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

Courtesy of Pixabay
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's 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. 

Hector The Connector's Internet Marketing Predictions for 2017 and Beyond

By Hector Cisneros

Every year I write my prediction article because it's a fun and useful thing to do. It forces me to do some serious research and to take a hard look at what may happen in the near future. I take prognosticating seriously, even though I know my prognosticating is only as good as my research and instinct. Having said that, I have been right 97% of the times in the last six years. I am sure this year will not be any different. So, tighten your seatbelt and get ready for a wild ride, as I predict the coming year's crazy internet happenings. Here’s what's coming at you.

It's a Black Hat Christmas - Are Hackers in Your Stocking?

Courtesy of
By Hector Cisneros

The holidays are here! It’s almost Christmas. Your shopping for your loved ones, scoping out all the deals when you get an email from your favorite store for an incredible deal. All you have to do is log in and claim your special to win Christmas. What could be easier? Or is it? Every year at this time cybercriminals ramp up and sharpen their social engineering hacker techniques to capture your usernames and passwords. They want to gain access to your digital devices and secure the claim to your financial data. This year, it's time to shop on a smarter level. In this episode of Working the Web to Win, we will show you more than a dozen ways to protect your data and shopping experience to make this holiday special in a positive way. Don’t let the black hat hackers get in your Christmas stocking.

In Christmases of the past, we have written about how cyber thieves and hacking increases during the holidays. This is because so many shoppers are too busy hunting for a deal and not paying attention to their cyber security. First, we wrote about “The Byte Before Christmas” where we talked about the growing trend of cyber hacking during the holidays along with the bad behavior that goes with Black Friday shopping. Then we wrote an article called “The Grinch Goes Digital,” which covers 12 ways online scammers can steal from you this Christmas. Since then, we have written many other articles about the ever-escalating threat of hackers black hat trickery and how worldwide hacking is becoming a threat to our very way of life.

The Magic of Using a Cloud-Based Calendar

BY Hector Cisneros

If you could find a tool that would increase your efficiency for work, add more to your play time and just make your life better.  No, it’s not your smartphone, (although you have an app for one), it's a calendar. The magic of the calendar has transformed human civilization from unorganized tribes to a civilization that builds city and nations. In this episode of Working the Web to Win, we will explore how calendars have allowed humankind to organize itself into a civilization of 8 billion souls. We will explore how a calendar can help you organize and communicate better in business and your personal life. We will look at some of the best cloud-based products and provide tips on how to make the most your calendar.  So, let’s get started.

For the most part, calendars evolved because people began recording the lunar and solar
Courtesy of  Wikipedia
cycles to track and understand when the seasons would change. The first recorded calendar goes back to the bronze age when writing and metallurgy were first developed. Over the years there have been many types of calendars including the mostly lunisolar of the Babylonian, Zoroastrian, Hebrew, Hellenic, Hindu, and Roman. Julius Caesar was first to set a calendar based on an algorithm that added a leap day every four years. Today’s calendar is based on the Gregorian calendar introduced in 1582.

Top-10 Techno Turkeys 2016

By Carl Weiss

With Thanksgiving being just around the corner, I thought I’d take the time to talk about all the techno-turkeys that gobbled up a lot of media time this year.  While they aren’t as tasty as the traditional holiday fare, they certainly left a bad taste in many of our mouths.

The Attributes of a Successful Entrepreneur

By Hector Cisneros
Courtesy of

Have you ever wondered what makes the perfect entrepreneur? Is it knowledge? Technical skill? Connections? The ability to communicate or motivate? Just what is it that makes great entrepreneurs great? In my opinion, it's not just one thing; it’s a whole host of attributes that make great entrepreneurs great. One attribute that overshadows all the others is a desire for self-improvement. In my search to understand and describe the ultimate entrepreneur, I have discovered many attributes that are ascribed to many a great entrepreneur. In this episode of Working the Web to Win, we will explore these attributes from the perspective of my personal search. So read on and find out what we should all be aspiring to learn and emulate.  

Branding Your Business – The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly

By Hector Cisneros
Courtesy of The Blue Diamond Gallery

What is a Brand? Typically, when we talk about a brand, we are speaking about two different things. First, it’s a brand mark of ownership (aka registered logo). Like in the cowboy days when they branded a steer with a mark to prove the cattle was theirs. Second, and more importantly, it has to do with the reputation of the owner, the business entity and business practices. In other words, large companies with longstanding and well-entrenched reputations, have “National or International Brands.” Small, new or unestablished companies only have logos and need to establish a positive reputation.  In other words, they have yet to establish a brand.  In this instance, their logo or registered brand mark comes to represent the owner or business over time. In the beginning, their registered logo only represents ownership of a business, product or service. It’s that businesses operational practices which will build a positive or negative brand over time. In this episode of Working the Web to Win, we will explore in the ins and outs of branding. We will answer how to positively brand your business, how to get customers to spread your brand, what effect does changing your logos have, when should you make a logo change and other important questions that surround branding in general.
Today, large businesses can have many owners, so the brand comes to represent the value and reputation that the company has built for itself. It does this by providing products and services (good or bad) to its customers. For example, IBM used to stand for International Business Machines because they sold typewriters and other business machines. Now IBM stands for a company that sells top-notch computers, electronics, and software. International Business Machines is no longer mentioned as part of the IBM logo (although it is still part of their name). What IBM guards the most, however, is its reputation for providing the most reliable and durable business products and services that a business can buy. There is a saying that goes something like this – “No one ever got fired for buying IBM.” The same is true of any top brand. They are the top brand because they have the best reputation in their respective industry. They have the best reputation for creating the best products, providing the best customer service and ongoing customer support. The logo is only a trigger device that gets you to remember their name and reputation.
Courtesy of  Flickr
Your Logo is not your Brand
When I say your logo is not your brand; I am pointing out the fact that your reputation makes up most of what a brand signifies. People don’t care about the letters “IBM” they care that IBM products and services are considered some of the best in the industry. The Logo is only a marker of ownership. But this is only true if it's registered.
Several years ago, I created a company called Computer Know How, Inc., I created a unique logo, but did not register the logo until I was in business for six years. I soon found myself battling other companies trying to use the name Computer Know How. I had to spend several years proving I was first. Getting my trade name and logo word marked was the biggest help. On top of that, it is very easy for a company to create a similar wordmark and logo that can infringe on your wordmark, and logo (your brand mark)! In these instances, you must have the wherewithal to fight them in court to protect your investment. If not, be prepared to change your logo and wordmarks to differentiate your symbol of ownership and brand.
Those of you who live in Jacksonville, Florida, may remember the logo battle between the Jaguar NFL football team and the Jaguar automobile company when the football team first got started. The football team chose a logo that looked similar to the Jaguar automobile logo, which triggered a logo infringement lawsuit battle between these two companies. It was settled by the NFL Jaguars changing their logo to a Cat head and getting Jaguar auto to be an advertising sponsor.
Courtesy of
Branding over the years
When I think of the quintessential brand, I can close my eyes and see in my mind’s eye the symbols of Coca-Cola, Starbucks, Apple, IBM, Target, Walmart and a few others. More importantly, I identify a positive feeling about these companies! It is important to note that these companies have changed their logo’s over time. Some have re-branded many times. It’s important to remember that brands evolve.
Shared Brands
A Large well-developed brand can share the brand with other companies. This can be accomplished in a couple of ways. One way is that they allow you to use their brand mark on your advertising, digital and print media. Another is where the name brand company inks a deal where they allow another company to market themselves as the brand itself. This usually takes place when a national brand is trying to expand into other countries. They sell rights to use their branding elements in the new territory where they are trying to gain market share.
Branding in other countries
Just because you have a brand registered in the USA, doesn’t mean you own the branding right all over the world. In many countries, you must register your brand in that country as well. Obviously, this can lead to considerable expense for a small company. This is another reason why many successful startups often license their brand, to an established company in a new country versus just registering the brand by itself. The branding deal also usually comes with a set of behavior rules designed to protect the brand's reputation. This way they kill two birds with one stone. Establishing their brand and acquiring market share.
Courtesy of  Flickr
Negative Branding
Most successful brands usually find themselves defending their brand against fakes, often spoofed, or outright negative 3rd party pirate branding.  Check out the article on called Starbucks Logo Mania by BILYANA GEORGIEVA. This article shows not only the evolution of Starbuck’s brand; it also lists shared brands and many 3rd party negative brands.
When is a Brand a Brand Name
For a brand to achieve “Brand Name status,” it needs to have reached and broad recognition. This usually means that the company, product or service is available at least regionally if not nationally. It can be recognized by a very large number of consumers and It normally have some longevity. Small companies only have local brands at best. This is not a bad thing per say. It means that your reputation does not reach outside of your local marketing territory. A local company with a top-notch reputation is still a valuable commodity. This is especially true if the company has put in place codified systems of operation, marketing, distribution, have assets and sales and that they have acquired a positive trusted image.
What makes a Logo and a Good Brand?
A good brand is built not bought. It is acquired by providing excellent customer service, providing a quality product, and providing top-notch customer support after the sale. It is also acquired by consistently producing and engaging in top-notch marketing that consistently emphasizes the brand marks effectively. Think Yeti Coolers. Yeti did not invent the cooler, nor build the longest lasting cooler. They do build great coolers, but more importantly they engage in better marketing. The logo of a well-branded company, product or service includes these elements.
Courtesy of Pixabay
  • Unique
  • Simple
  • Easy to Understand
  • Easy to Remember
  • Stands for Something
On top of that, the logo must be congruent with your businesses core values, positive message, public behaviors, quality of deliverable, customer service, and support.
How to Get Customers to Spread Your Brand
If you want to get consumers to spread your brand, you need to do a great job of taking care of the customer. You need to provide them not only a great product but a great buying experience, a great service experience, and a great support experience. If you’re doing this right, you then need to make sure you are asking them to spread your good name!
Tools and tips for viral marketing
Courtesy of  Pixabay
Today, we live in a very friendly consumer age. Consumers can share their brand experiences easily. In fact, social media drives consumer confidence. Few people buy anything today without looking up product and company rating. Most social networks have built-in rating systems for fan pages. The internet is riddled with rating sites like Yelp, Facebook, LinkedIn, Google+, AngiesList, HomeAdvisor and the like.
If you’re not encouraging your customer to say positive things about your company, your product or services, you’re missing the boat. To make matters worse, if you’re not actively encouraging your clients to provide positive testimonials and ratings, you will only end up with bad reviews. I don’t care how good a company, product or service is, you will one day make someone mad.  On top of that, unethical competitors can post negative reviews, ratings and slanderous remarks with impunity.  So, if you don’t want to end up with only a bad reputation, you must put in place a process that is designed to build a positive reputation (which is the main part of your brand).
When should you Re-Brand your company?
When we are talking about re-branding a company, we are talking about all aspects of the company. A re-branding is a type of rebirth if you will. The logo, the corporate culture, the target market, and marketing emphasis. Yes, you can have a partial re-brand. However, most of these are just a change of marketing logos. A company should consider changing its brand if it has undergone new management to repair negative behavior; it engaged in in the past and now wants to create a new image. Its brand is old, and it is trying to garner a new market share. Examples could include; attracting a younger clientele or entering a different country where the culture is very different. A negative event has taken place (like the BP oil spill), and the company is if full image repair mode. And finally, your brand is undifferentiated, similar or is infringing on someone’s else brand. Here is my short list. 
Courtesy of  Wikipedia
  • You have a negative reputation
  • Your brand is Old and Stale
  • You have changed Market Focus
  • You have Changed Region with a Different Culture
  • Your brand is undifferentiated or too similar
  • Your brand is infringing on someone else’s brand.
What effects do changing your Logo have?
In many cases, if you’re a small company, changing your logo has little effect unless you have had that logo for a long time. Even then, this change will only affect the current clientele you have now. Unless you spend resources, marketing and reinforcing your new brand mark (i.e. Logo), little notice will take place. If you are re-branding your company, you will need to engage in some aggressive marketing to spread the word about your new found corporate culture, product quality, new found customer service and support, or no one will notice. Let's look at some examples.
The Good
Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons
Coca-Cola has been around for over a century. It has changed its logo many times. It has even changed Coke, its flagship product ingredients, several times. Each time Coca-Cola made a change, they did it with great fanfare (and marketing expenditures). Sometimes they hit a home run, other times the change was a big failure that caused the company to backtrack and re-release the older product.  However, they always produce a high-quality product based on consumer research. When their customer base voted with their pocketbooks and disapproval letters, Coca-Cola listened and made this right. Coca-Cola has remained the number one brand in the world for as long as I can remember. I attribute this to the fact that Coca-Cola listens to the consumer, spends the money needed to re-brand, has a great marketing team and always makes things right for the consumers.
The Bad
Courtesy of  Wikimedia Commons
Microsoft is another good example. They launched Windows 8 with great fanfare and a huge capital marketing campaign. No matter how much Microsoft spent and tried to convince people to use Windows 8, the marketplace rejected it. This happened for many reasons, including it was very different than Windows 7 (a well-liked and proven product), it was filled with bugs, and quite frankly, it was poorly designed. As many of my friends said, no amount of lipstick would make that pig kissable. You can read more about this when you read about Microsoft latest upgrade to Windows 10.
Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons
BP Oil always had a good reputation for a high-quality petroleum product. This was true until April 20, 2010, when the Deep Horizon disaster created what is now known as the BP oil spill.  This oil spill caused a tremendous ecological disaster that not only damaged the environment, it devastated the fishing and tourist industries of the Golf Coast and ruined hundreds of thousands of people's economic lives. BP ended up changing all its top management in the region, paid out billions of dollars in fines and restitution from multiple lawsuits and was stuck with a terrible image of a company that does not care for the environment or the people of the Golf Coast. A place where they have thousands of employees.
Courtesy of  Flickr
So, what did BP do? They changed their logo to one that looks more environmentally friendly and created programs (beyond the lawsuit money) to rebuild the communities that were destroyed by the disaster. They embarked on a massive marketing campaign to prove they cared about the Golf Coast. They wanted to show that they could be environmentally friendly. Some of the ads showed off their community rebuilding programs. The ads showed people cleaning and protecting wildlife and cleaning the environment. Some ads showed off the billions they were spending to make things right! These commercials didn’t try to sell any of their products. They were selling themselves as a caring company. Seven years have passed, and BP is slowly making a comeback on the Golf Coast.
The Ugly
JC Penny has been a staple of Americana shopping for over a hundred years. At one time the JC stood for James Cash Penny, the founder of the company in 1875. The company became known as J.C. Penny in 1902 when it was incorporated and began its growth era. Like many old companies, it has had many logos. Fast forward to the 21st century and in 2012 J.C. Penny
Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons
updated its logo to just the letter JCP, based on the directive of their CEO Ron Johnson. This new logo was considered a rebranding of the company.   However, J.C. Penny did not change its corporate culture, target market, upgrade its customer service or anything like that. In essence, they did not re-brand themselves as something new or changed. They just changed the brand mark (the logo on the marketing materials). Because they did not rebrand themselves as something new, the re-brand campaign fell flat on its face. Not only did the re-brand fail, it prompted a revert to the previous brand logo, followed by several more logo changes over the next few years. This is what happens when a company confuses re-branding (which must include some new change, direction or target market) and changing the logo.
Our Story
Working the Web to Win - My company's name is actually WSquared Media Group, LLC. When we
Courtesy of WTWTW
founded our company, our intent was to create WebTV shows for businesses along with all the promoting and marketing need to make those shows successful. After about a year in business, we were only producing a few WebTV shows a year, and we had branched out into more than two dozen digital marketing products. Our target market had widened into several market segments, and we were now catering to different size businesses to go with the few bigger ones who wanted us to create their WebTV show. We had also embarked into doing our own BlogTalkRadio show called Working the Web to Win. This show was tied to our blog (the fodder for the show) and was produced and broadcast live every week since January 2012. By 2014 the show had become very popular, generating as many as 30,000 downloads for one show and the blog was producing enough monthly traffic (about 20,000+ page views a month) that we could monetize it. In 2014, we decided to rebrand ourselves with an emphasis on the WWW in the Working the Web to Win name. Our re-branding 
was prompted by the fact that people knew us by the show name. We had reached not only regional recognition but international recognition as well. We changed all our marketing to emphasize the new logo and created a set of core principles (our six guarantees) to go with it. I even changed my BNI 60 second presentation to reflect the re-brand. My catch phrase goes; This is Hector the connector with Working the Web to Win, creating Internet Marketing that delivers in the 21st Century Guaranteed.
Courtesy of
If you want to create a brand that stands the test of time, make sure your focus is on delivering great products, excellent customer service, and support after the sale. Be ready to spend time creating your core values, your unique selling propositions, understanding your target market and customer base. Once, these elements are in place; you are then ready to engage in the creative process of developing your brand mark (aka logo).  Having a logo is not branding. Using your logo on everything is only part of the branding process. Make sure you build a positive reputation and then protect that reputation with all the resources you can afford. After all, the bulk of your brand is your reputation; your logo is merely the mnemonic trigger stamped on your marketing materials.
That’s my opinion; I look forward to reading yours.
In this article, I have discussed what a Brand is, and what it is not. I have included many examples of different kinds of branding and discussed re-brand issues, including when should a company Re-brand and what’s involved in that process. I have also included several links to other articles that provide further detail on this subject.
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If you’d like to read more articles like this, enter the term “Branding or Marketing” in the search box at the top of this blog. I recommend reading
Understanding the Difference Between Branding, Marketing and Advertising for starters.

If you feel your business could use some marketing help, contact us at 904-410-2091, and we will provide a free marketing analysis to help, you get better results. If you found this article useful, please share it with friends, family, coworkers and associates.  If you have something to add related to this article or have a different opinion, place them in the Comments section below. 

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Hector Cisneros is a partner, COO and Social Media Director for the award-winning, Internet-based marketing firm, 
Working the Web to Win, in Jacksonville, FL. You can connect with him on TwitterFacebookGoogle+, LinkedIn, and YouTube. He’s also the co-host of BlogTalkRadio’s “Working the Web to Win,” where he Carl Weiss, make working the web to win simple for every business. He's a published author of two books, "60 Seconds to Success"(available at Amazon and B&N), and "Internet Marketing for the 21st Century," which you can get by filling out the form above.  He’s also the co-author of the book, “Working the Web to Win,” which is now available on

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No Ifs, Ands or Bots

Courtesy of  Flickr
By Carl Weiss

If you think that household robots are a thing of the future, think again. Robots are starting to poke their heads up everywhere.  Whereas little as a few years ago. The only personal robots were those that swept up after you, the next generation of bots are being primed to do everything from entertaining your children, to performing surgery.  More importantly, the rise of artificial intelligence means that before you know it, you could be competing with bots for jobs.  If you don’t know your droid from a hole in the ground, stay tuned as I part the curtains to show you what’s what with bots.

Robots that Rocked the Millenium
Courtesy of Wikipedi

1998 Furby

While everyone in the 20th century was familiar with movie droids like R2D2 and 3CPO, by the turn of the century, household robots were little more than toys.  Take the Furby, for instance.  Looking like a cross between a gremlin and an owl, this robotic plaything sold nearly 2 million units in 1998 alone.    While these furry bots don’t do much more than blink their eyelids, wiggle their ears and talk, their appeal was in the fact that they came out of the box speaking only Furbish and you as the owner, would teach Furby English.   They also had various pressure sensors such as on their belly and inside their mouths that when pressed would elicit a response.  The unit also came with an infrared sensor that allowed it to communicate with other Furbies.  While amusing, these turn of the century bots didn’t have any practical applications other than entertainment. ( Furby later went on to sell more than 40 million units.)

1999 Aibo

So if you can’t have a robot friend, how about a robotic variant of man’s best friend?  Sony Robotics launched Aibo, the robotic dog in 1999.  This little doggie wagged its tail, did play bows, walked on all fours and did a little doggie dance.  While it won’t fetch your slippers, it also doesn’t need to be house-trained.  It also likes to play with a ball.  While it doesn’t bite or bark, it will give you its paw.  Sony stopped making them in 2006 when they shut their robotic division down.  But you can still find them for sale on eBay and Amazon in the $500-$700 range.  Good dog!

2000 Asimo

Courtesy of  Wikimedia Commons
That’s not to say that super cool robots weren’t being developed at the turn of the century.  They were.  They just weren’t being sold to the general public.  2000 saw the birth of Asimo by, of all things, Honda.  Yeah, the same company that makes cars and motorcycles.  While most people think that the robot got its name by shortening the monicker of I Robot author Isaac Asimov, Asimo actually stands for Advanced Step in Innovative Mobility.  And the Step part of the title is the key, because Asimo walks, trots, climbs stairs and even kicks soccer balls. 

Looking like a 4-foot tall astronaut, Asimo was designed with service in mind.  Made of magnesium covered with plastic, this bipedal droid was created to assist its human owners.  The rub is that to date; Honda has never offered the unit for sale, which is a shame since this is exactly what the average homeowner wants.  The problem is that each unit costs 6-figures to produce.  As a result, Asimo has served as a kind of robot ambassador by going on a worldwide tour during the years 2003 to 2005.  So if you are in the market for a robot maid like Rosey the Robot, you’re just going to have to wait. 

Courtesy of  Wikimedia Commons
2002 Roomba

While not exactly a maid, the Roomba was made to sweep floors all by itself.  Once activated, the droid which looks like a rolling floor scale navigates your home by using sensors to detect dirt, as well as change directions whenever it encounters an obstacle.  It also keeps an electronic eye out for steep drops to keep it from taking a tumble down the stairs.  (As of 2016, there have been seven generations of Roomba.)  When one considers that more than 10 million units have been sold, then one would have to say that iRobot, maker of the Roomba, is the one that really cleaned up.

Designed by Mark Tilden and produced by Wow Wee Toys, was an advanced remote controlled robotic toy that walked, talked (sort of), danced, picked up objects (sometimes) and tried his best to do his owners bidding.  Standing at just over a foot tall, the bipedal bot sold more than 1.4 million units in 2004 alone.  When you consider that each unit costs in the neighborhood of $100, this is a lot of bot for the buck.  Another first for Robosapien was its participation in the world’s first soccer tournament for humanoid robots that took place at the German Open in 2005.

2007 Pleo the Dinosaur

For all of you waiting for a real live Jurassic Park moment, how does a robotic baby dinosaur grab you?  While he won’t menace you and your family, Pleo does have a tendency to nip at fingers.  He also likes to be stroked like a cat and tickled. Like any respectable baby Dino, he will also toddle around the floor.  ($639 on Amazon)

2010 World’s 1st Robot Chorus Line
While they may not give the Rockettes a run for their money, on June 21, 2010, twenty nao robots strutted their stuff on stage to Rabel’s Bolero.  Similar articulated robots are available on Amazon for $420 that dance, do yoga and perform kung fu moves.  Can you say robotic Bruce Lee?

The Best Bots of 2015/2016

Robomow RC306

If you thought the Roomba was a great way to avoid the drudgery of vacuuming, wait until you meet Robomow, the robotic lawn mower.  For 1,200, you get a lawnbot that not only knows its way around your yard, but it knows its way home to its charger.  It even comes with an app that you can use to phone home to tell Robomow when to do its thing.  Your teenager will thank you.

iRobot Looj

Here’s a solution to another dirty job, cleaning out the gutters.  iRobot, the same company that makes the Roomba has created the Looj, the gutter cleaning robot.  I am not making this up.  All that is required is for you to climb a ladder and place Looj on the gutter so it can do its thing.  Looking like a cross between a tiny toy tank and an alley cat, this $300 handybot.

Gourmia GCR-1700 10-in-1 

Programmable Multi Cooker with Exclusive Robotic Hands-Free StirrerYou’ve heard the old adage, “A watched pot never boils?”  Now kitchen appliance maker Gourmia has developed an automated cooker that purportedly can stir and cook all kinds of meals for you at the touch of a button.  While it won’t put the likes of Emeril Lagasse out of business, if you’re all thumbs in the kitchen, you might want to check out this robot chef. ($129 on Amazon.)

Coming to a Store Near You

While all of these bots are interesting, entertaining and even useful, they are still a far cry from being anywhere as intelligent as the movie version of R2D2, not to mention 3CPO.  So when can we expect to see droids that can truly interact with us?

JIBO (Pronounced Gee-Bow)

Touted as the world’s first family robot, Jibo is different from every bot that has come before.  While he doesn’t get around, he moves around, able to swivel his head 360 degrees to track you and yours.  Why would you want him to do that?  He is a terrific cameraman that can capture those magic moments in stills or video.  He’s also the ultimate digital assistant, capable of keeping you up to date with your busy schedule. He’s a storyteller and a digital valet that can order take out and turn on the lights when you enter a room.  So when can you get a Jibo of your own?  Soon, if the folks at have anything to say about it. All you can do for now is sign up for their prelaunch waitlist.

Autonomous AI Personal Robot

Here is a Jibo on a stick that was crowdsourced on kickstarter.  Purportedly able to do most everything that Jibo can and then some, this $1,499 personal digital assistant on steroids is touted as the world’s first artificial intelligence personal robot, she can get around on wheels as she interacts with you throughout your busy day.  She can wake you up in the morning, start the coffee and help you plan your day.  Heck, she can give you fashion tips, keep track of your vital statistics and participate in office meetings, if you can believe her press releases.  She’s supposed to start shipping on April 30, 2017.

Courtesy of Pixabay
No article about bot would be complete without mention droids from Star Wars. In fact, R2D2 was one of the first take home droids to follow voice commands to scout your house or act as a guard to warn you when someone was coming. Ofcourse it could also follow prorammed routs and routines. New StarWrs fan will be happy to know that the cute BB8 droid is has been available to take home since last Christmas when the new episode came out. Like its prediseor R2D2, it can accept programs to perform many different type of task. The coolest thing is it rolls around just like the one in the movie. Here is a list of features from VAT19 website;
  • Controllable and interactive spherical droid
  • Bluetooth-enabled RC droid compatible with iOS and Android 4.4.2+
  • Listens and responds to voice commands
  • “Projects” holographic communications via augmented reality
  • Autonomous behavior and adaptive personality
  • Officially-licensed Star Wars product
  • Includes: BB-8 droid, inductive charging cradle, USB cable
  • External material: painted plastic

The bottom line on personal bots is that while Star Wars fans might have to wait a bit longer before they can have a smart droid of their very own, at this juncture the prospect isn’t in a galaxy far away.

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In this article, I have discussed the current state of bot technology, especially for personal use. I have covered what I believe are the 12 best personal bot develop since 1998 through the present. Lots of detail, pictures and video are provided for the reader to view and explore.

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Carl Weiss is president of a digital marketing agency in Jacksonville, Florida that routinely works with bloggers and other online marketers

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