Blood on the trading floor

Remember the boom in stockmarket flotations, at the end of the last century and the start of this one? That was the time when companies came to the stockmarket for its IPO – Initial Public Offering – armed with a prospectus, a narrative, a prominent bank to manage the offering, and a cabal of venture capitalists hidden off-stage, sniggering, rubbing their hands, and revving the engine of their getaway vehicle. For civilians and non-City people, in a week dominated by all-too-credible stories about economic cataclysm and global recession, that may seem a long time ago. The biggest IPO in history, for instance – what and when was that? AT&T in 2000? Google in 2004?

Is video content the future for business websites?

If you, like me, are the kind of person who hides away when the video cameras come out, you might well ask, why on earth would you want video content on your company website?

The reason why I’m recommending that you think differently today is because I believe that 1. video content is the future for business websites and that 2. business websites with video content attract more customers and drive higher sales.

Franchising – In business for yourself but not by yourself

You may have heard about franchising but would you like to know more? Well, it does what it is says on the tin – franchising is being in business for yourself but not by yourself. What is inside the tin? What is a franchise? What is involved in researching the marketplace? What about the finances? What can franchising do for me?

Firstly, here are the key industry statistics taken from the latest NatWest/bfa Franchise Survey. (bfa stands for British Franchise Association – the voluntary self-regulating body for the franchise industry.) You may be surprised by the scale and scope of the industry.

Budget 2008 – The fiscal cupboard is bare

The Chancellor, in his first Budget, duly announced that the Treasury is now expecting the economy to grow more slowly this year and next than it forecast at the time of the Pre-Budget Report just five months ago. It now thinks the economy will grow by between 1.75% and 2.25% this year before bouncing back to 2.25% to 2.75% in 2009. That, however, is still more optimistic compared with most independent analysts, including those at HSBC. On average, independent forecasters expect growth to drop to well below 2% this year and to remain below 2% next year.

Pinpoint accuracy

Most of us are familiar with the calming disembodied voice of our GPS device informing us to take a left turn just as we overshoot the junction. What’s less familiar is the process by which that voice gets its information. To find out, I spent a day on the road with digital map provider, Navteq.
The map you see on your GPS device (whether it be on your PDA, mobile or in your car) will probably have come from one of two mapping companies, Navteq or Tele Atlas. Both collect map data by driving the roads with a satellite receiver attached to the vehicle and recording information as they go. Information is also collected from other sources, such as Royal Mail, local councils, and the Highways Agency. It is a complex and time-consuming process; no corners can be cut.

Motoring Review:Audi A5

Where Audi really needed to improve its game was in the driver involvement department. With the A5, it has just done that. The coupe features a wide track, its steering has been engineered from scratch, the quattro 4WD is biased towards the rear and the front axle has been moved forward 120mm to counteract understeer. All this work has had the desired effect.

Web Site Performance

Having web pages that have landing pages which load too slowly do not only hurt your conversion rates but they are to be penalised by Google.   Google will be giving websites with slow loading landing pages a lower Quality Score and in turn, a higher minimum bid price in an effort to improve user experience.   A landing page could also be referred to as a destination page, the destination URL or a target URL and is the web page that a consumer arrives at once a link is clicked.