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    32 Replies Latest reply on Jan 20, 2008 11:59 AM by MDF2008

    small biz technology that doesn't work well for me

    GENEJMARKS Wayfarer

      I wrote this piece for Business Week and it generated alot of debate.

      Many of the comments, and bloggers, personally attacked me for my opinions. My intentions were to share with readers my (and many of my small business clients') frustrations with some small business technology. I realize that not everyone will agree with everything that I've written and there is also alot of good stuff out there too. But I was really surprised at the animosity of some of the comments, particularly from the tech crowd.

      I'm wondering if other business owners have experienced some of these frustrations too?
        • Re: small biz technology that doesn't work well for me
          LUCKIEST Guide
          Will read it and get back to you. Thanks for sharing.
          • Re: small biz technology that doesn't work well for me
            laycey Newbie
            Hi Gene-

            I read your article and most of the comments, too. I like your writing style.

            I think many of those who made such negative remarks are missing the point. If you are experiencing problems and frustrations with the technology, then undoubtedly so are many others. The end-users are not the issue; the systems that cause such problems and frustrations are what need to be addressed. Cannot technology tools be molded to fit people instead of the other way around? Good job voicing your opinions. I look forward to reading more of your work.
            • Re: small biz technology that doesn't work well for me
              DomainDiva Ranger
              Gene what a funny article!! Trust me those that penned such nasty negative comments are those who don't get it from both sides of the table.

              There is the 'technical' side with the software architects and all of the tech wizards that will show up and deploy all manner of solutions...then leave the poor business owner on their own with no 'champion' in the company to oversee the chaos they have created. Whenever a company deploys a solutuion for anything they should always have the business owner identify the champion, get them trained and give them the freedom to use the application in the company.

              There is the business owner side..worrying about the bottom line. A good healthy does of respect on both sides will go a long way in solving the problems that exist.

              What makes me so frustrated as a business owner is when some technology/design oriented person comes along, looks at the website...thinks they 'know' us (the team) and then proceeds to contact us with all manner of insane applications and 'solutions' for my little 'mess'. My 'mess' is still a baby and won't hit puberty until sometime in April. This is the problem I see....and I cull those bandage needed. ;)

              May I draw your attention to the problems that Kathy Sierra had on her blog "Creating Passionate Users", she was threatened and horrid pictures of her were posted on the internet...she even canceled appearances. I loveded her blog and its still up with all manner of great information. But someone out there "Uncle Bobism" some person thought she did not have a right to speak. The point being..opinions are like ears...everyone has two. Ignore the morons...a few smart ones will get it like Joyce who commented on the article. Believe it or not...ego and self gratification drive negative posts.

              • Re: small biz technology that doesn't work well for me
                puzzleman Tracker
                My concern with the article and other techies is that they build this tremendous application and then figure out what to do with it. According to them, we need to buy this to solve whatever the problem of the month is. I have found people who work for me and solve the problems as I see the problem not as it would seem to them. Just because it can be done a different way doesn't mean that it is better or easier.

                No, I'm not a dinosaur about technology but rather stand back and ask a lot of "why" questions?
                • Re: small biz technology that doesn't work well for me
                  Lighthouse24 Ranger

                  Gene, thanks for the post! I generally agree with nine of the ten points. (While Antivirus Software isn't perfect, it's about as usable as any other desktop application and a "necessary inconvenience" for a business computer connected to the Internet. Attacks occur daily, and most small businesses can't afford the unexpected downtime or resulting recovery process. Are you really surfing "naked" right now?)

                  As for the feedback you're getting, it seems that some readers don't understand the function of an op-ed piece. If it doesn't involve a polarizing issue, it probably doesn't get published. The better the piece, the stronger the response (if people agree with your viewpoint, you're a genius and they e-mail it to all their colleagues -- if they disagree, you're a moron and they send you hate mail). So it goes.

                  The final sentence was key: "unless you're running an online business, these tools have little relevance." Many advocates of the technologies you mentioned believe that ALL small business is online business -- or should be. To offer an analogy, the Public Library is a well-organized, efficient, comprehensive place to find information. Barnes & Nobel has some books, plus they let you talk and drink coffee. Each have their purpose. Web 2.0 is like B&N. It enables customer interaction (among other things). However, the functional purpose of about 90 percent of business websites is to serve as a good library. The majority of web developers don't seem to understand that, and they exclude themselves from some very lucrative work by metaphorically insisting that we (business owners) replace the historical research stacks with a bank of espresso machines.
                  • Re: small biz technology that doesn't work well for me
                    MoltenJavaDev Newbie
                    The best thing to do is hire an application development group that has support built into the service level agreement. For SMALL BUSINESS, that is the way to go. "He who develops a technology solution that he has to support, develops a solution that works well and is expandable" :)

                    Thanks for the debate: InTech and DomainDiva it was a treat to read :) Remember that upfront communications, planning and proper expectations can resolve almost any issue.
                    • Re: small biz technology that doesn't work well for me
                      SanDiegoTech Wayfarer
                      Well, I think your audience in the technology section was a bit harsh...and after reading the posts, it looks like the ones most angry we're in the business's segments you were snubbing. I noticed a lot of SEO (search engine marketers) bloggers bashing you, because that eats in to their business value proposition.

                      My personal thoughts, shared among a few posters that you are correct for 80% of the small businesses out there. My one strong exception would be your Anti-virus comment...because if people stop using AV, more viruses would be spread...just like if people didn't get vaccinated for diseases.

                      Also, from a small business owners perspective, cheap CRM software like Microsoft Outlook Business Contact Manager (free with Microsoft Office Small Business edition) is great tool to get you in the habit of logging your opportunities, business contacts, and sales leads for a small office...making sure your reminded to follow up with a customer. While you can do it on paper, software can give you proven methodologies and best practices for growing your business.

                      Everything else is typically true from a time/money ROI, but of course sometimes you need that %2 edge...and their are exceptions depending on your business.

                      John G.
                      • Re: small biz technology that doesn't work well for me
                        Ed O'Gee Adventurer
                        Gene - it is great you are participating on the board and since you are asking questions, I assume BofA isn't paying you to participate which is even better.

                        I've read your work and have always been a closet fan. I think of you less as a journalist and more as "Joe Business Owner" who has been given the platform to share his voice. I always like your writing particularly for the humor you inject.

                        Now on to the article - on some points you are dead on, on others maybe you were drinking. Spam filters are an absolute must. A good spam filter will keep the junk out and allow the good stuff in. We run a 4 person firm and my partner, myself, and our assistants generally work from home unless we are on site with a client, so virus protection is a must. Our assistants use their personal PC's, and log onto our private network, Symantec is a life saver.

                        As far as the blogs and RSS, you are dead on - a pointless use of my time.

                        But you have to admit, some of the responses to you were downright hilarious!
                        • Re: small biz technology that doesn't work well for me
                          MDF2008 Wayfarer
                          • You are publishing so plan on the worst and best case feedback everytime.
                          • I am looking forward to your next article.....stay with it.
                          • Best 2008