FC NOW BLOG
Nebraska-based Axis Technologies took a simple idea that you dont need as much light when the sun is shining and came up with a product to improve efficiency and cut electrical costs at the same time. The Axis Daylight Harvesting Dimming Ballast allows fluorescent lights in commercial buildings to dim to specific levels based on the amount of sunlight in the room. Most office buildings spend 40 to 50 percent of the electrical bill on lighting. The cost to install the ballasts is paid back in energy savings. If your company wants to talk the green talk, this seems like a good way to actually walk the walk.
Move over craigslist, Boston's got MarksGuide. Want to know about local networking events in business, technology, finance, media, or the sciences? MarksGuide, founded by Boston-based software entrepreneur and consultant Mark Doerschlag, is becoming the place to find out what's going on, where and when. "The site collects the events calendars for 175 to 200 local organizations and presents them in an easily scanned, day-by-day format. If you register for an account, you can then see what other registered MarksGuide members are planning to attend each event."
Harvard Business Review
Large organizations are like riverbeds: each year, layer upon layer of complexity gets added. Well-intended responses to business challenges can make it so "more energy is devoted to navigating the labyrinth than to achieving results." Take this simple test to see if your company needs to go on a simplicity diet. To combat complexity, make simplicity a hard business objective and address all of its causes, including "structural mitosis, product proliferation, process evolution, and managerial habits." Feel exhausted just thinking about it? That's why it often doesn't get done. Simple is hard.
Boston-based VC David Beisel says that VCs "often find comfort when a team of entrepreneurs beginning a start-up have previously worked together." Why? It signals that they have been able to work together in the past and signifies that they found the experience valuable enough to do again. But there are potential downsides. Are there old unresolved issues? Is the whole previous team present, or is a key person missing? Or is it so clique-y that newcomers get turned off? All of that aside, Beisel says it's great to get the old team together, but be sure to "leave the old baggage behind and sincerely open the team to new members."
Look for 2008 to be all about the "premiumization of everything and anything." Huh? What that means is that "no industry, no sector, no product will escape a premium version in the next 12 months." Examples include premium water (think bottled Tasmanian rain), fashion toilet paper (comes in actual green, not tree-hugger green), private airplane suites, Porsche
strollers, leather-bound laptops, and artisanal honey. In a world dominated by physical abundance and where even average people buy premium stuff, those seeking "status fixes" start pushing beyond premium . . . to outrageous.
Customers hate you
Did you know that "more than half your customers hate you?" A new report shows that about 62 percent of Americans say companies "don't care much" about their needs. That's up from 52 percent in 2004. Today's savvy consumers are onto you: 67 percent "say marketers care more about selling existing products than really helping the customer." But what do they hate the most? The automated phone "help" you provide: 92 percent say they have "tried to circumvent an automated phone tree to find a real person, futilely jabbing at the zero and pound sign."
British supermarket giant Tesco is in the midst of a $2.5 billion rollout of Fresh & Easy stores in the United States, starting out West. The stores are "about a third the size of a typical supermarket, but four times that of a convenience store." BusinessWeek compares Fresh & Easy children's snack pack to category leader Oscar Meyer's Lunchables. "The Smart Box contains crackers, string cheese, raisins, carrots, and a small container of organic grape juice. Nearby, Lunchables offer pizza and nachos." Smart Box expires quickly while Lunchables can stay on the shelf for an eerie length of time. Which do you think "time-pressed, health-conscious parents" will prefer?
© Copyright 2007 Globe Newspaper Company.