Archive for July, 2010

The 22 Immutable Laws of Marketing

July 23, 2010

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The 22 Immutable Laws of Marketing (1993) is a book by Al Ries and Jack Trout.

These are the chapter heading from The 22 Immutable Laws of Marketing, by Ries & Trout, Harper Business.

1. It is better to be first than it is to be better.
2. If you can’t be first in a category, set up a new category you can be first in.
3. It is better to be first in the mind than to be first in the marketplace.
4. Marketing is not a battle of products, it’s a battle of perceptions.
5. The most powerful concept in marketing is owning a word in the prospect’s mind.
6. Two companies cannot own the same word in the prospect’s mind.
7. The strategy to use depends on which rung you occupy on the ladder.
8. In the long run, every market becomes a two horse race.
9. If you are shooting for second place, your strategy is determined by the leader.
10. Over time, a category will divide and become two or more categories.
11. Marketing effects take place over an extended period of time.
12. There is an irresistible pressure to extend the equity of the brand.
13. You have to give up something to get something.
14. For every attribute, there is an opposite, effective attribute.
15. When you admit a negative, the prospect will give you a positive.
16. In each situation, only one move will produce substantial results.
17. Unless you write your competitor’s plans, you can’t predict the future.
18. Success often leads to arrogance, and arrogance to failure.
19. Failure is to be expected and accepted.
20. The situation is often the opposite of the way it appears in the press.
21. Successful programs are not built on fads, they’re built on trends.
22. Without adequate funding, an idea won’t get off the ground.

[edit] References

  • The 22 Immutable Laws of Marketing (1993). Al Ries and Jack Trout.
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What to do when your entire industry suddenly crumbles?

July 23, 2010

Dad Life | You must Watch this, it’s Hilarious! I can relate.

July 22, 2010

Cyberwarrior Shortage Threatens U.S. Security : NPR

July 21, 2010
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July 19, 2010

There may be no country on the planet more vulnerable to a massive cyberattack than the United States, where financial, transportation, telecommunications and even military operations are now deeply dependent on data networking.

A shadowy hand hovers over a computer keyboard.


U.S. industry, government and military operations are all at risk of an attack on complex computer systems, analysts warn.

A shadowy hand hovers over a computer keyboard.

U.S. industry, government and military operations are all at risk of an attack on complex computer systems, analysts warn.

What’s worse: U.S. security officials say the country’s cyberdefenses are not up to the challenge. In part, it’s due to a severe shortage of computer security specialists and engineers with the skills and knowledge necessary to do battle against would-be adversaries. The protection of U.S. computer systems essentially requires an army of cyberwarriors, but the recruitment of that force is suffering.

“We don’t have sufficiently bright people moving into this field to support those national security objectives as we move forward in time,” says James Gosler, a veteran cybersecurity specialist who has worked at the CIA, the National Security Agency and the Energy Department.

If U.S. cyberdefenses are to be improved, more people like Gosler will be needed on the front lines. Gosler, 58, works at the Energy Department’s Sandia National Laboratory in Albuquerque, N.M., where he focuses on ways to counter efforts to penetrate U.S. data networks. It’s an ever-increasing challenge.

“You can have vulnerabilities in the fundamentals of the technology, you can have vulnerabilities introduced based on how that technology is implemented, and you can have vulnerabilities introduced through the artificial applications that are built on that fundamental technology,” Gosler says. “It takes a very skilled person to operate at that level, and we don’t have enough of them.”

Gosler estimates there are now only 1,000 people in the entire United States with the sophisticated skills needed for the most demanding cyberdefense tasks. To meet the computer security needs of U.S. government agencies and large corporations, he says, a force of 20,000 to 30,000 similarly skilled specialists is needed.

Some are currently being trained at the nonprofit SANS (SysAdmin, Audit, Network, Security) Institute outside Washington, D.C., but the demand for qualified cybersecurity specialists far exceeds the supply.

“You go looking for those people, but everybody else is looking for the same thousand people,” says SANS Research Director Alan Paller. “So they’re just being pushed around from NSA to CIA to DHS to Boeing. It’s a mess.”

The Center for Strategic and International Studies highlights the problem in a forthcoming report, “A Human Capital Crisis in Cybersecurity.

According to the report, a key element of a “robust” cybersecurity strategy is “having the right people at every level to identify, build and staff the defenses and responses.”

The CSIS report highlights a “desperate shortage” of people with the skills to “design secure systems, write safe computer code, and create the ever more sophisticated tools needed to prevent, detect, mitigate and reconstitute from damage due to system failures and malicious acts.”

U.S. Computer Emergency Readiness Team/National Cybersecurity and Communications Integration Center

Enlarge Win McNamee/Getty Images

The U.S. Computer Emergency Readiness Team/National Cybersecurity and Communications Integration Center is designed to help protect the technical infrastructure of the United States.

U.S. Computer Emergency Readiness Team/National Cybersecurity and Communications Integration Center
Win McNamee/Getty Images

The U.S. Computer Emergency Readiness Team/National Cybersecurity and Communications Integration Center is designed to help protect the technical infrastructure of the United States.

The cyber manpower crisis in the United States stands in sharp contrast to the situation in China, where the training of computer experts is a top national priority. In the most recent round of the International Collegiate Programming Contest, co-sponsored by IBM and the Association for Computing Machinery, Chinese universities took four of the top 10 places. No U.S. university made the list.

The Chinese government, in fact, appears to be systematically building a cyberwarrior force.

“Every military district of the Peoples’ Liberation Army runs a competition every spring,” says Alan Paller of SANS, “and they search for kids who might have gotten caught hacking.”

One of the Chinese youths who won that competition had earlier been caught hacking into a Japanese computer, according to Paller, only to be rewarded with extra training.

“Later that year, we found him hacking into the Pentagon,” Paller says. “So they find them, they train them, and they get them into operation very, very fast.”

Some members of Congress, eager to follow China’s example, are now promoting a U.S. Cyber Challenge, a national talent search at the high school level. The aim is to find up to 10,000 potential cyberwarriors, ready to play both offense and defense.

“The idea is for schools around the country to field teams, and the teams would compete against one another,” says Sen. Thomas Carper, a Delaware Democrat who is one of the backers of the effort. He sees the challenge as an opportunity “not only for them to hone their skills on being able to hack into other systems, particularly those of folks we may not be fond of, but also to use what they learn to strengthen our defenses.”

In order to protect a computer system, one needs to know how someone might attack it. Last year’s preliminary Cyber Challenge game was won by a 17-year-old from Connecticut — Michael Coppola — who was smart enough to hack into the game computer and add points to his own score.

“There’s actually a flaw within that Web application,” Coppola says. “Using that, I was able to execute commands on the computer running the scoring software, and I was able to add points and basically do whatever I wanted.”

It was certainly an unconventional approach, but the competition judges were so impressed by Coppola’s ability to hack into the computer game that they actually rewarded him for changing his score.

“It’s cheating,” Michael says, “but it’s like the entire game is cheating.”

Indeed. People who know how to cheat will soon be on the front lines of cyber defense, because the best way to defend a computer system from attack is to figure out how an adversary would be able to hack into it.

Now 18, Coppola is himself looking to a career in cybersecurity.

Michael Jordan Is Right: Miami’s ‘Big Three’ Aren’t Competitors |

July 20, 2010
CHARLOTTE, NC - APRIL 28:  Basketball legend Michael Jordan walks off a tee box during the pro am prior to the start of the 2010 Quail Hollow Championship at the Quail Hollow Club on April 28, 2010 in Charlotte, North Carolina.  (Photo by Scott Halleran/Getty Images) Scott Halleran/Getty Images

Is MJ Right About The “Big 3” In Miami

Michael Jordan is not my favorite guy.  However, I can never deny his competitiveness or his drive to succeed.  I have questioned these attributes in LeBron James and Chris Bosh.  Dwyane Wade is simply party to this by association—association of laziness.

MJ made it pretty clear.

“There’s no way, with hindsight, I would’ve ever called up Larry, called up Magic and said, ‘Hey, look, let’s get together and play on one team.’”

And you know what?  He’s right.  I’m sure neither Larry nor Magic would have even thought of making the same phone call. 

It’s the kind of thing that begs the question—are these guys even competitors? 

No, they are not.

MJ hit it right on the head.  He wanted to go out and beat his opponents—not play with them just so he could increase his haul of rings.  MJ did that in Chicago.

LeBron James and Chris Bosh—LeBron especially—gave up the chance to grow and mature in the cities that drafted them and become “The Man” the way MJ did in Chicago.

D-Wade basically did the same thing.  Yes, he already won a title in Miami, but he won it against a choking Dallas team.  Now we’ll never know if he could have grown further and brought Miami back to glory on his own.

You see, by association Wade is no better than James and Bosh.  Because these gentlemen want to “microwave” a title—we won’t get to see any good basketball.

Imagine the lazy-ass basketball we’re going to see from three lazy superstars who don’t have the heart to gut it out.

Go ahead—start screaming at your computer—you know I’m right.

And while I’m at it—let’s think about what Jordan really said.  He basically called these guys lazy punks for not wanting to compete.

Is there a worse insult an athlete can be given than to be told you are not a competitor?

Well, for Wade, James, and Bosh it might be that their $1,000 shoes are out of stock, or (as George Carlin would say) that Banana Republic ran out of their favorite khakis.

This is the “competition” we’re in for if we allow these guys to teach our kids what competition is.

Show your kids some replays of 80s Finals games and compare—I bet my toddler could figure it out.

Color Wheel For Guys & Girls

July 19, 2010

Fax Machine Timeline

July 19, 2010

Why I Don’t Check Voicemail Anymore

July 19, 2010

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The Death of Internet Anonymity

July 16, 2010

After a year-long analysis of the state of Internet security led by the National Security council, President Obama’s cybersecurity coordinator Howard Schmidt has released details of the administration’s plan to protect the masses from cyberscumbags by creating a federal system for online identity authentication.

The Financial Times reported that “the creation of a system for identity management that would allow citizens to use additional authentication techniques, such as physical tokens or modules on mobile phones, to verify who they are before buying things online or accessing such sensitive information as health or banking records.”

Good intentions aside, implementing a program of this nature could have repercussions far beyond combating phishers and scammers – it could put an end to any notion of online privacy and anonymity.

Electronic payment fraud and identity theft are serious problems, and are a drag on our economy which we could surely do without. But is this really where we need to begin?

Software continues to be produced with vulnerabilities written into the code, confidential information continues to be compromised on a daily basis due to lax security policies and employee unfamiliarity across a spectrum of industries, and information technology continues the shift to outsourced managed services in the cloud.

These realities create more opportunities for data loss on a massive scale.

So why pursue authentication issues as the first order of business? And why is a federally issued “cyber identity” being touted as the optimal solution, over and above a slew of commercial epayment security options already available?

At the risk of seeming like a tinfoil hat wearing paranoid, I ran across an article in the TeamCymru newsfeed from Prison Planet that really struck a nerve.

If you take away all the allusions to evil ulterior motives that pervades the article and simply look at the rant as an examination of some potential consequences from a federal cyber identity mandate, it quickly becomes clear that this may not be the best solution – for all of us Internet users anyway.

The article titled Cybersecurity Measures Will Mandate Government ID Tokens To Use The Internet was written by Paul Joseph Watson and Alex Jones, and asserts that “under the guise of cybersecurity, the government is moving to discredit and shut down the existing Internet infrastructure in the pursuit of a new, centralized, regulated world wide web.”

Whether or not the true intention is to “discredit” the Internet, the more than forty cybersecurity related bills before Congress and the elevation of cybersecurity to the Czar level at the White House are clear evidence that the government is moving to “centralize and regulate” the Internet to some degree.

The article goes on to say that “similar legislation aimed at imposing Chinese-style censorship of the Internet and giving the state the power to shut down networks has already been passed globally, including in the UK, New Zealand and Australia.”

While “Chinese-style censorship” is not specifically outlined in Schmidt’s strategy, the proposal does entail requiring everyone who wants to access the Internet to register with the government, creating yet another layer of bureaucracy at potentially enormous cost to taxpayers.

If the government has to say “yes” to your request for access to the Internet, then they also have the power to say “no.”

And there are many other issues that will arise from such a system, like whether the government will monitor and collect data on individual usage, and what steps would be taken to protect the system itself from being compromised.

Even if your access to the web remains unfettered, the requirement to register for and use a federal cyber identity would mean an end to one of the Internet’s most lauded features – the ability to remain (relatively) anonymous.

The Prison Planet article claims that “abolition of anonymity is used to chill free speech,” and they may be on to something here.

Though, I think the authors meant “freedom of speech”  – but the term “free” might be more apt, as access to a web that is under federal control will undoubtedly cost users more than it does today.

Americans for Tax Reform sees federal control of the Internet as just another example of a backdoor tax that will make access to the Internet more expensive:

Everyone will pay rates for service that the government sets. And everything passing through your Internet, TV, or phone would become subject to the FCC’s consistent regulatory whim…”

Sorry Alex and company, it probably just comes down to the mighty dollar, and the opportunity to garner profits, fees and taxes.

Although, just because someone is paranoid, it does not mean someone else is not really out to get him.

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Top Ten off-shore Countries using Hidden Proxies in US | Information Security News – SecurityWeek: IT Security News & Expert Insights

July 16, 2010

Fighting web fraud is a game of cat and mouse between fraud analysts and cybercriminals where the odds are stacked against fraud analysts. The bad guys have the upper hand pitting tools, targets, time and tenacity against fraud analysts doing their best to identify fraudulent transactions, prevent web fraud while at the same time not stopping good customers from transacting at their web site. Intentify Cybercrime Patterns

The fraud analysts I’ve met are diligent, always looking for edge that puts them ahead of scammers. For fraud analysts getting hit by web fraud is personal—like the feeling of violation you would get opening your front door and discovering someone broke into your house. What gives fraud analysts edge against scammers? Data. Like all things digital, web fraud is measurable and mineable.

How does data help fraud analysts stop and prevent fraud? It depends on the nature and context of the transaction. I’ll use an example from the non-digital realm to illustrate. I came across new research by UCLA scientists working with L.A. police to analyze crime patterns in order to identify crime ‘hotspots.’ The research is federally funded by the National Science Foundation and the U.S. Department of Defense. The researchers developed a mathematical model that enables them to predict how “each type of crime hotspot will respond to increased policing, as well as when each type might occur, by a careful mathematical analysis involving what is known as bifurcation theory” according to a UCLA report. The researchers leverage crime data to determine “whether a particular neighborhood will see an increase in crime.” One of the researches, Jeffrey Brantington, observes that “criminal offenders are essentially hunter-gatherers; they forage for opportunities to commit crimes.” Brantington’s observation applies to cybercriminals as well as local neighborhood carjackers.

Fraud analysts leverage data too—to discern patterns and identify cybercrime hotspots. Doing so enables them to adjust their strategy according to the patterns. This insight helps them increase their effectiveness at detecting fraud—and more importantly it helps them go on the offensive to prevent fraud. Here’s a simple example that illustrates how understanding patterns can help head-off fraud.

I queried our ThreatMetrix Fraud Network of global transaction data to see which countries for the month of May had the highest percent of transactions that were conducted using hidden proxies located in the United States. This view of web transaction traffic provides a window into behaviors that can be useful in identifying patterns that tip off cybercrime hot spots still in formation—a system fraud analysts can use to thwart scammers before they strike by tuning the rules that examine transactions looking for risk.