Thursday, May 31, 2007

Positive learning

Positive coaching techniques are increasingly being followed by companies these days as they have been found to be very effective. There's a new book out called 'Appreciative Coaching: A Positive Process for Change' which discusses this phenomenon and how organizations can use this system to increase productivity. The book has been co-authored by Sara Orem a faculty member at Capella University, a leader in online education in the US. Research by psychologists has shown that people are much more likely to flourish in environments where human ideals and achievements are appreciated. Appreciative Coaching requires that organizations acknowledge strengths of individuals rather than focus on their limitations. This post was based on information provided by Blogitive. For more information, please visit

TiVo becomes profitable

TiVo announced that it has become profitable for the first time since starting up. The company saw a profit for the quarter, even though total subscribers decreased to 4.3 million, which can be attributed to higher prices and fewer rebate offers. The company earned $830,000 as compared to a loss of $10.7 for the same period last year.

Motorola announced additional layoffs

In an effort to be more profitable, Motorola announced that it will be cutting 4,000 jobs in addition to the 3,500 job cuts it announced earlier. The company has decided to reduce its workforce by 10%, so that it becomes more profitable in the long-term. While the first set of job cuts will be complete by June end, the newer layoffs will take place next year. One of the major factors that have led to the company laying off its workers is the fact that it took in a loss of $1 billion last year due to price cuts and increased competition.

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Press a button to call your server

Restaurants that connect you wireless-ly to waiters? Yes, that is the trend of the moment. Restaurants are investing in wireless technology that connects them to waiters from their table. This technology is called ESP and works as a small console at the table that is connected to their waiter or waitress via a wristwatch worn by them. Servers are also connected to the kitchen and bar with this device, so food orders are automatically notified to the server by the kitchen. Devin Green, then an executive with the Bank of America Securities, came up with the idea of ESP Systems in 2001, when he and his family missed a movie when they couldn't get the attention of the server. He and his partner quit their jobs and set upon developing this system. They found that servers wasted a lot of their time going back and forth to the kitchen to check on orders and spend less time with their guests due to this. The system is very similar to the call button in airplanes, where flight crew is notified when a button is pressed by a passenger.

A new twist to comparison shopping sites

Comparison shopping sites are some of the fastest growing sites on the Internet these days. I found called, which is search engine site for shopping, that has created a section called Smack Shopper. In this section, shoppers can chat with other shoppers bidding on the auctions which run round the clock. Greg Kaldor, vice president of merchant services for says that he wants to make Smack Shopper as "the MySpace of online shopping". The service started in November last year but is catching on quick.

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Digital homes are now a reality

Digital homes are not of the future any more. With the kind of technology that is available now, homes are increasingly going digital with gadgets from the TV to the PC. Connect your TV to a TiVo or a Slingbox or an iPod and remake an idea of fun from the TV. The many companies that are offering products for digitising homes are new to the field, such as Microsoft, Apple, Sony, TiVo, Motorola, Cicso and more.
"The current state of the Web-connected home is disjointed," said ABI's Wolf, "but it's coming together. The network is figured out from a physical connection technology perspective, but now it's about the more complicated issues of content protections, media management and business models."

A building company that doesn't inflate prices?

As an avid real estate and architecture buff, I found this company to be quite intriguing. Australian company Resident Home Builders offers complete transparency to its clients and has taken an extremely honest and direct approach to advertising, by keeping costs exactly as they are and not inflating them unnecessarily. It's a true case of WYSIWYG and their homes and prices are exactly that, nothing more and nothing less. I find their approach extremely refreshing, especially so when most builders in their industry are known to always hike up its expenses and costs. Residents Home Builders uses its "as displayed price" and sticks exactly to it. So each and everything that you see in it will be included, down to the stainless steel ovens and cook tops. Resident has a team of architects and designers that make sure that customers get the absolute max of their new homes.

Long weekend over...

Is ever a long weekend long enough? It never is, right? Even though we didn't have Memorial Day as a holiday, it was a bit relaxed and since I work from home, I could pretend that it was a bit of an extended weekend! So, now it's time to get back to business and get back to working my regular hours. The weekend was good and I got to catch up on sleep, newspapers, movies and everything else that weekends are, no chores on the weekend in our house!

Saturday, May 26, 2007

Some inspirations

Don't bother just to be better than your contemporaries or predecessors.
Try to be better than yourself.
-William Faulkner

"Don't be afraid to take a big step. You can't cross a chasm in two small jumps."
-David Lloyd George

No matter how good you get you can always get better and that's the exciting part.
-Tiger Woods

All quotes from

How far can you look ahead?

I know of several people who take things very seriously in life, planning out every detail of their future. They are good people, very organized people and have created systems in their lives that counter and cater to all eventualities and have taken steps such as getting Funeral Insurance for themselves. I don't think I have quite reached the stage yet when I can arrange for stuff like that, but I admire those who can. I bet, it's not an easy thing to do, but some people are a lot braver about them than others, me included.

Find the perfect assistant

Finding a good assistant or someone just to do some chores around the house has always been a problem right? Springwise reports that now there is a new company based in Beverly Hills called which hopes to sort this problem out by providing a platform for finding people to do chores such as mow the lawn or picking up the dry cleaning or planning a party and much more. Tasks are posted with the required work details and companies and people bid for them, including their cost, time of completion etc. The customer reviews the bids and selects the assistant. While many would prefer to work directly with assistants, DoMyStuff provides a safe platform to transact a business deal. Services are currently available in Los Angeles, San Francisco and New York.
DoMyStuff's charges service providers a commission if they're awarded a job. Commission rates vary according to a job's category and total cost, ranging from 7–10%. The service is free for buyers, who have the option of paying a small fee to highlight their project, bringing it to the top of a category (much like Google's sponsored links).

Are we losing the art of writing?

I'm a real fan of stationary supplies. I love organizing my work area with the best of file folders, space savers, and stuff that saves me time in doing my work. Since school days we have been using fountain pens, and I got myself a beautiful set of engraved pens especially for writing letters and signing checks. It's quite sad, how little we actually 'write' these days. Everything has been taken over my computers, and the act of writing with pen and paper has been relegated to second tier. However, I still love to write letters, a habit that was cultivating in us since we were in boarding school since the age of 9 and have lived away from home most of my life. I do hope I will be able to continue writing with pen and paper in the future as well.

Which anti-virus do you use?

I have been using McAfee anti-virus for the past year and have been quite satisfied with it, although I am considering getting the much talked about AVG anti-virus software from Grisoft, which is said to be better and is absolutely free. I know of some people who use it along with Norton or McAfee, but I believe that can cause some complications. I found that the best place to download AVG's free anti-virus is CNET's, which has all the free software downloads listed. It's my new favorite site, and I will be getting a better spyware blocker as well as a break reminder tool, so I don't end up working too long without a break.

Friday, May 25, 2007

Sony develps razor-thin, flexible TV display

Sony has developed a razor-thin TV display that can be bent like paper even when showing a video. The company will be presenting its research and video at Long Beach, California at an academic symposium for the Society of Informatic Display. The display is made from Sony's thin film transistor or TFT technology, which is used to make flexible displays, and has been combined with another technology called organic electroluminescent display. Sony does not have any plans for a commercial launch of the product as yet.
"In the future, it could get wrapped around a lamppost or a person's wrist, even worn as clothing," said Sony spokesman Chisato Kitsukawa. "Perhaps it can be put up like wallpaper."

Tatsuo Mori, professor at Nagoya University's Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science, said some hurdles remained, including making the display bigger, ensuring durability and cutting costs.

Exergaming: combining exercise and video games

The importance on health and fitness is becoming so important especially when it comes to ingraining it in kids, that a company has come up with a creative way to get kids interested in gyms. NexGym has created a system of Exergaming, where workout routines are combined with video game technology. Springwise reports that the programs are available for kids from 6-14 years of age. How it works is that video games are wired to the exercise machines, so the workout experience is a balance of both mental and physical. So, you can select any backdrop of a game and can fight the aliens to make it really interesting. Currently there are over 20 games available.

Sticker marketing

As an avid collector of stickers when I was younger, I was quite impressed when I saw this site that specializes in creating custom stickers and labels. Customized Stickers has a huge variety of stickers and labels and customers can either select one of their designs or create their own design, which Customized Stickers will then print out for you in what ever size you need and in whatever form you need. Stickers and custom labels are a great way to get some publicity and word of mouth advertising without the investment of a full scale advertising campaign. Stickers and labels have been known to work very well in smaller communities and for localized products.

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Broadband users rising

Nielsen has estimated that there are more than 78% of active Internet users who rely on broadband connections, a significant increase from 65% a year earlier. Consumers who use broadband connections also use the internet more than those who have narrowband connections. Broadband users also spend greater time online, averaging close to 35 hours per person, while narrowband users average just over 26 hours per person.

Heading to Orlando?

Orlando has come up as a great all round destination. There is something for everyone in Orlando, right from conference facilities to golfing and fishing to theme parks and entertainment to shopping and exclusive spa resorts. In general, most hotels orlando area are very well equipped to handle the mega rush of tourists that visit the city all year round, and increase during school vacations in the summer. With 52 theme parks in the area, hospitality and service are something that everyone expects the very best of, when heading to Orlando.

Rain, rain where are you?

Are you betting on the arrival of the monsoon too? It seems that June 7th is the date that it is set to arrive in the city and I can't wait for it. It's simply too sultry and awful these days and it'll be great to finally see some rain. Having grown up in the north, I am still not used to the concept of no rain from September end to June. It's simply crazy, to go through so many months without a single rain shower.

CompUSA to go the niche way

CompUSA will be creating a niche that it will be focusing on for its remaining stores. The company announced that it would be closing 126 of its stores due to intense competition and lower sales. Instead of having a broad focus, the company has decided to focus on technology enthusiasts and small and medium business owners. The majority of the products will be aimed at business users and the company will hold complimentary seminars in their stores for small business owners.

Credit specials

I was just sent new credit card by my bank, even though my card does not expire until the end of the year. They have increased my credit limit and given me an upgraded card, so I can use several airport lounges for free and lots of other special offers, including a special package for an Aerosmith concert. Pretty cool, right? Besides giving me a good rate, super service, they load me up with lots of gifts, yes gifts for new year's, gift's for my birthday and much more. That's the kind of credit card to have. Study the Credit Card Applications in detail before filling in your information and make sure you are getting a good deal before signing up. Use a site such as where you can compare credit card offers from all the best banks.

Staples expands its electronic recycling program

Staples announced that it is expanding its electronic waste recycling program by taking in used computers and monitors. Consumers can drop them off at any of Staples locations for a $10 fee. The company started this recycling program 4 years ago for smaller items such as cell phones, pagers, digital cameras, which consumers could drop off at Staples stores for free. Staples biggest rival Office Depot also has a similar program for recycling old electronic products.

Disney ties up with Sony to offer online courses

Walt Disney's Internet venture site has tied up with Sony Electronics to offer online courses in courses such as "A Changing Work-Life Balance", "Digital Photography made simple", and "Hands-On Digital Scrapbooking Design". People interested in taking these courses need to register at Disney's site with their name, email address, birth date and ZIP code.
The Disney’s frequently asked questions, however, clarify that course takers are not required to purchase any of the products featured on its site. “We are taking a very comprehensive approach to our collaboration with The Walt Disney Internet Group on Disney,” says Barbara Miller, director of corporate web services at Sony Electronics.

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Find all your local info here

Isn't it ironic that all the largest and most powerful search engines in the world can not help you locate a good plumber in your locality? I can tell you who can, and it's a site called, which functions as a free classifieds site focusing on your local area. It's a much needed service and the yellow pages aren't really worth anything anymore, so online sites like this is your best bet. Besides classifieds, ItsMyMarket has lots of other service on offer, such as dating services, local weather, local blogs, local cinema listings, local vehicles etc. It's a good site that pretty much covers everything in your neck of the woods, information that can make it easier to find local handymen and technicians.

Is technology overtaking your life?

It seems that the more technology gets complicated, the more the need to simplify our lives. At least that is the way I see it. I find that I want to invest in technological gadgets and products that make my life simpler, and not necessarily in products that promise to to 10,000 new and innovative things for me. Am I making sense? Like when I go for vacation, I don't want to be connected to work and my daily life, so having a cell phone that provides Internet connection and keeps me in touch with the real world is not my cup of tea anymore. Technology is great, but it has to have it's own place in my life and not overtake it. I refuse to live my life on its terms and revel in being unconnected.

Love my bank

I have a HSBC credit and bank account and simply love their service. Well, I am a premier account holder, so that is part of the reason why the service is so good. It's all the little things that add up, like sending me a new book of cheques automatically once I cross a certain cheque number, sending us invitations to special events, great conversion on reward points, not having to wait in the regular line to withdraw or deposit cash or a cheque and on and on. Their global reach makes it even better, so I don't need to worry about what bank to use any where I go.

What? Only tuesday as yet?

How come it's only tuesday but feels like it should be a thursday or a friday? I worked way too much today and am exhausted. The weather is not making it any easier, with each day getting more and more sultry and sticky. The monsoon is expected to arrive on June 7th according to the bettors, who are probably more likely to get it right than the weather department and I just can't wait for the rains to start. Ah, to get a fresh cool breeze...

Identity management

Skymark Systems announced that it had launched the Power Broker and PowerPassword user management edition (UME) which will give it comprehensive control on applications running on UNIX and Linux systems, which is what most financial and human resource applications run on worldwide. The Identity Management system provides the best functionality as well as ease of use and limits access to information and systems based on security levels that have been pre-defined. The system also protects the root account, which is the most targeted administrative account, from external and internal threat. Using these systems, it will be possible to take care of identity security of an organization.

Monday, May 21, 2007

Click fraud increasing

It has been estimated that almost 15% of clicks on advertising could be fake. As per the pay-per-click (PPC) agreement, online advertisers must pay each time a potential customer clicks on its ad, but click fraud is happening as well, which occurs when clicks on certain ads are arranged for to increase revenue. Click fraud seems to be growing as other internet scams have, such as phishing and spam.

Reliance on natural searches on the rise again

The tables have turned completely. A few years ago, marketers were quite happy to be able to pay to be listed at the top with search engines, but now the concept of paid searches is becoming so common that it is losing its value. Marketers who focused only on paid search are back to focusing on search optimization by natural methods. Also called organic search, this format works when search engines search the web looking for relevant content and payment to search engine listing sites does not hold any weight, so only the pages with real content are listed. It's essential to try out all ways to increase sales, but it is also important to keep all options open and go back to a method that does more good in the long term.

Watch movies on your iPod with this converter

Did you know it was possible to see movies on an iPod? All it requires is an iPod Video Converter software that is made by PQDVD which converts all videos and DVDs into iPod format video in just a couple of steps online. To use the converter you need to download and install the software, launch the software and then open to select which DVD or video you would like to convert. With a click of a button, your conversion starts and once complete it can be added to the iTune library to sync it with your iPod and get set to watch iPod movies. There is a free trial right now and once you're sure you can sign up as a member for just $39.95, which gives you unlimited DVD and video conversions. Seems like a great deal to me.

Credit card reminiscing

Writing that last post about how I got my first credit card brought back lots of memories. We were all so casual about it that we actually used to select our cards based on the design of the credit card. Having one with the school logo and mascot was essential, even though we might have been paying slightly higher interest rates. Other in demand card designs were the unusual and zany ones. No one wanted the plain old boring ones, even if they had a good interest rates and other incentives. Thank god those days are over.

uShip: moving made easy

Have you heard about uShip, a new online marketplace for shipping and moving stuff? Say you have to move home and need to find out the best available price for shipping it, but are not looking forward to calling all the moving companies one by one. Well, here is the solution. Springwise reports that you can list your request online at uShip and movers will answer with their quotes and you can select the best one. Sounds good, right? I thought so too. You can get discounts of up to 80%, since carriers are eager to fill unused cargo space to make their trip efficient. Listing is free and you don't have to accept a bid unless you want to.
Listings include all relevant information: dimensions, weight, packaging, origin and destination. uShip displays a map and route information for each freight that carriers are bidding on, along with pickup and delivery timeframes. To find shipments along their route, freight companies fill in their departure and arrival zipcodes, and how many miles they're willing to go out of their way.

Celebrity trends

The celebrity boom brought on by the media has led to a surge in sales of a variety of products, including Tenuate, weight loss programs, beauty products etc. The average consumer wants to be like their favorite celebrity, in looks, in attitude and in clothing and lifestyle. Celebrity magazines are the hot sellers these days and all tips and techniques dished out by celebs are lapped up by consumers who are ready to do anything to be like their favorite stars. I do hope everyone who starts off on this path is aware of what they are doing.

Weekend woes

I've turned into a workaholic, I think. Didn't have much work to do on the weekend and got thoroughly bored, which was really surprising. Usually, I look forward to doing nothing on the weekends, but this time, I couldn't wait for the week to start and to get back to work. Very odd, and unfortunately true. The weather is just so pathetic and makes one feel really lethargic. Being outside during the day is out of the question, which leaves the only alternative as the malls, which I must avoid during the weekends as they are just too crowded. For the first time I can say, thank god it's Monday!

Gardeners tips

When we lived in a beautiful home in Bristol, RI we had a lovely garden on three sides of the house, plus a long winding driveway and a shared patch of grass with our neighbours by the drive. Having always live in apartments, it was great to have a house and a garden, although it meant a lot of work. Well, it was a lot of work for the team of gardeners we had who used to come in twice a week to take care of all the work. They had all the gadgets and gizmos to help them do all the work in record time, including an automatic rewinding hose reel that was powered by water and could be rewound without having to crank it. It didn't use any batteries or electricity or springs at all, and was a great tool for people who would could save the time and effort spent on this repetitive job at each job location.

Friday, May 18, 2007

Express Checkout from PayPal

PayPal has announced a new program that gives incentives to banks and tech providers when they sign up for PayPal Express Checkout payment service. The company is coming up with way to compete with Google Checkout and this is just the latest in it's endeavour to bringing in new customers. The company is also offering tech support and marketing materials, option to be listed on a PayPal directory of business partners and even a cash bonus of $2,500 for each merchant sign up for the Express Checkout program.
PayPal says the partner program is designed for providers of shopping carts for online retail sites, e-commerce platform providers, payment processors, merchant banks and other providers to Internet retailers. The shopping cart providers are particularly crucial because once they integrate PayPal Express Checkout into their service they can offer it to their retailer clients, says Matthew Pace, senior associate at Compete Inc., which measures traffic to Internet sites.

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Oak Investment announces $200 million retail fund

US based venture fund, Oak Investment Partners, announced its plans to launch a $200 million retail fund focused on the Indian retail industry. The company has already roped in some high profile executives, including Jacob Kurien, the former COO of Tanishq and the CEO of a prominent food chain. Jerry Gallagher, general partner of Oak had visited several of the malls and shopping centers in the country recently and held meetings with mall developers as well as retailers on this venture.

Using recruiters to find jobs

HR is a field that is often overlooked for its importance and contribution to the success of a firm. Although there are thousands of HR consultants and recruiters out there, not all are of the same quality and not are as old as A.E. Feldman Associates which was set up in 1967. In the field of HR, experience and age of a company holds a lot of value, much more than in other fields. The company focuses on recruitment for a variety of sectors including, financial and risk management services, legal services, communications, technology, luxury products and many more. AEF works to recruit for top positions to C level management positions as well.

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Geek Squad focuses on quick turnaround for PC repair

Best Buy's computer service and repair venture Geek Squad set up a warehouse near Louisville last year due to it's proximity to the UPS air hub nearby, which enables it to receive packages much faster and are able to send back repaired item quickly as well. The state of Kentucky also offered the company tax benefits of around $9.3 million. On average, Geek Squad repairs 2,000 laptops every day at this facility. The company estimates that they will be repairing 700,000 PC's in the next year, although the number of laptops they service is increasing, and the methods of fixing them is getting more complex.

Sunday, May 13, 2007

The way of the future!

Probably the Hardest Way to Make Money Online

Summer rentals

The best way to tackle the summer heat is to escape it!! The one area that we are yet to explore is the Carolina's and we’re hoping to be able to rent a house for a week or longer to stay in the Outer Banks, and take a really chilled out vacation. While hectic vacations are great, it’s time for a really relaxing vacation, where one can just take walks on the beach, rent a cycle to explore the neighborhood and laze on the deck is what is now appealing to us.

Saturday, May 12, 2007

Yahoo shuts down auction site

Yahoo has announced that it will be shutting down its online auction site. The site has not been able to keep up with eBay, which brought in 60 million visitors in March compared to 330,000 visitors at Yahoo's auction site. Is really anyone going to be able to compete with eBay? It seems rather doubtful.
Why did Yahoo's site fail? Yahoo didn't have enough users to make its service valuable enough to keep drawing new users to its site. It was another example how failing to achieve a network effect can spell doom for an Internet site. This is one of the main reasons why Internet startups fail.

Friday, May 11, 2007

Finding your way around

Isn't it the most frustrating thing to get lost and not know exactly where one is headed? I simply hate the feeling and love all the new gadgets and gizmos such as hand held satellite navigation products that will never let you feel like that again. These devices such as the Navman are really a great product to have whether you're driving in your own city or exploring a new one. I find the handheld devices such as the Navman Pin 570 especially useful for using when walking, unfortunately it's out of stock right now, but the price is really great and will wait to see when additional stock comes in. GPS locator's have been around for quite some time now, but the kinds of SatNav that is now available is really much more technologically savvy than ever before. Handtec has some of the best products such as Navman F20, NavmanN40i-N40 and many more.

Wednesday, May 09, 2007

Raymond focuses on setting up retail supply chain

Raymond is putting together its retail supply chain as the company is working to put an efficient system in place that will be able to cater to all of its stores. The company opened its 350th retail store in the country recently and is planning to have 1,000 stores open in the coming three years.

Running out of memory?

I use up a lot of my memory space backing up documents and with each upgrade or new computer I get, I figure I will have enough memory space to store anything and everything. That is not the case, in reality computer memory is in short supply, no matter how many upgrades and additions you make to you computer. It seems to never be enough and always required to have external back ups of documents.

Yahoo's new messenger service

Yahoo introduced an updated version of its chat service that does not require any download and software installation. The service is still in beta mode and is called Yahoo Messenger for the Web. Using this service, users will be able to chat on any computer or mobile device that has access to the web. Yahoo's competitors Google, AOL, Meebo and eBuddy have all offered similar programs, but none of them have the number of users that Yahoo Messenger has.
The new Yahoo chat client differs from most other Web-based clients in that it is based on Adobe Systems' Flash. It works with most Web browsers and operating systems. While it lacks some of the bells and whistles found on the downloaded version (such as file transfer capability), Messenger for the Web includes tabbed windows that simplify multiple, simultaneous chatting. It also allows users to save their chats on Yahoo servers for later search and access.

Tuesday, May 08, 2007

Luxottica Group to open Indian subsidiary

Luxottica, the world’s largest sunglass maker, will be setting up a subsidiary in India to retail products in India. Based in Milan, Luxottica has operations in India already, in the form of a wholly owned division under the name of Ray Ban Indian Holdings, which sells Ray-Ban sunglasses. A new subsidiary to market and sell other brands.

Bharti and Global Retail School tie up

Bharti Retail and the Global Retail School will be training manpower for the retail industry, through Bharti's wholly owned subsidiary Bharti Resources. Sanjeev Duggal, CEO and Executive Director of Bharti Resources, said "We have entered into a strategic partnership with the Global Retail School to bring modern skills, knowledge and progressive training to create employability for young people in the growing retail sector of India."

GDS and Bharti will also train manpower in fields such as insurance and telecom, where Bharti has significant interests. Approximately 15,000 students will be trainded in the first year in a variety of courses covering, retail management, sales and marketing, visual merchandising, space planning, logistics, store operations and much more.

Home theatre installation directory

There's really nothing quite like having a home theatre system installed in your home is there? But where exactly does one go to get the right information. According to research, over 2/3rds of consumers search for home theatre and home automation information online and not in a magazine or newspaper. Consumers are looking for personal recommendations on a variety of issues such as brands, installation, service and much more. All this information and more can be found at which provides an easy way for consumers to find local installers even before they have decided on a certain brand. The company is the most comprehensive directory of full-service home theatre installers, repair technicians and home automation integrators, with over 5,800 listings. I especially liked that have a free software called the iCovia Space Planner that helps you design your home theatre room like a professional would do.

Liquid ban at airports hits sales at duty-free shops

Hightened security levels at airports in the US, Europe and Singapore have banned sale of any form of liquids at duty free shops, a policy that is hitting the duty free stores at airports hard. Sales at the departure terminals in India account for 60% of total sales totaling to Rs 300 crore, which have declined by 30% in the months since the ban. Prices of goods at duty free shops are usually 15-20% cheaper than regular shops.

PortableGadget is now on my daily read list

I'm no gadget guru, but I can't resist reading up on as many gadget blogs as I can. I find it really exciting to learn about new products and applications that make our life simpler as well as more creative, which is a really nice trend to modern gadgetry. Tech toys are no longer just for geeks and tech wizards, they are for normal people like you and me and as companies are creating more products like these, the higher the sales will go.

PortableGadget is a site that I have just found and like the products they feature and their reviews and descriptions as well. I loved the article on TimeTube, the tubular twisting clock, which is a product I have not come across anywhere else. Another really innovative product that is written about on the site is the digital camera in a locket. The Kodak 1881 digital locket is just as innovative as they get. As long as they continue to write interesting articles on creative products, I will be definitely going back for more. Even though this was a sponsored post, I'm quite sure this will be a site that will remain in my bookmarks for future reference.

A marketplace for hiring things

An interesting new idea is brewing in New Zealand as reported by Springwise. Hire Things is a new company that is offering a marketing channel for hiring things, which could be of a huge variety. All you have to do is to register with Hire Things, list your item and its rental price, select how you want your item to be displayed, as in on a public platform or only to your known circle and you're set. When someone books your item, you will receive an email, along with the costs, which you can accept, reject or negotiate. The service is free for now, which will be changed at a later date.
Hire Things plans to establish similar marketplaces in Australia, the UK and other countries. The concept should definitely appeal to consumers who'd like to tackle a backyard project but get cold feet at the idea of buying tools they'll use only once, or would like to try out a new hobby without spending hundreds of dollars on something they might not be interested in three weeks from now

Running short of cash?

There has been a significant increase in the number of consumers going in for cash advance or payday loans. Typically, these are short term loans that are used as emergency funds or just until a consumer receives the next paycheck. As they have become quite easy to take, the number of users has increased, as has the default rate. It is essential to remember that defaulting on these loans is just the same as defaulting on your home or automobile loan and will affect your credit rating.

Payday loans should be used only for covering the time until you receive your next paycheck, so you can avoid check bouncing fees etc, and not as a regular loan. It is quite simple and easy to apply for one of these loans, usually not even requiring any documents that need to be faxed so you can be approved. The loan amount is transferred directly to your bank account, which makes it even more efficient. Consumers need to be responsible about payday loans and not misuse them just because it is so easy to get one. The system is created to cover expenses just for short durations, as an advance on one's paycheck, so should not be misused.

Bharti ties up with Global Retail School to train manpower

Bharti Retail has tied up with Global Retail School to train people in retail management, and will employ "many of the 15,000 students" who are to be trained at the school in the first year. The school will offer programs in fields such as retail sales, marketing, visual merchandising, space planning, supply chain management, logistics, store operations etc.

Monday, May 07, 2007

Don't shop online without coupons

A lot of people buy clothes online. I buy computer related stuff and books. Clothes are too tactile to be bought just by sight, I feel. Computer related stuff, on the other hand, is simply perfect for online shopping and each day brings more and more things to buy, it seems. Best Buy is of course, the "best" place to buy things such as printers, backup drives, portable media devices, scanners and much, much more. Internet shopping has been made even more fun thanks to online coupons codes from Coupon Chief which lets you buy more stuff with all the money that you save. I especially like the Best Buy coupons that they currently have which will help you save as much as $100 on certain items.

Technology quotes

"Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic."
-Arthur C. Clarke

“If we are on a path of getting nowhere fast, technology is allowing us to get nowhere faster and faster.”
-John Renesch

"Technological progress has merely provided us with more efficient means for going backwards."
-Aldous Huxley

"If it keeps up, man will atrophy all his limbs but the push-button finger."
-Frank Lloyd Wright

All quotes from

Pantaloons and Etam tie up for innerwear

India's leading retail firm Pantaloon Retail and Etam a French retailer of lingerie, announced that they had tied up in a 50:50 partnership to open stores in India. Their products will be sold under the ETAM Future Fashion Pvt. Ltd. brand. Etam will open 40 stores in 20 cities putting in Rs. 900 million as investment. At the press conference announcing the joint venture, Elisabeth Cunin, CEO of Etam Lingerie said that the company has “aggressive expansions plans” for India.

Self-checkout lanes rising in popularity in Japan

Self-checkout counters are increasingly becoming popular in Japan. The main reason shoppers select a self-checkout lane is to save time. Using a self-checkout machine is as simple as taking money out of an ATM, only requiring products' bar codes to be read by the machine, enter the money or swipe a credit card and you're done. There are around 20 companies who are using these self-checkout lanes in Japan, a total of 300 self-checkout lanes, which is set to increase to 500 in the next three years. Retailers are thrilled with them, as they reduce the number of employees required and make the customers happy by creating a shopping experience and increase their convenience.

What is social media?

Social media is creating a lot of buzz lately, but what really is it? It's not social networking and it's not social marketing, it's actually about contributing and communicating in a community, an online community that is. There are a lot of different versions around, but I liked the simplicity and directness on a marketing blog called Britopian, which is discussed in a post titled 5 Distinct Characteristics of Social Media. According to the blog author Michael Brito, Social Media is characterized by 5 aspects; participation, openness or transparency, conversation, community feel and facilitation or control by consumers. His description really covers social media in its entirety and refrains from over complicating it. There are lots of interesting discussions on SEO, online marketing, blogging and other aspects of social media. My only grouse about the site is that I don't much care for the "read more" tags that you have to click on to read the rest of the entry.

Samsung ties up with larger retailers

Samsung, South Korea's consumer durable major, is teaming with large retail chains such as Reliance Digital, Croma, Future Group, Metro Cash & Carry and HyperCITY in an effort to increase its topline growth. The company plans to earn 10-12% of its turnover from the large format retail channel.

Pradeep Tognatta, director of sales for Samsung India Electronics, said that “We have decided to partner with the large format retail chains. We’ve tied up with top retailers, some of them specialise purely in electronics. There are more tie-ups in the offing. We are using the specialised stores to create a complete brand experience — creating LCD walls and putting up special displays for certain focus categories.”

The company is to form agreements with Kuwait based Kirby for opening stores in Noida and Gurgaon and will be teaming up with Dubai based Jumbo Group to set up stores in Delhi and the surrounding areas.

PR rises again

Well, it looks like the PR update is over and the PR on this blog has risen to a 2. All my blogs have seen an increase in PR, one rose from 3 to 4 and my other two rose from 0s to 3s, which are rather steep jumps in the world of PR, but hey, I'm thrilled about it. It's quite ironic, that just a year back I couldn't have cared less about PR, Alexa or Technorati rankings, they were just numbers to me, but now they have immense meaning to me and for my blogs as they reflect all the extra work, I have been doing on them. I started actively "promoting" my blogs, writing more prolifically in early Feb this year, so the results are pretty great and pretty soon as well.

Sunday, May 06, 2007

Bookkeeping services for entrepreneurs

As part of my research, I speak to a lot of small retailers and I find that the majority of them don't place enough importance on investing in a good accounting system, either in terms of an accounting software or in bookkeeping services. More often than not, this is sure to lead to problems later on in the business. Small and medium businesses need to focus on getting bookkeeping and payroll services from a company such as Accounting Paradise which focuses on services smaller companies. Their Quickbooks Online Edition lets multiple users access the information from different locations, so you don't even need to have an accountant on the premises. Priced affordably at $10 a month for bookkeeping and $6 a month per employee for payroll services, the company should be on every entrepreneur's speed dial list.

Wal-Mart attracts small women owned businesses for development venture

Wal-Mart will be initiating a supplier development program in India. The company will launch a private equity fund aimed at small businesses, especially women-owned ventures. The size of the fund has yet to be finalized, although sources suggest that it will follow Wal-Mart's global strategy. Beth Keck, senor director of international corporate affairs, said that, “These programmes are targeted at women, small farmers and other groups that may not have ready access to organised retailers and these initiatives have been very important in bringing local products into our stores.”

Venpar: Creating the path to success

These days besides focusing on the core strengths of a firm, it is essential to work on promoting the firm as well. For a new firm it is even more important to be known in the market place and just to get started can be a difficult task. Venture Alliance Partners is one such firm that works to help entrepreneurs build their companies by providing a variety of tools and tips. Although Venpar was established only in 2006, it has made a name for itself for providing world class service and the best of results for its clients. Using a combination of services such as financial strategy, headhunting, investment banking, Venpar simplifies the path to success.

Dubai makes the future come alive

We got back from Dubai late on Friday night, thankfully not as delayed as much as were on our outbound journey, when we left 26 hours left. Dubai was a wonderful experience, it is interesting to see the incredible buildings coming up on every corner. The city has a wonderfully powerful energy, that everything can be made possible, from creating islands in the ocean to the creation of the horse racing venue Meydan, which will have the highest value purse in the world. Dubailand is another ambitious venture of a theme park which is to be larger and grander than Disneyland itself.

Thursday, May 03, 2007

Dubai takes

Our week in Dubai has been really great. There is a great energy to the city and it is truly an international city, with people from all across the world, something that the US and especially NYC used to be. Money is what Dubai is all about, people are earning and spending money like mad and there is energy and excitement everywhere you look, with new construction projects dotting the city in every direction. The ongoing Arabian Travel Market exhibition is a sight to see, for all the new projects that Dubai has planned for the next 5-10 years.

Wednesday, May 02, 2007

Bid to be listed

Promoting one's website is a continuous job. The moment you stop paying attention to your site, you can be sure that viewership will decline. One way to ensure than you have a constant stream of traffic is to get yourself included in directory sites such as Big Web Links Directory and bid for placement, so you can have your site listed on the very first page. How it works is that sites are sorted and listed on the pages according to the bid amount. So if you want to constantly have your site listed at the top of the their home page, all you have to do is bid higher amounts, which are in dollar amounts. As soon as you hid higher, you listing will move up and you will get more hits on your site. The top 10 listings are shown on the homepage, while the top 20 listings are shown on the top link page.