Clips Custom iPad App Is Just What the Doctor Ordered

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Custom iPad App Is Just What the Doctor Ordered

For Salient Surgical Technologies, a custom iPad app is just what the doctor ordered — or, rather, just the trick to get the doctor to place an order.

“The thing about medical device sales is that it’s very difficult to get attention of doctors – any attention at all,” said David Hohler, Salient’s IT director. So anything he can provide to make a sales representative’s life easier is priceless. That made it well worth his while to hire the Boston-based mobile application development firm DreamingCode to create a custom app that presents the equivalent of many binders worth of product literature, plus videos, in a navigation scheme organized around the parts of the body. (Read More)


Clips Web Development Best Buy en Español Profits By Serving the Hispanic Market Better

Hispanic customers who shop on the web are giving their time and money to Best Buy in appreciation of its effort to speak their language. Best Buy offers an almost complete duplicate of its main English language website in Spanish at

As a result, Best Buy finds that users of its Spanish language spend twice as much time on the website and also spend twice as much money per visit. “Latinos are giving us credit in being leaders in the e-commerce space in services to them,” says Ana Grace, global web team product manager. As a Latino herself, whose family moved to the mainland U.S. from Puerto Rico when she was a child, Grace is proud of that result. “It’s definitely a passion point for me.”


Also available in Spanish (translation courtesy of MotionPoint):

Clips Gleanster

My Debut as a Gleanster Analyst

This report on Top Performers Adopt Cloud Computing for Business Intelligence is part of a series of research projects I’m doing with Gleanster. The forthcoming main report on BI will also include a formal market research survey conducted by Gleanster staff, with some input from me on the questions to ask. I’m also planning to do something on mobile BI, a topic I’ve touched on recently in my blog (Business Intelligence Goes Mobile on iPad and iPhone).

With its tagline “Actionable Insights at a Glance” and offer of “Free Market Research … that’s actually worth reading,” the Gleanster approach reminds me of some of the ambitions we had for Baseline Magazine in its heyday. Happy to be working with them.

Clips Search Engine Optimization

Fast Times At A Global Web Flower Shop ( column on web performance and search optimization)


Fast Times At A Global Web Flower Shop

David F. Carr, 08.13.10, 06:00 AM EDT

How daFlores speeds load times, boosts search engine optimization.

Francisco Bustos, president of the international flower delivery company daFlores (, does some of his best keyword research and market research while traveling throughout Latin America.

Because he does business not only with people who live in the region, but also their friends, families and loved ones living in the U.S. and elsewhere, Bustos needs to know how well his website performs in Colombia or Argentina or Mexico. He wants to know both how fast the image of an arrangement will load into an Argentine user’s browser and how well his Spanish-language search engine optimization is performing. (More at

One detail I left out of the published column: Bustos began focusing on performance partly because it dovetailed with his interest in search engine optimization – particularly after Google changed its ranking formula to give more points to websites that load quickly (the “Caffeine” release of the Google search algorithm).


How Facebook Changes Marketing and Sales ( column)

Free Tool: Create a Lead Capture Form That Connects Facebook to Your Website

Just out on How Facebook Changes Marketing And Sales: Author of ”The Facebook Era” on the glories of hypertargeting customers.

This is a Q & A with Clara Shih, author of “The Facebook Era,” which I’ve already previewed with a blog on why Facebook Ads Should Point to a Facebook Page (Not an External Web Page). This interview also inspired me to hack together a little utility for embedding functionality in Facebook pages. See: Free Tool: Create a Lead Capture Form That Connects Facebook to Your Website.

My usual practice is to publish the first couple of paragraphs of the column, then link to the website. But in this case I thought I’d rather pick out an excerpt for a little additional comment on the topic of whether you should ditch your website in favor of a Facebook business page.

Your book suggests small business owners consider giving up their websites in favor of Facebook pages, and in your talk today you mentioned the example of a beauty shop owner. Is she really shutting down her website, or just putting more emphasis on Facebook?

It’s that she is putting more emphasis in her Facebook page–but she doesn’t want to spend any more on her website. From her perspective, she has spent an arm and a leg on her website for very little result.

As a compromise, she could use the new Open Graphinterface to bring a little bit of Facebook functionality into her website.

Yeah, from a technology perspective, that would be neat. But her problem was really getting people to come to her website at all. She had tried dabbling in Google AdWords, and she’d tried hiring an SEO [search engine optimization] consultant, which cost a fortune. And it didn’t work.

So she figured, instead of asking people to come to her, she’s going to go to them.

A couple of things the editors cut for space:

First of all, Shih said the bit about abandoning your website in favor of Facebook “wasn’t a recommendation. More of a trend.” She said she certainly wouldn’t recommend it for a larger business, or one with a successful website, but that it may make sense for small businesses with limited resources to invest. Part of the argument also had to do with people finding it too hard to update their own websites because everything has to go through the webmaster.

I argued that a better solution would be to make the website easier to update, using something like WordPress. Of course, that’s the WordPress consultant in me speaking.

But she said, “It turns out it’s incredibly hard. And most [small to midsize businesses] have never heard of WordPress.” And in any case, the mechanics of posting the updates is only part of the puzzle. The bigger part is getting people to actually go to the website. Unless the business owner has time and energy to invest in learning SEO, and posting frequent keyword rich blog updates, that may not happen. Thus, the logic in going where the customers are (Facebook) rather than making them come to you.

I would still argue that using Facebook and your website together will be more powerful than using either of them alone. There are still those people who don’t have a Facebook account, for one thing. But this interview certainly got me thinking about finding better ways to link my web projects more tightly to Facebook.

Clips Going Beyond the Fog of Private Clouds


Going Beyond The Fog Of Private Clouds

David F. Carr, 08.04.10, 02:00 PM EDT

Making cloud computing within the firewall mean something.

It’s become fashionable for every organization that runs a cluster ofVMware servers to talk about running a “private cloud.” But for this change in terminology to mean something, technology managers need to treat it as something more than just a tool for career-oriented rebranding and resume enhancement.

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Clips Email Marketing column: Chef Takes Guerrilla Marketing Online

Chef Takes Guerrilla Marketing Online

David F. Carr, 07.27.10, 06:00 AM EDT

Taking reservations and collecting money online for an underground restaurant.


Russell Jackson speaks not very plausibly about maintaining “plausible deniability” about the years he ran the San Francisco “underground restaurant”SubCulture Dining.

In talking about his experiences, Jackson uses the phrase “if it actually happened,” as if it were all hypothetical. Then again, now that he has gone legitimate with a traditional brick-and-mortar, health-department-inspected restaurant called Lafitte (, he is promoting it on the Web and promising a “crazy intangible element that made SubCulture Dining work so well for so long.”

Jackson was part of a foodie movement in cities like San Francisco that achieved a small cult following for arranging gourmet dinners in people’s homes or other ad hoc locations. SubCulture Dining cultivated an air of hip exclusivity; you supposedly had to be “in the know” and with the right connections to know when the events were happening.

I spoke with Jackson to learn about the online marketing campaign he used to make SubCulture Dining successful, especially since that success helped generate the buzz that led to the opening of his above-ground restaurant. The process, he admits, took longer than he had expected. (More at

This is a case study of event marketing with EventBrite for an “underground dining” restaurant. Interesting one for me to report that I’ve done quite a lot of custom event marketing work with my web development clients, using my own scripts and (more recently) WordPress plugins to handle RSVPs and email invites. There are always advantages of having something custom built for your own purposes, but I’m impressed by the range of functionality EventBrite offers.

Chef Jackson and his business were also undeniably fun to write about.

Clips column: Organization That Fights Slavery Stretches Its Network

Latest column, on the intersection of technology and international justice.


Organization That Fights Slavery Stretches Its Network

David F. Carr, 07.13.10, 06:00 AM EDT

International Justice Mission and the importance of centralizing and optimizing.

When John Lax joined International Justice Mission ( to manage its IT systems, he stepped into another world after 30 years in the software industry.

The IJM combats child sex traffic and slavery, working to identify instances of these practices and convince local authorities to crack down. By contrast, his previous job involved product development at IntuitINTU – news – people), the company behind Quicken and QuickBooks. Lax says he made the jump so he could be “working on something with meaning, rather than adding another $100 million to the company’s bottom line.”

In his new job, he faced an extreme version of the same technology challenges faced by many organizations, large or small. IJM has about 340 employees, 80 at its headquarters in Washington, D.C. and the rest overseas. Like every other organization, IJM needs to maintain communications with its branch offices. The problem for Lax, though, is that many of those offices are in developing countries, where network bandwidth is scarce, expensive and unreliable.

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Clips Deciding Which Cloud Services to Trust


Deciding Which Cloud Services To Trust

imageDavid F. Carr, 07.06.10, 06:00 PM EDT

A security expert evaluates Internet business apps.

Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) is a seductive concept for the small, cash-strapped business. No software to install or manage, minimizing the need for you to hire your own IT staff or contractors. Pay a monthly fee, with little or no long-term commitment. And trust that the service you are hiring will do a better job of managing or protecting your data than you could yourself.

But are you sure about that last point? Ronald Knode, a director of global security solutions at the consulting firm Computer Sciences Corp. ( CSC – news – people ), suggests taking your time to make sure. (Read the rest at

Clips GeeksOnTour, Running a Subscription Website from the Road

Chris and Jim Guld (and Odie) in the office
Chris and Jim Guld (and Odie) in the office

Nice folks, and a great story of doing business in your own style.


Running A Subscription Website From The Road

David F. Carr06.11.10, 06:00 AM EDT founders teach tech skills from their motor home.

“We’re flabbergasted!” Chris Guld exclaimed on her blog a few days ago, shortly after she and her husband, Jim, rolled into the RV Lifestyle and Safety Conference in Bowling Green, Ky. “This is a metropolitan area and yet, we have NO Verizon data service.”

The Gulds run entirely out of the back of a 1998 Safari Class C motor home. Having to fall back on a shaky Wi-Fi connection at an RV park is just another day at the office.

Jim and Chris Guld, with Odie and the RV
Jim and Chris Guld, with Odie and the RV

The nation is full of IT consultants but none like the Gulds. They target not the executive suite but instead the trailer park, moving from park to park all over the country offering advice, selling videos and signing up mobile-home-owning tech buffs for $39-a-year subscriptions to the Gulds’ website. (read the rest at