50 shades of grey – the spectrum of Internet Marketing reseller options

Posted by Chris on December 27th, 2012

I have been involved in some way with Cisco resellers – as a founder or investor – since around 1995. It was about then that I recommended that LanSwitch/Voyager adopt Cisco as it’s main product for resale rather than 3Com.

There are a variety of options in terms of the type of reseller that you are. Broadly speaking these range from resellers that are focussed on
” shifting ” ( Cisco ) box’s to those that are focussed on delivering ” advanced ” services e.g. consultancy.

When LanSwitch first started out it was very much focussed on selling ” box’s ” – to be precise 3Com LAN switches. Even then we had added some
” services ” around the basic offering e.g. baselining and maintenance.

By the time we adopted Cisco we had a fairly well established set of services.

With Cisco there is a seemingly never ending number of accreditations to get which normally include having so many qualified people. The permutations of these qualified people get ever more complex, and the variations of types of qualified people increase all the time. There is a definate cost to getting and maintaining these people and accreditations.

Over the years I have seen Cisco do many sorts of ” analysis ” of their resellers as someone comes up with another way of looking at them.

From Cisco’s perspective it is substantially about ” shifting box’s ” and achieving sales,revenue and profit targets.

They don’t really, deep down,  care how you do it as long as you do it !

Cisco’s perspective on a reseller is one view. However another view, that as is as important – arguably more important, is the view of the ” market ” i.e. M&A people and if floated, the stock market.

If they look at your company they will take Cisco accreditations as ” very good but so what ?? “. i.e. there are loads of Gold, Silver and Bronze resellers, what makes your company different from them ??

As one analyst said to me when we were looking to value Voyager ” Are you a box shifter or a value added service provider or reseller ?? “. When I answered that we were a ” Value Added Reseller ” he said ” Really ? – what’s your revenue from box sales relative to your revenue from services ? ” If it was 80/20 Box to Services that was bad. If it was 40 Box to 60 services that was good.

I actually spent a lot of time thinking about differentiators and value drivers at Voyager. The more differentiators and value drivers you have the higher your valuation multiples become. Also you get into ” I actually don’t know how to value that but it sounds good ” territory !!

 

When I was thinking about this blog I realised that it could easily end up as a book because there was a lot to say in terms of Cisco’s perception of  a ” valuable reseller ” and a lot to say about the ” markets ” perception of a valuable business. There  would also be something to write on the intersection of Cisco and the markets valuation points.

 

As I want to talk about another matter I don’t want to delve more deeply into these aspects just yet.

 

Cisco has a great range of products. You can just about survive selling these products if you wrap a certain amount of services around them ( the achievable margins on Cisco products have fallen dramatically over the years ). To differentiate yourself within the Cisco community and to the ” market ” you need more ” value added ” elements.

 

Let us now turn to the Six Figure Mentors ( SFM ) / PRO U / Digital Experts Academy ( DEA )  opportunity:

SFM/PROU/DEA offers a range of ” Digital Marketing ” products with Tools, Training, Support and a Community. It is the ” Cisco ” of the Digital Marketing world. Better than that the margins on these products are very high. So, you certainly can build a business focussing on being a reseller of these products. The products are priced from $20 to $20K.

Selling lots of these products is certainly going to get you noticed within SFM/PROU/DEA and if you are really good it is going to get you onto the
( Sales ) Leaders Board.

That is a great opportunity in itself. Essentially you only have to get prospects into the sales funnel at the top through ” sign-ups ” and ” applications ” and the rest is handled by SFM/PROU/DEA internal support and sales staff.

As was pointed out here  this is only the first of three opportunities.

I think added value can be implemented here e.g. ” conversion ” from ” sign-up ” to ” application ” relies on the auto-responders doing their job – which to a large extent they do but some people are not convinced by these and additional ” personal sales intervention ” may be required.

We know that once you understand ” the system ” it can be applied to other products and services that you might wish to sell e.g. within our team Sandra and Adelaide want to use the system to market and sell new Callanetics products.

You don’t just need to know the system but also how to make a range of products and services suitable for marketing and sales by the system.

There is added value here.

Finally, the main target of the SFM/PROU/DEA products and services is individuals ( probably of a certain demographic type ). In our view the products and services can be used by individuals and businesses – probably SMB’s as a particular target.

Tailoring ” the system ” to a businesses needs is certainly an added value capability. Here you are acting as an ” integrator ” – using the SFM/PROU/DEA products and services and integrating them into a new or existing businesses Marketing and Sales operation.

You are acting as a high-end Internet/Digital/Social Media Marketing/Web Development Consultant and Integrator.

This is what The Centripetal Network is .

Becoming part of the Centripetal Network is like becoming part of a Global Systems Integrator ( in Cisco terms ). You are a member of SFM/PROU/DEA – which in itself is a fabulous thing. You probably run a Digital Experts Academy in e.g. Washington D.C. or The Gold Coast.  You use ” the system ” to sell other products and services e.g. Callanetics but also you are part of a Global Digital Marketing Integrator that uses the system to boost other businesses Internet Presence Return on Investment. You help them to get more traffic, leads and orders – and therefore money – for their businesses.

One of the main advantages of this is that Centripetal Consulting is a ” business ” in it’s own right to anyone looking at it from a ” market ” perspective. It is a business owned by you and us. It is a ” Value Added Integrator ” . It can be sold or floated in the future and the shareholders will be you and us.

Now it is not ” easy ” to build a Global Digital Marketing Integrator and exit from it ( trade sale ) or float it but it is possible. Chris. Michael and I bring with us the experience to do this.

 

 

 

 

Digital Experts Academy Expands from Silicon Crossroads Technopolis

Posted by Chris on December 22nd, 2012

Digital Experts Academy to Expand Worldwide

This is the first Digital Experts Academy but many more to come

Chris Windley, Managing Partner of the Silicon Crossroads Technopolis ( a High Tech. incubator and Venture Capital Trust ), Six Figure Mentor ( Digital Marketing Mentor ), Investor and Entrepreneur has announced that the first of a number of Digital Experts Academies is to be opened at the Technopolis.

Plans are already well advanced for Academies in the United States and Australia. The Six Figure Mentors and the Digital Experts Academy are the brainchild of U.K. based Stuart Ross and U.S. based Jay Kubassek.

The Digital Experts Academy is a global high-level education and training program devised by these two leading edge digital entrepreneurs. They are committed to sharing their strategies and business success to members starting in January 2013.

 

 

 

Chris Windley who is one of the top 100 High Tech. Angel investors in the world, said

” The Digital Experts Academy is one of the most significant developments in Digital Marketing that there has ever been. We have decided to invest in physical locations to complement the already developed Six Figure Mentors training and the soon to be released Digital Experts Academy training. The Technopolis has been involved in researching and developing leading edge Digital Marketing systems for some years, having been one of the first organisations to install HubSpot Inc.’s Inbound Marketing systems on client sites. Our experience was that although HubSpot is a fantastic digital marketing system its price and complexity made it more suitable for Large and Enterprise customers rather than Solopreneurs and Small and Medium Sized businesses. The Technopolis also developed the highly effective, WordPress and Twylah based, Internet Marketing Ecosystem. ( The SFM system is also WordPress based ). The Silicon Crossroads area ( near the junction of the A5 and A38 ) houses many web and internet software related companies.

We will be able to take brand new and partially trained Digital Marketers and bring them up to Stuart and Jay’s level over time. This will make them amongst the best trained Digital Marketers in the world. Stuart and Jay have a target of training 1000 Digital Marketers in their methods and systems by 2015.

Although nearly all of the training is available online and can be accessed from anywhere in the world ( where there is an Internet connection ) we believe that there is a need for occasional one to one and group training, face to face, which we will provide at the Technopolis.

Other Six Figure Mentor and Digital Experts Academy partners are at liberty to open physical locations but have not chosen to do so at the moment. Our commitment is to open physical facilities alongside online facilities rapidly and globally.

I have made this my personal mission for the next 3 years. ”

 

 

Want to stay up to date with our launch plans ? Sign up for updates and experience the quality of training >>>>> HERE <<<<<<<<<<
by doing the FREE 7 Day Digital Marketing BOOTCAMP.

 

 

There are four levels of training available Silver, Gold, Platinum and Black.

Digital Marketing Academy Lichfield Staffordshire

Posted by Chris on November 12th, 2012

A TRADITIONAL EDUCATION CAN HELP YOU MAKE A LIVING… OUR DIGITAL EDUCATION WILL HELP YOU LIVE THE LIFE OF YOUR DREAMS.

Digital Experts Academy is a global high-level education and training program devised by two of the world’s leading digital entrepreneurs, Stuart Ross and Jay Kubassek, who are committed to sharing their strategies and business success to members starting in January 2013.

by doing the FREE 7 Day Digital Marketing BOOTCAMP.

There are four levels of training Silver, Gold, Platinum and Black.

 

Digital Experts Academy  Chris And Susan Beesley

The objective of this training program is to make YOU totally self sufficient in terms of being able to operate a Digital Marketing System from anywhere in the world with essentially, a laptop and an Internet Connection.

Once you have been through this training program you will have the skills for life – like learning to swim or ride a bike.

 

Digital Marketing Academy from the Six Figure Mentors

Posted by Chris on November 10th, 2012

A TRADITIONAL EDUCATION CAN HELP YOU MAKE A LIVING… OUR DIGITAL EDUCATION WILL HELP YOU LIVE THE LIFE OF YOUR DREAMS.

Digital Experts Academy is a global high-level education and training program devised by two of the world’s leading digital entrepreneurs, Stuart Ross and Jay Kubassek, who are committed to sharing their strategies and business success to members starting in January 2013.

by doing the 7 Day Digital Marketing BOOTCAMP.

There are four levels of training Silver, Gold, Platinum and Black.

 

Digital Experts Academy  Chris And Susan Beesley

The objective of this training program is to make YOU totally self sufficient in terms of being able to operate a Digital Marketing System from anywhere in the world with essentially, a laptop and an Internet Connection.

Once you have been through this training program you will have the skills for life – like learning to swim or ride a bike.

 

Community makes Six Figure Mentors stand out from the rest

Posted by Chris on October 2nd, 2012

I have been and am, a member of many online communities ( too many too mention ! ) but the Six Figure Mentors stands out above even the best. I know that at the moment the Six Figure Mentors team are struggling to keep up with the number of people joining – globally. Stuart Ross is flying all around the world establishing new communities.

I have said it before but I think that it is worth repeating that my objective has been to find an Internet Marketing System that REALLY generates leads and orders. People who follow me know that I am a massive HubSpot fan and that I developed the Internet Marketing Ecosystem to help my clients improve their Internet Presence, ability to rank for selected keywords and phrases and rate of conversion from visitor to customer. HubSpot’s mantra is ” Get Found, Convert, Analyse ” one of Stuart’s mantra’s is ” Build a List, Sell something and sell something else ” – see that sort of simple, direct objective appeals to me !!

When you review the best digital marketers and web and blogsites in the world you see that  Listbuilding ( the collection of an opted in list of email addresses ) is key as is the nurturing and collection of that list. An email list always has a value but some are more valuable than others.

Click free report in this Call to Action here

and you are on an email list.

Click ” Learn More ” below

and you are on an email list.

Click ” Download Now ” on this HubSpot Call to Action

and you are on an email list.

I think you get the message ??

But I digress because I wanted to talk about the Six Figure Mentors Community..

When I paid my $20 I got what Stuart said I would ……. MASSIVE VALUE !!

I got confirmation of everything I believed in. ( regarding Internet Marketing ).

I was also on the email list !!! ( Actually I was on a couple !! )

I got  autoresponder emails – one a day – from Stuart. I also got emails from Martyn Hickey.

There was a lot of information to take in but it was all good.

After some time in the Six Figure Mentors Community Website ( access requires a monthly subscription ) Martyn Hickey introduced me to Stuart Chalmers – an Ordinary but very special guy.

I just want to feature Stuart’s personal website here

http://www.stuartchalmers.com/

by way of a thank you for everything that he has done to help.

Note that Stuart’s ( WordPress ) website has everything you need on a lead generating website – Call to Action’s, Email Opt-In’s, Blog, Social Media joins and shares.

The Community spirit shown by Martyn and Stuart makes Six Figure Mentors tower above other Digital Marketing Mentoring System’s.

TEST OUT THE SIX FIGURE MENTORS here FREE and no obligation !!

Silicon Crossroads Technopolis helps HubSpot inbound to Ireland.

Posted by Chris on October 1st, 2012

The Silicon Crossroads Technopolis based in Lichfield, Staffordshire, England has helped Inbound Marketing Megastars HubSpot decide on Dublin,Ireland as the location for their European Headquarters. The official announcement from Hubspot is here. Chris Windley, Managing Partner of the Silicon Crossroads Technopolis and of the Silicon Crossroads V.C.T. ( Just voted #100 of 1000 Tech. Investors globally by PeekIndex – full story here ) said ” Some time ago HubSpot asked our opinion on where they should base their European Headquarters – we highlighted as possibilities London, Lichfield itself  and Dublin, Ireland.”

The story of that early conversation with HubSpot is here . ” Whilst we would have been proud to welcome HubSpot to Lichfield and perhaps even the Technopolis itself, we are delighted that HubSpot decided on one of our recommendations. ” Chris said.

As highlighted in our early conversation above there are some compelling reasons why U.S. companies should base themselves in Dublin, Ireland . In all likelihood this will be followed by sales offices in Benelux and London. This is a well worn path that e.g. Google, Twitter and Facebook have followed.

You have to admire the Irish and Irish ( Inward Development Agency ) I.D.A. for the way that they have positioned ” brand Ireland ” and for the way that they handled this opportunity. There are many places where HubSpot could have based it’s European Headquarters but it chose Dublin, Ireland.

Chris said ” I have contacts within the Irish I.D.A. and they have a Boston office which has been communicating with HubSpot for a number of years . The Boston team of the Irish I.D.A. obviously did a good job in presenting the case to HubSpot “.

To me this just emphasises what we have said elsewhere – there is an unstoppable flow of fully funded companies coming from the U.S. to Europe and other countries. This is particularly true of High Tech and software companies.

4 years ago HubSpot was a small Boston based software startup. Today it is one of the fastest growing SaaS companies in the world. Probably second only to Salesforce.com.

When HubSpot received further funding earlier on in the year and investment from e.g. Google and Salesforce it was almost inevitable that they would open a European Headquarters soon. Around 300 companies in Europe are HubSpot customers but this is not enough. HubSpot needed a European base to compete against WordPress based competitors and new startup – The Six Figure Mentors – which is rapidly expanding across the globe from the U.K.

 

FREE 7 Day Digital Marketing Bootcamp at http://www.chriswindley.com

 

STOP PRESS !!! January 2013 – The Internet Marketing Ecosystem ( mentioned below ) has now been incorporated into Centripetal Network Consultings’ Digital Marketing Ecosystem. Watch this video >>>> HERE <<<< to see how a system that provides all of the functionality of a HubSpot system at a much lower cost has evolved over the last couple of years.

Silicon Crossroads V.C.T. is #100 of top 1000 Tech. Investors Globally

Posted by Chris on September 30th, 2012

The Silicon Crossroads V.C.T. headed by Chris Windley is now regarded as being in the top 100 of tech investors in the world. The list is here as compiled by Peek Analytics.

” PeekAnalytics is an enterprise-class social audience measurement platform that provides rich consumer insights to marketers allowing them to better identify and qualify social audiences. What Nielsen® did for television and radio audiences and ComScore® did for web traffic audiences – PeekAnalytics does for social audiences.

This list of the top 1000 technology investors on Twitter is ranked by one of PeekAnalytics’s key metrics – what we call the Pull Quotient (PQ) is a good measure of how influential any given Twitter audience is, compared to the average Twitter account – 1x is average, 2x is twice as much as average, and so on. Influence, for the purposes of this calculation, is gauged by how well connected someone’s Twitter followers are not just on Twitter, but across sixty social sites, compared to the average consumer. “

PeekAnalytics: Overview

About PeekAnalytics

PeekAnalytics is an enterprise-class social audience measurement platform that provides rich consumer insights to marketers allowing them to better identify and qualify social audiences, and target content to create highly converting social initiatives. What Nielsen® did for television and radio audiences and ComScore® did for web traffic audiences – PeekAnalytics does for social audiences.

About PeekAnalytics Technology

The platform is powered by a patented search and identity resolution technology that maps an individual’s social digital footprint by standardizing disparate public content from over sixty (60) social sites and blog platforms into a single, streamlined social identity. These robust social identities are aggregated and analyzed to create the PeekAnalytics Social Audience Report.

Social Audience Reports

PeekAnalytics Social Audience Reports will change the way you view “Social Analytics.” You will no longer be limited to simply counting mentions, tweets and followers. Our platform provides demographic and psychographic insights for both your passive and active social audience to provide actionable data-driven insights. Click here to check out some demo reports.

What Social Audiences Can I Measure?

PeekAnalytics currently measures Twitter audiences. Reports can be generated for the following:

  • Followers – audience that follows a specific Twitter account.
  • Following – people a specific account follows
  • Shares – measure the audience mentioning keywords hash-tags and @usernames.
  • Trending topics – measure the audience pushing up a trending topic.
  • URLs – measure the audience sharing content from a specific site or viral YouTube clip.

PeekAnalytics is Perfect For:

PeekAnalytics currently measures Twitter audiences. Reports can be generated for the following:

  • Advertisers/Brands – Incredibly detailed insights including demographics and psychographics of both your active and passive social audience. Drill deep into individual level consumer data with the PeekAnalytics API.
  • Publishers – Arm your sales teams with deep social audience demographics and psychographics by analyzing visitors sharing content from your site. Prove to advertisers how powerful your social audience actually is.
  • Agencies – Use audience analysis to plan, measure and report the social effect of your campaigns for clients. Engage your client’s influencers based on their audience makeup, rather than just an engagement score.
  • Media Buyers – Understand and benchmark online engagement for offline media like TV and Movies. Enhance your digital spend by targeting the social audience responding to your viral content.
  • Research Teams – Why spend hours behind a social media monitoring platforms when you could just simply have the key insights delivered to your inbox.

To learn more about PeekAnalytics email info [at] PeekAnalytics.com

PeekAnalytics Solutions

PeekAnalytics – Social Audience Report Dashboard

Let our platform do the heavy lifting: automate and schedule PeekAnalytics Social Audience Reports for your brand, competitors and industry. Stop spending hours analyzing and monitoring.

Social Audience Reports include the following insights:

  • Social Use: Identify social affiliations, activities, and network size.
  • Demographics: Get statistically relevant age and gender breakdowns.
  • Geographic: See city, state, and country level data.
  • Interests: Discover audience affinities within 25 different categories.
  • Career: Uncover in which industries your audience works.
  • Income: Find out your audiences’ purchasing power.
  • Education: Know what type of schools your audience attended.
  • Pull: Measure how well connected a person or brand is on the Internet.

Open API Access

PeekAnalytics – Social Consumer API

Leverage PeekYou’s API search technology to return publicly available information on your social fans and target customers. The API provides insights on; audience type, name, age range, gender, location, interest, career and school related tags, bios, associated public URLs and profiles and PeekYou’s Sociability, Network, and Reach Scores.

PeekAnalytics – Social Analytics API

Have your developers leverage an anonymized version of PeekAnalytics API search technology to return publicly available information on your social fans and target customers. The API provides insights on; audience type, age range, gender, location, interest, career and school related insights, what social sites or activities the uses has and PeekAnalytics Sociability, Network, and Reach Scores.

Testimonials

“PeekAnalytics takes big data and makes it understandable and actionable. Whether it’s comparing Twitter accounts or hashtags, or modeling influence within particular audience segments, PeekYou is hell bent on making Twitter data useful for business.” - Jay Baer, President, Convince & Convert, @JayBaer

“I think PeekAnalytics represents one of the most interesting, and potentially most valuable, innovations in social media measurement I’ve yet come across. Their thinking is remarkable and the value they offer to organizations trying to understand how to better connect with their audiences is genuinely important.” – Michael O’Connor Clarke – Vice President, MediaProfile, @michaelocc

“The best social media monitoring tool I’ve tested” – BL Ochman, AdAge, @Whatsnext

“Few companies are as equipped to meaningfully collect and assemble the scattered pieces of our public personas as PeekAnalytics. Not only has PeekYou been in the forefront of squaring the circle of our ever evolving online identities (while doing so in a fair and honest way), but they continue to stay ahead of the curve with Peek Analytics, a soon to be introduced means to chart online audiences that companies and individuals can use to enrich their own data” – Marshall Sponder, @webmetricsGuru

“How do you measure influence? That’s a question on the minds of many communicators. PeekYou Analytics goes beyond badges, gifts and the numbers game to present a detailed examination of your followers, who they are, where they’re from, what they’re interested in and how you influence them. The data is specific, comprehensive and gives you a more complete picture of a user’s network and their ability to engage.” – Martin Waxman, Senior Counselor, Thornley Fallis, @MartinWaxman

“Social analytics: @klout is pecking order, @PeerIndex is stability and@peekyou (PeekAnalytics) is, well, mind-blowing.“- Jay Palter, Social Media Consultant, @JayPalter

“Interesting, just got a report from @PeekAnalytics on my twitter followers, great market data. Very powerful for businesses.” – Jeremiah Owyang, Industry Analyst, Altimeter Group, @jowyang

“PeekYou Analytic is powerful tool that help discover brands the Social Consumer Insights of their network. – Jure KLEPIC, Social Media Consultant, @jkcallas

“Amazing social audience reports” – Jeremy Goldman, Digital Strategist, @jeremarketer

PeekAnalytics FAQ

Why should I care about my “passive audience”?

PeekAnalytics does not weigh highly what the market tends to call ‘activity’ metrics (tweet count, last tweet, follower vs. following ratio, etc.) in our algorithm. We know spambots can tweet, a lot in fact, and some humans prefer to just listen. Your passive audience may not be active tweeters but they are still visiting your web site, reading your e-mail marketing messages, clicking on your brand’s links and banners, and ultimately giving you their business.

Why do you leave out some of audience?

Our technology requires a certain amount of information to match up someone’s digital footprint. If a user takes steps to be anonymous then there is no data to report back to you. The PeekAnalytics product team determined that it is more beneficial to see a comprehensive view of fully identified consumers, even if it is a smaller group, rather than share inconclusive or unreliable data in the report.

What about Privacy?

PeekAnalytics search technology respects consumer privacy and platform TOS by strictly indexing public web information only. We can only see what Google can see; we just see it a little differently. Traditional search engines calculate the likelihood of any URL being associated with a keyword; PeekAnalytics calculates the likelihood of any URL being associated with an individual.

How is Pull different from Klout or Kred?

Social Pull is not a measure of a single individual’s “influence;” rather, it is an audience-based metric that is a direct reflection of the quality and size of the Twitter audience that has been “pulled” into following an account or mentioning a keyword @name, hashtag, or URL on Twitter. Pull’s “quality” is based on the level of transparency (around identity – explained below), social participation (number of profiles and amount of content produced) and of course the combined reach of the identified audience, as compared to the average social audience. In calculating a Pull score, we value quality above mere quantity and include active and passive audience members. The more transparent, active and connected the social audience, the larger the social Pull. Thus, a score of “10x” means the audience in question has 10 times more reach (and potentially influence) than the average audience.

Why Transparency?

To really get down to the core, consumer audience, we remove the noise, junk, and spam through a patented identity resolution process that looks for over thirty (30) metrics, including name, username, location, additional social profiles, public content such as self-published bios, presence of a profile picture and the social graph of the user. In some cases we do not include a profile simply because there is not enough information to sufficiently ascertain an online identity. This group includes anonymous accounts, fun accounts, and some spam accounts.

Audience vs. Action?

Kred, Twitalyzer, Klout, and the like, focus on engagement like Twitter comments, retweets, @replies and mentions in an effort to score someone’s ability to create “action.” PeekAnalytics has no plan to become a consumer facing play, as we are focused on providing actionable demographic and psychographic data-driven audience insights to marketers. As an example of how we are different, brands like Coca-Cola don’t want to reach “soda influencers;” rather, they want to reach a target audience such as Males interested in Music, Travel and Sport ages 18-25. PeekAnalytics can help them find that audience.

To learn more about PeekAnalytics email info [at] PeekAnalytics.com


Silicon Crossroads Technopolis

Posted by Chris on September 8th, 2012

The Silicon Crossroads Technopolis is a private High Tech. facility that supports Silicon Crossroads VCT investee companies globally. It also supports companies advised by M & A Rainmaker and the Silicon Crossroads VCT.

The Technopolis is currently supporting companies in ( for example ) London, San Francisco, Israel, New York, Costa Rica and India. the list is continually changing and evolving so this is just a sample of cities and countries supported.

The Silicon Crossroads VCT does not invest in all the companies it supports, it may simply provide advice and guidance. It is particularly interested in assisting startup and growth companies who want to expand from the U.K. to, for example, the U.S.A. and vice versa and also from other countries around the world into the U.K. and Europe. It is one of very few companies in the U.K. to provide these sort of services.

Lichfield Cathedral at night across Stowe Pool.

Managing Partner, Chris Windley, has established global networks via social media networks like Linkedin, Twitter and Facebook and Chris is regarded as one of the most influential people in the world by Internet Influence measurement companies like Klout, Kred and Peer Index. These companies operate mainly from e.g. London, New York and San Francisco. Since his days at Optical Fibre Network company Fibernet, Chris noted that U.S. companies tended to lead the European market by between 6 and 18 months and therefore it is vital to maintain contacts with High Tech. industry leaders there; especially the West Coast ( Silicon Valley etc. ) which remains the frontrunner when it comes to angel and venture capital support.

It is no surprise that some of the most important High Tech. companies in the world have emerged from the Silicon Valley/San Francisco area.

Chris maintains contact with Angels, Venture Capitalists and Founders via Internet networks like Linkedin, Google + and AngelList.

What can a small San Francisco startup do for London’s Hottest startups ??

Posted by Chris on July 10th, 2012

Well it depends who that startup is doesn’t it !! When Eric and Kelly Kim  - founders of San Francisco based Twylah found out about the Guardian’s list of the Hottest 20 East London startups   ( http://www.guardian.co.uk/uk/2012/jul/08/east-london-20-hottest-tech-companies ) they immediately responded with Twylah pages for most of them.

Twylah pages are only given to those companies who fulfill a certain set of criteria. Mainly around the quality of the content produced ( on Twitter ) rather than numbers of followers or numbers of tweets.

What would a Twylah page do to help these startups ??? Well rather than go into great detail here this

http://windmillnetworking.com/2011/09/09/twitter-seo-think-twylah/

is a great blog about Twylah and how it might help. For Pinterest users videos and blogs have been collected here http://pinterest.com/chriswindley/twylah/.

Of course there is a lot of controversy about ” Silicon Roundabout ” with some people saying that no such thing exists; some saying that the area has been a High Tech. area for years and years; some saying these companies are not proper ” High Tech. ” companies – they are ” Media ” development companies etc etc etc

http://techcrunch.com/2012/07/09/silicon-roundabout-naysayers/

Of course there is considerable controversy in San Francisco aswell – Rents are going through the roof; Talent is difficult to find in these ” boom times ” ( Startup’s must look beyond the U.S. to other countries like e.g. the U.K. , Spain, South America etc ) ; Investors are desperate to invest in the right startups.

Twylah has already become very popular amongst London based Twitter users and it might not be long before Twylah becomes a neighbour of some of the East London startups that it has just supported. Probably a good move then !!

Some of the East London based startups who received Twylah pages:

Staffordshire poised for ” Silicon ” label via Broadband and Social Media

Posted by Chris on May 9th, 2012

If you combine Staffordshire’s recent commitment to provide ” Superfast Broadband ” with it’s prowess in the use of social media then I think the seeds of achieving the label of ” Silicon Staffordshire ” are there.

What is most important is that at the highest level within Staffordshire County Council there is the belief that this CAN be achieved.

Staffordshire IS putting it’s money where it’s mouth is; walking the walk not just talking the talk – both in broadband and in social media.

Staffordshire Police’s ACTUAL use of social media to communicate with people is a great example:

http://www.staffordshire.police.uk/about_us/social_media/

Twitter ( particularly ), Facebook, YouTube and eBay ( to sell seized stolen goods !! ) are all being used to great effect.

When I visited Staffordshire County Council’s office’s recently I noticed the Cisco phones on the desks of the ( very smart looking ) receptionists.

As I happen to have spent much of my life working with Cisco I immediately realised that here was a Council that put the correct Information Technology Strategy above short term, price driven solutions.

A Google search revealed this article:

http://www.guardian.co.uk/government-computing-network/2011/jul/18/councils-share-networks-infrastructure

on ” sharing networks ” – something I believe in passionately. CIO Sander Kristel said:

” Staffordshire county council is making good progress towards integration with health partners within a shared network infrastructure. Chief Information Officer Sander Kristel expects its emerging Public Service Network ( PSN ) to save the council £10m.

He believes true shared services may only be achieved through sharing a network infrastructure. “To provide better services to the public it is necessary for us to work much more closely with others,” he says. “To do that it is best to share network infrastructure where it is much easier to share data securely.”

Kristel describes the move to a shared network infrastructure as partly opportunistic. “Our current network contracts were up for renewal, our telephony systems needed replacing and some of the other partners in Staffordshire had similar timelines,” he says.

“We have taken a very pragmatic approach, as the requirements of the PSN were not available when we went ahead with it. However, our supplier Kcom is part of the national PSN group.” The contract is valued at £23m.

Working across multiple public sector agencies, the network has to comply with multiple standards including those for N3 and GCSx, but Kristel is confident that the PSN will be closely aligned to those standards.

Staffordshire is bundling the shared network core into BT exchanges at the moment. “Traditionally local authorities have put comms hubs into their own building, but for partners to trust the PSN we found it necessary to put it in BT exchanges.” At the network edge it is rolling out fibre and also quite a lot of copper, in a pragmatic attempt to create a flexible infrastructure.

The council is also putting in Cisco telephony and contact centre technology, which it plans to share. “The idea is the customer should not really need to understand who does what and where,” Kristel says.

He already has an agreement with South Staffordshire Health that it will join the network, and says: “I understand from the Cabinet Office that we will be one of the first in England who will share with health partners We’re also having conversations with Staffordshire Police, Staffordshire Fire and Rescue Service.”

He describes the process of setting up the shared network infrastructure as less complex than first expected: “We share the costs equally and the county council charges a very minimal administration fee to manage the contract.”

I have not met Sander but there are a number of key views expressed in the above article and in this one

http://www.cio.co.uk/article/3339374/cio-profile-sander-kristels-clear-vision-for-staffordshire-council/

that let me know that Staffordshire is on the right course. Just a few quotes from the above article:

Integration is a term Kristel uses a great deal and it clearly describes the vision he and the authority have of how to ensure residents get the quality of service they deserve in return for being taxpayers.”

” Staffordshire is almost a pioneer of the public sector network model now being demanded by the Cabinet Office in Whitehall. “

“We have taken a pragmatic approach, opting for copper not fibre optic. Copper is easier to deploy at smaller sites and we will rationalise our estate again soon; why dig a trench into these buildings?” he asks.

“The network is step one. We can provide services almost like a cloud so that organisations can run their email or document management over it,” he says.

” The network is just one of a range of cost-saving projects Kristel has led at Staffordshire.

A move to Citrix thin client desktop applications on HP hardware gives the authority’s new HQ a desk-to-staff ratio of 7:10, making the building seem like a bank rather than a council office.

Voice over IP has been added and videoconferencing is on the way.

The authority is proud of its new HQ and screens at reception tell you it is saving the council £250,000 a year. Virtualisation has reduced Staffordshire’s datacentre fleet to two and each datacentre has just three racks in it.

Using the new PSN disaster recovery facilities via a reciprocal deal with a neighbouring authority is also being considered.”

” Influence of IT
While Kristel does not have a direct line to the CEO — “I report to the CFO. I used to report to the previous chief executive, but this very much depends on your chief executive” — he is on the wider leadership team and says IT is very much part of the big picture in Staffordshire.

“You have a lot more influence and early warning of what is going to change in the authority,” he says.

Early warning is the most important thing as the European procurement process can take up to a year. ”

I have italicised some of the key words and phrases that I believe should be taken forward into the next phase of broadband and social media development.

Becoming a ” Silicon Valley ” in the U.K. is not a simple process. This video

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZTC_RxWN_xo

titled ” The Secret History of Silicon Valley ” explains some of the historical factors ( beginning in World War 2 ) that led to Silicon Valley becoming the start-up powerhouse that it is today.

That is not to say that it cannot be done though. It WILL require a number of challenging pieces of a jigsaw to be put in place.

At the end of this video interview with Marc Andreesson ( founder of Netscape and now a Silicon Valley VC ) he explains what he thinks needs to be put in place to recreate another Silicon Valley:

http://www.wired.com/epicenter/2012/05/andreessen-no-tech-bubble/

There are other articles that I have read that further help to understand the components required.




Copyright © 2007 M & A Rainmaker. All rights reserved.