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Ask Slashdot: Troubling Trend For Open Source Company

univgeek Re:...and where they got your number (451 comments)

You could just make the number their company name! The number could also figure on your UI, so they don't need to search for it. There are tons and tons of businesses which do this - and for very good reasons. Don't discard this idea without deeper consideration.

about a year and a half ago
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Ask Slashdot: Troubling Trend For Open Source Company

univgeek Excellent Marketing Opportunity (451 comments)

Are the people calling you potential buyers of support? [Assuming they are not freeloaders by nature, individuals who might not want your business support, etc]

If they are potential buyers this is an EXCELLENT marketing opportunity. They are calling you for something they need. Converting that into a transaction is a clear path that many callers themselves may expect subconsciously. It's all about positioning and expectation management!

The key thing is to setup expectations, right from before they call, to the number they call, what they hear when they call, about the different levels of support, paid & free, how they can reach the right tier of support for their category, how they can upgrade their support tier, and how they can resolve their problem.

For instance, if you have a support forum + support FAQ, redirect all free callers to that --- AFTER telling them that free support is community supported, with customers just like them providing support.

If they want a specific type of support or customization, or installation support, then direct them to the relevant FREE instruction manual, and tell them that premium support for these is available for enterprise/business customers.

For callers make sure your IVR script takes into account both free and paid users [if you use the same 1800 number, you could also give toll-free numbers for premium support users, and toll numbers for free users].

Your script could be

1. Premium support users: Please enter your support id to be taken straight to our support team
2. If you do not have a support id:
                  Press 1 for free installation support options [list out website address, forum address, FAQ address, etc.].
                  Press 2 to buy premium installation support [[ Note the 'to buy' clearly setting their expectation ]]
                  Press 3 for free post-installation support options [list out website address, forum address, FAQ address, etc.].
                  Press 4 to buy premium annual support
                  Press 5 to reach sales

Wherever you list your number make sure it's listed as 'Premium Support Number' or 'Business Support' or something which will influence the caller to understand that this is not free support. For instance you may now have 'Toll-free support number' - which is misleading!

I guarantee if you do this right, you will have more satisfied users and potential customers!

If you want some consulting around this to help you implement this fully, drop me a note - I've been doing marketing/prodmgmt for an open-source based software vendor for a few years. [[ prasanna at wignite dot com ]]

about a year and a half ago
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Ask Slashdot: What's Your Take On Stand-Up Desks?

univgeek Mini-tables on tables.. (347 comments)

You've got many choices.

1. Get an over bed table ala http://www.amazon.com/Invacare-Over-Bed-Table/dp/B000QA0EHI $49, you can adjust the height, upto 42" which should be within a few inches of what you need.

2. Use a bed tray on your normal table - ala http://www.standsandmounts.com/winsomewoodnaturalwoodbreakfasttraywithtiltingtop.aspx

3. Get a shelf with adjustable racks ala http://visualadventures.com/gear-review/how-to-make-an-adjustable-stand-up-desk-for-about-50

4. El cheapo option, wooden boxes, or piles of telephone directories, or piles of soft drink can crates.

Get a tall stool to sit in when you need a break from standing.

about 2 years ago
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Computer Glitch Leaves Some Australians Without Cash

univgeek Re:They deserve any late fees they get? (195 comments)

I make sure all my savings get socked away asap, and live on the rest 'paycheck to paycheck'. In this case, I couldn't have put in additional money into my account from my savings!

more than 3 years ago
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Go For a Masters, Or Not?

univgeek Mostly irrelevent replies... (834 comments)

Most of the replies are irrelevant as they address different fields. While an MS is less useful than work experience in many fields, that's not nearly as true in Elec Engg, or Comp Engg. or any math-heavy fields.

I've done my MS in the Elec. dept. If your MSCE is like CE at my school, then it's going to be a lot of Comp. Arch., VLSI, Solid State, Analog Elec., Signal Processing, etc. which you CANNOT learn on the job. My rule of thumb - heavier the math in a course, lower the probability that you can learn it on the job. Very few employers let you learn on the job - and math-heavy stuff is far easier to learn at school.

An MS is a minimum qualification to get into the mid-level of places like Qualcomm, Analog Devices, TI, Intel, AMD, etc. So my advice? Do an MS CE, make sure you do interns at every possible opportunity. Or if you're near a school which lets you do a part-time MS, start working, and start your MS too. Not doing an MS will get you stuck very soon!

more than 5 years ago
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What To Do Right As a New Programmer?

univgeek Code to read (662 comments)

Your code is probably going to be read a bazillion times more than edited. So take some more time to write it clearly.

Performance is hardly an issue for most business apps - and you should solve most performance issues by choosing the correct algo/method, rather than optimizing code. 80/20 rules applies, 80% of the time is spent in 20% of the code. And the performance critical parts of the code are probably 5% (for most people).

The compiler is not buggy. Even though gcc might spit insane amounts of errors for a single mistake in STL, the compiler is not buggy. Even though you read your code a hundred times and you can't find a mistake, the compiler is not buggy. It's infinitely more likely that you have screwed up than it is to have a tool error (unless you're doing Verilog/VHDL :)

Learn to use a debugger. Any debugger will make you appreciate what the code does better.

Read Code Complete, Pragmatic Programmer.

10 Learn how to learn better.
20 Keep learning and practicing.
30 Goto 10

more than 5 years ago

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