How to stop McAfee Total Protection’s start up windows

Posted on 2 CommentsPosted in Business, business advice, COO, Marketing

Are you using McAfee Total Protection antivirus software? If so, are you as annoyed as me with a recent “feature” that has the software popping up a window when you launch or logon to your PC? A persistent window that one has to proactively close in order to make it go away?

The program is also popping up windows in the lower right hand portion of the screen prompting you to run a clean-up of your browser or system without telling you exactly what it plans to do. A popup that you need to manually close in order to make it go away. Worse still, there are no checkboxes or buttons in Total Protection’s settings to make it stop.

Am I the only one who thinks this is crossing the line into being malware? I have software causing popups that don’t go away. Software with no settings to make them stop. Utility software that launches its control center on its own, every time I start my computer. I think that’s pretty close to malware.

McAfee Total Protection Logon task

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Why your online business should offer a no-hassle money-back guarantee and avoid chargebacks

Posted on Leave a commentPosted in business advice, COO, Foundation, free business advice, Getting Started, Marketing

I work with lots of startup companies that sell goods or services to consumers online. Every company believes they are providing a great product but, the fact is, not every customer will be satisfied. So, the question becomes, if and when should a customer get their money back? I believe the correct answer is, when they ask for it. Here’s why…

If you’re selling a physical product that can be returned in “as new” condition, I think it’s pretty clear the customer should get their money back when the merchandise is returned. However, should the shipping be free in both directions? Should your company charge a restocking fee? Should only a partial refund be given if the merchandise is difficult to resell as new? What if your physical product is consumed or perishable? You don’t want the product back or it simply may be impossible to get it back. Should the consumer be out their money if they are not happy? I say no. Give them a full refund and eat the return shipping cost if you want the product returned.

 
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If your company is selling information or e-products you may be thinking, “I can’t un-ring a bell”. The consumer has received the information or could easily make an e-copy that may be of continued benefit to a customer even if they claim they are not satisfied. If the customer claims to be unhappy, is it reasonable to charge the customer a full or even a partial fee? I say no, if a customer wants their money back, I think it’s best to make a full refund upon request.

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Using improvisation and comedy to unleash your company’s message and branding

Posted on Leave a commentPosted in Advertising, business advice, free business advice, Hiring Consultants, Hiring Contractors, Marketing, Priorities

When Hewlett-Packard was about to launch their Windows 10 line of notebook and desktop computers they were scared. Not because they were worried about competition or the quality of their devices but, because of the horrible reaction to their prior line of computers due to Microsoft’s shockingly bad Windows 8 software. In order to create the right marketing message for their new line of computers they knew they needed serious help. This was no laughing matter. So, who did they turn to? A bunch of comedians.

HP turned to a San Francisco based creative agency called Funworks. Funworks brought in a team of comedians skilled at improvisation techniques to hold a “fun workshop” with HP’s top product managers. Founded by Paul Charney, a veteran creative agency executive and founder of the San Francisco comedy troupe Killing Lobsters, Paul and his team help companies express their issues and discover their most compelling messaging points by fostering an environment of open conversation based on improvisation techniques where ideas flow freely when everyone simply says “yes” and “and”.

In this episode of Bay Area Ventures I speak with Paul Charney and Funwork’s Creative Architect, Erica Fortescue about his company and their award winning commercials.


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We discuss the psychology of what makes a company and its products memorable and why humor is sometimes the best medicine, even when trying to convey a serious message. We learn what a fun workshop is and what takes place at one.

Paul talks about why he started Funworks and how it is different from other creative ad agencies. He talks about the challenges of moving from a practicing creative person and comedian to being the CEO of a team of other practitioners. What are the trade off and what are the rewards for being a leader.

Erica shares her knowledge on the neuropsychology of messaging and how humor can be used to convey a serious message while maintaining the prestige and authority of the company being represented in the creative message.

Of course we also hear Paul and Erica share their view on the Bay Area Way of business. In their practice they have dealt with startup to Fortune 50 enterprises in the Bay Area and across the US. In the Bay Area, in particular, they talk about how companies staffed by 20 to 30 “something” employees are sometimes more difficult to help because they just don’t understand their true identity as an organization. Often in these cases they are called in by the company’s Board of Directors to help figure it out and craft the right message and persona for the firm.

So, how did HP conquer their fear of whether or not Windows 10 would scuttle their latest offerings? By creating Circle of Trust. See it here: Funwork’s Windows 10 Launch Commercial for H-P

This episode was recorded on May 22, 2017 on Bay Area Ventures on SiriusXM Channel 111 Business Radio Powered by the Wharton School. For a list of upcoming and past guest information click on the Show link above.

Special follow-up edition Part 1 with Christopher Farm of Tenjin and Dave McLean of Magnolia Brewing

Posted on Leave a commentPosted in Business, Marketing

In this, the first of two special follow-up editions of Bay Area Ventures, we check in with guests from the first three seasons of the show.

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In this episode, we speak with Christopher Farm, Co-Founder and CEO of Tenjin, Inc. Christopher first appeared on Bay Area Ventures in April of 2016. Back then, Tenjin was a young company, recently graduated from the Y-Combinator incubator. How has Tenjin grown in the past year? What are some of the biggest challenges and surprises that Christopher and his team have had to deal with? We will cover it all and see what is next in store for his company.

Chris takes calls from listeners and talks about how they have manage to find technical talent for their team at a time when competition for programmers and engineers in the San Francisco Bay Area has been fierce.

In the second half of the show we’ll check in with Dave McLean, Founder of Magnolia Brewing. Dave was my first guest on Bay Area Ventures in March of 2014. Back then, Magnolia Brewing had its sole location, Magnolia Gastropub on Haight Street in San Francisco. They were just building out a new restaurant and brewing facility. We’ll find out when those projects were completed and how they have fared. We’ll also talk about Magnolia’s recent entry into retail sales with their new line of canned beers.
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Dave Mclaean is one of the leaders of the modern San Francisco Bay Area craft brewing industry. He is also the founder of the San Francisco Brewer’s Guild and helped grow the membership to hundreds of craft brewers throughout the Bay Area. The Guild also hosts dozens of major community events each year including San Francisco Beer Week and their annual Brews by the Bay festival.

McLean is passionate business man and brewer. He has built a thriving enterprise with thousands of devoted fans in a city whose roots as a brewer’s haven go back to the gold rush days of the 1800’s. That’s no small feat and Dave will tell you how he’s done it.

This is a jam-packed show with a lot of great takeaways for your business.

Recorded on April 24, 2017, on SiriusXM Channel 111, Business Radio Powered by the Wharton School. Bay Area Ventures airs live on Mondays at 4:00pm Pacific Time, 7:00pm Eastern Time.

For a list of upcoming and past guest information click on the Show link above.

Tim Chen wanted to help his sister find a credit card, today he runs Nerdwallet

Posted on Leave a commentPosted in business advice, Finance, Financial Services, free business advice, Marketing

Tim Chen, Co-Founder and President of Nerdwallet joins me on my latest episode of Bay Area Ventures to talk about his journey from Wall Street investment banker to advocate for consumer credit choice and information.

Nerdwallet is a site where one can find the best credit card, bank account, travel rewards plan, mortgage, insurance or other financial needs tailored to their specific needs, goals or tastes. The site walks users through some qualifying questions then draws on thousands of providers in every state for the best solution.

Nerdwallet Logo Tim Chen, CEO of Nerdwallet

 

Nerdwallet was founded in 2009, in Tim’s apartment in New York City, when his sister asked for help finding the “best” credit card for her needs. Nerdwallet moved to San Francisco when Tim’s co-founder came to San Francisco and hired an intern that was 10x more productive than the intern Tim hired in NYC. In this interview Tim expands on that discovery and talks about why the ecosystem and entrepreneurial hires found in the Bay Area are ideal for a growing startup.

Through his work at Nerdwallet, helping millions of consumers, Tim has become Member of the Consumer Advisory Board for the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, the federal agency created after the 2008 financial crises to protect consumers. He is also a member of the Board of Directors for the National Federation for Credit Counseling. He talks about high credit rates that consumers face and why it’s difficult to make changes.

Tim, is a highly intelligent young entrepreneur who is dedicated to building an open and motivated workforce. Learn about how he and his team communicate to get work done and allow the company to scale rapidly. This is a great interview packed with lots of practical takeaways for your business.

Recorded on February 13, 2017, on SiriusXM Channel 111, Business Radio Powered by the Wharton School.

For a list of upcoming and past guest information click on the Show link above.

How to increase online sales with 4-Tell

Posted on Leave a commentPosted in Marketing, Outsourcing IT

Ken Levy, Co-Founder and CEO of 4-Tell, a Portland, Oregon based start-ups reveals secrets on how to increase online sales and boost all metrics of your ecommerce site. With 4-Tell’s Boost recommendation engine and services for online shopping carts, email and newsletters, merchants can realize up to 67% increase in online sales.

For more information on 4-Tell or to reach Ken Levy go to: www.4-tell.com

PPCIan shares the latest advice on SEM

Posted on 2 CommentsPosted in Advertising, business advice, Marketing

Ian Lopuch, VP, Search Marketing of eHealthInsurance and author of PPCIan returns to The Free COO to offer incredible advice for entrepreneurs.

Learn about online marketing technologies, search engine trends for 2012 and 2013, careers in online marketing and top 3 tips for online marketers.

Ian is The Free COO’s first repeat guest and for good reason. He is always an exciting speaker and in this 90 minute interview you’ll get so many great actionable takeaways for your company that it will more than compensate you for your time spent listening. This is a must hear interview.

Be sure to follow Ian’s frequent posts on www.PPCIan.com

And be sure to catch The Free COO Thursdays at 4:00pm Pacific Time live on Spreaker, Facebook and right here.

Expert PPC tips from David Rodnitzky

Posted on Leave a commentPosted in Advertising, Marketing

David Rodnitzky is CEO of 3Q Digital of San Mateo, California (formerly PPC Associates). 3Q Digital is a professional services firm offering internet marketing help in the areas of Search Engine Optimization (SEO), Pay Per Click advertising (PPC), Search Engine Marketing (SEM) and more. They cover traditional advertising on Google, Microsoft AdCenter (Bing and Yahoo!) plus many other search engines. Plus, 3Q Digital can help with social marketing strategies and execution for platforms like Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter and more.

David is a expert in the field of SEO and SEM having worked at companies like Aderactive and Merchantila prior to founding 3Q Digital. He is also on the advisory board of Marin Software, MediaBoost and Mediacause.

He is a regular speaker at major SEM conferences and has contributed to numerous influential publications, including Venture Capital Journal, CNN Radio, Newsweek, Advertising Age, and Search Marketing Standard. I believe you can catch David and SMX east in a couple weeks in New York.

Learn about all things PPC and why long tail marketing is giving way to wide tail marketing.

The Free COO airs live on Thursdays at 4:00pm Pacific Time

Also check out 3Q Digitals blog.

Bloomberg BusinessWeek could use a business lesson

Posted on Leave a commentPosted in business advice, COO, Marketing

I have been a Bloomberg BusinessWeek subscriber since 1975. I’ve also had The New York Times home delivery for over a decade. Both print subscriptions grant my wife and me digital rights access on both of our iPhones or iPads.

In March I decided that I’m so happy with my digital access that I no longer wanted to receive a print copy of BusinessWeek or the NY Times.

New York Times understands that eliminating the print delivery is a huge cost and environmental savings and simply allowed me to change my subscription to digital access only. Doing so drops the rate from $65 per month to $20 per month while still granting access to my wife and me on our individual iPads and iPhones. A simple phone call was all it took and the $480 annual savings almost paid for my iPad.

But BusinessWeek is another story altogether. When I called to change to digital-only service they said I’d have to cancel my print subscription and order a new subscription from the Apple App Store. Read more…

Eliminate the chaos from your affiliate marketing

Posted on Leave a commentPosted in business advice, Marketing

SmarterChaos is an affiliate management agency based in Castle Rock Colorado that can help you find partners who will drive traffic and customers to your website. Matt Frary, founder and CEO of SmarterChaos discusses affiliate marketing, trends in internet marketing and offers lots of solid advice for driving and building traffic for your website.

Any entrepreneur and startup needs to build brand awareness, SEO rank and sales. Affiliate marketing is part of a three pronged marketing approach along with Pay-Per-Click advertising and organic search (SEO). Learn from an expert about how outsource your marketing expense to independent affiliates who assume your risk in exchange for commissions based on sales.

For more information about SmarterChaos or to contact Matt Frary visit www.smarterchaos.com.