Last week I went to Digital Pharma East. I was looking forward to connecting with a bunch of people I knew in a short amount of time. I knew I’d want to give them my updated contact information, and I started thinking about how I would do that. I know what you’ll say – just hand them a business card, what’s so complicated about that? Well, this was a digital conference, so you think there’d be a more up-to-date method. Business cards seem like such an anachronism. Every executive I know uses their smartphone as a remote control for their life. Isn’t there a better way to transmit contact information than a card, so it doesn’t need to be manually entered into a digital address book later?
Over four years ago a friend introduced me to Bump. With Bump you and your friend both fire up the app and then you ‘bump’ your phones together to exchange contact info. It’s simple and fun, but it does take a little time to do. Bump has evolved nicely in recent years, and it’s slicker than ever. It allows you to ‘bump’ as before, but also allows emailing information along with a vCard (a file format standard for electronic business cards). There’s now a clever feature where you can fire Bump up on a computer, ‘bump’ the phone on the spacebar and send contact info to a computer as well as a phone. Very slick. You can also send photos and other files this way. Some of the other apps I have on my phone, like Cardcloud, seem to have neglected their development.
Now, there are really easy ways to exchange contacts built right into the smartphone. If you create a contact for yourself in your phone, you can go to contacts, select yourself, and then you can easily share your contact info via text or email in seconds. If you send a text, your friend can save the contact to their phone, if you use email you’ll send a vCard file which can easily be added to a computer address book.
Apple now has AirDrop. It works pretty much like Bump. You and your partner both enable it and then you can drop you contact info to your friend. It’s an extra step (if it’s not on), but it’s slick. This is big competition to Bump. But (and this is a big one), it only works on iOS devices, not iPhone to Apple computer (this is on the works) and it also isn’t available on my older iPhone 4S (bad Apple). You can see why these sharing apps fell by the wayside with free competition like this. (NFC and iBeacon may change the landscape here.)
I recently switched over from Comcast to Verizon. It was a moderately painful four hour experience, but doing so saved me over $100 per month. At the end of the process I suddenly ended up with a new Verizon router, which apparently is linked into the television set top boxes and the Internet telephone in some sort of metaphysical manner.
I was perfectly happy with the routers that I had and I didn’t want to change anything. I had two Apple routers, one working as a base station and the other working as an extender and everything was working fine. However, since I was stuck with the new Verizon router I decided to do a little research. The language of routers and local networks is full of dense and impossible technical language. So let me see if I can simplify it for you with a couple of things that I found out.
One, I had an extender downstairs producing wifi for my backyard. It turns out when you do this you cut your bandwidth by half. Oops. So, never use an extender unless you absolutely have to. You may be able to reach your wifi network and get a strong signal but it may be a lot slower than you think it is. If you have that much room to cover, consider using two access points – especially if you have the ability to get a cable to the router that’s further away. That was a big aha for me.
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In my last post I wrote about the need to work on PowerPoint files as being one of the few things dragging me back to a laptop or rather than being able to work wholly on a tablet. How spoiled have we become? I remember what a breakthrough it was when I got my first laptop (a Macintosh PowerBook Duo 230) and was actually able to carry it with me and do work (or screw around) on my train ride. Anyway, I want to move everything onto my tablet and the cloud, and I’m not going to let PowerPoint stop me.
Viewing PowerPoint is not an issue, as there are many ways to do that, Goodreader being my favorite. The challenge is making simple edits or drafting a few rough pages. As I mentioned, you can use SkyDrive’s web apps, but it’s limited and you have to have an Internet connection.
Then I ran across Quickoffice Pro HD. I believe I found it on some road warrior website, and that the review said you pretty much could work on any MS Office file. Well, I’ve tried it and you can – and I’m now a convert!
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Like a lot of people, I have a set of computer files I like to keep on hand, both at work and at home. At one point I used to move them back and forth on a floppy disk, then zip drive (remember those?), then USB, then later on I’d connect the two computers on a network and use software to synchronize the folder.
Now that we live in the future, the easiest way to maintain synchronized files is to use any of the excellent cloud based file storage solutions and let it run quietly in the background, synchronizing the files I need between work and home. My long time favorite has been Dropbox because it’s incredibly transparent to use and has never given me any technical problems. As I move my digital life to my iPad, I’ve looked at a couple of other cloud-based solutions. Here we go…
Like it or not, business people are stuck with Microsoft Office. Microsoft obviously has the inside scoop on its products and that led me to look at SkyDrive. SkyDrive gives 5 GB of free storage and is one of the cheapest if you want to increase storage – only $10 for 20 GB for a year. A bargain. SkyDrive has a terrific feature of web based editing for any MS Office document. That means you can log in to your SkyDrive account from any browser, pull up your Word, Excel, or PowerPoint document and make some simple edits right there. You get a pared down version of the application that works quite well. Guess what? This online version works on the iPad also. Major headache solved, so long as you are connected to the Internet.
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The last time I demonstrated LinkedIn company pages to a senior executive, with the goal of getting him to do it for his company, he was incredulous that it was free. He was looking for the price tag.
It’s odd that in the rush to cover all the leading social media platforms that companies have neglected LinkedIn. It offers many benefits from a business perspective, especially for business-to-business companies, and the cost is basically staff time.
A LinkedIn Company Page gives a business a sensational opportunity to promote its products and services, recruit top talent, acquire a following, and share important, interesting, and useful updates. Anyone with a company name and company email address can create a LinkedIn Company Page within minutes. The best part is that it’s free and easy. There are many available guides to doing so, here’s one from LinkedIn itself.
The basic format of a LinkedIn Company Page is an online brochure of your products and services. There are visual and attractive design options. Video and other media can be included.
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I’m a good Cardiac Surgeon. At least my friend Dave Dolton on LinkedIn thinks I am. Dave endorsed me as a Cardiac Surgeon to prove a point, the point being you can endorse any LinkedIn connection for any skill, no matter how incorrect or far-fetched it might be.
I am not a cardiac surgeon and my attempts to be one would be I’ll advised. I also don’t consider myself to be an expert at Strategic Partnerships, though I have been endorsed for that twice, once by a person who barely knows me and has never, ever worked with me on strategic partnerships.
These endorsements devalue LinkedIn. Recommendations are great. They take some thinking to do and the recommender will be quite visible, so people take them seriously. Endorsement are like a Foursquare check-in – they take seconds to do and are just for points. They seriously lower the bar.
Yelp has this right for restaurant reviews. You can’t just give a restaurant 4 stars and move on, you have to write a couple of sentences. LinkedIn should be the same, which it is for recommendations, but not for this game of endorsements.
Carolyn Goodman recently tried to see if having many endorsements for a skill makes a person me more of an expert than, the guy who only has a few endorsements for that same skill. It didn’t seem to be taken into account in LinkedIn’s algorithm.
So if LinkedIn isn’t using this, why should we? What’s the point of the endorsement tool? If it’s not being used to rank order skills for those who are searching for that kind of help/expertise, then why offer it? (If you want to turn them off on your profile, this will help you do it.)