Category Archives: Productivity

Favorite Business Authors

As an avid reader, I was recently inspired to share a few of my fav’s after reading an LA2M post by friend Charlie Wollborg of Curve Detroit.  While I share Charlie’s sentiment  of his favorite authors (below) I’ll tack on a few of my own..

Authors both Charlie & I would recommend without reservation:

In addition to those great authors, a few others I’ve found hugely influential and hope you might like as well:

That should keep you busy for a while.. Keep in mind, many of these books are available on the Kindle and increasingly on the iPad/iBooks.  If you struggle to find time to read, you might also want to check out Audible.com.

Lastly, while I’m not much of a sales guy, I have come across the work of Bob Burg (notably Go-Giver)  on more than a few occasions – so if sales is your thing, you’ll be happy to know he’ll be in Detroit on June 30th thanks to the guys at Motor City Connect & I’d highly encourage you to check him out: http://motorcityconnect.com/endlessreferrals.html

Happy Reading!

LifeHacker Pack 2010

LifeHacker.com  feature hundreds of different downloads every year at Lifehacker. If all you want is the best of the best, look no further than their annual Lifehacker Pack: One download that installs only their favorite, must-have Windows applications in a few clicks.

Download the Lifehacker Pack 2010

They divided up the Lifehacker Pack into two sections this year—the “Essentials” and the “Extended.” Each is just what they sound like—the Essentials is just what you need to make a modern Windows system usable, and “Extended” adds a lot of apps and functionality that not everybody needs, but some folks may find incredibly helpful.

Want to quickly and automatically install the apps they’re recommending? Head to Ninite bundle, then click the link at the top to “Select All Essential Apps.” Don’t need one or more of the apps included? Un-check the box next to each item you’d remove. You can then hit “Select All Extended Apps” in the second section, and do the same kind of cherry-picking of additions and removals.

You can read their full post with details about each included application here: http://lifehacker.com/5548767/lifehacker-pack-2010-our-list-of-essential-windows-downloads

Here come the Mint.com “me-too” companies

Bloomberg has reported that Citi and Microsoft are working together to build an online money management site like Mint.com, which recently agreed to be acquired by Intuit.

Mint.com lets users monitor their accounts at banks and brokerages and keep track of their budget, spending and investing. The Citi/Microsoft version would do the same and is tentatively called Bundle, according to Bloomberg.

Citi recently shelved its myFi project, which was going to provide online investing for moderately wealthy brokerage clients. Microsoft ditched its Money personal finance website in June.

The Bloomberg article is posted on Microsoft’s website and it has generated several comments from apparent former Microsoft Money users there.

Dominick said, “If Quicken gets my MSMoney file converted successfully I am onto Quicken and never looking back. MS lost me as a customer on the MSMoney cancellation.”

RichT wrote: “What a crazy strategy — first they abandon a large customer base of existing Money users, then they try to set up some new online system. Why would anybody trust Microsoft with their data? How do we know that after a few years, once they realize that they can’t make money out of an online system, that they won’t just abandon that too?”

Even a poster whose title suggested he works for Microsoft had a negative comment: “There is no way I’d consider signing up for another financial package of any sort with Microsoft, not after I’ve been using Money for 14 years and they just pull the plug to try something new.”

Four Stages of Twitter Adoption

Twitter can be an invaluable tool for business networking, but most new users don’t get it at first. Learn why in this look at the four stages that the average Twitter user traverses on the path from newbie to devotee. [Originally posted by Jason Hiner here.]


There’s a strange phenomenon that happens almost every time someone joins Twitter. They hate it. At least at first.But many of the people who once hated Twitter — or at least, didn’t quite get it in the beginning — are now many of its most active users and raving fans. So what’s going on here?

There seems to be four natural stages that the average Twitter user goes through from the point of first trying it until the point of fully embracing it and making it a part of daily life. Obviously, not everyone sticks with it and becomes a Twitter devotee, but there’s definitely a growing cadre of people who believe that there’s some magic happening in the Twittosphere

You can find me on Twitter at twitter.com/StevenRobert

Because Twitter can be used as a valuable business tool, it’s worth talking about the four Twitter stages in order to help recognize users in these stages when you’re choosing who to follow and to keep new Twitter users from getting discouraged and missing the opportunities available on Twitter. So here they are:

1. Confusion and indignation

When a person first signs up for Twitter, the first challenge is figuring out who to follow. Twitter now has its “Suggested Users” feature to help people get started. Jason put together a list of technology personalities worth following on Twitter to help new techies when they sign up for Twitter.

However, even when they find some people to follow, new Twitterers usually look at their Twitter stream and start wondering, “Why would I care what my colleagues are eating for lunch?” or “What’s interesting about a software engineer posting that she’s walking her dog?”

That experience usually leads people to shake their heads and not come back to Twitter for a few days, or even weeks or months.

2. The first “Aha!” moment

Eventually, the user comes back periodically to check Twitter out of pure curiosity. During those casual forays, the person often has a first “Aha!” moment, where they find something really interesting or timely on Twitter that wasn’t available from news, RSS feeds, or word of mouth from their friends.

This could be a piece of news that someone reported on Twitter before it actually hit the wires, it could be a rumor about something that a company like Apple is doing, or even something like NFL teams announcing their picks for the draft on Twitter before they even went up to the podium to make the official selection.

3. Remembering to tweet

After the first “Aha” moment, the user typically starts checking Twitter more often, but still tends to post very infrequently. The next stage of Twitter initiation comes when the user reads something useful online or makes a mental observation about something and then thinks, “I should post that Twitter!”

At this point, the user is still relying mostly on the twitter.com homepage to access Twitter but is starting to go there at least a couple times a day to check on the latest buzz, and has typically found a good mix of friends, news feeds, industry celebrities, and thought leaders to follow.

4. Thinking in 140 characters

Once the person becomes a daily Twitter user, it’s over. The person is almost always hooked, and is now on the path to becoming a power user. This is when most (though not all) users switch from using twitter.com to using a desktop Twitter client like Tweetdeck or Seesmic.

Meanwhile, the user also often has a mobile Twitter client like UberTwitter (for BlackBerry) or Tweetie (for iPhone) in order to stay connected to the Twitter stream on the go. Those that don’t have smartphone often use Twitter via SMS text messages. [Personally, I like 1.) Twitterrific or 2.) TwitterFon – both for the iPhone, of course.]

At this point, the person is a Twitter power user who regularly adds new people and brands to follow and also regularly unfollows people who post too many inane messages about their meals or just doesn’t post enough useful stuff.

The power user also tends to regularly think about and look for things to post on Twitter throughout the day, to the point of self-editing thoughts for brevity in order to fit into Twitter’s 140 character limit.

Final word

The beauty of Twitter is in its simplicity of use and the direct connection it provides to people whose activities and opinions you care about.

Apple recently wrote a case study about Twitter because Twitter uses a lot of Apple products. In the article, Apple wrote, “Twitter’s meteoric rise to ubiquity is proof positive that the world, in all its complexity, is eager to embrace simplicity.”

Twitter can be an very useful tool for business and technology professionals. For more articles by Jason, see:

And here are a couple external links worth looking at:

If you use Twitter, which of the four stages are you in?

MiFi Hotspot

Verizon is now the first carrier to launch Novatel’s MiFi personal hotspot gadget, and there’s no subscription required.

Yes, if you want to, you can pay $99.99 for the hotspot and $59.99 a month for 5GB of data. But to me, the killer combination for occasional travelers is $269.99 for the device and $15 for an unlimited use ‘day pass’ – no commitment required. There’s also a 250MB plan for $39.99/month.

The MiFi is a Wi-Fi router with a twist: it’s battery powered and has a cellular modem built in. So just turn it on anywhere Verizon has a signal, and pow, you’re broadcasting Wi-Fi to up to five PCs. The battery lasts for about four hours of use and 40 hours of standby on a charge, according to Verizon Wireless. And the MiFi is pretty tiny: only 3.5″ x 2.3″ x .4″ and 2.05 oz.

All five computers will share one EVDO Rev A connection, so you’ll be splitting about a megabit down and 500 kilobits up between whomever’s on the hotspot. And they’ll all contribute to filling the monthly data quota. But still, this makes getting online with Verizon’s network easier than ever.

 When originally announced last December, Novatel pointed out that the router is actually a tiny Linux PC, capable of running its own software. The router could check e-mail and store messages on a memory card without a PC, in theory. But Verizon’s version looks like it’s just a Wi-Fi router – for now, at least.

The MiFi will go on sale May 17. This post originally appeared on Gearlog.

Twitter in Plain English

I often get asked “what exactly is Twitter?”  While I’m not an uber Twitterphile, I do have alot of friends who use it regularly, and I actually enjoy following them.  Twitter is a great way to stay connected, whether you want to [self] promote yourself, or just get updates from others.  Either way, if you’ve ever wondered what twitter was all about – this is the video for you…

Sending CTRL+ ALT + DEL to Virtual Machine

I found this handy little tip today when I had to send CTRL+ALT+DELETE to a remote desktop session (which always ends up being processed by the local machine and not the remote one). The keystroke is CTRL+ALT+END. Handy to know and remember!

Others include..

Shift+Ctrl+Alt+Delete for VNC.
Ctrl+Alt+Del for Local system.
Ctrl+Alt+End for Remote Desktop.
Ctrl+Alt+Insert for VMWare image.