Lets Get Real – Will VR Gear be a Game Changer?

Courtesy of  Flickr
By Carl Weiss

When it comes to game-changing technology, the computer industry has seen it all.  Everything from the computer mouse to Wi-Fi, to tablets and smartphones has left their indelible impression on humanity.  Any of you who was born before 1970 can remember a time when computers filled entire rooms and had less computing power than your smartphone. 

But if we look forward instead of backward, what emerging technology is poised to once more prove to be a game-changer in our wired world?  And what will be the consequences for humankind?  When the personal computer made the scene in the late 1970’s, it didn’t exactly change the way that humans interacted overnight.  The Internet had not yet been invented.  Back then, PCs were expensive; they didn’t do all that much, and all telephones were hardwired.  Even worse, the earliest personal computers required the user to learn a smattering of computerese.  Anyone who remembers Microsoft DOS knows what I mean.

While most people assume that Apple invented the mouse, it was in fact developed by
Courtesy of Flickr
Douglas Engelbart and Bill English.  Working in the Stanford University’s think tank, Stanford Research Institute, Douglas was able to use his rudimentary mouse (which looked for all the world like a block of wood with a joystick), to make the cursor on a Xerox Alto move.  This was back in 1973.  However, the pair soon dropped the project, citing a lack of progress in what would have to be the mother of shortsightedness. The first commercially used mouse was introduced ten years later on the Apple Lisa.  And the rest, as they say, is history.

That was not to say that this was the only case of failed technology.  Since the start of the millennium, there have been a number of promising technologies that either failed to be adopted by the public, or sputtered at first only to be redeveloped at a later date to great fanfare. Some of these included smartphone pioneer Palm, maker of the Blackberry, that saw their fortunes plummet after Apple released the iPhone in 2007.

Failure to Launch

Courtesy of Flickr
Then there was Iridium, the global satellite phone company. Backed by Motorola, the company sought to build an orbiting satellite network to provide global cellular service.  The problem was the plan called for 66 satellites, not to mention the fact that the retail price for an Iridium sat phone was a whopping $3,000, and talk time was $5 per minute.    As a result, the system that Motorola spent $5 billion to build wound up being sold for $25 million. 

On a more recent note, another technology that has failed to take off was 3D TV.  After
Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons
HDTV had become all the rage and the public had spent their hard-earned money acquiring HDTVs, the industry announced that the next great innovation was going to be 3D.  This required broadcasters to update their equipment and producers to purchase expensive new cameras.  Even worse was the fact that in order to see in 3D, viewers were required to wear special 3D glasses, which made some viewers nauseous.  Is it any wonder why a few short years later, the last two Ds in 3D are looking more and more like Dead as a Dodo.  I could go on and on about other vaunted technological breakthroughs that crashed and burned.  Remember Microsoft Vista?

How Real is VR?
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After several years of teasing us with Kickstarter campaigns, blogs, and Newsfeeds, VR really made its presence known last year.  Once a technology makes the show at CES, it is off the bench and onto the playing field.  2016 saw everything from VR headsets and graphic cards, to certification programs and tons of VR software appear as if by magic. 

If you ever wanted to know what it would be like to jump out of a perfectly good airplane, or climb to the top of Mt Everest, there was an app for that.  The problem was that VR gear such as Oculus Rift was pricey.  At $600, the Rift provided the user with a headset/hand controller combo that was limited in its scope, since it was designed to be used while seated.  Other VR gear, such as the $800 HTC Vive, was soon in competition with Oculus for their share of the fledgling VR market.  (Additionally, the user needed a high-end gaming computer to truly get both the Rift and Vive to perform to their fullest.  So, break out on another $1,200-$1,500.)

360° Underwater National Park | National Geographic
This 360 VR video can give you an idea without the glasses.

What users really wanted was the Star Trek Holodeck experience, that allowed them to roam around and touch objects in a virtual world.  What they got with the first generation of VR gear was a view into a realm where tactile response was non-existent, and motion sickness was a real possibility. (It sounds like 3d TV all over again, doesn’t it?)  Still, every new technology has to go through a certain amount of teething problems and VR was no exception.

Courtesy of  Pixabay
As for sticker shock, that phase of development came and went quickly, as companies such as Google quickly found a way to eliminate the price headgear altogether with Cardboard, which is as advertised a cardboard VR viewer that works in conjunction with your smartphone.  Soon after came a myriad of low-cost headsets designed for smartphones.  Where VR initiates previously needed to plunk down a grand or so to get into the VR scene, now all a VR wannabe needed to do was buy a VR headset for as little as $19.99 that is adapted to work with a smartphone. With this, you can sample the virtual world for yourself.

Courtesy of  Flickr
While bare bones VR gear won’t give you the kind of capability as high-end systems, they most definitely can get you into the VR game.  I recently purchased a microdrone from Vidius that came with a VR headset that allows me to not only fly my $90 drone while seeing the world from a drone's eye perspective, but I can also use the headset to race cars or tour the Great Pyramid in Egypt when I land.

Spend a little more ($30-$60) on a headset, and you get a wireless controller, along with the promise from the manufacturer that you will experience “No dizzy feeling” when using them.  This is a good thing, because several VR apps, such as those that simulate a roller coaster, still cause me to get a bit queasy.

Courtesy of  Wikimedia Commons
As for experiencing the world ala Star Trek, that is still somewhere in the future. The closest I discovered was designed for use in the world of computer-aided design and manufacture, otherwise known as CAD/CAM, where engineers and even physicians can work in cyberspace on everything from machinery to anatomy and even genetics.  Mind you, some of these systems cost hundreds of thousands of dollars and fill up entire rooms.  But when you think of it, so did computers prior to the birth of the PC.

Whether or not VR will turn the world of personal computing on its head, or just be another hi-tech flash in the pan, is anybody’s guess.  All I can say, is as long as VR systems continue to improve in their capabilities and come down in price, it shouldn’t be too long before we will be able to don a headset and pair of VR gloves and say, “Make it so, Number One!”

In this article, I have discussed how many emerging technologies have impacted our lives. I have discussed some of that have flopped and reviewed VR (virtual Reality) which looks to be quite promising. This article covers specific models like the Oculus Rift, the HTC Vive and Googles cardboard model. Lots of detail links, pictures and video are provided to enhance the reader experience.

If you feel your business could use some help with its marketing, contact us at 904-410-
Get your FREE copy today.
2091. We will provide a free marketing analysis to help you get better results. If you found this article useful please share it with your friends, family, and co-workers. If you would like to learn more about this subject, visit the notes page on this blog for the BlogTalkRadio show dated 1/17/2017. I recommend checking out "The Newest Tech and Tech Trends for the New Year", I-Spies Are Looking for You  and "Upplug and Get Away From it All".  You can also search for other related articles by typing in “Mistakes or Tips” in the search box top of this blog. Also, don't forget to plus us on Google+.  

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Since 1995, Carl Weiss has been helping clients succeed online.  He owns and operates several online marketing businesses, including Working the Web to Win and Jacksonville Video Production. He also co-hosts the weekly radio show, "Working the Web to Win," every Tuesday at 4 p.m. Eastern on BlogTalkRadio.com.

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How to Keep your New Year’s Business Resolution in the 21st Century

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By Hector Cisneros

Every year, millions of businesses set their sights on their biggest achievements for the upcoming year, but only a few actually achieve their goals. Why is this? Why do some companies succeed at a very high level while others languish and struggle to make ends meet? Is it luck? Is it the grace of God? Or can all of it be attributed to research, planning, goal setting and maintaining focus on their goals. In this episode of Working the Web to Win, we will explore why and how companies succeed at meeting their business goals. We will look at what needs to be done to achieve a high level of success, and we will lay it out so that any business who wants to succeed can do it, so let’s get started.

The Initial Planning Phase

Let’s start with what you want to achieve. A great plan encompasses both long-term, annual goals and short-term step goals. Having a big hairy long term goal without creating annual goals or understanding the foundational steps needed to reach the big goal is a sure-fire way to get lost. At my company, we engage in four planning sessions a year. We begin with creating the annual theme and goal for the whole year. We then map out our quarterly goals (our step goals) and further break down the quarterly goals into monthly and weekly goals. For some, it’s easier to work backward from the bigger goal by looking at what must be achieved before each quarterly step, than it is to figure out what’s needed at the very beginning of the whole process.
Courtesy of  Pixabay

Another important aspect of this initial planning process is creating realistic financial goals to go with the project's goals. This includes sales quotas, expenditures, advertising, training needs, transportation and other expenses. Sometimes looking at the financial figures helps you to include all the necessary elements needed to make a realistic annual goal. 

Useful Resources

If you have never done this kind of planning before, it‘s a good idea to get some help. Your local colleges often have programs to help businesses engage in planning as does the local chambers of commerce. In Northeast Florida, U.N.F. has the SBDC (Small Business Development Center). The local Chambers of Commerce also sponsor two useful programs call Marketing Matters and Financial Matters. These programs can help businesses understand the process and help businesses walk through the development of a sound business plan.

Along these same lines, hiring a business coach or a CFO can also be a Godsend to established businesses that feel they are stuck in second gear and are not making progress. We have been using Steve Goranson with Action Coach International, to help us with our planning for more than five years now, and it has helped us stay on track. For larger companies, say in the 2 million dollars a year phase of business a good CFO can make a huge difference. A friend of mine named Tom Comollo has a company called Trusted CFO Services. He goes in and analyzes what a company is doing and looks to discover why they are stuck. He then shows them how to move forward past their challenges so they can make it to the next level.

If your challenge is primarily marketing, some marketing companies will produce a Free marketing analysis to help you understand your position, marketing cost, and options. We do this for our prospects as a way to get our foot in the door. Our Web Presence analysis looks at 15 key marketing factors to help them understand what they are doing now and what they need to do to reach their goals. This is a free service.

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It's Time to Get SMART

Now that we have discussed where to start, we want to look at some of the details that must be adhered to if you want to succeed. First and foremost, your goals need to be S.M.A.R.T. goals. Depending on who you talk to, the acronyms for S.M.A.R.T. can stand for several things. According to an article by Duncan Haughey, S.M.A.R.T. stands for;

- specific, significant, stretching
M - measurable, meaningful, motivational
A - agreed upon, attainable, achievable, acceptable, action-oriented
R - realistic, relevant, reasonable, rewarding, results-oriented
- time-based, time-bound, timely, tangible, trackable

This explanation covers all the definitions I have ever seen for the acronym S.M.A.R.T. so you should get the idea. The whole point of using S.M.A.R.T. goals is that the more closely you can envision the details needed to achieve your goals, the more likely it is that you will engage in the behavior needed to achieve those goals.

Courtesy of flickr.com
Now I want to talk about each of these acronyms and how business often fail at creating real S.M.A.R.T. goals. Let’s start with S for Specific. A goal needs to be very specific. It can’t be just a range of numbers or a phrase like, make more money. It needs to be an exact goal (like a million dollars in sales). It can include a percentage figure like 20% growth in revenue and so on. It should also be important to your business, and it should not be an easy goal to reach. The more detail you can include, the more likely you will achieve the goal.

M is for Measurable. What you measure is very important because what is measured will be your daily, weekly and monthly point of focus. If you measure the wrong thing, you will fail. For example, if your branding your business, it's OK to track page views, click through rate, impressions, engagement, share, and comments. However, if you're selling something, you must track, leads, form fills, phone calls and closed sales. All too often companies don’t set up ways to track which ads, web pages, social sites, or videos are producing their traffic or engagement. They will use one phone number and one form for all their web properties, TV, radio and print ads. This makes it very hard to distinguish which marketing message is working the best. Rarely do small businesses do A/B testing on their ads or web properties. Again, understanding what you’re really measuring is the key to achieving real success.

Courtesy of Pixabay
The A stands for Attainable and action oriented.  It covers a lot of ground. Your goals must be realistic and acceptable at the same time. They need to be agreed upon by your whole team, or someone will be sabotaging your goal. Also, your goal needs to include all the action steps need to make it happen. Often, I see people say I want to sell 100k of XYZ product. When I ask them how will they do that, they usually say something vague like, I will work real hard to get there. Understanding and executing the engaging, actionable and specific steps are what will get you to your goal. Knowing them is a start, doing them is what makes things happen.

R stands for realistic and relevant. It must be a reachable goal, and it must be pertinent to the overall success of the business. It should also make you stretch to reach it. Too often I see pie in the sky goals or worse, weak, easy goals, because people don’t like to fail. For example, they might set a goal to sell the same amount of the easiest items they offer, based on sales figures they know can easily be achieved. Goals need to be set so that they make the business grow and prosper. Anything else is just spinning your wheels.

Courtesy of Free great picture
The last letter is T, and it stands for Time. All goals must have boundaries.  A time limit is critical. Otherwise, your goals are just wishes. They also need to be timely meaning that they will be accomplished within a relevant time frame. If the goal is part of an annual goal, it needs to be accomplished within a year. If it’s a quarterly or weekly goal that is when it must be reached. Saying something like sometime in 2017 doesn’t cut it.

Useful Tools

Now let’s look at some tools that will help you achieve your S.M.A.R.T. goals. The first one I want to mention is your calendar. Once you have created your goals, make sure you populate the goal milestones on to your calendar. This also includes adding things like to do list, resource list and contacts needed. You may find that you need to add some plugins to your calendar, or you may even have to upgrade your capabilities by purchasing a CRM (customer relations management database system).

Courtesy of  Pixabay
If you’re feeling overwhelmed, get some help as I mentioned at the beginning of this article. If your goals include marketing, make sure that any company you are using is engaged and signed on to your S.M.A.R.T. goals. Making sure your goals are congruent with your marketing program is critical. Just telling them that you need 100k in sales isn’t going to cut it. Your marketing company needs to know all the facts as well. For example; they need to know the customers KPI’s (key profit indicators). This includes things like, what is the value of a customer (over a year and lifetime value), what is their closed sales ratio, and how many leads are needed to reach the desired goal.

Get The Message Right

On top of that, they need to make sure they have a marketing message that is compelling and proven. They need a compelling offer and good focused marketing message.  This
often requires market testing, something most small companies feel is too expensive (or that it’s a waste of money). However, the reality is this; if they don’t do the market testing, then their advertising is the only test they have. At Working the Web to Win, we begin our business relationship with clients by first conducting pre-marketing research so that we understand what the customer’s strengths are, what their challenges are, what their competition is doing, what their goals are and what size budget they have to work with. We provide a 15-point web presence analysis to answer their questions before we propose any solution. In most cases, we will provide several options to meet their budgetary needs. This process allows us to provide a cost-effective customer solution. On top of that, it allows us to match our exclusive proprietary technologies to their needs and at the same time provide guarantees that make sure their goals are met.

If your company is struggling with setting and achieving goals, follow the steps laid out in this article. If you’re really having trouble getting started, get some help.  We provide our Web presence analysis free of charge, and many of the programs listed in this article are very cost effective for even a startup micro business. If you feel your business could use some help with its marketing, contact us at 904-410-2091 or fill out the form in the sidebar of this blog, we will provide a free marketing analysis to help you get better results.
Get your FREe copy today.

That's my opinion; I look forward to reading yours.

In this article, I have discussed the steps necessary to create and accomplish your annual business goals.   Listed are more than a dozen other important principles and steps that will ensure your great results. These goal setting and implementation principles will help guide any business down the road of success. Following them makes achieving your goals easier, less frustrating and can propel your business to the next level.

If you found this article useful, please share it with friends, family, and co-workers. You can find other articles on our blog by typing in “marketing” or “Advertising” in the search box at the top of this blog. If you have a useful comment or opinion related to this article, leave it in the comment section of this blog.  Also, don’t forget to plus us, on Google+.


Hector Cisneros is COO and Director of Social Media Marketing at Working the Web to Win, an award-winning Internet marketing company based in Jacksonville, Florida.  He is also co-host of the weekly Internet radio show, "Working the Web to Win" on BlogTalkRadio.com, which airs every Tuesday at 4 p.m. Eastern. Hector is a syndicated writer and published author of “60 Seconds to Success.”

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Echo For The Procescution

By Carl Weiss
Courtesy of  Flickr

“Do you swear to tell the data, the whole data and nothing but the data, so help you Intel?”

“Dwee Doo.”

When you think about it, it almost seems like a plot for a sci-fi movie.  The police, while investigating a murder, bring in for questioning an Android.  Said Android was witness to murder.  The prosecution via the courts compels the Android to testify as to what it heard when the murder occurred.

Best of the Best for 2016 - Blogging and Post Casting Tips

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By Hector Cisneros

2016 is proving to be a seminal year for many in the USA. Our blog reached a million page views, a huge milestone for us. We have seen a sea change in what can happen during an election campaign. We have evolved as a people and as a nation. We, as a company, love writing evergreen articles (ones based on principles) where our readers keep coming back for more. Your readership provides a vote on what types of articles we write. Our taste for all things Internet are changing, the hacker community is relentless in their pursuit of our information and money, the social media giants continue to experiment with their officering’s as we the consumer try to keep a handle on how to use their platforms. Our technological world keeps evolving before our eyes and our articles will continue to help keep you informed. In this week’s episode of Working the Web to Win, we will look back at 2016, covering our best and most read articles and listened to shows. We will do this in a way that will give the reader an insight into our marketing method, some of the ways we measure success and a way to look at blogging that produces great results. So, read on, tune in and turn on to this week’s show as we look at the best of Working the Web in 2016.

The Physic of Marketing - Analogies for the 21st Century

By Hector Cisneros
Courtesy of  Wikipedia

Having been a science major in college, I like to think that the world has order. It follows a set of rules that work within a set of parameters. I believe marketing also follows a set of rules. In physics, we talk about the Laws of nature (some of which you may have heard of). For example; the First Law of Thermodynamics’ which states that - An object at rest stays at rest and an object in motion stays in motion with the same speed and the same direction unless acted upon by an unbalanced force. And the Third Law of Thermodynamics. It states that for every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction. I will also look at the Law of Entropy as I believe it is relevant and is easily understood.  No, this article is not a science lesson - it's an analogy that will reflect how things work in marketing – especially the laws that pertain to getting started, being consistent and creating impact.  This article will explore how the Laws of Physics can be viewed as part of the Social Dynamic Laws of Marketing. We will – through an example – explore the First, Second, Third Laws and the Law of Entropy as they relate to marketing. Reading this article will show you how you can maximize your return on investment with the least amount of effort needed to reach your marketing goals.