Archives For education

Irvine CA. Sunrise

Irvine CA. Sunrise

Irvine CA….

Are Your Secrets Still Secret?

Hackers target startups that secure early-stage funding. Some startups are detecting heightened cyberattacks just after they raise Series A funding.” According to recent reports from the Wall Street Journal.

Business leaders tend to disregard this kind of news because their IT people are telling them, “We’ve got it covered.”  This afternoon I will be speaking to a group of CIOs in Irvine California, hosted by Accuvant and sponsored by McAfee.  This is a message every business leader needs to hear – before it’s too late.

The criminals aren’t sitting around worrying about new technologies that thwart their mischievous deeds.  They’re researching, testing, and collaborating.  The amount of money that goes into R&D on the enemy’s side hasn’t been published like it often is with security technology companies.  For instance, Cisco is proud of the fact that they spend around 300 million on security R&D annually (last I heard).  But innovation is happening on both sides, and the attacker is usually ahead (if not always ahead.)  There is no telling how much effort goes into their side, but based on the attacks we’ve seen, it’s significant, and should be scary.

A New Target: Start Up companies

“In March 2012, when cybersecurity startup Skyhigh Networks received $6.5 million in funding, the company noticed a marked increase in outsiders looking for vulnerabilities in its network.”  Nation State sponsored attacks, as well as competition, may be the instigators here.  Recent Patent Law changes encourage the theft of intellectual property when it deals with innovation.  The person who files first has an advantage over the patent rights…that means that as your clients are inventing, others are watching online to see when a development is ready, but not yet filed in the patent office.  This would be a good time to strike.  Notice that the security risks are suddenly higher at this point.  The measurement of impact goes up, but so does the likelihood of attack (an important model covered in my book, The House & the Cloud).  Understanding this is key to building a solid security architecture – it is also critical for the security provider if you want to better understand the sales cycle and how to justify a change in security spending.

Chinese Government – Are They Really Hacking?

There have been numerous hacker reports about Chinese Government over the past year.  Are they really hacking into US companies?  I have not personally experienced this – however the news is certainly saying, “Yes”.

“The disclosure early this year of a secretive Chinese military unit believed to be behind a series of hacking attacks has failed to halt the cyber intrusions,” according to Reuters’s Deborah Charles and Paul Eckert report.  Wall Street published this earlier in November, pointing to the People’s Liberation Army’s Shanghai-based Unit 61398 – the primary suspect. This sounds pretty specific.  What are they after?

According to the above mentioned article, this effort involves “cyber espionage to steal proprietary economic and trade information,” from the US.  In other words, they are after US innovation – taking what has taken years to develop, with a plan to develop the same innovations without the cost of R&D. Expect these new products to come on the market for much less, competing with the inventor on price.  This is called a copycat product, and often puts the inventor out of business.

If your clients are still thinking they are safe, have avoided attacks, and have it covered when it comes to keeping their innovation secrets under cover, they’re likely out of touch with the real world.  IT has often said, “We have it covered,” only to later find out that hackers have been inside for years.  The FBI says it takes 14 months, on average, to realize you’re under attack, but many companies will never figure it out – soon it will be too late.

© 2013, David Stelzl

 

Photo Taken By Hannah Stelzl

On my bulletin board above my desk I have a card I received from one of the many home school conferences I’ve attended.  It lists a set of goals for fathers… in summary here are some helpful things to have in front of you if you are a father…

1. Respond lovingly and wisely to every situation and successfully fulfill  the purposes for with God created me.

2. Enjoy a loving relationship with my wife and quickly resolve any conflicts that arise

3. Make all the members in my family “best friends” with each other and help them clear up any offenses between each other

4. Train up sons and daughters to be wise

5. Help each child discover his or her purposes in life so that they will not fear the future or have self rejection

6. To serve those around us as a family – with family goals and vision to help others in need

7. Maintain proper health so that I can continue to meet the needs of my family

© 2011, David Stelzl

How do you win – you need a strategy.

Yesterday I called customer service to have two warm-steam vaporizers replaced.  This is the 3rd or 4th time these units have had to be replaced over the past seven years – but they are lifetime warranty.  The problem is, they require a $25 dollar fee (each) to return them, plus it costs $10/each to ship them.  I’ve never paid the $25 fee, however they put us to the test yesterday.

I use these opportunities to teach my children how to negotiate, so earlier this week I had one of my daughters place the call.  They started asking all kinds of questions and insisting we were doing something wrong.  She wasn’t getting anywhere.  In the past, this group has been easy to deal with, but something has changed and it didn’t look like we were going to get our units replaced for free this time.   So how did we win?

The key to winning with this type of call is understanding how to escalate the call.  Getting angry never works – after all, they are not obligated to give me anything.  The call center people really have nothing to lose, and certainly no liability.  Gathering my kids around the speaker phone, I said, “Let’s see if we can win this one.”

I made the call, getting the tier one person on the phone.  She insisted on going through a set of  diagnostic questions, and in the end determined that we could in fact send them back, but the $25 dollar fee was firm.  I asked her if she was able to wave that and she said, “No.”  I understand that – her company has apparently not given her authority to take action, so I agreed with her and asked to speak with her direct supervisor.

Tom came on the line next.  He was also hardened..not very friendly.  His tact was to verify if this was actually a warranty issue.  In his opinion it was not.  I asked him if he could do it any way, and he said, “The Policy is…” and basically said, no.  Again, I agreed with him, understanding that he is not authorized to change the policy, but perhaps he could forward me to his manager, which he did.  I politely thanked him for his time.

Carlos was next.  he was genuinely polite, and seemed eager to help.  I explained my situation, which was well documented in his system.  I explained that the shipping fee for this type of item was high, and that the $25/each fee was out of my reach.  I asked if we could wave the fee.  Without question, Carlos said, “No problem, that is what we are here for.”  He is sending me a shipping label, sending me two new units, and will have my old units analyzed in order to report back why they are not working.

The outcome was predictable.  I was able to make this call on the speaker phone in front of my kids as a demonstration because I knew we would win this.  Staying calm, agreeing along the way once it is clear that the person I am dealing with is unable to make a change, and escalating each time, is the key.  This is great practice for selling.  Use these situations to practice dealing with difficult people and negotiations, and apply this to your selling efforts.

© 2011, David Stelzl

Photo Taken By Hannah Stelzl

Getting to the right people is the key to finding new opportunity…and yesterday’s educational event was a great example.  We had about 50 business leaders running a  variety of SMB businesses including wealth management, personal safety, software development, and many more.  I delivered an updated review of major security trends along with concepts from by book The House & the Cloud to show local leaders what is happening and why.  As a follow up,  the reseller offered an assessment to review areas that might be in trouble.  Over 90% of attendees committed to this next step!  Next, we will take this message to dozen who were notified, but who were not able to attend…

© 2011, David Stelzl

Photo taken by Hannah Stelzl

Last night I had the privilege of  presenting new material on Entrepreneurial Thinking to a group of fathers and young men (mostly college age).  I thought it might be helpful to post a few comments to keep the learning process going:

1. Andrew Carnegie (in the early 1900s) wrote: Capitalists need compliant workers…willing to work for less than the value their productivity creates – this is profit….The answer to worker unrest is to build an educational industry designed to teach workers just enough to get them to cooperate.  My comment – don’t accept average…don’t give into this kind of thinking.  Get out of the box and do something great today.

 

2. In 1908 Publisher Henry Holt said, “There is too much enterprise, excessive overproduction of brains is the root cause…we must emasculate man’s entrepreneurial energy.”  My comment; Don’t let this happen!  Let someone else lose their ambition, but don’t you do it.

3. I meet people all the time who are wondering what they want to be when they “Grow Up”.  Many of these people are well established in business, in their 50s, yet, and unfulfilled.  Why?  Don’t just go with the flow, sit down and think, how do I want to spend my life and what is my fulfilling purpose going to be?  This is especially true for young people just entering or leaving college.  Don’t just go to class, build a resume, and look for a job.  Consider what great things are out there to do, then set about doing it.

4. Seth Godin Wrote, in his recent book, Linchpin; “Unskilled people are interchangeable – we’ve been culturally brainwashed.” He’s right you know.

5. We are too risk adverse!  Our training has taught us never to try anything that isn’t already proven to succeed.  We learned this from our teachers who insisted on us doing things a certain way; their way.  The alternative was an “F” – failure.  Entrepreneurs don’t think that way.  Innovation is key – start being creative simply by creating.  Assume most of your ideas will not be good, so set them aside and come up with new ones.

© 2011, David Stelzl

Photo by Hannah Stelzl

I am focused on entrepreneurship!  When my wife and I first started homeschooling our children we caught the vision for a different kind of education.  One that would build the not-so-academic side of those we are raising, but still equip them with the essential reading, writing, and arithmetic skills needed to succeed.

My schooling history has made me more risk adverse than I’d like.  It’s taken me twenty-five years to unlearn the principles of:

- Mastering the No. 2 Pencil

- Only submitting what was asked for

- Never thinking outside the box – putting away all creativity

- Thinking that wisdom is somehow related to memorizing a certain number of biology terms

(and the list goes on)…

Photo by Hannah Stelzl

With this in mind, my kids are working on businesses – all the time, thinking about how to create new opportunities, serving the basic needs of those around us, establishing value, setting fees, and selling.   This year marks another year of Sarah’s annual Valentine’s Day Cookie bake.  This year she sold over 200 cookies by cold calling with a compelling message.  Some even gave additional money or donated without accepting cookies!  Of course she had help from Tiny-Tim who enjoys cooking (and perhaps even more, eating the left overs.)

Through this project we’ve studied how to discover a new opportunity, how to avoid working at McDonalds for mininum wage, how to sell to strangers (cold calling), how to develop a message that sells,…but also, how to count the cost of goods sold (COGS), the difference between sales, gross profit, net profit, and losses due to wrong or canceled orders.  Fortunately we have not had to deal with customer service issues on this particular project, but we’ve covered that in other projects, and hope to minimize this in the future.

Photo by Hannah Stelzl

What are you doing today to extend beyond what you learned in school – to think creatively, and to find business opportunities where there don’t seem to be any?

 

© 2011, David Stelzl

Where does PowerPoint Shine?  I use it when speaking to large audiences, educational marketing events, or going through the details of a project plan for a larger group.

In the first case, slides can be used as long as you don’t lean on them.  They provide a backdrop to you as a speaker.  This is especially effective in educational marketing efforts because people want something in the way of an outline to follow.  The problem comes when speakers start reading slides or putting more text on the slide than one might see in a memo.

Try this.  Use slides to show pictures.  Using the background formatting features, change the background from white to a picture.  Give each slide a unique picture that supports the message of that slide.  For instance, yesterday in an educational marketing event I used a slide of my two-year old son in front of a computer.  The slide was black, only his face was visible, with the light from the screen lighting up his face and keyboard.  This dark, secretive looking computer picture with a child at the helm underscores how easy cybercrime has become.  Three descriptive words to the left of the image serve to drive home my message.

This type of slide is both memorable and fun to watch.  The speaker doesn’t read the slide because it’s obvious.  The audience is drawn into the speaker’s story with the image reinforcing the message.  This is a good use of PowerPoint.

© 2011, David Stelzl