Many Companies Face A Huge Security Problem In Just Two Weeks. Is Yours One Of Them?

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(This post originally appeared on Forbes)

Many companies don’t want to admit it, but they haven’t yet transitioned entirely to the cloud. It’s happening, of course, but it’s taking time. One recent survey by BetterCloud reported that by 2020, 62% of the 1,500 its customers will be running 100% of their information technology in the cloud. But that still leaves a lot of companies in the United States using internal servers to run their businesses. And according to a report by CTERA, another cloud storage company, “although enterprise is slowly beginning to trust the cloud for more of its corporate applications and data, when it comes to enterprise storage, companies are still control freaks, preferring to keep a tight rein on data than put it on a public cloud or allow employees to access it there.”

This mirrors exactly what I see among the clients of my own consulting firm. Many of my 600-plus  clients, who are mostly small and mid-sized companies, are slowly adapting to cloud applications and services but the majority still rely on internal servers to run their accounting, order entry, storage and communication systems.

Many of those companies are about to face a huge security problem. That’s because support for Microsoft’s Windows Server 2003 is ending on July 14. Read More…

Forget Your Bank — Here Are Four New Sources of Capital You Probably Didn’t Know

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(This post originally appeared on the Huffington Post)

Remember back in the day when your business needed financing?

Your choices were few. You could go to a traditional bank for a traditional bank loan. Or you could look for money from a family member. Or an investor. Or, if you were hoping to go public maybe an investment from a venture capital firm. You could try to wiggle financing out of your suppliers or get a cash advance on your credit card at a usury rate. In a worst case scenario, you could factor your receivables too. All of these options are still available. But, in just the past few years, a bunch of new financing options have cropped up for your company. Are you fully aware of these four? Read More…

Why Good Leaders Sometimes Have To Use Their “N-Word”

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(This post originally appeared on Inc.)

This past weekend President Obama said the “N-word” in public.

“Racism, we are not cured of it,” The President said in an interview. “And it’s not just a matter of it not being polite to say n****r in public. That’s not the measure of whether racism still exists or not. It’s not just a matter of overt discrimination. Societies don’t, overnight, completely erase everything that happened 200 to 300 years prior.”

The President made these remarks in light of the tragic shootings that recently took place in Charleston. Other racially influenced events, from police beatings to inner city riots have shaken the country and increased calls for more gun control over the past few years. And he’s drawing attention to those issues again. As you can imagine, media reaction was intense and everyone on both sides of the political aisle voiced either support or opposition to the President’s use of a word that is rarely ever uttered in public due to its offensive and controversial nature. Read More…

Hey Philly, Stop Your Silicon Valley Penis Envy

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(This post originally appeared on The Philly Post)

Marvin Weinberger, who faces a funding shortfall at his Philly co-working space Venturef0rth, blasted the local tech community last week. He said he’s “continuing to lose a few thousand dollars a month” and has “quietly turned to some pillars of the community for assistance, but have been rebuffed (often rudely).”

There are two sides to every story but Weinberger’s struggle to find tenants at his startup space raises a more important issue about Philadelphia’s tech community. Is it for real? And, more importantly, do we care?

The first question is easy to answer. The Philly tech family is very much for real, with many organizations in the area doing great things. Philadelphia is home to cool, growing companies like Curalate, RJMetrics, Aclaris Therapeutics and Zonoff. There are great startup accelerators and venture-capital firms like DreamIt Ventures, First Round Capital and NewSpring Capital. There are excellent incubators and communities for startups like Indy Hall and Philly Startup Leaders. These people, and others, are all doing great things and have grown a substantial tech industry out of nothing in a relatively short amount of time.

Unfortunately, the second question is not as easy. Read More…

Why You Should Discriminate Amongst Customers, and Be Proud of It

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(This post originally appeared on Entrepreneur)

When it comes to employees, or prospective employees, you shouldn’t discriminate. It’s against the law and not good business. But when it comes to your customers, you should absolutely, positively, frequently discriminate. Although we all want to feel that every customer is equal and loved, the fact is that all customers are not equal or loved.

When I fly, I almost always use American (formerly US Airways). I’m not saying it’s the best airline or offers the best fares (it doesn’t), but American is the dominant airline at my local airport and frankly, it’s a pretty good company. And, like so many other good companies, they discriminate.

I’m a frequent flier. So I get priority boarding and occasionally get upgraded to first class, which are both great perks to make the agony of flying a little less agonizing. But the biggest perk I get is service. If a flight is canceled I get immediately rebooked on another flight — no questions asked or calls made. I know if there are any problems en route I’ll be given priority attention.

If I fly another airline where I don’t have the same status I’ll receive a lower level of service. No airline will admit that. But I know this is true. I’ve lived it.

American, and its competitors, discriminate. Good for them. I wish other companies would be smart enough to do the same. Good customers should receive priority. Good companies should discriminate. Want to know how?  Read More…

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