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smAlbany Small Business Day 2010

[tweetmeme] I started my day remembering a blog I’d read the night prior.  Tea Contains Less Caffeine Than Coffee on the Broken Secrets blog.  I couldn’t get my caffeine soon enough!  I rarely drink coffee, but when I do I get the caffeine kick I need.  Since I knew I’d be talking to people though – I did them all a favor and DIDN’T drink coffee.  Coffee breath stays with me all day — so I opted for Mountain Dew Typhoon instead.  (I needed something caffeinated to help me function on 2 hours sleep!)

College of Nanoscale Science and Engineering

Once Michael and I checked in at the registration desk and mingled some, we settled in to the auditorium at the College of Nanoscale Science and Engineering building (For those that don’t know it’s the big glass building at the corner of Fuller Road and Washington Avenue Ext. in Albany)

Below are some notes about the forums that were offered.
I found as I started writing this that it was VERY difficult to keep up with all the information the panels were presenting.  Many of the following sections will appear more as “notes” vs. a “narrative.”

Times Union:  Tools for Small Business Success

Speaker: Tena Tyler – News and Information Services Senior Editor 518.454.5324

To have your business information printed in the Times Union you need to understand your audience.  You need to know how to speak their language.  She stressed that a business needs to know when to call an editor.  If you’ve sent in a press release and two weeks have passed and it hasn’t been published, make sure you call in.  Tena stated that one of the biggest problems with small businesses in the region is that they don’t accept that online is a form of publication.  Many businesses are turning to Facebook and Twitter to market their businesses, but small businesses seem to be slower to use the online medium for marketing.

The TU wants to help small businesses in the region
If you have a story about your business: TUBusiness@timesunion.com
If you have a business event and would like it added to our business calendar: TUCalendar@timesunion.com
If you want your event to be in the print version – please contact them 3 weeks in advance
Eric Anderson – Business editor 453-5323

Speaker: Craig Eustace – Retail Advertising Manager 518.454.5529
Craig spoke about the paid marketing that the Times Union offers.
The Times Union now has Niche publications.
Life @Home – geared towards your home – design ideas, DIY projects, etc.
Healthy Life – geared towards women’s issues and things women would like to read about.
Explore – Where to go what to do – travel/tourism
In Motion – Automotive magazine
Vow – Brand New – Wedding magazine (Just launched Tuesday!)

You can advertise your small business in these publications to get your ad in front of a targeted audience.
Pay per click is also offered.  You will know how many people clicked on your ad.  It is track-able so you will know what your return on investment is.

They offer direct mail marketing.  They can provide demographic lists.  For example – If you’re a roofer – they can get you a list of all houses in the readership area that are 25 years or older.  You can target them and send your ad to those target customers.

Tim Cronin & Lisbeth Calandrino

Keynote Speaker:  Lisbeth Calandrino – Make It Happen
Lisbeth CalandrinoOwner of Lisbeth Calandrino Business Consulting, speaker, trainer, business coach and author of Red Hot Customer Service.

We have huge growth in the technology market in the capital region.

2 out of 3 jobs are created by small businesses

Earlier this month Sam’s Club did a survey of their small business customers.
“What is it that you need in order to stay in business?” was the main question.
The answer: MONEY!  Sam’s Club partnered with the National Business Association and the Small Business Administration to figure out how to get small business loans for the small business community.  If the small businesses don’t have money to maintain their businesses, it will directly effect Sam’s Club’s bottom line.  This act alone shows that Sam’s Club partners with their customers.

What do small businesses need around Albany?
Many have good business but it isn’t steady.
Figure out how to get your customer out to shop.
Consumers are afraid to shop.  Afraid to spend – need to save their money.
If you want to make it as a small business, you need to be a partner with your customer
It’s your job to be friends with you customers.

She quoted 212 – The Extra Degree by Sam Parker & Mac Anderson
“At 211 degrees, water is hot.
At 212 degrees, it boils.
And with boiling water, comes steam.
And steam can power a locomotive.”

Meet the Media Who Cover The Local Business News
Moderated by Lydia Kulbida from WTEN and Times Union Blogger

The Panelists
Larry Rulison
Lauren Rose
Mary Darcy
Mike Hendricks

Read your tweets and messages out loud.  Would you want to buy whatever your pitching?
Engage with your audience – have a fun personality.
Friend every reporter out there to get your name out in many forms of media.
Comment on the blogs, Facebook, Twitter….
Interact with your customers on Twitter & Facebook with personal tweets and comments.

Times Union – Panel on Social Media, Blogging and Your Customers
Moderated by Mike Huber – Interactive Audience Manager at the Times Union

The Panelists
Sonja Stark

Merci Miglino
Lissa D’Aquanni
Rev. Alan Rudnick
Vic Christopher

Questions that you should ask yourself prior to blogging are:
“Why should people read your blog?  Why should they care?
People blog for different reasons.  Some blog to market their business, others blog to build a sense of community.
“Careful what you put out there.  Count to 10 before you hit publish.”
“What degree do ethics play in a community?”
Rev. Alan Rudnick spoke about people who “hide behind the veil” AKA – Anonymous bloggers.
Merci reminded us that “Blogging is a knee jerk – reactive media.”
“If you don’t believe in your product, in yourself, and that you can cheer yourself out of a corner – you shouldn’t start a blog.”
“Be a follower OR have a following.”  Your choice.
They spoke about the recent “Ding Dong Ditch” incident that happened locally last week.  Why did it become such a firestorm?  It was a story that contained emotion.  It could happen to any home owner.    Social Media helped that story spread like wild-fire.  So much so that CNN picked up the story.

An audience member Karen McGowan spoke that she hadn’t considered a blog for her business until today.  The panel encouraged her to start blogging about her business Capital Interior Scapes an interior plant scape business.  By blogging she would humanize her business and she would appear as an expert in her industry.  She could post customer recommendations, pictures of plant-scapes she’d designed, lists of plants that people could consider and so many other things.

Going Mobile – The Mobile Revolution in Social Media
Presented by Rhea Drysdale of Outspoken Media and Verizon Wireless

Why is  mobile taking over everyone’s lives?
It makes our lives easier.

What is social media?
“Social media are media designed to be disseminated through social interaction, using highly accessible and scalable publishing techniques…  They support the democratization of knowledge and information and transform people from content consumers to content producers.”

Benefits of social media
New customer acquisition
Current customer outreach
Loyalty rewards
Corporate branding
Personal branding
Brand monitoring and management

They spoke about using Facebook, Twitter, Ning, Yelp, FourSquare GetListed and Know Em to market your business.  Go to these sites and fill out your business profile.  They stressed to fill in EVERY blank and as many keywords as are relevant to help your business come up in internet search engine results.

54% of the phone users in the local market use Verizon service.
30-40% of them are smart phones.
52% of the phones sold last week in his store were smartphones – ie. Droids, Blackberries, etc.

Top 10 Things Your Small Biz Website Needs in 2010
Presented by: Miriam Paska – Creative Strategist from Intellisites

She didn’t present them as a “Top 10” but some of the key points were:

Have a unique Design
You need to know who you’re competing against and what their web presence and marketing strategies are.
Keep your important information “above the fold”
You want the viewer of your site to see the important information without having to scroll down the page.
Use keyword phrases in your blog and on your website so you will organically show up on Web search results.
She also spoke about using Google Alerts to monitor the online activity of your company name.

Using Social Media For Your Job Hunt
Presented by: Alexis Grant

Use social media to:
Tap into your existing network
Expand your network s to include contacts at the companies where you want to work.

Facebook
Biggest online community – most bang for your buck – IT’S FREE!
People know you, like you, and WANT to help you
Great excuse to keep in touch with people who could help you

She stressed the importance of making small-talk first.  Don’t friend request someone and immediately ask them if their company is hiring.  Make some small talk and as the conversation evolves, your job search will be mentioned.

Alexis spoke about using your Facebook privacy settings to control what potential employers could see on your profile.    You want to be personal, yet still professional.

LinkedIn
Connect with professionals you might not want to see your personal life on Facebook
Your resume will appear on Google, showing potential employers what you want them to see.
LinkedIn has job boards as well as groups you can join based on your alma mater and industry.
You can find out background information about potential employers
There is an introductions feature that you can use to meet someone who a mutual friend knows.

Twitter
Network outside your circle of friends
Prove yourself as an expert
Hear about jobs
Keep on top of new trends in your industry
Make connections with companies and employers who may not have otherwise noticed you)

Tips when using social media
Fill out your profile completely
If you’re not going to do it well, don’t do it at all
Rather than being on every network – choose a few and grow quality followings

Thank you to Tim Cronin and Larry Zimbler for the invitation to be a VIP Guest Blogger at the smAlbany Small Business Day 2010.  I look forward to interacting with you in the future.

smAlbany Image from: http://www.smalbany.org
Mountain Dew Image from: http://thishelpdesk.com/mountain-dew-typhoon/
College of Nanoscale Science and Engineering Image from: http://todaysfacilitymanager.com/facilityblog/2009/12
Tim Cronin and Lisbeth Calandrino image by Michael T. Henry: http://tcrpmg.wordpress.com

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I LOVE Heist Movies!!!!!I’ve always loved heist movies.  The word heist is defined as: “to commit armed robbery or steal.
I’m an honest person.  I don’t steal things or rob places, but for some reason these movies have always been my favorites.  I’m going to tell you about a few of my favorites.

The Thomas Crown Affair ~ 1999

The Thomas Crown Affair I think this one is my all time favorite.  In the movie Thomas Crown (Pierce Brosnan) is a millionaire who loves his Monets.

San Giorgio Maggiore at Dusk ~ Claude Monet

Throughout the film Catherine Banning (Renee Russo) is an insurance adjuster is trying to prove that Thomas Crown was the one who stole the painting.  There are twists throughout the movie and it’s fun to watch Thomas toy with Catherine and the local detective on the case.   (Denis Leary)  There’s also a great sex scene on the stairway of Thomas’ mansion….  The music in the movie is wonderful.  The theme song The Windmills of Your Mind is performed by Sting and is a great song.  So check out my favorite cat and mouse game that is The Thomas Crown Affair.

Ocean's Eleven ~ 2001

Ocean’s Eleven What a great movie!  There’s one of the best all-star casts you could ask for as far as big names: George Clooney, Brad Pitt, Bernie Mac, Elliott Gould, Matt Damon, Don Cheadle, Casey Affleck, Carl Reiner, Scott Caan, Eddie Jemison, Shaobo Qin, Andy Garcia, and Julia Roberts.  In the film they rob 3 Las Vegas casinos (Bellagio, The Mirage, and the MGM Grand).  They plot and plan with the precision of surgeons.  George Clooney plays the ringleader Danny Ocean.  He has a personal vendetta against Terry Benedict (Andy Garcia) because he is dating Danny’s wife Tess (Julia Roberts).  The only way to get to Terry though is hit his pride/hit his wallet.
I found out a few interesting flaws in the movie (there are many) while I was researching this post:

  • Danny Ocean says that Nevada Gaming Commission regulations require casinos to have enough cash in their vaults to cover every cent in play on the floor. In fact, no such regulation exists.
  • The $100 dollar bill is currently the largest US note in circulation (and has been since the sixties). One million dollars in $100 bills (10,000 notes) weighs about 22 pounds according to the US Treasury Dept web site. Therefore $160MM dollars would weight about 3,520 pounds. There is no way eight people could carry that much weight in canvas bags in one trip from the vault to the SWAT van.
  • During the robbery, the first set of 6 bags which allegedly contained half of the $160 million actually held fliers for hookers. As Rusty had instructed, they were sent up from the vault using the elevator, and carried out of the casino and placed in the white van by Benedict’s men before the SWAT team arrived. However, there is no explanation about how the fliers were transported into the vault in the first place – Danny and Linus did not bring them, and there would not have been enough extra space for that much paper in the cart that held Yen.

The Real McCoy ~ 1993

The Real McCoy is a movie that not too many people remember.  In the movie Karen McCoy (Kim Basinger) is a former bank robber who was recently released from prison.  Her greedy parole officer (Gallard Sartain)  holds her son hostage and threatens to put her back in jail if she doesn’t pull off one final bank heist for his boss Jack Schmidt (Terence Stamp)  She enlists the help of her biggest idiot fan J.T. Barker (Val Kilmer) to pull it all off.  Check this one out if you can find it.

The Maiden Heist ~ 2009

The Maiden Heist is a newer movie out to DVD.  I watched it for the first time last month and found it amusing.  It was an art heist where 3 museum security guards decide to steal their 3 favorite pieces of art before the new museum curator can have them sent to their new museum owner in Denmark.  Morgan Freeman, Christopher Walken, and William H. Macy all put in amusing performances.  (If you like art, check out my Art Blog)

Gone In 60 Seconds ~ 2000

Gone In 60 Seconds has got to be another one of my favorites!!  Aside from the fact that it stars one of my favorite actors Nicholas Cage as Memphis Raines the movie kept my interest the ENTIRE time which is tough to say for alot of movies.  Like Ocean’s Eleven this movie has another all-star cast.   Angelina JolieGiovanni Ribisi, Robert Duvall, James Duval, Scott CaanDelroy Lindo, Chi McBride Christopher Eccleston, Vinnie Jones, Timothy OlyphantWilliam Lee Scott (He’s from Hudson, NY), and T.J. Cross.  Just in case you live under a rock and haven’t seen the movie, it’s about a retired car thief who has to come out of retirement to pull off a 50 high end car heist in 1 night to save his little brother’s life.  There are some BEAUTIFUL cars in this movie as well as funny scenes (remember the snake?) to keep you glued to the TV.

The Saint ~ 1997

The Saint is a movie that many people have forgotten.  I was always a big Val Kilmer fan so when this movie came out it was something I needed to see instantly….  Val plays a character named Simon Templar (one of many names he uses throughout the movie) who is a professional thief/master of disguise who says once his bank account gets to $50,000,000 that he’ll retire.  His last transaction is working with the Russian Mafia and his last assignment is to steal the formula for cold fusion from Dr. Emma Russell. (played by Elisabeth Shue)  What he doesn’t count on is falling in love with her.  When he realizes that the formula isn’t complete and the Russian’s will stop at nothing to get it to work Simon realizes that Emma won’t be safe and goes to her to keep her safe.  Also stars Rade Serbedzija as Ivan Tretiak.

Heist ~ 2001

Heist starring Gene Hackman, Danny DiVito, Delroy Lindo, and Sam RockwellGene Hackman plays the brilliant leader of a gang (Delroy Lindo, Ricky Jay & Rebecca Pigeon as Hackman’s youngish wife), which pulls off complex heists for a despicable fence (Danny DeVito). After stiffing the gang on a jewelry robbery, DeVito forces the gang to go after a Swiss gold shipment and to use his nephew (Sam Rockwell) in the crime. No one trusts anyone and every step is shaded with the unexpected. Summary written by John Sacksteder (off IMDB)

Flawless ~ 2007

Flawless starring Demi Moore and Michael Caine is a diamond-heist thriller set in London during the 1960s. Demi Moore plays Laura Quinn, a bright, driven and beautiful executive at the London Diamond Corporation who gets frustrated as she watches man after man get promoted ahead of her despite her being more experienced.  Michael Caine plays Hobbs, the nighttime janitor at London Diamond.   Nobody notices Hobbs, but over the years he’s worked there he’s acquired extensive knowledge about how the company runs. Observing Laura’s frustration, he convinces her to help him execute his plan to steal a hefty sum in diamonds.

The Score ~ 2001

The Score was a great movie starring Robert De Niro, Edward Norton, Angela Bassett and Marlon BrandoDe Niro plays Nick Wells, a professional criminal who almost got caught on his last job.  He wants out of the business for good.  His plan is to live in peace with his girlfriend Diane (played by Bassett), and to run his Montreal jazz club NYC.   Nick’s good friend Max (played by Brando who’s also his financial partner in his illegal dealings) has an offer Nick can’t refuse.  A historical and priceless French sceptre has been discovered while being smuggled into the country.   It is under intense surveillance in the Montreal Customs House, and soon will be returned to France.  Nick has to team up with Max’s man inside.  When Nick and Jackie Teller (Norton) meet it isn’t exactly love at first sight.  Nick thinks he’s young and careless.  They go into the job together, and only one question remains: Who will trick whom out of their share?

The Italian Job ~ 2003

The Italian Job starring Mark Wahlberg, Charlize Theron, Donald Sutherland, Jason Statham, Seth Green, Mos Def, and Edward Norton.  A team of expert thieves pull off a heist in Venice, Italy stealing 35 million dollars worth of gold bars.  One of the thoieves betrays his team and swipes the gold for himself.  A year later, in Las Angeles, the remaining team members create a smart and devious plan to steal back the gold and get their revenge on the traitor.

The Doberman Gang ~ 1972

Finally I’m going to mention a movie you’ve probably never heard of.  In The Doberman Gang a bank thief decides to train a pack of doberman pinschers to rob a bank after a failed bank robbery attempt.  Dobermans are a breed of dog that trains extremely well and there’s less room for deviation in the robbery.  Even though this is an old movie, it’s nice to go back to an old school movie to remember how it was all done before we had computers and all the technology used in most heist movies we see today!  According to Wikipedia there were two sequels to this movie as well which I haven’t seen.  If anyone has them I’d love copies!!

What are some of your favorite heist movies?  Tell me, maybe I haven’t seen them yet!!

Please comment and subscribe 🙂

UPDATE!!
Please comment and tell me what brought you to this blog.  I’ve been getting TONS of hits on it months after it was published.  I’m just curious why….

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