Why I am changing my business direction

Michael on the mountainI’ve been in the computer or IT business for over 20 years. I left chemistry for IT because not much changes in the chemical world and I was looking for a change that would invigorate me. Well the IT industry, with its constant change was invigorating…until it changed in the last few years so much that buying a PC is akin to buying a toaster. Not only that, the industry, meaning manufacturers, distributors and the channel itself have begun to indulge in Oophagy. Oophagy literally means “egg eating”. Someone in my office noted that channel reps for a large IT company competing for sales, were no better than Grey Nurse Sharks, where intrauterine cannibalism takes place: the first developed embryo consumes the additional eggs and any other developing embryos in the mother shark’s womb. That is a bit harsh, but not totally inaccurate.

There is more to my life than IT…I am a mom….I am also a Military Mom. My son was deployed to Afghanistan and thankfully came back (as far as we know), whole. But, as a military mom, you feel as if all the troops are one of your children. When a fellow soldier lost his or her life, I did not say whew…I grieved with that family. Their grief was my grief. The fact that, I am the mother of a soldier never leaves me totally. Now with most of our troops back home, I grieve even more when I hear of soldiers taking their lives due to PTSD or other Operational Stress Injuries (OSIs). It’s not fair that our soldiers have put their lives on the line in service of their country and then when they suffer from wounds that we can not see, the system fails them.

This is where my two lives have converged. We have created a solution where technology is helping those suffering from PTSD by offering them peer and clinical support 7/24 along with assessing the risk for suicide. People with PTSD need to reach out for help, be it in the form of reliable information, peer support and/or professional support; and not just during office hours. Our app offers this from a smartphone, computer or tablet.

We have established a new company: WarrioRecovery Network and I am once more invigorated. I am providing a solution that helps people not flogging products. I am dealing with ideas not speeds and feeds. I don’t have to shave prices on already narrow margins. I have a mission. I am helping take care of the world in my own small way.

That’s not to say there are not challenges; there is a steep learning curve in securing funding. We don’t want to make money off the backs of people suffering severe distress, so our task is to develop partnerships with health networks, government organizations, veteran advocacy groups and others we haven’t even thought of yet. But, I am invigorated…again!

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UCbyDFC: Business Anywhere. Anytime.

Imagine you’re in a meeting out of the office and someone calls your desktop and leaves you a message. Wouldn’t it be cool if, on a break, you could just open your laptop or smartphone or tablet, get an email with your voicemail in it and call the person back right from the email?

And how awesome would it be if organize and start a conference call with the members of a project team right from the Word document that has your team members’ phone numbers on it?

Check out this video UCbyDFC – An Overview

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UC by DFC video

I did warn you last week that a video was being created to highlight features of our UCbyDFC product…..Benjamin flat out rejected the voiced-over Powerpoint presentation and instead opted to create a video with the help or should I say, inspiration of his fiancee. So here it is: (http://youtu.be/wAEx68sDzPw)
Of course we are curious as to what you, dear readers think, so please drop us a line!

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One page “teaser” of UCbyDFC features


The premise of our solution is simplicity and ease of use. Our pricing is simple: One flat rate of $35 per user per month.

As our Unified Communications service is in the Cloud, all you need is a reliable internet connection.

With our standard flat rate, you will have access to all the features and resulting productivity benefits listed below:

Toll-Free Numbers Choose the toll-free number that’s right for you:
Local Numbers Save money by choosing an area code that makes good business sense – especially if you don’t work and live in the same telephone exchange.
Long Distance Each user gets 100 minutes per month of North American long distance. These minutes are pooled among all users.
Easy Conferencing User’s can host conferences with up to 16 total participants on the fly
Call Recording Easily record calls and email the transcript with one click
Call notes Make notes for a call that is attached to your call history
Message Notification Receive an e-mail with the voicemail attached when you’re left a message
Call History Review callers, their phone numbers, and the date, time, length, and result of call
Call Forwarding Re-route callers who dial your toll-free or local number. Direct calls to wherever you are working – to your cell, home, or office phone.
Call Transfer Arrange for the transfer of your incoming calls directly to you – wherever you happen to be. Stay accessible while keeping your company’s primary phone line free for other calls.
Call Analysis Cut costs by gauging your call-related expenses.  Assess incoming and outgoing call costs based on location, time, and other factors.
Call Queue Answer your calls in the order they arrive, while giving your callers automated options to seek out the information they require. When callers choose to hold, you are notified with a beep. If several callers are waiting, you can decide which call to take first.
Click to Call Click on phone numbers in contact books, emails, or office documents to call
Call Waiting Put one call on hold while you answer a second call – and alternate freely between the two.
Virtual Extensions Create the impression of a single office, even if you and your employees work from different locations.
Integrated Record Keeping Have calls to clients automatically timed and call records integrated into your current billing system.*

As well as many more features that you would expect with a traditional phone system such as Caller ID, Company Directory, etc.

* Additional price

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Our new offerings

We have two new products: DFC Cloud Backup and UCbyDFC; there have been webpages built for them both. We have also added a section entitled “Don’t take our word for it” which has case studies and testimonials — we intend on growing this section!

DFC Cloud Backup affords you peace of mind knowing that the data from your computers, laptops, servers, etc. is automatically backed up and stored off site. Even if you have a tape backup, think of this: what happens if there is fire, theft, flood, plague or pestilence? What happens to that tape that you forgot to take off-site? What if your data backup is not off site? What happens if your data is not backed up in the first place? Another advantage to our backup solution is that all your data resides here in Canada. Some backup services have storage all over the world, including the USA and with its Patriot Act privacy ramifications. These privacy and protection of personal information issues are especially important if your data is financial, legal or medical in nature. Also too, if your storage needs grow, you don’t have to call David or your friendly computer dealer to install more equipment, DFC’s Cloud will grow to your needs!

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Everyone is social

Social Media is the new – old “in thing”. Heck, there’s even been a movie made about one aspect of it (Facebook). One of the trends is that social networking is moving from the friend based Facebook to the more professional pages in Facebook and LinkedIn for business. Think back: it used to be that a business card with a phone number and address was sufficient (and if the type was raised, it was considered prestigious), then fax numbers came about, then bbs addresses, then email addresses, next web pages and now LinkedIn public profiles and a twitter identity. Recently I was encouraged to create a Tungle account…. I personally use Facebook to reconnect with friends afar and LinkedIn is strictly business. Twitter is another story and that I have mixed thoughts about.

I am the type that if I have nothing to say, I am fine with that. Twitter is extremely useful in that it allows you to know what’s happening before it hits the news, it can give weather alerts, it allows you as a spectator to be envolved in debates, conventions, live events — whether you are there or not; all by the use of #. The problem is, there is a lot of junk out there…I don’t care that you’ve just completed your exercise routine, nor checked in at some pizza joint, or drank your coffee while reading the paper or that your sword is getting dull…I find the junk easier to filter out in Twitter than Facebook. That leaves the question, of what gets posted to your Twitter account if you aren’t say, a news agency? Have a look here, Sweden may be on to something.

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Transform your business!

Datalinxx ERP and QMSgen

The overall objective is to provide a comprehensive management system to small manufacturers.

While professing not to boil the oceans, we try to balance our approach for business. Using the classic Project Management Triangle of “Fast, Good and Cheap” where you can only pick two, we facilitate successful  project planning which nets you a functioning ERP system without significantly changing or disrupting your business in the process.

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Here at DFC, we pride ourselves on our ability to keep tabs on where our industry is headed next. We read articles, take webinars, and surf our competitors’ web sites. And, frequently, we leave the virtual world behind and head for conferences and seminars, held in various glamourous locations, (Vegas! Toronto! Rochester!) where we never fail to pick up tips and tricks.

Like any other public event, there are better and not-so-hot conferences. I mean, after all, it’s still work, and sometimes these things really make you feel like you’re punching the clock! However, no matter how well (or badly) the weekend is organized, you always end up taking something away with you — namely swag. Lots and lots of swag.

My office is crammed full of mementos from hundreds of vendors — from the sublime to the sublimely ridiculous. A recent clean-up unearthed a whole bunch, and I had such a great time fooling around with them, I thought I’d share the fun!

So this is the first in a series that I like to call “Swagfolio,” in which I review the random wonderful gifties that have graced my return carry-on baggage through the years. Though I’ve devised a rating system (a possible five points on four criteria), it’s not scientific at all — this is all a fun thought exercise in what makes a memorable business tchotchke. And believe me, some are really impressive!

Emulex magnet set

As soon as this item landed in my eager hands, I was immediately captivated by it. Basically a canister full of multicoloured rods, and another full of metal balls, this takes “Fun With Magnets” to a whole new level.

The colourful, basic components encourage soothing, tactile fooling around — and once your imagination takes hold, you can end up with pretty much anything. A graphite molecule! An alien invasion force! Tiny barbells for hermit crabs! The possibilities are endless! I can’t put them dowwwwn!

“Let’s give tech nuts knockoff Buckyballs. They’ll love it!”

H-to-the-L yes. Not for anyone under 3 though. Or, conversely, anyone with a pacemaker: there’s a whole lotta magnetization goin’ on.

I have played with these things for an hour straight, and that’s saying a lot given my professional focus. Also great for absent-minded tooling on boring conference calls: you can explain away the clicks of the magnets as the government tapping your line!


IBM Race Car USB Key

From the “What can we disguise another dang USB key as?” Files:
At first, I thought it was an X-Wing . I was sorely disappointed. It’s a rubberized race car that you can pull apart and jam into your computer to throw files on, just like the other 8,126 keys from other companies you’ve got kicking around. The race car has a slogan on its side: “IBM Software: The Fast Lane to ROI.” Okay, okay, we get it, very punny.

I suppose it is helpful, though, in that it doesn’t look anything like your other 8,126 freebie keys, so you’ll know at a glance that the pictures of your vacation you want to show to grandma are on the one shaped like a beep-beep-vroom-vroom.

BONUS: has keychain attachment; also works as passable pencil eraser (office tested).

They tried, really really hard. But it’s next to impossible to make a thumb drive sexy.

If you’re eight years old, and you have a burning need for portable data storage, you should get your priorities in order. Go start a lemonade stand or something.

Giving them the benefit of the doubt — this category really does depend on what you put on the thing.

Well played, IBM. Well played.

Set of four Iomega branded shot glasses

I have a warm spot in my heart for swag that acknowledges-slash-encourages you to drink to put up with your job. These glasses are made of fairly heavy-duty ceramic, so they could be for espresso — but come on, really. They are also opaque and solid black, perfect for sloshing in a mix of whatever-the-hell-the-IT-department-has-rolling-around-the-bottoms-of-their-desk-drawers, and not having to witness the unholy colour and texture as you pour it down the hatch. I’m also a fan of the justification-slogan printed on the side: “iPartner: shoot for success.” I thought the shot glasses were poorly thought out, but with a tagline like that, we’re lucky they weren’t handing out Uzis.

One trip to the local restaurant supply store, and you’re set.

Perfect for engaging your children in a game of “Mommy’s Quiet Time.” Or a tea party.

One tequila, two tequila, three tequila, floor.

Alcohol dependency: the gift that keeps on giving!

If I can’t even remember what I was doing last night, I’m not gonna remember the company that helped make it happen.

Barrel-shaped calculator/picture frame/LED flashlight/pencil holder

I like this item for its sheer chutzpah, and attempt at elegance of design. However, there’s a big difference between trying and succeeding. If this item is a metaphor for how HP (its sponsoring company) works, it might be a problem — frankly, it’s trying to do too many things at once, and none of them well. The bare-bones-function calculator conked out long ago, as did the flashlight, and I can’t figure out how to dismantle either to replace the batteries. The school picture of your kid you’re supposed to slot into the frame is protected by a thin plastic film that will likely come apart by the time the little guy hits SK. I do enjoy the fact that the pencil holder is restricted to one side of the barrel, so you don’t have to empty it to open or close the whole thing. And it’s also hinged on this pretty neat mechanism of straps (I used to have a sunglasses case just like it) that allows you to open it from opposite sides. Hours of fun!

I’m cutting it a lot of slack for the ambition a four-in-one desk tool requires. Also, the hinge is very neat.

I’m sure that, inexplicably, small children will find this the greatest invention in Western history… until it snaps shut on their fingers.

It’s designed to be a static desk-sitter. Every once in a while, I poke the flashlight button to see if it has magically regained its charge, but no luck so far.

The HP logo is on the calculator; but closed, it’s a tasteful, unbranded, gunmetal grey. Lots of room for personalization with the picture frame too — if you can get it open.

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Picnics and Clouds

What do you get a middle aged man, who’s your husband, for his birthday? If there are any “toys” on

Here's lookin at ya!

his list, he’s already bought them…and I learned not to get him clothes years ago. So when Bastille Day rolls around every year, I try to get creative….This year I took him on an outing with my AWCT group to an Ostrich Farm! It was different, he ate Ostrich burgers for lunch, had a hayride tour of the place and got to be the only guy with a bunch of women. The irony was not lost on us him being the only rooster in the hen house! On the tour of this ostrich farm we saw the breeders, chicks and got to feed the teenagers—which like teenagers anywhere ran to us when we approached (click here to see) in expectation of food! And like teenagers glared at us for more!
iCloud vs iCloud

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