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Dan's Blog

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    Dan's Blog: Important vs Urgent: Finding the Balance

    I will assume that a good number of the readers of this blog are parents, and that you will be painfully familiar with the “work/parenting” balance we strive for in life, which at times seems so elusive.  I guess such a balance would be easily attained if both work and parenting would only require part of our energy, the sum of which would equal less than 100%.  But it so often feels otherwise.  Being a parent of toddlers, teenagers, or twenty-somethings is terribly demanding, though in vastly different ways.

    Being a manager in your company is not dissimilar.  It is demanding, and if you are doing your job well, it can be terribly demanding.  You have many plates to keep spinning, and some of these are urgent and others are not urgent but certainly important.  It’s difficult to balance …

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    Should You Centralize or Distribute Operations?

    Here's a Third Alternative to Consider

    Guest post by Daryl Berver, COO of Agora Inc.


    Throughout my career heading operations for Agora, I’ve always struggled with the question of centralized versus decentralized applications, and never more-so than in the past year. Which is preferable? More efficient? Traditional knowledge says you centralize for efficiency and decentralize for innovation.

    Makes sense.

    Centralized applications are cheaper for the business if you have different operational units in the company. Most publishing companies are smaller groups within a larger business, and this type of application structure is rather common. Looking at things from a high level economic view, it’s easy to see why. Centralization reduces needless redundancies between applications, saving …

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    Dan's Blog: 6 Predictions for Publishing in 2016

    It's the week between Christmas and New Years and I'm reading lists of things that happened in 2015 and will happen in 2016. It's always enjoyable to be reminded of things that happened earlier in the year that we've already either forgotten or filed away into that part of our memory that can't quite remember exactly when it took place. (Like one's last dentist appointment once more than 5 weeks have passed.) What's much more fun, and risky, is to predict things that will happen in the future. It's risky, because the predictor is likely to be proved wrong. It's fun because the expectations are so low for being right!

    So here are mine:

    Publishing will continue to be unpredictable. I know. It's almost cheating to say this. But there is more truth to it than immediately meets the eye. …

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    Dan's Blog: Communication has Incredible Consequences - 6 Tips to Improve Yours

    One of our traditional movies to watch around this time of year is the revered "White Christmas" starring Bing Crosby and friends. For those unfamiliar with the story, things begin to go wrong when the nosy housekeeper eavesdrops on a conversation but only hears 1 side of the message. She draws her own conclusions and sets off a string of events which produces the main tension in the storyline. Since it's a movie, it all ends well and they live happily ever after. But the movie has supremely good examples of all kinds of problematic communication:

    misunderstanding what the other person said

    misunderstanding what the other person didn't say

    beating around the bush

    talking about two different things and missing one another



    bad assumptions

    and the list goes on …

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    Dan's Blog: eCommerce Platform Pitch at FIPP World Magazine Congress

    In October, I had the distinct pleasure of attending the FIPP World Congress in Toronto, Ontario. (FIPP is the Federation of International Periodical Publishers, in case you are not in this space.) This magazine congress is held every two years in a different country, and is attended by hundreds of magazine publishers from around the world.

    As one of the sponsors, AdvantageCS had the opportunity to provide a 100-second pitch of our product. This is a brilliant idea on the part of the FIPP team to allow sponsors to explain their product or service but to keep it brief. In fact, these 100-second pitches are placed between major presentations and become a bit of a game, which keeps the audience in their seats.

    Most publishers don't like to be "sold to" but the attendees can't resist …

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    Dan's Blog: Ad Blocking - Good for Advertisers?

    The current panic in the marketing world about ad blocking is being eclipsed by thoughts such as those found in this excellent piece.  As marketers, we at AdvantageCS have found native advertising to be a great vehicle for getting the word out about our products and services.

    What are your thoughts on this hot topic? 


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    Dan's Blog: Smartphones Outsmart Us

    Is it just me, or is everyone experiencing more use of their smartphones? These "mobile moments" are becoming more frequent in my life, at least. A year ago I hadn't installed my bank's app and did all my banking on my laptop. Now I do all my deposits using my smartphone and find myself checking balances there more and more. A couple of years ago I thought I'd never use Facebook on my smartphone...but I almost never use it on my laptop now. Recently my wife was writing a long email on her smartphone and I asked why she doesn't use the desktop so she can edit more efficiently? Her answer was that the desktop was upstairs.  

    I guess that's what the word "mobile" means, after all: able to move. Our mobile phones can be with us all the time. I see more participants in meetings looking at …

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    Dan's Blog: Why do businesses "flock" to trendy technology, even when it doesn't meet their needs?

     On a recent trip to England, a group of us took a hike up a hill past a flock of sheep.  Sheep are so charming:  pleasant to see on the side of a hill, not terribly wild or boisterous, and very compliant when it is time to get their wool sheared.  At one point, the farmer pulled up to a corner of the very large field the sheep were occupying and they started bleating and running toward the truck.  They clearly were trained that this was feeding time, and responded with the enthusiasm of my 19-year-old son under similar circumstances.  This was, without meaning to sound too stick with me example of when it's a good idea to follow the flock.  However, we all know that sheep are, in fact, too compliant for their own good, and can walk willingly to be slaughtered.  That' …

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    Dan's Blog: Multi-Product Brand Extension

    Americans can be some of the laziest language users on earth, creating nicknames and abbreviations for everything from celebrities to common phrases.  Texting can be blamed for some of this, certainly, but it doesn't explain our penchant for cutting syllables out of our speech.  Furthermore, there are people texting all over the world who still take the time and effort to use lots of words in their speech to make their thoughts clear.  Being married to a native speaker of another language has provided an at-home testing platform for my claim.  Many other languages seem to require more words to express something that an American will use fewer words to express.  Is it because American English is so rich that we have a word for everything?  I don't think so.  There are many words in Spanish …

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    Dan's Blog: The Gift of Criticism

    Recently, my wife needed to go back to a doctor's office where she'd had some minor surgery done some months earlier.  She was in pain and was concerned about infection.  She called the office to find out when they could see her but was met with the proverbial "please leave a message" announcement, rather than being answered by a human.  Instead of leaving a message and sitting by the phone for the rest of the morning, she decided to drive to the office and see them face-to-face and ask in person for a last-minute appointment.  I decided to join her so we could chat on the way.

    When we walked into the office, I knew we were going to have a less-than-pleasant customer service experience.  It was written all over the face of the receptionist.  She was cool, aloof, and lacking in compassion. …

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