Facebook Working on Private Sharing App, Report Says

From: Mashable – Tech – by Adario Strange, September 17, 2014

Facebook is reportedly working on a new app designed to encourage private content sharing — by making the process even more personal.

Citing multiple sources, a report on Techcrunch claims that the current code name for the app is “Moments” and will give users a grid-style interface from which to share private moments with friends and family.

The reasoning behind the app, allegedly, is to assist Facebook users who want to share intimate content with close contacts, but have been put off by the site’s increasingly complicated privacy settings.

The report hedges on whether or not the app will ever actually be released, citing numerous past internal Facebook experiments that never became public-facing products.

But if true, the app would indicate that Facebook is continuing to work to win back the trust of some users who have been daunted by the site’s complicated and ever-shifting privacy settings and News Feed changes.

A Facebook spokesperson offered the company’s standard response: “we do not comment on rumors or speculation.”

6 Easy Steps to Take Your Business Online

From: Intuit QuickBooks – by Danny Sullivan on July 4, 2014

It’s hard to believe that in 2014, with the web over 20 years old, there are still some businesses that aren’t online or which barely seem to make an effort. It’s critical that you don’t let yourself fall behind like this. People are looking for local and small businesses online, including yours. Not being present on the web, or not being easily found, is like having a “Closed” sign hanging on your door when customers show up.

Below, I’m going to cover a few things that I think every business should do when it comes to being online. <READ MORE>

How to Determine Your Market Profitability

From: Intuit QuickBooks, by April Maguire on June 25, 2014

When it comes to market profitability, not all industries are created equal. According to Bloomberg’s Industry Leaderboard, while Apple commands the largest percentage of the computer hardware market, that market ranked No. 51 (of 60) in terms of profitability. The most profitable markets include banking, tobacco, biotech, internet media and rail freight transportation.

When determining your business’ performance, assessing your market’s profitability helps you determine whether or not your company can attain success selling a given product or service to your target audience. 

Determining Market Profitability 

While finding a niche market for your business may seem simple, determining the potential profitability of that market is more complex. Market profitability refers to the financial factors that affect a company’s ability to make money after subtracting overhead costs like employee salaries, rent and equipment. Whether you’re starting a new business or just introducing a different product in your market, it’s important that you determine whether the market can support you and your goals.

Along with determining the interest level in your product, you need to assess the competition among similar industries in the area. One of the most useful frameworks for determining market profitability is known as “Porter’s Five Forces.” Developed by economist Michael Porter, the framework assesses the following elements that affect a market’s profit potential: <READ MORE>

8 Essential Functions for the Right Task Manager

From: Law Technology Today, by: Gwynne Monahan  , September 15, 2014

On any given day, there is a lengthy list of items to be completed. Phone calls. Emails. New client meetings. Follow-ups.

In this episode of the Kennedy-Mighell ReportDennis Kennedy and Tom Mighell discuss taming the to-do list, their own approaches to using technology to help with task management, and questions every lawyer should ask when looking for a management tool to suit their needs. Kennedy shapes his list management around David Allen’s “Getting Things Done,” a system which allows him to see his weekly calendar as a big picture and sort priorities to avoid being overwhelmed by the enormous list of projects. Mighell says lawyers should watch for eight essential functions when looking for the right task manager:

  • Available on Multiple Platforms
  • Ease of Entry
  • Recurring Tasks
  • Multi-List Capable
  • Assign Priority Levels
  • GTD Functionality
  • Notes and Attachments
  • Ability to Share Task Lists

He recommends every lawyer weigh the importance of each of these before choosing a task management tool. Both @DennisKennedy and @TomMighell stress that this is a personal choice and ask the listeners for feedback on the to-do technologies they like best.

The Rise of the Robot Pitchman

From Mashable – Business – September 15, 2014 – by Sam Ewen

At one time it seemed like everywhere we looked we were seeing some animated baby mouth trying to sell us something. If it wasn’t a baby, it was an animal. We couldn’t trade stocks, buy insurance or sign-up for phone service without having some ridiculously cute, but somewhat creepy uber-intelligent and anthropomorphized being whispering tag lines into our brains.

Recently, it feels like the tide is starting to shift, and no, those babies are not growing up into spokestoddlers. The current must-have ad accessory is going a little more high-tech.  Enter the era of the robotic shill.

Robots are au courant. Robots are the future. But can robots make a brand seem…cool? Somewhere the robotic head of Philip K. Dick is smiling.

Companies from Cadillac to Maker’s Mark are utilizing automatons to make us think that not only are they the brands of today, but instead are furtively grasping at the future. And to be clear, we are not talking about CGI hyper-real fiction droids like Svedka’s discontinued Fembot. These are real, bread and butter, build-me-a-Tesla-type robots. Ones that, if we are not careful, may evolve into Skynet. <READ MORE>

7 Steps to a Happy, Authentic Company Culture

From: Mashable Business,

When I started my company 15 years ago, I didn’t really know — or care — what “company culture” meant.

I figured it was a concept that only mattered to MBAs and struggling companies. I was laser-focused on building quality products and services, not fluffy-sounding “company culture.”  In other words, my company’s culture developed pretty organically.

But, during the process of building a business, I learned the value of a positive, authentic culture. And, almost without realizing it, I learned how to build one from scratch. From one employee to the hundreds we now employ in cities around the globe, my team and I have built a culture we can be proud of.

Below, I’ve outlined tips for fostering a company culture that will make work both fun and rewarding, for you and your employees.<READ MORE>

It’s finally here: Apple’s first foray into wearable technology is called Apple Watch

From GIGAOM – By , September 10, 2014

Summary: The speculation is over: Apple’s long-rumored smartwatch is called the Apple Watch. Pricing starts at $349 and it will be available in early 2015.               <READ MORE>

 

Law Firm Administrators — A Tough Breed!

Assisting Your Firm in Managing the BUSINESS Side of Your Practice                         PA Law Practice Management by Ellen Freedman

I have long been an advocate of professional business management of law firms. And that applies to firms of virtually all sizes. Lawyers should do what they do best, and what they went to law school for: practice law.

As I travel the state for the Pennsylvania Bar Association, providing seminars to attorneys on how to manage the business side of their practices, I consistently hear the grumbling . . . this isn’t what I went to law school for. . .no one told me I had to run a business just to practice law . . .they don’t teach this in law school!

Yes, it’s true. There are two sides to every law firm. There is the professional side. And there is also the business side. One does not exist without the other in a law firm environment. The problem is that running the business side of the firm requires specific and multi-faceted talent. One must know financial management and reporting, human resources, facilities management, technology, marketing, legal industry trends, Rules of Professional Conduct, practice management procedures, and more.

I find, unfortunately, that good lawyers often perform miserably as business managers. Sometimes they even get themselves in trouble from an ethical standpoint because of a lack of knowledge or financial desperation. At the least, they waste enormous amounts of time trying to manage the business side of their practice, that could be otherwise applied to generating revenues .

A professional law firm business manager, frequently referred to as Administrator, Director of Administration, or Office Manager–depending often on the size of the firm and duties involved–must keep his or her knowledge current in each of the core business management areas. Not an easy task. On top of that, he or she must deal with, ahem, somewhat difficult personalities on a daily basis. Not a cake walk. I should know. I did it for twenty years at very difficult firms. And I can proudly say that the firms I managed ran smoothly from an operational perspective 24x7x365. And at most of those firms — the smart ones who listened and took advice– I had more than a little to do with improved profitability.

A colleague of mine is office manager of a four-attorney surburban firm. We recently traveled to a three day educational conference together. It seems that the day before the conference she fell in her home and broke her arm. Not wanting to miss the conference, she determined that she would not have time to get the necessary cast placed on her arm. She did, however, manage to make time to buy a number of scarves which matched her outfits, so she could suspend/immobilize her arm. She attended the conference sans cast, but looking superb. Now that’s tough!

Are you aware that the PBA-endorsed malpractice insurance carrier now offers a premium discount if you employ a professional business manager at your firm? That should certainly tell you something about the impact professional management can have just in the risk management area.

If you want to find out more about what a professional business manager can do for your firm, no matter how small, check out the resources, particularly the job description, on the web site of the Association of Legal Administrators.

If you’d like to know more about other administrative management positions in law firms, take a look at my article entitled How Many Non-Lawyers Does It Take To Run A Law Firm?

Ditching Paper Signatures: Are All Electronic Alternatives Equal?

From: Law Technology Today, By Eliya Fishman August 28, 2014

More than 90% of the world’s digital data has been generated within the last two years. Everything around us is moving faster. Our on-demand, in-an-instant mindset has zero tolerance for bandwidth limitations and mobility constraints. And then, we suddenly find ourselves facing a stack of paper that should have been signed yesterday…

Paper might be dying, but the tried and true process of ‘printing to sign’ continues to linger. In fact, according to a recent ALM Media online reader survey on signature-dependent processes and the use of digital signatures, 49% of all documents are printed for the sole purpose of adding signatures. And with 47% of respondents signing documents at least four times per week, you can quickly figure out what that means in terms of wasted resources, precious time, and money. Speaking of time, the survey also revealed that processes involved with obtaining physical signatures were extended by 1.24 days on average, spelling potential disaster for time-sensitive transactions. <READ MORE>

 

3 Steps to Producing Powerful Passwords

From: Law Technology Today – Posted by: Craig Huggart  September 4, 2014

What do you do when that dreaded moment comes when you have to come up with another password? Maybe they are out there but I don’t know anyone who thinks coming up with passwords and remembering them is fun.

On the one hand, if you use a password that is easy to remember it will likely be easy to hack (and probably won’t meet the password requirements). On the other hand, if you use a complicated password it will be difficult to remember. Let’s take a look at how you can easily balance these two tensions by using a proven 3 step method.

What are the goals?

To create reasonably secure passwords. First off, it is impractical to memorize unique passwords for all the places you need them. That why I recommend using a password manager. Instead, the goal is to create secure passwords for your “master password” and for those places you can’t use a password manager. I am not a security expert but I trust Steve Gibson. His general recommendations are: <READ MORE>