Lloyd Borrett's Blog
Are we there yet?
Melbourne BizTalk user group
A former colleague and Microsoft BizTalk MVP, Bill Chesnut, is looking to start up a Melbourne BizTalk User Group. He is currently the leader of the Melbourne .Net User Group and is very passionate on the importance of user groups.
Bill has the support of Microsoft in Melbourne, so if you're interested in BizTalk, check out http://melbiz.org/.
Come on let's blog
At the Melb PC main monthly meeting last night, I gave a presentation titled, "Come On Let's Blog." This presentation covers: What is a blog; Why blog; How you create a blog; What is RSS; and What are news aggregators. You can download the MS PowerPoint slides of the presentation (11.8 Mb PPT file) from here.
Product pricing primer
The other day I met an Independent Software Vendor (ISV) who was struggling with some product marketing and pricing issues. In the area of product pricing the best thing I could do, was to steer him towards an excellent article I came across in August by Eric Sink. If you're an ISV, make sure you read Eric's Product Pricing Primer article. If you're an ISV and you haven't read it, be prepared to get left behind. A couple great tidbits:
In fact, if nobody is complaining about your price, then it is probably too low. The trick is to tune your pricing until the volume of the whining is just right.
And my favourites:
I've given you a whole bunch of guidelines and issues to consider as you face your pricing decision. I've said some things here which conflict with other things I've said here. Which issues are you supposed to consider?
You should consider all of these issues, and probably a few more that are specific to your situation. Look at the decision from every possible angle. Anything you read on the subject of pricing is merely an aid to your own judgment, not a substitute for it.
Melb PC online discussion forums offer
Back in June 2004, I sent a letter to the PC Update editor and Melb PC committee titled, "New Ways to Implement the Melb PC Vision". Unfortunately the "powers that be" decided not to publish the letter, though you can read it for yourself online at http://www.borrett.id.au/insight/2004/06/new-ways-to-implement-melb-pc-vision.htm.
One of the suggestions in my letter was the need for Melb PC to establish online discussion forums on the Melb PC web site and thus greatly improve the interaction between members, plus member access to timely information. Well it seems that idea, along with many others, has been put into the "too hard basket", or the "sometime later basket". So I've come up with a way that Melb PC can have all of the online discussion forums it needs, TODAY!
I'm now able to provide Melb PC with access to a powerful online discussion forum setup, for free. I'm offering the Melb PC management, the SIGs, PC Update, each Dial-Help topic, and whatever other parts of Melb PC that want them, as many free forums as they like. The appropriate people will be given complete control as moderators of their forums.
In late June 2004, I switched web hosting providers and gained access to lots of bandwidth and disk space for way less than I'd been paying previously. (Try $140 for the year as opposed to $1200 for the previous 6 months!) In addition, I now had available server side scripting and MySQL database services. So, I proceeded to do a makeover of my personal web site to use these new features. This included setting up a phpBB based discussion forum (see http://www.borrett.id.au/forums/index.php). It will cost me nothing extra to host any forums for Melb PC.
Consider this offer a free, no strings attached, trial to see if online discussion forums can really be of real benefit to Melb PC members.
What's in it for me? Simply the satisfaction of helping Melb PC to take another step forward.
Should the use of the forums prove successful enough for Melb PC to desire to host the forums itself, I hereby pledge that I will gladly help Melb PC to do so. I will provide free time and advise, a dump of the phpBB forum MySQL database from my web site, and shutdown the Melb PC related forums on my web site once Melb PC has its forum hosting running.
How do we get started? Well if you are a SIG coordinator, or some other Melb PC functionary that thinks it would be nice to have an online discussion forum, simply contact me (details at www.borrett.id.au) and we'll set it up. Then just let your people know where your forum is via your meetings, magazine reports and/or web site links. It really is that simple.