MySpace and 10 times the amount Google paid for YouTube be realistic? Facebook has some legal issues that still need to be resolved and the site only seems to generate around $30 million in profit on $150 million in revenues (see Kara Swisher’s article).

I hope the best for the site and will follow the rumours of it’s inevitable sale, whether it is for a piece or the whole site. Hopefully this doesn’t become the next Skype, or worse, the next GeoCities.

Video Tech Support

I’m almost certain that long before the advent of the personal computer, the phone-in Technical Support team had been assembled – I can’t prove it, because I’m waiting on hold trying to confirm. Whether it’s the blue screen of death, a virus that’s taken over your system, or the darn thing just won’t start, we’ve all, at one time or another, ran into a computer problem that needed some more savy than ourselves to address. With more and more people using the computer and running into these problems, there were more and more horror stories from frustrated customers and humorous anecdotes from the Technicians that fielded the calls. Computerworld, a good mainstream resource for news and events in the Tech Industry, has released an article on The 10 Funniest YouTube help desk videos. From the article:

With some surveys showing that 20% of all help desk calls are password issues, one can understand the wrath that a technician may lob toward an unsuspecting user. On the other hand, with more and more help desks understaffed or sending work to overseas locales like India, where language issues can come into play, end user angst can rouse sympathy as well. […]

In our list of the 10 funniest help desk YouTube videos, the help desk grapples with befuddled users both in the U.S. and India and in a galaxy far, far away. In addition, ever wonder what the help desk does when they perhaps should be manning the phones? Tune in below to find out.

My personal favourites are the fourth, Medievel Tech Support for a Scroll, and the fifth, when an user frustrated with pop-ups takes his system to India to talk to Tech Support in person.

SEOMOZ SEO Boot Camp – Great SEO Tips Had By All!

Rand Fishkin - Wizard of Moz, SeomozYesterday, some of the Marketing team, including yours truly, attended the very first Seomoz SEO Training Seminar, led by none other than Rand Fishkin, the Wizard of Moz. For those of you who may not know who Seomoz is (shame on you because it means you have not been reading our other posts on search engine optimization). Seomoz is a hub for search marketers worldwide, providing education, tools, and resources with over 30,000 registered users. We highly recommend that if any of you are interested in learning about search engine and social marketing, you should subscribe to seomoz.org

Ok back to my account of our “grueling day”. Our day began with having to awake before sunrise. Before you think that the gang over at Seomoz are taskmasters, I must tell you that we needed to race down from Vancouver to Seattle to get to the seminar by 9am which was held at the University of Washington. We almost made it except my erstwhile navigator blew it and we missed the exit (actually it would have been nice if someone had told us the Express lane did not allow to exit to U of W – Gillian!). Still we did arrive in time. There was even some grub and coffee still left so we quickly grabbed our morning sustenance and joined our fellow boot campers.

Our Drill Sergeant (Master Rand) was just getting warmed up and greeted us brusquely with a “no going to sleep Curtis” before launching into full steam. He was off, working his SEO magic on his loyal disciples who had come before him to partake in his wisdom of search engine marketing starting with using the latest in technology to record his every word – actually 3 pieces of paper stolen from Jim Hedger’s notebook (another luddite like me), I garnered every tidbit I could.

It goes like this; relevance, QDF, juicylinkfinder, internal links, 66 chars, no follows, juice, seed set, H1/images, size matter (not sure what Rand was referring to here), iframes, kw (not ky), title research, linkerati, influencers, and party at 5:30pm (here I paid attention). There; you now know everything I learned. I am kidding! It was packed with juice flowing everywhere; however, I only had 3 small pieces of paper so that was all I had room for (that plus I will get the entire seminar later for review to share with you in follow posts).

After an excellent lunch of gourmet pizza and salads, we then embarked into the land of social marketing, which is why many had come. While some of my collegues and I are well-versed in SEO, Seomoz’s wealth of social marketing knowledge is what drew us to make this pillgrimage to the land of Moz. We were not disappointed. While there was more information that anyone but a veteran could possibly take in; there were tidbits of knowledge that I know everyone took away. For me this is why I go to these events. This is why I travel to distance lands for SMX, SES, PubCon, and other such events; the tidbits. Not because I do not know this stuff but to be reminded of what matters – “size” or to quote on of Rand’s lead off slides, “It is Better to Be Big & Popular than Small & Niche”.SEO - Big & Popular is Best Yes we all know that a Search Engine Friendly site design is necessary to drive traffic but we all need a reminder occasionally to fix those little things we have been meaning to everyday but never seem to find the time.

I could go on for pages there was so much information, however, I will write a follow-up on the social marketing side of the seminar. I would like to summarize by including the following:

Seo Tips for Google – Top 10 Countdown (from 37 top SEO masters) with my notes to self in brackets:

10. Topical Relationship of Linking Page (right on!)
9. Global Link Popularity of Linking Site (this is a tough one)
8. Keyword Use in Body Text (this was is relatively easy just do it)
7. Link Popularity of Site in Topical Community (need to concentrate on this more)
6. Topical Relevance of Inbound Links (this one often gets ignored)
5. Link Popularity within the Site’s Internal Link Structure (note to self)
4. Age of Site (thankfully this one is naturally done for us)
3. Global Link Popularity of Site (need to work on this more)
2. Anchor Text of Inbound Link (my favorite)
1. Keyword Use in Title Text (while this may be a duh! it gets ignored still)

For much more on all of the above, I must reiterate, go to Seomoz.org signup for the Premium membership (it is ridiculously inexpensive for what you will learn).

Rand & Gillian Fishkin - SeomozOk now to the best part, the Seomoz after party held at Jillian’s billards (because of their big screens as the SeaHawks were playing – they kicked butt). As usuals a great time had by all. An excellent follow-up to the awesome part at the Garage after SMX. Unfortunately, as we needed to drive back to Vancouver that night, we could not partake til the end but we did manage to get one pic of Rand, Gillian (Ma Moz) and myself. Ok it was late and we had all been up all day but there you have it – our day at the Seomoz SEO Boot Camp.

Kicking the Facebook Habit

Ok so you have been main-lining Facebook for months, maybe years. You have spent a significant portion of your life glued to your computer connecting with “friends.” You are becoming a Facebook shut-in.

I recently met a young lady on a plane flying back from a social marketing conference in Las Vegas, who stated, “I spend approximately 80 – 100 hours a month on FaceBook; time I could have been working for and billing clients. I put the cost somewhere around $5000 per month.”

Right, hundreds of hours wasted! Time better spent on many other more productive undertakings. Time you could have spent outdoors, taking up a new/old sport, reading a good book, volunteering for a worthy charity or actually spending time with “friends.” BUT you are hooked. You have become obsessed with getting to your computer, logging in and FaceBook’ing away your life. You are, admit it, a Facebook junkie – you are hooked! Your life has revolved around checking, updating or reading the latest update from your “friends” however the time has come to reassess your life. It is time to kick the habit. You need an “Facebook Intervention”, especially now that his loftiness, Steve Balmer, head honcho over at Microsoft (not to be confused with the other Steve who actually does know what he is talking about), has pronounced, “FaceBook may be a fad.”

Still, even if he is not right, perhaps it is time to re-think all this time being spent on a “fad.” So how does one kick the habit. Perhaps you do not need to go cold turkey. Or maybe you just need a “patch”; you simply need to prioritize your life a bit better. Think about what you really “need” from Facebook and go from there. Oh yes, and setting some defined time limits helps. Start with an hour a day and see if you can slowly cut back. You will find you do not need more when you really think about what you need vs what you thought you needed.

In the end if you can not control your urge to go back to main-lining FaceBook, if you are still wasting more time reaching out to “friends” than being with your friends, then maybe it is time to quit cold turkey. Delete your account and everything related to it (photos, groups, comments, friends, everything!).

Now go out and get a life!

P.S. Just don’t bother me while you are at it. I need to go update my Facebook album and see who has added me to their friends.