Corrections or additions?
These articles by Kathleen McGinn Spring and Michael Schumacher
were prepared for the February 28, 2001 edition of U.S. 1 Newspaper.
All rights reserved.
Self-Promotion on the Net
Back in 1988 Ilise Benun
safari company where she was director of operations. "I was so
mad that I decided I’d never work for anyone else again," she
says. And she hasn’t. Starting off in business for herself by
paperwork for the overwhelmed, Benun quickly discerned a pattern.
"At the bottom of everyone’s pile was a note about
Benun says. The tendency to neglect this chore, she says, "is
a bigger problem than clutter."
Benun decided to change direction, working with businesses not on
organization, but on self-promotion. This task is difficult for most
people, she finds. "There are so many negative ideas surrounding
self-promotion," she says. "People think of it as
Besides, entrepreneurs "have to do work, and market it. And no
one pays for the marketing." Given that it does not directly pay
the bills — and is unpleasant to boot — self promotion can
be put off indefinitely.
"I’m working with a client now," Benun says. "He’s about
to lose a major client, and is desperate. He really needs to
It’s a tough case, though, because the client has done no marketing
at all in 10 years. "He has no relationships to build on,"
she says, and self-promotion takes a long time. "You can’t just
send out a mass mailing and think you’re done. It’s an ongoing
The Internet creates new ways to develop and deepen relationships,
says Benun, a Hoboken-based consultant who is the author of Self
Online. "There’s never before been anything that allows you to
reach people in their moment of need. You don’t have to send
She speaks on using the Internet for self promotion on Tuesday, March
6, at 6:30 p.m. at the Princeton Public Library. Call 609-924-9529.
The rules on creating an ongoing self promotion plan that apply in
the real world are in force on the Internet, Benun says. "You
can’t just put up a website and expect that people will come,"
she says. Some of Benun’s thoughts on Internet self-marketing are:
behind in using the Internet, while others already consider a full
Internet presence a given. "If people ask for your web address,
you need a website," Benun says. "If people ask whether you
have a website, you still have time." In general, she says, anyone
doing anything technical — or seeking technical clients —
needs a website. Writers need websites, but professionals in the
industry probably don’t — not yet. Businesses selling "things
you have to see and touch" may not benefit much from a website.
Businesses selling information probably do need a website.
years ago, gleeful entrepreneurs were crowing about reaching famously
inaccessible decision makers via E-mail. No more, says Benun. E-mail
from anyone not known by the recipient probably will be seen as spam,
she says. "People I’m calling are reluctant to give out their
E-mail addresses," she says. "I’m even reluctant to ask for
it. People feel it’s part of their personal space."
says one of the best ways to begin a relationship with a new business
contact is to leave a couple of voice mail messages and then follow
up with an E-mail. "They recognize my name. They feel they know
me," she says. She also finds it effective to reverse the process.
"There’s some kind of unwritten rule, if someone sends you E-mail,
you have to respond in the same way," she says. But rather than
return every E-mail with an E-mail, Benun says she sometimes picks
up the phone and calls. This surprises people, she says, and generally
in a good way. "They’re happy to hear from me." And that,
of course, is all anyone can ask from a self-promotion campaign.
A friend of mine has an odd-looking piece of furniture
in her house, so unique and antiquated that it would make an ideal
candidate for the popular television program "The Antiques Road
Show." It’s a telephone desk, a combination chair and table that’s
almost child-size in proportion, with its low back and narrow surface
While the side table still holds a telephone, the seat serves as a
drop place for items needing temporary storage, such as laundry on
the way to the basement washer. That’s because, with cordless phones
or stationary ones installed in nearly every room of the house, the
need for a fixed phone station has long become a thing of the past,
having joined the ranks of rolltop desks and leather-bound diaries.
Besides, with multi-tasking the norm, who has time to sit down and
just talk on the phone?
Many of us have become experts at conducting business — both
and job related — from nearly any location. Who today hasn’t sat
through a concert or worship service and not heard the ring of a pager
or cell phone? Who hasn’t driven behind a driver chatting on the phone
oblivious to those around him? There’s no doubt that the PC, the
and now wireless mobility have not only transformed ordinary lives
but in many cases turned them upside down.
"We are facing the ultimate good news/bad news situation,"
says telecommuting consultant and Monmouth Junction resident Gil
E. Gordon. "The good news about the explosive growth of mobile
technology is that people can work just about anytime, anywhere —
and the bad news is the same thing."
Gordon expounds upon the practice of telecommuting and managing work
and play life in his forthcoming book, Turn It Off: How to Unplug
from the Anytime-Anywhere Office Without Disconnecting Your Career.
It is being published by the Three Rivers Press unit of Random House
and will be available in brick and mortar and online bookstores later
this month. Preview copies will be given out as door prizes at
full-day seminar, "Colocation, Web-hosting & Mobile Computing:
E-Business Everywhere," on Thursday, March 8, at 8 a.m. at the
Sheraton Newark Airport Hotel. Cost: $39. Call 610-844-9880 or visit
the organization’s website at www.getcontactx.com
As people are getting more used to this mobility, they are also
it from their employers. And those businesses that resist, says
will be left in the dust. Businesses that are reluctant at first,
he says, will change their attitudes if either the cost benefits are
made clear to them, or if they are in enough pain in finding talented
workers. Some of the benefits businesses gain by allowing
employee to have his or her own workspace, businesses can save on
expensive overhead. When people do come in to the office on occasion,
they can utilize a shared space since everyone probably wouldn’t be
there at the same time.
working in a traditional setting or out of one’s home can attract
top talent. "People are tired of commuting, and they are making
greater demands of employers," says Gordon. "Working from
home, even a few days a week, can be your best dream or your worst
nightmare. I’ve seen telecommuters whose lives have literally been
changed simply by being able to work at home a day or two a week —
and I’ve seen others who tried it and ended it as soon as they
the distractions of a traditional office setting. "I like to use
the analogy," says Gordon, "that just like a hospital is a
terrible place to get well, an office can be a terrible place to get
— Michael Schumacher
The emergence of wireless connections, Internet access,
and companion computing devices "will dramatically alter the way
companies empower their employees and engage their customers,"
says Steve Sroczynski
of the March 8 meeting. "This new level of mobility will require
organizations to re-think the way they deliver applications and
GetContactX is short for Global Electronic Technology ContactX
a professional organization representing technology companies and
individuals. Participation in GetContactX, says Sroczynski, provides
executives with access to a broad network of businesses and
as well as valuable programs and services. Monthly meetings,
seminars, and conferences such as the March 8 event, provide
about leading issues and developments in technology and E-Business.
According to GetContactX, over 600 million people will have mobile
or cellular phones by 2004, with the majority having mobile computing
or Wireless Application Protocol (WAP) access as well. WAP can be
defined as a suite of standards designed to support wireless access
to the Internet.
It is the enormous progress of the less visible technological
such as remote servers, that has made telecommuting possible. That’s
why the GetContactX conference juxtaposes two of the hottest topics
facing the E-world today — mobile computing and colocation. The
latter is the practice of housing computer servers in a location away
from the office where the computers they connect reside.
The event’s keynote speakers are Sonny Hunt
a business Internet services, web hosting and colocation provider
based in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, and David Angier Sr.
manager at Data Center & Colocation in San Ramon, California.
"Millions of small to medium-sized businesses are using the
today," says Hunt. "And globally more businesses are starting
to understand the power of the Internet and the effect it can have
on their businesses." Hunt estimates that E-commerce will grow
at more than 200 percent over the next several years.
Hunt majored in economics at George Mason University before completing
a computer studies program at the Computer Learning Center in
Virginia, in 1983. Prior to co-founding FASTNET in 1994, he formed
and managed HS&T, a provider of hardware, software and training
He was also a programmer for Nexus Inc., a company he acquired in
"Businesses have a need for high-speed Internet access, and they
are looking for alternatives to traditional T1 service. For these
businesses, collocation has become the ultimate answer," he says.
As an example of colocation, Hunt says "let’s say you are a
publisher, and you want to publish your paper electronically. You
would have to have a server connected to the Internet in order for
people to read it. If you keep the server at your location, you could
pay $500 or more to have the phone company put in a line to your
to get you out to the Internet. Then you would need to invest at least
$2,000 for a router and CSU/DSU (a big modem). You then need to be
concerned that a power failure doesn’t bring down the server. If you
don’t have a generator, you will spend $30,000 or more on that."
For a fraction of the cost, he says, "you can find a colocation
provider that will allow you to put your server at their
For telecommuters, colocation can play a big role in accessing a
database off site, or simply retrieving E-mails. "Rather than
keeping your mail server at your location," says Hunt, "you
could use colocation and access your server remotely."
"Security is an issue," says Hunt, whether servers are
or kept in-house. While colocation may prevent direct access to
networks, that server is still open to the world and all of the bad
things that can happen. External protection is available through
and software firewalls. Steps must also be taken to protect servers
and networks from the inside, says Hunt, because many system breeches
are caused by employees or others with access to a company’s
"Have you ever walked into an office and walked past cubicles
with computer passwords taped onto the sides of PC monitors?"
asks Hunt. "And who is responsible for the tape backups, and are
they properly secured?" Too often, according to Hunt, a business’s
IT security is minimized by careless or naive employees who use
passwords such as 1234 or share passwords with other employees. And
when employees become angry with their employers, there’s no telling
what data they could steal or transmit elsewhere. "It is very
important," says Hunt, "that a business develop and adhere
to strict security policies not only from the outside but from the
inside as well." Collocation can take some of that worry away
since the data is stored remotely from a company’s hub of business.
Another use for colocation is disaster recovery. "Many
says Hunt, "are now seeking ways to ensure communications for
both voice and data if their local facilities are interrupted for
any reason. Colocation allows a company to maintain off-site backups,
servers, websites and even telephone service."
"The start of the millennium took its toll on the Internet and
the telecommunications industry," says Hunt. But even though
flowing into these sectors is down, he says, the need for collation
remains strong. "If industry analysts are correct," says Hunt,
current demand is only "the tip of the iceberg."
— Michael Schumacher
The boards of nonprofit organizations are having
recruiting individuals with the skills and perspectives needed to
confront complex responsibilities. To meet the need, the Mercer County
Bar Association is hosting a "Board Match" program to identify
lawyers with the skills, perspectives, and interests needed to serve
effectively on the boards of nonprofits.
Serving on a board, the Mercer County Bar points out, is also
to lawyers, providing them with experience. However, the organization
says the match does not suggest that lawyers will handle litigation
for any nonprofit with which they are matched.
On Tuesday, April 10, at 6 p.m. a Board Match event takes place at
the New Jersey Hospital Association on Alexander Road. Representatives
of nonprofits will display information on their organizations and
answer questions about their programs. Attorneys will talk about their
experiences serving on the boards of nonprofits. Cost: $25. Call
The deadline for registration is March 15.
Corrections or additions?
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