Might gamification make your company thrive?

June 25, 2012

Note: This posting is based on my weekly “Thank God It’s Monday” which is offered to help companies thrive!

This week’s focus: gamification

I’m just back from the Gamification Summit 2012 in San Francisco. If there was ever an expression that fails to connect with its essential essence, it might be “gamification.” The Chief Scientist for Salesforce.com, PJ Rangaswami, opined that many people who could have benefited from attending the summit likely didn’t simply because of the name.

My big take-away is that gamification is about offering and giving people status, incentives and rewards to realize better work performance and incentivizing desired behaviors and business outcomes. Rewards can ranges from a Starbuck’s gift card, cash rewards, dinner with the CEO, the opportunity to be part of a team of your choice, a 3-day weekend, etc.

Charlie Kim, CEO of NextJump, used gamification to drive better employee fitness which they have correlated to better individual, team and company performance. Over a period of several years and numerous fits and starts, they now have 80% of their team exercising at least twice a week in company gyms. Gamification was key to driving this.

The gamification industry is in it’s infancy and a trend worth watching. Gamification is predicted to become a standard enterprise tool by the top Global 2000 companies by 2015, generating about $2 billion in software and implementation services revenue. Current technologies are really tool kits that require implementation assistance and guidance. Implementation should be viewed as iterative process that has the potential to improve over time based on feedback and assessing results.

Will gamification help your company thrive? Properly designed and applied, it just might.

Thought for the week:

“The really idle man gets nowhere. The perpetually busy man does not get much further.” – Sir Heneage Ogilvie

What do you think? I welcome your blog comments!

___

Dave Gardner, Gardner & Associates Consulting

http://www.gardnerandassoc.com

© 2012 Gardner & Associates Consulting  All Rights Reserved

Note:  To receive an email version of “Thank God It’s Monday” to start your week, please subscribe here.  I would very much appreciate your suggesting to others that they subscribe.

Privacy Statement:  Our subscriber lists are never rented, sold, or loaned to any other parties for any reason.

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It’s Not Just About Me

June 18, 2012

Note: This posting is based on my weekly “Thank God It’s Monday” which is offered to help companies thrive!

This week’s focus: it’s not just about me

This past week, I hosted an event co-sponsored with Kulesa Faul and Reliable Coders at Zahir’s Bistro in Milpitas. The event was a reunion for me with Paul Dunn, a fabulous speaker, friend, a mentor to me and thousands of others, philanthropist, entrepreneur, and Chairman of Buy 1 Give 1.

Paul shared his insights for Adding Speed, Adding Purpose and Changing Lives.

He spoke of Simon Sinek’s work and book, “Start with Why.” One of the key Simon Sinek messages is that too many companies focus on the “what” and “how” and never inspire or connect with others with a compelling why. The point: people don’t care what you do; they care why you do it. While it sounds simple to create a compelling “why,” it’s not.

Paul and B1G1 founder Masami Sato, offered how giving can and should become a normal part of our daily life and, through B1G1, how they are making this a reality through micro-giving. B1G1 offers a compelling why and has supported nearly 13 million micro-giving impacts.

I got an instant reminder the next day after a meeting in San Francisco. About 1:30 p.m., I looked for a place to eat and quickly decided I couldn’t eat another meal at a fast food restaurant. I needed to take a few minutes and slow down. I found a San Francisco original: Umbria. As I looked out the open window next to my table, I saw a tall homeless man walking down the street with with a sleeping bag and backpack on his back, his dog, a gallon of water, and a large silver dog bowl. As quickly as I saw them, they disappeared.

But, it made me instantly think: buy one; give one. I needed a break from my day as much as they did. Had they not disappeared up the street, I’m sure I could have figured out a way to buy him lunch at the table right outside my window and get something for his pal, man’s best friend.

I encourage you to check out the links above. These are organizations that can help you thrive.

Thought for the week:

“The two most important days in your are the day you are born, and the day you find out why.” – Mark Twain

What do you think? I welcome your blog comments!

___

Dave Gardner, Gardner & Associates Consulting

http://www.gardnerandassoc.com

© 2012 Gardner & Associates Consulting  All Rights Reserved

Note:  To receive an email version of “Thank God It’s Monday” to start your week, please subscribe here.  I would very much appreciate your suggesting to others that they subscribe.

Privacy Statement:  Our subscriber lists are never rented, sold, or loaned to any other parties for any reason.


What would Steve Jobs have done?

June 11, 2012

Note: This posting is based on my weekly “Thank God It’s Monday” which is offered to help companies thrive!

This week’s focus: entrepreneurship

Simple. Elegant. Pragmatic. That’s what I want from technology.

Technology must simplify a problem or opportunity and bring demonstrable value. Technology must not create complexity or a burden.

As an executive or entrepreneur, are you unsure about how to start to create technology?

Ask yourself, “What would Steve Jobs have done?” And, then, set out to do just that. That starting point will help you and your company thrive.

Thought for the week:

“To be angry is to suffer. To be sad is to suffer. To demand life be other than it is, that too is to suffer. All suffering comes from craving and clinging to the things we can’t control.” – Peter Ragnar

What do you think? I welcome your blog comments!

___

Dave Gardner, Gardner & Associates Consulting

http://www.gardnerandassoc.com

© 2012 Gardner & Associates Consulting  All Rights Reserved

Note:  To receive an email version of “Thank God It’s Monday” to start your week, please subscribe here.  I would very much appreciate your suggesting to others that they subscribe.

Privacy Statement:  Our subscriber lists are never rented, sold, or loaned to any other parties for any reason.

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SAGE ACT! 2012 Data Corruption Has Me On Edge

June 10, 2012

Update 14JUN12: Sage ACT! found that one errant ical calender entry for a recurring meeting corrupted the database and rendered the synchronization functions and more unusable in ACT!  I told them to take their time studying this problem and a possible fix to make ACT! (and me!) less exposed to this problem.  They agreed. It didn’t take long to identify the problem which is really good. Sage ACT! takes this seriously–I’m happy for that.  Too many companies are firewalling themselves off from customers in this day and age.  Sage ACT! is not one of them!

Update 12JUN12:  As a result of the blog post below, I’ve now been contacted by several people from SAGE ACT! and an independent consultant who works with SAGE ACT!  SAGE ACT! has requested and will receive my full database offering them the possibility to understand what occurred to corrupt my database. I’m happy for this collaboration with them.  SAGE ACT! is responding the way great companies should respond in this situation.  I’m happy for them reaching out to me.  I will update this post as the situation unfolds.

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At some point during the past couple of months, my SAGE ACT! 2012 database became corrupted. As I have been in the process of moving from one laptop to a new laptop, I had stopped using ACT during this migration period.

What’s the impact? This corruption no longer allows for the proper synching of my ACT Database with Google Gmail, Calendar and Contacts.

ACT Support informed me that some (recurring?) corrupt calendar entry from Google Calendar corrupted my entire database. The impact is not that that record didn’t make it over to ACT–I can no longer schedule anything in ACT based on a specific time and can’t synch my ACT database with Google.

This functionality worked well for about 6 months. Now, poof—it’s gone!

I’ve been using ACT since the late 1990’s—I’ve been very dedicated to this solution. Until now.

I spent considerable effort this week rebuilding an updated ACT database that I can synch with Google again. But, should I?

The data integrity between ACT and Google isn’t bullet proof. As my good friend Dave Wilkinson of DataComCorp and I discussed, it isn’t a matter of “if” this will happen again, but, “when.”

And, to determine that it has happened means I will have to meticulously back up by date and time, set up tests to determine if everything continues to synch properly, etc. In other words, I have a lot of work to do to validate that the solution I paid for is working properly. That is too much effort in my book.

What’s wrong here?

  • ACT should have better error detection and not accept records into it that can corrupt an entire database.
  • ACT alleges that this problem originates within Google and I have to accept their representation that this is true—it’s too easy to blame a third party for problems in your product., particularly when that third party isn’t involved in trouble-shooting and problem resolution.
  • ACT informs me that this issue is very rare. Can I bet my business that this “rare occurrence” that has already happened to me in the first 6 months of use won’t happen again? Simple answer: No.

I was told I could send my database into ACT to see, if, on a time and materials basis, they could determine where the problem occurred. No guarantees of success. No time or cost estimate.

Personally, I’d be happy to send my entire database to the ACT development team so they can look at it and determine what they need to do make their product more robust. No one asked for that. Blame has been assigned to Google. The matter is closed as far as ACT is concerned.

How many other customers have this vulnerability and don’t know this? How many other customers may be unaware that this has already occurred to them? After all, there is no error message being passed when this occurs. The functionality just stops working.

I really like ACT. I’m deeply disappointed that I can no longer use this product as it was intended. I upgraded my ACT version specifically for this integration with Google. My confidence is shot.

Dave Gardner, Gardner & Associates Consulting

 http://www.gardnerandassoc.com

© 2012 Dave Gardner All Rights Reserved

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$100M Dell Innovators Credit Fund Ignites Startup Growth and Innovation

June 7, 2012

Exciting news from Dell today!

· New initiative targets startup debt capital needs, connects firms with scalable technology solutions, markets and networks for growth

NEW YORK, June 7, 2012Dell today announced the Dell Innovators Credit Fund, a first-of-its-kind Dell financing initiative that provides entrepreneurs up to $100M in the financial and scalable technology resources they need to maximize potential for innovation, speed to market and job creation.

A new Technology CEO Council (TCC) paper reports the highest-growth startups generate an outsized share of new jobs in the United States: 40 percent of new jobs come from the top-performing 1 percent of companies in any given year. Additionally, Web-knowledgeable small- and midsize-firms in a range of industries outpace their less Internet-savvy counterparts in job creation by more than two to one, according to a McKinsey Global Institute study cited in the TCC report.

The Dell Innovators Credit Fund aims to get end-to-end, scalable technology solutions in the hands of growing businesses during that crucial early time in market. Through Dell Financial Services, qualified angel and venture-backed companies can access up to 10 percent of their funded amount, or up to $150,000, with accelerated, limited credit terms. For those in needs of higher credit, additional financing is available on a fast track basis with a few extra steps.[i]

Behind most great company growth stories are pioneering uses of technology. In talking with business owners and listening to their needs, they tell us what they need most is access to capital and technology that enables them to grow,” said Steve Felice, Dell president and chief commercial officer. “Dell’s new Credit Fund provides credit and access to technology to help fuel global growth and innovation while helping startups preserve precious equity capital for other business needs.”

Dell Financing Fuels Startup Growth

The Dell Innovators Credit Fund was created by Dell’s first Entrepreneur in Residence, Ingrid Vanderveldt, with the support and guidance of Dell executives and team members as well as the esteemed 13-member Dell EIR Advisory Board consisting of today’s leading entrepreneurs, visionaries and innovators.

Using the Dell Innovators credit to create our web-enabled and all-electric super scooters is really a win-win-win for our company, our investors and for Dell,” said Lauren Flanagan, executive chairman and angel investor of Ann Arbor-based Current Motor. “In exchange for a low monthly payment, we get one point of contact and a really comprehensive, scalable technology solution that allowed us to get to market six months ahead of schedule, while conserving our equity capital for sales, marketing, research and development.”

Dell Innovators Credit Fund customers also receive benefits including a dedicated Dell sales team and ProSupport Services for a single point of accountability with access to highly trained experts and 24/7 total support on their top technology needs.

To build scalable, high-return startups, entrepreneurs need access to early stage capital and great resources,” says Marianne Hudson, Executive Director of the Angel Capital Association (ACA). “Through the launch of the Dell Innovators Credit Fund, Dell is helping promising entrepreneurs obtain the technology solutions they need to grow and get to market faster, while stretching the capital they receive from angels and venture investors.”

Dell’s Commitment To Entrepreneurs and Startups

Today’s announcement is the latest among Dell’s innovative initiatives – like the Dell Women’s Entrepreneur Network and recently announced 9-city Small Business tour –  aimed at fostering the growth of small and midsize entrepreneurial firms. 

 Also launching today is the expanded Dell Entrepreneur in Residence community that includes specialized advice for entrepreneurs who are self-funded, seeking funding or already funded. The community also has additional information on the Dell Innovators Credit Fund.  Entrepreneurs at all stages of growth are invited to join this community to access videos and case studies featuring successful businesses, advice from Dell and industry experts, and details on Dell initiatives and technology offerings.

Dell is committed to meeting the end-to-end needs of its customers—from the cloud to the data center to the desktop and out to the mobile endpoint with scalable IT solutionsthat are easy to use, quick to deploy and help customers of all sizes attain the innovation and efficiency they need to deliver real business value and results faster.

Companies, like Current Motor and others we have pre-qualified for the Dell Innovators Credit Fund, value Dell’s design-to-scale’ approach and entrepreneurial mindset that guides the creation of technology solutions that are agile, affordable and can grow as they do,” said Ingrid Vanderveldt, Dell’s first Entrepreneur in Residence. “Through its technology solutions, recently created Office of the Entrepreneur in Residence, and game changers like the Dell Innovators Credit Fund, Dell is committed to fueling the growth of entrepreneurs and the jobs they create.”

For more information about Dell Innovators Credit Fund, visit www.dell.com/eir. Applications open Thursday, June 7, 2012.

About Dell

As the visionary outcome of a true entrepreneur, Dell (NASDAQ: DELL) is committed to helping small and medium businesses grow and better serve their customers by drawing greater value from technology.

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[i] All extensions of credit are subject to credit review and approval by Dell Financial Services and execution of agreements provided by and acceptable to Dell Financial Services.  Ten percent of funded amount is based on equity raised in preceding 90 days.  Fast track financing decisions for higher credit requests may be reached in as quickly as two to three days of receipt of requisite information.

Note: This is really exciting news.  Full disclosure:  I am a member of Dell’s Customer Advisory Panel.

Dave Gardner, Gardner & Associates Consulting, http://www.gardnerandassoc.com

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NASA Information on Venus Transit June 5, 2012

June 5, 2012

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Obsession with news and market indices hurts businesses

June 4, 2012

Note: This posting is based on my weekly “Thank God It’s Monday” which is offered to help companies thrive!

This week’s focus: leadership

Aristotle Onassis, the late shipping magnate, offers, “We must free ourselves of the hope that the sea will ever rest. We must learn to sail in high winds.”

I’m pretty sure Wall Street and the main stream media do not accept the notion above. Our 24 hour cable news shows and websites do little more than constantly stir the pot of fear, uncertainty and doubt. “The sky is falling, the sky is falling.” Unless it’s not. Stay tuned!

The market indices are little more than a barometer of how we feel about the future. Some days, the mood is up; some days, the mood is down. So what!

Everyone would benefit if they payed less attention to the news and market indices and, instead, maintained a laser-like focus on creating success with their customers, employees and shareholders.

Focus on what you want, not what you don’t want. This is the key to thriving.

Thought for the week:

What are the attributes of a successful entrepreneur? See Sir Richard Branson’s list here.

What do you think? I welcome your blog comments!

___

Dave Gardner, Gardner & Associates Consulting

http://www.gardnerandassoc.com

© 2012 Gardner & Associates Consulting  All Rights Reserved

Note:  To receive an email version of “Thank God It’s Monday” to start your week, please subscribe here.  I would very much appreciate your suggesting to others that they subscribe.

Privacy Statement:  Our subscriber lists are never rented, sold, or loaned to any other parties for any reason.

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