Archive for the ‘Not Really Computer Related’ Category
in Beacon News, Beacon Team, Google Analytics, Not Really Computer Related
If the 2013 version of March Madness has taught us anything, it’s that the best ‘team’ usually wins. It’s not necessarily the best individual players that get the glory, but the five most talented guys that work together that get to cut down the nets. As an Account Manager at Beacon, I’m lucky enough to be a part of a collaborative effort instead of an ‘every person for their self’ mantra.
It would be ultimately time consuming to explain to you what everyone at Beacon does on a day to day basis, so let’s utilize the March Madness theme to try and breakdown what our clients get when they choose Beacon as their web services solution:
Beacon Team Breakdown:
Head Coach—The Client; without our clients direction and goal setting, we’d just be a bunch of Digital gurus sitting around playing on Google+.
Assistant Coaches—When you sign on with Beacon, you get a Senior Level Member of each of our Departments (Digital Marketing, Software Development, and Sales) assigned to your account, ensuring that the goals laid out by our Head Coach are being achieved.
Players– Executing the game plan and ensuring victory is left in the hands of our more than capable ‘players’ They range from Digital Marketing Specialists, to Account Managers, to Desktop Administrators, Web Developers, and SEO experts. While they could all be the ‘Most Outstanding Player’ in their niche, we’ve combined all this talent into a powerhouse Web Solutions team.
Fans— Customers. The most important part of March Madness, and your website, are the fans. Without customers, businesses don’t exist, so they make up the most important part of this whole equation. Our ‘players’ know that our job is to help your business get the most information to, and get the most out of, your fans.
Like any good team, we enjoy getting feedback from our ‘fans.’ Recently we got the following feedback from our client, HRD Strategies:
“We have always received consistent and white-gloved service from everyone at Beacon. William Nichols, Caleb Pruitt, Stephanie Baubie, Rick Boccard, and Justin Klingman have all been responsive and provided exactly what needed, when we need it. William is “a Saint” and has been indispensable to us over the years; particularly with the nightmares we’ve put him through!” -Nina Lovett, President, SPHR, HRD Strategies.
Posted in Beacon News, Beacon Team, Google Analytics, Not Really Computer Related | No Comments »
in Not Really Computer Related, Tech Gadgets
Though not my typical type of blog post (as a project manager for the software development group at Beacon), I needed to do some research on this topic for my grandmother and I thought it might be useful info to followers of our blog as well, especially those with elderly family members that are proficient in the use of technology, like mine.
My 93-year-old grandmother is quite technically savvy for her age (93 years young – wow!), and has become dependent over the years upon email for updates from family members since she lives several states away from most of us. However, her relocation to an assisted living home earlier this year (without broadband access) has made the set-up and maintenance of a PC too laborious and her failing eyesight makes a cell phone or tablet impractical. Therefore, we are in the market for some type of “computer-less” email system, I and found the following while researching today.
- PC Pro – How to get email without a computer
- CBS News – Want E-Mail? No Computer? No Problem
- Living Senior: How To Receive Email Without a Computer
- Top 5 Email Devices
- Presto - Requires printer ($99.99) and mail service ($149.99/year or $14.99/month), uses standard phone line, cannot be used to scan or send replies, list of people that can send mail as well as formatting and text can be remotely administered
- MailBug - $9.95/month, uses standard phone line and local calls, does not accept email attachments, can send and receive email
- Celery - can use any fax machine (or purchase for $89.00), $19.95/month or $198/year for color service OR $13.98/month or $138/year for black and white service subscription
In addition, several visitor comments in the articles mentioned that a standard fax machine might do the trick as well. Not sure which way we’ll go yet, but I’ll update this blog post with how it goes! Please add a comment if you have experience in this area and can provide your recommendations! Thanks!
Tags: email, fax, printer
Posted in Not Really Computer Related, Tech Gadgets | No Comments »
in Beacon Events, Beacon News, Beacon Team, Not Really Computer Related
Beacon has been a long time partner and member of the North Carolina Technology Association. It’s an excellent association that works to promote North Carolina’s booming technology industry. It puts on a ton of great events throughout the year to educate its members and the larger community about the great things going on within our state’s technology sector. In addition to these ‘industry’ happenings, NCTA puts on a really great event called “NCTA Gives Back.”
NCTA Gives Back provides the opportunity for NCTA members to give back to the community via volunteer activities. I had the chance to participate in my first event on July 27th at the Second Harvest Food Bank in Winston-Salem. It was eye-opening and a lot fun.
The Second Harvest Food Bank feeds over 300,000 people across 18 counties in northwest North Carolina. It’s a huge operation that makes a tremendous impact in our local area, whose existence relies heavily on thousands of volunteers and generous donors. So I was really excited about the opportunity to represent Beacon and NCTA as a volunteer.
The Triad team of volunteers was tasked with inspecting eggs. We were each provided our very own apron, rubber gloves and high-powered inspection lamp – and got to work. And work we did. We collectively packaged over 560 DOZEN eggs in the 2+ hours we were there!
As a great source of protein, we learned that eggs are one of the most in demand items at the food bank and the only local grocer that donates their eggs is Wal-mart. They donate nearly a half million eggs a month (I believe that was the timeframe). This sounds like a lot (and it is), but with over 300,000 folks relying on the bank for food – it provides just over one egg per person. So, thank your local Wal-mart and ask your other Grocers to donate their eggs to the Second Harvest Food Bank.
Posted in Beacon Events, Beacon News, Beacon Team, Not Really Computer Related | 1 Comment »
in Beacon News, Email Marketing, Not Really Computer Related
April was a busy month here at Beacon. We came into the month off of a real strong first quarter with lots of exciting new projects kicking off with existing and new clients. The momentum continued into April with over a dozen project kickoffs and the addition of seven new clients, including:
- eCommerce Development
- Tufenkian Carpets
- Dale Pro Audio
- Managed Hosting
- Hanes Brands
- Web Marketing Services
- Boston College’s Center for Corporate Citizenship
- Hunting Top Ten
- Custom Application Development
In addition to forming new relationships and strengthening existing partnerships, we were out on the road at The Bronto Summit and North Carolina Technology Association’s State of Technology Conference. It was awesome to participate in these fun yet informative conferences without having to spend anytime in an airport or hotel.
The Bronto Summit was a great event. The conference had such a friendly vibe and was one of the realist conferences I had been to in awhile. There was awesome camaraderie across the board and really unique opportunities for networking. As a partner, my favorite was their game of CLUE (Marketing Style) which was an excellent way for clients to get to know Bronto’s network of partners. The key notes were top notch, from Joe Colopy’s (Bronto’s CEO) spin off of Coach Brooks’ pregame pep talk in the ‘Miracle’ to Ken Magill’s (The Magill Report) blunt take on the importance of relevancy. You can check out all the presentations, by clicking here.
NCTA’s State of Technology event is a perennial favorite. It is a short, high impact event that always excites me about what is going on with technology in North Carolina and beyond. This year was no different. ‘Big Data’ was the theme of the day and it was amazing to see how local organizations are utilizing big data or empowering others to leverage its power. So many awesome use cases were discussed across a wide range of businesses, including: Public Safety, Healthcare, Finance, Non-Profits and many others. It was amazing to hear about the awesome ways folks are using predictive analytics to increase revenues, decrease crime rates, lower mortality rates and increase revenues.
Looking ahead – we have a full calendar and pipeline so stay tuned. Over the next few weeks, we’ll be at NCTA’s ET&T Breakfast on Analytics, The Triad Showcase and the Internet Retailer Conference. Any chance we’ll see you at these events? Let us know in the comments section below.
Posted in Beacon News, Email Marketing, Not Really Computer Related | No Comments »
in Beacon News, Beacon Team, Not Really Computer Related
It’s been a fun week here at Beacon as the entire team has stepped up to raise money for the United Way. It’s great to see everyone participating in the various activities to give back to the community.
We kicked off United Way Week on Monday with a couple of guest speakers from the United Way along with a short video that showed exactly how the money we raise goes to help people in Greensboro area. We also created 5 teams of employees that are competing against each other during the week. Of course the teams came up with interesting team names and the trash talking began pretty quickly – all in good fun. Team names were
- We’ll Kick Your ISAPI,
- Occupy Beacon,
- 404 and
- Gary and the Webonettes
The first event, which lasts all week, is Penny Wars (coins are positive, bills are negative). Each team has a jar in the lobby for anyone to put coins or bills into. Today is the last day for this event and I expect it will get crazy as the clock nears the 5pm deadline. All of the money for this event goes to United Way.
On Wednesday, we had our Team Competition and brought in lunch. It was a series of 6 events
- Bean Bag Toss
- Hall Bowling
- Beer Pong (w/o the Beer!)
- Balloon Pop (hilarious!)
- Putting (harder than it looked!)
- Tailgate Golf (outside)
Each Team accumulated points for each event. Final results after Wed showed that every team is within striking distance to win the overall competition, so it comes down to the Penny Wars.
On Thursday, we had a silent auction for home made baked goods – dinners, desserts, snacks. Great participation and personally, I wanted to have a bite of everything! Very tasty and unique items were brought in. All the proceeds go to the United Way.
Lastly, we have a 50/50 Coin Drop where individuals can drop coins into a water-filled jug into a shot glass. Coins count for face value (quarter = 25 points; penny = 1 pt). Whoever has the most points at the end of the week gets half the money in the jug; the other half goes to the United Way. Again, the race is close and I expect coins to be dropping right up until 5pm today!
Although our primary objective was to raise money for the United Way, I believe we had a lot of fun and got to spend some “non-work” time together as a company. Priceless. Congrats to everyone on the Beacon Team for making United Way Week such a success… and special thanks to Suzanne Bugg who coordinated everything!
Tags: beacon news, beacon team, united way
Posted in Beacon News, Beacon Team, Not Really Computer Related | 1 Comment »
in Not Really Computer Related
Excerpt from the book Digital Deli (1984)
Homebrew and How the Apple Came to Be
by Stephen Wozniak
“Steve Jobs was a friend of mine from high school. We were introduced because we had two things in common: electronics and pranks. It turned out that he had a tremendous drive to start a company. He had worked at Atari and had become friends with some of the key people there, including Nolan Bushnell, the founder. Nolan was his idol. Steve wanted to have a successful product, go out and start selling it, and make some money. He also had excellent product ideas for the upcoming personal computer.
To produce the Apple I, Steve and I formed a partnership. We didn’t sell many Apple Is the first year. We built them right in our garage. At first we expected to sell circuit boards at the HomeBrew Club: just put your chips in and it’ll work. Then we got a $50,000 order from a local store and we were in heaven.
The trouble was how to get the money to build a hundred computers – they might cost over a hundred dollars to build. Steve went to a local parts supplier and talked them into giving us a lot of parts on thirty days net credit. It was very unusual for them to give us credit, because we didn’t own anything. We didn’t own houses. We didn’t even own our cars. But Steve is very persuasive. We’d get the parts and then stuff them into the circuit boards, have them soldered, get them back in the garage and test them. And we could turn the whole cycle around in ten days and get paid. It worked really great because we only had one level of management.”
Tags: apple, small business owner, steve jobs
Posted in Not Really Computer Related | 1 Comment »
in Not Really Computer Related
Infographic created by Mezzmer Eyeglasses
What are some things you do to keep your eyes healthy?
Tags: Computer, CSV, Illness
Posted in Not Really Computer Related | No Comments »
in Not Really Computer Related, Web Marketing
As I prepare for my first league’s draft tonight [that’s right, I’m not only geek enough to be in 3 leagues, I’m also geek enough to prep for each draft], I am struck by some of the similarities between building a quality fantasy football roster and being successful at my day job in web marketing. It is actually uncanny as to level of analysis and prediction that lead to success in both arenas. Truth be told, the following aspects can lead to victory in many walks of life, but I will maintain focus on these two areas that I know a bit about for the purposes of this post.
Build around your cornerstones: Spend your big money on the areas where you truly excel. For fantasy football, this ‘money’ comes in the form of early draft picks. Owners use these picks on players they expect to be stars. In marketing, this refers to using your budget in areas that you own a competitive advantage. Emphasize your strengths! What you do better than the competition is the franchise player of your business – whether that be your product, human capital, customer service, whatever. If there is not anything that you do better than the competition, then you don’t have a franchise player – so do not plan on winning much.
Determine relevant stats: Not all metrics affect the bottom line as much as others. In fantasy football – pass attempts, pass receptions, and rushing attempts typically do not result in any points. A wide receiver who racks up a lot of receptions, but not many yards or touchdowns, is not really that valuable. Likewise, eyes on a website, advertisement, or video do not always result in any conversions. When you are looking through your analytics data, figure out which ones represent your core audience. Traffic that does not lead to conversions (i.e. sales, contacts, destination pages, etc.) is unlikely to be deemed particularly valuable. Determine what the most relevant stats are to your campaign (i.e. click-thru rate, conversions, etc.) and focus on those.
Trend Analysis: Trends are a key part of my industry. Numbers that move in the same direction over time are not only more likely to continue doing so for some future projection, but also may tell us something about certain market segments altogether. For example, increasing traffic from a certain region of the country may identify a significant marketing opportunity in that area. Likewise, in fantasy football, a player who has shown growth in his stats over multiple years may be indicative of a player who is ready to break out for big numbers in the coming season.
Find undervalued areas: Late rounds of fantasy football drafts can turn into a crapshoot of a sort. Once the obvious names are off the board, determining the less obvious players who will be successful can prove very difficult. Anybody can draft production in the early rounds, but it is the players who establish quality depth in the later rounds who often end up winning the league. In order to have success in the later rounds of the draft, one must find players who their opponents undervalue. Marketing is the same way. Finding relevant marketing channels that the competition has neglected or is unaware of can produce huge results.
Finding success requires skill AND art: Do not fear the occasional ‘gut’ feeling. They may not always pay off, but a marketer who is never wrong is a marketer who never takes any chances. Both fantasy football and web marketing involves art in addition to skill. A little speculation and guesswork may not a bad thing so long as it is one aspect of a greater marketing plan and not THE marketing plan.
Was this a reach for a blog topic at a time when writer’s block seemed to be setting in? Quite possibly. But that does not mean that I’m not right! As you are going about your web marketing processes and/or getting ready for your fantasy football league draft, take note of who does the preceding items the best. Odds are that they have been the winners in the past and will be again.
Tags: conversion, conversion optimization, fantasy football
Posted in Not Really Computer Related, Web Marketing | 1 Comment »
in Not Really Computer Related, Other, Web Development
The internet is an ever-growing jungle of information. I found this graphic depicting some of the common activities on the web and the number of occurrences they appear every minute. Facebook, the social networking giant, has 695,000 status updates, almost 80,000 wall posts, and over half a million comments posted every minute. By the time you’ve read this post, Google will also have received just under 700,000 searches.
(Click image for full size) Source: Go-Gulf
Tags: Google, Internet, social media
Posted in Not Really Computer Related, Other, Web Development | No Comments »
in Not Really Computer Related, Other, Tech Gadgets, Web Development
As a developer I like to listen to music while I am working. I’m sure this goes for many people across professions so I wanted to introduce everyone to something I was recently introduced to, Spotify. As a quick summary Spotify is like having an iTunes stocked with anything you’re in the mood for. You can make songs available for offline access and even share with friends. If by chance what you’re in the mood for is not available you can add your own files and retrieve them just the same. You can use it anywhere and that includes mobile! You also have a lot of features similar to iTunes like Library, Search, top lists and Playlists.
For 9.99 a month you get all that. I have to tell you that it is worth every penny and I’ve only had it for 2 hours. Just imagine being able to listen to anything you want instantly. It’s almost as if you get Music Block from the possibilities.
Tags: music, Spotify
Posted in Not Really Computer Related, Other, Tech Gadgets, Web Development | No Comments »