The Battle of Spyware

Have you had enough of spyware? If not, perhaps you are one of the few users who’ve had a chance to secure your system or have managed to avoid having to deal with the constant war with spyware.

More than 25% of my time during the work week is spent handling support issues for a fairly large network (40,000 + users). On the average, a machine loses network connectivity or starts ‘acting’ up solely as a result of spyware. After running Ad-Aware, Spybot, Spysweeper or other such tools, you’re left with a machine that is assumed to be safe.

Personally, I can not tell you how much I look forward to Windows XP Service Pack 2. If anything, the pop up blocker and the new firewall implementation will probably cut down the number of support issues by a large percentage. It would be nice to see a Microsoft report that offers statistical evidence as to how support issues are reduced as a result of installing the forthcoming service pack.

The Google Portal

This may be just speculation, but I strongly believe that Google is paving the way for a new portal. Currently, the building blocks that help lead me to this conclusion are:

1) Search Engine
The search foundation for a portal goes without saying. Every single online portal has invested heavily in search technology to ensure that the end user finds value in the portal. Google has become synonymous with search consolidating its position for any future technology deliveries.

2) News
Google News offers one of the fastest and easiest ways for a user to connect with events.

3) Shopping
Froogle offers consumers a one stop location to search for good deals on various products. Furthermore Google also offers online scanned catalogs for a wide variety of stores.

4) Community
Orkut, Blogger and Google Groups are only some of the ways that Google has extended the community beyond the standard community sites. Imagine all of the above sites combined into a single sign on portal offering users the ability to grow their personal communities.

5) Communication and Messaging
Although Google is being slammed left and right for their new GMail site, I wouldn’t be surprised if they ended up buying a messaging company such as Trilian.

7) Inventor
Google is the online inventor. Take a moment to survey the inventions coming out from the Google Labs. To name just a few:

– Google toolbar
– Search Engine improvements (e.g. UPS shipment tracking, calculator, dictionary, website statistics)
– Voice Capabilities
– Wireless Capabilities (Has your company even started looking at the millions of wireless users who are going to be comparison shopping over their mobile devices?)
– Local searches
– Google sets (Driving improvement through statistical results)
– Web Alerts

8) Advertising
Have you tried AdWords or AdSense? Google owns the advertising bandwagon from end to end. With partnerships with AOL, Earthlink, Alexa, A9 and a host of other content providers, Google has a steady revenue stream to power the rest of the company’s new initiatives. Furthermore, recent introductions of rich-media banner advertising will reach out to customers who once turned down text advertising.

Aside from the fact that it has most of the above building blocks in place and is ready for the IPO, I feel that Google is a company driven by a culture that is always ready for one more challenge.

What is Customer Service?

Please note that this particular post is work in progress, because honestly every day I learn something new about the wonderful world of customer service.

For example, did you know that the Philadelphia Zoo uses the following core values to build a reputation for customer service:

Listen
Empathize
Action
Problem Solve

I also recall reading an interview that summarized customer loyalty as effective customer relationship management coupled with excellent customer service. So how would you define customer service?

22 Immutable Laws of Marketing

The 22 Immutable Laws of Branding or Marketing are:

1. Leadership

2. The Category

3 The Ladder

4 Duality

5 The Mind and Perception

6 Focus

7 Extension

8 Exclusivity and Superiority

9 Division

10 The Heart (Emotion)

11 Attributes

12 Candor

13 Sacrifice

14 Success

15 Failure

16 Unpredictability

17 Hype

18 Acceleration

19 Perspective

20 The Opposite

21 Origin

22 Resources

Italy, India and Democracy

Sonia Gandhi may have started the next wave of Indian development. For all the coverage India gets about outsourcing, I’m actually surprised that many news journals have failed to pick up on the Indian elections.

Things you may or may not know about Sonia Gandhi.

Sonia is the wife of the late Rajiv Gandhi who was assassinated while campaigning in Tamil Nadu.

Sonia is Italian by birth and has two children, Priyanka and Rahul.