Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Google+ Pages in Organic Search Results

Google+ Pages (for business) are starting to show up in organic search results; what we’re recommending for our clients.   

In view of the importance of organic search visibility (and SEO) for businesses of all kinds, I thought it noteworthy that Google+ Pages are now starting to appear within their search results. From what I see, it’s mostly big companies showing up now, but Google has every incentive to include a company’s Google+ Page as an SEO ranking factor going forward; it’s another way they can drive Google+ adoption.

Exact numbers are hard to pin down but Google+ now likely has north of 50 million users. This is far short of Facebook’s 800 million, but we see a different demographic tilt to the Google social network. It’s a difference we think will be especially important to B2B sectors.

Based on our analysis, we find Google+ users are generally more business oriented, include more knowledge workers, are a bit more male than female (at least for now), and tend to be a little younger (Gen X and Y) than the typical Facebook user. To the extent that your target market includes this demographic, setting up a Google+ Page for your business could make sense beyond its SEO value.

I've included a link to an informative article in PC Mag on how to set one up: 


Friday, December 9, 2011

New FernwoodBotanical.org website launch

We're happy to announce the launch of the new FernwoodBotanical.org website this week; what an amazing place! Details are on Webwire. http://www.webwire.com/ViewPressRel.asp?aId=150254

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Friday, October 21, 2011

How Beauty Feels

You may enjoy this recently posted TED talk by Richard Seymour on How Beauty Feels; he offers some interesting insights on our emotional response to beauty whether it's a motorcycle or a face (or a great website). Here's a link:

Friday, October 14, 2011

Register for our next Internet Strategy seminar

Our “Developing an Effective Internet Strategy” seminar is coming up (Monday) October 24 at GVSU in Grand Rapids.   SBTDC has lined up a sponsor to cover the $30 enrollment fee, so you can attend at no charge, but you still need to register to reserve a spot; (link below.) Here’s an overview of the information I’ll cover:

“In this seminar you’ll learn a step-by-step process to help you evaluate your competitive advantage and develop a profitable Internet business strategy. The program includes an explanation of online tools you can use to compare metrics on your competitors' relative strengths and weaknesses along with valuable insights on the size and nature of your target market. The strategies discussed in this session have been used to generate over $100 million in revenue in B2B, B2C and service industries. It's a must for business owners interested in growing their company in the online channel.”

Here’s the link to register:

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Sign up for Servant Leadership webinars

FYI - Our friends at Flint Strategic Partners are offering a webinar on building competitive advantage through servant leadership; well worth your time and consideration; details here: http://www.flintpartners.com/

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Essential Website Design Elements seminar at WMU

Mysteries explained; dark secrets revealed!

I'm looking forward to presenting our "Essential Website Design Elements" seminar on Thursday, Sept. 22, 10 am to 12 pm; Western Michigan University, 3110 Schneider Hall, Haworth College of Business; Kalamazoo, MI 49008.

Seating is limited; click the link below for details and to register for the event.

Website Design seminar at WMU details

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Book signing at LMC

Looks like a very interesting program at LMC this coming Monday evening; details below...

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Website hacks on the rise

Another reason to be sure your website security is airtight; see the story below from The Telegraph on the RankMyHack website. We just fixed a particularly nasty hack in the form of an SQL injection attack on a client's site; we're seeing a marked increase in malicious activity lately. 

Friday, August 12, 2011

GroupMe app for Android

Testing GroupMe app for group texting on Android now; both Web and mobile interfaces with conference calling included. So far, so good!

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Social Media Workshop tomorrow

Presenting our Social Media Workshop at GVSU, Grand Rapids tomorrow from 1 to 3 pm; just updated with the latest info on Google+ and its implications for business.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Google+ Test Drive

Just signed up to test drive Google+; Circles appear to offer a more intuitive way to manage "who sees what" compared to the leading brand. It looks easier to use and manage overall. Can it beat FB? Not sure, but it's a far stronger competitor than Buzz.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Voice Search for Chrome Browser

Google is now in the process of rolling out "voice search" for its Chrome web browser; I've been using this feature on my Android phone for months now with gradually improving results. Their voice recognition software is getting smarter all the time. The technology has obvious value on a smartphone and tablet; perhaps less so on a desktop. Worth trying if you have a microphone hooked to your computer.

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Tickets Available for Summer Event Series

 As WVPE Corporate Underwriters, we (Precept Partners) have a number of tickets for the various Summer Events that kick off this coming Friday with “Meet Me on the Island” featuring jazz guitarist Bill Burris. Over the summer, the series will feature a variety of outstanding jazz, blues and folk artists. I’ve copied details on the dates, locations and links where you can sample the music below.   

If you’d enjoy attending one or more of these events, just send me an email with the name of any or all event(s), how many tickets you need and the address I should mail them to. My email address is stephen@preceptpartners.com

In any case, enjoy the summer; it’ll be gone before we know it!
1. Meet Me on the Island
Century Center, South Bend
June 3, 2011 | 5:30 – 9:00 pm
The Bill Boris Group
Presented by WVPE Public Radio and South Bend Museum of Art

2. Warsaw Blue Friday
Spikes Beach Grill at Noa Noa Wood Grill & Sushi Bar, Warsaw
June 17, 2011 | 5:30 – 9:00 pm
The Elwood Splinters Blues Band
Presented by WVPE Public Radio

3. Meet Me on the Island
Century Center, South Bend
July 1, 2011 | 5:30 – 10:30 pm
Half Pint Jones
Presented by WVPE Public Radio and South Bend Museum of Art

4. Envirofest
Wellfield Botanical Gardens, Elkhart
July 8, 2011 | 5:30 – 9:00 pm
Sons of the Never Wrong
July 8, 2011 | 6:00 pm – 8:00 pm
Indiana Wild animal shows
Presented by WVPE Public Radio and City of Elkhart Environmental Division

5. Fernwood Friday
Fernwood Botanic Gardens, Niles
July 15, 2011 | 5:30 – 9:00 pm
Typhanie Monique
Presented by WVPE Public Radio and Fernwood Botanical Garden & Nature Preserve

6. Music in the Gardens
The Center for History, South Bend
August 5, 2011 | 5:00 – 9:00 pm
The Whistle Pigs
Presented by WVPE Public Radio and City of Mishawaka Parks & Recreation

7. Mishawaka Blue Friday
Beutter Riverfront Park, Mishawaka
August 12, 2011 | 5:30 – 9”00 pm
South Side Denny
Presented by WVPE Public Radio and City of Mishawaka Parks & Recreation

Thursday, May 26, 2011

email trends

Are social media, texting and pervasive spam rendering plain old email obsolete? Before drawing that conclusion, it's worth considering that in 2010 there were over 100 trillion emails sent. Even relative to the more than 600 million Facebook users, and billions of tweets posted, this is a very BIG number. Notwithstanding the reality that spam makes up the larger part of emails sent, we see targeted, well designed email as a practical, valuable business tool. 

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

LinkedIn stock option risk

Looking through the LinkedIn S-1 filing I noted that there are about 18 million stock options issued. The low exercise price (relative to the IPO price or better) will make it very tempting for the employees and insiders to cash out once the six month lock-up period is over. Expect downward pressure on the stock price when these options get exercised.  

The latest LinkedIn S-1A, dated May 17, 2011 shows the break out of Options Granted, when and at what price:
Option Grant Dates
Number of

Price Per

Common Stock
Fair Value Per
Share at
Grant Date

February 2009


April 2009



June 2009



August 2009



September 2009



November 2009



February 2010



June 2010



September 2010



November 2010



December 2010



February 2011



April 2011





Includes 2,429,750 stock options that were repriced on a one-for-one basis to $2.32 per share. Please see the section below titled “Stock Option Repricing.”

 Based upon the assumed initial public offering price of $43.50 per share, the aggregate intrinsic value of options outstanding as of March 31, 2011 was approximately $610.6 million, of which approximately $208.8 million related to vested options and approximately $401.8 million related to unvested options.

While I think the business fundamentals and long term prospects for the company are strong, the number and price of these stock options may create a high level of price volatility for the company’s shares in the short term, especially since the float is thin; i.e. the IPO put less than 10% of the company’s equity in play.  

Proceed with caution!

If you want to read more (and there’s a lot more), here’s a link to the S-1 on the sec.gov site: http://www.sec.gov/Archives/edgar/data/1271024/000119312511142213/ds1a.htm

Friday, May 20, 2011

Another Internet Bubble?

LinkedIn closes at $93 a share and change; indication of another Internet "bubble"? Could be in the short term; don't think so longer term. While the relative valuation of LinkedIn could be debated (based on traditional valuation methods), the long term prospects for Internet companies that offer scalable solutions to real world problems may be underestimated by looking only at current EBITDA.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Olee Creative website launch

We're proud to announc the launch of our latest client website at OleeCreative.com; this site includes a mobile "contact us" version for iPhone, iPad and Android devices. Here's a link to the release that explains more.  http://goo.gl/3PUWy

Monday, May 16, 2011

EXPO at Bertrand Crossing

The second annual EXPO at Bertrand Crossing (at LMC) was a great success. The Chamber and the Southwest Michigan Economic Growth Alliance did a nice job of pulling it together. Special thanks to Shelley Klug for her hard work and enthusiasm to make this happen!

Friday, May 13, 2011

Kudos to TEDx Grand Rapids organizers

TEDx Grand Rapids was well organized and captured the innovative spirit of TED. Kudos to the organizers and volunteers made it possible! Especially enjoyed the points made on human centered design and design literacy as critical thinking skills. Packaging from fungi was interesting too!

Friday, April 29, 2011

Buchanan Un-Sanctioned

Plan ahead for food, fun, art and music!

Buchanan, Michigan hosts its Un-Sanctioned Summer kick-off celebration on Saturday of Memorial Day Weekend with live music, art, crafts, food, antiques, and shopping, all found at 

Un-Sanctioned begins with the opening of the Farmers’ Market at 8am and concludes with live music wrapping up at 10pm. Following Un-Sanctioned 2010, which drew several thousand visitors, Un-Sanctioned 2011 expands the number of contributing artists and musicians as well as regional artisans, winemakers, antique dealers, galleries and museums within Buchanan’s Downtown National Register Historic District.

Be there or be square!

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Chris Walsh and Cancer Treatment Survival

Now in the midst of developing a website for CancerTreatmentSurvival.org. The founder, Chris Walsh, himself a cancer survivor, is an amazing, compassionate, extraordinary person. We're proud to work with him and assist in facilitating his vision.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Web Browser Wars: Who's Winning Now?

Given how much time we all spend online now, we thought it high time to look (again) at the most recent versions of the IE, Firefox and Chrome web browsers.  Comparing published benchmark results with our internal tests, declaring a clear winner is tricky, but here’s our take:

IE 9: Most improved of the three.  Faster and more secure than prior versions, with tabbed browsing it’s a huge step forward. Downside: Still uses more onscreen real estate than Chrome or Firefox.  

Google Chrome 10:  Clean design, but uses more memory than the other two; boot up was a bit slower than IE.  (We expect Chrome 11 to address this, but it’s still in beta).  However, if you’re using Google Docs, Chrome is optimal. 

Firefox 4: The fastest of the three; best of the bunch at handling HTML5; the most efficient of the three in terms of memory use, and the fastest to boot up.  While all three browsers are good, we think Firefox 4 is now the web browser to beat.