Thoughts on technology, investing, marketing, and entrepreneurship.

Category: Business

150 Cheap Places to Live

As a convenient follow-up to my post earlier today, I spotted a Forbes article on Digg entitled 150 Cheap Places to Live. Rich Karlgaard writes about how knowledge workers don’t need to live in big cities anymore due to computers, broadband, mobile phones, etc. The report’s methodology includes a variety of factors and the picks […]

Welcome to the heat of summer

Well, weâ??re finally getting some hot summer days here in Blacksburg and it looks like it will continue through the early part the upcoming week. No matter how hot it gets here in Southwest Virginia, its still infinitely better than being in DC. Beginning in early spring and not ending until late fall, DC smothers […]

Two local companies going public

Two local (southwest Virginia) companies announced last week they will be publicly traded – nTelos (Waynesboro, Va) and Luna Innovations (Roanoke, Va). Luna has filed for an IPO, while nTelos priced their IPO at $12/share and raised $144 million last week (NTLS). This is great news for the whole region and will provide more exposure […]

Brief productivity tips

I read these two tidbits in a productivity email newsletter from David Allen (originator/author of Getting Things Done): A couple of courtesy reminders that (based on my current experience) deserve repeating: (1) When you leave your number on someoneâ??s voicemail or answering machine, speak it slowly, and then slowly REPEAT it. Put yourself in the […]

AOL buys Weblogs Inc reports that Weblogs, Inc. has been purchased by AOL for as much as $35 million. Congrats guys. The acquisition is interesting though from a large media versus the traditionally independent blogger point of view. The Weblogs Inc network, despite having many great blogs, was itself “big media” in the blog world. You just have […]

Move to Blacksburg mostly complete

Well, its been a busy month both professionally and personally. After much research and due diligence, we’ve moved EvolvePoint to Blacksburg, Virginia from Alexandria, Virginia. EvolvePoint is now a part of the VT KnowledgeWorks program, a technology business accelerator and incubator located in the Virgina Tech Corporate Research Center (CRC). There are numerous reasons for […]

Business Blogs Keep Customers Coming Back

The Wall Street Journal has a nice article on business blogs. Nothing terribly insightful or new, but interesting to see mainstream picking up on what many of us are already aware of – how important blogs are becoming to the enterprise. The article discusses a few cases of companies successfully using blogs including GreenCine, Wark Communications, Red Line Performance & Restoration,, and Stoneyfield Farms.

Maybe I’m biased from reading too many blogs, but some of these companies blogs are much more appealing than their corporate sites. Not only do they have more useful information, often times the look and feel of the site is better.

Study reports that deleted spam is costing billions

Following up on my post concerning the faulty logic used for the Super Bowl productivity waste comes a study from the Center for Excellence in Service at the University of Marylandâ??s Robert H. Smith School of Business and Rockbridge Associates, Inc. calculating the costs of . Now donâ??t take my next comments the wrong way. I feel spam is an enormous problem and a productivity drain. What I do have a problem with is the methodology with which this study was performed.

Spamâ??s price tag now reaches $21.58 billion annually in lost productivity according to the results of the 2004 National Technology Readiness Survey (NTRS). Findings from the 2004 NTRS, an annual survey that tracks U.S. consumersâ?? technology opinions and behaviors, indicate that online users in the United States spend an average of three minutes deleting spam each day they check e-mail. Aggregating their usage across the 169.4 million online adults in the United States, this equals 22.9 million hours a week, or $21.58 billion annually when based on the average working wage.

The authors reached a dollar figure by multiplying their 3 minute per day average by the 169.4 million online adults in the U.S. which equates to 22.9 million hours per week. Where do I start with the absurdity? First, “online adults” does not equal “working adults with internet access”. Second, how many of these people are deleting spam that comes to a work email address versus a home / personal email address? To leave this out invalidates the entire study. If an unemployed person spends 3 minutes or 3 hours deleting spam, the action in no way impacts any productivity to any business. Likewise, the casual user checking their AOL email account and spending 3 minutes deleting spam in the evening again does not impact productivity. The key metric here is where the user is checking their email account and to a lesser extent what type of account it is (personal or work).

I recognize and agree that spam is an issue. Really, who doesn’t? Iâ??d prefer to see a well thought approach to measuring its impact though, instead of this nonsense. This just goes to show that statistics can be manipulated to tell any story you want.

While Iâ??m on the subject of spam, letâ??s talk about whatâ??s more annoying and a bigger waste of time in my opinion â?? postal mail spam. I get tremendous amounts of junk mail every single day at home and the office. Once you get your name on someoneâ??s list, itâ??s there for eternity. It takes me about a second to delete email spam. It takes me 20 to 30 times that long to get rid of junk mail. This is mainly because it’s hard to tell the difference anymore between legitimate mail and the junk (especially the mortgage refinance mailings). Unfortunately, I have to actually open the majority of junk mail to make sure there isnâ??t something important Iâ??m throwing away. Now that is a real waste of time.


Deleting Spam Costs Billions, Study Finds – Washington Post
ContractsProf Blog
Russ Abbott
Breaking Windows 2.0