Google Gadget Helps Customers Find You In Real Life

Everyone loves useful gadgets and Google has just come out with yet another one.

Meet the Google Maps driving directions gadget that makes it easy for customers to get directions to your brick and mortar store. Thanks to Google, the directionally-challenged folk out there (myself included), will no longer have to suffer through directions that are based on the location you’re coming from (ie, North, South, East and West). Businesses can now offer customers quick and easy step-by-step directions. Success!

The new Google directions gadget will allow business owners to pre-fill the direction “To” field with one or multiple addresses, while leaving open the “From” field so that customers can input their address or some other starting point.

From there, customers can print driving, walking or transit directions in just one click. Google will also provide suggestions for related addresses if users enter vague starting locations, as sometimes knowing where you live is difficult.

The widgets are great for users and add a nice bit of functionality to sites. However, they’re only good for showing users where you’re located. If you want Google to know, and to rank you accordingly, you’ll still need to tell the search engines where your brick and mortar store is located. And that means using the text on the page to convey it. You can’t leave it up to the gadget.

Matt McGee wrote a really important post commenting on the new Google gadget, noting that a detailed Directions/Find Us page remains one of the best local SEO tactics around. And he’s absolutely right. The search engines use things like your Directions page to look for indicators and local citations as to where your site is located. These are the same citations that are used to determine local ranking and local 10-pack placement. If you don’t tell Google where your brick and mortar store is located, which landmarks you’re around, what highways you’re near, you’re exact address, etc, you’re giving them nothing to use when they try to determine your proximity to a searcher. If they don’t know you’re location, they can’t rank you in local queries.

As a smart small business owner, you want to make sure you cover your bases.

  1. Grab the directions widget to make it easy for users to map out your location and find your brick and mortar location
  2. Create a detailed, keyword-rich Directions page to make it easy for search engines to map out your location and find your brick and mortar location.

You can’t choose just one.

More in: Google

[“source-smallbiztrends”]

Startup Failure Rates — The REAL Numbers

Small business failure rates over 10 years - United States - by Scott ShaneI’m writing today’s blog in the hopes of getting accurate information on new business failure rates out into cyberspace in a way that the search engines will find it quickly. There is a huge amount of misinformation on the Web about new business failure rates that gets cited and reproduced all over the place and that’s a problem for a host of reasons.

Below is Figure 6.2 (p.99) from my book Illusions of Entrepreneurship: The Costly Myths that Entrepreneurs, Investors, and Policy Makers Live By. The data come from a special tabulation by the Bureau of the Census produced for the Office of Advocacy of the U.S. Small Business Administration.

While these data look at the 1992 cohort of new single-establishment businesses, the failure rate percentages are almost identical for all the cohorts that researchers have looked at. So, these are pretty much the one through ten year survival rates of new firms.

Proportion of New Businesses Founded in 1992 Still Alive By Year.

These are the averages. There are considerable differences across industry sectors in business failure rates (see Figure 7.1 on page 113 of Illusions of Entrepreneurship), which is pretty interesting and important. But I’ll have to leave a discussion of what those are and why they exist for another blog post.

* * * * *

About the Author: Scott Shane is A. Malachi Mixon III, Professor of Entrepreneurial Studies at Case Western Reserve University. He is the author of eight books, including Illusions of Entrepreneurship: The Costly Myths that Entrepreneurs, Investors, and Policy Makers Live By; Finding Fertile Ground: Identifying Extraordinary Opportunities for New Ventures; Technology Strategy for Managers and Entrepreneurs; and From Ice Cream to the Internet: Using Franchising to Drive the Growth and Profits of Your Company.

[“source-smallbiztrends”]

Intel’s Strategy for the Post-PC World Begins to Take Real Shape

Intel's Strategy for the Post-PC World Begins to Take Real Shape

HIGHLIGHTS

  • Intel made a number of strategy and product announcements at IDF 2016
  • The amount of data each person creates each day is expected to explode
  • PCs aren’t dead, but many other devices will become intertwined with our lives

After a less-than-stellar year in which it announced 12,000 layoffs, a major deviation from its CPU roadmap, and a complete withdrawal from the smartphone SoC race, Intel’s vision for a connected, compute-intensive post-PC future is finally beginning to take shape. At the company’annual developer conference in San Francisco this week, attention was diverted away from conventional devices such as PCs and laptops, and lavished on other perceived areas of growth.

Intel will spend the next year trying to build strong foundations for emerging categories such as virtual reality, drones, autonomous vehicles, and domestic robots as well as custom “smart” devices for increasingly specific niches, which it hopes will become part of the fabric of our everyday lives. Simultaneously, it wants to cement its position in the data centre where it expects to see the massive growth as sensor-laden devices generating massive amounts of data, to be interpreted and made use of. That involves not only processing all that data, but moving it from endpoint devices to the cloud and back to the user quickly enough to be useful.

One of the biggest things to come into focus for Intel this year was its RealSense 3D camera initiative. First promoted as a “perceptual computing” enhancement for PCs, tablets and laptops, RealSense seemed like a gimmick without many useful real-world applications. It was compared to Microsoft’s Kinect – amusing in specific scenarios, but largely unnecessary. Intel suggested that it could replace traditional input devices, making computers more human, but there weren’t a lot of device manufacturers who tried to make that happen. Over the past year, this initiative has pivoted away from the paradigm of manipulating a UI and has really come into its own, powering security enhancements such as Windows Hello, enabling drones to understand their environments and avoid collisions, and powering all kinds of interactive robots.

Of course there was the big news about Project Alloy, an ecosystem designed to enable “mixed reality” experiences, which Intel defines as similar to virtual reality but incorporating elements of the real world rather than trying to replace them. Motion tracking is handled by RealSense – the headset is opaque and all real-world objects are captured and fed into the virtual environment, unlike augmented reality which is overlaid against what you see through your own eyes. Then there was Joule, a tiny new development platform designed specifically for RealSense applications; Euclid, a ready-made PC of sorts with RealSense integrated into its candybar-sized body.

intel_joule.jpg

In the near future, a new, thinner RealSense module with increased range and sensitivity will become available. It will be easier to integrate into consumer products, and has a real chance of going mainstream. Demos on the show floor included a robotic companion for diabetic children, safety goggles which can detect if engineers use the wrong parts when working on sensitive equipment, a projector that can turn any tabletop into an interactive game, a heads-up display that bikers can wear with their helmets, and an educational modular robot-building kit.

While some of these projects are frivolous and some might never make it out of the proof-of-concept stage, the common thread was that no matter how small the niche, if there’s a need, Intel wants to fill it. A small number of these projects might wind up resonating with people, or at least planting the seed of an idea in the minds of other attendees.

No matter what, we are going to have more devices in our lives, or at least devices that do more things. That’s in addition to the appliances and environmental controls around us, our clothes, our cars, the tools we use at work, smart city infrastructure that we walk past, and more. All of them will be generating data, and a lot of that data will be parsed using artificial intelligence of some sort. Intel wants to be in that space as well, not just processing it all with a new generation of Xeon Phis but slinging it across the world using incredibly high-speed, low-latency silicon photonics between servers and 5G to the endpoints where it’s needed.

intel_project_alloy.jpg

We seem to finally be at a point where IoT ceases to be a buzzword and becomes tangible and relatable. It all comes together – RealSense can be used for object and pattern recognition, but that only works when there are massive data sets to learn from. Data is generated by the cameras, sent to a huge data centre, processed by artificial intelligence, and sent back in a useful form. Some applications don’t need that to happen quickly, but when we get to things like autonomous vehicles, medical robots or even public utilities, even milliseconds matter. Intel wants us to know that it’s working on the entire chain.

Whereas last year’s IDF was flashy but somewhat lacking in direction, attendees of this year’s show were able to come away with a sense of the company’s direction – and it isn’t about PCs. While not quite in the rear-view mirror, we can expect PC hardware to decline in overall importance as a much, much bigger picture of connected devices and services emerges around us.

Disclosure: The correspondent’s flights and hotel for IDF were sponsored by Intel.

Tags: IDF, Intel, Intel 2016

 

[“Source-Gadgets”]

What You Can Learn from One Fictional Movie Character – and Two Real Life Entrepreneurs

Image result for What You Can Learn from One Fictional Movie Character – and Two Real Life Entrepreneurs

Despite all odds, Rocky Balboa believed in himself.

The fictional fighter in the Rocky movie series from the Philadelphia slums could have felt sorry for himself, given up and blamed others.

Did he? NO! As he says in Rocky III:

“Nobody owes nobody nothin’. You owe yourself.”

In other words, don’t think of all the things that can go wrong and then feel defeated because a problem arises. You owe it to yourself to give it your best … and make a grab for greatness.

Yet it’s hard to feel that way on days when it seems like everything that can go wrong, does.

I know. Sometimes as an entrepreneur it can feel like your dream is impossible.

Don’t give up!

It’s Not Just Movie Characters Who Achieve Against All Odds

While a multitude of quotes from the Rocky movies have inspired entrepreneurs, you don’t have to look to the movies for motivation.

Consider Mark Zuckerberg. A little more than a decade ago, he was a college student. He didn’t even graduate from college. Today, as co-founder of Facebook, he is the sixth richest person in the world on the Forbes 2016 billionaire list.

Rising from college student to CEO, Zuckerberg created a site that reaches over 1 billion daily active users — that’s nearly 15 percent of the world’s population!

Sounds impossible doesn’t it?

Or there’s Richard Branson, the iconic entrepreneur. He started with nothing and then built his own airline, Virgin Atlantic. He wasn’t from the airline industry. It wasn’t like he had a lot of money at the time, either. But somehow he started his own airline.

And today, he’s one of the handful of pioneers of private space flight with his company, Virgin Galactic.

Think about that a moment. Who starts their own space travel company? What could be more impossible than that?

Granted, those two people are unique. Few of us are going to become billionaires.

Get Motivated by People Who Reached for the Stars

So instead, draw inspiration from what they overcame to achieve a seemingly impossible thing. Being a billionaire is not the definition of success. No one is suggesting that just because you fall short of Zuckerberg’s net worth you can’t be successful.

Think about what it must have been like in the early days for Zuckerberg and Branson. Surely many things went wrong. Some people doubted them. They probably had trouble getting some of their calls returned. They likely worried about where they’d get the money to build their companies (even as they showed a confident face to the world). But somehow they kept on, driven by their dreams.

Whatever you are dreaming of in business, go for it.

Dream no small dreams. Don’t fixate on all the odds against you. Reach for the stars.

Image Credits: Lanterns, Construction, Skateboard, Rocky, Hands, Hang Glider.  Richard Branson, Virgin Galactic. Rockets. Zuckerberg,Nasdaq via Wikipedia.

[“source-smallbiztrends”]