maandag 29 maart 2010

It is your moment to shine!

Having great ideas is simply not enough in everyday business life. You have to be able to sell those ideas as well to convince investors. Mary Civiello, a presentation and media trainer, gave the following 4 tips to Fortune Magazine so as to give everyone the possibility to shine!

1. ‘Start your presentation by asking: what is the one thing I want them to remember if they remember nothing else?’ As your audience will forget most of what you will be saying, it is important to stress the most important parts of your speech. You have to say it early and clearly.
2. ‘Do you look and sound like you do in a conversation? Think about your talk in terms of moods, not just information.‘ You should sound and look different when you are, for instance, trying to convince someone or just giving an example.
3. ‘Are you mixing it up? Remember to hit the “Refresh” button.’ If you do not want to lose your audience, you have to bring variation into your speech. You could tell anecdotes, use amusing pictures on your slides, ask rhetorical questions or walk around the room sometimes.
4. ‘Do you think your presentation begins at 9 a.m., or the moment you drive in the parking lot? Recognize that “communication” begins the moment you arrive.’

Bearing these tips in mind, your presentation is bound to be an overwhelming success!

Liesbeth Derycke

Source: Fortune

Money makers

Once you have figured out a groundbreaking idea for a start-up and written your business plan to back it all up, you cannot always count on business angels to provide you with the starting capital. Here are a couple of original ways to fulfil your own destiny that have proven to be very successful in the United States.

1. Crowdfunding. If you are truly confident that your idea will be successful, you can use websites such as to help you out. This is a website that connects creative projects to people that are willing to invest money in new ideas. In return, you have to donate prizes or incentives and if your company turns out to be a success, you have to give 5% of your proceeds to Kickstarter.
2. Peer lending sites. Another way to found your start-up is to visit websites such as Once you have posted your story and credit scores on this website, individual investors can extend you loans.
3. Apply for social entrepreneurship grants and competitions. You may not always win, but it will certainly enable you to further refine your idea.
4. Friends and early adopters.

This goes to show that if you genuinely believe in your start-up, the sky is the limit!

Liesbeth Derycke


zondag 28 maart 2010

Google no longer agrees to filter Chinese search results

For several weeks now, Google and China are entangled in disputes about the censorship of the Chinese Google version: Recently, Google decided to shut down its search engine in China and to redirect Chinese users to its uncensored Hong Kong site. This way Google does no longer has to abide by Chinese laws which restrict the information shown in the search results. However, Chinese firewalls are still making sure the information is censored.

The Chinese government has expressed its disapproval of Google's actions. Chinese officials argue that every company which does business on the Chinese market cannot ignore Chinese law. Moreover, they point out that Google signed an agreement when entering the Chinese market in 2006, which included censoring the search results. As Google no longer wants to filter its Chinese search results, the company violated this agreement.

Google took this decision after the company suffered a 'sophisticated cyber attack originating from China'. At the same time it was discovered that several Gmail accounts, especially from human right activists that had a link with China, had been hacked. Those events followed the blocking of sites like Facebook, YouTube and Blogger by the Chinese government. This led Google to agree it should no longer filter its Chinese search results.

Google's decision has been applauded by many international human right groups. They hope that this event will increase the pressure on China to give its citizens free internet access. China's international reputation has been seriously damaged by Google's actions.

By pulling out of China, Google risks to lose a lot of money as the Chinese search engine market is expected to grow fast. China now already has the largest number of internet users in the world. As one billion of Chinese do not yet have internet access, this number will increase in the years to come.

Marcey Missiaen

Sources: BBC News China condemns decision by Google to lift censorship
BBC News Google 'may pull out of China after Gmail cyber attack'
ZDNet Belgiƫ Google stopt censuurbeleid in China
The official Google blog: A new approach to China: an update

A mobile internet revolution

"Within 3 to 4 years every cell phone will be able to rival today's latest iPhone concerning mobile internet access," says Jo Caudron, a Belgian Internet pioneer. Needless to say, this will greatly encourage the breakthrough of mobile internet. Cell phones are expected to replace computers when it comes to surfing on the internet.

The possibilities of wireless internet are endless. No need to do online research behind your desk, you can go to a charming coffee bar and work there while you are enjoying a delicious cup of coffee. No boss or annoying colleagues to disturb you. And if you need help, you can always contact your elaborated network online through Social Networking Sites.

Of course, when you have some time off, wireless internet can also be useful. Suppose you are strolling around in a city you do not know very well and you are looking for a nice Italian restaurant. Pick up your cell phone and ask your mobile network contacts if they have any suggestions.

As wireless internet is booming, our lives will become more and more mingled with virtual experiences. You can take a picture of a building and your cell phone will tell you which building it is. If you wish so it will provide you with additional information like the date of construction etc. Your cell phone can guide you to the nearest cash dispenser, no matter where you are. Google is even working on a system which enables your mobile phone to recognize faces. No more embarrassing moments when you cannot remember an old friend's name....

Marcey Missiaen

Source: De mobiele toekomst van web 3.0 (Metro City Clickers Deluxe)

Image: Layar, augmented reality

Can Toyota survive the crisis?

Selzer & Co of Des Moines, Iowa conducted a survey on March 19-22 that asked 1,002 U.S. adults its opinion about Toyota and other car brands. More than 40% said that they “would definitely not buy a Toyota”. Moreover, 36% of those interviewed have an unfavorable impression of Toyota, which is the highest negative rating in the survey compared to other car companies. The reason for these negative results are the recalls the company had to do after receiving several sudden-acceleration complaints.

It will be a big challenge for Toyota to win back consumers. They are currently offering no-interest loans and lease discounts to boost sales and this strategy seems to be working. Toyota has sold 44% more cars in March this year compared to last year. This could indicate that an even bigger crisis has been averted and that people will happily come back if the price is right. In addition, the same survey showed that younger people have a more positive opinion about Toyota than older respondents. This could be a benefit for Toyota in the long term.

Of course, it is still too early to tell whether Toyota will ever be able to make a full recovery but if there are no further incidents with Toyota cars, the company has a pretty good chance to do so.

By Liselotte David

Source: BusinessWeek

25 years of Dot-Com

Twenty-five years ago, the first Dot-Com, “”, was registered. Even though this dot-com is no longer operating, it marked the beginning of a revolution. Commercial internet has become the economic force of our time that represents $1.5 trillion in annual economic benefits to businesses and consumers and this is just the beginning.

Seventy-five percent of the world population is still not using internet and only around 30% of the Americans are buying things online. This indicates that commercial internet has a huge potential to grow.

Internet is also starting to become ubiquitous, in that even McDonalds, airports and train companies are thinking about offering wireless access to internet. Moreover, many new products have been released in the last couple of years such as smart phones, netbooks, tablet PCs. All of which have numerous applications.

Rob Atkinson - Founder and President of The Information Technology and Innovation Foundation, a Washington, DC-based think tank - described what he thought would be the changes in the next 25 years of the commercial internet. He foresees faster, more energy-efficient, less expensive and even wearable computing systems that apply the technology of augmented reality. He also stresses that nations must do everything they can to support this dot-com economy as it has already generated many new products, services and business models and promises to bring about many new innovations.

By Liselotte David

Source: BusinessWeek

zaterdag 20 maart 2010

Consumer electronics industry ignores women

Apparently, women are not treated in the same way as men when they want to buy technological gadgets. Salesmen assume women do not know a lot about the gadgets and consequently try to sell them anything without listening to their specific wishes. They do not bother to help women or give them useful tips. By treating their female customers that way, the self-image of the women is damaged because they feel disrespected.

Nevertheless, salesmen better change their attitude towards female customers. Otherwise the technology industry could lose a lot of money. Especially young women in their early 20s are big consumers of electronic gadgets as they have used them since they were kids. They cannot stand to be talked down to and instead want a helpful salesperson who treats them with respect. It would be a pity if the consumer electronics industry kept on ignoring this specific target group. Unfortunately, this industry has been male-oriented ever since, so any fundamental changes will take some time.

Marcey Missiaen

Source: BBC News