Dear Reader,

I have always been a very average person. So how is it that I am innovating a new application for the educational field?  Magic?

Its actually nothing anyone else can’t do.  Its born of the fruits of hard work,  networking, marketing — all the work that anyone puts into building a career.  Plus, its seeking solutions to problems along the way.    20130810-131904.jpg

When I was running my own business and began running into difficulties, one of the representatives at SCORE explained that I had the ability to analyze where the gaps in my small business were and solve the problem. I’m no longer running my own business, but gap analysis enabled me to process this current dream into vision.  “A good plan violently executed now is better than a perfect plan executed next week.” is not just for Gen. George S. Patton in times of war, but for those of us entrepreneurs in difficult business environments.  Innovators are perceived as perfectionists. I decided that perfection is overrated – mostly because people are not perfect and never will be.   I never let flaws stop me from progressing or reassessing my strategy.

My cousin teaches at a full immersion school. The American children learn all their subjects in fluent French. She needs an application to take her vocabulary words and create a weekly puzzle for the children to play with. She currently creates this by hand and it takes hours.  She asked me to develop an application to create the puzzle for her.  When she gave me the specs for this, I immediately Googled to find previous work to use as a guide. Surprisingly, this has not already been developed. As I dug into the algorithms necessary for this project, I realized it was just a little beyond my current experience.

Do I give up? Not at all.  The gap was in some of my experience — software engineering design in OOP paradigm. So, who has those abilities? Software engineers. I began emailing. I found such an individual with the abilities and willingness to work with me on this.

To those who believe they are incapable of innovation – you are correct. To those who believe they are capable of innovation – you are correct. Limits are challenges to overcome unless you see those limits and absolute.

Advertisements

Dear Reader,

I was working with a new client who has his own business from home and has a home network setup.   He needed an extra pair of hands integrating his new computer running Windows 7 into his existing setup with an older XP computer.   I was fighting with some odd behavior, hidden issues, and lo and behold the new compuer connected wirelessly and printed!   He was thrilled and so was I.

That hairy problem having been resolved after much fighting and frustration, we were moving on to other issues.  All of a sudden, nothing was responding!  Ugh!!  My worst fear… did I accidentally mess something up on the new computer while I was configuring everything?   It seemed to straighten itself out very slowly.   I subscribe to a few professional blogs.   I logged in the next day to learn that the Internet barfed  at the very time I was working with my client.   That’s my official technical diagnosis.  It barfed.  For more, read the article “Who Broke The Internet?”  Probably the same practical jokers who found it funny to crash the computers in school while I was working on my final project.

What are the odds that the day I’m doing intensive Internet work, the Net actually dies?   Urgh….


Dear Reader,

That was once the lines to a famous song sung by Barbara Streisand.  I always preferred to do business with people.   In spite of the convenience offered by ATMs, automated phone lines, ticket machines, vending machines, and self-pay at the supermarket; I would rather have a real person.   My entire family will tell you with the aggrivated tone of voice how all of them would be done, paid, and in the car waiting for me to get checked out at the supermarket.  I would rather have a person.

In my personal life, I would rather be out with friends than using Facebook, Google chat, email, online games, texting, or any other electronic form of communication that separates me from real time spent with others.

It turns out, I’m not alone.   In the process of working on my own tiny business and learning the best ways to build it up, I found an article in favor of skipping social media and technology to build a better customer base.   The source?   SCORE.  The folks from the Small Business Administration who nurture fledgling companies.  One of the main points is to remain active in your community.   People do business with people they know.   Plain and simple.

Notes:

http://blog.score.org/

Related articles

Doing business – in person (Blogs.Reuters.Com)

Grow your business – in person! (triangleconcierge.com)

Why Networking In Person Still Matters (smallbiztrends.com)


Dear Reader,
It’s been a couple weeks on my new job and now that I’m settling in I have time to attend to my blog.  Since there has been continued interest in this, I’m wondering if there are any reader requests for posts about a topic?   I’ll give this another week before picking something.


Dear Reader,

The incident of the Greek technical support company, Systemgraph,  suing a disgruntled customer over the customer’s right to publish negative public comments on an internet forum brings to light a hotbed issue — when does a person’s right to free speech get him in legal trouble?  Is the concept of freedom of speech unique to the United States?    Does the global community share our take on this?

I was shocked to hear that a company representing Apple Computer was involved in this.  To the best of my knowledge, Apple itself serviced its own equipment and they have a very good reputation — as evidenced by the hundreds of thousands of Apple fans.   It turns out that customers in Greece do not have the advantage of Apple-direct servicing so they must go through a third-party company such as Systemgraph.

No US company either a direct manufacturer or a third-party servicing firm would ever think of suing a customer over such complaints.   “The customer is always right.”  Further, the customer has the right to publicly complain about substandard work, services, or products.   If any action were taken regarding negative publicity, a representative from the company would most likely write a response to the forum itself.  If a US company did bring such a case into court, most likely the ruling would wind up in favor of the customer.

According to an article written about the incident, if a similar case came to a UK court, the crux of the matter would rest on the veracity of the information posted.  If the information were false, a solid case for willful defamation could be made. [1]

Businesses worry about information published on the internet and the speed at which it is passed around.   Negative publicity can certainly have a detrimental impact on a company.  However, just as quickly as the spread of negative press about a company is the spread of how a company responds to such press.

It would appear that freedom of speech is a universal right.

The aforementioned article about such action taken in the UK reports that a company taking this kind of action against a customer would drive off future business.  One Greek polling website has hatred for Systemgraph rated at 95%. [2]  If the momentum continues to build, Systemgraph, may have sealed its fate in the global market.

Notes:

1. http://www.mycustomer.com/topic/social-crm/will-system-graph-court-case-be-greek-tragedy-social-media/118473

2. http://amplicate.com/hate/systemgraph


Dear Reader,

A hearing in court between Apple Computer’s tech support company in Greece, Systemgraph, and customer, Dimitris Papadimitriadis, has been scheduled for January 19th.

Specifically, Systemgraph is irate about Papadimitriadis’ posting to a public forum.   The original (translated to English by Google) can be viewed here.

I grabbed some Twitter tweets under the hashtag: #Systemgraph.  They were posted in Greek and I used the iGoogle translator:

Originals are listed in the reference section of this blog post.

“from the 200K’s # systemgraph will give you 1000 to fix it yourself. Obviously we have to pay to understand”1

“@ tasosflambouras one can solve the # systemgraph with less than 1000 € or solve this – bad for the # Apple in Cupertino.”2

Sources and footnotes:
http://www.macnn.com/articles/11/01/03/case.generates.publiclity.backlash/

1.  “απο τα 200Κ της #systemgraph θα σου δώσω 1000 να το φτιάξεις εσύ. Προφανώς πρέπει να πληρώσουν για να καταλάβουν”

2. “@tasosflambouras Μπορεί μα το λύσει η #systemgraph με λιγότερο από 1000€ ή θα το λύσει άσχημα για αυτήν η #Apple από το Cupertino.”


Dear Reader,

This is a case of man bites dog.

“The phrase ‘The customer is always right’ was originally coined by Harry Gordon Selfridge, the founder of Selfridge’s department store in London in 1909.”1

This long-standing business rule has been often debated and creatively interpreted, but now it is being challenged in court.

This week, Systemgraph, a Greek Apple support company has decided to take an irate customer to court to try to recover 200,000 euros (about $267,000)  for posting his story of bad service on a public internet forum. (Twitter tag #Systemgraph).

Customers post complaints to forums all the time.  So why is Systemgraph is fighting what it believes is “an organised attempt to slander and insult” to its reputation.   (Twitter hash: #Systemgraph)?   Every company winds up with customers that complain.   What is so different about Dimitirs Papadimitriadis than other unhappy customers?

Customers have the right to seek redress for financial wrongdoing by companies.   Consumer advocacy organizations abound in response to aid customers resolve issues.   Local to New England, Susan Wornick was named a member of Team 5 Investigates, WCVB’s investigative unit, in 2006 and also serves as NewsCenter 5’s consumer reporter.

Systemgraph has decided to turn the tables.

Sources and footnotes:

http://news.cnet.com/8301-17852_3-20026918-71.html?part=rss&subj=news&tag=2547-1_3-0-20

1. http://positivesharing.com/2006/07/why-the-customer-is-always-right-results-in-bad-customer-service/