Articles

SURF THIS: On the Net: Buying and branding the Bonds ball

Faithful readers may remember that my last column was about the young man who decided to sell the record-breaking home-run baseball hit by Barry Bonds. I found the story rather telling as it dealt with human nature, our proclivity to place sports figures on pedestals (often undeservingly), and an undercurrent of the value of authenticity and integrity. Even casual sports fans are aware of the mild controversy surrounding Bonds and his suspected use of performance-enhancing drugs. A few interesting things…

Read More

SURF THIS: Selling Bonds online-the baseball kind, anyway

Would you sell a piece of history? Let’s just say, for the purposes of this discussion, that you were in possession of a piece of history with a generally healthy market value-an 1884 Carson City $20 gold coin, for example. written notes from the Gettysburg Address. Or, say, the baseball that Barry Bonds hit to break Hank Aaron’s homerun record. Would you sell it? I wondered about this recently when I read that Matt Murphy, the fan who caught the…

Read More

SURF THIS: With tech tasks, define success before measuring it

I had a boss once who was infamous for his adages, always having one of these nuggets immediately at the ready. True, he would occasionally misfire, tossing off a “let’s throw it against the wall and see what sticks” when the situation may have clearly called for something more genteel like “run it up the flagpole and see who salutes.” But most of the time, he was right on the money. One of his favorites was the old “How do…

Read More

SURF THIS: Put the i in iGoogle to personalize page

“What’s that?” she asked, looking over my shoulder as I logged into my Google account and opened my personalized page. When I told her that this was my iGoogle page, replete with all of the news, weather, stock quotes, information, blogs-everything-that I like to have at my fingertips, she was dumbstruck. “How did you get that?” she asked. I was dumbstruck, too. Is it possible that she-and, maybe, you-haven’t heard about iGoogle? Well, that changes today, and you can thank…

Read More

SURF THIS: Using the Internet can help you fight your battles

I just read the words “worm poop” in The Wall Street Journal. This is disturbing on a number of levels, some that have to do with journalistic integrity and others that have to do with general business practices. But mainly because it’s raised my interest in a classic underdog story. Tom Szaky, the 25-year-old CEO of TerraCycle, has gotten some good press over the last few years. He’s part of a growing green movement that is looking to offer improved…

Read More

SURF THIS: Web connects companies, customers

In my opinion, the greatest power of the Internet is the ability to connect. There has never been another tool so remarkably suited to communication. Companies, through the use of instant messaging, are encouraging online conversations for a of issues, from customer service to sales. Email has become the standard of communication, facilitating nearly instant response and an electronic paper trail not easily duplicated with phone calls. Wikis, collaborative Web site development tools, are offering easy and effective collaboration at…

Read More

SURF THIS: Is charity legit? Here is where you can find out

Just when I think I’m coming around to liking people, something like this happens. The phone rang at the office and a woman announced that she was calling on behalf of the “Committee for Missing Children.” She gruffly explained that, while I may not recognize the organization’s name, I would likely recall one of the 2 billion images of missing children they’ve distributed on milk cartons and posters. Our policy here is to avoid giving to telephone solicitations. So I…

Read More

SURF THIS: A site to satisfy your Super Bowl ring fascination

It seems strange that a piece of jewelry that I won’t own and will only see on passing occasions should hold my interest, but it does. And judging by how often I hear other people discussing Super Bowl rings, (“What do you think the design will look like?” “Will everyone in the Colts organization get one?” “How much will they cost?”), I suspect there are many others feeling the same. Perhaps it’s because this victory seems so sweet, so picture…

Read More

SURF THIS: A revolutionary site for a revolutionary product

The year started off with a bang for the arguable leader of industrial design, Apple Inc. At the annual MacWorld expo, Apple CEO Steve Jobs prowled the stage in his normal turtleneck-andjeans combo and literally changed the game for wireless phone companies around the world. Jobs was demonstrating the new iPhone, Apple’s first entry into the ultracompetitive market with razor-thin margins. Why would Apple, which has long been a bit player in the computer industry as far as market share…

Read More

WEB REVIEW: Is e-mail marketing the answer for you?

If you’re running a business, there’s a good chance you’ve been frustrated with marketing. You’ve spent time and money on ads here and there, but the results were unpredictable-or worse-questionable. You’re in the phone book because you feel you have to be, but the cost goes up year after year. Word of mouth works, but it’s too slow. Direct mail works, but it’s too expensive. Radio and TV are difficult to do well and nearly impossible to track for results….

Read More

WEB REVIEW: Internet provides means for millions

I’ve had quite a few odd things cross my desk recently, none of which require much attention individually, but taken together are worth a mention. They deserve some attention because at the heart of each is an idea-sometimes a great idea. The first is probably the greatest idea of the bunch, and it’s one of those things that cause me to ask myself why I didn’t think of it first. Last summer, a student in England named Alex Tew was…

Read More