Lessons in Failure: The Startup Post-Mortem

If you’re looking for tips on what not to do with your startup, reading about the failure of someone else’s company can be a good place to start. Today, it was entrepreneur Ben Yoskovitz’s turn to write about the recent failure of his startup, Standout Jobs.

Shoeboxed: Organise Your Receipts

How Shoeboxed Mail-In Classic works

I’m constantly surprised at the cutely obvious names of some web services – finding a brand name that’s sublimely obvious but if successful is very likely to be as linguistically ubiquitous as ‘googling’ or ‘hoovering’. Shoeboxed may just well be one such brand – I wonder if in five years time, we’ll be ‘shoeboxing’? Infact, most of us probably already are…

Launched around a year ago, Shoeboxed provides a simple service for uploading, storing and organizing all those paper receipts that are stuffed into real shoeboxes around our homes and offices, into over-sized wallets and purses, largely lost or disorganized until summoned by our accountants and tax authorities!

Read More about Shoeboxed: Organise Your Receipts

Looking for a technology writer? I’m right here.

Jk_icon_100pixI love technology, particularly mobile technology and the impact it can make on someone’s work and lifestyle.  The productivity gains that can be garnered by fielding the proper mobile tech kit are huge and I love to write about that.  I also enjoy writing about industry trends, doing reviews of both hardware and software, and covering the hot topics of the day.  If you are a print or online publisher doesn’t this sound like what you are looking for?

I particularly enjoy writing longer articles about these topics so I can examine them in greater depth and detail.  It’s a different style of writing than I do here on jkOnTheRun and I’d like to do more of those types of articles.  I have been a consultant for a very long time which has kept my writing career a part-time endeavor and I’d like to change that.  I can only imagine how sweet it would be to write full-time, that would really be fulfilling for me.  Of course doing that requires some paying writing gigs since my family insists on eating regularly.

Doesn’t this sound like something your company needs and in a hurry?  Ping me an email at jk AT jkontherun DOT com and let’s get a discussion going about it.  You need it, I can do it and all we need is a go ahead so what are you waiting for?

NBC Banks quarterlife for Later Use

While we were taking some time off to recoup our brains and spirits after last week’s conference, quarterlife creators Marshall Herskovitz and Edward Zwick confirmed rumors they’d sold a second run of their web show (currently running on quarterlife.com and MySpace) to NBC. Amidst concern it won’t have any new content due to the ongoing Writers Guild of America strike, the network has banked the rights to air quarterlife on U.S. television and internationally online and on DVD.
Rafat Ali at paidContent has an excellent roundup of the takeaways from various stories on the news.
So now we have an example to parrot of an Internet show moving to TV — except not really, because the show’s writers’ TV backgrounds was what made the show noteworthy — and besides, they only took it online after failing to get it on TV originally. So. In my experience watching quarterlife, our reviewer Karina Longworth’s assessment rings true:

quarterlife mostly uses videoblogging as a catalyst for violating the old show-don’t-tell rule through constant, literal narration…. Ironically, with every narrative event mediated through Dylan’s diary, quarterlife often prevents the viewer from having that experience of interpreting what the characters are thinking by looking at an actor’s face.

Why I have not installed Leopard (Though I own it)

Application Enhancer

I was one of the many loyal enthusiasts that pre-ordered Leopard and couldn’t wait to install it on all my Macs. Unfortunately for me, it didn’t work out that way.

If you haven’t heard of the installation problems with Leopard yet, there are a few. It seems the very popular third-party application Application Enhancer does not work well (at all) with Mac OS X Leopard.

I did a quick inventory of my software, and sure enough I had APE installed (along with several APE plugins). After attempting to uninstall APE, I was almost ready to try my Leopard upgrade and noticed a blog post about Logitech Control Center mouse software issues.

Of course I have two Logitech mice, and have the Logitech Control Center installed. It appears Logitech Control Center uses APE in the background. Logitech has instructions on removing the old software and installing a new version. Unfortunately, their instructions are flawed as they reference downloading and opening a DMG file and running an uninstaller, and upon downloading the zip archive from their software download page I only found an installer application.

Their online help mentions a manual uninstall, but does not give the instructions. After several unsuccessful attempts to find the instructions via Google, I decided to take matters into my own hands. I have removed most preference panes and locations that APE or Logitech appear in my hard drive (through the shell) but am still not convinced it is completely removed. When I try to run the updated Logitech software installation, it promptly gives me an error and quits.

So, I’m left to do an Archive and Install which will likely leave me having to reinstall several applications and clean off enough hard drive space to have two concurrent System folders (at least until the installation has completed). With only 10 GB free on my 100 GB hard drive, that will be hard.

I hope to have my backup complete tonight and will remove most of the files (like my massive iTunes collection) in order to perform the upgrade.

Cisco, the un-kid

The Economist says Cisco is growing gracefully middle aged, and the current trends favor the company as it expands into newer markets like VoIP and Storage. Still they are not too sure about the long term future of the company, especially when it tussles with the big lads in the telecom market place.

But those who have watched him over the years know that if Mr Chambers (aged 54) is upbeat today, it is in that gratefully relieved way of somebody in middle age who finds that he can still get his numbers up at all. Just recall Mr Chambers during the first half of his tenure, which coincided perfectly with the internet boom at its most youthfully optimistic.

Normally the venerable publication tends to be more incisive but this time around banks to much on wishy-washy analysts. For instance, it doesn’t take into account the attack of the quasi-clones from Asia. Or the fact that the network growth is coming from Asia, where price pressures are intense and could and will have detrimental impact on Cisco’s gross margins. Or the fact that its competitor, Juniper Networks is no wall flower, and despite some hiccups with the NetScreen merger has managed to take market share from Cisco.
Like most of those on the wrong side of the 50s, Cisco has gone for a nip-and-tuck. Buying Linksys was a quick way to make the revenue growth look pretty again. At the same time, it takes care of the fact that gross margins are down below the whopping 70% mark. That gross margin irked the carriers who secretly complain that Cisco is gouging cash when they are gasping for breath. Or the fact, that the security breaches in Cisco’s IOS are as routine as Yankees blowing a 3-0 lead. (Okay, I am still upset about that one!) Here, The Economist scores. Linksys is a near term fix: the company will face competitive price pressures from rivals, and will eventually become a drag. But right now it makes everything look peachy, as they say in West Virginia.