How Wearable Technology Has Changed the Halloween Costume Game

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roberWhen it comes to holidays, it’s all about tradition. We eat certain foods, go to certain parties and practice certain rituals because that is how it’s always been.

Halloween is a perfect example. As kids, we dressed up in costumes and went door to door in search of candy without raising an eyebrow. We bought pumpkins, cleaned out the insides and carved scary faces on them. And for what? Because that is how we were taught to celebrate Halloween. It was tradition.

I say all of this to reiterate the point that for most people, Halloween in it’s very essence is a holiday to practice traditions and rituals, not a field for innovation. The game is set. There are witches, ghosts, monsters, zombies and vampires, but no room for entrepreneurial ideas.

Wrong. Enter Mark Rober, a former mechanical engineer at NASA turned wearable tech Halloween T-shirt and costume designer. For nine years Rober worked at NASA — seven of those years spent working on the Curiosity Rover — when he had an idea on revamping how realistic and modern Halloween costumes could be by simply using smart phones and tablets.

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Customer Spotlight: Wendy Baldwin of ER 4 LOVE

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Wendy Baldwin of ER 4 LOVE at the Zoho Houston Meet Up

One of the greatest parts about working at Zoho is the opportunity to meet and talk with small business owners from across the country. Hearing stories about people chasing their dreams and passions is always inspiring, and we are constantly energized and encouraged to learn how they have used Zoho to help them get there.

Recently, the Zoho team has been hosting Meet Ups for Zoho users and anyone else interested in learning about Zoho products in cities across the country. We have had successful Meet Ups in Austin, Houston and Boston, and are traveling to Miami next month.

At the Zoho Houston Meet Up I had the privilege to meet Wendy Baldwin, VP Operations, and Jeanine Holloway, Sales and Seminar Coordinator, from ER 4 LOVE, a company dedicated to helping married couples succeed at the “game of love.” From learning to deal with conflict to becoming a better listener, the marriage mediators at ER 4 LOVE stand by the promise of saving your marriage in two days.

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Present Your Slides Right From A Mobile Phone : Meet ShowMote

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The ability to give zealous presentations is indeed a vital leadership trait. I’m sure you would have been inspired by great presentations like Steve Jobs’ keynotes. Many other top CEOs are also fantastic presenters. Their effectiveness can be attributed to their focus on the audience and being aware of the pulse of the crowd.

We, at Zoho, have a new Mobile Presentation App which makes it easy for you to do exactly that; an App that lets you take total control of your presentation without ever having to turn away from the people listening to you.

Meet ShowMote, your remote control friend for giving slick presentations from your Mobile Phone. This Presentation App is available for both iOS and Android. 

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Microsoft’s Oxygen Supply Problem

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Zoho and Google both have offered free office suite for years, and today, Apple announced that their office suite will also be free across all Apple devices.

Given that Microsoft Office has long been the de-facto monopoly, none of our three companies have anything to lose in commoditizing the office suite market. That is the nice thing about facing a monopoly in an adjacent market – every player other than the monopoly would win if they get a non-zero share of a massively shrunk market. If the $20 billion market shrinks to $2 billion, we at Zoho would celebrate it, as long as we can hope to get a share of that shrunken market. In fact, competitors would win even if they don’t get any share of the shrunken market, because it denies the monopoly the ability to use its cash cow to dominate adjacent markets they do have an interest in.

That very same dynamic has played out in the operating system market already. The near-zero revenue share that competitors to Windows had meant that Google and Apple could give away their operating systems (which Apple also announced today!) and not have anything to lose. What Google achieves with the $0 ChromeOS license it charges OEMs (which costs Google exactly $0 in foregone operating system revenue) is that the OEM will now turn around and ask Microsoft for a $0 Windows license.

What OS X, iOS, Android and ChromeOS have collectively achieved is to drive Windows market share to under 25% of all client devices and yet, these alternative operating systems derive near zero revenue in and of themselves.

There is really not much Microsoft can do to fight back to stop the erosion of these core franchises. Their traditional weapons – closing the document format; tying the Office suite closer to Windows – none of these weapons work anymore. Today, for the first time in a couple of decades, Microsoft faces serious competition in Office, from competitors who, for their own reasons, all want to tear down the monopoly. Why do Apple or Google or Zoho all want to commoditize Microsoft Office? Each company has its own reason: Apple wants to add value to its world-class devices, Google wants to extend the reach of its web services, and for Zoho, the Office suite is one part of our broader work-oriented application suite. As I have argued above, underlying these different strategies is a more fundamental reason: why not tear down a market where we face a monopoly? Apple would want to stop Microsoft from being able to leverage the Office franchise and money into tablets and smart phones, Google would want to stop Microsoft from being able to pour money on Bing indefinitely and so on. Bill Gates would know what it means to “cut off the oxygen supply” – after all it was a phrase he invented while finishing off Netscape. Apple and Google recognize, just as we do at Zoho, that the $12+ billion in oxygen (aka operating income) that Microsoft Office contributes to the mothership is now extremely vulnerable.

The Windows and Office monopolies have massively incentivized the broader ecosystem to come up with business models that drive down the value of those core Microsoft franchises to near zero. This is the price Microsoft has paid with its profoundly anti-competitive tactics of the 90s – every single player in the ecosystem, from their once-slavishly-loyal OEMs to would-be competitors all want to see their market shrunk to zero. Microsoft has punished itself more than the Justice Department could ever have done.

Zoho BugTracker comes with a few goodies

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Any programmer worth their job knows that a source control system is crucial for their software development. Source control is something we all should do. But having a good source control system in place makes it easier for you to maintain the codes and avoid irreparable damages to your software program.

Needless to say what Version Control System (VCS) you use makes you feel it is your most reliable and safe system to store your codes.

Today we’re glad to launch the Bitbucket Integration with Zoho BugTracker. The new Bitbucket integration lets you host and manage your Git and Mercurial repositories, see source commits as changesets and link a particular BugId in Bitbucket right from within Zoho BugTracker.

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3 Tips to Make Sales Reps love (and use!) Your CRM

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Let’s face it. Most of your salespeople don’t like using a CRM system. They don’t like the manual data entry that’s involved to update it. They don’t like to spend endless hours doing reports. And most frequently, they complain about their CRM system not being user friendly. But as much as you can blame your CRM software, you can also blame the way it’s been setup, the way it’s been implemented and managed. So how can you make your CRM system friendlier and get your salespeople to embrace it?

Here are 3 tips that can help sales reps get things done better and faster:

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Know your Sales Funnel using Advanced Analytics

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When we published the Gain More Insight Into Sales With 3 Types of CRM Reports post, CRM user Wendy Wright wanted to know, “What % of leads were closed/won in the last month?” (i.e., how to know the total number of leads got, to those that finally got converted to sales)

This is where the Advanced Analytics Add-on for Zoho CRM, powered by Zoho Reports, comes in. It helps CRM users to slice and dice data, and get actionable insights.

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