ITNorthWest Voice

This is a blog for all the technology entrepreneurs based in the North West of Ireland - musings about our business, companies, interests, trends and any other random thing that hits us.

Tuesday, December 21, 2004

Six Sigma Marketing...Made Simple

An interesting insight from Sam Decker, who is a Senior Manager of Marketing & eBusiness for Dell, on Six Sigma marketing. We breaks it down really well into 4 principles to apply Six Sigma, or business process improvement, to the marketing organization: 1. First, realize there are three sources of revenue for your company: a. Adding new customers b. Getting existing customers buying more c. Getting existing customers buying more frequently 2. Identify the processes you do within your company to effect each of the above sources of revenue. Keep an eye out... every day employees make a choice to start a new process vs. improve an existing one. 3. Break down these processes into steps. (See Workback Waterfall). Identify the variables that effect the quality (output) of each step. In marketing, sometime quality is a subjective thing…but if you’re measuring your marketing results for each step and the end result (ex: response rate), than quality can be quantified. 4. Now, choose a problem or process to improve and go at it using the DMAICR framework. “Define” and “Measure” the problem or process, “Analyze” why it’s performing poorly, “Improve” it based on your analysis, and “Control” the process to sustain results.

Thursday, December 16, 2004

Book review: Tipping Point by Malcolm Gladwell

This bookwas recommended to me by a senior Enterprise Ireland person. Key points - explains really well how "word of mouth" or "viral marketing" can work, when certain personalities and conditions exist - its not so much technology related in its examples - you can relate to the personality types identified - mavens, salespeople, connectors, and identify people who fall under those headings I recommend it to the ITNorthWest reading list (esp for your marketing people !!) Some additional information is available here

Wednesday, December 15, 2004

Early Stage Marketing and Sales - The "Why" vs. the "What"

This is a really insightful piece on the challenges facing early stage companies in ramping up sales. The author, Brad Feld is a Managing Director at Mobius Venture Capital I like his final piece "The first full yar of product ship for a software company is a very defining year. I've seen way too many of my VC cohorts believe that the operating plan and forecast is gospel and spend all their time in year one of product ship (and usually year two of the business) focusing on the quantitative financial metrics rather than understanding how things actually work in the business. Financial planning is imprecise early in a business - a smart executive team understands this and sets the right expectations and parameters around it."

Sunday, December 12, 2004

Eating our own dogfood

What does this mean ? I had 2 seperate email threads this week with people - where i used this term - scared them by the terminology i think..... It is a term that is used plenty at Microsoft - the mantra was always "don't expect customers to buy & use the product, if you won't even use it" - it also ensured that everyone could use the product, and give feedback + catch some bugs see this related piece On a recent visit, John Sheil of EVP, gave a great example of a company talking up their product, but yet didn't use it themselves at a critical communication point. As a general rule, i recommend that all your employees, investors, partners, etc, "dogfood" your product - it will cut out a lot of waffle + spoofing at various levels, and enhance your product plans with good honest feedback "Go Dogfood"

Friday, December 10, 2004

Microsoft Ireland - .net initiatives

In advance of a possible visit to the ITNorthWest group from Microsoft Ireland folks, take a look at some good material. Check out Clare Dillon's Blog, which has a piece on an 'Introduction to .NET'

A startup story with a twist

I had the pleasure of speaking with Diego Doval earlier this week. Diego is behind Clever Cactus - a neat application that i've tried out - Their mission is to make it simple to share information. Diego's story in his own words on his blog is educational for any entrepreneur 2 stories of note Looking for the next big thing Location, Location, Location

Tuesday, December 07, 2004

Ten Commandments for Entrepreneurs

From the people at Mayfield a piece on the Ten Commandments for Entrepreneurs

Friday, December 03, 2004

Telecommunications costs - how to reduce

As someone who has spent a lot of money on business "telephone" costs in the past 24 months, i've noticed a major drop in our costs over the past 3 months (esp on trans-atlantic calls) how ? i use Skype Try it out.... ps. Buy the Skype phone - makes it easier to use