Friday, April 30, 2010

2010 Utah Innovation Awards Finalist

OK, I've just got to brag a little. I am managing a product for a start-up called ClickLock. We are very early in the product's life, but, notwithstanding the fact that we don't have a product released yet, we've still managed to be a finalist for the Utah Innovation Awards!

You can read the whole press release here, but it requires you to register, so I'm quoting the relevant information here:

30 April 2010—

Utah Technology Council and Stoel Rives recognized some of Utah’s top inventions at the Utah Innovation Awards luncheon, held Thursday, April 29. Honorable mentions, finalists and winners were chose from 120 applications—the most applicants in the program’s eight-year history.

More innovation during times of economic trouble isn’t a new trend, but it’s a trend that Jason Perry, Gov. Gary L. Herbert’s chief of staff said will help Utah recover from the recession quicker than any other state in the country.

Keynote speaker at the event, KSL radio announcer and author Amanda Dickson commended the award recipients for being thoughtful, persistent, courageous and stubborn. "I know that’s what it takes sometimes to make an idea happen," she said.

Dickson also encouraged the luncheon attendees to prompt ideas by changing small details in their lives. "We are afraid of change because we think the worst thing is going to happen if we change," Dickson said. "One of the biggest mistakes we make is we assume we won’t like the worst thing…but the worst thing sometimes leads to the best thing."

Innovators know bringing ideas to the table, no matter how mediocre they may seem at first, are important to bringing change to the world around them, she said.

This year’s innovations are applicable to several industries, from a device that protects patients from catheter-related, life-threatening bloodstream infections to a technology that allows consumers to access Facebook from their television.

The winners announced at the event are Computational Molecular Phenotyping by MetaboView, Subsurface Metabolic Enhancement by Pure Enviro Management
, Gypsy by Cricut by Provo Craft, 4 Store by Control4, SmileReminder Patient Communication Software Suite by Smile Reminder, Nanostrands by Conductive Composites
, DualCap by Catheter Connections, Inc.
 and LiteStik by Fertile Earth Corporation
.

See a complete list of award recipients below (winners indicated by *) and for in-depth coverage see May’s issue of Utah Business magazine.

Enterprise Software and Web-Enabled B-2-B Solutions

Finalists
  • ClickLock by Kiwi Labs, LLC
  • SmileReminder Patient Communication Software Suite by Smile Reminder *
Honorable Mentions

  • Marketing View by TreeHouse Interactive

  • uGenius Personal Teller System by uGenius Technology, Inc.
(Note: I've only listed the category we were in. See the original article for all categories, nominees, and winners.)

Congratulations to SmileReminder for taking the trophy. We'll get it next year!

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

From the Intrawebs - April 13

I won't apologize for being late this time. Instead, I will simply say enjoy the new reads from the past couple of weeks.

You can subscribe to the live feed of this list in your choice of feed readers. You can also follow @FromTheIntraWeb to get instant gratification.

If you find something that you think belongs on this list, send it to me via @SoftwareMaven on Twitter.

What's New

  • LinkUp Job Search Engine: This looks like a very interesting job search engine. It is trying to go deeper into the many jobs that never make it to the standard job boards.

Worth Reading

  • Harvard Business Review Article Advocated Opt-Out Email Marketing: It is surprising that an article on HBR could get things so wrong and an author who is a marketing teacher and consultant could so fail to understand the importance of building relationships in today's world of marketing. IT didn't win the battle, the people who were tired of being inundated with unasked for email did.

    It will be interesting to see if Cisco does reverse their policy and if they get blacklisted. Somehow, I doubt it.

    I'm pointing to this reply (instead of the original HBR article) because I don't think the HBR article should get my link juice.
  • Why The ‘Fail Fast’ Mantra Needs to Fail: I like the core value of "fail fast", but I completely understand what Mark is saying about it being misinterpreted by the intellectually lazy. Perhaps it's a good way for investors to weed out bad investments: what does "fail fast" mean to you?
  • Microsoft: Still Breathtakingly Evil (a rant): It is always great to watch a company make product decisions whose only value is to the company itself. Did ANYBODY raise their hand and say, "Sure, I'm interested in a crippled operating system"?
  • Finding your brand essence: If you don't have a product or brand that a few people hate, you don't have one that anybody loves either.
  • The Power of Differentiation: "Differentiation is your friend." Says it all, really.
  • Is Agility Making You Less Innovative?: I think this captures a major complaint from product managers about agile processes. The short of it is that product managers need to stay market focused and not get bogged down in the day-to-day running of the sprints.
  • Natural Born Cyborgs: I liked this article because I think it does a good job explaining the difference between people who adapt to technology and those who don't. For software product managers and entrepreneurs, it is important to understand the difference between these groups because they are part of the reason the product chasm exists. If you don't understand that, you will have a difficult time crossing the chasm.
Disclaimer: Unless otherwise noted, I have no affiliation with linked properties other than being an interested reader, a happy user, or a potential customer: Nobody pays to receive a link. Any opinions of linked properties are theirs, not mine. I may or may not agree, but to be on this list I think their opinion is at least interesting.

Monday, April 5, 2010

Demanding Kisses Before You've Been Introduced

We've all had the experience: going to a web site and immediately being accosted for information.

Just in case you haven't, let me share the experience that prompted this post. I was reading a forum. Somebody posted a link to a recipe that looked interesting. I clicked on it and was presented with the atrocity below. This is not the first time this has happened (Checker Auto Parts, I'm looking at you!), and I'm sure it won't be the last.

I have two words for the marketers and product managers who are doing this:

STOP IT

Maybe I'm not talking to the right crowd here. Maybe it is just engineers who aren't being empathetic with their users that are complaining about not knowing how to query the database without a zip code.

But I doubt it.

Anybody involved with marketing knows the value of information about users. The more information we have, the better we can focus the conversations we have with the user. And it is just so easy to add another field to a form (or to drop a form in there at all).

I'm sure you've heard that marketing is like dating, and I think that is a good analogy. The best relationships start slowly, giving a little, taking a little, building trust over time.

As a corporate entity, we are already at a disadvantage and are starting the relationship with little trust. We need to do everything we can to build that trust, and the surest way not to do that is to start demanding information before you've gotten through the introductions.

So, next time you are designing something, instead of thinking "How much information can I get from the user here?", try thinking "What is the absolute minimum information I need to create a compelling experience here?"

And maybe you'll get a goodnight kiss after all.

Photo Credit: JD Lasica.