Free Trade Agreements: White House Transmits Bills

Progress announced today in ratifying trade agreements with Korea, Panama and Colombia.  These three trade agreements support American companies seeking export growth.

Read more in this news release by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.

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AARP National Convention’s Lifestyle Expo

I’m working at the annual AARP Life@50+ national convention in Los Angeles, promoting exercise and rehabilitation systems from sibling companies VQ ActionCare and VQ OrthoCare. Because nothing says “over 50” like bum knees and lack of exercise, our products BioniCare and Resistance Chair are right at home here!

Here are my thoughts on reaching this audience:

  1. Life@50+ is a lifestyle expo.It’s unlike any other trade show I’ve sponsored because these 25,000 attendees are linked solely by their era of birth. Unlike trade shows or other consumer-focused shows that lure experts and enthusiasts in a particular category, the aisles and pavilions of Life@50+ are an A-to-Z trip through life as an older American in 2011: finances, food, leisure, communication, and health. Hence, the exhibits list reads like the Yellow Pages instead of a trade association roster.
  2. Main Street USA. Strolling the aisles is also like a shopping trip down a traditional Main Street: travel agents, medical dispensers, clothiers, Realtors. As in medieval days when merchants posted garish, graphical signs to inform and lure shoppers, we Life@50 exhibitors must show and tell our brands’ value propositions in concise, visually arresting terms. Here, it’s especially challenging to win new customers and sell them on the spot, but really rewarding when it does happen!

Life@50+ rolls through Saturday at the Los Angeles Convention Center, with a most improbable, yet purely LA mash-up of celebrities including Spike Lee, Tim Gunn and Carol Burnett.

Disruptive Trends Thrive in Hyper-Local Markets

Consider the term “hyper-local”.  In the context of this post, it describes products and services that you buy and sell from providers within close physical proximity to where you sleep and work (not to say you’re dozing at your desk…)  What product and service trait makes it the magnetic, most favored choice?

Density.  Product owners choose a few key locations wherein their target customer abounds, and blanket it, making the product’s around the corner, steady-eddy availability a blockade against competitive products. Like a magnet drawing customers, every time.

Read more at Fast Company. This great quote from the article, about one of my favorite disruptive trends, Zipcar, sums it up: “…what catalyzes [customer’s] decision to go with Zipcar is often the discovery that a car is available five minutes from home rather than 10. That trigger unlocks the magnetic properties of Zipcar.”

Emotional Design: Achieving Marketplace Differentiation

Intriguing title for a provocative concept in product roadmap leadership. TechAmerica San Diego’s Strategy, Innovation & Development Roundtable is covering the topic as part of its 2011 Competitive Edge Series. Learn more about it at this month’s event

Mexico’s Aerospace Summit

The state of Chihuahua hosts aerospace professionals this October. Steadily growing in the face of economic disarray felt by EU and US customers and despite Mexico’s border security hazards, the country’s aerospace industry sector continues to impress.

This event is one example of how the Made in Mexico tag is gaining altitude in one of the world’s highest-value industries: aerospace technology. Chihuahua state offers customers worldwide an impressive expanding value chain, skilled professional and manufacturing talent,  and friendly airspace.

Read more at event website: Mexico’s Aerospace Summit | Chihuahua City, Mexico | October 18-20, 2011.

Your Next Client Is Waiting for You… Overseas.

Where will your next International Client come from? Watch the tech startups from India, Brazil and Europe. They’re knocking on the US market door, and will need expertise in alliance and affiliate marketing and strategic partnerships, for domestic and global market expansion.
Read more at Reuters: http://www.businessinsider.com/20-hot-international-startups-you-need-to-watch-2011-9

“Ebay For Science” Transforms Business Of Research

Matching scientist providers and facilities with the next great product idea. Reduce costs to market entry and gain assurance that the facility is compliant with complex scientific R and D regulations, and that service providers are qualified and responsive.

Great concept that reminds me of renting industrial kitchens to birth great new food products.

An “Ebay For Science” Promises To Transform The Business Of Research | Fast Company.

Tcho Tcho’s Digital Mobile Wallets Boost Haiti’s Economy | Fast Company

This blog has focused on mobile banking and transactions in previous posts.  Now, a novel new application that illustrates how a ravaged land and its flailing economy can empower citizens using the lowest common denominator of personal communication: the mobile phone. This is why we should all watch the mobile telephony sector for innovations, and follow where they go with their own foundations and their investment choices.

Read more at the always-excellent Fast CompanyTcho Tcho’s Digital Mobile Wallets Are Boosting Haiti’s Economy | Fast Company.

Cloud MSPs and VARs: What’s Your Optimal Revenue Plan?

Recently, a provider of secure, Cloud-based content management solutions announced a new threshold in required annual revenue from its network of MSPs and VARs. If threshold is not met, partners can still gain revenue via one-time referral commission.  The shift in policy is common to companies that have the good fortune to be growing, and need channel partners to ratchet up results… even though said growth is due in large part to MSP and VAR performance and expansion.

This provider’s reseller program, according to some channel partners, now requires partners to sign up for a yearly revenue target based on company size and customer demographics.  What’s unclear is how, or if the provider solicited these metric data points from the MSPs and VARs, or pushed them outward, based upon market research and sales trends. Also, how competitive and sector factors weighed results.

A solutions provider that’s channel-friendly and acknowledges that its MSP and VAR partners will haul in the majority of revenues, and administers a profitable, simple compensation program will retain channel partners who deliver increased revenue. The sticking point in channel management relationships comes when the provider is poised for growth, and needs to ensure its partners can ride along, at new levels.

The compensation should always reflect effort expended by both sides — who will carry added burden of back-end billing and administration vs. bag the sale and sprint to the next kill.

It’s up to the MSP or VAR to know its productivity sweet spot, then slot into the appropriate compensation method.  Is the staff most productive only in quick-turn, hunter-gatherer mode?  Or does it thrive when delivering multi-faceted, turnkey services. Pick the compensation program that’s right, and everyone will thrive.

There’s a great example of this scenario at Joe Panettieri’s TalkinCloud blog; check it out!

Nielsen Tracks Mobile Living: Still the Authority

Is That A Neilsen Box In Your Pocket? | Fast Company.

Nielsen Company is tracking mobile computing habits, through an opt-in app that acts like an onboard meter, tracking usage and preferences of on-phone apps.  The Nielsen Mobile Analytics opt-in app also gauges camera use and even power consumption levels.

This service, paired with their recently announced Online Campaign Rating system in conjunction with Facebook, has Nielsen remaining relevant and ahead of the curve.

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