Another Boom = Another Bust? What do you think?

 

Sunday’s Boston Globe had an interesting article on the tech industry and its future among the recession fears. One interesting note was how some of the “survivors” have been the what-some-might-consider “less sexy” cousins of all the Internet darlings, “Indeed, the infrastructure and enterprise products scorned by Internet highfliers early in the decade – from data storage equipment to accounting software – have become platforms of growth and stability in today’s technology economy.”

 

Several of our clients echo that sentiment as they continue to move forward with innovative, useful technologies that are key drivers to the growing tech sector. While not quite the “media darlings” as many yet-unproven Web 2.0 companies, they are solid, growing companies with innovative products and services, real customers – and revenue.

 

Judging from today’s news alone – coming from such clients as Lightstorm Networks, Sycamore Networks, Gotuit and more – solid, continued growth continues to sustain the economy – with companies solving real problems for real, paying customers. We are proud to work with this generation of tech leaders – although we do kind of miss all those fun dot com names such as pets.com, furniture.com, vote.com and more. Maybe there was something about such simple, obvious names that contributed to the downfall… simple names = too simple of an idea backed by too much money, perhaps?

 

Check out today’s news and let us know what you think. Is there a tech bust looming?

 

  • Gotuit – video navigation and search leader signs Fox Reality Channel, the only all-reality, all-the-time network; check out The Fox Reality Channel Really Awards 2007 now to watch last year’s awards ceremony and vote for the Most Memorable Reality TV Star for 2007
  • Lightstorm Networks – new Carrier Ethernet Silicon player emerges
  • Q1 Labsnetwork security management company sponsors a SANS Network Security Lunch & Learn
  • Sycamore Networks - (NASDAQ: SCMR) – a new Intelligent Multiservice Switch from one of the market’s longstanding leaders in intelligent networking solutions for fixed line and mobile network operators worldwide

Social Media Lessons Still Being Learned

Last night a few of us attended the Boston Social Media Club’s “Social Media Lessons for Big Businesses” Panel discussion in Newton. The panel consisted of Josh Bernoff, VP and principal analyst at Forrester Research, Steve Restivo, director of corporate affairs for Wal-Mart Northeast and Dan Lyons, senior editor at Forbes Magazine “aka” Fake Steve Jobs.

The panel was interesting and the insights helpful – Bernoff’s were of particular interest in

that he speaks about social media as “letting go of control.” He talked about how we, as PR executives, need to help our clients learn how to join in the conversation rather than try to control it – because they can’t anymore. I think this is a hard lesson for corporate America to swallow.

A lot of the discussion was around the blogosphere – only one portion of social media – and how companies are using them to open up dialogues with their customers. Some great examples discussed were the Sony Electronics Blog and Dell’s IdeaStorm. Examples of other companies embracing social media to connect with customers included Target, Unilever, eBags and others. Ironically, the group felt that technology companies weren’t necessarily doing as good of a job as the consumer companies and called out Google, specifically, as failing to embrace social media as a way to open conversation with customers.

The panel and audience also debated the merits of CEO blogs. The fact remains that most executives simply don’t have time to write a daily blog – and many people believe that a blog’s not a “real” blog unless it’s updated every single day (who made this rule, anyway?!). The panel pointed out a good example with Mark Cuban and that he does not write every day but when he does write, it’s interesting – and open. I also found it interesting that they held him up as an ideal because so many executives feel that they have to blog only about corporate-related content. Mark is all over the map – from technology to politics to sports and healthcare. And it’s good reading so people will pay attention – as opposed to boring entries posted every single day that no one will read anyway.

Overall, the main themes around social media continue to resonate: be open, invite conversation, don’t hide even from criticism or mistakes, and join the conversation. Perhaps blogs are the biggest most influential force that will drive corporate America to become forthright and truly customer-oriented.

Tech Cocktail Offered…Cocktails

A few of us attended the Boston Tech Cocktail party in Boston last night. Unfortunately the venue, a major nightclub in Boston, didn’t make networking quite as easy – or productive – as some other tech events we’ve participated in (as sponsors and attendees) previously. While the sponsors did a great job providing free drinks and colorful corporate schwag, the overall atmosphere was more like a college party than a serious networking event for business professionals (or maybe I’m just getting old). It’s hard to make connections when you’re shouting at people to be heard over the music.

From the “PR-girls-we’d-never-hire” shimmying across the floor in matching dresses, to the skateboarding “dude” who invited us to an after party, we were definitely amused but not making the connections we had hoped. Granted, my heels were killing me and forced me to sit down for the latter portion of the party – although ironically, that’s when we met a majority of new contacts.

Someone we would like to hire is Clarence. What a brilliant marketer. This guy is smart, down-to-earth and a great marketer at heart. Too bad he doesn’t want to work in a tech PR agency. We didn’t see a lot of media but we did meet Chris Brogan, co-founder of PodCamp and overall social media mastermind.

The sponsors were interesting emerging tech companies like Geezeo, a “social finance application” – poised for huge success as they begin looking for Series A funding (according to Co-Founder Peter Glyman). We met several entreprenurial attendees – like Phillip Zannini – who shared their new business ideas with us and who were hoping to meet interested VCs and have the opportunity to provide their elevator pitch. We hope they are successful.

The drinks were free, the music was loud and the Wii games were cool. Talking to techpreneurs is always a blast because it’s our passion to work with such enthusiastic and intelligent folks. Fun on a scale of 1 to 10 was about a 7; business productivity about a 5.

Sosius Unveils Next Gen Collaboration for Work and Life

Client Sosius unveils their online collaboration product for work and life today at the Office 2.0 conference. The product is free and now open for a public beta. YOU can help decide the future for online collaboration by signing up. Rafe Needleman talks more about Sosius on Webware.

Sosius is great not only because it’s free and delivers 1.0GB of storage space but because it lets you keep your information, social networking and collaboration all in one place – collaboration for “Life 2.0″ as Founder Andrew Cameron-Webb calls it. He has a good point – our lives don’t begin and end at the office (although sometimes it feels that way!) so why should our collaboration technology? Sosius lets you create Career and Life “Workspaces” so you can easily invite appropriate contacts to the best workspace and manage all the intersections of your life from one application. From scheduling family activities to managing that big work project, Sosius brings powerful, easy online collaboration and sharing to the everyday user.

What else makes Sosius unique? Experienced veterans. Cameron-Webb is the creator of Collaborative Workspaces, a successful enterprise-grade web collaboration service and Chairman Steve Crummey is the founder of Intranets.com, acquired by WebEx (now Cisco).

Sign up here and let us know what you think!

Business 2.0 the First of Many “Road Kill”?

Everyone knows by now that Business 2.0 will be closing with its October issue as its last. We had an online publishing client earlier this year who’s CEO kept telling us all printed magazines and newspapers were “road kill.” Was he right?

<< Hmmm… interesting cover story…hopefully you didn’t take the advice to heart.

I can’t imagine that the printed word will forever be depleted but clearly the Internet continues to shape and define our daily lives and business. The Editor of Business 2.0, Joshua Quittner, stated “I’d be lying if I didn’t admit to being heartbroken,” in a New York Times report on the story. Joshua, we are too. Business 2.0 was witty, informative, selective and insightful. It had a unique knack for providing comedic relief on even the most esoteric of technologies.

Hopefully this is not the first in a series of “road kill,” but we’ll be watching – along with the rest of the tech community – carefully.

Now, onto Fortune!