Tuesday, October 26, 2004

Jaguar's version of BMW Films

From this post on Autoblog:

The British carmaker has enlisted Peter Chung of Aeon Flux fame to direct five new “webisodes” that promote the Jaguar X-Type. The first installment debuted just a few hours ago at the special site set-up for the Chung works. I’ve been able to watch the first three episodes and am actually pretty impressed with Mr. Chung’s live action directing capability. Of course the animation is stellar as expected. The entire endeavor is a prime example of alternative advertising done right.

We all know how well this worked for BMW Films; it was a run-away success and prime case study in opt-in advertising.  Jaguar has simply copies the magic formula and used a name brand (for the MTV generation, at least) director/animator to grab peoples' interest.

Tuesday, October 19, 2004

The Art of the Start

The Art of the Start by Guy Kawasaki is an awesome book.  The book is primarily a primer on exactly how the mind of a venture capitalist works and how to help ensure that you get capitalized when you go before a venture capitalist.  As much as it is a great guide for VC, there are lots of important lessons for those of us that are already in business.  Here are a few choice excerpts to get you excited about the book:

GIST -- Great Ideas for Starting Things

  1. Make Meaning
  2. Make Mantra
  3. Get Going
  4. Define Your Business Model
  5. ? (you'll have to read it to get number 5)

If you insist on creating a mission statement go to www.artofthestart.com and click on the mission statement generator link.  This will take you to the Dilbert mission statement generator and save you thousands of dollars.

The hardest thing about getting started is getting started.

If you can't describe your business statement in ten words or less, you don't have a business model.

My final tip is that you ask women -- and only women . . . they are much better judges of viability of a business model than men are.

As a startup, you're trying to start a fire with matches, not flamethrowers.

A remarkable name for your organization, product, or service is like pornography: It's hard to define, but you know it when you see it.

The modern day equivalent of the Holy Grail is the business plan.

When spending money, always focus on the function you need, not the form it takes.

As they say in Men in Black II, "You need to wait for your brain to reboot."  Prepare to reboot your brain while reading this book.

Thursday, October 14, 2004

Art of the Start

I'm almost done reading my advance copy of The Art of the Start by Guy Kawasaki, so I'll be posting some excerpts and my comments on the book tomorrow.

Google Desktop Search

It's finally here, Google Desktop Search!  You can download the beta release right here.  Be sure to read the privacy policy; it's crystal clear, obviously written by humans, not by lawyers.  Unfortunately there does not appear to be any support for Gmail in this beta release.  I haven't had a chance to play with GDS yet, I've been using Filehand Search (it's free) too for the last few weeks, but I am excited to try the GDS software.  If anyone has had any experience with GDS, leave me a comment (especially if you are comparing GDS to X1 or Filehand).

There is no version currently for Macintosh or Linux; you need to have Win2K SP3 or WinXP to run the software.

While it does say that it searches Outlook e-mails, there is no comment on specific support for Outlook PST files, though I would be surprised if PST support is not already available or coming in the next beta release.

Tuesday, October 12, 2004

Google Print

Google Print is a new search service from Google that closely resembles the "Search Inside the Book" functionality currently available on Amazon.  Currently Google Print seems to be looking for publishers that want to put content up and make it available to search.  Visit the link above for more information.  It should be interesting to see how this product develops.

Gmail Drive

Shashdot has a post that links to this application that allows you to use your Gmail account as a virtual hard drive for file storage.  Everyone seems to be making having a Gmail account more useful.

Portable Firefox

The Tablet PC Weblog has a post about this customized version of Firefox that is designed to run specifically from a USB flash drive.  This is super-useful if you tend to use other people's computers a lot or travel to other offices where it is not practical to bring your laptop and you don't want other users to be able to view your browsing history.  For consultants or people that work at client locations, this is useful for using client machines to browse the web.  The download is free and it supports Firefox extensions; 0.9.3 is billed as the "stable" version and 1.0PR is billed as a "test" version.

Monday, October 04, 2004

Want to repair your Mac yourself?

According to this post on the Unofficial Apple Weblog, Apple is making it easy for users to diagnose and repair hardware problems with their Macintosh computers at home.  Check out the iMac G5 troubleshooting assistant.  Note that it may be easier for Mac to offer this assistant service on the iMac G5 because there are so many less parts and screws than earlier models.

Is this the new direction for hardware manufacturers?  Make your product so straightforward to diagnose and take apart that the users themselves can troubleshoot, order parts, and repair a product?  There certainly seems to be no reason why not.  Now when will they make it this easy to service your car?

Whatever it takes

Some lessons/quotes from Mark Cuban, owner of the Dallas Mavericks, on how he worked from making $18,000 per year into being a multi-millionaire.  Read the full story in Mark's Manifesto at ChangeThis.

People…trusted me, not because I was the most knowledgeable . . ., but because they knew I would do whatever it took to get the job done.

You never quite know, in business, if what you are doing is the right or wrong thing.

Everything I read was public. Anyone could buy the same books and magazines. The same information was available to anyone who wanted it. Turns out most people didn't want it.

No product is perfect and if there are good competitors in your market, they will figure out how to abuse you.

What is Anschutz up to?

He's buying up little newspapers around the country according to this link on the Business 2.0 blog.  No one seems to have a really good guess (that I've seen), but Anschutz is known for picking up companies at the bottom (think pennies on the dollar) and bringing them back to the top.  Additionally, Anschutz invests in the long term, so it will be interesting to see what happens with this.

Apple Airport and Wireless USB printer sharing

So I hooked up my USB printer this weekend to my Airport Extreme.  I did some research on the web and came up with the following instructions (if this seems way too technical, skip to the last paragraph of this post):

  • Plug the USB printer into the Airport (this also works for the Aiport Express).
  • If you are using a Macintosh, the printer will automatically pop up as an available printer in the Printer Configuration utility through Rendezvous and you can skip the rest of these instructions.
  • On a Windows machine, you will need to create a new printer port, you do this by:
    • Go to your Printers Folder.
    • Click on "Add Printer"
    • Select the "Local printer attached . . ." radio button
    • Uncheck the "Automatically detect and install . . ." box
    • Click "Next"
    • Select the "Create a new port" radio box
    • From the drop-down list, select "Standard TCP/IP" port
    • Click "Next"
    • Click "Next" when the new window pops open
    • Enter the IP address of the Airport device into the "Printer Name or IP Address field" (typically this is for the Airport devices)
    • The "Port Name" will automatically fill itself in based on the IP Address you enter, but you may want to change it to something a little more recognizable.
    • Click "Next"
    • Select your printer port from the list.  For HP printer, select the "HP Jet Direct" option
    • Once the port is created, and the system finds the correct IP Address on your system, you will be taken into the normal Add Printer dialogs that will allow you to select the driver from a list or click the "Have Disk" button.
  • A word of caution about the HP USB printers: in order to install the drivers to your system, you may have to plug the USB printer into your computer so that the printer is available from the list of printers the computer knows about.  For some reason, the HP CD provided with my printer would not load drivers when I clicked the "Have Disk" option.  Alternatively, if you install the printer over USB initially and then want to change it to wireless, simply do the following:
    • Go to the printer that was created via your USB connection and right-click the printer icon.
    • Select "Properties" from the list
    • Click the "Ports" tab
    • Click "Add Port"
    • Follow the instructions above for adding a port

Ok, so all of this took me a fair amount of time to configure this weekend, but it's easy once you know how; that's why I'm sharing these instructions.  Of course, today, I came across this post on Inluminent that describes where you can get the same Rendezvous software that Apple uses to make this process really easy on a Macintosh for Windows (you can download it here).  I tried installing the printer using Rendezvous and it was as seamless as my Macintosh experience.  Even though Rendezvous for Windows is a "technology preview," the software seems to work flawlessly for connecting printers to Airport wireless devices.

Sunday, October 03, 2004


Tom Peters has a great post on idiotic market and trade publications.  I'm sure that many of you have seen the Cingular advertisements that state that 4 out of 5 Fortune 500 companies use Cingular for wireless e-mail; my company even uses Cingular for our Blackberry service.  What you may not have instinctively keyed on was the fact that the picture of 4 out of 5 people using Blackberry devices features 5 men.  From the post:

My colleague Dini Coffin . . . faxed me a Cingular ad on September 21st, with a cover note that cryptically said, "What's wrong with this picture?" The ad's tagline was "4 of the top 5 commercial banks use Cingular for wireless email." Below was a pic of 5 folks—4 doing wireless email, 1 obviously not playing. Dini's point: ALL 5 WERE MALES! Her follow-up line, "I guess Cingular doesn't want women buying their services." Go Dini! Hisses & Boos to Cingular! (Idiots!)

As a further point of the business world simply not getting the women thing:

Three hours later I was reading my latest issue of BusinessWeek, and came across an ad for "The BusinessWeek 50 Forum," an October 7 event billed as the "one event that can make a difference in your pursuit of high performance." There are 15 "best of the best" speakers listed (including Jack Welch and Starbucks honcho Howard Schultz), plus two BusinessWeek moderators. One of the BW folks is Senior Editor Mary Kuntz, but among the "content providers" ... 15 out of 15 are ... MALES. My reaction: Sick!

Are you paying attention?  A lot of the people that use Blackberries in my company are women.