theSync LIVE: Using Crowdsourced Financing for Your Next Big Idea

I apologize, up front, for the long hiatus. Between new project starts, new camp starts, and new broken-down-car starts it’s been busy.

Herlen Bess, Maxime Paul, and Enrica Jang

Herlen Bess, Maxime Paul, and Enrica Jang

Last month, we had one of our very best live shows on WEAA. In the studio and on the phone, we invited some great people to share Baltimore’s entrepreneurial radio waves. Red Stylo Media’s Enrica Jang and E2IS’s Maxime Paul joined us in the studio, and on the phone we had DrinkMATE’s Shaun Masavage and mBientLab’s Laura Kassovic. The topic: raising money using crowd-funding platforms like Kickstarter and Indiegogo.

Enrica, Maxima, Laura, and Shaun shared their fund raising experiences, both good and bad, and also illustrated some of the execution trials they went through.

If you thought about raising money from the crowd, this show is a must listen.

Please share what your thoughts are in the comments.

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Here is Red Stylo’s current Kickstarter Campaign.

27: A Comic Anthology, inspired by music’s infamous “27 Club” – There’s a special category for listeners of theSync!

theSync LIVE!: The e-Commerce Show!

In case you missed it.  Herlen, The Rod, and I were in the studio leading in the season 4 premier of Game of Thrones. We had Modev’s Pete Erickson on the phone sharing details how Apple proved all of the naysayers wrong by selling out of Apple Watch pre-order inventory.

During the second half of the show, we talked about a recent Baltimore Sun article that highlighted many of our city’s small business owners concern over Amazon Prime Now being activated.  Prime subscribers can now get Tide with Bleach, diapers, and even fresh groceries within the hour thanks to Amazon building a new warehouse in town.  Arun Saraswat joined us and shared how this could actually be an opportunity for Baltimore’s business owners thrive and used Amazon to better reach the customers.  And finally, we closed out the show with Brian Williams from purchaseblack.com who shared how small business owners can target black consumers through the web.

Make sure you subscribe to theSync using iTunes or download our app from the Google Play store.

theSync LIVE!: What are Exponential Organizations and How Can You Build One?

On the radio show last week, we talked about ExOs and shared how small business owners could use some of the same tactics and strategies to build up their businesses.  ExOs are a new breed of company that owns very little in terms of material, manpower, and facilities, but can quickly gain marketshare and scale up their services to a large amount of consumers using Big Data, social networking, augmented workforces, and mobile.

Household ExOs you’ve heard of are Uber, Lyft, Nest, and AirBNB.

Herlen, myself, and newcomer Rodney discussed the ExO phenomenon at length, took some of your calls, and outright dissed Uber.

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Tune in this Sunday night for another session of theSync LIVE!

Thanks for reading and listening.

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Subscribe to theSync using your Podcasts app on your iPhone, or download our Android app from the Google Play Store.

 

theSync: An Apple a Day Brings the Customers Our Way

A couple of weeks back, Samsung dazzled the world with its GS6 and GS6 Edge phones. These are probably Sammy’s sleekest and most attractive devices to date and the obvious styling cues from the House of Ive are easily seen. But will it be enough to dethrone you know who. This week on theSync, the Apple Strikes Back!

While I was on writing assignment, the little fruit company in Cupertino announced a golden MacBook that’s not called an Air that’s as thin as an iPad, an exclusive deal with HBO to deliver HBONow on Apple TV, and of course Apple’s new time piece available in three trim levels. The Apple Watch comes in at 349$ for the cheapest model and tops out at a whopping 10k for a blinged out solid gold model.

Apple captures the hearts and minds of fanboys and enemies alike because they invest a lot of time and effort into design and experience. Y’all already know this, and so does Samsung. It’s this combination of form and function that makes their products compelling. The Apple Watch can accept calls, send text messages, and pay for your groceries helping you look good while doing it. This is critical and every business owner and product developer should take note. In a world of lower barriers to entry, cheap electronics, and canned software aesthetics and experience will be the X-factors you’ll need to set your products apart. There are other phones, other streaming devices, and other smart watches, but none except for Apple plays to our wants and desires. Design is going to be key as we closes out the tens and roll into the 20s. Google has already announced changes to Android wear to make it more aesthetically pleasing and Tag Heuer has announced plans to craft their own smart watch.

Small business owners and product developers shouldn’t be poo-pooing Apple because they strive to make tech more human. Instead, Apple should be seen as a role model and example to push us to build products with better human experiences.

Let me know what you think about Apple’s leadership in human experience. Leave a comment on my site at willmapp3.com. You can also download theSync for Android in the Google Play store or subscribe to theSync using your Podcasts app on iOS.

I’ll be at ModevUX 2015 for the next couple of days if you’re at the Artisphere don’t forget to look me up.

Thanks for reading, and listening.

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Net Neutrality and the Haters Who Want to Own Bandwidth

I know, I know.

I’ve been away too long and y’all are sick of the infrequent posts. It’s been a super busy 2015 and I need to adjust to the increase in activity and work. I’ll make it happen, just bear with me.

While I was away, the FCC announced plans to support the idea of Net Neutrality we think is fair. You know, good ol’ fashioned concepts like content, competition, fair and open travel, and knowing-what-you-pay-for. On the other hand, the cable companies, and their shills in Washington have predictably foretold the death of the Internet as we know it, and that innovation will falter now that cable companies can’t charge huge premiums to discriminate against content providers they don’t like. This week on theSync, my not so humble opinions about these fools and Net Neutrality.

1. It’s About Time This Government Demonstrates It Has Balls

For the last two decades, our government has gone against the will of the People and chose to serve big business. We’ve seen this from everything involving clean energy to insurance and brokerage services. Then Comcast happened to block Netflix traffic. By telling cable and wireless service providers that all traffic must be treated equally, the government is saying that consumers can choose who wins in the content market and that bandwidth isn’t available to the highest bidder. Big business executives can claim this as commie hogwash, but America is the land of the free, for everyone, not an autocracy.

2. We Know What We’re Paying For

One of my biggest issues with this whole affair is the so called fast lanes and hyper fast lanes proposals coming out of Comcast and VZN. What the Hell does this mean and what is fast? It made me question what the Hell I’m paying Comcast for each month. You may remember when Comcast used organized crime’s Broadband Protection tactics against Netflix and extorted higher fees out of them to deliver their content to Comcast customers ‘unimpeded’. My question is, “don’t I already pay for this?” If I’m paying Comcast for high speed Internet service to use the services of my choice, why is Comcast charging Netflix to deliver me content at the same damned speed? If Netflix is paying. What am I paying for? I thought I paid Comcast for “fast” service. I thought I paid them to design their network with some degree of integrity and to build an infrastructure that delivers the content of my choosing to my home. So, what the Hell? If Comcast is going to arbitrarily slow down Netflix traffic or traffic from another content provider I choose to buy from, then what the Hell am I paying for?

3. Threats of Lower Investment is Bulls*&t

Why? Because this is America. The land of red, white, blue, and green. They want to make money. And if Net Neutrality has its way and our governments grow bigger balls, Comcast and the like will face competition from Google, smaller fiber upstarts, and even municipalities. They’ll need to actually begin upgrading their riggidy raggedy infrastructure to stay in business. Right now, the cable companies employ a mob-like business model. Time Warner have their turf in New York and the upper East. Comcast the mid-Atlantic, and Road Runner down South. And guess what? (say this in a thick Brooklyn accent), “Fuggetaboutit! We don’t go on their turf and they don’t come on our turf.” They run a monopolistic, territorial business and don’t have a need to deliver super fast speeds or significantly improve infrastructure. I have Comcast by necessity not choice. VZN didn’t run FIOS to my neighborhood when we moved in, and satellite wasn’t an option, and I can’t afford the line conditioners I’d need for a Tx line. So I had to use Jones Communications for my cable Internet line. I also tried to hire them for TV, but they botched that job and I now have satellite. You get that? They are so entrenched, they leave money on the table. When Google comes calling, they’ll need to either improve their customer service (not likely to happen) or spend money to actually deliver.

4. They Can no Longer Game the System When It Suits Them

VZN and ATT like to play games with their data networks. When it suits them, they ask the government to classify their copper and fiber lines as telecommunications lines so they can get the tax breaks and advantages that come with it. When they don’t want to deliver to less financially attractive areas, they reclassify their lines as data communications because the Telecom Act states that you MUST deliver the same service to everyone. Not with data. By classifying their lines as data lines they don’t have to spend to deliver high speed to low income, rural, or low populous areas. And then, when local municipalities try to bring high speed to their citizens when these guys won’t they’ll fight them in court.

5. It’s Their Own Fault

Guess what industry is viewed as the least favorable by consumers? That’s right, the cable service industry. Cut cables, down service, 8 to 4 tech appointment windows, low delivery zones, poor customer support, and then they decided to mess with Netflix. When they started messing around with people’s choice in entertainment the proverbial stuff hit the fan. Netflix implemented a successful campaign along with their service providers to call out Comcast on their crap. One of the chief’s at L3 even stated on the record, that they’d buy a router and hook it up for Comcast if they wanted them to. Predictably, when news hit that Comcast wanted to charge people for slow lanes and fast lanes (thank you Al Gore) the people went wild, especially when the FCC began showing signs of shilling for the industry. The people overwhelming demanded Internet traffic equality. After all it is what they are paying for. So the people trust their government more than your corporation (a laughable concept, I know) then you have only yourself to blame.

Bonus: It’s All About TV

People mistakenly think that Net Neutrality is about web competition, but it is not. It’s about television. TV is still one of the highest consumed mediums for information and entertainment. Depending on who’s numbers you use, it’s second behind radio. Hulu, Netflix, and YouTube are bringing more competition to tele-entertainment. Thanks to Apple TV, Google TV, Fire TV, Chromecast, and others it’s easier now more than ever to stream Internet based content to the big screen in the living room. Now that Comcast, VZN, and others are buying content makers like the NBCs of the world, they thought they had the right to protect their content investments by discriminating other’s content distributed on their networks. Our business friendly government provided a state making it possible for providers, distributors, and producers to exist under the same corporate umbrella and this is the result. It should have predictable for anyone allowing the purchase of content producing companies by content distributors. And now that Netflix is producing their own content it’s a fight for the death. Unfortunately, Comcast and VZN (you don’t hear much static from the Charlie and Dave [the satellite guys]) are the gate keepers, and they can say who can get in. It’s our government that has allowed this and set a stage in which the service providers can charge high rates and receive higher profits while offering an inferior product. We don’t have the fastest or most reliable Internet service on the planet, even though we invented it. I’ve traveled abroad and received 5 bars of wireless Internet in the UAE desert. Used lightning fast Internet in Darmstadt, Germany, and placed clear as a bell calls in Paris. And we pay more for it. If Net Neutrality improves our service then I’m for it. But if the government allows these fools to simply raise rates and pass along the upgrades they need to make as taxes, —- them all!

These are my thoughts about Net Neutrality. Please share what you think in the comments.

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theSync: The Shake Up About to Happen in the World of Payments

Happy New Year!

I’ve been away from the blog these past couple of weeks but I’m back.  And I’ll be posting here on the new willmapp3.com.  All of my posts and content will be moving over from innovationisin.me but it’s going to take a moment.  Please bare with me as I get my act together over here.

If you’re a business owner you want to make the payment phase of your sales transactions to be very smooth.  In the 21st century many people are opting to use plastic instead of cash.  In 2015 we are seeing the beginnings of a major shakeup in the way consumers will be able to pay for your products and services.  This week, the first edition of theSync on willmapp3.com, a prelude to the shake up that’s about to happen with payments.

theSync: 5 Places to Visit on Black Friday

If you’re like me you may have done the Black Friday thing once or twice, but quickly turned off by the early cold morning, the bait and switch tactics, only 5 deals in-store, and last night’s blinding tryptophan hang over. So this week on theSync, I’m sharing 5 online alternatives you should check out during this week’s Black Friday insanity.