Friday, June 30, 2006

So, how 'bout that net neutrality?

If I walked into the local pub in the city where I live, and sat down at the bar, I'm wondering about the blank stares I would get if I asked the guy sitting next to me, "So, how about that net neutrality thing?"

I'm positive the entire bar would go silent, and barring the presence of one of the members of the local computer users group, nobody would say anything. It would be crickets.

It wouldn't hit them until they want to play Neopets, or visit iTunes, or Nascar. If you're reading this, it will affect you.

As proposed, the new Telecommunications Act would have a negative effect on my business. Alex Jucabenta states on Crains Cleveland Business:
"Congress has the power to reshape the Internet as we know it and the results of which may not be to the benefit of the consumer.

As it now stands, most users connect to the Internet via some sort of wire connected to an Internet service provider. Thanks to the Federal Communications Commission, regulations that required telecom companies to provide open access to the Internet were removed last year."
Will enough of us step up to prevent the Internet from being censored by large telecos and cable companies and those willing to prevent the free and unfettered exchange of information and innovation?

The proposed restriction of access and favoritism will have cascading economic effects. Enacting this legislation will create an uneven playing field for thousands of businesses both in the US, (and of equal importance) and in the global economy.

While referred to as "net neutrality," this amounts to and internet censorship and discrimination in many ways by both public and private concerns.

Close to 80% of businesses in the US are small businesses. The growth and success of many of these businesses are related to their unencumbered use of the internet for which they already pay fees to these telecom and cable companies.

There seems to still be time to amend the Telecommunications Act in the Internet Freedom Preservation Act of 2006" (S. 2917).

You or I cannot compete with the lobbyists who are plying Congress with money and favors in order to gain an unfair competitive advantage. The Internet was designed to be a free and open medium where this blog can compete with blogs that have really meaningful content (as if!).

The Internet is where US citizens practice freedom of speech daily. Are we willing to allow Congress to suppress that freedom? I support Net Neutrality, please join me if you haven't already.

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Friday, June 16, 2006

Design that touches the heart

A new online exhibit launched today, entitled Design that Touches the Heart.

The preface to the exhibit makes a good point: will your design touch the heart?

That's why we ask every week -- In the end, will your design matter?

Enjoy the show.

PS: the show is powered by autoviewer (from airtight interactive, makers of the excellent simpleviewer).

A design legend: Viktor Schreckengost

You may not be aware of the impact that Viktor Schreckengost has had on products you use today, but his 20th century design has inspired many designers with his human-focused design.

The Cleveland Museum of Art is set to launch an exhibit of his work and his influence.

If you can't make it to Cleveland for a visit, I encourage you to visit his foundation's web site, and marvel at the depth and breadth of his influence on contemporary design. This man is a true design genius.

Saturday, June 10, 2006

web browsers: market share vs. actual use

I've always wondered about the statistics one reads about market share of web browsers. Note the use of Firefox by readers of this blog:

This is in almost exact opposite proportion to reported market share of Internet Explorer, found on W3 Schools.

On the other hand, IE users make: up the majority of visitors to Brian Sooy & Co.:

Thanks to all who read Design Matters, no matter what browser you are using.

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The semi-definitive guide to entrepreneurship in northeast Ohio

Lately the buzz in all of northeast Ohio is about entrepreneurship.  Higher education institutions are creating degree and certificate programs to teach it, incubators are funding it, the media is talking about it, business and civic leaders want their communities to include it, people like me are living it.  And of course, many people are struggling to spell it correctly.

Regional leaders, pay attention: Guy Kawasaki has given us some insights on how to draw attention away from Silicon Valley. (thanks Guy!)  Or as he says, "kick their butt."

If you weren't born with it, you can learn it: Many of the region's higher education institutions offer programs in entrepreneurial studies:

Take the quiz to see if you are genetically inclined to be an entrepreneur.

Capital, pre-seed, seed, angel, venture capital: Whatever flavor of cash you might need, these organizations can assist. Oh, and bring your business plan.  A real one, that shows ROI.  These organizations also offer business support.

Need direction? I speak with many business owners who are so engaged in the day-to-day that they have no strategic plan or any idea of where they are headed with their business. 

  • GLIDE and the new Entrepreneurship Innovation Institute of Lorain County Community College can help too. 

  • For high-level strategic realignment, visit Mills-Scofield LLC.

Of course, we don't have great weather year-round.  But the people are nice. Really nice.

If you know of more resources for the northeast Ohio entrepreneur community, contact me, and they will be included in the guide.

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Monday, June 05, 2006

The value of design

Can design increase your business?

Of course, we've always thought so, but now there's proof: The Design Council has created a web site called the Value of Design Factfinder.

The site's purpose is to "To find evidence comprehensively proving the importance and value of businesses using design."

From our observations, it's been evident that design is more highly valued in Europe, and the study that the Design Council commissioned seems to support that.

The site includes a section entitled "What is Design." It states "Design is everywhere -- and that's why looking for a definition may not help you grasp what it is."

Well said.

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