Category Archives: Biz News

BlogRush Is Shutting Down, How Wierd Is That?

It is the wierdest message in business I have seen posted on the internet. First Mr Reese goes on about how he has arrived at the decision.

“After careful consideration, we have decided to shutdown the BlogRush service. If you have the widget code on your blog you will need to remove it.”

Then he talks about how he has received offers but none of them held enough integrity for the users. It is admirable but puzzeling.

“We have received several offers & inquiries about acquiring BlogRush, but we are choosing not to go that route. While many might think this is crazy, we truly feel it’s the ‘right’ thing to do for our users. Believe it or not, it’s not always about the money. In fact, BlogRush will have lost a small fortune when it’s all said and done, and it was by choice. There were many things we could have done to monetize the service but we wanted to make sure it was going to benefit our users first.”

What do you make of it?

“Last but not least I want to say that I hope the failure of this service doesn’t in any way discourage other entrepreneurs from coming up with crazy ideas at 4AM (like I did with this one) and from “going for it” to just try and see if something will work. Without trying there can be no success. And as we all know, ideas are worthless without action. The Web wouldn’t be what it is today without entrepreneurs trying all sorts of crazy ideas.”

You can read the whole thing here:

Rules for Business E-mail

In the days of yore, people communicated by writing using a portable highly compact printer known as a pen (or sometimes a pencil). The products of these instruments were known as “letters.” Sometimes, whole novels were written as if they were collections of these letters. This was when people would wait days or weeks to receive news from loved ones. Even news of the birth of a grandchild might take days–unlike today’s birthing room cam broadcast on the Internet for instant world-wide viewing.

In the days of yore, people communicated by writing using a portable highly compact printer known as a pen (or sometimes a pencil). The products of these instruments were known as “letters.” Sometimes, whole novels were written as if they were collections of these letters. This was when people would wait days or weeks to receive news from loved ones. Even news of the birth of a grandchild might take days–unlike today’s birthing room cam broadcast on the Internet for instant world-wide viewing.

When people wrote letters and waited days to receive them, they wanted something substantial. If you wrote a novella detailing your latest adventures in the suburban jungle and asked your recipient “How’re you doing?”, you’d be miffed if the response was merely “Fine.” These days, with the near instantaneousness of e-mails and the frequent deluge of them in your inbox, the long-winded e-mail can be aggravating.

To the point: E-mails should be short, pithy, and necessary. In my day job, I do work for many people in my company. They send me e-mails telling me to do such and such. Many people abuse their e-mail priviledges. E-mailing for work is not a social activity. I have come to the point where I need to set some ground rules–but my position in the company doesn’t really make this appropriate. So, I’ll do it here.

Rules for Business E-mail

1) Make the e-mail necessary: Is this information I need to do my job? Too many people CC me on developments. In my position, I only need to be told WHAT to do, not WHY, and not HOW the decision was made. I don’t care about the back-and-forth of the debate. Is it red, is it blue, is it now green? When you decide, tell me, otherwise don’t clutter my inbox.

2) Make it short. I know who I am, so I don’t need “To Jeff” or even “Jeff.” I know who you are (if I don’t, you probably can’t be telling me to do something), so I don’t need your signature. God help you if you have one of those obnoxious signatures with every means on the planet to contact you or, worse, with some idiotic character picture. Say: “Do x by y date.” My reply will be “Done.” If you send me a “Thanks,” you’re violating rule 1.

3) Not everyone uses Outlook, so if you must send one of those Outlook meeting announcements, please include some human readable text. For example: “Meeting: 1:30 to 2:30. Topic: How much should we raise your salaries. Place: Room 121.” (I’ll get into this more in another article, but this meeting should satisfy the first two rules here, too.)

4) Give me a meaningful subject. Ideally, the subject line could tell me everything I need to know. For example, the meeting notice human text in rule 3 could be the subject line. I have my hands in many projects, so it would be great if the project name could be part of the e-mail. That would make categorizing it a snap. (It would also help me trash e-mails without reading them.)

5) Don’t e-mail me about work that needs to be done in minutes or even a few hours. I usually only check my e-mail in the morning, maybe in the afternoon. If the work is urgent, there’s a device known as a phone. Simply call me; say “I’ve sent an urgent e-mail. Please read it for the details.” I know I could use an application like Outlook or Thunderbird that would notify me when new e-mails arrive, but this rule is intended to instill discipline in others. I don’t want them e-mailing me at the last minute with urgent work. Tell me as early as possible.

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5 Steps to Getting the Raise You Deserve – A Guide for Women

Women often feel their work should stand for itself and therefore tend to wait for someone else to tell them when (and if) they deserve increased rewards or recognition, such as a raise. Rewards and recognition are a crucial part of your job and play a significant role in your confidence and sense of control over your career. Unfortunately, you relinquish a lot of control by waiting for others to bestow favorable things upon you. As with many things in life, you will not know what is possible unless you ask. Of course, asking for a raise is a very anxiety producing and scary proposition for most. However, with the proper preparation and perspective, you just may be surprised at how successful you are. Berkman Fives has developed an effective and actionable approach to this process. This approach not only takes holistic perspective on the process, but also helps prepares you for effective negotiation.

Effective negotiation requires you to persuasively merge the needs of the other party with your own. Knowing your own value and what you bring to the negotiation table gives you a psychological edge. Research will arm you with competitive information to make important decisions. Knowledge will empower you to advocate for yourself with confidence. A persuasive pitch or value proposition will enable you to deliver your request in an organized and strong manner. Taken together you will be well on your way to taking control over your career, starting with your rewards and recognition.

Taking control requires that you approach your career from a position of strength. The following 5-step process will help you to deliberately and thoughtfully structure the process of preparing for and conducting a “Raise” discussion.

1. Gather information from the environment.

What other jobs exist in the marketplace?

You must begin by determining what your options are both inside and outside the company. There are several ways to go about it. Start with the papers and the internet. Are there a lot of help wanted ads for people with your skills and experience? While these can often prove to be a difficult way to find a job, they can usually be extraordinarily helpful for research purposes. Also, you will want to use your network to gather further information. With your updated resume in hand (you should always have a resume nearly ready to go!!), begin to put the feelers out for positions in your field at the level you are currently or the level you are trying to attain. Are people with your background and experience in hot demand or is it a slow time in your industry? This knowledge will give you a better sense of what type of leverage you have at the negotiating table.

What am I worth?

Find out what you are worth in the marketplace. Do your research and due diligence. Use Internet sites (,, and your professional network. Be sure to ask men as well as women, since women typically make only 76% of what men make. Make sure to factor in your geographic location as well, as this can dramatically impact salary norms.

2. Gather information about your accomplishments, past and future.

What do I have to offer?

If you have decided to move forward, you must then document your past and current achievements. It is your job to effectively depict and demonstrate your past, present, and future value, not your boss’.

Ask yourself:

  • What are your unique accomplishments and strengths? Document your performance with products, testimonials, and client letters if necessary.
  • What impact has your accomplishments and strengths had, internally and externally?
  • How do you fit into the company and department goals? Show your future commitment and vision. What role will you play? Where do you plan to add unique value?

Numbers are your friend

Next you will want to try to translate this qualitative information into facts and data. Numbers are an effective way to tell the story and give powerful proof of your accomplishments. Plan to use data and numbers to support your request, not emotions. This will help you to not personalize the discussion. You do not want your boss thinking of your increasing your rewards as a personal favor, rather it should be viewed as what it is – performance-based compensation.

3. Anticipate and plan

Take a walk in your boss’s shoes

Identify your boss’s pressures, concerns, and future needs and plan to address them throughout the meeting. Again, this line of thought may influence the timing of the discussion. If the entire department is experiencing budget cuts right now and many people are being laid off, this may not be the time to ask for a promotion. If you do decide to move forward at this time, consider how you can set yourself up for success. What are his/her future needs? How can you align yourself with them?

Also, there are a few little things you can do to further ensure a successful outcome. Is your boss is a morning person? If so, schedule a breakfast meeting so you are catching him/her at his best. Does your boss prefer things in writing in advance? Then draft an agenda of the topics you will be covering during the meeting and send them a couple of days prior (divulge enough information to put your boss at ease but don’t give away the house).

Create options through scenario planning

Like for a job interview situation, preparation is the key to a successful raise discussion. Be clear in your own mind about what you want the outcome to be and be prepared to articulate your request and the rationale. Then think through all possible outcomes and anticipate the actions you will want to take in each case. Finally, make sure you have a plan in your back pocket for any scenario. Like an elite athlete, you want to visualize yourself fielding any ball.

Ask yourself, “What is your range of acceptable alternatives?”

Consider what you would like the outcome to be and be sure to identify alternatives to a monetary raise. What is important? What is non-negotiable? If your base salary is firm, consider other forms of reward e.g., a better title, more flexible hours, interim performance reviews or additional vacation time. What is your realistic best case scenario and what is the smallest gain that you are willing to accept?

4. Communicate with confidence and competence

Match your strengths to their needs

At this point, pull everything together and make a list of 5 good reasons why the employer needs you.

Match your previously identified strengths and projected contributions to your boss’s future needs. Make these matches the focal point of the discussion. Be sure to have specific examples to support any key point and use data and numbers to support your request, not emotions.

Prepare to take control

Approach the meeting from a position of strength. You called the meeting and therefore it is incumbent on you to effectively manage it. You will do the preparation, bring the materials, and control the conversation.

You are not asking or groveling. You are proposing and requesting. Make sure to prepare any documentation you will want to have in the meeting. Consider using client letters, testimonials, products, presentations, etc. If you are feeling very nervous and uncertain – you don’t want it to show. Act as if you are confident – fake it ‘til you make it if you have to!

Practice, practice, practice!

Role-play in advance to anticipate roadblocks. To practice, put each point of emphasis and the supporting examples on a separate index card. Say each of these points aloud – on videotape, in front of a mirror, or with someone you trust. Don’t forget about your body language. 70% of communication is non-verbal so your body language has to emanate confidence and success, too!

5. Initiate and follow up on the discussion

Ready, Set, …Go!

Once you feel prepared and ready, indicate to your boss that you would like to set up a meeting. Do not say that you want to talk about a raise. Leave the specifics for later. Do let you boss know that you are interested in discussing your performance and compensation. Using a professional tone and approach will signal that the meeting is formal and that you are the responsible party. Rely on your best judgment to select the right circumstances for both the initial conversation and the meeting. Consider timing of day (is your boss a morning person? – plan to have the conversation over coffee and bagels) and season (are you in the middle of budget season and working around the clock? Maybe this should wait until the high stress period is behind you), etc. If your boss tends to be forgetful it is ok to remind him/her about the meeting a couple of days prior. If your boss insists on reading materials before meetings, send through any information that may be relevant for review.

Follow up in writing

After the discussion, summarize all decisions in an email to be sent within 24 hours to ensure that everyone is operating from the same base of information.

Lessons Learned

Congratulate yourself on a job well done. You have put your best foot forward and demonstrated your ability to communicate your needs in a professional manner. You should feel good about your initiative and willingness to advocate for yourself. Regardless of the outcome, you do not have to plague yourself with ‘what if’ questions.

After the meeting make sure to record what went well and what did not. Which tactics were particularly useful, which arguments were particularly persuasive? Make note of these reactions so you can use them at future negotiations. Going forward, continue to document your performance and successes and nurture your professional image. A continually updated file of your accomplishments will make it easier to take charge and be in control of your career.

Not all you wanted?

If you don’t get an acceptable outcome or everything that you wanted, ask for a follow-up meeting to revisit the matter in 3 or 6 months time. Additionally, be prepared to initiate the ‘Plan B’ that you selected earlier.

If you felt as though you and your boss were on completely different pages, consider the root cause of the disconnect. Are you getting enough accurate feedback about your performance? If not, how can you adjust the frequency and quality of the feedback that you receive? Is your boss receiving enough data about your successes and accomplishments? If not, how can you keep them updated in the future? Use this interaction and data to help you better manage your career.

Article courtesy of Berkman Fives

And the Winner is, with 200 Dollars.

Congratulations to Steve Nurse who has won our Blogging competition and receives 200 Dollars. Steve’s winning post can be read below: Steve who also blogs at his own site has a love of computers and all things electronic. He works in mobile communications in a higher management role . In his spare time he builds websites for people and fixes computers. Well done Steve. Look out for our new competition coming soon.

Writing Web Content

The web has made all forms of communication more informal. People have forged relationships with others that they never see, through a constant stream of messages. The decreased formality of the language used was a natural progression, as more people gained access to e-mail and used it as a casual method of staying in contact with family far away.

With the rise of social media, blogs and online advertising campaigns, writing on the web has evolved into a specialised field. Vast amounts of literature have been published on the subject. It even features in university courses.

When it comes to reading on computers, most readers don’t read the full page. 79% of users scan the page for content only. Speed is another problem with reading on the web. Reading from a computer screen is 25% slower than reading from paper. As a result, writers should try to keep their web content to about 50% of the paper equivalent.

Experts can disagree on what constitutes a web writing style and what doesn’t. Most writers advocate a comfortable, conversational writing style. Your writing should be a reflection of who you are and should be similar to the way that you would speak to a friend. The use of humour is usually recommended, in tasteful amounts.

Headlines need to be instant attention grabbers. A reader skimming over a page is not likely to be attracted to a bland headline so it is important that you make yours stand out. Some experts say that you can do this be being playful or clever, while others say that you must not use clever or “cute” headings since these will pass beneath a reader’s skimming radar. Try to be as descriptive as possible while keeping it short and punchy. It always helps to use action verbs rather than flat ones. The first word is important so try not to waste it by using “The” or “In” or something equally mundane.

The body of your work should contain all of the information that you want to convey, or all the news that you want to share, using the fewest words possible. Try to keep your sentences short and concise, even if you are a natural word wanderer. Given a choice between a big, impressive sounding word that shows off your vocabulary and a short word that gets the message across, go with the short word. Paragraphs should contain one idea only. Don’t split an idea over two paragraphs either. This ensures that your paragraphs are neat and allows your writing to flow well.

Once you’ve caught the reader’s attention with your expertly written headline, you have to hold it with the content of your article or webpage. A good tactic to use is to approach the reader on a personal level. People are more likely to react to situations that they can relate to personally. This applies to all media, including web writing. People’s purchasing habits and their emotions are closely linked. It is important to try and tap into them on an emotional level so that they will be more inclined to relate to your site or product.

A strong start is important to attract attention, and a strong finish is equally important. People remember beginnings and endings, it’s the middle bits that often fade into oblivion. You need to create an ending that will leave them thinking for a long time after they’ve switched their computers off. It’s not always an easy thing to do, especially if your subject matter does not lend itself easily to exciting images and thought provoking ideas. In such instances it’s best not to yield to the temptation to write something extreme, and that appeals to your darker sense of humour, for the sake of sensationalism. No matter how well written it is, blood and gore do not make a good ending to a client’s article.

Recommended sites:

Try The New Work Connexions Site


We have been working for some time on launching a new site focused on Business Development. We our now throwing the doors open and inviting old and new users to join our community and grow your business. Over the next weeks we will be moving data and users over to the new site, ready for a new spring campaign. So come and try it out at

Minmax Infosystems

Working on the development of the new Work Connexions Business social networking site. Minmax has become a software partner providing additional resources and backup to our more complicated projects.


Minmax Infosystems Private Limited. (MINMAX) was established in the year 2000 at Chennai, one of the metropolitan technology hubs of India, with the mission statement “Identify and supply the ever-increasing information technology specific demands of the business community for efficient manpower and solutions for Minimum Cost and Maximum Benefits to our Customers”.

Business Solutions

MINMAX’s proposed association with reputed information technology giants such as Microsoft, Oracle, etc., allow us to provide leading edge information technology with both hardware and software and follow proven methodologies in implementation, training and after sales service.

Systems Integration

From MINMAX, as a total solutions provider, we can formulate a complete business solution plan encompassing computer hardware, networking, operating systems and application software, to make up a complete integrated system with ease especially for larger enterprises.


At MINMAX, we have qualified team of network engineers determine the infrastructure requirements and design a network that accurately meets the clients’ immediate as well as future needs. This team will take care of everything right from consulting, procuring the necessary technology, configurating it to the client’s needs, to complete implementation.


At MINMAX, we have a team of certified trainers who can take care of our customers training needs and provide them with the necessary skills needed to maximise their usage of information technology.


At MINMAX, while we take-up software development projects we also take-up the responsibility of maintaining the legacy systems support with minimum cost until the new product is ready for up and running. This not only helps us understand the client’s left out requirement if any but also to incorporate those requirements into the new product. We also provide consulting on Project Management, Quality Processes and ISO Certification Process.


MINMAX has received certain prestigious appreciation from it’s clients for its quality work done in the past during the Money Exchange Application Software development for Redha Al Ansari Exchange Establishment, Dubai, U.A.E. and many more.

Visit the Company website here: