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The Upside: Killer Sales Tips

2 posts from March 2008

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March 24, 2008

How Network Non-Neutrality Affects Real Businesses

Xconomy.com posted an opinion piece today that I wrote about how some ISPs can unwittingly trash legitimate web services in their effort to stem the flow of peer-to-peer file sharing traffic like BitTorrent.

I detail the run-in we had a few years ago when Canada’s two largest IPSs secretly deployed traffic management policies, apparently targeting BitTorrent.  Their instrument was quite blunt, trashing nearly any high speed TCP/IP stream that their customers uploaded, which caused Glance customer sessions to slow to a crawl.  Fortunately, we were able to determine the cause and luckily had a method that allowed our customers to avoid the block.

But my point is that the ISPs were of no help.  They denied that anything had changed, which was not true.  This left our customers wondering who was telling the truth.  From their perspective, only the Glance service had slowed.

That’s the crux of the problem.  ISPs cannot be allowed to institute secret traffic management policies that target unnamed web services.  Such practices can harm real businesses.  It’s like letting the phone company block an arbitrary class of phone calls that traverse their network and then deny its happening.  No one would tolerate it.  Why should other telecommunication monopolies, the ISPs, have that right?

ISPs suffering chronic congestion must be prevented from arbitrarily limiting some forms of traffic.  If they have congestion, they need to address the real problem, which I feel is a pricing problem.  They simply sold more bandwidth than their network can carry.  To fix it, they need to build more infrastructure, charge more to limit traffic, or be driven out of the market by better, more bandwidth abundant competitors.

We cannot allow ISPs to decide whose traffic they like, and whose they can trash.  Its not good for businesses and its not good for customers.

March 10, 2008

6 tips for better web demos

Many Glance customers use our simple desktop sharing tool for web demos.  They often ask for tips.  Here's what we tell them.

  1. Take a practice run-though.  This isn't just to make sure you sound smooth or know the high points to hit. You'll know that you have the software and files it needs properly installed on your computer and configured correctly. You'll also see how fast your network can send screen changes.  You can make sure there's no embarassing content left over from internal testing -- yes, we've seen this happen in live demos! You'll get a better idea for pacing the demo and you can leave applications running and files pre-loaded to avoid start-up pauses.
  2. Use a solid Internet connection.  Make sure you have plenty of bandwidth. Often ISPs tout their download bandwidth. But if you're hosting the demo, it's the upload speed that matters, and it's often only a tenth as fast.  (Check your speed now, using the Speakeasy Speed Tester here.)
    To avoid wireless fades or drops, connect your computer directly to your network and disconnect your wireless interface (here's how).  Some Windows laptops have a silly policy of connecting to a neighbor's network, dropping the existing connection on its wired interface.
  3. Lower your screen resolution. We all like a nice big screen when working, but that's not what you want for remote demos. Lowering your screen size to 1024x768 or even 800x600 means your demo is transmitted much faster to your guests. It also makes it less likely your presentation will be shrunk down on your guest's side, making text hard to read.
  4. Go for solid colors. You know about not wearing a checked shirt on TV?  This is similar. Good solid colors compress better and transmit faster. Avoid photos, gradients and textures when possible in your desktop's background, slides or charts.  You'll find screen changes and transitions come accross snappier.
  5. If something goes wrong, keep talking.  We all have days when the demo gods don't smile on us. If something glitches, despite your run-through, it's usually not worth getting distracted trying to fix it. Acknowledge that something went wrong, and then move on. If it's a live product demo, have a backup slide presentation.
  6. Finish strong.  Sum up what you've said.  Then pause for questions with a memorable or "sticky" image on the screen having a clear call to action.

Try these tips out on your next demo.  Like many of our customers, I believe you'll find that  web demos can be your most cost effective way to boost inside sales.