Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Long Term Happy Investments during Sad Economy

When the economy suffers, there are few that can claim they made good investments that did not depreciate. There is however a currency which has not depreciated as did the rest of the market. This type of currency is not money; it is in fact, our own capabilities.
The question is, what are we, as individuals, choose to do with that currency? This question should be asked at any given moment in life, but even more important now in light of the current sadness of the economy.

Generally speaking, I agree that time is money, and an individual’s time should have a price and one should be compensated for time invested. In a startup situation, it is my conviction that time invested by saying the founders have to be compensated as if they are investors in the company using equity, debt or salary.

Sometimes, however, as entrepreneurs at the concept stage, we find ourselves investing mostly free time (i.e. with low alternative cost) without an instant reward in something we believe in and passionate about. This type of investment, seems to me, to encapsulate a much smaller investment risk with high upside potential, than investing your hard earned money in the stock market.

I often look at other entrepreneurs and programmers, who decide to invest time, in essence, put their personal currency to work, in ideas they believe will create opportunities as the economy recovers or the project takes off. Sometimes the investment starts small as a free time project, then momentum is built and it becomes a part-time job, then investors come in (or maybe you are lucky to not need them) and eventually, this becomes your paid day job. Sometimes it doesn’t and you gain experience and knowledge for the next one, but even then there is almost always some sort of direct or indirect long term “tax-free” gain.

Personally, I invest my time in making sure the company I work for, Phone.com, is doing its best while I try to use my free time to gel new ideas into convincing power point presentations. To make even better use of that time I often do this process with my kids, just in the same way my father has done with me since I was a kid (and still does today), where we drive a creative process of sifting through project ideas and problem-solving, as a part of our quality time. I run my ideas with my kids who often contribute, and we work together to develop their own ideas, programs, and presentations. I am sure that directly or indirectly those time investments may one day become assets. I see this process as my kids’ backup plan, kind of a boot camp preparation and a way of building arsenal for whatever life will throw at them or at me. Plus it’s a fun way to use quality time.

So, here s one for you, if you are a creative software developer with entrepreneurial aspiration look at my blog post about doing business with linked-in written by Ronen Mizrahi and myself, as an example for such a project idea. The fact is that we composed and patented the concept in hope that we can shape our own future by creating a tool that helps entrepreneurs meet funding solutions and partners, faster than usual.

We believe that once implemented, this linked-in project is poised to succeed. If you are a capable software developer who values your free time and wants to be part of a free time embryonic low key entrepreneurial process, here is what we look for: We need you to understand social networks, the open social API and how to apply that knowledge to develop a Linked-In application. If you are open to the idea of investing your free time and fancy the project we want you to become part of the process and its potential success. Invest some of your free time to develop the application based on our patent and help all of us do better business, find investors, or just develop our own capabilities and experience to the next level.

Happy Holidays,
Alon Cohen

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Innovation in the Network DVR space

By: Alon Cohen

A good friend of mine CEO of Tversity mentioned to me the story about the networked DVR innovation planned by Cablevision and how they were sued based on their press release. For now it seems they won the first battle in this space.

They still promise Network DVR 'Early Next Year, though legal fight against entertainment industry may continue (Thursday Sep 11 2008 by Karl Bode)

“Despite the fact their recent court victory may head to the Supreme Court, Cablevision insists that their network DVR concept should show up sometime early next year. "We won a monumental case and all the things that we thought we could do, the court agreed with, so we're ready to go to market with that product," says Cablevision COO Tom Rutledge….”

Being involved, as a Prior Art witness, in some of the VoIP law suites out there and a consultant on those matters, I can smell the next phase of lawsuits moving to the IPTV/DVR space. Since I still own about 4 shares of VocalTec (NASDAQ: VOCL), from the time I founded the company, I have decided to air this story as potential opportunity for them to maybe monetize the VocalTec Patent I filed 12 years ago, while it still have merits. This is specifically true as the legal reality is that patents become wider and cover more as they grow old.

The patent was filed prior to the launch of the VocalTec iWave product in 1996, just about year after we launched the VocalTec iPhone in Feb 1995.

The patent which I filed is captioned. “System and Method for distributing multi-media presentations in a computer network” US5751968

It discusses system and methods to create an efficient distribution of multimedia content while providing time shifting capabilities as part of the process, both for recorded and live content.

Computer networks, in particular the internet, allowed users (at the time) to download files in order to play them. This was a slow process needless to say. The object of the invention was to provide an improved method for distribution of multimedia presentations of all sorts to users having a display connected to a network. Another objective was to provide the presentations in substantially real time, while enabling a user to selectively display portions of the presentations or re-display them using any desired delay.

In other words what we are now calling a network DVR.

The patent was also filed internationally at EP0850451, WO9712447, US5751968, NZ316616 JP11512893.

Obviously you are welcome to read about this patent or drop me a note and I will be happy to tell you how I envisioned the distribution process and why I thought at the time and still believe that one can build a very nice distribution network using conventional web servers rather than dedicated media servers. In fact the patent even describes the basics of a cashing CDN that drives the content to the edge of the network.

Well Cablevision, if you think I can help, I am here. I do pay you too much in my opinion as it is. Let me know if I can help you reduce my monthly bills in any way.

For the rest of you, if you are interested in this space, enjoy the reading.


Wednesday, October 8, 2008

מונסטר ונצ'ר פרטנרס רוכשת את הסטארט-אפ הישראלי ביטווין

ביטווין, מתוך אתר החברה | צלם: יח"צ

ביטווין מקשרת בין גולשים המחפשים עצות ליועצים מקצועיים במגוון תחומים. אלעד בר-און, מנכ"ל החברה: "הטכנולוגיה שלנו טובה מזו של קסמבה"

05.10.08 | 13:05  גיא גרימלנד
Israeli Hi-Tech and Startups

חברת הסטארט-אפ האמריקאית ישראלית ביטווין (Bitwine) נמכרת לקרן ההון סיכון מונסטר ונצ'ר פרטנרס (Monster Venture Partners). על פי הבלוג הטכנולוגי טק קראנץ', הקרן תודיע על רכישת אחזקות בחברה מחר (יום ב'). בפוסט מציין מייקל ארינגטון כי במסגרת ההודעה על הרכישה צפוי אלעד בר-און, מנכ"ל החברה, להתמנות לנשיא ומנהל טכנולוגי ראשי, כשאת את תפקידו ימלא רוני גוריון (שאינו ישראלי). פרטי הרכישה לא פורסמו.

ביטווין מציעה לגולשים יעוץ בכל נושא שבעולם: עסקים, בריאות, תזונה ומה לא. התהליך הוא פשוט. היכנסו לאתר, מצאו את היועץ המועדף עליכם והתקשרו איתו. חלק מהיועצים הם בתשלום. הקשר בין הגולשים ליועצים מתבצע באמצעות טלפונים רגילים ותוכנות VoIP (כמו סקייפ). בקרן מונסטר מסבירים כי הטכנולוגיה של ביטווין תסייע למספר חברות בפורטפוליו של הקרן, כשבין היתר מדובר ב-,Questions.com ,Careers.org ,Patents.com Traveler.com ו-Slideshow.com.

בראיון ל-TheMarker אומר בר-און כי ביטווין פיתחה פלטפורמה טכנולוגית המאפשרת ליועצים מקצועיים, למשל מורים פרטיים או פסיכולוגיים, להציע שירותים לגולשים. "כך יכולים אנשים ממרחק של מאות קילומטרים לקבל ייעוץ. הפלטפורמה שפיתחנו תומכת גם בוידאו. אנחנו מאפשרים התקשרות באמצעות וידאו בתוכנת סקייפ. שותפים נוספים שלנו הם חברת ג'אג'ה שמאפשרת לנו להציע שיחות Call Back". עוד הוא מסביר, כי לחיצה על הכפתור באתר תפתח תיבת שיח של צ'אט אינטראקטיבי בסגנון IM (מסרים מיידיים), ובמקביל ישנה אפשרות להתקשר ליועץ בטלפון.

אם אני מבין נכון, המתחרה שלכם, חברת קסמבה הישראלית, מציעה אתר שמרכז מומחים ויועצים בעוד אתם מתמקדים בפלפטורמה שמקשרת בין השניים.

"קסמבה היא אתר מתחרה, אבל אנחנו סבורים שהטכנולוגיה שפיתחנו היא טובה יותר. המטרה שלנו היא להציע את הפלפטורמה הטכנולוגיה לשותפים שלנו, וזו בעצם מהות העסקה הנוכחית: להטמיע את הפלפטורמה אצל יותר שותפים, בתחילה בחברות הפורטפוליו של הקרן ולאחר מכן אצל שותפים נוספים. יש לנו כבר שותפות עם חברת IDG. הם מציעים יעוץ של מומחים בתחום ה-IT. הדגש שלנו הוא לאפשר לכל שותף לתקשר עם אנשים ברשת באמצעות הפלטפורמה הטכנולוגית שלנו. מעבר לכך, הפלטפורמה שלנו מאפשרת למצוא את היועץ המתאים לפי ציונים".

ביטווין היא חברת סטארט-אפ ישראלית בעלת משרדים בכפר שמריהו וניו-ג'רסי, ומונה בסך הכל שבעה עובדים. בר-און מגדיר אותה כ"חברה וירטואלית ללא משרדים", כיאה ללא מעט חברות אינטרנט אחרות. היקף הרכישה לא פורסם, אך בר-און אומר כי לא מדובר ברכישה מהסוג של ווייל על ידי מיקרוסופט (ברון היה המנכ"ל של ווייל שנמכרה למיקרוסופט עבור סכום העולה על כ-70 מיליון דולר). "מדובר ברכישה טכנולוגית", הוא מציין אך נמנע מלפרט. ההערכות הן שמדובר בסכום שנע בין מאות אלפי דולרים לכמה מיליוני דולרים בלבד, אך לכך, כאמור, אין אישור רשמי.

מייסד שותף נוסף בחברה הוא אלון כהן, אחד היזמים של ווקלטק. "הוא הגיע עם הרעיון הראשוני", מתגמל בר-און את שותפו בקרדיט. הרכישה הנוכחית היא חריגה במקצת שכן הרוכשת היא לא חברה טכנולוגית גדולה, אלא קרן הון סיכון. גם בר-און מודע לכך ומספר שהקשר נוצר די במקריות. "אלון כהן וחברים נוספים יצרו את הקשר. היזם של הקרן, רוב מונסטר, התלהב, וחשב שהטכנולוגיה שלנו מתאימה לחברות פורטפוליו שלו".

באמצע: אלעד בר-און
עדכון אחרון: 14:28, 05/10/2008

Source: http://it.themarker.com/tmit/article/4589 

Sunday, July 6, 2008

The Future for Skiing and Skating is here

By: Alon Cohen http://alonc.blogspot.com/

The RedSeaMobile Invented in Israel, is still somewhat ugly and still clunky, but it is doing a good a job as it first of a kind prototype. Imagine the pod racing in star wars without the antigravity nonsense and you got yourself a RedSeaMobile. The RedSeaMobile takes skiing, skating, and in-line skating to the next level in terms of sports’ action, speed, terrain, distance season and accessibility. What so far were inaccessible places for skaters, like going uphill just to be sliding back down at speeds beyond comprehension or, sliding across flat sands in the desert using ski’s, or using larger wheel skates for miles long rides along the shoreline, are now a reality (well as soon as this become widely available).

It seems like a good Skater can derive lots of fun and sporting action out of this device.

I had the privilege to contribute a few small ideas myself to the inventors and building team composed of the two most creative people I have seen, Hagai Cohen and Mel Rosenberg while they were creating the prototype. The prototype was patented and then unveiled this year at the Kinernet geek convention in Israel alongside inventions from famous people and companies like Google, Jeff Pulver, and other Israeli inventors including Yossi Vardi the legendary father of ICQ who is also one the organizers of the event.

It seems like the RedSeaMobil team is in need of a younger and more experienced skater/test driver to really show the unit's capabilities, but I am sure there will be lots of volunteers who would like to make history.

The word is that the team is now working on a green version to meet California’s Environmental regulations.

In the video, you can see Mel (in his fifties) using the RedSeaMobil in relative ease but in a somewhat reserved manner which is acceptable to his age and skating experience.
Enjoy the Video.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Social Network Backup Anyone?

By: Alon Cohen - See me or call me

Backup is probably one of things that everyone wants to have but afraid to ask about (knock on wood). It is also probably the last thing anyone wants to hear about so I will keep that post brief.

I am sure all of you keep backups of your Pictures, Audio Files, Work files, yeah I know.. but what about your Facebook account or your MySpace friends list? For some people this is not critical, having about 5 friends is not something to write home about, but if you are someone like say Jeff Pulver with more than 5000 friends, or someone that rely on Facebook as part of your day to day operation or livelihood, like some event organizers, you need to take that backup into consideration.

So what could happen to your Facebook friends you ask? Well, how about some arbitrary guy at Facebook support decides that promoting your event is against the site regulations and all of what Facebook Term of Service stands for?

After all you state that “You understand that except for advertising programs offered by us on the Site (e.g., Facebook Flyers, Facebook Marketplace), the Service and the Site are available for your personal, non-commercial use only.”

Be aware that you may be receiving the following notice:

“You made one or more wall posts that violated our Terms of Use. Among other things, posts that are hateful, threatening, or obscene are not allowed. We also take down posts that attack an individual or group, or advertise a product or service. Continued misuse of Facebook's features could result in your account being disabled.”

And if you insist and say that you have not even posted anything in the past year you get:

“We do not allow users to send messages promoting or advertising a product, service, or opportunity. It is a violation of Facebook's Terms of Use to repeatedly send the same message or to make the same post.

Facebook prides itself in protecting users from spam, and we take this standard very seriously. You have been abusing the features of the site in a way that is not permitted. I'm sorry, but you will no longer be able to use Facebook. We will not be able to reactivate this account for any reason. This decision is final.”

Unfortunately you don’t have any recourse or anyone to talk to and your social network in which you have invested countless hours for building and pruning is now gone forever.

If you know of any friends-backup application for Facebook, let me know.

I like Facebook, but beware nothing is perfect.

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Making Linked-In the Best Business Oriented Social Network

Or, Incentive based referral system and method for social networks.

By: Alon Cohen & Ronen Mizrahi

Linked-In is one of the earliest business social networks and as such inspired great hopes of simple access to people for the purpose of doing business. The hopes were for direct or friend-assisted access to individuals you want to do business with, which may be in your network up to a certain degree of separation.

Many of those who actually tried using the network as business tool report a complete failure. Here are some bloggers sharing their experience:

Seamus McCauley states in post at Virtual Economics
: “Here’s the problem with LinkedIn - it doesn’t do anything. You sign up, you find some colleagues, you link to them and then…nothing.”

So have others Including Jeff Pulver, who completely gave up on Linked-In and moved to Facebook.

Our experience is that even using the paid version of linked-in for direct access does not help a bit. The only people you really gained access to, were the people you already knew beforehand, and all the rest of the millions on the network remained inaccessible.

One can only assume that Linked-in invested vast amounts of development time into the referral mechanisms just to discover that it doesn’t work in the real world. The network’s main value is apparently manifested as a repository of resumes and as an active update mechanism that generates notifications as friends find to new jobs.

The problem, as we identified it, was not the concept of the friendly referrals but rather the lack of incentive for people to propagate introduction requests, specifically in fear that they may not be up to par, and the lack of a method to evaluate the request and determine whether passing it on will undermine their reputation in the eyes of the receiving party or reinforce it. In other words am I doing the receiver a favor or am I wasting their time with junk. Plus what’s in it for me?

The idea is to create a clear incentive path and a tracking mechanism for deals that materialize due to referral actions taken by individuals, with the intention to make business introductions facilitated by a social network significantly more efficient when compared to pre-existing methods.

This is similar to the efficiencies social networks added to other forms of communications between friends such as selective sharing of news, photos and other personal data.

Business referrals among friends has been taking place in the world long before the Internet came along, yet it has not been made more efficient or monetized by social networks yet, like other social activities have.

The Internet and specifically social networks provide the underlying infrastructure to do just that with the potential to track the referral and its path in the network and to keep all parties updated with respect to the referral progress.

As an example if I knew that by referring a start-up to an NBC executive I will receive 1% or so of a multimillion dollar in case the deal is closed, I will probably do my best to forward the referral request, and even make an effort to find the correct next link to ensure higher success probability of the referral.

Think about helping an entrepreneur get to a VC for a few million dollar funding deal, or for that matter, any other deal that is easily quantifiable. I am sure you can think of some as you read those lines.

Obviously the network will monetize its database by taking its own 1% or so commission from those “few” multimillion dollar deals.

The provisional patent described here was filed and it is depicting a method and mechanics associated with incentivizing and monetizing the referral system in business social networks such as Facebook, MySpace, Linked In, Xing, Plaxo or Pulse and can fit other social networks used for Dating and Matching, as such it is not limited to the business domain.

Third-parties currently working on social network projects and APIs (Google, Open Social and so on) may also implement it across several social networks such that the referral path may span and can be tracked across seemingly unconnected networks.

The inventors are happy to negotiate licensing terms with interesting parties that want to own the patent and its priority date.

In a year from now (April 7th 2009), this patent will officially lose its priority date and will be available, royalty free, to all social networks. Take that as our own contribution to the social networking world, and yes, we need this to work. We are already in discussions with few parties, so if you are the CEO of a social network straggling to differentiate and compete, or a Biz-Dev guy for that matter, with those companies, don’t let this slip between your fingers, be among the first to contact us.

For more information, please c
ontact: Alon alonc@netvision.net.il, or Ronen ronenmiz@gmail.com

Monday, March 3, 2008

Making Money out of Patents

By: Alon Cohen - See me or call me

In general I think patents are a waste of time, specifically for the inventors. A patent is merely the right to sue someone, not a cash register, in fact, until you can actually sue someone it is nothing but a drain on your resources.

Most “business” models around patents involve suing companies that infringe on the patent, or threatening them, or selling the patents to the companies that can sue the people that potentially infringe, or having some legal firm help take the legal cost of suing on some contingency base.

It is all about a long legal fight that an inventor / patent owner has to initiate in case he/she was lucky to invent something useful. It seems what is required from the inventor is to be a lawyer, or at least have some affinity for legal battles.

In my mind a complete waste of time for society, just the opposite of the original idea of patents that were design to compensate and encourage people to invent and share for the good of all mankind. It seems that since the only people enjoying that legal economy are the legal firms, maybe they should encourage people to file patents on their firm’s dime.

During the summer (as I was visiting Israel) I encountered an interesting initiative from Procter and Gamble. The company has Identified Israel as a source of innovation and decided to shorten the process from innovation to market or from innovation to inventor compensation. In fact they opened an office where they encourage people to come up with an innovation and a business model, what ever that might be, and if the concept is good and match the company’s goals, and makes sense business wise, they will pay, and potentially take it to market. This is great news for inventors and for Israeli entrepreneurs since most VCs in Israel do not touch tangible-consumer-goods startups.

I can happily attest to the P&G process. During summer 2007, I entered a P&G contest, where they were in a search of a technological solution for a specific improvement of a popular consumer product. I presented a solution and won the contest, and yes they even paid. In my case one-time fee, as was agreed as part of the contest rules. Few weeks ago, Feb 2008, they opened the model for others to come and bring them ideas. Check P&G’s Israel office, or ask me how.

In many cases, where an individual file for a patent during the course his/her job, the patent legal work is paid for by the company and the patent is assigned to the company and not to the individual. In many cases, companies that are not trigger happy will never sue others for infringement as it may be too distracting for their day to day operation, or simply bad PR.

On my record, I have at least one patent that might be “legally monetized” the patent has to do with network based time shifting of radio and television broadcasts in essence a “network based TIVO”. If you have the time on interest find it here.

As I am really fed up with the patent legal process (and find it boring), I am trying to think of new innovative ways to make money out of innovation which is interesting. In a sense I am looking for a quick way to flush the potential of a patent if such potential exists.

One such way which I am contemplating now, is submitting a provisional patent (very low cost say at LegalZoom), then publishing the patent / idea on a blog, potentially even stating a ball park price, and inviting potential companies by name, to come and read the concept.

Correct me if you think my logic is wrong here. If a company reads this blog and find some innovative idea interesting, they will want to be the first to engage and negotiate out of concern that their competitors will try and grab the patent for its priority date. Since they don’t know if others have approached me they might move even faster. Unless, say Google will cooperate with Microsoft, to NOT buy the patent, for a year, the process seems safe.

Obviously the idea has to hold some merits, if it doesn’t, nothing will happen and the patent will become public domain. The inventor invested not thousands, but rather just few hundreds of dollars; hence the value got flushed early on into the process for the innovator at very low cost. It is also good for the rest of humanity since after a year, if a real patent was not filed, the provisional patent is out there for anyone to use.

Let me know what you think, I am gearing up to try this concept myself on this blog so if the logic is wrong let me know.

As for new patent ideas, if you are Google / Microsoft, or LinkedIn / Xing, stay tuned, I have something coming up for you to fight over.


Sunday, February 17, 2008

Solar Energy Innovation

As energy cost rise, the need for significant solar energy-producing facilities becomes evident. The sun that reaches the Earth's surface daily delivers 10,000 times more energy than we consume.

There are discoveries in the Nano Technology space (2005) related to absorbing more energy from the sun; scientists have invented a plastic solar cell that can turn the sun's power into electrical energy, even on a cloudy day. Those "spray-on" cells have the potential to be five times more efficient than current solar technology.

Another interesting solar generator uses a Stirling engine (powered by heat), invented in 1816!! A startup company is now developing those generators so that they can be manufactured by the suffering car industry manufacturing facilities.

Flying over the US and looking down, it is simple to see that there are locations where you can cover enormous areas with mirrors or photo-voltaic surfaces that can be exposed to sunlight for large portions of the year. Obviously, transferring energy is another place where efficiency can be improved. Still, we have been transferring fuel over unimaginable terrains and distances for years, which indicates that this is a surmountable problem.

I envision "solar farms" consisting of plastic material rolled across deserts generating enough clean energy to supply the entire US and the planet's power needs. We need to make this happen regardless of any political affiliation. It is a question of quality of life, and independence above everything else.

Insufficient planning and deeds in this area are probably the biggest mistakes the US economic leaders made over the past 50 years. It is still possible to do the right thing if we accelerate the efforts now.

See where innovation can take us if we put our minds to it. A solar powered Rickshaw demonstrating the use of clean solar energy while relying on nature’s designs. With that invention, it seems like we will not need wheels.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Best Communication tools for Small and Medium Businesses

Many people that I have been talking to recently, like me, work from home. They do travel, they do get out sometimes but their main business is from home.

Since a large portion of the US economy is based on very small to medium size businesses I though that it only makes sense to discuss some of the latest coolest tools that I have seen that can help you build and be your own small business from home or anywhere, while projecting a very large professional footprint.

The three most important communication elements in my mind for creating the large footprint are:

- Online Presence.
- Professional Flexible Sounding and Acting Phone system.
- Conference Call Service.

- Online Presence.

For the on-line presence specifically if you provide services, a must have tool is a page on BitWine the benefits are simple to understand. You get instant presence on a popular site which is being scanned by Google every day. You can later link the BitWine page to a more sophisticated web site, or a blog, but BitWine provides the basic tools for doing business on-line, including a way for people to reach you by phone or Skype, and a way to charge people for services rendered using PayPal or Credit card. Imagine that all that is free, and probably consumes 10 minutes to establish.

- Professional Flexible Sounding and Acting Phone system.

When you travel or at home you want people to always call you on your own 1-800 number, or ‘corporate” number, leave messages, get to your accounting department, send faxes, search the corporate directory, in other words provide everything that a large corporate would provide.
The difference is that you want most calls to eventually land on your cell phone, or home phone. When you do hire an accountant you want the flexibility to change the destination of the accounting extension with few clicks.

You also want to be able to receive all your faxes to your mobile e-mail and get SMS or e-mail notifications and even the voice mails themselves onto your blackberry or outlook. You want the transition from home to mobile to be seamless. Phone.com do all that automatically and much more.

The fact is that the Phone.com service can even save you money. For instance you never have to give out your cell phone number, which means that you never have to pay number porting fees if you change the phone company in order to get a better plan from the other guys.

If all that sounds scary, let me tell you, you are correct it use to be that way and it use to involve words like IVR, Key Systems, PBX, DID and so on. Luckily it is not the case any more. Phone.com is now providing all those features and more with only few clicks and plain English.

If you wonder about the cost, how does “less than $10 per month” sounds?

Mind you, it does not end there. Phone.com has the best customer support ever, so a simple call can do the job. If you read this, then there are three months free waiting for you. Start here
or call 1-800-998-7087 and accept their 3 months free offer.

Listen to Phone.com's CEO Ari Raban in an interviewed by Dave Mason Part1 part2

- Conference Call Service.

The last thing related to communication is Conference Calls. Specifically for someone who works from home, you are often required to put few people on the line for a work session. You can do that with your cell phone, if you pay the wireless companies and if you are using a GSM phone. I would argue that “wait let me connect the other person” statement, does not sound professional it is good for an ad-hoc session but not for a planned meeting. Plus, the obvious question is: why pay for a service if you can get it for free?

You can get a conference call service for FREE at confreecall
simply register, get your bridge code and you are done.

If your business involves mostly on-line participants than potentially you can try a new paid service called HighSpeed conferencing where participants actually talk using Skype (or phone). The difference is that the sound quality for the skype participants is like listening to FM radio vs. a standard low quality phone call. HighSpeed conferencing is not free, but they do offer a 10 days of free trial.

All the above services are free or almost free, for the proper disclosure I can say that the CEOs of all those companies are friends of mine and I help them whenever I can. When you do call or register don’t hesitate to say that I sent you, who knows, I might gain few friendship points if they hear about it. And hey, for a paid advice on all those services try my on-line presence here.