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Google Voice to replace Skype as our phone system?

We are big fans of technology at Madeinmilan. We do download all Skype beta versions (often just to find them unusable and go back to the stable version) and have subscribed the Techcrunch feed, of course.

This morning Techcrunch surprises me with a -potential- alternative to my Skype system, Google Voice. It promises to simplify your life with telephones. The basic idea around Grand Central (the company bought by Google to develop the Voice system) is “one phone number for all your phones, for life.” You give out only one numbers and that reroutes all your incoming call as you wish. Google will offer as well a SMS system and a voicemail which will transcript your messages and archive them. It will be managed through an interface very similar to Gmail. It sounds sensational.

We are Skype business users, we regularly make phone calls through Skype, we have Skype subscriptions and our telephone business model is designed around Skype to secure our phones are reliable, portable and affordable.

Now let’s see if Google Voice can replace this. When Gmail launched the embedded video, some people called it “Skype killer” which was clearly an exaggeration. This Google Voice, on the other side, has more potential to be competitive with Skype. The main thing they have to care about is reliability which, so far, Grand Central hasn’t secured.

I can’t wait to try it. I am still not sure if it will be available outside the United States.

Social businesses, can they improve your business?

We took inspiration from the Italian newspaper Corriere della Sera to talk about Muhammad Yunus, the inventor of the Grameen Bank or the mother of the microcredit concept.

In a very few words (words from Wikipedia…) “in 1976, during visits to the poorest households in the village of Jobra near Chittagong University, Yunus discovered that very small loans could make a disproportionate difference to a poor person.”

What we most admire of Mr Yunus is the rational perspective. Mr Yunus is a man with a dream, really to “make poverty history” and he built an efficient business around this idea. His business improves lives and makes money, incredible, isn’t it? Building social businesses is the only way to convince the most talented people to employ their skills and creativity without entirely giving up the profit they would make being in a ‘traditional’ business.

Our business is wine and we would like to deliver a more and more contemporary, funny, interesting and exciting idea of wine. Innovation is the key. How to find innovation? If you bring enough technology to N’Djamena, in Tchad, would they be, let’s say, great graphic designers? Maybe not, not now at least but surely they would bring to your design an innovative flair and in a few years, who knows…

The Great Online Ad Slow Down

The Great Online Ad Slow Down is hitting everybody on the web, no doubt. It is an effect of the world economic crises but not only. Information online is underpaid which is a nice way to say that it is not paid at all. Almost always papers online don’t charge anything for the articles they publish, which is good for the users. However, this system requires high level of advertising which, sometimes, is just overpaid.

Personally I think the Great Online Ad Slow Down is a smaller scale dotcom bubble burst. As I have already written, the Internet is still very young and it is still adjusting to find better solutions and strategies. This is just a case. I don’t think that every content online will be for free but I think that users will pay very little (the Internet scale allows it to be VERY little, make sure it is, please!) to ensure the quality of the content. When I say, very little, I literally mean a few cents.

Where to go if you are a millionaire

Since the success of Myspace, social community sites have flourished. The most well known ones guarantee a free access for anybody.

Everybody knows SmallWorld does not. You must first get an invitation from another member to qualify. Recently, the world upper class can enjoy a new site to share passion and interests: www.affluence.org.

Here you gain access only if qualify for at least one of the following options:

1. You have a minimum household net worth of $3 million
2. You have a minimum annual household income of $300,000.
3. You have 5 other people who qualify tell Affluence that you are upper class enough to become a member of Affluence.

However, when you get in, you will ever miss a party again. And you will know what’s the bar to go tonight. Though, if you make that, you will probably be working the night of the party.


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Is Internet still young?

Yesterday I wrote a post claiming that on the web you need just a good idea to start. Obviously things are never that easy but I see people tend forgetting Internet is a VERY young tool. Users know Internet as something merely 13/14 years old, still a teenager. It still offers immense potentiality and, even if we think many things have been done, the web keeps changing in a way no one can predict.

It is still a young tool, there are still immense opportunities and ideas to be developed.

This links to another thing. I always get surprised when I see buy-outs such as YouTube for example. I give you just an example, take the email service. When I started using the web, I used an Italian provider, Virgilio, then I passed to Hotmail and, in the end, to Gmail. I don’t assume Gmail will be the last email provider I use, though now I am completely satisfied, as I was satisfied with Hotmail. The point is that the web is still surprising me. Google is worth billions and billions. And it just did it in 10 years. Why can’t we think that, maybe, next year a new search engine will rapidly replace Google as Google did with Yahoo?

Defend your reputation against Google

PR is about shouting, everybody says -except PR people. You have to be online, you have to be on the web, people must see you. True. What about when the web doesn’t talk very well about you? Embarrassing pictures with your name or your company on it. That comment you signed with your name and no longer can delete. Every company has something on the web they would like to delete. Reputation Defender does exactly this. For $10 pm they investigate your name or the name of your company and intervene when they want some content to be removed. Personally I think it is sensational that such a company employs already 65 people. The web does really need just an idea.

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Time Travel

Travel across the dissolute parties of the Roman Empire, through their lascivious customs and their powerful gods. Enter the decadent bars of Paris during the 19th century, where artists painted about their outrageous lives. This is about where and when Madeinmilan wine fits: what’s your match? On Madeinmilan website





The Tale of the corkscrew and the bottle

It is a story about the tender encounter between the Madeinmilan bottle and an audacious corkscrew. They are partners in crime, playing a game of seduction. Their words are as poignant as the corkscrews thrust, but their tone remains intimate.