small business

Post image for Coffee, Conversations and Commerce – The Barista Banter

There is something to be said about coffee. Not only does it get your brain firing on all cylinders (sometimes over-firing so don’t drink too much), but it also is a conversation starters. In fact, coffee seems to grease the gears of conversation. In recent years, the coffee house has become an “office away from the office” – a casual and loud environment were friends, co-workers, partners and prospects can get together to discuss business or pleasure.

Coffee shops are better than bars in many ways. For starters, alcohol does the opposite of caffeine. It can cloud your thoughts and potentially make you forgetful, whereas caffeine stimulates and gets your ideas flowing. There are times, however, when a bar meeting is appropriate. Alcohol does remove some inhibitions and allows people to come out of their shells and talk a bit more freely and openly. Depending on your motives, this might be ok.

Latte-foam-artHowever, I feel that daytime, coffee house conversations are better, especially if you are just starting a business relationship. Bars to me seem to be more celebratory, after you just closed a deal or inked a partnership. Pop the champagne corks at that point…but until your business is completed, stick to enjoying to java aroma, admiring the coffee crema and discussing what coffee patterns can be drawn in your latte foam. Just be careful not to have too much coffee. There is nothing worse than being jittery.

IBM, Partners and Coffee

IBM recently introduced a series of videos that take place in a coffee house. They each follow a similar style and formula – 3 people sitting in a coffee house, typically IBM business partners, each discussing a pertinent business topic – cloud, social, analytics, mobile, etc.

[click to continue…]

{ 0 comments }

Post image for On Infographics, Cloud and How NOT to Run a Small Business

Infographics seem to be one of the best ways to convey a message. More often than not, infographics compile industry statistics and tend to tell a compelling story. Some infographics can be complex while others are simply fun to read. One of the reasons for their success is due to their visual nature. As a result of high-resolution smartphones, better computers and easy publication options, we have become a society driven by visuals, whether they be images or video. Facebook has given graphics much more real estate within the news stream. And applications like Instagram, Pinterest and Vine have further bolstered visual content and design, as have established companies like Google (YouTube and Google+), Microsoft (think how visual Bing.com is) and Apple (who has always looked towards clean visual aesthetics in their marketing and design).

And no discussion about infographics is complete without showing this famous graphic by Charles Joseph Minard in 1869 depicting the French invasion of Russia in 1812.

Charles-Joseph-Minard-Napoleons-March-1

While I’m not a visual graphic designer, I do visualize things mentally and articulate these visions either through words or simplistic graphics. There are many ways to visually communicate an idea. At my work at GoGrid as the Technology Evangelist there, I often talked about the visual of the Cloud Pyramid which I conceived quite a few years ago. Similarly, another “infographic” that I produced during my tenure at GoGrid was that of the Cloud Fingerprint, the premise being that every business is unique and consequently the cloud infrastructure that you use should reflect and embrace that uniqueness.

Cloud Fingerprint

[click to continue…]

{ 0 comments }

Post image for The 10 Best (and Worst) “Cloud Computing Explained” Videos on YouTube

Cloud Computing has been around for many, many years now. Ok, at least 5 years using the name “cloud computing.” Ever since this new way of consuming compute, networking, storage and other infrastructure resources got off the ground, no pun intended…well, sort of…people and companies have tried to explain what exactly it is. From the barrage of written definitions “officially” sanctioned by various organizations across the globe, to the mainstream media and marketing monoliths defining the cloud as anything on the Internet, the descriptions and definitions have been flung around like rice at a wedding.

The important thing here is that cloud computing isn’t going away any time soon. It may be re-defined, re-purposed and re-packaged in a million different ways, but in the end, it remains a viable alternative to self-hosted or on-premises physical infrastructure. It can be dramatically cost-effective if architected and deployed properly and it can provide unparalleled performance and scalability to companies and businesses requiring flexible and dynamic infrastructures.

HTD-best-and-worst-cloud-on-YouTube

Whether you are a business unit in a large enterprise or a mom & pop shop that is outgrowing a traditional single-server environment, the cloud is most likely a good fit. It can be a replacement to existing, aging infrastructure or an extension to a data center or colocated hosting environment. And there are countless use cases and models that the cloud can encompass. I’m not going to go into these here (but you might want to read through some of my earlier cloud computing posts to get some ideas).

The Best Cloud Computing Explained Videos

[click to continue…]

{ 0 comments }

Post image for Agile Development & Big Data Management – Perfect for the Cloud

I’m a firm believer that cloud computing helps companies innovate. It provides resources, services and infrastructure at a fraction of the cost and in less time than it would with a traditional infrastructure rollout. By dramatically reducing internal times to deployment and capital expenditures, businesses are given the ability to iterate more quickly, be more competitive in releasing products and features and get time-to-market timelines to the lowest numbers ever.

Similarly, just as critical to businesses as the cloud is, Big Data, development and deployments have rapidly become one of the most sought-after resources and services in near memory. Data of customers, users and businesses is growing at exponential rates with the introduction of the social graph and social media, integrations of legacy data stores and the simple fact that more people are being tracked, categorized and measured in different ways than ever before.

big-skyscraper-windows-cloud

The coupling of these two movements, cloud and big data, is challenging businesses worldwide on crafting the best solutions for their customers. While opportunities abound, it is frequently difficult to discover and use the best solutions to get your products or services to market quickly and manage all of the data that drives this innovation and development from the back end.

When you combine the forces of cloud computing with agile development and/or Big Data, you get solutions never before available in the forms of software solutions as cloud server images. What does this mean exactly? Basically, yet another acceleration in that time-to-market journey. Within literally minutes, businesses can deploy IBM solutions for both agile development and Big Data and have their respective teams up and running in no time.

[click to continue…]

{ 0 comments }

Cloud Means Freedom – Evolution & Revolution

August 16, 2012
Thumbnail image for Cloud Means Freedom – Evolution & Revolution

When you think about earth-bound items, you think of things that are landlocked, tethered to a solid object or constrained by physicality. We, as a species are largely terrestrial, grounded with our feet on the ground and limited by gravity. For centuries if not millennia, humankind has dreamed and endeavored to break away from terra […]

Read the full article →

Walking Through IBM’s New iPad Cloud Application

March 14, 2012
Thumbnail image for Walking Through IBM’s New iPad Cloud Application

It’s no surprise that I’m writing about clouds and iPads and applications. If you do a search on my site, you will see that I write about all 3 of these topics, just never at the same time. When I found out that IBM had produced a Cloud application, my interests were sparked for many […]

Read the full article →